MRA Blog

Everything Old is New Again

"Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it." - Winston Churchill

"What is done is done: and the cracked egg cannot be cured." - Howard Pyle, quote from the Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

"Don't throw the past away. You might need it some rainy day. Dreams can come true again. When everything old is new again.” - Peter Allen

I bet you can tell where I’m going with this...As I'm reviewing yesterday's stock market action an old "friend" caught my eye. Plug Power (PLUG) is at it again. Back in 1999 this fuel cell stock became one of the many poster children of what is now known as the Dot com bubble. You remember that period. The stock market exploded higher on the promise of the internet. Valuations didn't matter...It was going to be different this time. Plug went from $35 per share to over $1000! Then came the crash. Plug dropped down to $2/ share and spent most of the subsequent 20 years trading between $2 and $4.  Last year as the enthusiasm for electric vehicles bubbled Plug went from $4 to $30. This year, not quite 3 weeks old, Plug has more than doubled and now sits at $68. This price gives Plug a stock market value of just over $20 billion dollars. They have no net income. They lose about 33 cents on every dollar of revenue. The price to sales ratio is now 67 dollars for every dollar of revenue.  When the dot com bubble burst in March of 2000 the Nasdaq dropped by almost 80% and took 13 years to recover.

An Attitude of Gratitude

As we reflect on 2020 and look with optimism and hope toward 2021, here are a few thoughts to share with you this Holiday Season.  These thoughts are primarily mine, but I think a lot of us share some of these same feelings. 


"Fundamentals might be good for the first third or first 50 or 60 percent of a move, but the last third of a great bull market is typically a blow-off, where the mania runs wild and prices go parabolic." - Paul Tudor Jones.

The above quote from legendary money manager Paul Tudor Jones is applicable to today’s market. I’m not saying today is a mirror image of the dot com bubble, but the environment is certainly similar. Bank of America's September fund manager survey highlighted a consensus conviction on US technology stocks. 80% of survey participants cited being long U.S. Tech, up from 59% in August. At the same time, concerns about a bubble in technology jumped to #2 in the survey’s ranking of tail risks. This comes after a week of rotation out of technology and into sectors such as materials and financials. The rotation we’ve seen since September 2nd has aided the dividend growth strategy, which favors financials, utilities and consumer defensive stocks. All 3 sectors are outperforming both technology and the broad market since the September 2nd high.

It’s “All in the Farm-ily” for Michelle Papa-Dines!

On any given day when Michelle steps into the office, she’s already tended to 40+ chickens, 30+ pigs, 20+ ducks, 10+ turkeys, twin teen-agers, Richard and Grace, her husband Dan, a multi acre vegetable garden, 3 cats and a dog! It’s that “get it done” attitude that allows her to juggle the multiple balls in the air in terms of taking care of our clients’ service needs.

"Hitting on 18"

Several years ago, I observed a friend as he sat down at Turning Stone Casino to play Blackjack. I am not a gambler myself (I’ll get into that later) but we were there for dinner and he decided to play a few hands before we were seated. He was an avid player and more than familiar with basic strategy, however luck was not his friend that night. I enjoy watching Blackjack because it is a dynamic game of shifting percentages. Every card dealt changes the odds of success for the player. Ed Thorp, the “Father of Blackjack strategy” as well as a highly successful money manager wrote the seminal book on Blackjack betting , Beat the Dealer back in 1962 in which he gave readers the odds for how to bet depending on what their starting hand was and what the dealer was holding. My friend followed this strategy perfectly. He held at 16 when the dealer was showing a 4, only to have the dealer uncover a King and drop a 5 on it. He held at 20 and watched the dealer draw a 21. On and on this went until eventually my friend threw in the towel and left the table.

Where to Find Value in the Market

Resilient and overvalued. That is certainly one way to describe the Growth factor of the US stock market. With companies like Nvidia, Autodesk, Visa and Dexcom all trading at greater than 15x price to sales, a reasonable investor may consider the landscape a touch overextended. If you have invested solely in pure value equities, the past decade or more has been a difficult period for your portfolio. Value has steadily underperformed Growth across all market caps since mid-year 2007. However, within the Value category there are both qualitative and style factors that deserve our consideration. Factors that crossover into strong Growth names and remain respectful of traditional Value metrics. We believe these strategies satisfy modest levels of risk appetite and have performed well on both a relative and absolute basis.

Rachel’s Thoughts from the Mile-High City

Two weeks ago, Neil, Sonnet, Jeff and I had the pleasure of attending Commonwealth National conference in Denver. Here are some take-aways from the conference I’d like to share with you.  

Pascal's Wager Applied to Financial Markets

Hello Friends, Welcome to Summer.  This weekend should continue our streak of 90-degree weather after a cool and wet Spring. The stock market has been heating up as well, with the S & P 500 up over 20% year to date after losing just over 4% last year.  This strong performance, which caps off a ten-year period of 14 % + annualized returns, naturally has people wondering if the end is near and a bear market imminent.

2019 Investment News Women to Watch Awards

Advisors Rachel Roney and Sonnet Loftus CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ professional attended the 2019 Investment News Women to Watch awards luncheon dedicated to honoring outstanding women in the financial services industry. InvestmentNews is the go-to news source for financial advisors.


Dear Friends & Clients, Welcome to the beginning of March.  Here in Syracuse where the winters are long and bitter, we always welcome the dawn of Spring!  We want to update all of you on our RIA-Broker Dealer change to Commonwealth Financial.  After 27 years with Cadaret, Grant we made the difficult but highly considered decision to make the move to Commonwealth.