The markets had to digest weighty geopolitical headlines this week with tariffs, North Korea and a messy political landscape in the European Union dominating the news cycle. Equites opened strong but sold off throughout the week finishing half a percent higher. The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield dropped from recent highs below the psychologically important 3 percent level to 2.93 percent. This was helped by the FOMC minutes released Wednesday had some dovish language leading the market to reconsider the number of rate hikes this year. Too late to affect gas prices for the “official start to summer” holiday weekend, crude oil prices have fallen over 6 percent to below $68 a barrel.
The markets will be closed Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. We remember and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.
Ferguson Wellman’s Newest Face
This past week marks the addition of Blaine Dickason to the Ferguson Wellman fixed income team where he is responsible for tax-efficient trading. Prior to joining Ferguson Wellman, Blaine managed institutional fixed income portfolios for Taft-Hartley and corporate accounts and conducted all fixed income and equity trading across multiple investment products. He is very active in the Security Traders Association of Portland. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Reed College, where he played rugby.
To help you get to know Blaine, we asked him to share via a short interview.
- Describe your journey to Ferguson Wellman Capital Management? I had worked with several current Ferguson Wellman employees while serving on the board of the Security Traders Association of Portland and so I was familiar with the firm and its excellent reputation. When the opportunity arose to join the fixed income team, I jumped at the chance. I am thrilled to be part of a firm with such a long and strong history of serving investors.
- Why fixed income trading? I’ve been trading bonds for the last seven years and enjoy the challenges of this asset class. There are vastly more bonds to consider than there are listed stocks in the United States and that variety keeps things interesting.
- What should our clients know about you? I have a strong sense of curiosity about our financial markets and love that each and every day is different from the last.
- Do you have an investment role model? I am wary of putting too much faith in certain investment “gurus” but I really appreciate plain-spoken advice from professional investors with decades of experience. Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management in particular is someone whose thoughts and outlook I am always eager to read and hear.
- What is your favorite investment book? Roger Lowenstein’s When Genius Failed. It’s about the rise and fall of long-term capital management in the late 1990s. It highlights the opportunities and limits of certain investment strategies and the danger of letting hubris creep into your investment process.
- What do you and your family enjoy doing? When we’re not attending either of our daughters’ swim meets or soccer games, our family loves various outdoor activities including biking, skiing and camping. We also enjoy sampling all the fantastic food we are lucky to have here in Portland.
Takeaways for the Week
- A long weekend will be good for the markets to digest an exhausting week of news
- Ferguson Wellman is glad to introduce our newest employee, Blaine Dickason