May 2010 - Forecasts & Trends

Forecasts & Trends is much more than just investment blog posts. You need to know the "big picture;" you need to have a "world view," especially in the post-911 world; and you need more information than ever before to be successful in meeting your financial goals. Gary intends to help you do just that.

Forecasts & Trends

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  • Europe's Trillion-Dollar Bailout - Can It Work

    On April 12, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) increased the capacity of its emergency lending fund from $50 billion to $550 billion, a ten-fold increase. Less than a month later, the European Union announced a near $1 trillion bailout fund to aid Greece and any other countries in Europe that may get into trouble. At the same time, the EU announced that the IMF will be chipping in apprx. one-third ($321 billion) of the near $1 trillion bailout. Since the US is the IMF's largest contributor, this means that US taxpayers will be footing part of the bill to bailout Greece and possibly other European countries. Isn't that just dandy! And it gets even worse, so be sure to read on.

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  • Fannie & Freddie - The Unnecessary Disaster

    Earlier this month, mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac requested an additional $19 billion in government bailout money just to stay afloat. Since Fannie and Freddie were taken over by the government in September 2008, the government has poured $145 billion in taxpayer money into these mortgage agencies. These quasi-government agencies have been out of control for decades, and I will argue that they were largely responsible for the housing bubble, the financial crisis that followed, and the Great Recession. The Bush administration tried to reform these agencies for years, but the Democrats blocked all such efforts. Why? Because Fannie and Freddie were huge political contributors. You will definitely want to read this week's E-Letter, and you will probably want to share it with others. Feel free.

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  • The Economy & This Rocky Recovery

    For the most part, the economic reports over the last month or so have been positive, including last Friday's 1Q GDP increase of 3.2% (annual rate). Most economists agree that the recession hit bottom in the middle of last year, and we have now seen three consecutive quarters of positive GDP growth. Yet while it would seem safe to conclude that the Great Recession is over (for now), economic growth will be handicapped all year by the continued housing crisis. Home foreclosures continue to increase at a record pace, including an unprecedented 367,056 properties in March alone. Thus, it is quite possible that the 3.2% growth rate in the 1Q will be the best we see all year. We will take a look at most of the latest economic reports in this issue, as well as the rapidly growing problem in home foreclosures.

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  • Congress Drops the "F-Word" (Fiduciary)

    No, you're not going to have to hide this week's E-Letter from the kids. The F-word discussed in today's issue is 'fiduciary.' As you probably know, financial regulatory reform has been getting a lot of attention in the financial press lately. Unfortunately, many investors do not know that a provision to require brokers to act in your best interests rather than their own (a concept known as the 'fiduciary standard') was an early casualty of the financial reform effort, thanks largely to Wall Street's lobbying efforts.

    There are some investment professionals who are bound to exercise fiduciary duty in relation to your investments, while others are held only to the less-stringent 'suitability standard.' However, many investors do not know what a fiduciary standard is, or how the absence of this duty can affect their investments. In this week's E-Letter, I'll compare the two standards as well as fill you in on why the large Wall Street brokerage firms are so opposed to brokers having a fiduciary duty to clients.

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