David Fleer
Bristlecone Value Partners, LLC
12301 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 320
Los Angeles, CA 90025 USA
Work 1-877-806-4141

Just keep swimming

February 20th, 2018

Dory, a character created by Pixar Animation and played by Ellen DeGeneres in the movie Finding Nemo, is a wide-eyed, blue tang fish who suffers from short-term memory loss. At one point in the movie, she finds herself lost and gets out of trouble by not panicking and telling herself to just keep swimming.

The reactions to last week’s stock and bond market selloffs provided us with similar circumstances:  as soon as markets turned volatile, the internet and the media in general was full of alarming headlines. But in our 30-year experience in the investment markets, the recent lack of sell-offs was the unusual bit. Read the rest of this entry »


Benchmarks and Bitcoins

December 20th, 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, investors have much to be thankful for. At the time of this writing, US stocks are up more than 20%, international and emerging markets stocks up even more in the 25% to 30% range, and bond funds are also in positive territory with low to mid-single digits returns year-to-date.

As a result, some investors may think: The S&P 500 is up 20% this year, so why is my portfolio only up—fill in your number—%? The S&P 500 may seem like a reasonable performance benchmark. After all, it is the most widely discussed proxy for U.S. stock market returns. In addition, some of your acquaintances are already bragging about how much money they made in stocks (or in bitcoins—more on that later), and the pressure naturally mounts to do something about it. We urge you not to listen to this siren’s song. Read the rest of this entry »


Parsing Tax Reform Legislation

November 20th, 2017

Earlier this month, Congressional Republicans unveiled the details of their much-anticipated tax reform plan.  Ostensibly, their goal is to simplify the tax code by eliminating a host of loopholes, broaden the tax base, and lower average tax rates for both individuals and corporations.  The premise is reasonable enough—the execution is where it gets tricky. Read the rest of this entry »


The Next Crash is Upon Us!

August 18th, 2017

Hardly a day goes by without an article predicting an impending stock market crash. As we reiterated in a recent commentary, now is not the time to chase hot investments. However, we do not profess to have any insights on the timing of the next crash, and we certainly do not advocate selling your stocks or stock funds. Since we are now 10 years removed from the onset of the last financial crisis, we’d rather draw a few lessons from history: Read the rest of this entry »


Oil Future; Increasing Allocation to Foreign Stocks

June 23rd, 2017

Oil Future
Total S.A., one of the world’s largest oil companies, was reported in a recent article as seeing its future in electricity generation, rather than oil production. This is a startling admission in our opinion and worth mulling over. Total is the 2nd company in the last 6 months announcing a surprisingly early peak in worldwide oil demand (Royal Dutch Shell has said oil could peak somewhere between five and 15 years, while Total thinks demand for oil will peak in the 2030s.)

The recent example from the coal industry should serve as a warning to investors in oil companies. After demand for coal peaked, a little over a decade ago, it took about 2 years for coal companies’ finances to start deteriorating. The downtrend has been relentless since then and investors who tried to bottom fish got burned. The main culprit was competition from cheap and cleaner US natural gas for power generation. Read the rest of this entry »

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