Tag Archives: Kimberly Higgins

Party on Garth

The Economy: The economy appears to be expanding quite nicely and business optimism continues to rise as it approaches new records. The Left Coast, with its gateway to Asian trade, technology and Pentagon spending continues to boom along. Construction cranes fill the skies. New homes are stuffed into every nook and cranny. Roadwork and infrastructure projects are everywhere. New cars abound. Recently launched multi-million dollar yachts overwhelm the docks. Planes are jammed. Restaurants are packed. Exotic vacations are booked years ahead. The stock market confirms this rock ‘n roll fantasy narrative with many indices at or near their highs. Understand that only 3 tech stocks account for 70% of index gains this year. So the question is, “Can you be a cockeyed optimist and a contrarian at the same time?” The answer is yes. Now we’re entering earnings season with projections for year-over-year increases of 20%, Is this the beginning, the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end. Only Elon Musk knows for sure. China, Russia, North Korea, Syria, Turkey, UN, NATO, Trade Wars, Immigration Wars, SCOTUS Wars, Mid-Term Election Wars, Culture Wars, Religious Wars … and rising interest rates. Not to worry.

Food for Thought: Youth is wasted on the young and the wisdom of the ages is simply wasted. We will continue to emphasize the importance of interest rates and what the yield curve is telling us. While there will always be a bull market somewhere, most investors have a significant portion of their financial assets in fixed income. The old saw, “Stocks, bonds and cash.” The beginning point for most portfolio allocations is about 40% in fixed income; e.g. the bond market. So when I emphasize having an exit strategy, I’m particularly talking about having an exit strategy for fixed income.  Contact me if you have questions on how to risk proof your portfolio.

Christoper Walken Dances on The Economy

The Economy: Economic numbers come in two broad categories: 1) Hard data such as trade balances or housing starts and 2) Soft data such as sentiment or confidence surveys. Hard data is based on numbers. Soft data is based on how the respondent is feeling at that moment in time. You can dispute the numbers but the argument will remain grounded in statistics. Surveys based on feelings are completely subjective and should be taken with a dose of skepticism. Numbers this week neatly fell into these two categories. Hard data was mixed with initial jobless claims up, existing home sales and durable goods down. Soft data and surveys were positive with optimism and odds of a December rate hike falling below 50%. Geopolitical concerns have continued to weigh on markets as NOKO, Iran and trade wars remain unresolved. Stocks swooned over the Italians … But it’s officially summertime so don’t worry be happy. Grab the beach toys and head for the water.

Food for Thought: In keeping with the never-ending 73-year old Italian Opera Buffa, check out the Video of the Week link below. Few know that Christopher Walken is an accomplished hoofer. Lighten your day and watch him here or there. Courage! The latest Sign of the Apocalypse is another Italian Meltdown. Financial markets are having a hissy fit. It’s almost as if traders are trying to stay relevant in a world where the only thing that matters is what the Central Banks are doing. … and that remains unchanged . The 2012 ECB vow that they will do “whatever it takes” to keep the punchbowl full of moonshine remains in force. With the exception of the Fed, global central banks remain committed to free-money, for all, forever. How this ultimately plays out is anybody’s guess. Many investors see asset bubbles in both stocks and real estate. Others see compelling bargains. Both have seen years of gains. But while we know that all trends reverse, we don’t see anything to indicate an inflection point. Pick your poison. … onward into the Summer Doldrums.

Music of The Week: Beegie Adair’s “Dancing in the Dark”

Video of The Week: Christopher Walken Dances

We Quarterback Money®

– Ray

Proverbs 9:16

Bide your time.

There’s no time like the present

Forgive and forget.

Revenge is a dish best served cold

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

Don’t cross the bridge until you come to it.

You’re never too old to learn.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

A word to the wise is sufficient.

Talk is cheap.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Nice guys finish last.

Hitch your wagon to a star.

Don’t bite off more that you can chew.

Many hands make light work.

Too many cooks spoil the soup.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Clothes make the man.

Rio Olympics & Ballast Point Brewing

The Economy: The economy continues on its path of slow expansion with regional pockets of weakness and strength. If you live in Detroit things are grim. Likewise for California’s Central Valley. If you live in San Diego, well, you’re living in Paradise and the Livin’ is Easy. San Diego’s economy rests on the 3-legs of military spending, tourism and hi-tech/med-tech. Add craft beer to that trifecta with Ballast Point Brewing having recently been sold in a billion dollar deal. Entrepreneurs and their young families are flocking to the county as the allure of sun, surf, schools and simoleons resonates across the rest of the country.

Food for Thought: Economic news has been brushed aside by the 3-Ring Circus known as the 2016 Presidential Election. Who woulda thunk it. The preeminent military and economic power in the history of the planet boogying like a banana republic on steroids. Plato’s Cave would tell us that this is the end of the world as savages leap and yelp around the bonfire. But as the rest of the world looks on in stunned disbelief, we Americans know that this is simply the best and most original entertainment that we’ve seen in decades. Thank the gods for the station-break provided by the Rio Olympics.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

The Economy: Economic numbers have surprised to the downside this week. Oil is off 20% from its high of a few weeks ago. Home ownership is at its lowest since 1965. GDP came in 50% below expectations. Some are saying the U.S. economy is stalling. Central bank activity has likewise been muted. The Bank of England and the Bank of Japan were both supposed to initiate massive stimulus programs. It didn’t happen. The Fed met this week and did nothing. Ennui, exhaustion or summertime blues, no matter. Financial markets took the poor numbers as confirmation that slowing economies would keep interest rates lower for longer. Poor economic numbers should keep the monetary printing presses running full-out.

Food for Thought: Thank you Talking Heads, Supreme Court Justices, former Mayors and other professional blowhards. We get it. The Donald is dangerous and The Hillary is a criminal. The Donald is the most dangerous man in the history of the planet. Worse than Cain, worse than Attila, worse than Stalin. The Hillary is the worst criminal in the history of the planet. Worse than Jezebel, worse than Bloody Mary Queen of Scots, worse than Bonnie Parker. That’s why as Americans we’ve selected them to be our Champions. Because warts and all, they are Our Champions. Now, let’s get on with it.

Music of the Week: The Essential Etta James.

Helicopter Money

The Economy: The U.S. economy is continuing on its path of sluggish growth. Once you dial-out the incessant noise you find that there’s been little change in trajectory. The End-of-The-World spasm that we saw with Brexit has been replaced with the usual complacency that central banks will provide additional trillions in debt to keep the global economy moving forward. Yet the Central Bank Follies are dwarfed by the global political circus. It’s May Day in Great Britain as the first woman PM since The Iron Lady, takes the helm. The Chinese claim to the South China Sea was slapped down by The Hague; a first step to internationally sanctioned military action. Our apolitical Supreme Court has jumped into Presidential Politics with one Justice proclaiming that The Donald is unfit to be President. In short, it’s business as usual.

Food for Thought: We continue to advise you to trust your personal experience as a guide to the direction of the economy. From a top-down perspective, the global economy appears to be slowing. Global stock markets are rallying in anticipation of increased central bank stimulus. To us, this is akin to giving a heroin addict more heroin. Though some indices have rallied to new highs, we find it noteworthy that many individual stocks and mutual funds have not participated in the party. For example: Citigroup is down 28% from its 2015 high; Boeing down 18%; Walmart down 19%. We remain cautious and advise taking profits. Restructuring your portfolio may be a prudent move.

Brexit Volatility

1981_09_15 Official Navy Lt Photo Guam

GO NAVY! BEAT ARMY!

The Economy: BREXIT!?! … or did it? Our poor Cousins across The Pond continue to spasm in the wake of last week’s vote. The end of the world scenario has been replaced by confusion, second guessing and dismissal by the Brits themselves. Talking heads are reveling in mindless chatter. The EU’s reaction has gone from “OMG No!!” to “Ok, if this is what you want, then get out now. We don’t want you hanging around.” Nature abhors a vacuum so the vacuous nonsense we’re hearing will eventually end. The consensus is that Brexit is an additional headwind for a global economy that’s already struggling with deflation. As with all things in life, there will be winners and losers. Because of this, we continue to emphasize that your personal experience is paramount. If Brexit is another headwind, then you must ask yourself which side of these headwinds am I on … With the Wind or Against the Wind?

Food for Thought: Preserving capital should now be your primary concern at this point in the economic cycle. Stock market indices are mixed as we end the first half of 2016; some up some down … and despite all the noise, multiple attempts to move to new highs have repeatedly failed. Investors should be leery of this repeated failure to move above year-old highs. Ask yourself, “What do I hope to achieve in a 7-year old, long-in-the-tooth, bull market. Clint Eastwood famously asked, “ … you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?”

God Bless America. Land of the Free; Home of the Brave! We have the best and brightest future at the dawn of the American Century. Have a Great 4th of July!

BREXIT

The Economy: Fed Chair Yellen appeared before Congress this week; Tuesday before the Senate, Wednesday before the House. Hostility towards Yellen was palpable with House members reducing her to confusion and gestures of helplessness. Global distain for authority in general and Central Bankers in particular was evident in spades. But the Mother of All Events was the Brexit vote on Thursday. Pollsters and pundits got it all wrong with their incessant predictions of a landslide win for “Remain.” Flashing the Longbowman’s “V” the Brits moved to reestablish their national sovereignty and leave the EU. Financial markets crashed in shock and awe on Friday. (Only fools are going to buy this dip.) The uncertainty of Brexit was quickly on display. Though the process is supposed to take 2-years, British politicians began to call to immediately disregard many EU laws; particularly those on immigration and banking. Political parties throughout Europe began to call for Exit Referendums in their own countries. This is the death knell for the EU. Great Britain is the second largest economy in the EU. Saying the EU will survive is akin to saying that a marriage is still intact after one of the spouses has left after leaving an “I’m thru with U” note nailed to the front door. It’s gonna get messy.

Food for Thought: For over 70-years global bureaucrats and central bankers have pushed the secular, one-world agenda characterized by multiculturalism, globalization and the tyranny of the minority. These mostly unelected officials, while deriding the Divine Right of Kings, have ruled with the arrogance of dictators. They have ignored the social contract based on the consent of the governed. Brexit signals the beginning of the end of their failed reign. Despite the near universal, and very vocal, support of “Remain” by global politicians and despite the total support by the mainstream media for “Remain” the Brits revolted against the overlords and their propagandists. Political ramifications were immediate with British Prime Minister Cameron resigning. The ripples are beginning to roil outwards from ground zero with economic changes in the wind. If a slowing global economy, negative interest rates and the failure of global monetary policy weren’t enough, Brexit adds to the uncertainty that has so paralyzed Janet nd the Seven Dwarfs. However, we see opportunity in chaos. Contact us for how to protect your assets in the coming roller coaster ride.

Stem Cell Therapy: A Journey, Part 1

Stem Cell Therapy: A Journey, #1

Stem Cell Therapy is also called Regenerative Medicine. It’s a branch of molecular biology which deals with the “process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells to restore or establish normal function.” The objective is to engineer damaged tissues and organs by stimulating the body’s own repair mechanisms to heal previously irreparable tissues or organs.

The mechanism of regeneration is not yet fully understood. Most doctors will tell you, “We really don’t fully understand what is happening here …” But like early vaccinations, which weren’t fully understood either, the positive results are encouraging. Some of the long-term results are evident in the rarefied world of horse racing where stem cell therapy has been used for years.

Stem Cell Therapy uses three biological factors to work. 1) Your own stem cells. 2) Nutrients to encourage cell growth and 3) A molecular lattice or scaffold that the Stem Cells can attach to and grow.

Let’s look at each of these three biological factors:

1) Stem Cells or Mesenchymal Stem Cells are now also known as Multipotent Stromal Cells (MSCs). They can morph, into a variety of cell types, including bone cells, cartilage cells and muscle. Stem cells are divided into “adult” and “embryonic.” Adult stem cells are used in stem cell therapy. Embryonic stem cells are still the focus of ethical issues and are not part of this discussion. The two most common areas where stem cells are taken from your body are from bone marrow or body fat. Early stem cell therapy emphasized bone marrow over body fat as a source for bone and cartilage treatment. Most therapies have moved away from this distinction and now use body fat, also known as “Adipose-Tissue-Derived Stem Cells” or (ADSCs). ADSCs are usually taken from the back or “love handles” in a minor liposuction procedure at the beginning of your same-day treatment. Body fat one of the richest sources of stem cells. There are more than 500 times more stem cells in 1 gram of fat than in 1 gram of bone marrow. Body fat stem cells are actively being researched in clinical trials for treatment of a variety of diseases.

2) Nutrients to Encourage Cell Growth is a platelet-rich plasma (PRP). PRP contains multiple growth factors including transforming growth factor (TGF), insulin-like growth factor (IGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). Data shows that PRP has a positive effect on the stimulation of bones, blood vessel and cartilage formation. Think of it as nutrient bath that encourages stem cell growth and development in the affected areas of your body. Stem Cells need to food to grow as they develop in the body. Chow Time!

3) A molecular frame, lattice or scaffold that the Stem Cells can attach to and grow. Think Chia Pet. Those seeds need to have something to hang onto while they grow. Same with Stem Cells; they’ve got to have a structure to grow on. Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a molecule with functions found in many tissues, including cartilage. HA is currently used as the molecular scaffold system. The scoffold typically serves for at least one of the following purposes: To allow cell attachment and migration; To deliver and retain cells and biochemical factors; To enable diffusion of vital cell nutrients and expressed products; To exert certain mechanical and biological influences to modify the behaviour of the cell phase. Using injected HA-binding provides the ability to interact with your body’s local HA which should foster new 3-dimensional cell tissue production. Calcium chloride is used as a PRP-activating agent.

My Stem Cell Treatment on December 18, 2015,consisted of 3 injections, one right after the other in the same spot, during my 2-hour procedure: 1) Stem cells. 2) Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) RPR Growth Factor. 3) Hyaluronic Acid (HA) as a Scaffold.

Cognitive Biases by Mark Dow

1. We overestimate our abilities, our uniqueness, and our objectivity, even more so when under emotional strain. We have all seen the studies: 90% of people say they are above average drivers. Rarely do people think those around them work harder or better than they do. And so on…

2. We systematically understate the role of ‘random’. We crave order, and we are willing to torture the facts to get there. But sometime things just happen, and sometimes problems don’t have solutions. No fundamental cause, no guilty party, no concrete answers. Moreover, on the up side, when random does break our way it’s appropriated as skill. The investment world is shockingly bad at separating outcome and process—yes, even those who drone on and on to prospects about their processes.

3. People will find a way to believe what they are incented to believe. As the saying goes, “The most dangerous place to stand is in between someone and what they want to believe”. In my experience, it’s hard to overestimate the power of this statement. Starting with the conclusion and reverse-engineering the supporting arguments is central to the human condition and, surprisingly, serves and important role in our evolution.

4. When presented with points 1, 2, and 3, almost everyone recognizes their validity, but believes at some level that he/she is exempt. The typical reaction is “Yeah, for sure, of course that’s how [other] people act”. It is always easier to see others’ mistakes than one’s own. And this is one of the reasons we have a very hard time changing our cognitive biases. All of us.