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Markets Move As Earnings Parade Begins

When each man sets his own house in order, the whole world will be in order. John Andreas Widtsoe

Many young men are notoriously uncaring about their personal habits like cleanliness. I was one such individual, especially during my twenty something years. As one begins to mature, you recognize a haphazard approach to daily habits only restrains your potential in areas which matter, and some which may only appear to be insignificant.

In the capital markets, companies are rewarded for growth and efficiency, and in many cases, penalized for deficiencies in either department. Over the last week, the avalanche of quarterly earnings reports from the largest companies in the world began rolling in. Some of the enterprises telling all included IBM, Netflix, Microsoft, Yahoo, Goldman Sachs, Lockheed Martin, Phillip Morris, UnitedHealth Group, American Express, Qualcomm, Chipolte, United Rentals, and plenty more.

You can see, just from the few businesses I mentioned, the range of industries is vast and one can gain a full glimpse of the state of affairs in the business world by reading through these releases. Most of these companies earned billions or hundreds of millions of dollars in profit, but the absolute numbers alone have to be put in context with the projections provided by the company, and just as important, how efficient the company is in achieving it’s figures. So, we circle back to our quote from above, about getting one's house in order, and it applies to the capital markets as well.

Apparently, Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffett aren’t too impressed with the corporate world these days, as they recently convened a summit from the world’s business leaders to discuss the...