See below for Branzan's most recent economic and investment articles.
Branzan Advisors Commentary | January, 2024
As investors, we begin a new year by reflecting on the prior year. While there's not necessarily anything different that will immediately occur because the number of the year changes, it is a good opportunity to assess what went right and wrong in the past 12 months and give thought to where opportunities and risks lie ahead over the next 12 months.
Branzan Advisors Commentary | March, 2023
In the asset management business, almost everyone has strong opinions about where the markets are headed over the next few quarters and what assets will perform best over that time. In reality, no one knows. Sure, you can make an educated guess with the information you have at that time, but it’s just that - a guess.
Branzan Advisors Commentary | November, 2022
As many of you likely did over this past weekend, we spent much time reading different reports on last week’s rapid demise and bankruptcy filing of the FTX Cryptocurrency Exchange. While we expect it will take months or years before we know the entire story. It appears to be a fraud of monumental proportions and billions of dollars was likely lost.
Branzan Advisors Commentary | June, 2022
Investors have been through a lot during the first six months of 2022. After years of complacency and expecting stock markets to continue their march upward and bond markets to maintain record low interest rates, things changed in a hurry.
Branzan Advisors Commentary | April, 2022
Investors had plenty to worry about in the first quarter of 2022, including inflation, interest rate increases and tightening of monetary conditions by central banks, spiking commodity prices, supply chain issues, pandemic-induced lockdowns in China and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, just to mention several areas of concern. Volatility was high among almost all asset classes.
Branzan Advisors Commentary | June, 2021
Investing is never easy. And when it seems like it is, we should all be concerned. We can’t help but think back to day traders of dot.com stocks in the late 90s or the home flippers of 2005-2007. Easy money was made for a while, but ultimately it blew up. What we are seeing today is eerily reminiscent of those times. Artificially low interest rates, excessive liquidity and a fear of missing out (FOMO) are driving investors into riskier and riskier asset classes. Many of the people investing in these asset classes (for example: SPACs, cryptocurrencies, NFTs and MEME stocks) are not long-term investors. Most are traders, or gamblers, looking to get in today and sell tomorrow to someone at a higher price. We try our best to block out the daily market noise (it isn’t easy) and focus on the long-term prospects of an investment.
Branzan Advisors Commentary | February, 2021
2020 was a year that will not soon be forgotten - a worldwide pandemic and its effects across the world’s economies, unprecedented civil and political unrest, a dramatic and swift decline in equity markets followed by a surprisingly strong recovery in most sub-sectors of the market, a cratering of oil prices (with a subsequent recovery), and the list goes on.Suffice it to say, it was not an easy environment in which to invest capital. But it never really is.
Branzan Advisors Commentary | September, 2020
It’s instructive, and often humbling, to contrast our earlier thoughts with reality. This was the final paragraph to our February missive to you.
Branzan Advisors Commentary | June, 2020
The market volatility we’ve anticipated for several years arrived with the virus in March and continues with no relief. In the equity markets, we’ve seen some of the worst days of losses followed by the best days of gains. In our country, the government, through its agent the Federal Reserve, has, in turn, exacerbated and relieved the situation.
Branzan Advisors Commentary | March, 2020 - 3
A lot has changed since our last communication on March 13th. The domestic equity markets bottomed out (at least temporarily) on March 23rd and have performed reasonably well since then. High-yield fixed income has also rebounded from its March 23rd lows. Much of the bounce in asset prices can be attributed to the unprecedented $2 trillion stimulus package that Congress passed. The long-term ramifications of the stimulus (and the associated debt that comes along with it) are unknown, but for small businesses that are struggling during this economic downturn and for those employees that are affected, the stimulus should help address some of the immediate needs. We anticipate there will be additional financial stimulus packages enacted before this is over. In the meantime, the equity and fixed income markets reacted well to the support for the economy.
Branzan Advisors Commentary | March, 2020 - 2
We wanted to provide you with some thoughts on the markets in light of the recent coronavirus outbreak. The decline in the domestic and global equity markets has been swift as investors try to forecast the impact of the virus on the global economy. More than anything, markets hate uncertainty. The economic impact of the coronavirus is unknown and the longer the pandemic goes on, the larger the impact on the global economy. While travel and hospitality stocks have been among the hardest hit, there will be a slowdown in spending that affects most industries and companies. We expect earnings will suffer and stocks will continue to be volatile until the virus is under control. While there have been some encouraging signs in the hardest hit regions of the world, we are not out of the woods yet.
Branzan Advisors Commentary | March, 2020 - 1
Like all years, 2019 had its investment moments and 2020 promises more of the same. In 2019, many asset classes performed well – U.S. large cap stocks, global stocks and the U.S. Dollar were all positive for the year. Commodities were a mixed bag in 2019. Gold and silver did well in 2019 as did other commodities associated with economic growth (oil, nickel, platinum). Laggards included natural gas and coal due to oversupply and environmental concerns, respectively.
Branzan Advisors Commentary | December, 2019
This continues to be a strange investment year. The bond market hit higher highs on near-historic low yields, but lower-quality corporate debt, especially Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLO), is downright scary. The DJIA is at another all-time high. Only the Dow Transports lags, suggesting that demand is slowing. Gains in the S&P 500 are concentrated in the tech stocks. IPO's are suffering, in some cases blowing up (WeWork’s parent, the We Company), and the largest IPO in history (Saudi Aramco) is being brought to market by folks with a rich history for treachery. What could possibly go wrong with that?
Branzan Advisors Commentary | July, 2019
In our March letter, we visited the dramatic corrections in the broad markets that occurred in the 4th quarter of 2018. NASDAQ had its worst quarter ever; the S&P its worst since the Great Depression; Bill Gross quit the business and Warren Buffett blamed his losses on an accounting change.
Branzan Advisors Commentary | March, 2019
After three strong quarters, the long-anticipated correction arrived in the 4th quarter of 2018. Apple suffered the worst loss of market capitalization in the history of U.S. markets and responded by eliminating its reports of unit sales. Bill Gross, the bond king, retired after years of less than royal returns after leaving PIMCO. Warren Buffett blamed a rule change requiring mark-to-market accounting for the losses at Berkshire Hathaway.