Monday, December 2, 2019

Running a Successful Hedge Fund Puts You in an Entirely Different Class

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren want to take wealth away from rich corporate tycoons.  But wait!  Top entertainers and other celebrities make even more than corporate tycoons.  Taylor Swift makes much more than even the most outrageously paid CEO – some $170 million in 2016, followed by the band One Direction and various athletes, authors, and TV personalities in that year.  But wait!  Unknown to most Americans, the top earners by far (and it’s not even close) are the publicity-shy handful of hedge fund managers at the very top of that category.  Ken Griffin at Citadel and James Simons at Renaissance Technologies are roughly tied at over $1.7 billion (that’s billion with a b) just for the single year 2016 (the last year for which complete information is available).  The graphic below, courtesy of Institutional Investor magazine, shows the stunning comparisons.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving May Be Good For Your Health!

Did you know that giving thanks – thinking of the blessings and happy moments you experience each day – can improve your life? According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking can actually make you healthier. The many benefits include:
  • Reducing stress levels
  • Improving resistance to colds
  • Reducing the risk of coronary artery disease
  • Improving breathing in patients with some lung diseases
If it’s hard for you to stay focused on the positive and identify things that you’re grateful for, you may want to try one of these activities:
  • Keep a gratitude journal
Each day, write down the things for which you are grateful – a beautiful sunset, a warm home, the companionship of family or friends. There should be no negative thoughts in a gratitude journal, only positive ones.
  • Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is paying attention to the here and now by observing your thoughts without being critical or judgmental. Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism, and has been adopted by many cancer survivors as a means of managing stress and staying positive.
  • Think about the people in your life
It’s easy to be thankful for the people we love and enjoy being around. You may even want to be thankful for people who have made your life more challenging because they may have caused you to accomplish things you might not have otherwise.

This year, make a Thanksgiving Day’s resolution to accentuate the positive!

On this Thanksgiving Day, we’ll be giving thanks for your business and your friendship. Please let us know whenever there is something we can do to help you.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Best Regards,

Womack Investment Advisers Team 

Oklahoma / Main Office:
1366 E. 15th Street - Edmond, OK, 73013

California Office:
4660 La Jolla Village Dr., Ste. 100 - San Diego, CA 92122

Phone (405) 340-1717 - Toll Free (877) 340-1717

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Longest Bull Market in History

The longest bull market in history showed no signs of slowing last week.

U.S. stock markets climbed higher for the sixth week straight – the longest rally in U.S. markets in two years – and the Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassed 28,000 for the very first time, reported Bloomberg.

The Economist reported, “It has been a year of mood swings in financial markets. In the spring and summer, anxious investors piled into the safety of government bonds, driving yields down sharply. Yields have recovered in recent weeks…Equity prices in America have reached a new peak. But what is more striking is the performance of cyclical stocks relative to defensive ones. Within America’s market the prices of industrial stocks, which do well in business-cycle upswings, have risen relative to the prices of utility stocks, a safer bet in hard times.”

Last week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell confirmed the United States appears to be in good economic shape. The U.S. economic outlook remains favorable despite weakening business investment, which has slowed because of sluggish global growth and uncertainty surrounding trade. The unemployment rate remains low and more people are returning to the workforce, which is a positive development. Overall, Powell and his colleagues believe economic expansion is likely to continue.

 A similar phenomenon has occurred in European markets.

Randall Forsyth of Barron’s cited a source who stated, “…the global economic backdrop has, for the first time in 18 months, begun to improve.” Forsyth went on to explain, “It’s not just because of prospects of a trade deal. Recession risks have, well, receded. Growth may slow to a 1 percent annual rate in the current quarter, but odds of falling into an outright recession have slid.”

Whenever investors are happy and markets are moving higher, contrarians begin to ask questions. For example, a leading contrarian indicator is the Investors Intelligence Sentiment Survey. The survey queries investors and investment professionals about whether they are feeling bullish or bearish. When the ratio of bulls to bears is above 1.0, the market may be overly bullish. When it is less than 1.0, it may be too bearish.

Yardeni Research reported the ratio stood at 3.22 last week; 57 percent bulls and 18 percent bears.

If you have any questions over the market or your stocks, call us today at (877) 340-1717.

Total Consumption of Coal Keeps Decreasing

Despite President Donald Trump’s campaign assurances that he would put West Virginia coal miners “back to work”, the president of the United Mine Workers of America recently rather bluntly that “Coal’s not back.  Nobody saved the coal industry.” He said despite promises from both sides of the political spectrum, coal fired plants are closing all over the country, calling it a “harsh reality”.   

Only one, relatively small, new coal-fired generator with a capacity of 17 megawatts is expected to come online by the end of the year and overall coal consumption is expected to decline a further 8% from last year’s levels even while the US economy continues to expand.  The main reason?  A period of sustained, low natural gas prices and lots of supply (mostly due to fracking) has kept the cost of generating electricity with natural gas competitive with generation from coal.  

In addition, increased competition from renewable energy sources have also contributed to the decline.  This chart, from, shows the steep downward slope.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

7 Creative Ideas for Leftover Halloween Candy

Halloween is all about creative costumes, hay rides, fun parties, haunted houses…and the candy. So much candy.  Don’t toss leftover Halloween candy in the trash, however – not when there are so many smart uses for all of those Snickers, Twix bars, M&Ms and Skittles. In fact, you might even pick up a little extra this year (or hit that extra row of houses while trick-or-treating) and have fun testing out these tasty ideas from, and the USA TODAY Network. 

1. Donate your leftover Halloween candy 

What’s always a great option when you have more of something than you need? Give it away!
Operation Gratitude sends sweets to deployed troops and first responders. 

Soldiers’ Angels Treats for Troops ships donates candy to veterans and deployed service members. Some dental offices and other businesses hold Halloween candy buybacks, in which they trade toothbrushes, floss or other items for candy that they then donate to troops.

Want to know your local options? Contact nearby nursing homes and homeless shelters to see if they’ll accept such donations. You can also try programs like Big Brother Big Sister and the Ronald McDonald House Charities, too.

Here’s a sweet bonus: Halloween candy can present a learning opportunity when you encourage your kids to share their bounty. 

2. Make leftover Halloween candy blondies 

Reese’s peanut butter cups, Milky Way bars and whatever else is in the candy bag can go into these leftover Halloween candy cookie bars. Simply make a basic cookie dough base and stir in chopped-up candy (chocolate-based candy works best). Press the dough into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, sprinkle with more chopped-up candy, and bake. 


You can make cookies this way, too; just place scoops of batter on a cookie sheet and bake. 

3. Make leftover Halloween candy brownies 

If you’re more into brownies than cookies, prepare some boxed brownie mix according to the package directions. Stir chopped candy into the batter, pour into a glass dish, sprinkle a bit more candy on top for good measure, and bake. 

4. Mix leftover candy into fudge 

Basic chocolate fudge gets an upgrade when you mix in chopped leftover Snickers, Mars, Butterfingers or other chocolate candies. Sprinkle some on top, too. 

5. Make a DIY ice cream sundae bar 

Invite some neighborhood friends over for an ice cream sundae bar. Chop up all the leftover candy and put it in small bowls, along with leftover M&Ms, Skittles and gummy candies. Kids and adults alike will have fun building their own ice cream sundaes. 

6. Make a batch of homemade candy ice cream 

Speaking of ice cream, candy can liven up plain flavors such as vanilla and chocolate. Just stir in some chopped or melted-down candy before freezing (try Laffy Taffy or Reese’s Pieces), or mix in chopped candy bars or whole M&Ms or Nerds into softened ice cream before freezing. 

7. Layer up a batch of Halloween cookie bark 

Cookie bark is as much cookie as candy, with every eerily irresistible bite featuring delectable layers of graham cracker, chocolate chips, crushed Oreos, Reese’s Pieces, mini marshmallows, candy corn and sprinkles.

This recipe calls for our favorite combination of sweet treats, but is easily adaptable to include whatever Halloween candy leftovers you have!

Halloween Trivia Anyone?

Halloween is here! Whether you’re wearing a costume, decorating your yard/house, or handing out treats, you won’t be alone.

More than 179 million Americans are expected to participate in 2019’s Halloween festivities – and spend more than $9 billion doing it.

See what you know about Halloween by taking this fun quiz.
  1. What is the most popular Halloween activity?
    1. Dressing in costume
    2. Carving pumpkins
    3. Handing out candy
    4. Dressing pets in costumes
  1. Which costume is expected to be most popular during 2019?
    1. Pennywise (the clown from It)
    2. Stranger Things characters
    3. Belle from Beauty and the Beast
    4. Wonder Woman
  1. How much are Americans expected to spend on candy?
    1. $7 billion
    2. $3.5 billion
    3. $2.7 billion
    4. $0.5 billion
  1. Last year, what was the most popular Halloween candy?
    1. M&M’s
    2. Reese’s
    3. Snickers
    4. Skittles
Before the trick-or-treating commences, talk with your kids about the big night and discuss what they need to do to stay safe, including having a plan and a partner.
You can also rest assured we are looking for any shenanigans happening in the markets that may cause you fear.

No matter how you celebrate, we hope you’ll have a wonderful time eating, drinking, and being scary.

Happy Halloween!

Best Regards,

Womack Investment Advisers Team

Quiz Answers:
  1. C – Handing out candy
  2. A – Pennywise (the clown from It)
  3. C – $2.7 billion 
  4. B – Reese’s