Graph from CarlsonTwo of the most important aspects of a good investment philosophy can be summed up by the following questions. 1) Is this strategy likely to work? 2) Will I be able to stick with this strategy for long periods of time throughout the inevitable ups and down of the stock market? At Beacon, we have a thoughtful, well-defined investment philosophy that we think answers both of the above questions in the affirmative.

“And a butterfly can flutter its wings over a flower in China and cause a hurricane in the Caribbean. I believe it. They can even calculate the odds. It just isn’t likely and it takes…so long.”
Robert Redford as card shark Jack Weil in Havana
“In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. The name of the effect, coined by Edward Lorenz, is derived from the metaphorical example of the details of a hurricane (exact time of formation, exact path taken) being influenced by minor perturbations such as the flapping of the wings of a distant butterfly several weeks earlier. Lorenz discovered the effect when he observed that runs of his weather model with initial condition data that was rounded in a seemingly inconsequential manner would fail to reproduce the results of runs with the unrounded initial condition data. A very small change in initial conditions had created a significantly different outcome.” The Butterfly Effect - Wikipedia

As we pointed out last week, the ‘January Effect’ never materialized.  Typically, January’s market volume is among the highest of the year as 401-K’s and corporate retirement plans receive their largest contributions.  In addition, investors come back to the markets in January to replace stock they sold for tax-losses at the end of the prior year.  The scarcity of enthusiastic buyers and a general malaise among investors weighed heavily on last month’s markets.  The S&P 500 declined 1.5%, the Dow declined .91%, and the NASDAQ fell by .82%.  The S&P 600, the index of small companies managed a gain of just less than 1%.  During the five Januarys prior this one, funds flowing into equity mutual funds averaged 8.8 billion dollars in the first two weeks.  The first two weeks of this January saw the exit of $4.7 billion from equity mutual funds, according to TrimTabs, a fund tracking service.