Thoughts From the Frontline, July 2002
July 25, 2002
Today we look at why oil prices are likely heading down, how brilliant economists come to the wrong conclusions and of course a few comments on the recent market action. Let's jump right in.
More Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics
Since I criticized the trade policies of President Bush last week, maybe I can work up enough nerve to critique a recent article by one of the more well-known economists in the country, Arthur Laffer, of Laffer Curve fame.
July 19, 2002
For the past two weeks, I have presented a host of evidence that Price to Earnings (P/E) ratios would have trouble improving, even as actual profits and earnings grow in a modestly recovering economy. Changes in accounting standards, corporate governance and public perception will so change the rules as to how we measure profits, that public corporations will be fighting a strong head wind to show improved P/E ratios. Since this is a primary measure of the value of a stock, this "new profits...
July 12, 2002
The end of this week's e-letter will be Part Two of "Why P/E Ratios Will Not Rise As They Normally Do After a Recession." The whole piece will be a chapter in my new book, Absolute Returns. Of course, I will have to think of a snappier chapter title. But snappy or not, it is important you understand the dynamics that are working to hold down P/E ratios today, and why this means the long term secular bear market now in session will remain so for several years to come.
July 5, 2002
This morning I saw economist Larry Kudlow on CNBC once again telling us the markets would turn back up at some point because the economy is getting better. Kudlow is a smart man, and I pay attention to his thoughtful style.
But in this matter he is dead wrong. Over the past few weeks, I think I have made the point that the connection between a growing economy and the stock market is tenuous at best, and sometimes non-existent. A growing economy and a rising stock market co-exist in a secular...