November has been good to global markets with most indices trading higher than they did at the end of October.
As to be expected, both the standout and exception to this trend were on the commodity side.
On the one hand, Canadian energy stocks are enjoying a particularly strong month, rising four per cent. On the other hand, gold has lost touch with the strategically important $1,500 level, falling three per cent.
In economic news, investors continue to wait for tangible results from the US-China trade discussions. Both sides have issued positive and negative statements on the negotiations, however, one gets the feeling they are inching their way to at least a partial agreement. Should even a partial agreement occur, global markets would likely take this positively, given the two economies make up 40 per cent of the global economy, combined.
A FAVOURITE PART OF WHAT I DO
I work with clients of all types, and thoroughly enjoy every moment of it. I recently reflected on what I love about what I do in a short post that you can read
While a generation of investors and homeowners have grown used to the current low interest rate environment, these anemic levels haven't always been the norm. When I began working in 1996, all of my clients were paying at least 10 per cent on their mortgages.
The '70s and '80s often had homeowners paying even higher rates. With that in mind, I thought I'd share an infographic
illustrating the history of interest rates over the last 670 years.
Also on the interest rate front, the term "yield curve" is often used in the financial press. This infographic
provides a nice description of what a yield curve is, what it has historically looked like, and what an "inverted" curve can mean.
Although it's likely interest rates will remain low for the foreseeable future, it's good to know they could change, often unexpectedly, and to consider the ramifications if they do.
IN THE REVIEW QUEUE
by Stephen Fry:
Mythos is 15 hours (on audio) of stories covering the earth's creation, epic wars, sexual escapades, petty plots of revenge, romantic encounters, and, of course, murder. Yes, Mythos is about Greek mythology. Written and read by the eloquent Stephen Fry, Mythos is a wonderful telling of these old stories. I was amazed by how many modern words and phrases have their origins in these ancient tales. The book was good fun and well worth the listen.
by J.D. Vance:
Before 2016, the white poor living in America's Rust Beltwere not at the forefront of the nation's consciousness. The election of Donald Trump changed that. Following his victory, many sought to understand why so many of them voted Republican, seemingly against their economic interests. J.D. Vance's book, released a few months before the election, was a place people looked for answers.
But Hillbilly Elegy isn't about Trump or the election. It doesn't even mention either once, be it by name or inference. What it is, is a powerful memoir of his experiences and observations growing up in a poor family, among other poor families, in an industrial Ohio town, populated by people with deep roots in the hills of Kentucky.
The story of these hillbilly transplants is often heartbreaking: his mother struggled with addiction and mental health issues, she also habitually changed partners - dragging him from home to home; domestic abuse ran rampant in the community; neighbours often possessed poor to non-existent work ethics; and
Mountain Dew mouth
becoming more and more proliferant. Elegy also provides a fascinating view into the hillbilly honour culture and their deep distrust of outsiders.
All told, Hillbilly Elegy is about two things: the improbable story of the author's success, and the chronicling of a poor white community as it falls further into decline. It doesn't directly address why so many from this community likely voted for Trump. However, in revealing their their plight, it's not difficult to understand how they found hope in a brash-talking politician, who promised to bring back good jobs and make their America great again.
The Happiness Equation
by Neil Paricha:
The Happiness Equation is simple. It's simply written, has simple drawings, uses simple analogies, and provides simple lessons. Yet, it's packed with wisdom. Most people would likely have a greater appreciation for life if they followed the book's
and three goals: want nothing - contentment; do anything - freedom; and have everything - happiness.
If you prefer your non-fiction loquacious, long-winded and verbose (ok, I'm being a little facetious), this may not be the text for you. But if you can see past the book's simplicity, it contains a wealth of wisdom that can help you live a happier life.
LONG THINGS THAT AREN'T BOOKS
Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing
I recently took my first MasterClass with the incredible Neil Gaiman. For my second class, I took Malcolm Gladwell's course.
Gladwell, a longtime writer for The New Yorker and author of numerous best-selling books, is known for his ability to spot trends and connections that hide in plain sight.
a unique way of seeing the world. In this course, he not only shares some techniques, but also some methods of distilling complex ideas and notions.
Hardcore History Supernova in the East (Part 3) by Dan Carlin: At almost five hours in length, the third instalment of Dan Carlin's Supernova in the East is as good as the first two. This episode focuses on the expansion of Japan's war throughout Asia and the Pacific, and looks at the enigmatic General Douglas Macarthur. If you like history, I highly recommend you give Hardcore History a try!
ARTICLES, PODCASTS AND INFOGRAPHICS
The Japan-Korea Dispute
Confluence Weekly Report:
With so much happening in the world, the trade dispute between Japan and Korea has been somewhat overlooked. This short two-part series delves into the complicated history between these two nations and recent developments that triggered the current strife.
Climate Change and the 75% Problem
by Bill Gates:
A breakdown of the five industries (one really surprised me) that emit the highest amounts of greenhouse emissions. It also includes Gates' thoughts on what's needed to fight global warming. For a different perspective,
this Visual Capitalist chart
provides an emissions ranking by country.
Ayn Rand on Why Philosophy Matters
by Farnam Street:
"Nearly four decades after her death, many of Ayn Rand's works remain controversial and divide people into two camps: love them or hate them. Her lesser known book on philosophy provides broad, timeless insights. Here are her thoughts on the value of philosophy."
What I Have For You
by Ray Dalio:
As you likely know by now, I'm a huge fan of Ray Dalio. In this LinkedIn post, Dalio provides a list of resources he has generously created over the last few years.
How to Choose What to Read
by Vasili Shynkarenka:
We only have time to read so many books. With that in mind, this post provides suggestions on how to filter your choices, as well as, some reading recommendations. I'll be saving this article for future reference!
Glow Seasons 1,2, & 3
My wife and I recently finished the third season of GLOW, a fictitious take on the actual Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling league from the '80s. Growing up in the '80s, I loved the nostalgia, and, of course, the wrestling. My wife, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed watching her husband revert to his teen years, as I happily sang along with the '80s music and cheered every body slam. Oh yes, the acting, character development, and storylines are really good, too!
"Focus is a force multiplier on work. Almost everyone I've ever met would be well-served by spending more time thinking about what to focus on. It is much more important to work on the right thing than it is to work many hours. Most people waste most of their time on stuff that doesn't matter."
- Sam Altman
"What objectivity and the study of philosophy require is not an 'open mind,' but an active
- a mind able and eagerly willing to examine ideas, but to examine them
- Ayn Rand
"It is a most wonderful comfort to sit alone beneath a lamp, book spread before you, and commune with someone from the past whom you have never met."
- Yoshida Kenko
I'm excited to announce that Carolina da Silva has joined my practice as Marketing Specialist & Sales Associate. For those who think her name sounds familiar, Carolina worked with me just over five years ago.
For those who haven't met her yet, she is a York University alum with a B.A. in Economics and has spent the past eight years working in the financial services industry.
Carolina's passionate about building relationships with clients and helping them meet their financial goals. She will work closely with me in the day-to-day management of client accounts to ensure a smooth delivery of all transactions. She'll also be available to answer questions, so please feel free to contact her directly at 416-777-7141, or email@example.com.
THEY DON'T MAKE 'EM LIKE THIS ANYMORE
I don't condone violence, but after learning about
what happened to a man
who broke into an 82-year-old woman's house, well, I just had to share.
The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Raymond James. This article is for information only. Raymond James Ltd. Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund.
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