John Spooner Winter Memo

Wealth Management
28 State Street
Boston, MA 02109
Tel: 617-589-3234

© Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.

Memo from John Spooner to Clients and Friends

I’ve been writing these memos for decades. In all of these decades, there have been serious bumps in the road, vicious selloffs in prices, anxiety and fear in the minds of investors and speculators. Every decade. The anxious times these days are only exacerbated by social media. This recent phenomenon only makes difficult, fractious times worse. One of my classic mantras is, “Don’t be a headline reader.” Unless you know what’s behind the headlines. For instance: All these headlines feature the words inflation and recession, meant to fill us with anxiety. Think about it. Virtually no-one reading this memo will have anything dramatic change in their lives because of the two
words. Lucky us. As for headlines, here’s what I mean: I have a large coffee table picture book. It’s
the front page of the New York Times from 1950 through 1990, forty years of headlines.
Occasionally I put a letter opener into the book and at random, flip it open to that page.
I did this today, and the book opened up to December 3, 1954.

This snapshots every event on the Times front page:

1). The pope was collapsing.

2). Senator Joe McCarthy was censored by Congress and condemned for his hunting for
communists in every corner of American life. His comment shutting down his tyranny,
“Happy to get the circus over.” Does anything ever change? Does it sound like Trump?

3). Congress was pushing President Eisenhower to blockade China for taking American
prisoners. There were hints of war with China over this, and tensions were high.

4). Republicans weighing in on defeating rent control bills in Congress, saying it would
hurt local economies.

5). President Eisenhower responding to mayors concerned with our response to any
hydrogen bombings from our enemies.

Do you see what I mean?
On that date, according to the Wall Street Historical Price report, the Dow Jones
Industrial Average was 404. As I’m writing this, the Dow stands at over 34,000*. You
cannot time the markets.

There is always opportunity in challenging times. And we’re contrarians. When
there is widespread anxiety, we’re looking for what we see as bargains. The world has
been going to hell for thousands of years. We are not in this profession to be in and out
of markets as the wind blows. Building wealth, in stocks, real estate, art, takes time. The
process also needs a consistent philosophy, a game plan. We believe that managing
money is an art not a science. And it’s more than a business to us. There is deep
satisfaction in helping people and solving life problems… Being good counselors. And

We are living in an amped up age, where social networks stir the flames of
almost every emotion relating to the news, fake and otherwise. We all used to have
weekends off, a chance to refresh, to kick back.
Not anymore. Our business, if you really pay attention, is seven days a week.

Since the daily headlines and almost all commentary swirling around us seems to
be overwhelmingly negative, I want this memo to be a reminder that there are always
sectors of the stock market that are attractive. Our job is to react to all market and
economic conditions and position ourselves in areas that seem undervalued. We are gravitating toward healthcare, energy, defense, financials, companies that also provide cash flow… Dividends do matter to us as well. We like to be paid while we wait for growth to emerge.

I know that all of this is familiar ground for many of you who have been clients for years. But when certain themes reflect knowledge of history and human nature, these themes can be eternal.
And spring is coming. Green shoots emerging.

John D. Spooner
Managing Director, Wealth Management
Senior Portfolio Management Director
Financial Advisor

*O’Neill, Aaron. “Dow Jones: Monthly Value 1920-1955.” Statista, 17 Oct. 2022,

The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management or its affiliates. All opinions are subject to change without
notice. Neither the information provided nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for
the purchase or sale of any security. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
This material does not provide individually tailored investment advice. It has been prepared
without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it.
The strategies and/or investments discussed in this material may not be appropriate for all
investors. Morgan Stanley Wealth Management recommends that investors independently
evaluate particular investments and strategies, and encourages investors to seek the advice of
a Financial Advisor. The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on
an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 blue-chip stocks that are
generally the leaders in their industry. An investment cannot be made directly in a market

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”), its affiliates and Morgan Stanley
Financial Advisors or Private Wealth Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Clients should
consult their tax advisor for matters involving taxation and tax planning and their attorney for
matters involving trust and estate planning and other legal matters.
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.

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