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Thoughts From the Frontline, March 2008

Where is the Bottom in Housing?

March 28, 2008

Existing home sales rose by 2.9% in February, the first significant rise in home sales since the housing market started to decline last year. I was in my car and listening to CNBC as commentators started to celebrate the bottom of the housing market. Since the credit crisis has its roots in the US housing market, and will require a resolution of the housing market in order for credit markets to return to whatever will look like normalcy in the future, it is of more than passing interest...

Thoughts on the Continuing Crisis

March 21, 2008

My essay in Outside the Box last Monday seemed to ignite a lot of response in the blogosphere. My basic contention was that the Fed had to act to facilitate the sale of Bear to prevent a meltdown in the markets. Many agreed, but others said Bear should have been left to hang, pointing out that a thorough cleansing is what is needed. Others scoffed at the notion that allowing Bear to fail would have created a massive stock market sell-off. This week we will reexamine that concept, look at the...

Muddle Through and Your Long Term Returns

March 14, 2008

Today we drop back to take a look at the economy and its long term effect on our portfolio returns. I am in Orlando this week, speaking at the Newport Advisor Conference sponsored by the Newport Group. The attendees are primarily investment advisors focused on larger retirement accounts and pensions. This week's letter is the gist of my speech I gave yesterday, as the entire speech would be way too long for a weekly letter. I want to thank the Newport Group for letting me do this, and thanks...

What’s That Hissing Sound?

March 7, 2008

The official number for employment suggested a loss of 63,000 jobs. But could it have been more like 200,000? And I will make a case for 2,000,000 lost jobs last month. This week we will take a look at the confusing labor-market picture in the US. We will also look at the debate over the money supply. Is the Fed increasing the money supply at a reckless rate, fueling inflation fears down the road? All this and a lot more as we look at how the recession in affecting everyone and everything, from...