April 2010

I Love America -
(Part 6,380)
Ok, actually this is really just the FIRST of a series, but I'm pretty sure if you got me started, I could easily rattle off six thousand and just keep going and going. Instead of that long list however, I thought I would just share with you some thoughts on the subject from time to time.
I recently helped a friend move. On moving day, the van showed up with three great guys who got right to work and were cordial yet professional and efficient about every aspect of their job.
But THAT isn't the story. The story is the fact that one of the guys was from Cuba, another from Senegal and the third from the nation of Jamaica.
Folks, NEVER in the history of civilization has there been a place that is a universal destination for people who want a better life and the opportunity to work as hard as they can to earn that.
When I wrote nearby to never bet against the resiliency of the American people, I was speaking not only about those who were lucky enough to be born an American but also those who were smart enough to BECOME an American.

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Look for the next issue with a discussion of something about which all too many of you have recently become familiar -



The Road Ahead

By now, most of you have received the statements from your custodians. Whether you are looking at monthly or quarterly numbers, they are, in most cases, very pleasing. If I have the honor and responsibility of investment advisory for you, your quarterly analytical report is on its way to you right now. There you will see the real meaning of the numbers, how much your money actually made for you, accounting for all cash flows and expenses. The full year numbers are really astounding as it was just a little over a year ago that we hit a real bottom and the recovery was breathtaking. That was a pretty deep and frightening hole in which the financial world found itself and most portfolios are not yet fully recovered. 
So where do we go from here? Despite huge structural problems, the economy is growing. That is little comfort to those who are unemployed but those numbers are starting to improve, as well. As you know, I try to avoid boring you here with a lot of fundamentals, but it's important to note that earnings are up and, believe it or not, many corporate coffers are bursting with cash. It may not be the time for companies to expand but it may be a heck of a good time to acquire. Those kind of shopping sprees are typically very good for the investor. The Federal Reserve appears committed to keeping interest rates low for a while and even when they stopped buying mortgages, the markets seemed to shrug it off.
There are still problems, many of them. As you probably know, I am very concerned about the possibility of inflation. While unemployment has leveled off, it is still unacceptably high and too much of the workforce has been moved from the private to the public sector, which history tells us is not as efficient. We see the inevitability of higher taxes down the road whether they be obvious like higher income tax rates or hidden like "cap and trade" or the much talked about "VAT". We are still fighting two overseas wars, the threat of terrorism is perhaps greater than ever and we have a polarized government that probably couldn't agree on the time of day. 
We will, however, continue to move forward, no matter how strong the headwind, because that is what we do. I would expect a period of growth ahead, but I do not expect it to be rapid growth. Now, as always, a ten percent correction in stock prices is just a single unrelated event away. Like it or not, that is normal. You all know by now, however, that is just a good buying and rebalancing opportunity.
Uncomfortable as it may be from time to time, the Intelligent Decision is to stay invested and watch closely. Of course, that is what I'm here for. In the final analysis, NEVER bet against the resiliency of The American People.
I hope you like the new format and this feature, "The Intelligent Decision". If you haven't done so already, please add my email address - Robert@TheIntelligentDecision.com - to your email address book. That will assure that my words get to YOU, not your "spam" filter!
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