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The Fallacy of Average thumbnail

The Fallacy of Average

By: Paul Cantor, CFA®, AIF®, CFP™
Chief Operating Officer, Principal

I was recently asked by friends why my economic and market outlook was tinged with some concern. It was a valid question from some very intelligent non-financial professionals. The financial media is filled with positive bias as they cheer Apple becoming the first company in history to reach a $1 trillion-dollar market capitalization. Additionally, we just posted the strongest GDP growth that we have seen in years of 4.1% for the quarter. The stock markets hover at near record highs. Consumer confidence is bordering on ebullient. S&P 500 earnings are estimated to grow by nearly 23% for the quarter. Corporate managements are repatriating funds from overseas and buying back stock at unprecedented rates supporting both stock prices and earnings growth. According to S&P Global Rankings, “Total cash held by U.S. nonfinancial companies, including money parked domestically and overseas, rose 9% to a record $2.07 trillion.”1 The unemployment rate ticked down to a new low of 3.9%, the lowest we’ve seen in over 17 years.

Consumer and corporate balance sheets are ostensibly in terrific condition. We are enjoying the second longest economic expansion since 1945 according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. So, why the concern? This paper will add some perspective, looking deeper into the averages to show why they could be fallacious.

  • Published: August 15, 2018
The End of TINA? thumbnail

The End of TINA?

While the 1960s will always be remembered for free love and peace signs, the ‘80s for bad hair and the ‘90s for the rise of the personal computer – the 2010s may very well be remembered for something far different – record low interest rates. Low interest rates have impacted consumers and financial markets in a myriad of ways over the past decade. I will review some of those impacts, re-introduce the now famous acronym TINA and discuss whether this low interest rate era may finally be coming to an end.

  • Published: June 25, 2018
The Quest for Financial Freedom thumbnail

The Quest for Financial Freedom

One in three Americans has not saved a single penny for retirement. To achieve any measure of financial independence, saving early and investing is the key. By saving early, investors capitalize on the powerful concept of compounding returns, which allows their contributions to grow into larger amounts.

  • Published: November 01, 2017
Minimizing Portfolio Losses: Lessons of Diversification thumbnail

Minimizing Portfolio Losses: Lessons of Diversification

  • Published: July 25, 2017
The Fourth Industrial Revolution thumbnail

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

  • Published: July 21, 2016
The Investment Derby: Value vs. Growth thumbnail

The Investment Derby: Value vs. Growth

  • Published: November 18, 2015
A Return to Normality thumbnail

A Return to Normality

  • Published: September 01, 2015
Implications of an Aging Society thumbnail

Implications of an Aging Society

  • Published: February 01, 2015