Pick the Perfect Bracket

Investing Lessons and March Madness

Oh boy…March Madness. It started last week and it’s what everyone seems to be talking about at work. Most people feel great on “Selection Sunday”, which is when the NCAA selection committee announces “The Bracket”. The bracket is the group of 64 teams (okay, I know it’s technically 68, but I’m asking for some artistic license for the sake of brevity) who will be playing in this year’s NCAA College…

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Buying Low and Selling High

Eight Straight Great to Date

Last week was the 8th anniversary of one of the greatest buying opportunities of most of our lifetimes.  As you can see below, it was obvious to most investors that March 9th, 2009 was going to be the bottom… I’m sure everyone knows I’m kidding…I remember someone in my industry saying to me, “this could literally go to zero.” Yes, he literally said, “literally.” Now, eight years later, this bull…

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The Dow... Will It...

This Winning Streak Is Going To End – But Do You Care?

I’m sure I will not be the only one using this reference to the famous scene from Spinal Tap where Nigel Tufnel explains how his band’s amplifiers go to eleven…”When you need that extra push over the cliff…” Please, and I’m probably talking to most of the people at Monument as well as most of the Millennial Generation…please watch this 50-second clip.  It will all make sense. The Dow is…

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What One Economic Indicator is Saying About an Upcoming Recession

First – a look back at what was happening in 2008. I thought this was a pretty interesting clip from the University of Pennsylvania. I have more thoughts on news and headlines below but first I want to transition to one of the leading economic indicators I like to keep a sharp eye on…the Department of Labor’s Weekly Initial Jobless Claims for Unemployment Insurance. This report is often referred to…

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Monument’s Economic Review

Check out our latest video!  Our Economic Review video breaks down 2016 into four distinct sections, discusses what affected the market in each of those periods, and then goes into what’s ahead for 2017. WATCH THE VIDEO>  

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DOW 30000

So The Dow Hit 20,000… What Does That Mean For You?

First – we feel like Monument is just one of those places that does a great job recruiting and retaining great employees. While not all of them remain, we love to highlight how hard work and good decisions lead to greater success down the road. Many of you may remember Kristen Owen. Kristen started with us as a recent MBA grad and freshly minted with her CFA designation. After life…

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IN CASH for all of 2016


Despite the nice post-election rally to end 2016, it turned out to be downright…average. That is if you use the S&P 500 Index as your yardstick. If you go back to 1928, the average annual return for the S&P 500 (including reinvested dividends) runs just around 10%. 2016 turned in the year with the S&P 500 up 9.54% on a price return basis. Throw in the dividends and it was…

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Let’s Party Like It’s 19,999

RIP Prince, but I thought it was a fitting title for my first blog since the end of 2016. If someone had bought around 1,000 more shares of any stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, we would have reached the vaunted Dow 20,000. Anyway, I took some time off for the holidays to relax and read and I hope that everyone had a great end of the year. It…

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Quick Thoughts on DOW 20,000

Dow 20,000 is the talk of the town. There is no escaping it. As I write this (Wednesday at 10:36 am), the index is a mere 0.60% away. But a question being asked, explicitly and implicitly, is this: “Do the current valuation levels (specifically P/E Ratios) signal a market top?” My opinion? Not by themselves. Research from LPL Financial and Barclays indicates a weak relationship between one measure of stock…

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The Markets Are Up, But Do You Even Know Why?

Since DJT’s (that’s how all the cool DC Republican insiders are referring to him) unanticipated victory, the major U.S. equities indices have been surging past all-time highs. While investors are trying to price in the positive economic impact from an expected infusion of fiscal stimulus (tax cuts and spending – more on that below), some of the rally could also just be cash that had formerly been on the sidelines…

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Why the Shrinking Unemployment is Not as Good as it Seems

Well, we finally had a negative week in the S&P 500, post-election. It was trading down 0.97% for the week, and ended up at an index level of 2,192. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was barely positive, clocking in with a 0.1% gain on the week to close at 19,170. There was good news with employment and an interest rate hike is basically a 100% lock, so what gives? It…

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First Time Claims

A record almost as old as me – but without the bad knee. You see what I did there with the rhyme, right? Let’s start with a quick update and overview. First – a quote from Barron’s over the weekend by Ben Levisohn, “Strength begat strength last week, as stocks continued to rise, even as the U.S. Dollar and bond yields headed higher.” It reminded me of a fairly recent…

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election trading

Our Quick Election Thoughts

As I watched the markets “crash” overnight, I was reminded of the Interactive Broker’s commercial that is the picture in this blog post. It features a woman sitting down to a dinner date saying, “Markets are a mess, everybody’s selling…wow the market’s already down 2%, I’m sorry I need to do some hedging trades!” I was thankful that the market was closed during the election because by the time 9:30…

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Did You Notice the GDP Report?

The Election Someone please tell Ball Park Franks they HAVE to hire Anthony Weiner to make a spoof YouTube ad for next summer. I mean, it’s a layup. Other than that, I’m not touching the election. The only points I’ve made about it can (and should) be read in one of my earlier blog posts. You can already see how the market will react to any surprise election results that…

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Sanity in a Flat Market

Major equity markets in the US fell this week, with the S&P 500 (SPY) down around -0.9% and the Nasdaq 100 down 1.12%. Small-caps were down even more with the Russell 2000 dropping -1.95%. Take a look at the Bespoke chart below, see that line? It’s the line of pain investors have been feeling for 2 years now. Investors are NOT EXCITED yet the stock market is not far off…

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