The second presidential debate took place last night at Hofstra University in Utica, NY, and any interested observer was probably a bit uncomfortable. Without question, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, I would imagine most people who have watched the debates might agree there has to be a better way to inform the public than what we currently have. You have two people who are auditioning for the highest office in the United States, which is probably the most powerful job anyone can have. Under any foreseeable circumstance, these people are going to be strong willed. Interruptions, a lack of respect for the other participant and general viewing audience, and certainly, very little cooperation with the supposed moderator were all noticeable during the first three debates. As a result, there has been a lack of order in these debates. In addition, using one moderator as a filter to ask questions leaves the process vulnerable to questions of partisanship. Why not have a panel of moderators, from say the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Bloomberg, and the debate commission, and have them set up rules for the participants to agree on? Alternative questions, time limits, buzzers, whatever, there has to be a better format than what we have.
Moreover, more time should be spent on subject matter so candidates can properly explain their views about important concerns. For example, Obamacare is a piece of legislation that much time and effort was devoted to. Health care comprises over 15% of the economy. It affects every person in the country at some point in their lives. I cannot recall one question on it, other than in the health care segment in the first presidential debate. How much sense does that make? There are plenty of other subjects which certainly could use an extensive discussion but we are stuck with 90 minutes at a time. There is a reason why we get the fighting and interrupting- because the structure lends itself to a cramped, rushed, talking point oriented, sound bite based result. You reap what you sew- and I would imagine quite a few people are incredibly turned off by these debates.
Regarding the state of the presidential election, anyone who thinks they can forecast how this turns out is engaging in a fools errand. The demographics of the country and the electoral college favor the Democratic candidate. One never knows how these important events play out. Monday night is the next debate on foreign policy and it is moderated by Bob Scheiffer of CBS News. He is a long time veteran of the political reporting class and could do a good job in maintaining an orderly debate. I am sure you will be watching and so will I.
The stock market has performed pretty well as earnings season arrived. The money center and investment banks have exceeded expectations, and anything housing related shows continued strength. One of the reasons why you want to own a diversified portfolio is to have exposure to plenty of different industries. When one goes down, another one goes up, or at least, that is the rationale. During the 2008 downturn, everything went down except cash. Many investors look at correlations to try and structure their portfolios in such a way so they will always benefit from what the market does. In that light, they try to find strongly negative correlated companies or industries with the general market. However, and here is the cruelty of the market, what often happens is your longs go down and your shorts go up, thus negating your attempt to outstrategize the market. The market is not easy, and it is not supposed to be.
We have reached the point of the year where what has worked, will continue to work. What has not performed will get sold off. Now is the time to really focus on companies which have been beaten down which you want to own, for whatever the reason. Good luck in your efforts!!
The mobile area is massive and continues to grow-http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-17/smartphones-in-use-surpass-1-billion-will-double-by-2015.html
With the housing market booming investors are looking to take advantage of the rebound-http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-17/private-equity-in-atlanta-after-picking-phoenix-clean-mortgages.html
Facebook has over a billion users and they have a sharp guy running the show. Here is their latest approach to help their business, already a very good one- http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/17/facebook-mobile-app-install-ads/
I hope everyone has enjoyed reading the blog, and has a good week. If you have any comments or questions about the blog, please post them.
Y H & C Investments, Yale Bock, and the family of Yale Bock own positions in securities mentioned in the blog post. Investing in stocks can lead to the complete loss of your capital. As always, on any company mentioned here, past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk of losses on invested capital. One should research any investment and make sure it is suitable with your objectives, risk tolerance, risk profile liquidity considerations, tax situation, and anything else pertinent to your financial situation. Also, the CFA credential in no way implies investment returns will be superior for any charterholder.
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