Weekly Market Commentary

August 16, 2019

The Markets

The Federal Open Market Committee completed what it called ‘a mid-cycle adjustment’ with a quarter-point rate cut last week. Some investors were unhappy when Fed officials implied there would not be another reduction this year. They’d been hoping for at least one, reported Barron’s.

Then, like a movie villain that just won’t die, U.S. import taxes – a.k.a. tariffs – reared their ugly heads and wiped out the week’s gains.

Tariffs have pummeled U.S. and Chinese economies for months. Early estimates suggest imports from China to the United States fell by 12.6 percent from June 2018 to June 2019, while exports from the United States to China fell by 16.8 percent during the same period, according to a source cited by Barron’s.

I am also reviewing the portfolios and making some re-balancing decisions due to the recent news about interest rate issues. Please feel free to call or email if you have any specific concerns that you would like to discuss.

Does flying trigger your lizard brain? Flight attendants and frequent fliers have some crazy stories to tell. Lets Fly Cheaper, Business Insider, and Point Me To The Plane reported on some of the strange things flight attendants have experienced, including:

  • Medicated sleep zombies. Passengers sometimes take sleep aids to slumber while flying. In one instance, a passenger sleep-streaked to first class.
  • Emotional support animals (ESAs). In an effort to remain calm while flying, some people bring pets for emotional support. These have included a turkey, a pig, a monkey, and a kangaroo.
  • Impatient passengers. In 2014, a passenger deployed the emergency slide because he wanted to disembark more quickly.
  • Strange requests. Flight attendants report passengers have asked how to roll down plane windows, if they could stop at the Sky Mall, and whether they could borrow a screwdriver to take a seat apart.

A flight attendant told NPR, “When people get on a plane, they revert to a lizard brain where they forget all social decencies and common sense…Flying takes away everybody’s sense of control. So people tend to grasp at whatever kind of control they can have…”

There may be a scientific explanation for passengers’ odd plane behavior. NPR reported that low air pressure reduces the oxygen in passengers’ blood, making them more emotional and more prone to poor decision-making.

Focus On The Positive

“The lizard brain is not merely a concept. It’s real, and it’s living on the top of your spine, fighting for your survival. But, of course, survival and success are not the same thing.” –Seth Godin, American author