Blogs

  • Now what do we do?

    Economics This Week’s Data Weekly jobless claims rose 27,000 versus estimates of a decline of 11,000. October leading economic indicators declined .8% versus expectations of a decrease of .6% and an increase of .3% in September. The November Philadelphia...
    Posted to Steve Cook on Disciplined Investing by Steve Cook on 11-21-2008
  • Stock Markets Look To Favor Hillary Clinton In This Election

    Historically speaking, the US stock markets (ie – Wall Street) have reliably favored Republicans in presidential elections, but this year looks different. In fact, in almost every case back to 1880, US equity markets have risen when Republicans win presidential...
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  • The Closing Bell-11/22/08

    Next week is a holiday week. I have to travel 2 days to get my father bring him to our home and take him back. In addition, more family is coming; and I will be doing most of the cooking. I will be staying abreast of the Market; if comments are needed...
    Posted to Steve Cook on Disciplined Investing by Steve Cook on 11-22-2008
  • On Energy Production and US Intelligence Failures

    I send you Outside the Box each week not to make you comfortable but to make you think. Usually it is on some financial topic, but life is more than investments. Economics is not an isolated discipline (more like an art form I think) so we have to have a real understanding of the world around us. This week I offer two essays which made me both think and reflect. We live in a world which wants easy solutions to complex problems, and wish as we may, will not get easy solutions which will work.

    The first essay is by Pewter Huber on the reality of energy production. We all want to be able to "go green." How realistic is that? The second is by my friend George Friedman on torture and US intelligence failures.

    Peter Huber is a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and the coauthor, most recently, of The Bottomless Well. His article develops arguments that he made in an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate in January. George is well known to OTB readers. He is president of Stratfor and was with the CIA (as was his wife Meredith) before they founded Stratfor, what I think of as the premier private intelligence agency in the world.

    I suggest you put on your thinking caps and take some time to read both of these very important essays, and enjoy your week. I am off to Orlando and the CFA conference....
  • Fighting Recklessness with Recklessness

    This week we visit some very thoughtful analysis by an old friend of Outside the Box, Dr. John Hussman of the Hussman Funds (http://www.hussmanfunds.com/index.html). Is the new PPIP program and related activities likely to help or hurt the situation? Will this help keep banks for bankruptcy or will it push the FDIC into insolvency requiring massive tax payer cash. This week's Outside the Box is brief, but poignant....
  • The Closing Bell-12/13/08

    Statistical Summary Current Economic Forecast 2008 Real Growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP): -1.0 - +1.0% Inflation: 2-3% Growth in Corporate Profits: 0-5% 2009 Real Growth in Gross Domestic Product: -0.5 - -1.5% Inflation: 1-2 % Growth in Corporate...
    Posted to Steve Cook on Disciplined Investing by Steve Cook on 12-13-2008
  • The Closing Bell-11/15/08

    The Closing Bell 11/15/08 Statistical Summary Current Economic Forecast 2007 Real Growth in Gross Domestic Product: 2.0- 2.5% Inflation: 2 - 2.5 % Growth in Corporate Profits: 6-8% 2008 (revised-again) Real Growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP): -1.0...
    Posted to Steve Cook on Disciplined Investing by Steve Cook on 11-15-2008
  • READER FEEDBACK: CHILDREN IN HANDCUFFS

    Thanks for bringing the 2 girls in NYC up. That is very wrong. But, the 5-year-old is another case. What could they do? The teachers are not allowed to discipline the kids, and the parents won't. The Assistant Principal had her hands tied, as did...
    Posted to What We Now Know by Doug Casey on 05-16-2005
  • Fed floods the markets with US$...

    * Bernanke gets help opening the spigot... * Euro and Pound rally... * Yen to continue to benefit from carry reversals...* Aussie $ rallies... ** Fed floods the markets with US$... Good day...and happy Columbus day! This is an official bank holiday here in the states, so all of the banks are closed, but the stock markets are open. We will have a half day here on the desk to try and catch up with all of the work which has been piling up the past few weeks. The phones are turned off, since it is an official bank holiday, but we will be checking messages and try to get back to everyone as quickly as possible. It is a very unusual holiday, as the banks are all closed with no funds transfers possible, but the stock markets are open. Currency desks are lightly staffed, so we will have to really work to get the trades done this morning. These strange holidays usually can lead to some real market volatility, and with today will probably be another rollercoaster. In an all out effort to ease the credit freeze, the Federal Reserve recruited help from the ECB, Bank of England, and the Swiss central bank to flood the market with US$. These central banks will auction unlimited dollar funds with maturities of seven days, 28 days, and 84 days at a fixed interest rate. This move is unprecedented, as all previous dollar swaps were capped at a maximum amount while these auctions will be for unlimited funds....
  • The Next 100 Years

    Much of the world is focused on the next 100 days—what Obama is going to do. That's important. But today in a special Outside the Box from my good friend George Freidman of Stratfor We will look out a bit further George is just about to release his latest book, The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century. (Even pre-release it's already at #11 on Amazon's non-fiction bestseller list!) Here's my quick summary; and to cut to the chase, it's just fascinating. What reads like a geopolitical thriller gives a thought-provoking glimpse into what the world will look like in the coming century. George's strength is his ability to take geopolitical patterns and use them to forecast future events, sometimes with startling and counterintuitive results....
  • Geithner, China, and the Specter of Technical Insolvency

    This week I bring you two different articles as an offering for Outside the Box. As a way to introduce the first, let me give you the quote from Merrill Lynch economist David Rosenberg about the rising threat of global trade protectionism: 'The Financial Times weighs in on the rising threat of global trade protectionism in today's Lex Column on page 14 ('Economic Patriotism'). The FT points out that the stimulus packages of many countries include 'buy local' provisions. At home, there is a proposed inclusion of a 'Buy American' provision in the economic recovery package and this could set off trade retaliation from importers of US goods. Here is what the FT had to say, 'It was trade protectionism that made the 1930s Depression 'Great'. Congress would do well to understand that it is in everyone's interest to keep trade open today.' I have long written that the one thing that could derail my Muddle Through (at least eventually) view point is a return to trade protectionism. Nothing could be more devastating to the hopes of a recovery. Nothing could more surely turn a recession into a depression, and a global one at that....
  • Asleep at the wheel, or, How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb

    For the last few months in my regular letter I have been pounding the table that corporate earnings are going to decline this year, which is always a negative atmosphere for stocks. Since today is the beginning of the earnings season for the first quarter...
  • Two Essays on the Continuing Financial Crisis

    This week in Outside the Box we look at two brief essays which give us different perspective on the Continuing Crisis. The first is by Mohamed El-Erian, the co-chief executive and co-chief investment officer of Pimco. His book, 'When Markets Collide...
  • The Yield Curve, Part 8

    Introduction The level of attention to the recent and mild inversion of the yield curve has bordered on hysteria in the media. Does it portend a recession? Or is, as Ethan Harris, the chief economist of Lehman Brothers suggests, the bond market simply...
  • Electing the Janitor-in-Chief

    This week we survey the economic landscape that the new president will inherit. It is a polite understatement to say that he will be getting a serious mess. In reality, the US goes to the polls this next Tuesday to elect a Janitor-in-Chief. He will face a task that rivals that of Hercules in cleaning out the Stygian stables (legendary huge stables that had not been mucked out for ten years). However, there are no convenient rivers at hand for a probable President Obama to redirect that will quickly be able to clean out the mess left in the stables of our economy. This will indeed be an Herculean task and one that will take most of the first term of the next administration. So, let's look at what will face the next president. It should make for an interesting, even if not optimistic, letter....
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