I hope each of you is enjoying your summer and finding a way to stay cool. According to Becky Little of National Geographic, the term “Dog Days of Summer” comes from the Greeks and Romans. “The ‘dog days’ occurred around the day when Sirius [the dog star] appeared to rise just before the sun, in late July. They referred to these as the hottest time of the year, a period that could bring fever, or even catastrophe.”
If you were to watch the news, these “dog days” appear to be capturing the idea of “fever or even catastrophe.” Currently the government is bringing us its typical madness. We have an economy that although appearing to do well, could be at risk to the actions (or inactions) of that same government. What’s going to happen?
I think a better question, is “Does it matter?” How can I be so nonchalant about such big issues? The truth is, I have absolutely no control over the outcomes, and neither do you. When I look at the weeping and gnashing of teeth among the media faithful, I’m drawn to a quote from Jesus in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” There are enough things for us to worry about in our families, among our neighbors and in our communities. Don’t let the noise distract you.
I would remind you of a fact that I repeat often. We own companies, we do not own governments or economies. Great businesses learn how to work around the madness of governments and economies. I have no doubt that “this too shall pass.”
Does this mean that we are headed for new highs on the stock market soon? Again, I have no idea. I know the long-term trends look good, but as the old saying goes, past performance is no indication of future results. I still feel confident owning the great companies of the US and around the globe – as long as I have a time horizon of at least 5 years.
I have one last thought for those of you who like to look at the markets or your portfolio on a daily basis. This summer feels like a lot of wandering around in the desert without getting anywhere. I would encourage you to spend your time on different activities. Why? Because in a book I read this summer, I re-discovered how fruitless this is. Did you now that from 2011 to 2015 the average annual performance for the S&P 500 was 10%? Do you know how many days made up that performance? 15 days, or 1.2% of the time. The rest of the time was just spent “wandering around.”
My advice is to go out and enjoy the summer while it lasts. Winter will be here before we know it and the chance to eat an ice cream cone or a snowball with the ones you love will be gone. Don’t miss the chance to build a memory. We only get so many “Dog Days of Summer” in our lifetimes. Go make the most of them!