Insights on markets, emergent trends, history, innovation, risk management, global economics, strategy, policy, and other topics that catch our attention. Inspired by ongoing research, conversations and events. Written and edited by Osbon Capital Management and published every Thursday morning.

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2024 will bring more positive novel surprises. New years always do. In 2023, it was the dramatic acceleration in AI, which touches nearly every industry, and the early stages of an answer to the obesity epidemic with GLP-1s. Here is a list of what’s on our minds going into 2024.

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Comments on Automation

Comments on our automated future I recently visited an Apple store to buy replacement headphones. An employee showed me how to self-checkout via iPhone. I didn’t know this was an option. Next time you go into an Apple store, you should know that you can pick an item off the shelf, scan it with your iPhone, double-click to pay with…

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Optimism, Talus, Fink

Optimism Markets and economies are complex adaptive systems. This makes them good at responding positively in the long run to the many unique challenges presented over the short run. When we wear the hat of the risk manager, as we are all programmed to do naturally, it’s tempting to get caught up in a string of negative narratives. While it’s…

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World, Land Value Tax, New Unicorns

World The ongoing events in Israel are horrific and tragic. The difficulty of predicting the onset and conclusion of acts of war is on par with predicting natural disasters. Conflict can end just as suddenly as it started or last a decade. The end of the conflict in Ukraine is similarly uncertain.  In 2024, 50% of the world’s GDP will…

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Treasury, Michael Lewis, Batteries

Impact of rate moves, serious but manageable For the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing how the increase in the long end of the treasury curve continues to create issues across financial markets. The 20-year treasury bond is currently over 5%, meaning a buyer at today’s prices earns 5% every year risk-free, and anyone stuck holding lower-yielding debt has lost…

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Rates, Banks, Poker

Rates and Banks The 20 and 30-year treasury rates are now a hair under 5%, the highest level in 15+ years. TLT is the ETF that tracks the performance of the long-duration treasury bond market. It’s a decent proxy to see the impact of these rate hikes on current outstanding treasury assets. Treasury assets and long-duration bonds have a market…

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Not Quite Austerity, OpenAI

Not Quite Austerity The Fed meeting yesterday left interest rates unchanged at 5.25-5.5%. Two more meetings in 2023 are scheduled for November 1st and December 13th. The most likely outcome is that we won’t have any more rate hikes, and the difference between another pause and another hike is marginal. More remarkable is that long-duration treasuries are now at or…

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Google, Private Credit, Moon

Google getting competitive I’ve wondered for years why Google didn’t continue to add basic features to their most popular products like Google Docs, Calendar or Chat systems. It could be to avoid feature bloat or to focus only on the highest-priority opportunities. It’s not like they didn’t have the capital or the talent to add features. Still, they ignored particular…

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Active Ownership

Osbon Capital launched in 2006 as an index boutique focused on ETFs and the emerging index strategy. At that time, Vanguard had just passed $1 trillion in assets under management and indexing and ETFs were still a relatively young concept. ETFs held just $300B in total assets at the time, and John had the foresight to predict that index ETFs…

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Urban Housing Inflation, China, Nvidia

Urban Housing and Inflation This week, I wanted to address the housing component of the inflation calculation. Shelter represents roughly 35% of CPI inflation metrics and 20% of the core PCE inflation. Shelter is the slowest metric to change as landlords can often afford to be patient, and 12-month leases take time to roll over. Owner occupancy (people who own…

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