• Michael Rosen Michael Rosen
    • Investment Insights are written by Angeles' CIO Michael Rosen

      Michael has more than 30 years experience as an institutional portfolio manager, investment strategist, trader and academic.

    BALANCE

    Published: 10-29-2019

    October 1987 was a memorable month for me. It began with the 5.9 magnitude Whittier Narrows quake that rocked my downtown building (like all tall buildings, it was on rollers). Two weeks later, on Wednesday the 14th, stocks fell a record 3.8% (95 Dow points), another 2.4% the next day, and another 4.6% to end the week. After a beautiful weekend, on Monday the 19th, we all watched in shock as the Dow plunged 508 points, or 22.6%. No one, obviously, had ever seen anything remotely close to this, the equivalent of a 10.0 magnitude stock market quake.

    Early yesterday morning, my phone shook with emergency alerts, first, at 230am, with a warning of a developing fire, and then with a mandatory evacuation notice. The opening photo is the eastern sky as I left the house, after gathering photo albums and the dog. Later that morning, this was the scene from our office window.

    Firefighters worked through the night, all the next day, and are still at it. Their efforts are Herculean.

    Midday, I took Quincy for a walk and took this photo. It brought me back to 32 years ago. I returned home to the beach after the collapse of the stock market and saw the exact same view. I remember thinking that the world could not possibly be collapsing when there is such beauty in it. On a day when fires are destroying homes and forcing thousands to flee just miles away, the scene at the beach was surreal.

    California is blessed with the most spectacular natural beauty on the planet; and natural disasters of biblical proportions. Nature’s precarious balance is ever-present for all of us here, but a balance it is. The calamities we endure, whether by our own actions or by nature’s, are compensated by the privilege of living in this magnificent land.

    Of course, we mourn for those who have lost loved ones or treasured possessions. The juxtaposition of raging wildfires and the calm Pacific reminds me that there is an equilibrium in the world: beauty and sorrow, joy and pain. We are blessed to live amid such beauty, blessed to live among the courageous heroes of the Los Angeles Fire Department and their thousands of brethren across the state.

    Thanks to them, my house is safe. And Quincy spent the day in the office, which brought happiness to everyone here.

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