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    Investing in a Recession? “D@*! the torpedoes, full speed ahead”

    According to Mighty History, “maybe one of the Navy’s finest moments came at the 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay, where Adm. David Farragut forced his way through a Confederate minefield and fought the Confederate Navy to a standstill. His victory over the last port on the Mississippi River completely cut the South off from moving cargo that could be sold abroad or importing critical weapons and supplies. It also helped secure an election victory for President Lincoln, ensuring the war would continue until the Federals won.”  Maybe what we are going through is not as dramatic, but the current decline in the stock market has lasted longer than any other since The Great Recession over 14 years ago. Since then, all downturns have been relatively short with the market rebounding swiftly. Let’s recap how we got here, then discuss my favorite investment strategy to bear through until the market returns.
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    Chart of the Day

    Median Sale Prices in US

    Today’s Chart of the Day comes from @WallStreetSilv on Twitter, with data provided by Redfin, covering the median sale price for a single-family residence in the United States. Often the price of a house is constrained by the cost to build the structure which limits a wide range. For instance, why pay more for an existing house than you can build a new one for? So, the $200,000 to $600,000 range is quite alarming. Although the size of the home will impact the price, I suspect a large part of the wide range is in the cost of the underlying land, which is influenced by places with better weather, proximity to better employment opportunities, and scarcity of useful land to build on. For instance, places near the water, mountains and lakes could be influenced by these factors.
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    Chart of the Day

    Change of Market Shares

    Today’s Chart of the Day comes from @MorningstarInc and @MstarBenJohnson on Twitter. It shows the change from actively to passively managed investments over the last 10 years. We often talk about this shift from active to passive, but it's interesting to see that it is not uniform throughout the different types of investments. For instance, in “alternative” investments such as private equity, hedge funds, and long-short funds, the industry’s use of passive investments only went from 1% to 11%. In commodities, however, passive investments went from 0% to 70%.  I suspect passive works better in commodities since the alpha, the opportunity to outperform, is low and low costs are a primary driver of returns. We primarily use Taxable Bonds and US Equity, and they went from 6% to 40% and 17% to 57%, respectively.  Again, primarily from the low alpha and low costs. It will be interesting to see what the percentages are in 2032.
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    Chart of the Day

    In Fixed Income, the Dip is Not Always an Opportunity

    Today’s Chart of the Day is the five-year performance of the PIMCO over 25-year Zero Coupon Treasury (ZROC) in blue versus the 20-year US Treasury Yield in orange.  Since the peak at $189 in 2020, the value of the PIMCO fund has declined 70% to only $90.   According to VettaFi, “ZROZ invests exclusively in . . . the final principal payments of U.S. Treasuries with at least 25 years remaining until maturity. As such, this product will be very sensitive to changes in interest rate movements, performing very well when rates fall but likely struggling if rates begin to climb.” The reason for the volatility is the fact that there are no interest payments during the life of the loan, and only one payment of principal at the end, there is no chance to reinvest periodic interest payments at higher rates when rates rise. Or conversely, run the risk of reinvesting the interest payment at a lower rate when rates decline. Why invest in such a product you may ask? Where does the stated return of 3.80% come from? Well, as an example, when a zero coupon bond was issued it could be purchased for $40, then held for 25 years until you get $100 back at maturity.   When the 20-year rates were 1.00% in the summer of 2020, the 3.80% guaranteed appreciation in your principal for the 25 years looked very attractive, hence the near doubling of the price.  However, when rates are at their current yield of 4.00% the price fell just as dramatically and is now back to its normal “pre-pandemic” price.  What can we learn? We can learn that in fixed income, just because bond’s price is down 70%, this does not mean it is “on sale” or provide an opportunity to “buy the dip.” The 3.80% yield you see is what you get when you hold it to maturity. No more, no less. The rate will not change and therefore provides no real “buying opportunity.” This is evident in this investment, since despite the wild ride up and back down, the investor simply is back to where they started, earning their original 3.8% for the next 25 years.  
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    Chart of the Day

    Why Indexing Works

    The theory that index/passive funds perform better than actively managed funds is backed by the fact that 90% of active funds underperformed their benchmarks over the last 10 years. So, it begs the question, “Why?” Firstly, index funds do not have the added expenses of investment analysists and advisors, lowering overall cost and ultimately leaving more returns for investors to keep. The chart above from S&P Dow Jones Indices shows the average actively managed fund costs 0.68% versus index funds of only 0.06%. So, right off the bat, every year the actively managed fund starts 0.62% in the hole.
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    Chart of the Day

    Least Regretted Majors

    As high school seniors finish out the school year, some may be asked, “What are you going to major in at college?” Today’s Chart of the Day comes from CNBC.com who surveyed 1,500 job seekers for the percentage of graduates who would choose the same major again. The article also included the “most regretted” majors; however, you’ll have to click on the link to see that.
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    Chart of the Day

    Bonds to ETFs

    We often talk about how over the last 10+ years investors have, in general, been moving out of mutual funds and into Exchange Traded Funds, also known as ETFs. However, this year the pattern is even more prevalent with bonds. So far this year, a record $446 billion exited bond mutual funds and went into bond ETFs and bank accounts. Why do we use bond ETFs instead of actively managed bond mutual funds? Bond ETFs have substantially lower costs, more liquidity, increased transparency, and over the last 10 years had a better return than 90% of actively managed mutual funds.
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    Chart of the Day

    Car Prices Are Falling

    Today’s Chart of the Day is from S&P Dow Jones Indices.
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    Chart of the Day

    The Fence Paradox

    Today’s Chart of the Day is an infographic from Pasquale Cirillo, @DrCirillo on Twitter. We see this often when investors say, “They wouldn’t be allowed to sell this, if it wasn’t safe.” Yes, there needs to be fences, but don’t let their security lull you into forgetting the risks on the other side.
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    Chart of the Day

    That's a lot of Down Time

    Today’s chart comes from Wealthmanagement.com. It shows the drawdowns, which is the percent the market is down from the previous record high, going back to 1970. As you would expect, the chart shows most the time the market is “down” and investors spend a lot of time having “lost” money.
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