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    Outside the Box, August 2012

    Australia: Running Out of Luck Down Under

    August 27, 2012

    While it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it is winter "down under." Today we turn our attention to Australia. In Endgame, Jonathan Tepper and I devoted a full chapter to talking about the problems we saw looming in Australia, and for that we have taken some heat! What's not to like about the Land of Oz? In our view, it might be the bubbles that are building. I asked Jonathan to update us on Australia, and in today's Outside the Box he gives us an in-depth look. Let me quote from a point...

    Is Germany Entering a Recession?

    August 21, 2012

    Even in August, while nearly all of Europe is on vacation, we find that economies don't get to take vacation. Europe will come back from its holiday and find that nothing has improved and some things have gotten worse. Specifically, Germany looks to be rolling over into recession. In this week's Outside the Box, Charles Gave of GaveKal looks at Deutschland and notes that while it might be able to handle a mild recession, problems will be that much worse in the rest of Europe, which...

    Financial Markets, Politics, and the New Reality

    August 16, 2012

    If you've been following my newsletter, you're familiar by now with my friend George Friedman and the geopolitical analysis company he founded, Stratfor. And if you've read any of George's work, you know that his entire methodology is based on the premise that the actions of leaders and nations are predictable. George starts with the constraints – what can they not do, assuming they're rational actors – and moves forward from there. It's this methodology that allowed him to – in all seriousness...

    Random Europe

    August 13, 2012

    It is a lazy summer day here in Texas, and the market and investment news front is rather quiet as well. But that will change before too long. We should enjoy the relative calm while we can, because Europe will soon be back in full crisis mode, coming off the summer. In today's Outside the Box we'll look at three brief pieces that may give us a preview of the near future, as well as an incisive retrospective on the recent past.

    The first is from Roubini Global...

    Orders and Production: No Time for Complacency

    August 7, 2012

    We have been assaulted with economic news of all sorts, from every corner of the globe, while trying to watch the Olympics and while we would rather be enjoying summer and decompressing (at least in the Northern hemisphere).

    But the data keeps coming. My friend John Silvia, the Chief Economist of Wells Fargo, has been with me in Maine this past weekend. And as we caught fish and shared our thoughts, we also both managed to get out our respective writing done. His note this...

    The Election, the Presidency, and Foreign Policy

    August 2, 2012

    The closer we get to the presidential election, the more we are bombarded with facts, opinions, predictions, and the like from both ends of the political spectrum.

    One thing I like about this analysis from my friend and geopolitical expert George Friedman is that he starts off with an obvious yet understated fact: you can't believe what presidential candidates say. Not because they are pathological liars, but because they must make promises that, once elected, they cannot keep, given...