Hope springs eternal
Some mildly positive news came last week as the U.S. and China agreed to concepts of a “phase one” trade accord, with China promising to up purchases of U.S. agricultural products and the U.S. cancelling its tariff increase on $250 billion of Chinese goods to 30%. Our initial take: the trade war is far, far from over.  

The thing about earnings
One bothersome graph last week from the Wall Street Journal:

Broad corporate earnings (including businesses big and small) have been flat going back a number of years.  The recent rise in S&P 500 earnings (the largest of companies) may be explained by more favorable taxation and capital gains—as well as the higher earnings growth among the biggest public companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple.  The implications of the data are plenty, one of which is the potential for significant earnings slowdown.  Right now, all eyes are understandably on news, but might the markets get concerned about earnings next?

In case you missed it: Trump, Ukraine, and Impeachment
I thought this was a straightforward (and rather unbiased) synopsis of what happened.

Something to watch
Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates on Netflix was a well done and a revealing look at someone who was arguably the business giant of a generation.  Nowadays media focus on his wealth and philanthropic endeavors, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how unusual the guy is, a rare and potent (even freakish) combination of high intelligence, business savvy, and insatiable competitiveness.  You see all three characteristics in Jeff Bezos today, probably a reason why he recently unseated Gates as the world’s richest person.

Something to read
“The Organized Mind” by Daniel J. Levitin. A cognitive neuroscientist explains how our brains aren’t quite wired for the modern world, what with its information deluge, speed, and distractions.  He offers tips and hacks to dealing with a growing problem (or disease). I suspect this is the first of many I’ll be reading on the topic.

CNBC’s FA 100
Last week Cadinha & Co. made CNBC’s top 100 firms (#56). Obviously, we’re honored to be recognized by a leading business network, but I mention it because we know the reason we’re on any list (in an industry with some 30,000 firms) is our exceptional clientele. The quality of our clients is a competitive advantage in our daily work.  Thank you!