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Weekend reading: Are we there yet?

What caught my eye this week.

Are US markets enjoying a bull run of unprecedented longevity? You might think that could be answered by looking at a graph of long-term stock market gains, but the topic is surprisingly controversial.

Michael Batnick explored the debate [1] this week, if you like that kind of thing.

Now, no offence to Michael but my favourite part of his post was this quote from Adam Smith’s classic book, Supermoney [2].

Here’s how he describes the late stages of a bull market:

We are all at a wonderful ball where the champagne sparkles in every glass and soft laughter falls upon the summer air.

We know, by the rules, that at some moment, the Black Horseman will come shattering through the great terrace doors, wreaking vengeance and scattering the survivors.

Those who leave early are saved, but the ball is so splendid no one wants to leave while there is still time, so that everyone keeps asking “What time is it? What time is it?”

But none of the clocks have any hands.

Wonderful. (Or, as a blogger, ‘well jel’, as the Majorcans would apparently say.)

In a variation on this end of days theme, Vanguard also wrote this week on why it is so hard to predict [3] the next bear market.

But that article’s title misstates reality.

It’s actually very easy to predict a bear market. We’ve seen dozens of high-profile pundits make exactly that prediction over the past decade.

What’s hard is to be right!

Have a great weekend (and praise be to the rain.)

From Monevator

Average active funds have no answer to their weightless index tracking rivals – Monevator [4]

From the archive-ator: A quick guide to asset classes – Monevator [5]

News

Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view you can click to read the piece without being a paid subscriber. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing if you read them a lot!1 [6]

UK interest rates will stay low for 20 years says outgoing MPC member – Guardian [7]

Home equity release may cost pension firms billions – BBC [8]

How one ‘push’ from bank fraudsters can lose you thousands of pounds [Search result]FT [9]

Pound dives to lowest level against dollar since June 2017 amid Brexit woes – ThisIsMoney [10]

Nationalist president of Turkey appeals to ‘the people’ to halt FX slide – Bloomberg via Twitter [11]

Indices are up, but beneath the surface the US stock market is shrinking – New York Times [12]

Royal Mint estimates £170m of old-style pound coins are still unaccounted for – ThisIsMoney [13]

Pension ‘dippers’ face tax relief shock [Search result]FT [14]

A table showing slowing property price growth or declines in many major world cities. [15]

(Click to enlarge)

Cities house-price index suggests the property market is slowing – The Economist [16]

Products and services

Charles Stanley hikes fees, from 0.25% to 0.35% – Money Observer [17]

Only one in 10 banks have passed on any of the interest rate rise. What to do? – ThisIsMoney [18]

Beaufort Securities investors to access trapped funds “in a few weeks” – CityWire [19]

Ratesetter will pay you £100 [and me a cash bonus] if you invest £1,000 with them for a year – Ratesetter [20]

Is a 95% mortgage a better option than Help to Buy? – ThisIsMoney [21]

Trading apps expose consumers to cyber criminals, report finds [US but relevant]Bloomberg [22]

Investors charged hundreds of pounds for Isa and Sipp exit fees [Search result]FT [23]

New mortgage by L&G enables cash-strapped pensioners to refurbish housing – ThisIsMoney [24]

Comment and opinion

The first rule of Financial Independence club – 3652 Days [25]

How diversification feels in practice [Graphic] (h/t A.R. [26]) – Dan Egan on Twitter [27]

Swedroe: Latest data showing persistent out-performance is super rare – ETF.com [28]

Why investors should care about rising interest rates – The Value Perspective [29]

New favourite word: No – The Humble Dollar [30]

What does the advent of free funds mean for asset management? – T.E.B.I. [31]

The layers of the brain, and how it impacts investing – A Wealth of Common Sense [32]

From emotional to financial, with finances and fitness – Get Rich Slowly [33]

Something for a market (or a mid-life) crisis – A Teachable Moment [34]

Thoughts on the upcoming pension costs and transparency inquiry [35]YoungFIGuy [36]

How to manage a portfolio of shares – UK Value Investor [37]

Elon Musk has some fun with Tesla – Bloomberg [38]

Tips for aspiring professional portfolio managers – Enterprising Investor [39]

Kindle book bargains

Liar’s Poker: From the author of the Big Short by Michael Lewis – £0.99 on Kindle [40]

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard Thaler – £1.99 on Kindle [41]

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt & Steven Dubner – £1.99 on Kindle [42]

PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason – £0.99 on Kindle [43]

Brexit

Britain’s populist revolt [Long but thought-provoking read]Quillette [44]

Why I’ve changed my mind on Brexit – Gavin Esler [45]

How the young and old would vote on Brexit now – BBC [46]

Off our beat

From East London to a City job: Knocking door’s changed this boy’s life [Video]BBC [47]

Natural maniacs [On Elon Musk]Morgan Housel [48]

You’ll be alright – Casey Mullooly [49]

And finally…

“Workers work hard enough to not be fired, and owners pay just enough so that workers won’t quit.”
– Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad [50]

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  1. Note some articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”. [ [53]]