Commentary

Which Way Now?

How should investors think about the economy and asset values when faced with unprecedented uncertainty surrounding the effects of the coronavirus and a complete absence of guidance from analogies to the past? Read Howard Marks’s latest memo, in which he lays out the views of both the optimist and the worrier.

Commentary

Latest Update

After giving our clients a few days to digest it, we’d like to share this memo from Thursday with all of our readers. We hope you’ll find it helpful.

Commentary

Nobody Knows II

Many questions – and few answers – surround the coronavirus epidemic and its implications for financial markets. Read Howard Marks’s latest memo, in which he shares his own questions, guesses, observations and inferences to help make sense of the potential impact of the virus on global economies and markets.

Commentary

You Bet!

What really is a bet? How does one make decisions under uncertainty and with imperfect information? In his latest memo, Howard Marks weaves his own life story to discuss the process of thinking in bets, parses the world of gambling, and draws parallels between investing and games of chance.

Commentary

Mysterious

Negative interest rates are nothing short of a mystery; they’re likely to throw off whatever we knew about the financial world and how things worked in the past. With more than $17 trillion of global debt trading at nominal yields below zero — and about double when considering inflation — this phenomenon has prompted differing perspectives about its purpose and consequences. Howard Marks offers his in this memo, in which he discusses why negative rates have become prevalent, what implications they might have, whether they will reach the U.S., and what investors can do as they navigate these uncharted waters.

Commentary

On the Other Hand

Expectation that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates has been a primary factor driving investor sentiment and actions in recent months. It should be noted, though, that the considerations and actions of the Fed are part of a complex ecosystem that has financial, political and behavioral components that come with considerable uncertainty.

Commentary

This Time It’s Different

In good times, we often see the notion "this time it's different" work its way into the marketplace as investors seek to rationalize higher asset prices and continued upward movement. Today this sentiment is expressed in contexts ranging from questioning the prospect of a recession altogether to supporting the high valuations of tech companies despite their current profitless state. In his latest memo, Howard Marks discusses the outlook for nine such theories. It would truly have to be different this time around for them to hold.

Commentary

Growing the Pie

A few weeks ago, we were pleased to announce a partnership with Brookfield Asset Management that created an alternative investment manager with one of the broadest slates of strategies and greatest asset totals. And what question did I get? “Will there still be memos?” Well, here’s your answer.

Commentary

Political Reality Meets Economic Reality

The purpose of this memo is to describe what happens when political behavior collides with economic reality, as illustrated in one area where the government is taking steps – tariffs – and another in which debate among politicians is heating up – restrictions on the capitalist system.

Commentary

The Seven Worst Words in the World

The idea for this memo came from the seven worst words in the investment world: “too much money chasing too few deals.”

Commentary

Investing Without People

This memo covers three ways in which securities markets seem to be moving toward reducing the role of people: (a) index investing and other forms of passive investing, (b) quantitative and algorithmic investing, and © artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Commentary

Investing Without People

This memo covers three ways in which securities markets seem to be moving toward reducing the role of people: (a) index investing and other forms of passive investing, (b) quantitative and algorithmic investing, and © artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Commentary

Latest Thinking

Travel to clients abroad and preoccupation with my coming book on cycles (final draft submitted just the other day) have combined to keep me from writing a memo since September, but fortunately not from thinking. Thus I have ideas to set down on two significant subjects: the market environment and the new tax law. Further, I’m highly motivated to do so, since if I skip a few months, people start writing in, “Are you sick?”

Commentary

Yet Again

“There They Go Again . . . Again” of July 26 has generated the most response in the 28 years I’ve been writing memos, with comments coming from Oaktree clients, other readers, the print media and TV. I also understand my comments regarding digital currencies have been the subject of extensive – and critical – comments on social media, but my primitiveness in this regard has kept me from seeing them. The responses and the time that has elapsed have given me the opportunity to listen, learn and think. Thus I’ve decided to share some of those reflections here.

Commentary

There They Go Again...Again

I’m in the process of writing another book, going into great depth regarding one of the most important things discussed in my book The Most Important Thing: cycles, their causes, and what to do about them. It will be out next year, but this memo will give you a preview regarding one of the most important cyclical phenomena.