March 1, 2019

By David Snowball

Dear friends,

It’s spring and it’s about 10 degrees above zero here which means it’s Spring Break at Augustana College! Winter term on Augie’s singularly bizarre academic calendar runs from roughly Halloween to Valentine’s Day, gulping down Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s along the way. We offer, I suppose, the antithesis of the old MTV spring break beach parties with raucous guys dancing with girlfriends clad only in whipped cream. Nope, Swedish-Lutherans we, we hand the kids their parkas and urge them to go off and have a good time, but just Continue reading →

The Investor’s Guide to the End of the World

By David Snowball

Human actions are causing our planet’s climate to become increasingly unstable. We are beyond the point where that fact is open to debate. Most Americans, Republicans and Democrats both, now accept the reality of climate change. That’s based on fascinating data visualizations provided by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Republicans, far more than Democrats and others, are unsure that there’s a human role or that scientists have reached agreement on what is happening.

The short version is that every serious inquiry reaches the same conclusion: the climate Continue reading →

Vanguard – Going, Going, Gone!

By Ira Artman

January 2019 will be remembered by mutual fund and Vanguard investors for a few things.  Besides the stock market recovery that largely reversed the year-end 2018 selloff, the following two things occurred:

  • On January 16th, John Bogle, age 89, died in his home in Pennsylvania. Mr. Bogle’s efforts on behalf of indexing and individual investors were widely honored and remembered.
  • On January 22nd, Vanguard created the PDF for the Wellington Fund Annual Report, dated November 30, 2018.  The US Postal Service distributed paper copies of this report during the first week of February.

Continue reading →

Ketchup is Ketchup, Mustard is Mustard

By Edward A. Studzinski

The typical American of today has lost all the love of liberty that his forefathers had, and all their disgust of emotion, and pride in self-reliance. He is led no longer by Davy Crocketts; he is led by cheer leaders, press agents, word-mongers, uplifters.

         H.L. Mencken, “On Being an American” (1922)

As we move forward, now more than half-way through the first Continue reading →

The Ten-Year Bull

By Charles Boccadoro

“Happy days are here again! The skies above are clear again. Let us

sing a song of cheer again, Happy days are here again!”

Jack Yellen

February marked the tenth full year of the current bull market, which began in March of 2009. For those of you that held steady through the great recession or have just been lucky or wise enough be invested over this period, you’ve been well rewarded.

Through much of its first years, this bull market had little love, especially in late 2011 when it looked like we were headed back into bear territory. There have been a couple modest retractions since: the taper tantrum of 2013, January 2016, and Continue reading →

Launch Alert – DoubleLine Colony Real Estate and Income Fund (DBRIX/DLREX)

By Dennis Baran

On December 17, 2018, DoubleLine launched the DoubleLine Colony Real Estate and Income Fund. It seeks capital appreciation and income with returns in excess of its benchmark, the Dow Jones U.S. Select REIT Index over a full market cycle. The managers will use derivatives to create investment returns that approximate the returns of the newly-launch Colony Capital Fundamental US Real Estate Index. To the extent that there’s additional capital available, they will also invest in an Continue reading →

old license plates on a wall

Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

Before funds can be offered to the public, they’ve got to be submitted to the SEC which has 70 days to review the application. In general, advisers try to launch just before years end because that allows them to have clean “year to date” and calendar year results to share. These launches will likely occur in late April or May.

Palm Valley Capital Fund is sort of a stand-out here, despite the name that vaguely calls a retirement community (with golf!) to mind. It will be a small cap stock fund managed by Continue reading →

old alarm clock

Manager changes, February 2019

By Chip

In most months, most manager changes are pretty much inconsequential (except to the managers themselves, I guess). This month, there are a collection of fairly epochal changes.

A star manager, Henry Ellenbogen, is leaving T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price New Horizons. It’s really rare for folks to leave Price and rarer still for one of their few high-profile folks to do so. No word on his next stop.

The Bond King, Bill Gross, is giving Continue reading →

fountain pen writing a note

Briefly Noted

By David Snowball


The Ghost Ship sails every onward. Voya Corporate Leaders (LEXCX, once Lexington Corporate Leaders) continues its skipperless voyage. The fund was launched in 1935 with a simple strategy (buy an equal number of shares of what were then America’s best companies, and never sell) and no manager. Right: no manager changes in more than 83 years ‘cause it’s had no manager in more than 83 years. How’s that working for Continue reading →