November 26, 2018

Weekly Market Commentary

November 26, 2018


The Markets

It was a turkey of a week.

The United States and China continued to spar over trade and other issues.

It is appearing that the market anticipates global economic growth could stumble if trade tensions escalate. However, the flip-side of this issue is that every time our country and another country solidifies a new deal the markets rally strongly.

There may be greater clarity around trade issues when President Donald Trump meets with China’s President Xi Jinping at next week’s G-20 Summit.

During the market volatility I continued to edit out certain positions and often took solid long-term capital gains and occasionally intentional tax lost harvesting. In some cases it boiled down to deciding to retain the well-earned gains that we had made going back as far as last year or let the market reduce them down. In these cases I decided to capture the gain most of the time. I intend on adding new positions over time so the cash will serve as a buffer for now as well as a parking place for new portfolio additions.


Americans are hard working and generous. Take a guess: How many hours do Americans work each year relative to Europeans?

Here are a few hints.

  • The average American has 23 vacation days each year.
  • The Spanish and the Swedes average 36 vacation days each year.
  • Workers in the European Union are guaranteed at least 20 paid days of holiday each year, excluding public holidays.
  • The United States has 10 public holidays.
  • The British have 8 public holidays.
  • Germans may enjoy as many as 13 public holidays, depending on where they live.

So, how many hours do Americans work relative to our European counterparts?

In a typical year, Americans work 100 hours more than the British, 300 hours more than the French, and 400 hours more than the Germans, on average. The Economist reported:

In 2017 the average American took 17.2 days of vacation. That was a slight rise on the 16 days recorded in 2014 but still below the 1978-2000 average of 20.3 days.

There is a case to be built for the importance of taking more vacation time, according to the Harvard Business Review. “Statistically, taking more vacation results in greater success at work as well as lower stress and more happiness at work and home.”

Food for thought as you consider New Year’s Resolutions.


Focus On The Positive

“The first wealth is health.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson