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Jeff Bezos has announced his intent to buy Whole Foods, in a deal valued at $13.7 billion, or $42 per share for Whole Foods.  Stock prices of Whole Foods, WFM, and Amazon, AMZN, were up on Friday, with stock prices on most other grocery retailers down.  This isn’t the end of the story.  Look for both regulatory scrutiny, but more particularly, competing bids by other grocers, or a consortium of such.  And, look for Bezos, in the next ten years, to announce that he’s buying all the companies in the S&P 500.

Tech stocks sold off last week, with the NASDAQ closing at 6151, down 2.7% since its high of 6321 on June 8th.  The NASDAQ Composite Index is still up 768 points, or more than 14.2%, since the first of the year.  Unless 100% of your portfolio is in tech stocks, I wouldn’t let this little hiccup keep me up at night. 

The FOMC announced an interest rate increase of 0.25% in its Fed Funds rate, when it met this last week.  Chair Janet Yellen made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon, after the 8-1 vote to raise rates.  Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari was the lone dissenting voice.  Yellen also said the Fed plans to reduce its $4.5 trillion balance sheet this year.  Most observers anticipate one more interest rate increase this year, which rate increase has already been factored into bond prices. 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked Congress to allow the Justice Department to prosecute businesses and individuals in the 29 states that have medical marijuana laws.  In response, Senators Rand Paul, Corey Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand introduced a bill which would end federal prohibition of medical marijuana, and take steps to improve research.  This whole marijuana conversation is interesting, and certainly different than it was in the ‘70’s.  My only observation is that Cheech and Chong movies were just funny. 

Hodgkinson taking a gun to congressmen playing baseball is just the latest in all sorts of very uncivil and violent discourse, both stateside, and around the world.  Seems far too many feel comfortable with personal attacks, meanness, and even physical violence, against those who are different than they are, or with those who they disagree.  And the tension isn’t limited to politics.  It appears to include religion, lifestyle choices, skin color, and every imaginable sort of difference.  Whatever happened to concepts such as “quick to listen, slow to speak”, “a soft answer turns away anger”, or “come now and let us reason together”?  All of us as humans have much more in common, than we do that separates us. 

Charlie Maupin and Jim Wooters, both in their mid-90’s, were interviewed recently by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.  They were on board different ships in the English Channel, on the morning of June 6, 1944.  The interview is more than interesting, and you can find it at http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/local/article154467324.html.  One quote stands out.  Wooters said “when you know you are going to die, you are no longer afraid”. 

 

Yes.  So, what’s stopping you?  And me?  We know we are going to die.  Why not then, fully live?

 

Quote of the week:

 

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

                                                  FDR Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933

 

P.S.  You can find the entire Inaugural Address, in either text or audio, at http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057

 

 

 

 

 

 

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