I am back in Tuscany and will head to Milan tomorrow early, give a speech at the Bloomberg offices and then back home. But it is Monday and that means it is time for another Outside the Box. And I have found a most excellent offering. Dylan Grice from Societe Generale in London wrote on value for an OTB a few weeks ago, and he follows that up with more thoughts on the use of macro trends versus value investing. This is a real think piece, and worthy of more than one read.
I have to hit the send button, as my last dinner in Italy awaits (and real Italian food has been a revelation, and the wines! I am something of a chardonnay snob, and usually turn my nose up at Italian and French whites, but I found some local Tuscan chardonnays that were up to the best in California. And at reasonable costs.).
Your not wanting to leave Tuscany analyst,
"Why" many ask, "is the stock market going up when the bond market is telling us the recovery will be tepid? Isn't there a disconnect?" And the answer is that there is, and this week good friend and fishing buddy Paul McCulley of PIMCO fame discusses that very topic with his usual insight and wit. He poses the conundrum that those expecting a "V" shaped recovery have pushed risk assets up quite high, and that the real risk to their position is that they in fact get a "V" shaped recovery. And yet, they could go higher and into bubble territory.
For the policy wonks among you, I offer a link to a recent paper by the Cleveland Fed, which suggests that the Fed could hold rates lower for far longer than we would think normal. Which makes What Paul writes even more important to understand. http://www.clevelandfed.org/research/commentary/2009/0809.cfm
I think you will find this a very interesting read. Meanwhile, I am off to Philadelphia where a team from Dallas was treated very well last night. I hope I get the same warm reception. And then to Orlando and back to Dallas. Have a great week.
Your just trying to puzzle it all out analyst,
My long time readers are familiar with Jeremy Grantham of GMO as I quote him a lot. He is one of the more brilliant and talented value managers (and I should mention very successful on behalf of his clients). He writes a quarterly letter which I regard as a must read. I have excerpted parts of his recent letter, where the chief investment strategist really takes the current financial system follies to task. Typical of his great writing and thinking is the quote from this week's Outside the Box selection:
"I can imagine the company representatives on the Titanic II design committee repeatedly pointing out that the Titanic I tragedy was a black swan event: utterly unpredictable and completely, emphatically, not caused by any failures of the ship's construction, of the company's policy, or of the captain's competence. "No one could have seen this coming," would have been their constant refrain. Their response would have been to spend their time pushing for more and improved lifeboats. In itself this is a good idea, and that is the trap: by working to mitigate the pain of the next catastrophe, we allow ourselves to downplay the real causes of the disaster and thereby invite another one. And so it is today with our efforts to redesign the financial system in order to reduce the number and severity of future crises."
You can get the full letter at www.gmo.com (You will have to register).
Your glad to be back home at least for a week,
"Everything, including the market, is ultimately empty of a separate self. One market can only be understood and analyzed in the context of other markets and conditions. Supply and demand, in particular, should not be considered in isolation."
Long time Outside the Box readers are quite familiar with Dr. John Hussman, as he is a frequent choice for this column. But this week I think he has written one of his bests essays ever. He cleverly weaves in quotes from a Zen master who is his friend and gives us a very fresh look at market analysis. This is a thought piece and you should set aside some time to absorb the lessons. You will be well rewarded.
Dr. John Hussman is president of Hussman Investment Trust. You can find out more about the mutual funds he is involved with at http://www.hussmanfunds.com/.
And I recorded three sessions for Yahoo Tech Ticker in New York this morning. You can go to Yahoo and see them. All the best,
Your on the road again analyst,
This week's Outside the box looks at some very interesting research done by two economic historians, Barry Eichengreen of the University of California at Berkeley and Kevin O'Rourke of Trinity College, Dublin They give us comparisons between the Great Depression and today's downturn. They continue to update their data from time to time, the link to their work is at http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/3421. I have not previously heard of www.voxeu.org, but it is a collection of the work of well regarded international economists that seems quite interesting for those who enjoy readings in the dismal science.
This week's OTB will print long, but it is primarily charts. Please note that I have re-arranged some of the new charts to cut down on space because of some duplications. Word count is not all that much and it reads well. I will be referring to their work in future letters as well. Have a great week!
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 they think it is deflation that will ultimately be the problem and not inflation we are dealing with today. This week's letter requires you to think, but it will be worth the effort.
Now, if you put all of the various inputs together, Hoisington and Hunt show that theory suggests we will soon be dealing with deflation. It's counter- intuitive to what we hear today, which is why the Bank for International Settlements used the stagflation word in a recent report. The transition that is coming will not be comfortable.
Hoisington Investment Management Company (www.hoisingtonmgt.com) is a registered investment advisor specializing in fixed income portfolios for large institutional clients. Located in Austin, Texas, the firm has over $4-billion under management, composed of corporate and public funds, foundations, endowments, Taft-Hartley funds, and insurance companies. And their track record over the last 20 years suggests we should pay attention. And now let's jump right in to the essay.
China is all the rage for the next few weeks as the Olympics are going on. Many are calling this China's time to showcase itself to the world. I have a lot of friends and analysts who are big China bulls, believing that the next few years will see continued high growth in China, although less than the above 10% of the past few years.
In Outside the Box, we like to look at some contrarian analysis from time to time. Value Investor Vitaliy Katsenelson gives us some reasons why the outlook for China might not be so bright. This has implications for lots of markets that are driven by Asian demand.
Vitaliy N. Katsenelson, CFA, is a Director of Research at Investment Management Associates in Denver and teaches a graduate investment class at the University of Colorado at Denver. He is also the author of Active Value Investing: Making Money in Range-Bound Markets (Wiley 2007). Enjoy the essay.
This week's Outside the Box will challenge a few of your base assumptions. Paul McCulley, the managing director at PIMCO, offers us a kind word for inflation and the reasons that the Fed will be on hold for a lot longer than the markets currently think. And part of that is to avoid a real recession or even a depression. Getting this debate right is important.
These are indeed interesting times we live in. I look forward to being with Paul at the end of July on our Maine fishing expedition, where he can defend his proposition to the group of economists and analysts gathered there. Have a great week.
This week we look at a remarkable and important essay by my friend Dr. Woody Brock who is one of my favorite "Outside the Box thinking" economists. I seriously look forward to Woody's quarterly insights and devour them as soon as the come in.
I especially urge you to read and re-read the first few paragraphs, and then think about what mean reversion will mean to US wealth growth, and to the developed world in general. This is a very important concept, and basic to economics, but one that has not had enough attention drawn to it. Coupled with high valuations, the headwinds facing traditional investments are getting stronger.
Woody is president of Strategic Economic Decisions, Inc. (www.SEDinc.com), an economic consulting and advisory firm that works with institutions and funds. For those of you who are looking for real insights into today's world, I suggest you look at some of Woody's material. I think you will be very glad you did.