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    Outside the Box, May 2009

    Credit Crisis Watch

    May 26, 2009

    This week we look at a number of charts of various parts of the credit markets to see what kind of progress is being made on getting back to "normal" or to a "new normal." And my friend Prieur du Plessis shows us there is reason to believe that we have seen the worst.

    "This too shall pass" are words we should all take to heart. Things will neither stay on permanently high or low plateaus. Those doom and gloomers who expect the world to keep devolving back to some pastoral age of scarcity where...

    An Israeli Prime Minister Comes to Washington Again

    May 21, 2009

    Dear Friends -

    Occasionally I need a fast answer. So I'll run a Google search, and 2.54 MILLION responses later I've learned how to handle a Thanksgiving turkey-roasting crisis but nothing useful about Turkey's financial crisis.

    There's certainly no shortage of data these days. But what's in all-too-short supply is understanding. As investors, what creates opportunities isn't access to data but to ways of thinking about the world. I created Outside the Box precisely for this reason, to share...

    The End Game Draws Nigh - The Future Evolution of the Debt-to-GDP Ratio

    May 18, 2009

    Nearly everyone I talk with has the sense that we are at some critical point in our economic and national paths, not just in the US but in the world. One path will lead us back to relative growth and another set of choices leads us down a path which will put a very real drag on economic growth and recovery. For most of us, there is very little we can do (besides vote and lobby) about the actual choices. What we can do is adjust our personal portfolios to be synchronized with the direction of...

    The $33,000,000,000,000 Question

    May 11, 2009

    It has long been my contention that we are entering an extraordinary period of time in which using historical analogies to plot market behavior is going to become increasingly problematical. In short, the analogies, the past performance if you will, all break down because the underlying economic backdrop is unlike anything we have ever seen. It makes managing money and portfolio planning particularly challenging. Traditional asset management techniques just simply may not work. Buy and hope...

    The Geopolitics of Pandemics

    May 8, 2009

    Dear Friends -

    If you ever look at the footnotes, you know that "Past performance is no guarantee of future results." That said, by the time you've gotten a bit of gray hair, you realize that there are few teachers as good as history. "But this time it's different!" is the cry of people that are usually just about to lose a bunch of money.

    Read the analysis below from my good friend George Friedman at STRATFOR on the latest new thing, the swine flu outbreak. A few points you ought to take...

    The Financial Commentator on the Economy

    May 4, 2009

    Late last week a letter from Jim Welsh crossed my desk. I started reading and found myself being pulled through his very thoughtful letter. I have not met Jim, but think this letter is worthy of an Outside the Box.

    Jim Welsh of Welsh Money Management has been publishing his monthly investment letter, "The Financial Commentator", since 1985. His analysis focuses on Federal Reserve monetary policy, and how policy affects the economy and the financial markets.