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    Outside the Box, March 2010

    US stock market returns - what is in store?

    March 29, 2010

    It has been some time since we have looked at stock market valuations and expected future returns. I made a large point in Bull's Eye Investing that long term returns are closely correlated with the valuation of the stock market upon entry. In fact, I argue that secular bull and bear markets should be viewed in terms of valuation and not prices. The market clearly goes from high valuations to low and back to high again over very long periods of time. The average length of a secular bull or bear...

    Germany: Mitteleuropa Redux

    March 25, 2010

    With the establishment of the euro in the 1990s, speculation was abundant on how things would play out. In the last fews months we've seen that cheap credit for the Club Med countries came at a price, and now it's time to look at who will come out on top after the current economic crisis. There is a term for this type of global analysis: geopolitical intelligence. STRATFOR, a global intelligence company, uses geography, open source data, HUMINT, and a deep understanding of global affairs to...

    Has Germany just killed the dream of a European superstate?

    March 22, 2010

    While the US was focused on the health care drama over the weekend, over across the pond events are rapidly deteriorating in euro land. For this week's Outside the Box I offer two columns, one from the Financial Times and another from the London Telegraph. Both describe the problems that the eurozone faces. It is not pretty.

    I was sent this note from a Steve Stough who translated this from a German TV news show' It is a nice set-up for the two short columns.

    I was reading an interview with...

    It Helps to be Rich

    March 15, 2010

    Long time readers of Thoughts from the Frontline will be familiar with the name The Liscio Report. It is one of my "secret" sources of high quality analysis on a wide range of topics including taxes, employment and the underpinnings of the economic headlines that we read which can be so distorted. I say secret because they get nowhere near the attention their work deserves. Philippa Dunne & Doug Henwood, authors of The Liscio Report, do actual on the phone conversations with each of the various...

    The European Union Trap

    March 9, 2010

    Let's start with the conclusion to today's Outside the Box:

    "The underlying principle flows from the financial balance approach: the domestic private sector and the government sector cannot both deleverage at the same time unless a trade surplus can be achieved and sustained. Yet the whole world cannot run a trade surplus. More specific to the current predicament, we remain hard pressed to identify which nations or regions of the remainder of the world are prepared to become consistently larger...

    Brazil, Iran: A Troublesome Relationship for the U.S.

    March 4, 2010

    World economies I get: currency, trading, deficits, surpluses... World politics is another story. I follow what happens: summits, policy changes, elections: but what does it mean for energy markets, potential threats, actual relations between countries? These situations define our future - financial and otherwise.

    Today I'm sending you a piece from STRATFOR on the relationship between Iran and Brazil - and what it means for energy, trade, U.S. sanctions, and this rising power in the South....

    An Attempt to Think Through the Greek Crisis

    March 1, 2010

    Today I am sitting listening to Ralph Merkle lecture on nanotechnology, part of a 9-day-long series of lectures on how accelerating change in technologies of all types will affect our world. 15-hour days and intense discussions are stretching my brain, but I still have to make sure you get your Outside the Box. Fortunately, I came across today's OTB last week from my friends at GaveKal, who offer a way to think about the Greek crisis and what it means for all European bonds.

    There are a lot of...