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Bristlecone Blog

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“Are Corporations People?” and Other 1st Quarter Musings

In American politics, there is a clear separation between Democrats and Republicans on the subject of whether corporations deserve the same rights as citizens. Where both parties appear to agree lately though is when it comes to extracting big fines from them. The number of billion-dollar fines grew from zero in 2010 to nine in 2016. The 1st few months of the Trump administration saw four settlements of over $1 billion each. The current President, despite touting his pro-business credentials, was very happy to follow the prior administration’s footsteps saying on Twitter in February that fines and penalties against a bank, Wells Fargo, would be “pursued and, if anything, substantially increased.” So the recent news that the bank got fined $1 billion did not come as a surprise.

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3rd Quarter 2017: World Markets Keep Rising & Nudge Rewarded

If you feel like “déjà vu all over again,” to quote Yogi Berra, you’re not mistaken: US and international stocks rose during the 3rd quarter, bringing returns in the high teens over the past year, including dividends. Here at home, the stock market’s performance is underpinned by favorable fundamental factors: interest rates and inflation remain low, and growth in per-share earnings remains robust, at about 10% to 12%, year-over-year.

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