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Thoughts From the Frontline, December 2006

Real Estate and the Post-Crash Economy

December 29, 2006

I am taking some time off from writing over the holidays, but good friend Barry Ritholtz offered to write this week's letter. It is a very thought-provoking piece on the importance of what he calls the "real estate industrial complex" to the economy. Loaded with charts and statistics, it is the type of work I have come to expect from Barry over the years. Barry is Chief Market Strategist for Ritholtz Research and Analytics in New York.

I will be doing my annual forecast issue for next...

My Personal Portfolio

December 22, 2006

It is Christmas, and I frankly don't feel like writing a letter about why there will be a slowdown in 2007, or that the stock markets should see a retreat. This is the season for feeling good. And looking at the forecasts of the vast majority of my fellow prognosticators, some of them are feeling very good indeed. So, no bearish thoughts this weekend.

We will depart instead from the recent litany of problems I have written about and look for something new. I get several letters every...

Party Like It’s 1999

December 15, 2006

The stock market liked both the retail sales and the inflation numbers that were released over the last two days, with the Dow posting successive all-time highs. This week we look behind the headlines and a little deeper into those numbers to see if there is some justification for the exuberance, as well as offer some thoughts on valuation and the recent meeting of the Fed. And I know it will shock you that once again there is a change in the way the government collects its data. It...

When Will the Housing Market Bottom?

December 8, 2006

"When," I am asked frequently, "will we see a bottom in the housing market?" This week we look back at what past housing recessions have looked like to see if we can find a bottom anywhere soon. And could things be different this time? (Maybe.) We look at the government statistic on the number of houses for sale and find that it doesn't count all homes that are for sale. (I know it will shock most readers that government statistics might not be 100% accurate.)

All this and more, as we...

The Recession of 2007

December 1, 2006

One of my favorite cartoons of all time is that of a very scrawny mouse caught out in an open field with a rather large hawk swooping down on it. There is no place to run, no place to hide. All the mouse can do is face the hawk and give him the bird, so to speak. The caption runs something like, "In the face of total disaster the only appropriate response is utter defiance."

And while the economic data is not a total disaster, it has not been good this week. Yet the response of...