Outside the Box, November 2015

Be Careful Out There

November 25, 2015

Michael Lewitt, author of The Credit Strategist, likes to get right to the point. Here’s the opening paragraph of this month’s TCS:

Commodity prices are plunging, the dollar is powering higher, the yield curve is flattening, ObamaCare is collapsing, global trade is plummeting and terrorism is spreading across the globe. The high yield credit markets are sending distress signals and 10-year swap spreads are negative. Energy companies are going out of business faster than you can say “frack” and...

Paris, Sharm el-Sheikh, and the Resurrection of Old Europe

November 18, 2015

Soon after the Paris attacks, I picked up the phone to talk over the situation with my friend George Friedman. George is one of the truly world-class thought leaders on geopolitics. We had an animated 20-minute conversation. I didn’t particularly like what I heard.

George thinks we face big difficulties in dealing realistically with the ISIS threat. The more I read—and the more I listen to people like George who have worked these issues for decades—the more I think that we, as a culture, need...

Inspiration from the World of Sports

November 11, 2015

One of the most successful investors in the world is Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management. One of the things I look forward to every quarter is the letter he writes to his clients – it goes right to the top of my reading list. Not only is it always full of generally brilliant investment counsel, Howard is also a really great writer. He has an easy style that pulls you through his letter effortlessly.

I have never sent his letter to you as an Outside the Box, as the copies I get are...

Easing the Night Away

November 4, 2015

Monetary policy determining winners and losers is a deeply disturbing prospect. In this week’s Outside the Box, entitled “Easing the Night Away” (how many of you instantly recognized that as a ref to a 1997 tune by Chumbawamba?), my friend Sam Rines reminds us that monetary policy cannot solve every problem. And he explains why, after the global glut of quantitative easing, that truism has probably never been more true.

Sam works for Chilton Capital Management in Houston and writes for the...