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Thoughts From the Frontline, June 2012

Bull’s Eye Investing (Almost) Ten Years Later

June 30, 2012

It's been almost a decade since I co-authored with Ed Easterling of Crestmont Research some research in this letter that later became chapters five and six of Bull's Eye Investing. Although the ten-year anniversary of the book is actually 2013, the current vulnerabilities in the markets encouraged us to revisit the material a bit early, to prepare you for what lies ahead. Reflecting back to yesteryear gives us the opportunity to assess the accuracy of our insights.

...

Daddy’s Home

June 23, 2012

I have often said that when someone is appointed to be a member of the Federal Reserve, they are taken into a back room and given a complete DNA change. They simply are not like you and me once they step out of that room, with the exception of Fisher and Lacker and a few colleagues who seem to be able to resist the infection. This week we will look at the recent action of the Fed and use that as a springboard to think about how effective Fed policy can be in an age of deleveraging....

The Bang! Moment is Here

June 16, 2012

"Perhaps more than anything else, failure to recognize the precariousness and fickleness of confidence – especially in cases in which large short-term debts need to be rolled over continuously – is the key factor that gives rise to the this-time-is-different syndrome. Highly indebted governments, banks, or corporations can seem to be merrily rolling along for an extended period, when bang – confidence collapses, lenders disappear, and a crisis hits.

"Economic theory tells us that it is...

A Dysfunctional Nation

June 9, 2012

dysfunctional [dɪsˈfʌŋkʃənəl] adj

1. (Medicine) Med (of an organ or part) not functioning normally

2. (especially of a family) characterized by a breakdown of normal or beneficial relationships between members of the group

European leaders launched the euro project in the last century as an experiment to see whether political hope could become economic reality. What they have done is create one of the most dysfunctional economic systems in history. And the distortions inherent...

First Deflation, Then Inflation. But the Timing…?

June 2, 2012

One of the more frequent questions I am asked in meetings or after a speech is whether I think we will have inflation or deflation. My ready answer is, "Yes." Then I stop, which I must admit is rather fun, as the person who asked tries to digest the answer. And while my answer is flippant, it's also the truth, as I do expect both outcomes. So the follow-up question (after the obligatory chuckle from the rest of the group) is for a few more specifics. And the answer is that I expect...