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Book Review-Mellon: An American Life by David Cannadine

I recently completed David Cannadine’s 600+ page biography on Andrew Mellon. I am a big fan of biographies, because they help me understand how the subjects thought and what made them tick. Andrew Mellon was a complex man. The Mellon clan were protestant Scotch-Irish immigrants, who came to America in the early 19th century. Most, including Andrew’s father, settled in western Pennsylvania. They were dirt poor, and worked hard on the small farm they purchased. Andrew’s grandfather wanted Andrew’s father to follow him into farming, but Andrew father instead chose to follow an uncle into the world of business.

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Look What I Found

Initially I was going to call this post “I’m not buying it”, but I feared that few would read it because they thought it was just another of my rants about stock valuations and the like. Never fear however, this post isn’t about inflated stock valuations….. or any such rant. Instead I want to discuss a couple interesting things I found while researching various investment opportunities this weekend. Continue reading

Changes Are Coming

Economy

Does anyone else get the feeling that central banks around the world have absolutely no idea what to do? Or perhaps they do know what they should be doing, but lack the gumption to do so. The last year of action by central banks, and especially the US Federal Reserve, is about as painful to watch as Donald Trump sabotaging his presidential bid. Earlier this year, just like in 2015, the Fed rattled markets by saying that they were going to raise interest rates several times in the next few months……only to end up conceding that the data was “too weak”. In 2015, the Fed only raised interest rates 0.25%…….after initially mentioning the need for “several” raises. In much the same fashion, 2016 started out with Fed members discussing the need for four rate raises during the year. Then the poor data started pouring in again, and they said they would remain accommodative. It appears that the game plan from Chairperson Yellen and Vice Chair Fischer is to reduce complacency in global markets. That is a noble goal, especially given the astronomical amount of complacency in the US equity and global debt markets. Continue reading