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Outside the Box, April 2008

Two Essays on the Continuing Financial Crisis

April 28, 2008

This week in Outside the Box we look at two brief essays which give us different perspective on the Continuing Crisis. The first is by Mohamed El-Erian, the co-chief executive and co-chief investment officer of Pimco. His book, 'When Markets Collide: Investment Strategies for the Age of Global Economic Change', will be published by McGraw Hill in June, and it will be on my summer reading list. El-Erian argues in the thought-provoking piece from the Financial Times that the crisis is still far...

Quarterly Review and Outlook - First Quarter 2008

April 21, 2008

This week's Outside the Box is from my friends at Hoisington Management. While somewhat technical, they make the case that a slowdown in consumer spending is inevitable. This is worth taking some time and thinking about. Quoting: "This means that consumer spending increases should be approximately zero for the next three years. Further exacerbating the problem is the personal saving rate which declined from 5.2% in the decade of the 1990s to average 1.3% in the last seven years, and now stands...

Five Delectable Examples of "Stein’s Law"

April 14, 2008

This week we look at a remarkable and important essay by my friend Dr. Woody Brock who is one of my favorite "Outside the Box thinking" economists. I seriously look forward to Woody's quarterly insights and devour them as soon as the come in.

I especially urge you to read and re-read the first few paragraphs, and then think about what mean reversion will mean to US wealth growth, and to the developed world in general. This is a very important concept, and basic to economics, but one that has...

A Mystery in the Middle East

April 10, 2008

This is a Special Edition of Outside the Box from my friend George Friedman and Stratfor. You've heard me say before that these guys see the world in a different way, but this piece just makes it crystal clear. There are serious rumblings about a major war coming between Israel and its neighbors, and George has put what seems like innocent dots on the board and wonders if there is not a pattern emerging. I am especially looking forward to seeing George and his wife and partner Meredith at my...

Asleep at the wheel, or, How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb

April 7, 2008

For the last few months in my regular letter I have been pounding the table that corporate earnings are going to decline this year, which is always a negative atmosphere for stocks. Since today is the beginning of the earnings season for the first quarter, I thought it would be helpful to look at this piece from our old friend James Montier, head of equity research at Societe Generale based in London. It seems that analysts are behind the curve when it comes to predicting future earnings. James...