Editing & Rewrite Samples

 

The following two writing samples show how I can improve the ‘readability’                   of almost any text.

 

The first is an original from Proshares. The 2nd is my rewrite/editing.

 

I apply the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Tests to assess my writing - FK scores.

 

Courtesy of Wikipedia:

 

     “The F–K formula was first used by the Army in 1978. It assessed the difficulty of reading technical manuals. It soon became a United States Military Standard.

     Pennsylvania was the first U.S. state to require that automobile insurance policies be written at no higher than a ninth-grade level (14–15 years of age) of reading difficulty, as measured by the F–K formula.

     It is now a requirement in many other states. Other legal documents apply an FK testing standard. “

________________________________________________________________________

As pointed out above, ideally, one wants the school-grade level fairly low – around 5 – 8.

You prefer your reader not need a ‘college-level’ reading ability.

 

You’re not ‘dumbing it down’. You’re just making it as easy as possible

to understand what you’re saying. The ‘readability’ score is on a 0-100 scale. 

 

The Flesch-Kincaid scores for the original are:

-- 12.4 - the school-grade reading level, &,

-- 39.5 - and the ‘readability’  of the piece.

 

My rewrite scores are 7.6 & 54.4; a substantial increase in both.

 

Only a 7th-grade reading level is needed to understand my version.

And a much better ‘readability’ score of 54.4.

Besides, my text/copy just simply looks better. And is easier on the eye.

 

(By way of comparison, the great Ernest Hemingway’s novel, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”

is said to have scored a high ‘3’. A third-grade reading and understanding level.)

                                          **************************

Original

First-Quarter Rally: But Will It Be Sustainable?

 

KEY OBSERVATIONS

March month-end marked the end of a substantial first-quarter rally in both stocks and bonds. Investors are wrestling with the question of whether dovish central banks will be sufficient to sustain the equity rally, even as economic growth may be slowing.

• Downgrades in growth estimates. The Federal Reserve downgraded its estimate of 2019 growth from 2.3% to 2.1%. This followed a similar downgrade from the European Central Bank, which downgraded its estimate for European 2019 growth from 1.6% to 1.2%.

• Weak retail results. While weak retail sales numbers in December and January could be dismissed—both due to seasonality and a suspected government shutdown-induced lapse in data integrity—the weak February results cannot be so easily dismissed, reinforcing the notion of a slowing economy.

• Longer-term interest rates supporting market prices. While the price-to-earnings ratio of the S&P 500 is now modestly higher than its long-term average, longer-term interest rates dramatically below their long-term average may support equity market prices despite slowing economic and earnings growth.

• Bond market vigilance required. Bond market complacency could prove unwise, as longer-term interest rates, now substantially lower than one year ago, may begin to rise, even as growth and inflation may drift lower.

PERFORMANCE RECAP

 

Most risk assets remained in the green for the month of March, capping a powerful first-quarter snap-back from the fourth-quarter sell-off. Only U.S. mid- and small-cap stocks posted negative returns. The lower quality, higher leverage and lower profitability of small-cap stocks, in particular, leave them vulnerable to diminished expectations for the U.S. and global economy. Government bonds and corporate bonds posted strong positive performance, as longer-term interest rates fell and credit spreads narrowed.

 

EQUITY PERSPECTIVES

 

Equity valuations and interest rates

Equity valuations must be considered in the context of interest rates since low longer-term interest rates imply higher P/E multiples. While the S&P 500 began the year trading near its long-term average P/E ratio of just under 17X, the first-quarter rally drove that ratio to just under 19X—a bit higher than the long-term average. Meanwhile, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield stands below 2.5%, which is substantially below its long-term average of over 6%. In that context, 19X looks quite reasonable. If 2019 earnings growth comes in at the current consensus level of 10%, and the S&P 500 P/E multiple remains flat, the S&P 500 earnings growth may rise 10% by year-end.

                                           *****************************

 

My rewrite

First-Quarter Rally: But Will It Keep Going?

 

KEY OBSERVATIONS

March 31st marked the end of a very nice first-quarter rally. In both stocks and bonds.

 

Investors are asking. Will dovish central banks be sufficient to sustain the equity rally?

Even as economic growth may be slowing.

 

• Downgrades in growth estimates.

The Federal Reserve downgraded its estimate of 2019 growth from 2.3% to 2.1%.

The European Central Bank downgraded its estimate for European 2019 growth from 1.6% to 1.2%.

 

• Weak retail results.

Weak retail sales numbers in December and January might be dismissed

  • due to seasonality

  • and a suspected government shutdown-induced lapse in data integrity.

 

However,

the weak February results cannot be dismissed as easily.

 

Reinforcing the notion of a slowing economy.

 

• Longer-term interest rates supporting market prices.

  • The price-to-earnings ratio of the S&P 500 is now modestly higher than its long-term average.

  • Longer-term interest rates are dramatically below their long-term average.

This may support equity market prices. In spite of slowing economic and earnings growth.

 

• Bond market vigilance required.

Bond market complacency could prove unwise.

Longer-term interest rates are solidly lower than a year ago. But, they may begin to rise.

Even as growth and inflation may drift lower.

 

PERFORMANCE RECAP

 

The fourth-quarter-2019 sold off.

Most risk-assets remained in the green for the month of March. This caps a strong first-quarter snap-back. (Only U.S. mid- and small-cap stocks posted negative returns.)

 

Shrinking hopes for the U.S. and global economy make

the lower quality, lower profitability, but higher-leverage, of small-cap stocks,

vulnerable.

 

Government and corporate bonds posted a strong showing.

Longer-term interest rates fell.

Credit spreads narrowed.

EQUITY PERSPECTIVES

 

Equity valuations and interest rates

Low longer-term interest rates imply higher P/E multiples.

So equity valuations must be considered in the context of interest rates.

 

The S&P 500 began the year near its long-term average P/E ratio of just under 17X.

The first-quarter rally drove that ratio to just under 19X.

A bit higher.

 

Meanwhile, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield stands below 2.5%.

Very much below its long-term average of over 6%.

In that context, 19X looks quite reasonable.

 

The S&P 500 earnings growth may rise 10% by year-end if:

  • 2019 earnings growth comes in at the current consensus level of 10%,

  • and the S&P 500 P/E multiple remains flat.

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