Weekly Market Commentary

May 28, 2019

 

The Markets

During the past decade, the profitability of U.S. companies increased rapidly. Strong corporate earnings helped the U.S. stock market outperform markets in other nations by a significant margin.

It’s also been a process that I have followed in your portfolio design during this period by often having small exposure to the other global markets.

Since early May, when trade discord resumed between the United States and China, major U.S. stock indices have lost value. Ben Levisohn of Barron’s reported the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 3.5 percent since May 5, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is down 4.1 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite has surrendered 6.5 percent. We are currently seeing the market being sensitive to the news headlines rather than actual true policy events and I am following the trends at this end.

 

It’s not capture the flag.

Like competitive gaming and Ultimate Frisbee, some may categorize pillow fighting as an activity rather than a sport. Jack Tarrant and Yoko Kono of Reuters described the last week’s All Japan Pillow Fighting Championship qualifier in Shizuoka Prefecture in this way:

“A mix between dodgeball and chess, the aim is to protect each team’s ‘King’ from being hit by pillows whilst trying to hit the opposition’s ‘King’ during two-minute sets. One player on each team can also use a duvet as a shield.”

Japan isn’t the only country to embrace pillow fighting. Since 2008, when International Pillow Fight Day was established, annual pillow fights have been launched in cities around the world, according to Awareness Days. Since the first World Pillow Fight Day in March 2008, the activity has gained popularity “…with pillow fighting flash mobs fighting it out in more and more cities every year…”

NOTE: Pillow fighting is not without risk. In 2015, West Point banned its annual pillow fight after 30 participants were injured.

 

Focus On The Positive

“The first colleges to make sports a major part of student life, in addition to the Ivies, were the military academies. They did so for some of the same reasons as the elite schools – athletics instilled character, etc. – but also because Army and Navy endorsed the old General Wellington idea that battles were won and lost on the playing fields of youth. The better the sports program, they reasoned, the better the soldier…”

–Steven Stark, Cultural commentator