I am attending the Global Interdependence Center’s latest conference here in Philadelphia, writing you from the Admiral’s Club on my way to Boston. The chatter last night at dinner and between sessions was focused on the risks in Europe. I did an interview with Aaron Task on Yahoo’s Daily Ticker, where I noted that European leaders are starting to use the word contained when they talk about Greece. Shades of Bernanke and subprime. This too will not be contained.
And that brings us to this week’s Outside the Box. Greg Weldon has graciously allowed me to use his latest missive on Europe’s woes. A teaser:
“The EU, like the US, suffers from what we might call the 'Cyrenaic Syndrome', a dynamic linked to the ancient Greek philosophers Aristippus and Hegesias of Cyrene, who, in 3rd and 4th Centuries BC, hypothesized that the goal of life was the avoidance of pain and suffering. Addicts accomplish this thru substance abuse. The EU is trying to accomplish this thru pure denial, and an outright refusal to accept that austerity, like sobriety, is the ONLY way to actually deal with the problems it faces.”
Greg is my favorite slicer and dicer of data. And he (as a registered CTA) has real skin in the game, as he runs money; so his work is not just some guy drawing lines on charts. He has to draw real-world conclusions, for real-world trades. For those who have NOT had a free trial of Weldon’s three research publications, visit www.Weldononline.com and sign up for a free trial.
And for the record, the euro will not fall out of bed until I have exchanged my last dollar in the third week of June. But what’s a little exchange-rate issue when you are talking Tuscany? I can’t complain too much. Have a great week.
Your wondering if Bernanke will ever say the word contained again analyst,
As long time readers know, I am a big fan of Greg Weldon. This week he has very graciously allowed me to reproduce his client letter from last Thursday on some of the issues of Bernanke and Quantitative Easing 2. It prints a little longer than usual because of his format and all the charts, but this is one letter you should take the time to read.
You can get a free trial (his service is not cheap but if you are a global macro fund or trader, you really should have it!) by going to www.weldononline.com.
Sadly, this weekend was not a good time for Dallas. The Rangers dropped two and now have to win in Tampa Bay and the Cowboys were simply awful. The first time in 50 years that I get season tickets and they are just not fun. I was thinking they get to the Super Bowl and it is in Dallas this year and the tickets get me in. Clearly, I need to keep my day job.
Oh, well, the Mavericks are in town and the NBA will soon crank up. Oh, wait a minute. Everyone we wanted went to Miami. We are not that much better than last year. Sigh. Oh, well. It could be worse. I could be in Cleveland. (Sorry, Mike!)
Your hoping Cliff Lee pitches a shut-out analyst,
This is a special Outside the Box. I got this letter from my good friend Greg Weldon last night and got permission to pass it on to you. I think it illustrates the problems that the world is facing from the sovereign debt crisis that is building in Europe.
There are no good solutions here, only very difficult ones. In order to get financing, Greece must willingly put itself into a multi-year depression. And borrowing more money when it cannot afford to pay back what it has will not solve the problem. 61% of Greeks now favor leaving the euro. How has Greece responded? By banning short selling on its stock market for the next two months. That should make things better. Greeks are responding by rioting and going on strike. But you truly know when a country is dysfunctional when its AIR FORCE goes on strike. Yesterday Reuters reported that hundreds of Greek pilots called in sick in protest. The response from government? The Minister of Defense said he was "profoundly disappointed." Now that had to make the pilots feel bad.
Money is flying from Greek banks, which makes sense, as how can a bankrupt Greek government guarantee Greek bank deposits? I know that Greek bankers may have a different view, but Greek depositors are voting with their feet. And Greg shows us it is not just Greece. It is fast becoming Portugal. And Spain is not far behind in my opinion.
I can well imagine there are private meetings among Greek government officials, banks and other leaders as to what must now be done. Those meetings I am sure can be tense. These things matter, as European banks hold a lot of Greek debt, as well as Portuguese and Spanish debt. European banks have not come close to dealing with their problems and are seriously over-leveraged. There is the potential for yet another banking and credit crisis stemming from European banks. Will world banks see their trust for each other (and especially European banks with large amounts of Club Med bonds) devolve as it did on August of 2008? It is something we must think about. It is possible, in my opinion. I sincerely hope it does not happen, but we must think about it. (Note, this is not something that will happen for awhile, but we should be aware of the problem.)
I want to thank Greg for letting me send this on to you. His website is www.weldononline.com. This letter is typical of his work – thorough and detailed and full of charts. He is the best slicer and dicer of data that I know.
In the second installment of our special two day Outside the Box letter, we have good friend Greg Weldon's giving us his thoughts in his regular "Weldon's Money Monitor." Consumer expenditures account for approximately 2/3rds of U.S. GDP. A precursor to any underlying changes in consumer expenditures is consumer sentiment. Greg explains to us the state of the American consumer and how current federal and institutional initiatives will not help thwart the looming recession. You can read his work at www.weldononline.com.
This week in Outside the Box we turn our eyes on Japan and as promised offer a report by macro-maven and good friend Greg Weldon. Japan is the world's second largest economy and a major source of liquidity. While China has captured the headlines in Asia, Japan is still the big economic dog and supplier of capital on the block.
Greg argues that there is the potential for another asset bubble popping in Japan at the same time as we see our housing market and subprime mortgages implode. That could have considerable implications for world wide liquidity and the yen carry trade.
While this prints out longer than usual, it is mostly charts, as Greg likes to illustrate his thinking with lots of graphs. Follow his logic and reasoning. He is pointing out a potential problem that no one else I know is paying attention to. At the end is an offer for a trial subscription to his work, which I find quite valuable.
I probably get as many questions about gold as I do any subject. The fascination with the yellow metal permeates all levels of investors, and opinions can be quite strong. But few are more informed than those of good friend and trader extraordinaire, Greg Weldon.
Greg has written a new book called "Gold Trading Boot Camp, how to Master the Basics and Become a Successful Commodities Investor." I highly recommend it for those wanting to get a grasp of how a successful trader's mind works. Greg is one of the best and maybe the most prolific commentators on market trends. Up well before dawn each day, he is a machine. Each day he produces 15-20 pages of in-depth commentary on a huge variety of topics, both fundamental and technical, that informs some of the top trading desks in the world.
I asked him to give us some idea of what his book is about and then give us a top down view of the market for gold as it stands today. For those of you who follow gold, or are merely curious, I think you will find this fascinating.
You can get the book at Amazon.com. It is very readable. Greg has an effortless, unique style that is fun, fast-paced and easy to comprehend with not a lot of technical jargon to make it hard for the beginner yet enough insights that the professionals will be taking lots of notes.
Get the book and enjoy this week's Outside the Box.