April 8, 2018

Today, I am posting from the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Brilliance of the Seas on the fourth day of a cruise from Tampa. The first stop is in the Azores. Then three stops in Ireland (Cork, Waterford and Dublin).

We finish in Amsterdam where I will tour the world’s oldest stock exchange. The Dutch East Indian Company better known back then as the VOS which isĀ  short for its name in dutch (the Vereenigde Oosst-Indische Compagnie) is generally considered to be the first joint stock company in the world. The VOS had its Initial (and I believe only) Public Offering (IPO) in 1602. Initially, the shares traded infrequently. But over the years trading became more frequent and many investors used extreme leverage to attempt to get rich quickly. It was not long before there were complaints of stock price manipulation and before problems with naked short selling arose. When it comes to speculation and gambling, people have apparently not changed much in the last 416 years.

The internet connection on this ship is very good and so far I haveĀ  not had any problems.

On Friday, the market was once again concerned about the implications of Trump’s threats regarding trade. The S&P 500 was down 2.2% and Toronto was down 1.0%. AutoCanada was down 5.0% and Toll Brothers was down 3.2%. TFI International managed a 1.4% gain. Declines certainly should never be considered to be unexpected when holding stocks. Companies that rose more on expectations and speculation tend to fall the hardest. Solid profitable companies tend not to fall as much and can usually be expected to recover. Market dips always loom large when they occur but usually tend to look relatively minor in hind sight after a few years. And, lower prices offer opportunities to invest.