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Thomas J. Feeney's Measure of Value offers periodic commentary on leading financial issues of the day. Additionally, we present occasional articles explaining the philosophical underpinnings of the investment approach that our firms have employed successfully since 1986. Our thinking frequently differs from the common wisdom of the investment industry. The investment approaches we employ always recognize this as a probability business, not a certainty business. In evaluating any investment action, we always weigh the potential damage should the market prove us wrong.

While we have great respect for investment history, we recognize that each era introduces unprecedented specifics. In all that we do, we attempt to identify value, in both a relative and absolute sense. History has demonstrated that long run investment performance leaders need not be the leaders in bull markets as long as they avoid giving up significant portions of their assets during bear markets.

We firmly believe that one need not be fully invested at all times. In fact, we far prefer to assume relatively large levels of risk when assets are historically cheap and to be heavily risk-averse when assets are historically expensive. This approach has proven successful for our clients over more than a quarter century.


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Volatility Continues


August 11, 2015

Just a quick follow-up to yesterday’s analysis. Written on the weekend, we posted “Volatility Reigns” yesterday. The equity market volatility and indecisiveness profiled in that analysis was dramatically in evidence again yesterday and today.

Before the market opened yesterday, traders celebrated the news that Warren Buffett was making a major purchase of Precision Castparts. The economic news out of China was depressing with both July import and export figures down over 8%. In the perverse world of “bad news is good news,” that increased the likelihood that Chinese authorities would soon introduce even more stimulus. There were also reports that Greece and its creditors were close to agreement on another bailout for that beleaguered country. Oversold from more than a week of declines, stocks powered ahead, the Dow Industrials up by 254 points at the day’s high, closing up 241 points. Internals were likewise strong with advancing stocks outpacing declines by nearly three-to-one on the N.Y. Stock Exchange and by over two-to-one on NASDAQ. The only cautionary note was that volume was light and below the levels of recent weeks.

Overnight, China implicitly acknowledged its weakening economic performance by devaluing its currency by almost 2%. That precipitated selling of stocks throughout Asia and Europe despite rumors being confirmed that Greece and its creditors reached agreement on a massive bailout that may exceed 90 billion euros. Stocks reversed course in this country this morning with the Dow dropping 263 points to its low, then rising a bit to close down 212 points. Volume intensified on the decline.

Volatility continues, not just week-to-week but day-to-day. And governments and central bankers remain the major players.

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Tom Feeney is Chief Investment Officer for Mission Management & Trust Co., a full service trust company regulated by the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions. If you would like to explore the management of an investment portfolio of $1 million or more, you are invited to email your interest to Tom@missiontrust.com or call (520) 577-5559 to speak with one of the Portfolio Coordinators.

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