Sunday, June 30, 2013

The week ahead

Remember way back in 2011 when upheaval in the Middle East was the lead story on the news every night and the markets swung wildly depending upon how the protests went during the day.  Well, two years later the unrest in Egypt is the lead story in most of the world's press, but in the US you can't find the story anywhere without really digging.

The markets will likely start off the quarter with a nice bounce off Friday's computer driven panic selling.  This will also be a shortened week because Independence Day Holiday and we have the jobs data out on Friday.  Analysts have already started lowering their estimate for the number of jobs created in June.

Here's a weird scenario to consider when thinking about the jobs estimates.  If the number came out today and it disappointed, I think you could argue that stocks should rise because it will convince some that QE 4Ever is a go.  However, if analysts cut their estimates during the week and ultimately, the consensus falls we could get to a point where the same number that would have disappointed us today could be viewed as inline or even BEATING expectations.  How, the market would react to that sort of jobs report is a tougher call - would stocks rise because it's a sign of an improving economy (again, this is just a function of comparing estimates and has no real reflection on the state of the economy) or would they fall because because an improving economy means the end of QE is near?

I read an interesting article over the weekend that discussed the three most valuable things you'll never learn in college.  I think the author was onto something.

1) Manners - the author likened graduating college to moving to a new country.  After college no one knows you or your story. All you have to impress them when they first meet you is your ability to smile, act polite and take every chance you can to start building a positive reputation for yourself.

2) Write effectively - If ever there was a dying art it would the written word.  The author tends to focus on the need for 21st century writing (twitter/facebook, etc) but I'd argue that all writing - from a local news column to a well crafted thank you note to a silly blog - will stimulate the author's mind and lead to greater things.

3) Network - This one will probably surprise some but it's the truth.  It's one of the mistakes I regret more than anything else during my career.  I had close to 500 meetings with different people working on different start up ideas in 2000-2001.  I felt like I was never going to see most of the people in the meetings again so I threw out almost every business card.  Those contacts could have proved to be invaluable today but I did not feel the need to network in 2001.

Just a friendly reminder that in our GPA/SAT obsessed world, there is a need for other skills as well.

Finally, 2 stories from the weekend that made me smile and cringe (I'll let you figure out which is which).

* A sewing machine prompted a major police response


* Oregon passed a bill that will strip a non-profit's tax exempt status if the non-profit spends over 70% of their donations on administration.  I would have preferred the threshold be a little lower (like 40% or 50%) but anything is a step in the right direction.


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