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Strange Things in the Precious Metals
Issue #531, July 17, 2018

Buying Years of Retirement
Issue #530, July 09, 2018

Rent-A-Kid for Retirement
Issue #529, July 02, 2018

The Dark Side of Student Loans
Issue #528, June 25, 2018

The Cost of Out-sourcing Convenience
Issue #527, June 18, 2018

Social Security: 66 or 70?
Issue #526, June 11, 2018

Student Loans: There’s (Unfortunately) a Lot More!
Issue #525, June 04, 2018

Co-signing a Note
Issue #524A, May 31, 2018

The Knight Frank Luxury Index and Collectables
Issue #524, May 28, 2018

The Importance of Diversification: The Myth of Diversification
Issue #523, May 21, 2018

How to Save Thousands on Your Food Bill
Issue #522, May 14, 2018

MoviePass and Other Things
Issue #521A, May 10, 2018

Degree Inflation, Long Training Periods, and “Certification”  Part III
Issue #521, May 07, 2018

Degree Inflation, Long Training Periods, and Certification” Part II of III
Issue #520, April 30, 2018

Follow-up on Several Things
Issue #519A, April 25, 2018

Degree Inflation, Long Training Periods, and “Certification”: Part I of II
Issue #519, April 23, 2018

The Kids Birthday Party Hustle
Issue #518A, April 18, 2018

A Pension Question: Part II of II
Issue #518, April 16, 2018

A Physician is an Executive
Issue #517A, April 11, 2018

A Pension Question: Part I of II
Issue #517, April 09, 2018

Is the Correction Over?
Issue #516A, April 05, 2018

Used Car Dealers, Student Loans, the Chinese, and Uncle George’s Rule
Issue #516, April 02, 2018

Starter Homes
Issue #515, March 26, 2018

Redecorating: Beware!
Issue #514, March 19, 2018

NASDAQ Closes at Record High
Issue #513, March 12, 2018

A 40% Chance
Issue #512, March 05, 2018

Several Things
Issue #511, February 27, 2018

Human Capital, Education and Wealth
Issue #510, February 19, 2018

Another Stock Market Update
Issue #509A, February 18, 2018

Some Thoughts on Savings
Issue #509, February 12, 2018

A Stock Market Upfate
Issue #508S, February 10, 2018

Who Can You Trust? Part II of II
Issue #508, February 05, 2018

The Christmas Decoration Pre-worn Jeans Hustle
Issue #Interim Bulletin #507A, February 03, 2018

2018 Outlook for Financial Markets
Issue #507, January 29, 2018

Who Can You Trust? Part I of II
Issue #506, January 22, 2018

Life Insurance Settlements
Issue #505, January 15, 2018

Commodities and Buying the Breakout
Issue #504, January 08, 2018

Buffett Wins His Bet
Issue #503A, January 04, 2018

Practice Real Estate and Free Agency
Issue #503, January 01, 2018

Outlook for 2018: Part III: Stocks and Bonds
Issue #502, December 25, 2017

My Outlook for 2018: Part Ii: Precious Metals
Issue #501A, December 21, 2017

Outlook for 2018: Hard Assets: Part I of III
Issue #501, December 18, 2017

More Thoughts on Bitcoin
Issue #500A, December 14, 2017

Fees and Good Relations with Bankers
Issue #500, December 11, 2017

Salvator Mundi
Issue #499A, December 07, 2017

Should You Rent or Own a Home?
Issue #499, December 04, 2017

A Gift Subscription
Issue #Interim Bulletin #498A, December 02, 2017

Stocks vs Real Estate: Asset Allocation: Part II of II
Issue #498, November 27, 2017

When Good Enough is Fine
Issue #497A, November 22, 2017

Stocks vs Real Estate: Asset Allocation. Part I of II
Issue #497, November 20, 2017

The Saudi Arrests and the Perils of Foreign Investing
Issue #496, November 13, 2017

Gambling and Las Vegas
Issue #495, November 06, 2017

Some Tips on Auto Insurance
Issue #494, October 31, 2017

Bitcoin and the Digital (Crypto) Currencies
Issue #493, October 23, 2017

The Coming Bear Market: Part II How to Prepare
Issue #492, October 16, 2017

Some Observations on Cemeteries
Issue #Interim Bulletin #491A, October 12, 2017

The Coming Bear Market: Part I: The Myth of Buy and Hold Forever
Issue #491, October 09, 2017

The Market makes New Highs
Issue #490, October 02, 2017

The Importance of a New High
Issue #489, September 25, 2017

A Little Insurance: Wealth, War and Wisdom
Issue #488, September 18, 2017

Some Observations
Issue #487, September 11, 2017

How to be Successful in Your Career
Issue #486A, September 07, 2017

How NOT to Buy a Home
Issue #486, September 04, 2017

This Week in the Market
Issue #485, August 28, 2017

Is the “Trump Bump” Running Out of Gas?
Issue #484, August 21, 2017

Gold is on the Move
Issue #483, August 14, 2017

The Importance of Estimation
Issue #482, August 07, 2017

Buying Art and Collecting: Part II of II
Issue #481, July 31, 2017

Buying Art and Collecting in General, Part I of II
Issue #480, July 24, 2017

Physicians need to be More Forceful: Follow-up
Issue #479, July 17, 2017

Physicians need to be More Forceful
Issue #478, July 10, 2017

Your First “Real” Investment
Issue #477, July 03, 2017

Leasing a Watch: Don’t
Issue #476, June 26, 2017

The Importance of Your Children having a Job
Issue #475, June 16, 2017

The Problem with Medical Student Debt is—the Med Schools
Issue #474, June 12, 2017

Critters and Varmints in your Home and Yard
Issue #473A, June 07, 2017

Leveraged ETFs
Issue #472, May 29, 2017

Leasing a Vehicle: Don’t!
Issue #471, May 22, 2017

Issue #470, May 15, 2017

More on Buying Jewelry
Issue #469, May 08, 2017

Buying Jewelry: Gold, Diamonds and Pearls
Issue #468, April 30, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Part III of III
Issue #467, April 24, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Pat II of III
Issue #466, April 17, 2017

Live Close to Where You Work
Issue #465, April 10, 2017

Medtronic in Hospital Management
Issue #Interim Bulletin #464A, April 07, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Part I of II
Issue #464, April 03, 2017

A Political Contribution a an Investment: Part II of II
Issue #463, March 27, 2017

A Political Contribution as an Investment: Part I of II
Issue #462, March 20, 2017

Buffett Selling Vacation Home
Issue #461, March 13, 2017

Advanced Placement (AP) ourses
Issue #460, March 06, 2017

The Importance of a Credit History
Issue #459A, March 02, 2017

A Credit Card Scam
Issue #459, February 27, 2017

The Electronic Health Reord
Issue #458, February 20, 2017

Issue #457, February 13, 2017

Platinum and Palladium
Issue #456, February 06, 2017

Economic Outlook for 2017: Part II of II
Issue #455A, February 02, 2017

Economic Outlook for 2017: Part I of II
Issue #455, January 30, 2017

A Story From Vegas
Issue #454A, January 25, 2017

Land Donation Deals and the IRS
Issue #454, January 23, 2017

The Theory of Gambler’s Ruin
Issue #453, January 16, 2017


By Robert M. Doroghazi, M.D., F.A.C.C.

The Consumer Confidence Index

Issue #451, January 02, 2017

    The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) is released at 10 AM ET on the last Tuesday of every month. It is compiled by the non-profit Conference Board from a survey of more than 5,000 households conducted by Nielsen (NLSN). It is indicative of the consumption component of the Gross Domestic Product. Opinions on current conditions make up 40% of the index, expectations of future conditions make up the other 60%.
    Respondents answer the five questions as “positive, negative or neutral”.
    1) Current business conditions.
    2) Business conditions for the next 6 months.
    3) Current employment conditions.
    4) Employment conditions for next 6 months.
    5) Total family income for next 6 months. 
    The CCI was started in 1967 and a base of 100 was established in 1985. The December reading of 113.7 was up from 109.4 in November. This number was driven solely by the Expectation Index, which increased sharply from 94.4 to 105.5, and was at its highest level since 107.4 in December, 2003. The Present Situation Index decreased from 132 to 126.1
    The highest reading for the CCI was 144.7 in January, 2000 (RMD: the absolute high of the bubble). The all-time low was 37.7 in January, 2009 (RMD: the low of the financial crisis).
    RMD comment: like all statistics, there will be month to month variability. In general, the larger the change, such as more than 5 points, the more significant. The trend is also important. Manufacturers and retailers use the CCI in their models to help estimate production and orders. Banks and credit card companies use it to anticipate a decrease or increase in demand for mortgages and credit.
    Some points on the market:
    I continue to be impressed with the information imparted by the VIX (Volatility Index, discussed in Issue #422, 6/14/16). To remind you, the VIX is also called the fear index because it goes up when the market goes down. On Tuesday, the market was up slightly and seemed quiet, but the VIX was up 4-6% most of the day. Sure enough, the DJIA dropped 110 points on Wednesday.
    With the election, the USD broke to a multi-year high and interest rates shot up. Gold was smoked. The Dollar is now stalled at 103, and the 10-year Treasury can’t seem to break through 2.50%. On Thursday, the precious metal miners had a monster day. Silver Wheaton (SLW) was +9.4%, GDX (an ETF of the large miners) was up 7.5%, and GDXJ (an ETF of the junior miners) was up 9.2%. However, on Friday they gave back a good part of those gains.
    The precious metals need to show much more strength before I can recommend you jump in.

    From time to time I will mention stocks that are near to or breaking out to new highs, stocks with strong momentum. Potlatch Corp ((PCH) is a diversified lumber and forest products company, so it would be a good way to play natural resources and housing. In 2006 it restructured as a REIT, and pays a dividend of 3.6%. I do not own PCH at present but I’m watching it closely.
    Last week I bought a pack of 100 plain, unlined 3x5 index cards = $1.50.
    RMD checking out. “I worked at an office supply store in high school. The unlined cards were 15 cents, the lined cards were 20 cents.”
    Clerk: “They sure have increased a lot”. Pause, then smile. “After January 20, they’ll say ‘Made in America’ and cost at least 20% more”.
    The people who voted for Trump are still sore about being called “deplorable”, and the people who voted for Clinton are still sore Trump won.
    RMD comment: the one thing that’s safe to say is that this will be the most business-friendly administration in a l-o-n-g time. The consumer believes it (see above), and the stock market believes it.
    A friend asked me to look at a lesion on her 22 year old daughter’s scalp. When I was in practice, I had a rule “if I noticed a skin lesion, I was concerned about it”. I picked up 7 melanomas. I was concerned and it was a basal cell carcinoma.
    RMD comment: In Issue #118 (8/16/10) I reviewed Gladwell’s book “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. The book provided an intellectual framework for my personal rule. The brain has 2 computers. Your conscious, rational one for making analytical decisions, and your subconscious, good for making snap decisions. Ex: it’s 2 AM Sunday morning, you’re walking down an alley in the worst part of town (this wouldn’t be a problem if you weren’t there in the first place) and 2 guys are walking towards you with baseball bats. You don’t need to Google anything to figure out it’s time to scram.
    Mariah Carey walked off the stage at her New Year’s Eve performance.
    RMD comment: a surgeon subscriber noted that you don’t just walk out of the OR when get a little tough.
    There have been fights and altercations at multiple malls.
    RMD comment: There has been a loss of basic civility and common decency in our society. Machiavelli’s The Prince is one of the 10 most important books I have read. It is considered the beginning of the discipline of Political Science. The #1 desire of the average citizen is order: People are willing to give up some, even a fair amount of, freedom and their personal possessions for order: the knowledge that you and your family are safe when you walk down the street and conduct the basic business of your life.
    I’m going to put out an Interim Bulletin on Wednesday about recreational property. The subject of next week’s newsletter will be “Student Loans: But Wait, There’s More”.   

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