Category Archives: Interest Rates

Oracle of Omaha …. Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting … Finally Made it Through … Thoughts

Each year for the last five (which is about when they began streaming the meetings), I am always enthusiastic about listening to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, which prior to social distancing was more like a sporting event than a shareholder meeting.

Oh, for those that may be wondering, Berkshire Hathaway is headed by Warren Buffett age 90 (not Jimmy – being silly here) and Charlie Munger age 98. The name stems from a bankrupt textile company turned massive conglomerate filled with Insurance Companies (Geico) Railroads, and home builders (largest manufactured home builder in US) just to name a few.

Back to the meeting… Buffett honestly says (and it is true) the actual meeting is BOORING and Buffett even discourages folks to listen to the formal section, BUT there is an opening ceremony of such where Buffett has a 5-15 minute planned discussion followed by 3-3.5 hours of Q and A, most of which is known, but a few are sent in live and carefully reviewed and presented by Becky Quick of CNBC.

Finally A Way To Get Through The Meeting

So the last five years were a terrible failure as the attention span drifted before the entire meeting could be consumed…. Hey these guys are 90 and 98 and move at their own pace, but a wealth of VERY interesting opinions as well as knowledge.

This year a freak accidental trial was successful and made for a very enjoyable meeting review.

After finding a replay of the meeting on YouTube then cranking the speed up from 1x to 1.25 to 1.5 and finally landing on 1.75x normal speed, ta dah … the meeting was happily consumed with full 100% attention AND SOME NOTES!

These are in no sort of order, but basically organized as well as possible given the jumping of topics due to open questions – So here we go, hope you enjoy!

(These a not my opinions or thoughts, only a replay of Charlie and Warren’s high points)

Intro Discussion

Very Pro USA and Complimentary to Capital Creation in the USA

Brings a list of top largest 20 companies in the world, with total domination of USA

Currently have $145 Billion and only need $70 Billion – Current Asset Prices are Not Inviting to Warren and Charlie – Market is too fully priced (Sound Familiar?)

Sold Airlines to allow them to get Federal Funding

Munger Comment – His extra age seems to have loosened his muffler!

Higher State Taxes Chase some smart people away – Silly

SPACS are being created for Wall Street Not Investors and useless use of other peoples money – According to Charlie

Been and actor so long I do not know what I believe – Dogging on politicians and bad CEO’s

Buffett – More Politically PC

Low Interest Rates are causing very high asset prices

Inflationary prices are coming through the home building and other sectors, economy is red hot! Steel and scarcity of product

Furniture store red hot

More inflation going on than meets the eye- Yep

Both Admire Larry Summers convictions to Inflation concerns!

Great Closing Q & A Question:

What was greatest thing learned last year?

Munger: If you are not somewhat confused by what has happened you are not paying attention-

Buffett: Very interested in how this all works out!

Ok, so there you have it. 3.5 Hours condensed into one blog post with some high points that just by chance coincide with some of our thoughts….

Have a Great “Finally Made it Through a Berkshire Meeting” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

Interesting Research From a Podcast – Food Price Correlation to Inflation, Assets and Other Linkage

Over the weekend while on an extended walk with the 16 year old’s dog, a new Podcast Series from Grant Williams had an interesting guest with an even more interesting theory…

The theory from the guest was that food prices and the increase and decrease there of acts as and inflationary or deflationary force on economies.

His logic was that we must all eat and if you watch food prices around the world you can see a big correlation to not only the afore mentioned economic forces but also government interaction to help offset bad side effects of these movements….

Hmmmmm….

Meet the USDA Economic Research Department

Being HUGE fans of government research sites, (no copyright problems) the USDA Economic Research Department of Agriculture is a new one on our radar…not only that, but this huge page of Interactive Graphs will be watched more closely with important ones likely finding a place here for all of our collective review….

Our favorite starting point graphs to follow … note food is third on the expenditure list … lending credence to Grants podcast guest view:

How about food price movement as it relates to Economic Cycles?

There were certainly spikes prior to these three recessions….

Here is a more detailed chart of expenditures of food at the personal level:

On the margin, food has cost less out of pocket over time.

Ya, ya we are nerds, but this is very interesting stuff to us, especially such a new and interesting Theory worth watching!

Have a Great “Watching Food Price” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

All Eyes on Interest Rates … Rate Run

We have been watching interest rates closely as well as a local born inflation gauge called the Trimmed Mean put out by our Own Dallas Federal Reserve….

Interest rate movement can be a predictor of better times ahead… Think reopening and also of future inflationary waves…

Here is a shorter termed graph of the 10 Year Treasury Yield….

Purposely a shorter term graph to exaggerate the recent movement…

Next up, we fly much higher to the ten thousand foot level to show you while rates are moving, they are far from sky high….

Higher rates can be a headwind to markets… fast moving higher rates would have a high probability of disruption…

Watching Rates and Inflation

Slower, gradual, less jittery rates may be just what the Dr. ordered… not too hot, not too cold…

We will be watching!

Have a Great “Watching Rates” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

Another Robert Kaplan Townhall Update – Some Breaking Comments … Slowing Purchases this Year

Back in the fall last year, here we commented on a terrific Robert Kaplan Townhall. Good news, this time we were able to listen to this Townhall which occurred Monday January 11, 2021 without accidentally becoming a participant!

Robert Kaplan is the Dallas Federal Reserve President and is a voting member of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) in 2020 – has a lot of eyes on him, especially during FOMC statements … but – see next

We like to listen to these “Quaint” discussions as more open comments and nuggets of information can be discovered and we are big fans of Kaplan as well…

Kaplan Latest Townhall Comments

Kaplan reiterated an expectation of US Economic growth – if all goes well – of 5% Wow. US Economic growth certainly has easy comparables due to a bad 2020, but a 5% growth rate is really strong and if occurs would help with our Capital Markets growing into their clothes thesis.

Biggest breaking comment, Kaplan believes the FED will at minimum speak of easing on asset purchases and again if all goes well is interested in higher rates later this year – Wow, another big news comment. Recall our concerns if rates get ahead of the Fed and they are forced to chase them down, could be strong headwinds… From our perch this is good news.

Oddly, most major Financial Firms are saying the likely stimulus coming soon will help, but when that runs out a slowing may occur …. someone is wrong !

We will be watching!

Kaplan firmly stated that continued stimulus through asset purchase AND low rates will do more harm than good if continued too long …. We agree, inflated asset prices and excessive risk taking does not work out well.

Best Question – What is Biggest Risk to Economy in 2021?

This question was by far the best and Kaplan’s comment that too slow of Vaccine rollout were both elegantly stated.

Kaplan expressed some concerns with the speed of the current rollout but expected/hoped for acceleration in short order, as we all do.

Kaplan, as a firm believer in higher education, our resident state of Texas is not at the top of the rung on this one, he mentioned several times improving the education system especially as it relates to technology will likely increase productivity in the decades to come.

There you have it, some Breaking News and some Good News!

Have a Great “Kaplan Townhall Update” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

Q 4 2020 Review and Annual Private Policy

It’s hard to believe the final quarter of the year included an Election, multiple vaccines, the commencement of vaccine shots and near the end of the quarter, a second stimulus package for the year 2020. Wow!

Three Major Acts in a Little Over Twelve Months

If we look back just a little over twelve months, three major bills, The Secure Act, passed in late 2019, but left in the shadows by lasty years events. Then the Cares Act late first quarter 2020, followed by the Appropriations Act of 2021, which was an extension of the Cares Act. If you are not confused yet (or do not even remember some of these), congratulate yourself, most are! Not to worry, we will be reviewing all of these over the year as the much forgotten, Secure Act will have multiple planning techniques and mandates that once again may have been forgotten.

Who let the dogs out? Or Maybe Better Said, The Dogs Continued to Cheer!

Capital markets bullied by federal reserve purchases and anticipations of good news coming from a vaccine, in true Capital Market form did cheer much of the news, but not as much as many had thought, mostly because it had already been anticipated.

As we had mentioned multiple times, Capital Markets are likely well ahead of themselves currently which may make for tougher rowing in the near term, but just as clothes purchased a little too large for that growing teenager, Capital Markets with an expected economic recovery, should be able to grow into their overzealous clothes. However, with current stretched valuations, negative surprises may be met with more volatility due to the priced-to-perfection levels currently, once again making us happy we are conservative and diversified investors.

Interest Rate Watch

One thing we will be watching closely are interest rates, and their levels, as the economy begins to come back on line. The Federal Reserve is squarely focused on keeping interest rates down through their purchases. Should interest rates begin to rise or should the FED ease off (or even give speak of ease) of the pedal and interest rates rise on their own, especially quickly, this could be a headwind to Capital Markets and other assets. Not to worry, we will be watching and letting you know what we see and taking appropriate actions as needed.

In Closing

Your Fourth Quarter summary is enclosed on the front page of this report we have included our most recent investment allocation from your Investment Policy Statement. This is also the time we attach our Private Policy Statement for the year, along with our opportunity to offer our latest ADV filings and Client Relationship Summary (Form CRS); Requests for review will be accepted via phone, mail or email, and mailed immediately upon request.

Sincerely,

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

J.K. Financial, Inc.

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Interesting Interest Rates Chart a Historical View and a Super Short Term View with Noted Movement

We spotted this neat chart last week from our friends once again at Visual Capitalist … here

Worth noting … we were close to these levels in 1945 as can be seen on the chart…

While the above is a more descriptive 200 year chart, we just could not help ourselves in showing a much shorter but encouraging one month chart of the same ten year treasury noted above …. again, VERY short time frame, but we like the upward movement….

We crow a lot about interest rates, but they really are VERY important…

Have a Great “Interest Rate Movement” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

Q 4 2020 Newsletter Video Audio Podcast Review of Year Events, Cause and Effects By John Kvale

Welcome to our Video and Audio Podcast Review of our Q 4 2020 Newsletter. For those on the road or just unable to grab the time to read, our podcast type review gives you the behind the scenes insight to our thoughts, observations and deep views of the entire Newsletter.

Click here for a direct link to an electronic version (an early peek-good ole fashion paper versions are on their way to you shortly) and here for our Newsletter page

Unlike the last two Newsletters which had very little economic and market related comments, this one is all about where we have been, what has occurred and where we may be going!

J.K. Financial q 4 2020 newsletter

Let’s get going!

Thanks in advance!

Q 4 2020 Newsletter

(YouTube)

As the spread of the Covid Virus occurred, Capital Market Participants in true anticipation form, voted with their feet and sold assets across the board well ahead of the eventual lock downs.

The largely followed S&P 500 (Larger US Companies) fell over 33% along with major international markets such as the German Dax falling over 35% and US Small companies represented by the Russell 2000, falling over 40%.

The most startling item of the drop was the speed at which this drop occurred, 27 days!

Ignoring the speed of these most recent declines is a bad idea as we need only look earlier in 2018 to see ANOTHER very fast drop.

The FOMC Steps In – Lowers Rates

By Mid-March as Capital Markets continued their descent, the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) led by Jerome Powell, dropped the hammer on interest rates by a full 1% to zero. During normal times, .25% is the usual adjustment as can be seen by the late 2019 and early 2020, non-crisis adjustments.

FOMC Adds More Fuel

Correctly using the financial crisis of 07-09 as the play book, the FOMC took the bazooka out, and starting buying assets to flood the markets with liquidity.  The current bazooka is much bigger (about 3 X) this time as can be seen by the difference in balance sheet increase of $1 Trillion in 07-09 versus the $ 3 Trillion and counting increase currently.

It Worked (Maybe Too Well), Capital Markets Took Notice

You know us to be very positive – all through the many negatives that have occurred !

You also know we will call it like we see it!

Markets have officially gone too far and are ahead of themselves, expect bumps and no extra risk taking is warranted at this time – CAREFUL!

We hope you enjoy … talk to you Next Year – 2021 !!!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth
Management firm.
www.jkfinancialinc.com
www.street-cents.com

September 2020 Podcast Video, Financial Planning and Capital Market Update – By John Kvale …

Hello and Welcome to our September 2020 Financial Planning and Capital Market Update!

If you are too busy to read, feel free to listen as we describe our post and thoughts in friendly podcast audio format as well as Video!

Newbies –

We like to articulate our thoughts and review on a Monthly basis our Financial Planning Tips, Capital Markets and current events!

Hope you enjoy!

September Video

(YouTube)

September Review By John Kvale

Financial Planning Tip  –

Markets Gone Too Far

In a luckily timed post here in our August review and again here in September we mentioned that markets had gotten far enough ahead of themselves, we had to waive the white caution flag…

Oddly, within days of our original white waiver, markets slipped … always rather be lucky than good – markets breathed caution in the air quickly with a sharp 10% correction — Safety is still advised!

Capital Market Comments

Inflation & The FOMC

In a somewhat preliminary discussion on what might change market sentiment, not knowing it had already adjusted a bit, here , here , here we discussed inflation measures, the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) and their views along with our personal favorite inflation measure, Dallas Federal Reserves own Trimmed Mean inflation gauge.

Have a Great September Update!

Talk to you at the end of October!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

The Fed, Economics, Interest Rates and Interest Rates Review Part 2 What would force the FEDs hand?

Well covered in Part 1, here, the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) and Capital Markets also believe currently that interest rates will stay low for longer …. maybe we are hopeful they are both wrong (No maybe, we are!) but there is one word that we know the FOMC cannot allow to get out of control …

Inflation !

With inflation running persistently below this longer-run goal, the Committee will aim to achieve inflation moderately above 2 percent for some time so that inflation averages 2 percent over time and longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored at 2 percent.

From FOMC statement September 16, 2020

Here is a great post from earlier on Dallas Fed calculated Trimmed Mean Inflation Measure, the FOMC’s favorite!

Triple the Bazooka – Who Let the Money Out!

During the 07-09 Great Financial Crisis, the FOMC then lead by Ben Bernanke, used the Feds balance sheet to purchase assets in order to lower rates, increase asset prices and calm markets….

This was unprecedented at the time….. Not today!

The current Bazooka is three times more ALREADY and will most certainly continue to grow in size and stimulus !

What if eventually the economy takes hold, and springs back to life –

Here is the traditional measure of inflation, Consumer Price Index from the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) – again we like the afore mentioned Trimmed Mean and so does the FOMC!

Not to worry, we will be watching that 2ish % level closely…..

Inflation may occur, forcing the Feds hand at higher rates — time will tell!

Have a Great “FOMC and Interest Rates Part 2 Conclusion” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

The Fed, Economics, Interest Rates and Interest Rates Review Part 1

On Friday, we gave you a preview of this post and in completing it over the weekend, it became a bit longer than expected, so we are doing a two part series.

Some of this is also in our coming Newsletter, but with more turf here, we can dig a little deeper, especially in a two part series…

Mid week last week the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) led by Jerome Powell and company released their estimates of where interest rates will be over the next several years.

This chart, known as the Fed Dot Plot, represents a dot for each voting member …. looks like there is a ton of group think going on as everyone is pretty much in agreement on the near term view and with a variance of only one percent in the longer term view – far right (One vote at 2% and two at 3%)

This chart from our Friends at JPMorgan includes not only the FOMC estimates but what the Capital Markets are assuming – (This estimates comes from the Futures Market and is easily ascertained)

Market estimates can and do change quickly.

Here is a blow up of the far right portion of the graph – Orange is market expectations again from the futures market and Purple is long run assumptions.

So markets think that rates will stay low and the FOMC also agrees.

Is there any reason that the FOMC would HAVE to raise rates?

Yep, one word ….

Inflation!

In Part 2 we will discuss …

Have a Great “FOMC and Interest Rates” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents