This week I am really delighted to be able to give you a condensed version of Gary Shilling's latest INSIGHT newsletter for your Outside the Box. Each month I really look forward to getting Gary's latest thoughts on the economy and investing. Last year in his forecast issue he suggested 13 investment ideas, all of which were profitable by the end of the year. It is not unusual for Gary to give us over 75 charts and tables in his monthly letters along with his commentary, which makes his thinking unusually clear and accessible. Gary was among the first to point out the problems with the subprime market and predict the housing and credit crises. His track record in this decade has been quite good. I want to thank Gary and his associate Fred Rossi for allowing us to view this smaller version of his latest letter.
If you are interested in his letter, his web site is down being re-designed, but you can write for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to subscribe (for $275), you can call 888-346-7444. Tell them that you read about it in Outside the Box and you will get the full 2010 forecast with price targets, but an extra issue with his 2011 forecast (of course, that one will not come out until the end of the year. Gary is good but not that good!) I trust you are enjoying your week. And enjoy this week's Outside the Box....
Today I am speaking at a local conference here in Dallas for my friends Charles and Louis Gave of GaveKal along with George Friedman of Stratfor, and get to finally meet Anatole Kaletsky. They graciously allowed me to send their latest Five Corners report as this week's Outside the Box. I find their research to be very thought-provoking as they are one of the main sources of optimism in my ususal readings (except for their very correct and profitable views on the European debt of the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, [Ireland?], Greece and Spain).
The GaveKal team is scattered all over the globe (and based in Hong Kong), and make my paripatetic travel schedule seem small change, not only being in scores of countries but talking to the movers and shakers in both finance and politics. This is an amazing advantage in information gathering. Thus they have a very global view of the world and tend to spot trends before most analysts have picked up on them.
Have a great week as we go into the Holiday season (and can you believe the prices on electronic stuff this year?).
As we begin the new quarter, now is an excellent time to take stock of your basic investment thesis. Ask yourself if your allocations still reflect what you think the world is going to look like over the next several months. And as part of that process, I'm here to tell you that making "financial" decisions based solely on "financial" inputs grossly oversimplifies the way the world really works. As I've said before, investing in debt, equity, or commodity markets without geopolitical intelligence is like trading juice futures without getting a weather forecast. You can do it, but good luck to you.
I get my geopolitical intelligence from Stratfor. My friend George Friedman and his team have just published their 3rd Quarter Forecast. I got George to give me a copy I can share with you in this Special Edition of Outside the Box. As a Stratfor Member, you can get the 3Q Forecast - as well as their other forecasts and daily analyses - at a preferential rate available to my readers by clicking here. I strongly encourage you to add this valuable weapon to your investing arsenal.
Here are just some quick examples of how I use Stratfor to guide my thinking, in these cases on energy prices:
- Just living in Dallas, I'm pretty familiar with rig counts and EIA inventory numbers, but I confess that the power-sharing negotiations between the Nigerian government and the Ijaw tribe aren't the most common lunchtime talk.... What will those talks mean for Nigerian supply figures?
- At first glance it's not obvious that the Olympics is supporting oil prices. But then you dig down and realize that China's showcase for global credibility requires lots and lots of smiling citizens. Lots and lots of smiling citizens requires plentiful and cheap fuel. Plentiful and cheap fuel requires government purchases/subsidies - at prices that may not be sustainable. So when the TV cameras go home, how much will the communist government keep paying out to maintain those smiles?
- And those Iranian missile tests that just spiked crude prices? Do those mean war is really coming, or are these the last-round raises, before the US and Iran reach a settlement on Iraq?
There are no simple answers here. No price targets or earnings estimates to the penny. But gentle reader, that's the real world. Today's markets require hard thinking on a whole range of fronts, with geopolitics being right at the top of the list. Join Stratfor today, and you'll get the same intelligence I use to map out where I think the markets are going. And enjoy this Forecast...
What does a bubble look like and how do they end? In this week's Outside the Box, James Montier of Societe Generale in London looks at not only the psychological analysis, but also at the propensity for commentators to continually proclaim the end of the problem and a resumption of business as usual. He includes a fascinating piece from Marc Faber documenting the various quotes about how well the economy was doing from 1928-32. This makes for fun, if a little sobering, reading.
To quote from his summary:
"We have seen the heads of virtually all financial institutions stand up over the last few months and claim the worst is behind us. Why would anyone listen to these people? They didn't see the disaster coming, and yet somehow they are qualified to tell us it is all alright! Perhaps I am just unduly sceptical, but this reeks of a conspiracy of optimism. The recession has barely started, let alone reached its nadir. The market moves of late have all the hallmarks of a classic sucker's rally. This isn't discounting the recovery, this is denial! Far from being behind us, the worst may well still be ahead!"
I think you will find this letter very interesting.
This week in Outside the Box we look at Bill Gross's recent essay on measuring inflation. How you measure inflation makes a difference not only in social security payments but also in what your real returns on bonds are. As Bill notes, there is a significant difference in how the world measures inflation and how it is done in the US. He gives us some insights that are very thought-provoking.
In the last decade economists regularly argued the CPI over-stated inflation by 1%. Now Gross suggests that it may understate inflation by 1%. This week's OTB makes for very interesting reading. Bill Gross is managing director of PIMCO. (www.pimco.com)
This week in Outside the Box we will look at Bill Gross of Pimco's latest essay, addressing the ever expanding economic repercussions of the poorly understood CDO/CLO market, the off balance sheet structured investment vehicles (SIVs) and the economic abyss Bernanke and Company are attempting to lead the market out of with neither light nor guide. Bill sits on the top of the largest bond firm in the world, so they have some very unique insights into what is happening. I always pay attention to what Bill says, and you should too.
Hello, hope everyone had a pleasant and enjoyable weekend. We have officially entered the 4th quarter of 2006 and all eyes seem fixated on the major market averages with the stakes being a new all-time high for the DJI. For this week's "Outside the Box," we turn our attention towards a recent article by PIMCO's Managing Director and widely heralded "Bond King," Bill Gross.
Bill currently manages the largest bond fund in the world, the PIMCO Total Return Fund. PIMCO is one of the largest specialty fixed income managers in the world with its office headquartered in Newport Beach, CA and many offices spanning the globe.
In his article "Empty Nesting/Successful Investing," Bill shares what Texas hold'em and Blackjack can teach us about investing in today's markets. He goes on to further explain the importance of knowing yourself as well as separating volatility from risk. I hope that you enjoy this edition and continue to find value in reading the opinions of others.
The markets have been forced to digest a plethora of events over the past several years, ranging from continuous geopolitical turmoil to a new Fed chairman, from blowups like the Refco scandal to an inflated housing market, each of these occurrences has raised considerable coverage from the financial press yet one cannot lose sight of the longer term trends (and threats) that still loom. The most obvious, and potentially most significant, is the coming generational aging of the boomer generation and the subsequent healthcare conundrum.
This week's "Outside the Box" will feature an article by the widely proclaimed "Bond King," Bill Gross, on the impact of boomer retirement and what that means for healthcare, the workforce and social security. Many of you will find some of his comments controversial. I do not agree with his analysis on tax cuts, as an example. But he is right about the issues which will face us as a generation attempts to retire without having saved enough assets to do so, either as individuals or as a country.
My long term readers are familiar with Bill as he is a Managing Director at PIMCO. During his tenure there, he has become regarded as the most prominent figure in the fixed income sector while at the helm of the largest bond fund in the world, the PIMCO Total Return Fund. PIMCO is one of the largest specialty fixed income managers in the world, with more than $617 billion in assets under management and more than 800 employees in offices in Newport Beach, New York, Singapore, Tokyo, London, Sydney, Munich, Toronto and Hong Kong.
May you find value in Bill's "outside the box" commentary and enjoy a safe and fun-filled Labor Day.
Bonds will be our subject for today. But this is not your ordinary outlook for bonds. Despite the current consensus amongst the street, HMIC's Van Hoisington and Dr. Lacy Hunt have chosen to take a contrarian's approach to the future of the bond market, because of their concerns for the US economy, which they present in detail.
Hoisington Investment Management Company focuses on long-term investment strategies based on Economic Analysis. The firm is a registered investment advisor specializing in fixed income portfolios with over $3.5 billion under management for large institutional clients. Van R. Hoisington is the President and Chief Investment Officer and has produced an outstanding fifteen-year performance record. Dr. Lacy Hunt, an internationally known economist, joined the firm in 1996 adding depth and expertise with his in-depth research and analysis.
Today's article is from their First Quarter Review and Outlook which I am delighted to present to you with their consent. While constructing their assessment for bonds, Van and Lacy walk through each building block, the Fed's actions, consumer spending and the housing market, along the way to assembling a truly "outside the box" outlook for the economy and fixed income securities.
This week's letter is by good friend Paul McCulley, Managing Director of PIMCO. About once a year he puts together an economic debate between his favorite friend and family pet rabbit, Morgan Le Fay. It always presents a very readable look at global economics and a forecast of what could be ahead.
My Friday letter, Thoughts from the Frontline, included a graph that looked at GDP growth and mortgage equity withdrawals (MEW) and Paul explores what could happen if MEWs come to an end, or at least slow down. McCulley once again takes a look at Bretton Woods II, the housing marketing in the US and what might lead to a slowdown in the economy for 2006.
This is an important piece to help you in your understanding of the issues surrounding the debt, trade and housing bubbles. I am going to touch on a few of his ideas next Saturday in my weekly letter, particularly the quote from around the middle of this essay that has his rabbit asking the following question (MLF throughout are the initials for Morgan Le Fay:
"MLF: So, the housing bubble, or whatever you want to call it, ain't America's fault, but rather the Emerging World's fault?
"PM: No, Morgan, it isn't anybody's fault; it just is. When the Emerging World decided to shift from being a net user to a net provider of savings, those savings had to go somewhere, they had to finance something. Otherwise, the entire world would have fallen into a liquidity trap, triggering a global depression."
Read this when you have some time to think about it. In a few weeks I will be putting together my forecast for next year and I am on the lookout for opinions, like McCulley's, that can help us think Outside the Box.
This week's letter is once again from two of my favorite economists, Van Hoisington and Dr. Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management Company in Austin, Texas. They specialize in management of fixed income portfolios for large institutional clients by setting long-term investment strategies based on economic analysis. They have been one of the most successful bond managers in the country. (I have no affiliation with them.) I eagerly read all of their writing and analysis, and find it to be some of the most thought-provoking anywhere.
Their third quarter 2005 Quarterly Review and Outlook looks at the current economic situation in the US. Tighter monetary supply, a slowdown in housing and higher oil does not bode well for the US consumer. While many see economic strength and inflation worries, Hoisington still sees a flattening yield curve which could turn negative and lead to the next recession. This is not a consensus view, which is why I picked it for this week's "Outside the Box."
This week's letter is from another one of the country's top economic analysts, Paul Kasriel of The Northern Trust Company. Kasriel is Senior Vice President and Director of Economic Research, responsible for producing the Corporation's economic and interest rate forecasts. He advises the Bank's Assets-Liabilities Committee as well as the Corporation's Investment Policy Committee.
I am a big fan of Kasriel, and look forward to reading his outlook, as it always gives me an insight or two. His forecast at the beginning of the year was for the Fed to "pause" raising rates in early 2005, but now Paul is forecasting that the "pause" will come later in the year. While I am still of the opinion that the Fed will go further than any of us thought when they started to raise rates last year, Paul gives us another well-reasoned viewpoint in this week's Outside the Box. Statistics and charts are presented to help back up his case.
This week's letter is once again from two of my favorite economists, Van Hoisington and Dr. Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management Company in Austin, Texas. They offer a view on bonds which, as Van noted in a conversation with me this week, disagrees with my 2005 forecast of last week. It is important to read well-reasoned opinions which disagree with your own, which is one of my foremost thoughts when selecting each week's article for Outside the Box.
And there are reasons to pay attention to their views on bonds. They specialize in management of fixed income portfolios for large institutional clients by setting long-term investment strategies based on economic analysis. They have been one of the most successful of bond managers in the country. (I have no affiliation with them.) I eagerly read all of their writing and analysis, and find it to be some of the most thought-provoking anywhere.
Their fourth quarter 2004 Quarterly Review and Outlook is an economic forecast of the coming year which looks at the consumer's financial condition and offers a contrarians view to long-bond yields. Let's explore where the economy might head in this weeks "Outside the Box."
This week's letter is from two of my favorite economists, Van Hoisington and Dr. Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management Company in Austin, Texas. They specialize in management of fixed income portfolios for large institutional clients by setting long-term investment strategies based on economic analysis. They have been one of the most successful of bond managers in the country. (I have no affiliation with them.) I eagerly read all of their writing and analysis, and find it to be some of the most thought-provoking anywhere.
Their third quarter 2004 Quarterly Review and Outlook examines where the economy might be going by looking at inflation, savings, consumption and jobs. Let's explore the current economic environment in this weeks "Outside the Box."