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U.S. markets were once again pulled in both directions this week but ultimately look to finish the week with solid gains as all three major U.S. indices turned higher on Thursday and Friday. Growing bond yields, which have ballooned to an over 10-year high, are the main driver of pressure on shares this week while positive corporate earnings are offering support. With the latest push-and-pull in the market elongating the market-wide accepted notion of a fallout from high inflation, investors are again asked to endure the uncertainty and find solace, or profits, where they may.
The current situation applicably reminded me of the latest book featured in my book club: Endurance by Alfred Lansing. Released in 2015, this book tells the true story of explorer Ernest Shackleton and his 1914 expedition as a polar explorer looking to discover Antarctica. As the last uncharted sect of land on earth, Shackleton and his team ventured deep into the south Atlantic ocean, nearly 1,000 miles from the nearest point of civilization, in an attempt to chart this land. What ended up happening became a tremendous story of resilience and perseverance.
When the large vessel was launched in 1912, it was considered one of the strongest wooden ships, if not the strongest wooden ship of the time. Starting in August 1914, the ship was en route to South America as a launching point for the voyage. By December 1914, the ship was leaving its last port of call, an Island off South Georgia (which lies approximately 1,000 km east of the Falkland Islands), with its sights set on Vahsel Bay (near Antarctica). It did not take long for the plan to go array as the ship became icebound by the end of January 1915.
Among increasingly thick ice, the ship, which was immovable, left the sailors no other option but to wait for a crack in the ice. While several cracks appeared and offered hope, not all reached the boat, and often the advancement of the ship following an opening in the ice would not be farther than 200-400 yards. Several plans were discussed, like ramming the boat towards the cracking ice, but were ultimately put aside as the risk of totally wrecking the boat became overwhelming- with no ship, they had no chance of survival. With a ship, there still was a chance.
While icebound, the sailors hunted penguins for food, fought off sea lions, and kept warm as best they could. The current state of the Endurance painted Shackleton as the anti-hero: a lofty goal gone bad, risking the lives of nearly 30 people and resulting in a tremendous money dump. How the journey ended, however, redefined the notion of a hero surviving the greatest odds.