Economic Analysis

Omitted Variables

Outside the Box

August 22, 2005

This week's letter is from John P. Hussman, Ph.D., President of Hussman Investment Trust. His firm is one of the few that has employed hedging techniques, similar to the hedge fund world, in a mutual fund structure. John is also one of the really, really, really smart guys in the running money business. John manages the Hussman Strategic Total Return Fund - HSTRX and the Hussman Strategic Growth Fund - HSGFX.

Hussman's Weekly Market Commentary on August 22, 2005 takes a look at the...

What Will Cause the Next Recession?

Thoughts from the Frontline

August 19, 2005

It's a race to see what will be the cause, or maybe better put, what will be blamed for the next economic slowdown. Will it be oil and rising energy prices? What about a slowdown in the housing market? You can't count out the Fed raising interest rates as source of economic slowdown. If China slows down and thus has less money to invest in our bonds, will rates rise? There are so many potential culprits. We run through them and more as we try to peer into 2006.

One of my favorite...

The Consumer-Dependent Economy

Outside the Box

August 15, 2005

This week's letter comes to us from Dr. A. Gary Shilling, president of A. Gary Shilling & Co., Inc. Gary is a long time friend and one of my favorite economic analysts.

Gary takes a look at what he has termed the consumer-dependent economy. The consumer has increasingly become a larger factor in driving our economy with the help of debt and loose monetary policy. Savings, GDP, housing, debt, and bankruptcy trends are pieced together to create a bleak picture of the baby boom...

The Greenspan Uncertainty Principle

Thoughts from the Frontline

August 12, 2005

This week we revisit our old friend, the Yield Curve. We look at what it may or may not be telling us, how the Conference Board has changed how they look at the yield curve as part of their leading economic indicators, and muse upon what Greenspan is really doing. There's lot of very important and interesting ground to cover, not the least of which is my concern about Fed policy.

But first, let me invite you to meet me in New Orleans at the New Orleans Investment Conference October...

Juiced Data

Outside the Box

August 8, 2005

This week's letter comes to us from my friend Barry Ritholtz, Chief Market Strategist of the Maxim Group and a frequent guest on CNBC and Fox. I have been reading his commentary for several years and he now keeps a Blog called The Big Picture.

The following is a combination of two commentaries about government economic numbers. It is hard to rely on statistical numbers if the government periodically decides to change how they are calculated and Barry takes a look at several...

The World Is Flat

Thoughts from the Frontline

August 5, 2005

I got home late last night from two weeks with the kids in Europe, and jet lag is kicking in. Since I should not be allowed to make any investment observations in this state, I am going to do something for which I constantly get requests and that I have wanted to do for quite some time. This week I give you my list of recommended books along with a little commentary on them, starting with a few new ones. Let's jump right in.

The World Ain’t What It Used To Be

Outside the Box

August 1, 2005

Once again we take a look at some comments from the HCM Market Letter written by Michael Lewitt of Harch Capital in Florida. This is a private letter for his clients and we are excited to have permission to share it with you. Michael is one smart guy with a deep understanding of the markets, especially the credit markets, and how they work. The firm manages domestic and offshore debt and equity hedge funds and separate accounts.

I really look forward each month to getting...

India - The Next Big Player

Thoughts from the Frontline

July 29, 2005

Last week we looked at China, and this week we look at India, the next rising superpower in Asia. I have asked my friend (and fellow Texan) George Friedman of Stratfor to give us his insights on the political implications of what appears to be a closer US-India relationship. Stratfor has been described by folks like Barron's as being a private CIA. I find their daily letters plus his in-depth analysis to be as solid as anything I read. When George writes, I listen. George now thinks we...

What We Don’t See - July 2005

Outside the Box

July 25, 2005

This week we will turn once again to a group headquartered in Hong Kong with offices in Stockholm and New York called GaveKal Research Limited. They did a long piece on What We See And What We Don't See and we have edited it down to the What We Don't See portion of the research. I really enjoy reading the guys from GaveKal, as they challenge my thinking.

(Incidentally, Louis Gave was in my office last week, coming down to watch a game [Those Yankees beat us again]. He is married...

Those Clever Chinese

Thoughts from the Frontline

July 22, 2005

Last week I said that for this week's letter we would look at the US trade deficit and China, and in particular the possible revaluation of the currency and its effect upon the trade deficit. China obliged by revaluing the yuan (Renminbi). This is both more, and less, than it seems. There is a lot to cover, so let's jump right in.

Let's first look at what China did. They allowed the yuan to rise by 2%, with a daily 0.3% trading band based on the price of the previous day. While in...