Posts filed under “Think Tank”

Gold and the S&P’s

There is nothing like a vacation to get some r&r, spend some time with loved ones, reflect on the past and think about the future. With gold now above $1000 again, about the same level of the S&P’s, the $ index just 8% from record lows and 4 more years of B52 Ben, lets reflect. Since Jan 1998, while the nominal price of the S&P 500 is flat, in gold terms (real money) it is down 70% as gold as risen from $300 and now the S&P’s buy only 1 ounce of gold, down from 3.3 in Jan ’98. Since ’98, we had the LTCM bailout which raised moral hazard to another level and a period of easy money followed from the Fed. We all know what followed so are we better off with the monetary policy regime of the past 10 years that is continuing? With Ben in place for another 4 years what does it say about the future? As I’ve been saying since $350, buy gold and other hard assets.

Category: MacroNotes

Bankers and Beavers

Bankers and Beavers Labor Day, September 6, 2009 Drive north on US Route 1 about 2 miles from Princeton, Maine and turn right on Telephone Road. Five miles of gravel takes you to the edge of Tomah Stream, a serene, magical place on the edge of the Passamaquoddy Indian reservation. We turned onto Telephone Road….Read More

Category: Think Tank

The Elements of Deflation

As every school child knows, water is formed by the two elements of hydrogen and
oxygen in a very simple formula we all know as H2O. Today we start a series that
starts with the question, What are the elements that comprise deflation? Far
from being simple, the “equation” for deflation is as complex as that of DNA.
And sadly, while the genome project has helped us with great insights into how
DNA works, economic analysis is still back in the 1950s when it comes to
decoding deflation. Notwithstanding the paucity of understanding we can glean
from the dismal science, in this week’s letter we will start thinking about the
most fundamentally important question of the day: is inflation, or deflation,
in our future?

But quickly, I want to thank the many people who wrote very kind words about last
week’s letter. Many thought it was one of the better letters I have done in a
long time. If you did not read it, you can read it here. And of course, you can go there and sign up to get this letter sent to you each week for free. Why not become of my 1 million (plus and growing) closest friends?

The Failure of Economics

Among the economists and writers I regularly read, there are some who, if they agree
with me, I go back and check my assumptions – I must have been wrong. Paul Krugman is one of those thinkers. I admit to his brilliance, but his left-leaning philosophy does not particularly square with mine, and I find that most of the time I disagree.

That being said, I strongly encourage you to read his essay in the New York Times Magazine, which comes out this weekend. It is worth the high price of the Times to read it, if you can’t get it online. It is a very hard critique and analysis of the failure of current macro and financial economic
thought, which didn’t even come close to predicting the current financial
malaise. Indeed, as he points out, most schools of thought said the state we
are in could not happen. You can read at the essay if you are a member, or
register for free if you are not.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/magazine/06Economic-t.html?_r=1.

Krugman writes, as I have in repeated columns, that we have taught two generations of
economists and financial practitioners faulty theories. Even now, believers in
the Efficient Market Hypothesis and CAPM hold to their beliefs in the face of
clearly contrary evidence. It is a very thought-provoking piece and worthy of a
long weekend read. He names specific names and pulls no punches. This is as
close to starting a barroom brawl as you get in economic circles.

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Category: Think Tank

What’s a Four Letter Word for Risk Aversion?

Good Evening: After giving ground in recent days, U.S. stocks found their footing on Thursday. The S&P 500 had been fidgeting around just below 1000 since Tuesday’s downdraft, but the widely watched index managed to finish above this psychological barrier today. Whether this rebound after the 4% pullback from last week’s high signals either a…Read More

Category: Markets, Think Tank

Global stock market performance roundup (thru 8.09)

Global stock market performance roundup (August 31, 2009)

The performance of a number of global stock markets is given in the table below in local currency terms for different measurement terms ended August 31. The numbers speak for themselves, but it is noteworthy that the MSCI World Index (+3.9%) and MSCI Emerging Markets Index (-0.2%) followed separate paths in August as China, Hong Kong and India underperformed.

Click here or on the table below for a larger image.

global-stock-markets-local-currency-s

Top performers during August included Austria (+11.3%), Ireland (+10.9%) and Venezuela (+10.6%). At the bottom end of the performance rankings countries included China (-21.8%), Hong Kong (-4.1%) and India (0%).

The key moving-average levels are also given in the table above. With the exception of the Chinese Shanghai Composite Index, which fell below its 50-day moving average about two weeks ago, all the indices are trading above their respective 50- and 200-day moving averages. The 50-day lines are also above the 200-day lines in all instances.

The gains/declines mentioned above are all in local currency terms. However, converting the movements to US dollar gives a better picture, in general, for the non-dollar countries (see table below).

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Category: Markets, Think Tank

HOW TECHNICAL ANALYSIS CAN IMPROVE FUNDAMENTAL ANALYSIS

~~~

Investment letter – August 26, 2009

HOW TECHNICAL ANALYSIS CAN IMPROVE FUNDAMENTAL ANALYSIS

Over the last 3 years, most economists have fallen into one of two groups. The smaller group were those economists who saw the housing and credit crisis coming. Granted, most were a bit early and turned negative in 2006. Given subsequent events and the severity of the crisis, being early was certainly not a character flaw. The second and far larger group of economists failed to see almost any aspect of the credit crisis and severe recession coming. Many were still forecasting that there would be no recession as late as last July and August.

What I find fascinating is how these two groups believe the economy will perform in coming quarters. The first group, who correctly anticipated the crisis and recession, believe the economy will bounce and then dip again and form a W pattern. A few think the economy will remain in recession until 2010. For the most part, this group did not see the rally in the stock market coming, and now believe valuations are too high, especially in light of the coming second dip and its impact on corporate earnings.

After failing to see the deepest recession since the Depression coming, and a 50%+ decline in the stock market, the second group of economists are the most stringent supporters of the V-shaped recovery. This view is credible, since economic activity is giving signs of at least bottoming, and nascent signs of improvement. The rally in global stock markets and commodities like oil is based on the expectation of better economic growth. Strategists then cite the improvement in markets as proof of the recovery. This bit of circular logic is taken as an article of faith by those who believe markets ‘know’ something about the future, and are merely discounting better times. I’m not sure what better times the stock market was discounting in October 2007. But this inconvenient truth never fails to dissuade the ‘market discounts the future’ fools from advancing this bit of Wall Street ‘wisdom’.

Something each group of economists and strategists have in common is the omission of technical analysis as part of their analysis. It is a critical omission, and accounts for why each group missed either the significant turning points in October 2007, or March 2009.

Most of the economists who saw the housing crisis coming turned negative on the economy and stock market in 2006. Although housing was clearly rolling over, technical indicators of the stock market’s health uniformly showed that the up trend in the stock market was intact. Throughout 2006, the advance/decline line continued to make higher highs after every decline. As I noted numerous times throughout 2006, there was a very supportive supply/demand dynamic at work. Companies were buying enormous quantities of their own stock and private equity firms were using cheap credit to take over a record number of firms. In total, almost 5% of the supply of existing shares was absorbed thru buybacks and takeovers. This underlying demand was not met with much selling since the economy was in good shape. Had those crisis prescient economists incorporated technical analysis into their fundamental analysis, they would have remained more constructive on the stock market, without compromising their excellent fundamental work.

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Category: Technical Analysis, Think Tank

Worst Month for Equities Set to Begin on a Sour Note

Dan Greenhaus is the Chief Economic Strategist at Miller Tabak + Co. where he covers global economies, markets and portfolio theory. He has contributed several chapters to Investing From the Top Down: A Macro Approach to Capital Markets (by Anthony Crescenzi). This is his most recent commentary: ~~~ It is well known at this point…Read More

Category: Economy, Think Tank

The Battle Between Politics and Economics Goes Global

Good Evening: U.S. stocks finished a strong August on a down note, causing investors to wonder what awaits them during the seasonally weak months of September and October. With some strong (though admittedly junior) economic data released this morning, today’s downdraft had little to do with the U.S. economy. Global market participants were instead more…Read More

Category: Markets, Think Tank

Shanghai cracks

Category: Think Tank

Sugar High or LSD?

Years ago Charles Goodhart minted an eponymous law that is applicable today in financial markets. Last week, Pimco’s Mohammed El-Erian coined the metaphor “sugar high.” He was talking about the converse of Goodhart’s Law. We think he wasn’t harsh enough; hence, we use the metaphor “LSD.” The 99th edition of Pears Cyclopaedia (1990-1, pp. G27,…Read More

Category: Think Tank