Author Archives: Ryan Browne

This is the 14th U.S. presidential election in which I’ve been eligible to vote. In the middle of a pandemic, it’s certainly different from the first 13. But one way it’s similar is that people always ask me if they should change their investment strategy depending on whether the Democrats or Republicans win. My quick answer is: Vote with your ballot, not your life savings.  I’m not changing my investment strategy based on the presidential election outcome. That’s one of the great perks about being a long-term investor who thinks in decades and not days. How did I come to this conclusion? It all starts with the data. The firm I co-founded, Dimensional Fund Advisors, looked at the last 95 years of stock returns (all the way back to President Calvin Coolidge). The data show that capturing the long-term returns of the capital markets has not depended on which party controls the…

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The number of workers receiving and applying for unemployment benefits declined significantly last week, according to Labor Department figures issued Thursday. That’s good news for workers and the U.S. economy — thousands of people are returning to work and coming off unemployment rolls. But the headline numbers don’t give the full picture. Some labor-market dynamics mask concerning trends under the surface. “It’s absolutely true the job market and economy are strengthening,” said Heidi Shierholz, director of policy at think tank the Economic Policy Institute and former chief economist at the Labor Department during the Obama administration. “But these numbers represent an enormous amount of suffering,” she added. “The levels are devastating.” Unemployment claims There was a drop of more than 1 million people who filed a continuing claim for state unemployment insurance during the week ended Oct. 10, according to the Labor Department. Continuing claims are a rough measure of…

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Despite the rise in digital payments, cash is still king in uncertain times — but who’s going to print it? In the United States, the task of printing money and minting coins falls to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which is part of the Treasury Department. But in the United Kingdom, a private company prints the nation’s bank notes and passports — and it is running short of cash. De La Rue, which has printed banknotes for the Bank of England since 1860, and also prints currency for 140 other countries, last week issued a warning that there was “significant doubt” about its future. It is the largest commercial printer in the world, produces passports for 40 countries, and has designed 36 percent of all banknote denominations in circulation, according to investment research company Edison Group. Yet the company reported lackluster 2019-2020 half-year financial results, and has lost 20…

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Hong Kong’s Festival Walk shopping mall is working towards either a partial or full opening by March next year, after it suffered extensive damage during protests last month. “All efforts are being made to re-open the mall as soon as possible,” said the manager of Singapore-listed Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust (MNACT) on Wednesday (Dec 4). MNACT owns the shopping mall.  “We are working closely with our consultants and contractors to re-open, either partially or fully, in the first quarter of calendar year 2020,” it added. Festival Walk has been closed since Nov 13 after groups of protesters stormed the upmarket shopping mall in Kowloon Tong, setting fire to the Christmas tree in the atrium and smashing glass panels at entrances to the property, including the office lobby and balustrades on various levels of the mall. “Major recovery and repair works” will have to be done on multiple levels of the…

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Bitcoin has been on a tear this year, rising almost 200% since the start of the year. There are multiple theories as to why, and one in particular is gaining traction. It’s being called “the halvening”, an event where the rewards to so-called bitcoin miners are cut in half. To understand what that means, it’s important to know how bitcoin’s underlying technology — the blockchain — works. Miners with high-powered computers compete to solve complex math problems to validate bitcoin transactions. Whoever wins that race gets rewarded in bitcoin. Currently, the number of bitcoins miners are rewarded in stands at 12.5. The rewards are halved every few years to keep a lid on inflation. By May 2020, experts say, the reward per miner will be cut in half again, to 6.25 new bitcoins. “Bitcoin’s current inflation rate is approximately 3.76%,” Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at social trading platform eToro, told CNBC by…

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