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  • Chasing Yield in a Shady Market
    Plus May Market Report

    John Gorlow | Jun 11, 2019

    “Ticking time bomb.” “Marginal, non-creditworthy borrowers.” “Vulnerable to runs.” “Huge deterioration in standards.” You may have been reading the press about Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLOs) over the past few months or year. They are not a new product, but warnings about their risks are on the rise. Are you tempted to invest in these high-yield securities? If so, learn more before jumping in. Our analysis follows a review of May markets.

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  • Average Expectations
    Plus April Market Report

    John Gorlow | May 20, 2019

    Tongues were wagging when the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry entered Game 6 of the second-round playoffs against the Houston Rockets. Was the star losing his touch? Lately his shooting had been abysmal, despite averaging 27.3 points per game throughout the 2018 – 2019 regular season and 23.5 points over a ten-year career. Even so, fans were shocked when Curry failed to land a single shot in the first half of the game. Then came an astounding second half, when he lit up like a rocket (pardon the pun) to score 33 points, 23 of them in the fourth quarter alone. Herein lies a lesson in trusting the long-term average and ignoring day-to-day fluctuations. It’s good advice for investing, too. Read more after a review of April markets.   

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  • Throwing Shade on Indexing
    Plus 2019 First Quarter Review

    John Gorlow | Apr 08, 2019

    The surging popularity of index funds—and the corresponding exodus from actively managed funds—is a worrisome trend for Wall Street. And so the bankers and brokers and analysts have responded with dire predictions. The warning goes like this: as use of passively managed index investing grows, market prices will become distorted as fewer shares are traded and “price discovery” becomes more difficult. That’s bad news for markets and investors too. Should you be concerned? Let’s look at the evidence after reviewing Q1 quarterly returns.

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  • Misaligned Expectations
    Plus February Market Review

    John Gorlow | Mar 20, 2019

    You may have seen recent news reports about financial institutions being chastised by Congress, fined by the SEC, and otherwise called out for various forms of wrongdoing and self-serving behavior. These stories collectively point to an ever-growing misalignment between financial institutions and the people they serve, who rightfully expect to be protected rather than taken advantage of. This month we demonstrate how misalignment occurs, and how Cardiff Park safeguards against it. First, a review of February markets. 

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  • An Enlightened Approach to Investing
    Plus January Market Report

    John Gorlow | Feb 22, 2019

    This month I want to remove the clutter of misassumptions, doubts, and second-guessing about investment returns. I’ll provide an analytical framework for evaluating investment performance in any given year, regardless of market direction. I’ll demonstrate the life-changing value of remaining fully committed to a proven strategy, sticking with trusted fund partners, and choosing a fiduciary advisor like Cardiff Park. My aim is to dial down the financial noise, refocus your attention on vital facts, and free up mind-space for thinking and behaving strategically in order to make more informed investment decisions. First, a look at January markets.

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  • Market Stall
    Plus 2018 Year-End Market Review

    John Gorlow | Jan 21, 2019

    After hanging onto gains and fighting back losses for three quarters of the year, the markets lost steam in Q4 and ended 2018 in a volatile stew, producing a negative return of -10.08% for the year (MSCI All Country World Index). Volatility creates fear, often feeding on itself. But don’t lose sight of positive returns for the previous three, five- and ten-year periods, 6.49%, 4.17% and 9.74% respectively for the same index. Here we offer a historical perspective on the benefits of remaining diversified and disciplined in the face of uncertainty. First, a review of 2018 markets.

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  • Protective Instincts
    Plus November Market Report

    John Gorlow | Dec 16, 2018

    The disgraced Wall Street investment manager Bernie Madoff wrote the playbook on how to defraud investors. Make investments sound exclusive and special, make the club difficult to join, mingle with the rich and meet their closest friends. Before Madoff’s house of cards collapsed, he stole tens of billions of dollars, escaping SEC attention despite many red flags. Madoff was a fraud, pure and simple. But what about those high-rolling hedge fund managers who lose millions through completely legal means? This month we look at important safeguards that every investor should understand before chasing high-stakes returns. First, a quick review of November markets.

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  • A Hidden Menace
    Plus October Market Report

    John Gorlow | Nov 12, 2018

    October was the worst month in six years as global stock prices plummeted. Many investors are now bracing themselves for stormier weather ahead. And yet for all the focus on stocks, bonds could wreak even more havoc. Janet Yellen, former Chair of the US Federal Reserve, recently warned of “systemic risk” in leveraged corporate debt products—risk that would be greatly magnified by an economic downturn. Are we looking at a repeat of 2008, when irresponsible lending practices decimated the global economy? We’ll share insights and advice after a review of October markets.

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  • Benefits of International Diversification
    Plus Third Quarter Market Report

    John Gorlow | Oct 17, 2018

    Lifted by a strong US economy, it was a profitable quarter for global markets, which returned a rewarding 4.28% as measured by the MSCI All Country World Index. But the gap between US stock returns and everywhere else was wide. Absent the 7.08% US return, global markets returned a meager 0.71% against a backdrop of lackluster growth, rising US interest rates, and a stronger dollar. International developed markets returned 1.31%, while emerging markets remained in the red at negative -1.09%. These performance measures may make some investors want to chase higher returns through portfolio reallocation. That’s not a good idea. Sooner or later, the tide will turn, and investors diversifying overseas will be rewarded. We’ll share more about why it’s important to remain diversified after a look at Q3 results.

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  • A Looming Matter of Interest
    Plus August Market Report

    John Gorlow | Sep 13, 2018

    As the spread between long and short-term Treasuries flattens, three words are stirring fear on Wall Street: inverted yield curve. Is the long economic expansion that began in 2009 nearing its inevitable end? More to the point, how should you respond to worrisome noise about recessions and sinking stock prices? We’ll offer our perspective after a quick look at August market performance. 

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