"Are we really willing to sacrifice for the greater good?" by: John Sample

   Last week’s holiday shorted trading week was quite the roller coaster ride. 
   At the end, your stomach was in your throat and back where you started. 
   Of interest was the angst over the European economy because of political and financial instability. 
   That was followed by announcements of tariffs to be imposed on steel and aluminum imports and the possibility of a trade war. 
   That was juxtaposed against some of the best unemployment numbers that have not been seen in this country in over 20 years.
   It just seems that when you think it can’t get any worse and we are on the brink, someone points out the rainbow on the horizon.
   This is what captivates me as I try to understand what makes the economy and stock market work. 
   You only have to look at the start of this week with the FANG stocks pushing the NASDAQ to record high levels. 
   The Dow and Standard & Poor’s 500 stock-index are less influenced by high tech and have a ways to go to reach the all-time highs attained in January. 
   The Dow, for example, at one point last week was back where it started the year. 
   I wish more people would concentrate on the broader indexes, as they are more reflective of the equities market - over just 30 stocks that are an average rather than an index.
   But the Dow has such name cache that it will forever be the public’s measure of the stock market.
   I did find it interesting last week that reports indicated that PC sales had recovered. 
   It was not that long ago that PCs were relegated to the same tar pits as dinosaurs. 
   This just another example of value investing. 
   HP and Microsoft were considered old school and given up for dead. 
   It just took new management and concentration of resources on providing cloud technology to bring these companies back. 
   Look at Micron Technology as another example where a company known for Dram has grown the sophistication of the product. 
   I am not saying that these companies are at the growth levels of companies like Nvidia and Amazon, but they are growing again. 
   I wish I could say the same thing for IBM, but they have a way to go.
   I am interested in where our trade policy will lead this country. It could have a huge impact on corporate profits. 
   While I am not sure what the answer should be, but at least we are talking about a situation where many of our closest trading partners don’t play fairly. 
   How you get to fair trade is the real crux of the problem. 
   It is our fault for just letting things get to this point. 
   I do believe that you will never negotiate yourself back to fair trade. 
   The decision, as with anything, about change is whether we can withstand the pain to get where we want. 
   Look around and you will notice that as a country, we are for the other guy sacrificing for our benefit - just not me.
   On the bright side, you just can’t deny that this economy is doing well. 
   It is only going to get better and extent of that growth is what is really going to determine where we go in the stock market. 
   My money is that we will be happy with where we end the year.

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