Results 151–200 of 228 found.
Rescuing the Bond Deer from the Bond Bear
It's the season to talk about the man who delivers presents. No, not Santa Claus, but Fed Chairman Bernanke who has been delivering the green stuff for the past four years in a helicopter, not a sleigh... My last installment introduced the Fixed Income Bond Deer the investor caught in the headlights confused about what to do. This week we contemplate the following: should "Bond Deer" be grateful for the green stuff or frightened by the possibility that it is fueling the next bond "bear" market? The answer: it depends on how long this experiment continues.
Fixed Income Perspectives
A wise American once said "Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid." A good example is when your pals in Washington are so busy pushing their partisan agendas that they lose sight of what could happen to the American economic Thunderbird if it goes all Thelma and Louise over the fiscal cliff. With the latest elections in the books, it remains to be seen if a Democratic president and acrimonious Republican House can put on their thinking caps to devise a way to delicately pump the brakes of fiscal restraint.
The Seeds of Higher Market Volatility Were Sown
A paradigm shift in financial markets has taken place since 2008 into a more volatile investment environment that will demand different ways of managing risk. In an ironic twist of intention, today's higher volatility is the consequence of attempts by central banks to engineer a less volatile economic environment.
Magic 8 Ball Knows All
The efficacy of 1980s technology turned out to be a real bummer, huh? Flying DeLoreans and flux capacitors are the ultimate heartbreakers, but the clairvoyance promised by those iridescent black and white Magic 8 Balls is definitely a close second. Give one a few shakes today and see for yourself. "Magic 8 Ball, [SHAKE] will financial markets rally post the U.S. election?" "It is decidedly so." "Magic 8 Ball, [SHAKE] are you lying?" "Yes definitely." "Magic 8 Ball, [SHAKE] seriously?" "Reply hazy, try again."
We are now about 63% (316 of the 500 S&P 500 companies have reported) of the way into the third quarter earnings season and the popular opinion seems to be that the earnings are disappointing, that this current earnings cycle has peaked and that earnings going forward will fall sharply (earnings cliff). In a nutshell, we don't believe that this is the case and will begin with the former, that the current crop of earnings reports are disappointing.
The Permanent Portfolio Turns Japanese
Our last few articles dealt with the Permanent Portfolio, a widely embraced static asset allocation concept proposed by Harry Browne in 1982. To review, the simple Permanent Portfolio consists of equal weight allocations to cash (T-bills), Treasuries, stocks and gold to ward against the four major financial states of the world.
Permanent Portfolio Shakedown Part 2
In our Permanent Portfolio Shakedown Part 1 we investigated the history of the approach, tracing it back to Harry Browne in 1982. The company he helped to found, The Permanent Portfolio Family of Funds, has been running their version of the strategy in a mutual fund for almost 30 years, with fairly impressive results. Harry's thoughts about the portfolio are worth repeating in this second installment.
Permanent Portfolio Shakedown Part 1
The Permanent Portfolio is an asset allocation concept first introduced by Harry Browne in 1982. The Permanent Portfolio Family of Funds website has this to say about the strategy, which they have been running in mutual fund format for about 20 years.
Sharp Decline in Earnings and Revenue Estimates
For the first time in three years, US Quarterly Earnings are Poised to Drop. "Third-quarter earnings of Standard & Poor's 500 companies are now expected to fall 0.1 percent from a year ago, a sharp revision from the July 1 forecast of 3.1 percent growth, Thomson Reuters data showed on Thursday. That would be the first decline in earnings since the third quarter of 2009, the data showed."
Demographic Headwinds for Housing
Boomer demographics and postponement of marriage on account of student debt and poor finances are two of the key reasons that I long-ago stated the housing recovery would be slow for a decade. Declining birthrates now show that is indeed what is happening.
UK Perspectives: The Labour Market's Mixed Blessings
Although UK unemployment has held at a much lower level than in previous recessions, employment among workers under 25 has fallen significantly since 2008. There is already a whiff of stagflation about the UK economy, and we need to take steps to support youth employment before we end up with longer-term unemployed. In this environment, UK investors should seek inflation protection and exposure to countries and companies without stressed balance sheets or secular growth challenges.
Email Comments From John Hussman Regarding the Start of a Recession and ECRI Track Record
In view of the ongoing "recession has started" and "there is no recession" debate, I'm cross-posting below a commentary that Mish Shedlock alerted me to a few minutes ago in an email. He received a nice email from John Hussman regarding his post earlier in the day 'Case for US and Global Recession Right Here, Right Now; Recognizing the Limits of Madness; Permabears?'
Trends in Civilian Population, Labor Force, Employed
Here is an interesting chart from Tim Wallace on the Civilian Population, Labor Force, and the Employed. The chart compares June of 2012, to June in previous years. Population keeps growing but labor force does not. This is mostly due to the weak economy not boomer demographics (although demographics does come into play).
To IPO or Not to IPO?
With the recent initial public offering (IPO) of Facebook stock, the IPO process is once again making headlines and this raises many questions such as, Is the process fair? Is the process flawed? Should retail investors look to get involved? Pretty simple questions but the answers, if there are any, are not.
Why Can't We All Just Get Along?
The world is separating into two main groups those who have substantial and growing net worth, who have ready access to capital, and those who are drowning in an ever-expanding pool of debt, with few options to improve their situation. This phenomenon makes for some interesting comparisons and for countless prognostications about what the future might hold for all of us.
12 Reasons US Recession Has Arrived (Or Will Shortly)
I am amused by the Shadow Weekly Leading Index Project, which claims the probability of recession is 31%. I think it is much higher. When the NBER, the official arbiter of recessions, finally backdates the recession, May or June of 2012
Why Can't We All Just Get Along?
The world is separating into two main groups - those who have substantial and growing net worth, who have ready access to capital, and those who are drowning in an ever-expanding pool of debt, with few options to improve their situation. This phenomenon makes for some interesting comparisons and for countless prognostications about what the future might hold for all of us.
The 20 Rules for a Successful Study Group
by Mike Walters,
Study groups are a great tool, allowing advisors to exchange helpful insights - but they can run your business into the ground. For your study group to succeed, you must know what you're getting into, the parameters you want to live by, and how you're going to be sure to get the best of, not the worst of, the experience.
Modern Day Fairy Tale of 3 Economic Wizards (Except It's True)
Once upon a time (today), in a land not so far away (USA), there lived a trio of economic wizards (economists), whose names shall remain anonymous (Paul Krugman, Greg Mankiw, Ben Bernanke). A fourth wizard, Murry Rothbard, is no longer among the living but resides in the netherworld. The above wizards seldom agree with each other because they come from competing schools of wizardry. (1) Keynesian School of Fiscal Voodoo and Witchcraft (2) Monetarist School of Monetary Voodoo and Witchcraft (3) Austrian School of Sound Money, Sound Economic Principles and Common Sense.
Gaming the Odds of a Greek Euro Exit With and Without Contagion
A key question on trader's minds is who will win the June 17th Greece election and whether it results in a Greek exit of the eurozone. Deutsche Bank gives it assessment in a report called Probability weighting EUR views on Greece. Under a variety of assumptions, the market pricing looks consistent with: a) significant odds in favor of Greece remaining part of the EUR zone and EUR/USD trading between 1.25 and 1.30; and, b) a worst case Greek exit global contagion scenario taking EUR/USD to 1.10, but not to levels as low as parity.
Our secular view is that the status quo is not an option for the eurozone. In the near term, we believe it is more likely than not that Greece will exit the eurozone. While a Greek exit would likely be messy and volatile, our baseline view is that a smaller union will persist. To be sustainable, it will have to be underpinned by much stronger fiscal union, greater support for the banking system, and mutualization of debt to mitigate cross-border capital flight risks.
Market Gut Check Time, Again
Our research of the last 50 years shows 3% pullbacks occur on average four times a year. So, clearly pullbacks are commonplace during a normal bull market; however, every time they occur they still set investor emotions on edge and test their resolve. At times like this we like to try and decipher what drove the selloff and try to resolve if we think it is just a normal correction or the beginning of a longer trend down and possibly the start of a new bear market.
Global Investment Outlook
Investors continue to focus on the global macroeconomic backdrop, which is still relatively positive despite slightly disappointing data recently. There are signs that some of the imbalances within the Eurozone are starting to ease as competitiveness is improving in some of the peripheral countries and this is beginning to be reflected in trade figures. Looking further ahead, we feel that global consumption should be supported by falling headline inflation.
Can Government and the Corporate Sector work together again?
Can we find the right balance between government regulation and corporate entrepreneurship? History has shown that too much government intervention can strangle the creative energy of the private sector. Yet more recent history has shown that too little or perhaps ineffective regulation can have dire economic consequences as well. Is it possible to combine these opposing forces for our collective good, and for the collective good of the world? Sadly, in the midst of never-ending political rancour in this election year, it would appear to me that these forces are moving ever farther apart.
Adaptive Asset Allocation: A True Revolution in Portfolio Management
Modern Portfolio Theory has been derided by practitioners, academics, and the media over the past ten years because the dominant application of the theory, Strategic Asset Allocation, has delivered poor performance and high volatility since the millennial technology crash. Strategic Asset Allocation probably deserves the negative press it receives, but the mathematical identity described by Markowitz in his 1967 paper is axiomatic in the same way Pythagoras' equations describe the properties of right triangles, or Schrodinger's equations describe the positional probabilities of electrons.
Stocks Cheap? Not so Fast!
Markets seem to have forgotten that which ailed us just 4 months ago. Talk of another Lehman style meltdown by a major financial institution has given way to positive earnings results, record profit margins and a much publicized recovery in the US. Equities, have now taken center stage once again with many major asset management firms proclaiming their attractive nature. Over the course of the next few paragraphs, we will examine this argument in greater detail by deconstructing equity market returns into component pieces.
The Bernanke-Krugman Smackdown
Bernanke is trying like a madman to get banks to increase lending but Bernanke and Krugman both do not understand economic reality. Banks cannot lend because they are still capital impaired, hiding losses yet to come, and holding assets that are marked-to-fantasy instead of marked-to-market. Consumers are busted and holding interest rates at 0% when prices of food and gasoline are soaring exacerbates the problem. There are few credit-worthy businesses that want to borrow in this environment. The businesses that do want to borrow are not credit-worthy and banks would be foolish to lend to them.
Huge Dilemma: Do You Protect Your Job or Your Clients' Money?
I feel like a broken record. Jeremy Grantham, John Hussman, and Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live surely feel the same way. I have been preaching the "low returns for a decade" concept for quite some time. It is very tough preaching caution, when caution is routinely tossed to the winds. Yet history has proven time and time again, that such times are precisely when caution is warranted, even though timing the precise moment is simply impossible.
One Heck of a Start
With the overall market up 12%, the best first quarter since 1998, it was, most definitely, one heck of a start. Before we get too carried away, here is a list of the reasons why the bears contend the end of the first quarter will prove to be the high point for stocks this year.
Where is the Unemployment Rate Headed?
I have a pretty cool interactive map below that will let you graph the unemployment rates based on parameters that you can choose. First let's take a look at the current unemployment rate and a discussion of the parameters that define it.
Is There a Bubble in Treasuries?
Both Sides of the Case; Explaining the 2011 Treasury Rally (It's Not What You Think); Where to From Here? People have been calling a bubble in treasuries for at least a decade. The shocking result, especially to hyperinflationists, has been a stair-step decline in yields for 30 years. That's quite a long time.
Home Prices and Inflation, Part 1
Various charts show home prices are now back to levels last seen in September-October 2002. I posted such a chart constructed from the LPS Home Price Index (HPI) in LPS Home Price Index Shows U.S. Home Prices Accelerated Decline.
The Disingenuous ECRI Recession Call
Late last month in "ECRI Sticks with Recession Call on CNBC; More than a Bit of an Exaggeration by Achuthan to Make His Call?" I questioned the ECRI's use of coincident indicators to make a claim regarding recession.... In spite of all the above, I happen to like the ECRI recession call. Yes, I am biased, but it is hard to find anyone who is not.... To go out on a limb, I think GDP in 2012 is going to hugely surprise on the downside, and 1st Quarter GDP may be as low as zero to .5%. A negative number (or more likely a revised negative number) would not shock me in the least.
The well chronicled economic and market woes over the past decade, as well as the ever-polarizing political process, have largely shattered our faith in our ability to solve the challenges we face. It is not surprising that there are so many doomsday predictions being made following these difficult times. Nevertheless, it is still possible that we can rediscover our faith in order to tackle these challenges with confidence.
Will Greece Survive the Ides of March?
As a point of curiosity, the Greek 1-Year Bond Yield touched 682% today, now down to a mere 666%. Bloomberg quotes the open as 566%, if correct, the one year yield soared 116 percentage points from the open to the high. Deal "Really" Finalized? Open Europe says Many questions around the second Greek bailout remain unanswered.
The Student Loan Debt Bomb
It's interesting to watch some of the terms bandied about in headline news. For example, the LA Times headline reads "S&P says student loan debt could be next financial bubble". Next? Could Be? What with the word "next"? Also what's with the words "could be"? Without a doubt student loans are in a bubble and have been for many years. Another way to describe the situation is "Debt Bomb".
Bernanke on the Unemployment Rate and Labor Weakness
I nearly always disagree with Bernanke on monetary and fiscal policy. Specifically, the Fed ought not have a monetary policy for the simple reason the Fed should not exist. Indeed, the Bernanke Fed and the Greenspan Fed have both proven beyond a shadow of a doubt they do not know what they are doing, where the economy is headed, or anything else of relevance in setting monetary policy. However, on rare occasions, Bernanke can say a few snippets that seem to make complete sense. For example, Bernanke Says 8.3% Unemployment Understates Labor Weakness.
Some Facts About the 'Falling' Unemployment Rate
Given the complete distortions of reality with respect to not counting people who allegedly dropped out of the work force, it is easy to misrepresent the headline numbers. Digging under the surface, the drop in the unemployment rate is nothing but a statistical mirage.
Debt and Deleveraging: A Five-Pronged Solution
Citing the latest report on "Debt and Deleveraging" by the McKinsey Global Institute, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard proclaims a light at the end of the tunnel and that America overcomes the debt crisis as Britain sinks deeper into the swamp. However, there is a big difference between alleged "light at the end of the tunnel" and "America Overcomes Debt Crisis" as Pritchard claims. US consumers may be one-third of the way through, but US debt-to-GDP ratios are low only because unsustainable government spending has taken up the slack.
Structurally High Unemployment for a Decade
Since 2008 I have been stating the US would have "Structurally High Unemployment for a Decade". Indeed, based on historical trends in labor force growth, the expected unemployment rate for the number of jobs created during the recovery would be well north of 11%. Yet, the unemployment rate is currently an artificially "low" 8.5% (not that 8.5% is anything to brag about). To show how difficult it will be to bring that rate down, let's take a look at job growth (or losses), for the last three decades (numbers in thousands).
Flight 2012, Cleared to Hold?
Commercial air travel can be pretty frustrating these days, but nothing compares to the call from the cockpit as you approach your destination that the flight is entering holding. Immediately many questions enter travelers minds including: Why? How long? Where will we land? Given the S&P 500 essentially experienced a holding pattern in 2011, many investors must be asking themselves similar questions right now. Specifically the S&P lost .04 points last year as it began 2011 at 1257.64 and ended the year at 1257.60.
Rebalancing Resurrected, Part 3
This is a 'Canadian-ized' version of anarticlewe published on Monday, December 19, 2011, which featured a study of US equity and fixed-income markets. As we are located in Canada, we were motivated to see how well the same techniques work in our home market using the S&P/TSX Composite. As expected, it turns out that they work quite well.
Rebalancing Resurrected, Part 2
This is a 'Japan-amized' version of an article we published on 12/19, which featured a study of US equity and fixed-income markets. The Japanese experience since 1993 was dramatically different than the U.S. Japanese investors endured a seemingly endless series of intermediate term extremes of hope and despair as markets oscillated wildly above and below their long-term negative trend. Japans multi-decade crash and stagnation is unique among modern market economies (so far), so we wanted to see how well our volatility adjusted rebalancing framework worked in this difficult environment.
This is part 1 of a 3 part series that explores optimal methods of dynamic rebalancing between stocks and bonds. This study examines these methods in the context of a US equity / Treasury basket. The next 2 posts will explore the impact of our proposed techniques on Japanese and Canadian equity / bond baskets. The investment community is in the midst of an identity crisis, though admittedly many in the industry don't know it yet. At the heart of the matter is the following misconception: Investors perceive that investment professionals add value via security selection and market timing.
Dollar Soars Following FOMC No Hint of QE3; Looking Ahead, What's Next?
I have read countless articles recently regarding the inevitability of QE3. I have disagreed for four reasons:1.Price of oil near $100 give Fed little choice 2.Rising price of food gives Fed little choice 3.Stock market has risen on hype of European bailout giving Fed little reason 4.Falling unemployment rate (even though it's totally bogus) gives Fed little reason 5.Why should the Fed react when hot air from Europe gave a huge lift to the markets? I would have been surprised if the Fed tossed a QE3 bone under those circumstances. And it didn't.
Estimating Future Stock Market Returns
Investors would do much better to heed the results of robust statistical analyses of actual market history, and play to the relative odds. This analysis suggests that markets are currently expensive, and asserts a very high probability of low returns to stocks (and possibly other asset classes) in the future. Remember, any returns earned above the average are necessarily earned at someone else's expense, so it will likely be necessary to do something radically different than everyone else to capture excess returns going forward.
Decade-Long European Recession Coming Up
Reflections on the Un-Level Playing Field. What could possibly be more un-level than guaranteeing banks and bondholders will never take losses? When there are more losses, and there will be, the only way to guarantee banks do not take them, is to have someone else take them, namely taxpayers. If Sarkozy gets his wish, taxpayers, not bondholders will pay the price. The same holds true for Ireland, Spain, Belgium, and Italy. The only true way to level the playing field is to make banks and bondholders who take foolish risks to pay the price for their foolish actions.
Results 151–200 of 228 found.