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Too Much Complexity Isn’t a Good Thing

A year ago, I began including doodles with my weekly commentary. The first one was a sketch discussing the impact of changes in earnings forecasts on stock prices. The purpose was to visually highlight and graphically explain one of the points I was making. Being a writer who thinks in terms of communicating by text instead of graphics, coming up with doodles has been challenging at times.

Part of the challenge has been converting the inherent complexity of investing and personal finance into a graphic that I could actually draw. Both investing and personal finance are based on accounting rules, advanced mathematical equations, economic theories, psychology, regulations and law. Our job at AAII is to convey all of this in a manner that those of you without financial degrees or high levels of expertise can understand. In doing so, we regularly give thought to how we present information both in terms of text and through graphics.

Making use of graphics is more than just about including doodles in a weekly email. We want to ensure that concepts and strategies are explained in a manner someone else can understand. For some people, this means a well-written article. Others prefer a good infographic. Still others prefer presentations—either in-person or via the Web. Regardless of the outlet, properly explaining key and potentially complex concepts is the goal. Continue Reading »


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Highlights from this month’s AAII Journal


AAII Sentiment Survey

Optimism among individual investors about the short-term direction of stock prices is at a new post-election low. At the same time, neutral sentiment is at a two-month high and pessimism remains above its historical average. More about this week’s results.

This week’s results:

Bullish: 25.7%, down 3.3 points
Neutral: 35.6%, up 1.9 points
Bearish: 38.7%, up 1.3 points

Historical averages:

Bullish: 38.5%
Neutral: 31.0%
Bearish: 30.5%


The Week Ahead

First-quarter earnings will begin to hit full stride with 192 members of the S&P 500 scheduled to report. Included in this group are 12 Dow Jones industrial components: 3M Co. (MMM), Caterpillar (CAT), Du Pont (DD), McDonald’s (MCD) and Coca-Cola (KO) on Tuesday; Boeing (BA), Proctor & Gamble (PG) and United Technologies (UTX) on Wednesday; Intel (INTC) and Microsoft (MSFT) on Thursday; and Chevron (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) on Friday.

The week’s first economic reports will be the February S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, March new home sales and the Conference Board’s April Consumer Confidence survey, which will be released on Tuesday. Thursday will feature March durable goods orders, March international trade and the March pending home sales index. The first estimate of first-quarter GDP, the April Chicago PMI and the University of Michigan’s final April consumer sentiment index will be released on Friday.

Two Federal Reserve officials will make public appearances: Minneapolis president Neel Kashkari on Monday and Philadelphia president Patrick Harker on Friday.

The Treasury Department will auction $26 billion of two-year notes on Tuesday, $15 billion of two-year floating rate notes and $34 billion of five-year notes on Wednesday, and $28 billion of seven-year notes on Thursday.


Local Chapter Meetings

AAII Local Chapter Meetings offer you a variety of presentations from expert speakers who will give you their view on the world of investing. A bonus of attending a Chapter Meeting near you is the opportunity to meet other AAII members who share your interest and enthusiasm for investing. You can even share the Chapter experience with your family and friends by inviting them to attend Chapter Meetings with you! Upcoming Meetings »

 

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