Morning Note: “Social Sciences Always Start From Problems”

The on again stimulus talks are giving legs to this week’s rally, in the face of another 840k folks filing first-time unemployment claims (worse than expected), while nearly 11 million stay on the rolls (although that was fewer than expected). Asian equities rallied overnight nearly across the board, with 14 of the 16 markets we track in the green. Europe’s nothing to sneeze at either; 15 of the 19 bourses we follow trading higher this morning. U.S. major averages are up across the board as I type: Dow up 88 points (0.31%), S&P 500 up 0.57%, Nasdaq up 0.36%, Russell 2000 up 0.73%.

The VIX (SP500 implied volatility) is down -1.92% and VXN (Nasdaq vol) is off -2.16% so far this morning.

Oil futures are up 2.70%, gold’s up 0.08%, silver’s up 0.62%, copper futures are up 0.09% and the ag complex is up 0.30% as I type.

Bond investors aren’t, however, feeling it this morning (a risk-on move would typically have treasuries lower [yield higher]): The 10-year treasury is trading higher (yield lower) and the dollar’s up 0.10%.

Led higher by energy stocks, banks, financials, materials and base metal commodities, our core portfolio is starting the day in the green by 0.40%. Verizon is our only position in the red thus far, although gold is threatening…

I’ll keep it short and sweet this morning and leave you with some common sense — which speaks to the portfolio management process, and other things — from All Life is Problem Solving, a collection of Carl Popper essays:

“The natural as well as the social sciences always start from problems, from the fact that something inspires amazement in us, as the Greek philosophers used to say. To solve these problems, the sciences use fundamentally the same method that common sense employs, the method of trial and error. To be more precise, it is the method of trying out solutions to our problem and then discarding the false ones as erroneous. This method assumes that we work with a large number of experimental solutions. One solution after another is put to the test and eliminated.”

Have a great day!
Marty

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