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Real Impact, Real Returns SM

April 2022 Newsletter: A tech wreck, bond rout and a sanguine housing market

History has a way of repeating itself. A study of the past is therefore foundational to the art and science of investing. It is also foundational to understanding the world as it is today; the forces that unite people and countries and the forces that wish to divide & conquer, reclaim lost glory and cling to oppressive power structures. The latter is on tragic display in Ukraine, as Russian President Vladimir Putin misreads history and confuses his dreams of empire for the aspirations of his people, who are probably more interested in prospering in the modern world than imposing a bloody war on a European continent that thought it had permanently relegated such bloodletting to history.

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January 2022 Newsletter: This Time is Different

My first letter of the year and I am feeling a sense of optimism that 2022 will truly be better than last year. In January of last year, I expressed the same sentiment and boy was that a case of wishful thinking. The pandemic doubled down, in terms of death toll and hospitalizations, surpassing the 1918 Spanish Flu and the Civil War to become the largest mass casualty event in US history. Of course, the US population is much larger now than in 1918 and 1864, but the numbers beg reflection.

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JPS Global Investments October Newsletter - Market Resilience, Good Inflation, China Fear and an Energy Crisis

When markets closed on September 30th, they were ever so slightly in what is called a “pullback,” or down 5% from their recent highs. I thought it might materialize into something worthy of writing about, but then, true to recent form, they quickly recovered. However, since I broached the topic, let me give it some context before moving on. From 1946 through the 3rd quarter of 2021, the market has seen 126 pullbacks. Of those, 29 went on to a correction (-10%), 9 declined into a bear market (-20%) and 3 went off the rails (-40%). The conclusion? Most pullbacks are just noise and only few go on to be something more than that. So, while “buy the dip” is a bit of a complacent investment strategy, it is somewhat rational, in my view, if paired with the mindfulness that there will come a day when the market does not bounce right back.

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Inflation, Retiring Abroad and a Changed Climate

Stock indices grinded higher in the 2nd quarter, although the most speculative corners of the market have come under pressure since early June. In the crypto world, Ethereum was flat during the quarter, bitcoin was off 40% and the basket of 37 meme stocks tracked by Goldman Sachs has recently entered bear market territory, having given back more than 20% since peaking in June. The retracement in these speculative assets is not necessarily a cause for immediate concern, however. I believe that a strong economy supported by pent up consumer demand and fiscal & monetary stimulus, lowers the chance of contagion, though it bears watching.

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Are ESG Funds All That Different?

ESG investing is all the rage these days. That is, investing that includes the non-traditional environmental, social, and governance factors in the investment process. Its appeal to the broader investment industry is twofold: 1) The writing is on the wall: as wealth is passed down to younger generations who in the aggregate care more about values alignment, the asset management industry does not want to lose the assets and the fees they generate. 2) Thematic investing is popular and ESG is one of the hottest themes. Wall Street is not going to miss out. Much like crypto is too good to pass up.

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