One of the persistent issues of the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign was the wide (and growing) divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots”—variously expressed as a rising sentiment against the “one-percenters,” or as laments against the “hollowing out of the middle class.”
Have your long-term financial goals changed in the last three days?
Are American companies less valuable because investors in China are panicking?
Is there any reason to think that because Chinese investors are panicking, that Chinese companies are less valuable today than they were a few days ago?
These are the kinds of questions to ponder as you watch the U.S. stock market catch a cold after China sneezed. In each of the first four trading days of the year, China closed its markets due to a rapid fall in share prices—a move which may have made the panic worse, since it made investors fear being trapped in stocks that are seen as dropping in value. It’s unclear exactly how or why, but the panic spread to global markets, with U.S. stocks falling 4.9% to mark the worst first-of-the-year drop in history.
For long-term investors, the result is much the same as if you went to the grocery store and discovered that the prices had fallen roughly 5% across the board. At first, you might think this is a great bargain. But then you might wonder whether the prices will be even lower tomorrow or next week. One thing you probably WOULDN’T worry about is whether prices will eventually go back up; you know they always have in the past after these sale events expire.
Will they? The truth is, nobody knows—and if you see pundits on TV say with certainty that they know where the markets are going, your first impulse should be to laugh, and your second should be to check their track record for predicting the future. Without a working crystal ball, it’s hard to know whether the markets are entering a correction phase which will make stocks even cheaper to buy, or whether people will wake up and realize that they don’t have to share the panic of Chinese investors on this side of the ocean. The good news is there appears to be no major economic disruption like the Wall Street derivatives mess that triggered the 2008 downturn. The best, sanest investors will once again watch the markets for entertainment purposes—or just turn the channel.
About the Author: Bob Veres has been a commentator, author and consultant in the financial services industry for more than 20 years. Over his 20-year career in the financial services world, Mr. Veres has worked as editor of Financial Planning magazine; as a contributing editor to the Journal of Financial Planning; as a columnist and editor-at-large of Dow Jones Investment Advisor magazine; and as editor of Morningstar’s advisor web site: MorningstarAdvisor.com.
Mr. Veres has been named one of the most influential people in the financial planning profession by Investment Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine, was granted the NAPFA Special Achievement Award by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and most recently the Heart of Financial Planning Distinguished Service Award from the Denver-based Financial Planning Association.
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The US government bond market is blowing raspberries at the Federal Reserve. This could indicate trouble ahead for the American economy. Last month, the Fed lifted interest rates for the first time in nine years, and short-term bond yields have duly
The little guy just can’t catch a break these days. While no one on Wall Street has gone to jail for criminal behavior related to mortgage fraud (or any fraud related to the financial meltdown), we now have at least one regular Joe who has.
This New York Times story will shock you. The FBI has sunk to levels that certainly seem unconstitutional in this case and are certainly immoral. Charlie Engle is now sitting in prison. When he gets out he gets the pleasure of paying over $260,000 of restitution to….wait for it….Bank of America/Countrywide. That’s correct, Angelo Mozillo is still on the streets and still a mega millionaire – but Charlie Engle sits in jail.
His crime? Lying on a mortgage loan (though he wasn’t technically even convicted of that), and the evidence shows he didn’t.
Summarizing this article is not enough, you’ve got to read it. Mr. Engle is not just a victim, he ends up being an inspirational figure and maintains a blog, Running In Place where he blogs from prison.
If this story isn’t proof of a corrupted justice system, I’m not sure what is.