Commentary
Q1
2017
"Have you ever noticed how quickly home renovations get completed on HGTV? Jonathan and Drew promise entire gut jobs in 5 to 7 weeks. Not a word is ever said about pulling a building permit, and walls are knocked down without the slightest concern for whether they are load bearing. Carpenters, plumbers, plasterers, installers, painters and countless other trades people coordinate their schedules like a perfectly choreographed ballet. Anyone who's actually undergone a major renovation knows all too well that these small screen wonders bear little resemblance to the true life experience. Alas, as on TV, the chasm between campaign rhetoric and the realities of governing are vast. ..."
Q4
2016
"In The Iliad, Calchas was a seer who divined the future by interpreting the flights of birds. His soothsaying acumen, a gift from Apollo, played a vital role in getting those Greek ships to Troy. Nowadays, Calchas would be an economist. Instead of pondering avian migratory patterns, he would be analyzing economic data and global events. No doubt he’d still be making predictions, and, like Calchas, he would have a wide and hungry audience. After 5,000 years, we haven’t changed much. Uncertainty still makes us wring our hands with angst, and to calm our frayed nerves, we turn to the Oracle of CNBC and the like, hoping that Apollo will guide our ship to port. Regrettably, forecasts by our modern-day prognosticators are not as reliable as those of their mythological counterparts. Contrary to many pundits’ predictions, 2017 is unlikely to be either the best or the worst year in history. No one predicted the highly surprising geopolitical events of 2016 and the one thing we can bet on is that they will be just as far off the mark about 2017. We don’t have the foresight of the gods, so we focus on buying quality businesses at attractive valuations. To us, this is the true wisdom of the seers. ..."
Q3
2016
"Looking at the current economic environment, it’s easy to feel a bit disoriented, as if we’ve stepped through the looking glass and found ourselves, like Alice, in a world where down is up and backward is forward. In Europe and Japan, $11 trillion of sovereign debt and even some corporate debt has a negative yield, subverting the traditional relationship between lender and borrower, with investors paying bond issuers for the privilege of using their money. Likewise, the conventional logic concerning the role fixed income and equities play in a portfolio is also turned on its head. Customarily, one would look to the fixed income portion of the portfolio to provide stability and income. If more income were the goal, then you could allocate more to bonds. But in today’s Jabberwockian setting, if we sell equities and buy bonds, chances are income will actually decrease. To successfully invest in the Red Queen’s world, we must accept our new surroundings and adapt accordingly..."
Q2
2016
"On Sunday June 20, we were lucky enough to watch LeBron James and Steph Curry, two of the best basketball players in history, battle in Game 7 of the NBA Championship title. The advantage oscillated from Golden State to Cleveland and back again. The score was close all the way through to the end, so much so that no one could predict the outcome with certainty.

Less than a week later, we watched in disbelief as the UK voted to leave the European Union. This competition, too, had wild swings with “Leave” ahead, and then the tragic death of Jo Cox pushing “Remain” into the lead. Even as the polls were closing, the vote was too close to call.

There is a word for guessing about sports events. Gambling. But so often when people talk about geopolitical events, they justify trading around those events by calling it investing. Let’s be clear: No one knew what the result of the Brexit vote would be any more than they knew who would prevail in Game 7, and consequently trades based on the vote’s outcome were outright gambling..."
Q1 2016 Commentary
If you closed your eyes on December 31st and opened them again on...
Q4 2015 Commentary
Though markets swung dramatically during 2015, in the end the stock...
Q3 2015 Commentary
This past quarter has proven to be a volatile one. While the total...
Q2 2015 Commentary
In attending the rise in interest rates, it can seem as if we have...
Q1 2015 Commentary
For all of the ups and downs over the past several months, stocks...
Q4 2014 Commentary
Against the prognostications of virtually every forecaster, the...
Q3 2014 Commentary
We are all optimizers. Whether subconsciously or intentionally, our...
Q2 2014 Commentary
The financial barometer seems high. Global economies, while not...
Q1 2014 Commentary
Today it is easy to be a pessimist. Vladimir Putin is executing a...
Q3 2013 Commentary
That's a cute little Tapir. It may be about as close to a Taper...
Q2 2013 Commentary
While sitting in my office one rainy day as the market was roaring...
Q1 2013 Commentary
Q1 The Butterfly Effect: Is Cyprus Europe's Butterfly?...
Q4 2012 Commentary
This past year was a good one for the stock market, despite...
Q3 2012 Commentary
The U.S. Congress has had 12 years to develop a thoughtful,...
Q2 2012 Commentary
We are assaulted from every direction by gloom, doom, fear and...
Q1 2012 Commentary
The S&P 500 rose by 12.3% in the first quarter, registering its...
Q4 2011 Commentary
As 2011 began, the outlook was fairly positive. If you recall, the...
Q3 2011 Commentary
Your companies typically set their own course. Their businesses are...
2011 Commentary
Driven by fears that the global economy might stumble back into...
Q2 2011 Commentary
Our second quarter letter is available to clients and by request...
Q1 2011 Commentary
Against a backdrop of rising interest rates, regime changes in...
Q4 2010 Commentary
Your investments and the market had a good year, and especially a...
The Harbor Light November
In selecting appropriate investments that we believe will perform...
Q3 2010 Commentary
Over the past 60 years, there have been, on average, only five...
Q2 2010 Commentary
Debt levels in developed countries around the world, as well as in...
Q1 2010 Commentary
What a difference a year makes! The stock market continued to move...
Q4 2009 Commentary
Along nearly every dimension, the best performing companies in 2009...
Q3 2009 Commentary
Over the past seven months we have seen an historic run in stock...
Q2 2009 Commentary
From the market's low in early March, it has rallied nearly 40%...
Q1 2009 Commentary
We all recall learning as children Benjamin Franklin's aphorism...
If you would like to subscribe to our Commentary, please click here
Subscribe