Not Contagious

Mike Zaccardi

Mike is a freelance writer for financial advisors and investment firms. He's a CFA® charterholder and Chartered Market Technician®, and has passed the coursework for the Certified Financial Planner program. Mike has also taught as a finance instructor at the University of North Florida. He's written more than 100 articles and blog posts for HumbleDollar.

Not Contagious

Mike Zaccardi  |  Nov 21, 2022

THE FTX FALLOUT IS something to behold. It’s said that the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange has liabilities that could end up being twice what Enron owed when it collapsed more than two decades ago. The hubris of Sam Bankman-Fried (also known as SBF), founder of FTX, is something all investors can learn from.
It was just a few months ago that Bankman-Fried was dubbed the next Warren Buffett and 2022’s version of the late 19th and early 20th century financier J.P.

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Still Too Warm

Mike Zaccardi  |  Nov 7, 2022

I’M 34 GOING ON 74. Like an old man set in his ways, I routinely prepare my own meals and rarely go out to eat. But last week, I shook things up by scarfing down some ribs at a nearby outdoor mall. I couldn’t help but notice all of the “now hiring” signs.
It’s a far cry from when I ventured to the same mall in March and April 2020. Do you remember that feeling—the uncertainty and anxiety about what life was going to look like amid the height of the pandemic?

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An Average That Isn’t

Mike Zaccardi  |  Oct 31, 2022

VALUE STOCKS ARE having quite the year—at least relative to growth shares. This past week underscored that trend, with the value-oriented Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rising every day. Barring a big drop today, October will mark the index’s best monthly performance since 1976.
Even as the Dow rallied 5.7% last week, the growth-heavy Nasdaq Composite index rose just 2.2%. For the year, the Nasdaq is down 29%, versus less than 10% for the Dow.

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Ready for Rough Times

Mike Zaccardi  |  Oct 24, 2022

AS INFLATION continues to run hot, wage gains for the bottom quartile of income earners are almost keeping pace with consumer prices. Meanwhile, checking account balances for this group remain more than 50% above pre-pandemic levels.
Is everything A-okay? Of course not. Still, I’d argue that many Americans have positioned themselves well to weather an economic downturn. Another sign: Average credit scores are much improved from, say, the mid-2000s, when families were loading up on debt and speculators were snatching up houses only to flip them months later.

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Almost Done

Mike Zaccardi  |  Oct 17, 2022

LAST WEEK’S INFLATION report did the bulls no favors. The latest reading on the Consumer Price Index showed a larger-than-expected September rise, mostly due to housing data, which tend to respond slowly to higher interest rates. Then came Friday’s University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey, which showed an unexpected jump in inflation expectations over the next year and next five years. Result: Bond yields climbed and stocks finished the week lower.
But there’s also good news: Among economists,

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Hoping for Despair

Mike Zaccardi  |  Oct 10, 2022

THERE’S AN INVESTOR sentiment chart that gets dusted off and passed around after long periods of market malaise. Using the chart, active investors aim to identify when people have given up on stocks, so they can buy shares at the point of maximum pessimism.
Looking back, it appears that late 2021 marked the chart’s “euphoria” phase, and we’ve since been descending through the stages that follow—anxiety, denial, fear and so on. Which phase are we currently in?

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Buy It Later

Mike Zaccardi  |  Oct 3, 2022

I ADVISED LAST OCTOBER that loading up on holiday gifts ahead of the main shopping season probably made sense, given problems with the supply chain. Foreign manufacturers were struggling to produce enough goods, plus many items were stuck in ships anchored off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. Parents across the country, flush with cash, were frantic about getting their kids the latest hot toys.
What a difference a year makes.

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A Stronger Bond

Mike Zaccardi  |  Sep 26, 2022

SERIES I SAVINGS bonds might be the best-performing investment in folks’ portfolios this year. With steep losses in both the stock and bond markets, I bond’s 9.62% current yield looks like a home run. But the playing field could be shifting.
How so? Yields on the federal government’s other inflation-linked bond—Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS)—are up sharply in 2022. Result: TIPS aren’t such a bad buy today and perhaps better than Series I savings bonds.

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Give It Time

Mike Zaccardi  |  Sep 19, 2022

WHILE THE S&P 500’s price-earnings (P/E) ratio has little predictive power if you look at returns over the next 12 months, it’s more important if you stretch out your time horizon to five years and beyond. What you pay has a significant impact on your likely long-run return—and that should be comforting for today’s buyers.
Recently, WisdomTree Global Chief Investment Officer Jeremy Schwartz shared a compelling graphic showing P/E ratios for dozens of U.S.

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Hoping for a Repeat

Mike Zaccardi  |  Sep 12, 2022

MIDTERM ELECTIONS are less than two months away. The political landscape is uncertain and always fraught with heated opinions—but I won’t dive into that end of the pool. Instead, consider how the stock market might perform in the coming months and into 2023.
While technical analysis—using past price data to infer future prices—is controversial and dismissed by many fundamental investors, it’s hard to ignore a persistent bullish pattern that could soon repeat. Stock market history tells us that,

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Fill Them Up

Mike Zaccardi  |  Sep 5, 2022

THE S&P 500’S RETURN so far in 2022, when compared to the same year-to-date stretch for previous years, ranks as the fourth worst since 1928. One result: Stocks look quite cheap. The market’s price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple has retreated as share prices have fallen while corporate earnings have continued to grow.
One chart in particular caught my eye last week. Each month, I peruse J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Guide to the Markets.

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Inflicting Pain

Mike Zaccardi  |  Aug 29, 2022

FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIR Jerome Powell, speaking last Friday at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium, said that bringing down inflation will mean “some pain” for households. But what sort of pain are we talking about?
Powell and the rest of the Fed members are hoping to create “tight conditions.” That isn’t some opaque description of the economy and financial markets. Instead, the term has four specific components that help dictate Fed policy.

The U.S.

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Winging It

Mike Zaccardi  |  Aug 22, 2022

ARE YOU READY FOR some football? Autumn is just around the corner and, if you’re like me, you can’t wait for those lazy Sunday afternoons kicking back and watching the gridiron. What about some munchies as you enjoy the on-field action? While the cost of everything food-related seems to be skyrocketing, there’s encouraging news for one popular football snack.
According to data from Bloomberg, wholesale chicken wing prices are down some 60% from a year ago.

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Rate Relief Ahead?

Mike Zaccardi  |  Aug 15, 2022

ONE OF MY FAVORITE indicators right now is the ICE BofAML MOVE Index. Sound like trading jargon? Think of it as comparable to the VIX, except—instead of measuring stock market volatility—it does the same for bonds. Today, it’s indicating improving confidence in what’s lately been a very turbulent bond market.
MOVE is high when there are big daily swings in bond market interest rates. That’s what we’ve seen in 2022 as traders grapple with fast-changing economic data.

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Going Strong

Mike Zaccardi  |  Aug 8, 2022

RECESSION FEARS are fading. Second-quarter corporate profits have been better than expected. Some recent economic data show key barometers in growth mode, even as the latest GDP report confirmed a second consecutive quarter of economic contraction. Indeed, this past Friday’s hot employment report cooled the debate over whether we’re in a recession.
The pandemic upended so many facets of life and business, and we’re still feeling the effects today, as evidenced by odd swings in what are often stable economic numbers.

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