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  • The Room - 10/17/2008

    Keeping up with the complex drama now flashing across the global screen is becoming more challenging with each passing day. In lazier days, a scene might be allowed to unfold at a measured pace, the interactions between major characters developed through subtle nuance and lingering shots and close-ups of, perhaps, the furrowing of a brow or the sly upturning of the corner of a mouth. These are not those days. Instead, we are living in the world of 30-second commercials, directed by a speed-addicted music video director, strung together in a nonstop explosion of two-second jump cuts. One minute stock markets are soaring, the next crashing. Gold jumps $20, then falls $40. Banks fail, banks get bailed out. Politicians elbow each other out of the way to throw billions, trillions even, into deep, dark holes. Oil tumbles, then bounces, then tumbles again. While the volatility has allowed me to make some fun money through the all-terrain investment vehicles of futures and options, it has also made the task of trying to keep current on the news and, more importantly, on what's important, daunting indeed....
  • The Room - 09/26/2008

    What a world I have returned to from my cloistered retreat at the beautiful Vivenda Miranda, scenically situated on a cliff outside of the quaint port town of Lagos, Portugal. Everything has changed. Everything is changing. The storm we have so long tried to help you prepare for is upon us. At this point, I can only hope you have your sails rigged for the storm now breaking, because time is running out. The violent volatility I warned of when last I wrote has arrived, with towering waves now rising up and smashing into the economy - and as an unavoidable consequence, our personal portfolios -- from all sides. Overnight the holders of my mortgage, WaMu, failed, the largest bank failure in history. This week, the golf course that I usually play on was taken over by the government... last week it belonged to AIG. As you don't need me to tell you, that same government now wants to spend over a trillion dollars to bail out Wall Street and to shore up the money market mutual funds - which have so far flown under the radar screen despite portfolios stuffed to the brim with bad paper. While no one was paying attention, U.S. automakers used their election year leverage to win approval for $25 billion in low-interest loans....
  • The Room 09/19/2008

    Hi, I am Olivier Garret, this week’s editor of The Room. What a rough week out there. My mind wanders as I drive at a crawl (I am not known to be a patient driver) behind a car full of “leaf peepers,” as Vermonters affectionately call the tourists who invade our state every autumn. I wonder how my friend David Galland is doing in Portugal, sipping the local wines with no access to his emails? It may be the worst week to be without market news -- or perhaps not… Hopefully David is enjoying himself while celebrating an old friend’s birthday with a group of other newsletter editors and industry peers. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Paulson and Fed Chairman Bernanke are not exactly having a day at the beach as they try to solve our nation’s problems. By the way, this past week, it seemed to me that Lehman drew the wrong lottery number while AIG appears to have hit the jackpot. I wonder how many other “private enterprises” will be lucky enough to get bailed out at taxpayers’ expense in the next few months: WaMu, Wachovia, and hundreds of other financial institutions, GM, Ford, Delta, United?...
  • Where Is the Economy Going in the Next Six Months?

    As investors, the question we have to focus most of our attention on just now is what impact the credit crisis, the bursting housing bubble and the actions of the U.S. government will have on the economy and investment markets in the next six months. We have seen the Fed and the federal government move to panic mode as they try to keep the system afloat. As expected, they have cut rates, as well as having given away checks and rearranged the Federal Reserve's entire balance sheet. The underlying problems have not been fixed with this massive bailout. There are still many credit pot holes out there and new lending remains highly constrained. Even the government tax rebate checks, rather than boosting the domestic economy, were largely absorbed by higher oil prices. The resulting cut-back in consumer spending, coupled with ongoing constrictions in lending, will cause a severe slowing of the economy....
  • The Bursting Commodities Bubble

    A steadily growing drumbeat is sounding throughout financial mediadom; a major commodities blowout is in the cards. The most widely quoted reason is a U.S. recession that will sympathetically pop the commodity bubble. It seems to me that these views are intertwined with a changed perception of how the economy works. A new paradigm if you will. People used to pay homage to the notion of a business cycle, a somewhat predictable and even stately progression of economic growth leading to excess, followed by a corrective recession. After which the cycle would begin anew....
  • The Room 3/24/08

    Dear Reader , It used to be of no little pride in the small New England town where Casey Research is headquartered that school went forward, no matter the weather. Hail, 8-foot-high snow drifts, ice rain and, should they have occurred hereabouts (which...
  • The Room 3/17/08

    Dear Reader , You don't need me to tell you, but the $1,000 mark is the latest to fall beneath gold's mighty rise. Even so, as a benchmark, the number $1,000 is meaningless. It represents no new high in the inflation-adjusted prices that count...
  • The Room 3/3/08

    Dear Readers, It's getting to the point where even the most determined optimist is having a hard time finding a good reason to roll out of bed. Among just the smattering of news that crossed the lens this week... Producer prices rose 7.4 percent in...