Economic Analysis

Oil Is Not Well

Thoughts from the Frontline

November 16, 2001

"Leningrad gets DAMNED cold in the winter, so bring it on, lay the price siege, and lets see who can outlast whom." For details see more below.

Lot's of news this week, especially in the oil patch. Kuwait tells us there is "no floor for oil prices." I smell a rat. Let's jump right in.

Deflationary Warning Signs

Thoughts from the Frontline

November 9, 2001

Let's look at the huge amount of data that we had this week. (Thanks to Wayne Anderson in my office who gathered a few hundred pages of articles for me to read while I was out.)

I had dinner with fellow analyst Greg Weldon this last Sunday in New Jersey. Watching the scores of wild swans and Canadian geese on a tranquil ocean side pond, we reflected about what Greg calls the "deflation tsunami" that is sweeping the world, which is anything BUT tranquil.

Deflation has been a long time...

Interest Rate Limbo

Thoughts from the Frontline

November 2, 2001

What a week! There is so much to talk about, and the good news is that it is not all bad! The theme of today's e-letter is going to be : "The Games People Play". My less than sainted Dad was a games player. I have a letter on the wall over my desk from John Wayne to my Dad referring to some legendary WW II poker games. (The Duke was gloating. He won. Dad lost. But Dad made it up from Wayne's scotch horde.) Dad's dictum: "Tell me the rules and deal the cards. Just don't change the rules in...

The Liquidity Trap

Thoughts from the Frontline

October 26, 2001

This week we will start with a letter from a reader who asks an important question that is on your mind (not to mention mine). From there we will piece together some odd bits of data, some of which I picked up from the hedge fund conference I attended in Bermuda and see what type of forest we are wandering around in.

Slip Sliding Away

Thoughts from the Frontline

October 19, 2001

One of the constant complaints of Yankees who come to Texas is that those of us who are natives do not know how to drive on ice. This is true. But that is because we only get to practice about once a year. We don't seem to remember what to do from year to year. Is it steer into the slide or away from it? What do we do when we start sliding back down the hill? It can cause huge traffic tie-ups.

How Should We Then Invest?

Thoughts from the Frontline

October 12, 2001

Last week we began a series on developing a philosophy of investing. This week we will continue with part 2 as we focus on what types of investments should do well after the economy turns around. Then we look at specific funds you can go into now.

Rules of Engagement

Thoughts from the Frontline

October 4, 2001

Today begins a two part series on a framework for investing when the economy starts to recover. It is my belief that investors need to have a consistent philosophy of investing when choosing investments, otherwise your portfolio looks like the local dog pound: a few lonely purebreds mixed in with a lot of mutts. Some of the mutts end up becoming your best friend, but mostly they just mess up the place.

Ghoulies and Ghosties

Thoughts from the Frontline

September 28, 2001

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

--Old Scottish Prayer

The cheerleaders are proclaiming we have visited The Bottom. Dark as a Texas canyon at midnight, it was scary; full of bears and ferocious short-selling beasts. They are glad we have finally left it behind to enter the green pastures where bulls placidly graze. Now, after the shock of the last few weeks which triggered the sell-off they have been...

How Low Can We Go?

Thoughts from the Frontline

September 21, 2001

Our web site hosting firm has been victim to the recent nimda virus. While we are back up, we are not yet able to post this e-letter. It may be a few days. The cost of this virus world-wide is estimated in the billions. The virus was launched one week later to the minute of the World Trade Towers tragedy. These hackers, when caught, should do serious jail time.

Quest for Certainty

Thoughts from the Frontline

September 14, 2001

The tragic events of this past Tuesday weigh heavily upon us all. Some bear the horror of that event more personally than others. There is an almost universal searching for comfort, answers and action. Everywhere writers and analysts speculate as to what the outcome of these events should be or will be. Others openly share their pain and grief. It is the topic of countless media outlets, as well as the central discussion around dinner tables, offices and bedrooms.

Rather than echo what...