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Economic Analysis

“When Does the Story Break?”

Outside the Box

May 28, 2014

The behavior of markets (and of entire societies) depends on what everyone knows that everyone knows. Make sense? It didn’t to me, either, until Ben Hunt walked me through an example or two of the Common Knowledge Game in the piece you’re about to read.

Ben says the question he is asked most is “When?” When will this market break? When – to use Ben’s term – will the “Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence” fail? He doesn’t so much answer the question as explain why he can’t answer it. But he...

The Underpants Gnomes

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

May 27, 2014

This week’s TTMYGH will be a little shorter than usual (“Thank heavens!” I hear you cry) owing to my presence at the Strategic Investment Conference 2014 this past week and the travel time to and fro.

Due to the hectic schedule and the fact that there were so many interesting people in attendance, I had planned to spend my week dragging as much knowledge as I possibly could out of those who made the trip to San Diego rather than committing finger to keyboard; but a chance encounter with a...

A Bubble in Complacency

Thoughts from the Frontline

May 25, 2014

Notes from SIC 2014

I and many others are still trying to digest the massive amount of useful and original information that was offered at last week’s Strategic Investment Conference. In this week’s letter I want to recap some of what I learned but do so in a little different manner. I find it quite instructive to listen to and read what other people have to say about their takeaways from the conference. I have come across several very good summaries and reviews that I am going to excerpt...

Gave & Gave … and Hay

Outside the Box

May 21, 2014

My good friend David Hay, Chief Investment Officer at Evergreen Capital Management in Bellevue, WA, has saved me the trouble of writing an introduction to the two pieces you’re about to read, which are by Charles and Louis Gave, a father-son duo who are no strangers to the readers of Outside the Box and my Over My Shoulder. For the first time in many years, due to other commitments, neither father nor son was able to speak at our just-concluded Strategic Investment Conference (though their...

Special Updates from the Strategic Investment Conference: Day 3

Thoughts from the Frontline

May 18, 2014

By Worth Wray

Good morning from 30,000 feet, somewhere over the great American West!

I admit to being a little overwhelmed as I write to you on my way home from the Strategic Investment Conference. After three days with two dozen of the finest investors, economists, and political scientists anywhere in the English-speaking world, it is going to take me weeks to think through the real-world implications of all I have learned.

Special Updates from the Strategic Investment Conference: Day 2

Thoughts from the Frontline

May 16, 2014

By Worth Wray

Hello again from the Strategic Investment Conference in San Diego, California!

Special Updates from the Strategic Investment Conference: Day 1

Thoughts from the Frontline

May 15, 2014

By Worth Wray

Good morning from sunny San Diego, California!

As the sun rises on the second day of the Strategic Investment Conference, I am absolutely blown away. John and Altegris put on an amazing show, and this is simply unlike any investment conference I have ever attended.

EM Carry Trade Looks Vulnerable

Outside the Box

May 14, 2014

Last year, post-taper tantrum, the story was all collapsing BRIC walls and emerging-market doom. This year the so-called “fragile five” – Brazil, India, Indonesia, Turkey, and South Africa – the countries that were most vulnerable last year, are looking downright robust. Since their January lows, the Turkish lira has climbed 13%, the Brazilian real 10%, the South African rand 8%, and the Indonesian rupiah and Indian rupee 6% each. In the last two months, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index is up...

Are Valuations Really Too High?

Thoughts from the Frontline

May 10, 2014

The older I get and the more I research and study, the more convinced I become that one of the more important traits of a good investor or businessman is not simply to come up with the right answer but to be able to ask the right question. The questions we ask often reveal the biases in our thinking, and we are all prone to what behavioral psychologists call confirmation bias: we tend to look for (and thus to see, and to ask about) things that confirm our current thinking.

Don’t Ignore the Anecdotes

Outside the Box

May 7, 2014

Whenever I'm in New York I make a point of calling a number of my economist and investor friends and arranging a “dinner with interesting people.” Thankfully, Rich Yamarone is almost always at the table, because his insights into what's happening in the real economy, beyond Wall Street, are unrivaled.

Rich is Chief Economist at Bloomberg and the creator of Bloomberg's Orange Book, a compilation of key insights from CEOs, taken from quarterly earnings calls.  He is also part of the team of 7...