Every once in a while, a story inspires us. My recent journey of inspiration was an article that I initially read in the Wall Street Journal1 about a young, tattooed mother, Cibele Florêncio, who lived with her five-year-old son in her parent’s home. She earned a living by being a maid in a wealthy gated community. When she wasn’t working or helping her family – she played chess. It was a game she had learned in grade school when the current mayor (at that time) introduced it to the school curriculum. When she ran out of worthy opponents in her small town, she challenged her chess skills by playing against computer-generated imaginary opponents. Late last year, with the aid of one of her clients, she competed at the national championships. Next, she represented Brazil at the World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships in Poland. Her journey from maid to a chess champion could be best described by her words, “Don’t under estimate the pawn; You get it to the other side, and it can become a queen”: It’s women like this that inspire me to learn more, try harder and be the best that I can be.
The story of Ms. Florêncio is more than just the story of her journey, it is also a story about teachers. If her local school teachers had not worked helping Ms. Florêncio and other students with their talent, this young woman may have had a chance to pursue a path outside the norm of her community. How many of us can think back to a teacher that made a difference in our lives? For me, it is a special woman during my last two years of grade-school, called Sister Otelia who fostered in me the love of math. Alas, I am no longer able to thank her, but in her stead, I wish to thank all the teachers out there in this world that take the time to reach out to those students who need inspiration to see a different world.
Like myself, I expect many others are inspired by the resilience and tenacity of Ukraine’s people and their fight to save their democracy. The current geopolitical situation has had a ripple effect throughout the world. Even though news showed2 the U.S. consumer price index rising 7.5% year-over-year in January reflecting continued inflation, in Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimonial before Congress3, he acknowledged that they [the central bank] will proceed with caution as more is learned about the implications of the current war. There will most likely be economic consequences due to the current Ukraine crisis – Russell Investments, in their latest blog by Andrew Pease4, addressed this by noting that the current crisis will not likely derail the global economic cycle.
Internationally, it appears, there will be economic and political uncertainty in the coming days and possibly months – similar to a chess game – we do not know the outcome at this time. State Street Global Advisors, March 2nd blog5, noted that due to Europe’s exposure to the risks of the Ukrainian conflict, they are more economically exposed. In their view, inflation is one of the biggest threats to the European economy. For another viewpoint, I read Franklin Templeton’s latest Insight6 by Kim Catechis – Investment Strategist. In his writing, he noted the higher commodity prices, such as oil and gas prices, that he thought the European economy may expect. He also felt there would be continued upward pressures on supply concerns. I often read or listen to the podcast of the Contrarian Edge by Vitality Katsenelson7. In his podcast, he provides an interesting viewpoint, on his thoughts on how this war came about.
The picture of the scarecrow is made from an old rain suit that was used by former (now retired) tenacious electrician who used it through rain, sleet, snow and mud. It reminds me how we always should be diversified and balanced within our risk tolerance so that we are ready for whatever the market brings.
Winter type blizzards continued with the markets in February showing no letup for a bit of sun and warmth. Of the three major indices, the blue-chip barometer (the Dow)* showed the largest icicle and posted a -3.53% drop. The S&P 500 (SPY)* icicle was the smallest with a posting of a -3.14%. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* formed the middle picture with a -3.43% downward point. (*After linking, click on Quarterly & Monthly Total Returns, “Monthly” tab). On Tuesday, February 22th, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller9 report. The report showed that for the reporting month remained close to the same. The December 20-city composite Home Price Index9 reported a 18.6% year-over-year gain; up 0.3% from the previous month year-over-year posting. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data had the month of December showing a 1.1% increase over the prior month of November for the 20-city composite index.
Regards and thank you (as always) for reading,
The Team at White Raven Financial
Advisory services offered through White Raven Financial Services, Inc. a Registered Investment Advisor in the State of Washington.
*Indexes are unmanaged and do not reflect service fees, commissions, or taxes. You cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Returns for the DOW, S&P 500 and the NASDAQ are the total return (price only) provided by Morningstar as February 28, 2022. Diversification and asset allocation do not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment loss.
*The Standard and Poor’s 500 is an unmanaged, capitalization weighted benchmark that tracks broad-based changes in the U.S. stock market. This index of 500 common stocks is comprised of 400 industrial, 20 transportation, 40 utility, and 40 financial companies representing major U.S. industry sectors. The index is calculated on a total return basis with dividends reinvested and is not available for direct investment.
*The Dow Jones Industrial Average covers 30 blue chip U.S. companies selected by the editors of the Wall Street Journal. The Dow represents about 25% of the NYSE market capitalization and less than 2% of NYSE issues.
*The NASDAQ is a market-value weighted index that measures all NASDAQ domestic and foreign common stocks.
- * https://Morningstar.com (index)