Watch exclusive video below of Dr. A. Gary Shilling, president of A. Gary Shilling & Co., giving his 2011 Outlook for Global Economies and Investment Strategies. This important presentation was filmed at the Strategic Investment Conference 2011 in La Jolla, CA.
14 posts tagged with “Economic Outlook”.
Last week we talked about Greece. But the problems are more than just Greece. We look at two very different views of the euro, and then opposing thoughts on Spain. Is Spain a problem or not? And how can the US keep on spending? Is there a limit? There is a lot to cover in what has been an interesting, if confusing, week.
Before we get into the meat of the letter, I want to give you a chance to register for my 7th (where do the years go?!) annual Strategic Investment Conference, cosponsored with my friends at Altegris Investments. The conference will be held April 22-24 and, as always, in La Jolla, California. The speaker lineup is powerful. Already committed are Dr. Gary Shilling, David Rosenberg, Dr. Lacy Hunt, Dr. Niall Ferguson, and George Friedman, as well as your humble analyst. We are talking with several other equally exciting speakers and expect those to firm up shortly.
Look at that lineup. These are the guys who got the calls right over the past few years. They called the housing crisis, the credit bubble, and the recession. And, in my opinion, these are some of the best in the world at giving us ideas about where we are headed.
Comments from those who attend the annual affair generally run along the lines of, "This is the best conference we have ever been to." And each year it seems to get better. This year we are going to focus on "The End Game," that is, on the paths the various nations are likely to take as they try to solve their various deficit problems, and how that will affect the world and local economies and our investments. We make sure you have access to our speakers and get your questions answered, and you'll come away with excellent, practical investment ideas.
This conference sells out every year, and it looks like it will do so this year. You do not want to miss it. There is a physical limit to the space. Every year I have to tell people, including good friends, that there is no more room. Don't wait to sign up. There is still an early-registration discount. And while it pains me to say it, you must be an accredited investor to attend the conference, as there are regulations we must follow in order to offer specific advice and ideas. Click on the link and sign up now. https://hedge-fund-conference.com/2010/invitation.aspx?ref=mauldin
A few weeks ago I first used the term "statistical recovery" to describe the nature of today's economic environment. Today we are going to further explore that concept, as it is important to have a real understanding of what is happening. This coming "recovery" is not going to feel like a typical one, and those expecting a "V"-shaped recovery are simply making projections from previous economic recoveries, which, based on the fundamentals, are not warranted. And of course, a few thoughts coming back from Maine are in order. There is a lot to cover, and this may take more than one letter.
But first, let me note to subscribers to Conversations with John Mauldin that we have posted my Conversation with George Friedman of Stratfor and will soon post a very interesting Conversation I had with John Burns (of John Burns Real Estate Consulting) and Rick Sharga of RealtyTrac. These may be the two most knowledgeable people on the housing market in the country. There is a lot of poorly informed speculation about the housing market, and I think this Conversation will help clear away a lot of the fog. PLUS, they both agreed to allow me to post their eye-opening PowerPoint stacks to Conversation subscribers (normally only available to their clients), so you get a very special bonus. And finally, David Galland of Casey Research is allowing me to post a most thought-provoking interview he did with Neil Howe. This is one of the best things I have run across in a long time. I do work on giving my Conversations subscribers good value.
George and I are going to be doing a regular quarterly Conversation called Geopolitical Conversations with John Mauldin and George Friedman . We believe that these new Conversations will help you better understand not only the global political landscape but also how it affects the financial umbrella that we are under. In this first Conversation, we talked about the "exogenous" risks to the markets (those from outside the markets themselves) posed by the geopolitical world.
We will offer this service, which will be priced separately, at some point in the near future. Now, here is the important part: all current subscribers and anyone who subscribes now will receive these Geopolitical Conversations free, as a thank you. (Current members can log in now.) If you have not yet subscribed, you can do so and receive a discount by clicking the link and typing in the code JM49 to subscribe for $149. This is a large discount from our regular price of $199; plus, we are including the bonus Geopolitical Conversations that are worth $59. And now, to the regular letter.
Why does government data need to be revised so often? Is it conspiracy, as some claim, or is it methodology? And if it is methodology that leads to faulty data, then why not change the methodology? Is unemployment a lagging indicator, as conventional wisdom suggests? We look again at the underlying assumptions to suggest that things are not always the same. And finally, we look at unsustainable trends, fiscal deficits, and health care -- there is a connection.
But first, a quick note about the latest "Conversations with John Mauldin" that I just did with Don Coxe and Gary Shilling. These two esteemed analysts have different views on whether commodity prices will rise or fall, and are not afraid to make their views known. I edited the final transcript today, and I can tell you that even though I was "at the table" I learned a lot reading it the second time. If you want to understand the nature of what is a very central debate, this is a must-read. This was a VERY lively debate. Most of my friends know that I am not shy, but it was hard to get a word in edgewise as these guys went at it. It was great fun to watch.
And if you have not yet subscribed, you can go back and listen to my Conversation with Chris Whalen and Rick Lashley on the banking crisis, and see if you can figure out what motivated the Manhattan district attorney's office to call me asking for clarification. Plus the quintessential piece with Lacy Hunt and Ed Easterling on the fundamentals of the current economic crisis, which many subscribers said was worth the price of an annual subscription. And then there is the Conversation I did with Nouriel Roubini. It is all there for you.
Go to Google. Type in "green shoots." In about a 10th of a second you will find 28,900,000 references. Scrolling through a few pages, you find a lot of references to the beginning of the end of the recession. Today we look at some data to see if we can indeed see the end. Most readers will be surprised to know that the number of people employed in the US went up (!) in April. Yet so did the unemployment rate. Is that green shoot just another dandelion weed in our economic garden?
We'll jump into that and more, but first let me quickly mention the new subscription service that we began offering this year, called "Conversations with John Mauldin." One of my "secrets" is that I have a very powerful rolodex (or, for the younger crowd, my contacts list). In this new project, each month I call up one or two of my special contacts in the investment and economic world and hold a conversation with them about the important topics of the day -- where the US and global economies are going, how we should be investing, what opportunities and pitfalls are out there, etc. Some will be names you recognize, and others will be names you will want to know. You get to listen in, download to your computer, or read a transcript -- whichever you prefer.
The reviews from subscribers have been more than excellent. Over the top, actually. You can read some of them at the website below.
I just recorded a Conversation with Donald Coxe and Gary Shilling. Both men are among my favorite analysts, and have been remarkably right with their calls for a long time. However, their views on how commodity prices will develop over the next few years differ considerably. Mischievously, I thought it would be fun to get them together. Neither are shy or retiring men, and both can articulate their views very well, thank you. The conversation turned into a lively debate, one in which I did not get to say as much as I do in a normal Conversation. I think subscribers will find it one of the best we have done. I certainly came away with a lot to think about.
When I sit down each week to write, I essentially do what I did nine years ago when I started writing this letter. I write to you, as an individual. I don't think of a large group of people, just a simple letter to a friend. It is only half a joke that this letter is written to my one million closest friends. That is the way I think of it.
This week's letter is likely to lose me a few friends, though. I am going to start a series on money management, portfolio construction, and money managers. It will be back to the basics for both new and long-time readers. I am not sure how long it will take (in terms of weeks), but it is likely to make a few people upset and provoke some strong disagreements. Let's just say this is not stocks for the long run.
And because many of you want some continuing analysis of the current crisis, each week I will throw in a few pages of commentary at the beginning of the letter.
But first, and quickly, I just wanted to take a moment and remind you to sign up for the Richard Russell Tribute Dinner, all set for Saturday, April 4 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego -- if you haven't already. This is sure to be an extraordinary evening honoring a great friend and associate of mine, and yours as well. I do hope that you can join us for a night of memories, laughs, and good fun with fellow admirers and long-time readers of Richard's Dow Theory Letter.
A significant number of my fellow writers and publishers have committed to attend. It is going to be an investment-writer, Richard-reader, star-studded event. If you are a fellow writer, you should make plans to attend or send me a note that I can put in a tribute book we are preparing for Richard. And feel free to mention this event in your letter as well. We want to make this night a special event for Richard and his family of readers and friends. So, if you haven't, go ahead and log on to https://www.johnmauldin.com/russell-tribute.html and sign up today. I wouldn't want any of you to miss out on this tribute. I look forward to sharing this evening with all of you.
And now, let's turn our eyes to Europe.
Where are we headed in 2009? We will explore that in detail over the next few issues of Thoughts from the Frontline, but today we will start with some of the larger forces which will have a major impact on the economies of the world, and I will end with my usual attempt to forecast the various markets. We will look at deflation, deleveraging, the fallout from the stimulus plans (note plural), housing, consumer spending, unemployment, and a lot more. There is a lot to cover. But first two quick announcements.
Along with my partners Altegris Investments I will be co-hosting our 6th annual Strategic Investment Conference in La Jolla, California, April 2-4. I have invited some of the top economic minds in the country to come and address us, giving us their views on what seem to be a continuing crisis. It will be a mix of economic theory and practical investment advice. Already committed to speak are Martin Barnes, Woody Brock, Dennis Gartman, Louis Gave, George Friedman (of Stratfor), and Paul McCulley. I anticipate adding another stellar name or two. This is as strong a lineup as we have ever had, and on par with any conference I know of anywhere.
Due to securities regulations, attendance is limited to qualified high-net-worth investors and/or institutional investors. Early registrants will get a discount. Last year we had to close registration, and I anticipate we will run out of room again, so I would not procrastinate. Simply click on the link below, give us your name and email, and you will be sent a form next week to register.
"It will therefore be crucial that you see the world anew. That means looking from the outside in to reanalyze much that you have probably taken for granted. This will enable you to come to an understanding. If you fail to transcend conventional thinking at a time when conventional thinking is losing touch with reality, then you will be more likely to fall prey to an epidemic of disorientation that lies ahead. Disorientation breeds mistakes that could threaten your business, your investments and your way of life."
-- James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg, The Sovereign Individual, 1997
The economic news just continues to be bad. New unemployment claims were over 529,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis. The "real" number was 606,877 lost jobs. New home sales were off by another 5% and down 40% from a year ago, as builders slash inventories. The Chicago Purchasing Manager index came in at 33.8, the weakest number since the serious recession of 1982. The national number due next Monday will be just as ugly, as durable goods were down far more than expected, by a negative 6.2%. But it is Thanksgiving weekend, and not a time for gloom. In this week's letter I am going to talk about why we should be optimistic about the future. Things will turn around. I will also make a few comments about the latest stimulus package.
As I will be moving my home this weekend, I am writing this letter early. I am going to use material from two previous letters, which I think will help give us perspective. The first is a personal anecdote from last Thanksgiving (2007), as a lead-in to comments on whether the Fed's latest monetizing action will end up spurring inflation; and then the second is part of an essay I did for my last book, Just One Thing, edited and updated.
Warren Buffett says buy. Jeremy Grantham says it will get worse. Both are celebrated value investors. Who is right? It all depends upon your view of the third derivative of investing. Today we look at valuations in the stock market. This is the second part of a speech I have given in the past few weeks in California and Stockholm. I am updating the numbers, as the target keeps moving. While from one perspective things look rather difficult, from another there is a ray of hope. What can you expect to earn from stocks over the next five years? It should make for an interesting letter. Note: this will be a little longer than usual, but part of it is there are a LOT of charts.
I should note that I am rewriting this on Monday. For the first time in over 8 years, I missed my Friday night deadline (see below). Last week's title for the letter was "The Economic Blue Screen of Death." By that I referred to the old "blue screen of death" that we used to get on early versions of Microsoft MS-DOS and Windows. You could be working away and suddenly, for no apparent reason, the computer would freeze up and you would get a blue screen. The only thing you could do was unplug the computer and hit the reset button - losing everything that was not saved when the computer crashed.
I likened this to the economic situation we are in now. With consumer spending "resetting" to a new lower level, we are going to have to hit the reset button on many business plans, and thus investments, as consumers are going to spend less and save more. Is that level 3% less? 5%? More? No one knows, but since we have not had a consumer-led recession since 1982, too many businesses assumed that the US consumer, like Superman, was bulletproof.
What will be the eventual savings rate? Will we get back to 7-9% from less than 1%? Maybe, because people are going to realize that savings today are the key to a happy retirement. That would put the new level of consumer spending a good deal lower than it has been. Thankfully, that climb in savings will not happen all at once but will play out over more than a few years. I think we will look back in the middle of the next decade and be quite amazed at how much US personal savings have increased. However, this is the Paradox of Thrift: what is good for the individual is hard on the economy, as by definition increased savings reduces consumer spending.
I have been writing for almost a year that the next shoe to drop on US banks would be commercial construction lending. Today we look at some hard numbers. We look across the pond to sort out the problems in Europe. We look at the consequences of the losses stemming from Lehman. Then we look at one of the more serious consequences of the banking crisis, one that will bring the crisis home to you. Finally, we look at what the various governments of the world must do in response. It may not be fun, but it should be interesting. And it is important. Feel free to forward this letter to anyone who asks why we not only need the bailout but will need even more coordinated government action.
But first, let me offer a note of optimism before I serve up the not so good news. This is not the end of the world. There are a lot of very positive things happening in the US and the world. Companies are creating new inventions. Much of the economy, including health care, is moving along fine. I have lived through two serious recessions (1973-74 and 1980-82), and the point is that a free-market economy will find a way to eventually get back to solid growth. Recessions are simply part of the business cycle. Congress cannot repeal the business cycle. This will not be the last recession of my life. I hope to live long enough to go through 4 or 5 more.
Depressions are caused by governments making major policy mistakes. And we have made some in the areas of not regulating mortgage lending, allowing the five large investment banks to increase their leverage to 30 or 40 to one in 2004 (what was the SEC thinking?), and failing to oversee the rating agencies. That is behind us. It will make a normal recession deeper and the recovery longer, as I have been forecasting for some time.