Here, there, and everywhere…
Markets around the world appear to be benefitting from global economic recovery.
So, global stock markets have been delivering relatively robust performance this year.
What have bonds been up to? They’ve gained value year-to-date, too.
Bond markets continue to tell a different story than stock markets. The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate for the third time in June.4 In theory, interest rates should be moving higher, yet the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds was lower (2.19 percent) at the end of last week than it was at the start of the year (2.45 percent).5
Have you tried taco mode? In March, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) offered some ideas about innovation in America. It’s a topic that deserves some attention as “…recent data suggests that innovation is getting harder and the pace of growth is slowing down. A major challenge in business and policy spheres is to understand the environments that are most conducive to innovation.”6
One place to look for examples of innovation is the sharing economy where innovations often echo the late 1800s. Back then, according to HBR, innovation primarily occurred outside of companies. In contrast, today, the majority of patents go to inventors who are associated with companies.6
Let’s take a look at a couple recent ideas that may or may not gain traction:
- Taco Mode. Ridesharing – arranging for a ride via an app – has changed transportation and become one of the industry’s fastest growing market segments, according to data from Statista reported by com.7
The latest rideshare innovation is Taco Mode. Hungry passengers can request rides that include stops at a fast food chain drive-throughs. One company executive described the option as ‘inverse delivery.’ The hungry are delivered to the food rather than vice versa.8
- Just-in-time watch rentals. The demand for Swiss watches has fallen off in the United States. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported exports to the United States dropped steadily (-9.6 percent) between 2015 and June 2017.9
Could the culprit be luxury watch rentals? Barron’s Penta reported luxury watch rentals are a relatively recent sharing-economy innovation. For a monthly membership fee of $149 to $999, watch lovers have opportunities to “…access experiences and embark on journeys otherwise unattainable – without having to spend a major chunk of their savings.”10
- Neighborhood networks. It’s a straightforward concept: A social network that connects neighbors so they can share tools, leftovers, playgroups, and more. It’s big in Brazil, according to Forbes. One company has more than 140,000 registered users across 3,800 cities.11
But, anyone who has ever watched Homer Simpson borrow Ned Flanders’ tools and not return them understands why some aspects of this idea may not catch on.
What innovations would you like to see in the sharing economy?
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“One word sums up our country’s achievements: miraculous. From a standing start 240 years ago – a span of time less than triple my days on earth – Americans have combined human ingenuity, a market system, a tide of talented and ambitious immigrants, and the rule of law to deliver abundance beyond any dreams of our forefathers.”
–Warren Buffett, Oracle of Omaha12
the Sweet Financial Services Team
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* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
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* All indices referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
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2 https://www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/08-21-17_MSCI-End_of_Day_Index_Data_Search-Footnote_2.pdf)
5 https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/^TNX/history?period1=1483250400&period2=1503118800&interval=1d&filter=history&frequency=1d (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/08-21-17_Yahoo_Finance-10-year_Treasury_Bond_Yield-Footnote_5.pdf)
12 http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2016ltr.pdf (Page 5)