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Outside the Box, July 2008

The Paradox of Deleveraging

July 28, 2008

I have often commented about the problem of personal savings. We worry about the lack of savings here in the US, but many do not understand that if everyone started to save 5% of there income immediately that it would seriously impact consumer spending, pushing the US into a recession. It is a paradox, as Paul McCulley points out, that what may be good for the individual may not be good for the collective country.

And in this week's Outside the Box,  good friend and this week's Maine fishing...

The Geopolitics of Iran

July 24, 2008

For nearly 30 years, long before it was a charter member of the "Axis of Evil," Iran and the US have been locked in a hate-hate relationship. Walk down the street any Friday afternoon, and you're as likely to hear "Death to America!" as "Hi Ali, how are you?" Three decades of animosity, an externally opaque society, and no trade relations between the two countries mean that many of us have just the barest understanding of what's really going on over there. But whether it's a negotiated...

A Short Covering Rally

July 21, 2008

How do you spell short-selling rally, gentle reader? In this week's Outside the Box we look at several short items (pardon the pun) from various sources, which paint a not pretty picture. The first hit my inbox this morning from Art Cashin (of CNBC fame and also Head Floor Trader for UBS).

"Deconstructing The Rally - The sharp rally that sprang from the new short sale restrictions has been spiky and, in several ways, very powerful. The impact of the short rule change was evident. As Barron's...

Inflation Is Not The Problem

July 14, 2008

This week we are going to do something unusual for Outside the Box. Normally I take an essay and send it to you to read. Today I am going to give you a link and strongly suggest you click to it. Long time readers are familiar with friend and comrade James Montier, who along with Albert Edwards, migrated to Societe Generale earlier this year. They are co-heads of Global Cross Asset Strategy and based in London.

Kate Welling does some of the best interviews anywhere in her...

Quarterly Forecast: Third Quarter 2008

July 10, 2008

As we begin the new quarter, now is an excellent time to take stock of your basic investment thesis. Ask yourself if your allocations still reflect what you think the world is going to look like over the next several months. And as part of that process, I'm here to tell you that making "financial" decisions based solely on "financial" inputs grossly oversimplifies the way the world really works. As I've said before, investing in debt, equity, or commodity markets without geopolitical...

Quarterly Review and Outlook - Second Quarter 2008

July 7, 2008

There is a reason I call this column Outside the Box. I try to get material that forces us to think outside our normal comfort zones and challenges our common assumptions. And this week's letter does just that. I have made the comment more than once that is it unusual for two major bubbles to burst and for the conversation and our experience to be rising inflation and not a serious problem with deflation.

Van Hoisington and Dr. Lacy Hunt give us a seminar on why it will be deflation that will...