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Comparing Chess To The Stock Market And The Election

The average chess player can see 1-3 moves ahead in a game of chess. But a grandmaster chess player can see 10 moves ahead and sometimes up to 20. More interestingly, when they look at the board they see shapes and patterns not number of moves.

Playing chess is like connecting the dots between the stock market and the election. The media, think tanks, special interest groups and the talking heads are focused on the implications of the election on the stock market and the economy. If Trump is elected, the pundits are predicting one outcome and comparing it to the hypothetical outcome if Clinton wins.

They try to paint a very clear, logical picture of the how one policy will help America and the economy. But the oversimplification does not properly consider the hundreds or thousands of variables that affect the economy or stock market. While these experts try to account for as many variables as possible, it’s simply impossible for them to do so with any sense of reliability or accuracy.

These supposed experts see one set of moves and believe that’s how it will play out. If they were playing chess, they would be an amateur chess player who could only see the logical progression of their agenda if their opponent performed exactly as expected. And when their opponent did something unexpected (which usually happens), their plan would be thrown out the window.

When it comes to listening to these experts talk about the effects of the stock market as a result of the election, keep in mind that there are thousands of variables that will affect the stock market. In fact, there is a lot of research that suggests the election has no effect on the stock market in the long term.

What Cheap Oil Means For The Shale Boom

Shale oil production is more expensive than traditional oil production – It costs more to get shale oil out of the ground. So when the price for oil drops, like it has, it hurts shale oil production a whole lot more than with other production methods. Bloomberg estimates that the price of oil needs to be over $80 a barrel for US drillers to make any profit. Oil is hovering right around that figure now.

For more reading:

Bloomberg’s Quick Take

Oil at $80 a Barrel Muffles Forecast for US Shale Boom

Should You Be Rotating Out of Bonds?

This past summer, we may have seen the warning we needed when it comes to the portion of your portfolio in bonds. Interest rates can’t go down any more, they can only go up. This could result in the value of your current bond holdings going down. This is discussed as “The Great Rotation”. Investors who flocked to bonds in 2008 and 2009 are now starting to rotate to stocks. On the surface, many investors think it’s time to drop bonds altogether.

And it’s not just investors thinking this way. Many of the top financial institutions agree (great chart on that here)
When the consensus is that bonds will be a weak investment, it’s easy to jump on the band wagon. But markets often do exactly the exactly opposite of what you would think.

Instead of following the heard, perhaps investors should simply review their bond holdings and look to upgrade the quality of the funds. Not all bonds or bond funds will be affected by rising interest rates the same way –something the chart and most investors don’t follow.

The Mississippi Bubble: One of the First Bubbles

There’s a lot of talk about if the US market is in a bubble these days. It’s next to impossible to determine if we are, in fact, in a bubble. But the media will do just about anything to produce a story that will get more people to read their publications.

Instead of reading their predictions, consider watching this video about one of the first economic bubbles ever recorded.

John Law and the Mississippi Bubble by Richard Condie, National Film Board of Canada

John Law and the Mississippi Bubble