Boltwood Capital Management | Weekly Reads: 01/21/2019
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Weekly Reads: 01/21/2019

The Week’s Best Articles: Week of January 21st, 2019

Housing: Home Prices Show Signs of Weakness – click here
One of the signs that people look at as a signal of overall economic health is the price of homes.  During the month of December home prices nationally began to show weakness for the first time in several years.  Time will tell if this is a blip or the start of something broader.

Investing: Seth Klarman Letter Spooks Davos Attendees – click here
Mr. Klarman is one of the most respected value investors in the world and as a result when he shares his thoughts many listen.  His recent letter discusses the impact of debt and how the constant protests around the world must signal a new environment for investing.

Technology: Facebook Is the Most Vulnerable Big Tech Stock According to Some – click here
One of the consensus thoughts regarding large technology stocks is that they (Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.) are so large that it would be almost impossible for any startups to challenge them.  However, according to one VC investor, the exact opposite may be true.

Investing: The Insane Story of How an Early Quant Investor Went Rogue – click here
Quant investing has become all the rage.  But there was one early academic that explored the idea of using computers to mimic human behavior just as PCs were becoming available to the masses.  However, since then his life has been nothing short of a roller coaster.

Loans: No Pay Stub? No Problem. Unconventional Mortgages Make a Comeback – click here
Broadly speaking, unconventional mortgages were at the root of the financial crisis.  Borrowers took on too much debt while lenders did little to verify the ability for these borrowers to pay.  Now, a decade after the crash the first signs that this market is returning are being seen.  While proponents of the loans say “this time is different” the return of these products should be watched carefully by all.

Business: Why Are Glasses So Expensive? The eyewear industry prefers to keep that blurry – click here
As an eyeglass user it is amazing that frames and lenses cost as much money as they do.  This article by the LA Times looks at the industry of eyewear and why the manufacturers of these products have an incentive to keep their business practices (and pricing) quiet.

Environment: How To Solve The World’s Plastics Problem: Bring Back the Milk Man – click here
Environmental awareness has risen substantially over the past several decades.  However, some of the conveniences that we have experienced over that time have caused some of the most significant damage to the planet.   This article by CNN looks at how an old fashion idea, the milkman, could help partly control the plastic problem we have.

Tech: Phone Damage – Apple’s Supply Chain Problems – click here
The impact of tariffs on Apple have been the subject of many conversations over the past few months.  However, looking beyond these headlines you can see other cracks in Apple’s armor.  The company has struggled with declining demand and the impact of the saturation of phones globally is beginning to impact those that build our their supply chain.