Monthly Archives: July 2011

Mid-Summer Musings

Sometimes I just don’t have much to say…

Not Impressive:  Politicians and fund managers who scare the American public for personal/political gain.

Impressive:  Clear thinking people who tell it like it is and propose workable solutions.

Not Impressive: Talented musicians/songwriters who die at 27.  To wit: Amy Winehouse, et al.

Impressive:  Talented musicians/songwriters who do some of their best work at 27.  To wit:

1)     Paul McCartney – “Let It Be,” “Get Back,” and “The Long and Winding Road.”

2)     John Lennon – “A Day in the Life” and” Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

3)     Pete Townshend – Two massive albums => “Who’s Next” and “Quadrophenia.”

4)     David Bowie – “Rebel, Rebel” from “Diamond Dogs.”

5)     Joni Mitchell – “Chelsea Morning” and “Both Sides Now.”

6)     Jackson Browne – “The Pretender.”

7)     James Taylor – “Mexico” and “How Sweet it is to Loved by You” from “Gorilla.”

8)     Paul Simon – “America,” “Hazy Shade of Winter,” and “Mrs. Robinson.”

9)     Elton John – “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” featuring “Candle in the Wind,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.”

10)Neil Young – “Heart of Gold” and “Old Man” from “Harvest.”

These are just a few of my favorites, but I’m sure there are many more great artistic accomplishments from folks at this age.

Not Impressive:  Irrational fears about the debt ceiling, Greece, etc.

Impressive:  Even-minded strategists who can describe the current situation and make sensible forecasts without using the words “catastrophic,” “apocalyptic” and/or “end of the world as we know it.”

To wit:

James Swanson, of MFS Mutual funds, continues to think that we are solidly in the middle of an economic expansion (despite the current “slow patch”) and an equity bull market.  He notes that some of the economic data, such as new factory orders, Japanese industrial production, German GDP, etc. are showing quite robust underlying growth.  He also thinks that U.S. profit growth may continue to show strength because unit labor costs (a big part of most companies’ SG&A) continue to show no growth.  He also points out that the strong economies of the 1980s and 1990s, where GDP occasionally grew at 4-5%, were fueled by a massive increase in the use of credit (1980s) and production capacity (1990s – especially in the tech industry).  He opines that an economic expansion absent those factors (which ultimately lead to bubbles and then collapses) may actually be more stable and sustainable.

Time will tell if his predictions prove to be correct, but in my mind I he’s more likely to be right than those who dwell in the realms of hyperbole…