By: Matt Garrott

The S&P 500 gained 3.2% last month.  Unlike the first half of the year, returns were spread across the index rather than concentrated in a handful of names as the S&P 500 Equal-Weight Index gained 3.4%.

JPMorgan’s Dr. David Kelly says the Federal Reserve is fighting a battle it has already won.  The Fed raised rates even as inflation is falling during a tight labor market.  Inflation is 3% year-over-year, but that’s after the peak readings fall off the data set.  The monthly inflation reading for June 2022 was 1.3%.  Monthly inflation was flat in July 2022, meaning any increase this month will translate into a higher year-over-year inflation number.  With WTI Oil up 17% in July, the effect may be magnified.  We shouldn’t be surprised if inflation rises in the second half of the year as low monthly numbers continue to fall off the beginning of the data set.

Estate planning isn’t the most glamorous activity in the world, but it’s as important as any other component of financial planning, and potentially has the biggest dollar impact of anything you do.  Case in point:  A court has deemed Aretha Franklin’s handwritten will to be valid.  It was discovered underneath the cushions of her couch.  Don’t let this happen to your kids.  Give your estate the RESPECT it deserves.

No one can say for certain how the news of a possible room-temperature superconductor will play out.  We’ve seen similar stories before.  Cold fusion is only a handful of years away… and has been since the ‘70s.  Graphene is a supermaterial that can do everything… except leave the lab.  There are a few twists to today’s story that may be different this time.  The process and materials are relatively accessible, meaning it should be easy to debunk or reproduce.  Social media is making it easy to follow these efforts and everyone from Chinese professional labs to sophisticated computer simulators to former Soviet chemists are racing each other.

Sometimes it feels like the only technological advancement we are capable of is creating a mustard-flavored skittles candy or getting rid of the headphone jack on our smartphones.  But remember, those smartphones allow anyone to access the collected knowledge of the human race, right in our pocket.  Electric vehicles are a real thing that people actually drive.  Billionaires have ignited a new space race.  One of them is landing reusable rockets on ships in the ocean.  Artificial Intelligence is doing heavy lifting in parsing data, translating legalese, and writing investment commentaries (just kidding fellow humans!).

Science and markets don’t move in a straight line.  Zoomed out, it looks like steady progress, but zoomed in, the newsfeed can make day-to-day challenges feel insurmountable.  The reality is it’s a wondrous time to be alive.  Be skeptical in the short run and optimistic in the long run.  Cynicism is for teenagers.  We don’t have breakthroughs like the transistor or cold fusion often, but even in the last 20 years, we’ve made incredible leaps.