Blogs

  • The International Economic Crisis and Stratfor's Methodology

    Exhale for a moment, forget your losses for the time being, and try to appreciate the fact that you're living through the single most important development in global finance since Bretton Woods. This is a "tell the grandkids about it" moment, when governments all around the world have essentially decided in unison that it's time to rewrite the rules, the very framework, in which financial transactions take place. Stock trading, interbank lending, commercial paper, the very concept of private sector ownership are all up in the air right now. The only thing I can tell you with certainty is that if you try to evaluate your investments using the same metrics you've always relied on - P/E ratios, market share, interest rates, etc. - you're going to be as successful as a football-turned-baseball coach evaluating a pitcher by the number of touchdowns he throws. The rules are changing, gentle reader, changing at least for awhile from market-driven inputs to government-driven inputs. If you try to apply what you know from the "old game" without understanding that you're playing a "new game," the rules might not make sense. I'm sending you today a piece from my friend George Friedman on how his company Stratfor looks at economics. More precisely, this piece explains how they look at Political Economy. And from here on out, it's political economy that's going to be driving markets. If the old rule was "Never fight the Fed." It's now, "Never fight the Fed. And the Treasury. And the ECB. And the Bank of England. And the Bank of Japan...." You get my point....
  • Association for Investor Awareness - Week of 10/16/2008

    The Biggest Danger Now Is A Series Of Bear Traps
    The Financial Crisis Has Further To Run
    Some Bear Market Investments Have Promise
    How Long The Bear Might Stick Around
    A Contrary Economic Outlook
    Another Shameless Plug For Blue Chip Stocks
    The Bottom Line This Week

    Stock volatility has become so extreme, we had to redraw the charts. Although there have been up and down days as large as those we have seen recently, never before have they come in such quick succession.

    Last week, as everyone from New Guinea to New York must know by now, the Dow and the Nasdaq fell 18.2% and 15.3% respectively. That would have been tough enough by itself, but what made the week even more hectic is it contained a 679 point jump that many investors believed was the start of a reversal. 

    The market leaped forward again this Monday with a breath taking 936 point surge when U.S and European leaders decided on a coordinated financial rescue plan. Stocks took a breather on Tuesday. Then it plunged 733 points the next day on poor consumer spending data. We must expect more whiplash days as the credit crisis continues to unfold. 

    ...
  • Here we go again...

    * Here we go again... * US numbers show further slowdown... * Norway cuts rates... * Switzerland moves to shore up UBS... ** Here we go again... Good day...The dollar rallied and the equity markets plunged yesterday as investors again pulled their money away from the markets. As we have seen over the past several weeks, when investors get worried about the state of the global economy, they rush back into cash, and in the world of cash the US$ is still king. Chuck has been talking about this trading pattern during his FX University presentations, and I'll start this morning's Pfennig off with his thoughts from Philadelphia, where he is hosting another day of FXU: Here we go again! The recession trap door gets sprung under the stock market, and things begin to look really bad in the U.S. again, and guess what? The dollar rallies... This just plays the trading theme over and over again... And Yen? It's back below 100! Risk gets taken out, and whatever carry trades that were brave enough to go back on after Monday, have been wiped out! Wiped out like the rally in Aussie dollars, which had rallied to +70-cents after Monday... And lost 5-cents today......
  • SPECIAL ISSUE: Financial Crisis For Beginners

    People are constantly asking me how we got into this financial crisis and how it became so very messy, thus requiring massive government bailouts around the world. This SPECIAL ISSUE of Forecasts & Trends E-Letter features a very good analysis of the current financial crisis - in layman's terms - from the good folks at BaselineScenario.com. Hopefully, it will help you to better understand how the housing/mortgage crisis led us to where we are today. If it helps, feel free to share with others as you see fit....
  • Where The Stock Market Stands Now

    Richard Schwartz 's PRINCIPLES OF THE STOCK MARKET A learning, teaching, always evolving stock market letter and advisory service Eighteenth Consecutive Year of Publication ; Letter #1; September 18 th , 1990 Post Office Box 1236 · New Paltz...
  • Is Anybody Out There?

    Something’s bothering me. I’ve been writing a weekly column here at Investors Insight since July. In my very first article, I mentioned the burgeoning bull market for biotech stocks. That was July 23. Emergent Biosciences (NYSE:EBS) was one...
    Posted to Growth Report by Ian Wyatt on 10-15-2008
  • Rescue plan not an instant fix...

    * Rescue plan to take time... * Pound sterling rallies (for now)... * Brazil supports the real... * Iceland cuts rates... ** Rescue plan not an instant fix... Good day...Another roller coaster of a day, as the dollar continued to slide through lunch but then rallied back up in the afternoon. As I walked out the door last night, most of the major currencies were trading right about where they were when I turned the screens on. The dollar has started to fall again in overnight trading, so the up and down of the past few weeks looks to continue. The news stories coming across the wires this morning seem to be as volatile as the currencies. I have now counted three different stories which state the markets are moving back into higher yielding currencies and riskier investments after the coordinated bank bailout plan which was announced yesterday. But several other stories are talking about how investors are moving out of the higher yielding assets because of concern that the bank rescue will take too much time to unfreeze global credit markets. I tend to agree with the latter of these....
  • What To Do About The Global Financial Crisis

    This week, we ponder whether the giant $700 billion bailout plan is large enough. There are some smart people who believe it is not enough, as you will read below. There are also many who argue that the government needs to inject capital directly into the largest banks to get them lending again. This morning, President Bush announced just such a plan to inject up to $250 billion in US banks in return for stock in their companies. I will discuss this latest bank rescue plan as we go along, as well as the progress on the larger bailout plan. Finally, I will give you thoughts on what you should be doing in the stock market in light of the latest historical plunge....
  • Govt to follow Buffet's lead...

    * Govt to follow Buffet's lead... * Aussie $ has biggest gain ever... * Yen reverses on carry trades... * China's currency reserves rise... Good day...And what a day it was! As I stated in yesterday's Pfennig, Columbus day is just sort of a holiday for the markets. These 'semi-holidays' can create some volatile trading, as not all of the markets are open and many desks are short staffed. So with the Federal Reserve and the banking system closed, the equity markets had the largest one day gain in over seven decades. I guess the stock jockeys figured they weren't going to get any bad news out of the credit markets, which were closed, so no news is good news!! The rally was certainly welcomed, and hopefully some of the gains will stick today as we return to a normal trading environment. And I guess some of the credit for the stock rally has to go to finance ministers around the globe who finally agreed on a plan which seems to be able to work. The leaders of a majority of the worlds largest economies borrowed a page from Warren Buffet's playbook and decided to invest directly into some of their largest financial institutions. The Bush administration announced it would invest $125 billion in nine of the biggest US banks. The US move came after France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and Austria committed $1.8 trillion to guarantee interbank loans and take equity stakes in European banks....
  • Why The Worst Will Soon Be Over

    The credit crisis is global. Interestingly, some of the more creative and straight forward solutions are coming from England. This week in Outside the Box I am presenting you with a very well written (even entertaining) letter from Bedlam Asset Management from London www.bedlamplc.com on their view of the crisis. It is always instructive to look at your problems from the point of view of another party, and even more some when they give you some thoughtful and cogent analysis. I have to admit, seeing green on my screen feels good, but we are in a recession that is global and is likely to get worse. What we need to do now is assess what our response will be. First, we need to avoid the pitfalls and then look around for the opportunities which will be presented us. I think this week's Outside the Box will help you think through your personal situation....
  • 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....
  • Where Do We Go From Here?

    I have been writing for almost a year that the next shoe to drop on US banks would be commercial construction lending. Today we look at some hard numbers. We look across the pond to sort out the problems in Europe. We look at the consequences of the losses stemming from Lehman. Then we look at one of the more serious consequences of the banking crisis, one that will bring the crisis home to you. Finally, we look at what the various governments of the world must do in response. It may not be fun, but it should be interesting. And it is important. Feel free to forward this letter to anyone who asks why we not only need the bailout but will need even more coordinated government action....
  • The Room - 10/10/2008

    In last week's edition of this meandering missive, I mused as follows... "What, I wonder, will the government do when next week, or the week after maybe, the U.S. stock market takes another header for 500 points? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, gold is at $826, down considerably over the past week. Like when a tsunami sucks the water away from the shore just before hitting, we're in a transition period. I'm not worried about where gold is going next. I wish I could say the same about the world." According to the number crunchers, the U.S. stock market is on track to have its worst week since 1937. Which, as you can see from the DJIA chart here, is an acceleration of the broader trend that has held sway for some time now. While we can't yet say what action the U.S. Government will take next, glancing over the horizon, we see a growing number of countries implementing a euphemistically named "market holiday." In Iceland, all banks and markets are now enjoying a day off. And Kevin Brekke, our Switzerland-based researcher, just wrote that there is a rising call to halt trading in Germany. It would not surprise me in the slightest if the same were to occur in the U.S....
  • Who Owes Who?

    * Trading theme pushes yen higher... * Settlement day for Lehman CDO's... * Oil price fall hurts loonies... * Gold climbs back above $900... ** Who Owes Who? Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! It certainly doesn't look as though it will be a Fantastico Friday in stocks, as yesterday was a bloodletting, and overnight the Japanese stock market sold off 11%, and Europe is down about 9% at this point. UGH! This is getting quite ugly... But remember what I've been saying this week about the currency trading theme... When things look bleak, the dollar goes up... And when it looks as though all the stimulus might work, the dollar sells off... This has been quite evident in Japanese yen overnight, as stocks sold off 11%, the currency rallied to a 98 handle from 101 yesterday... And... Then in dollar trading, other than yen, the dollar is stronger this morning, pushing the euro back to the 1.35 handle. The high yielders, which enjoyed a day in the sun yesterday before U.S. stocks took a turn on the slippery slope, got whacked hard overnight! UGH!...
  • Lehman Credit Default Swaps Announcements Today

    If you are looking for a reason why stocks are plunging, here's one major reason. Today, at 10:30 AM and then again at 2 PM (both eastern time) announcements re settlement of the massive Lehman Bros. credit default swaps will occur. According to one...