This week we look at some mostly bullish analysis from my friends at GaveKal for the Outside the Box. Much of the letter is devoted to looking at why Europe may fare better than many think (which will make uber-European bull David Kotok happy to read!). But be very sure to read the last page as Steve Vannelli analyzes the latest speculation about the Fed and quantitative easing. All those calling for QE2 may not actually do what they think it will. His conclusion?
"Once again, if there is no growth in broad money, no increase in velocity and no increase in Fed credit (hybrid money), then the only source to finance growth in the real economy will remain the sale of risky assets. When confidence seems to be stuck in a low plateau and talk of reigning in fiscal deficits is growing louder, a policy of undermining the value of risky assets couldn't be more counterproductive to growth."
I find myself in New York this morning (I once again did Yahoo Tech Ticker) leaving for DC later. Then sadly will have to forego Turks and Caicos, but that does allow for me to go to Baton Rouge for a one day course on the affects of the gulf oil spill on the regional economy, helicopter flyovers, etc. I will report back in this week's letter what I learn.
Have a great week.
Your wishing he was still fishing in Maine analyst,
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 from Hoisington Investment Management Company does just that.
Let me give you two quotes to pique your interest: "Monetary policy works by creating the environment for a renewed borrowing and lending cycle. This cycle would require that the debt to GDP ratio, which is already at a record level, grow even higher. Would such an outcome really be that desirable when the controlling problem of the U.S. economy is too much improperly financed debt? If the Fed were able to engender an increase in the debt to GDP ratio, this might merely serve to postpone the reckoning of the current debt levels while laying the foundation for an even more vicious unwinding down the road."
And: "The only really viable option for federal stimulus is a permanent reduction in the marginal tax rates, as highlighted in the research of Christina Romer, incoming Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. This would have the benefit of raising after tax rates of return, but the drawback in the short run of still having to be financed by an increased budget deficit. Over time, a massive reduction in marginal tax rates would be beneficial, but the operative word is time. Refunds, or transitory tax relief, will have no better results in stemming the recessionary tide in 2009 and 2010 than it did in the spring of 2008."
Van Hoisington and Dr. Lacy Hunt give us a seminar on the current bailout programs that is not the usual analysis we see in mainstream media. This week's letter requires you to think, but it will be worth the effort.
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 now let's jump right in to the essay.
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. You can learn more about his letter at http://www.agaryshilling.com. If you want to subscribe, you can call 888-346-7444. Tell them that you read about it in Outside the Box and you will get not only his 2009 forecast issue but an extra issue with his 2010 forecast (of course, that one will not come out for a year. Gary is good but not that good!)
I trust you are enjoying the holidays. And enjoy this week's Outside the Box.
This week in Outside the Box we look at two brief essays which give us different perspective on the Continuing Crisis. The first is by Mohamed El-Erian, the co-chief executive and co-chief investment officer of Pimco. His book, 'When Markets Collide: Investment Strategies for the Age of Global Economic Change', will be published by McGraw Hill in June, and it will be on my summer reading list. El-Erian argues in the thought-provoking piece from the Financial Times that the crisis is still far from finished, and that those who think we are returning to more placid times may be surprised when volatility suddenly becomes even more pervasive.
The second is by good friend and Maine fishing buddy David Kotok, the chief investment officer of Cumberland Asset Managers (www.cumber.com). He was recently in Africa where he met with the head of the central bank of a small country with headline inflation of 10%. The problem is that "core inflation" is 5% and food inflation is 15%, yet accounts for 50% of the GDP. He asked a group of financial thinkers (including your humble analyst) to ponder what that central banker should do. Do you set high rates and target overall inflation or set lower rates and not worry about food inflation.
Why should we worry about inflation in a small African country? Because the principles are the same, and it makes a real difference where the Fed comes down at the end of the day on this very question.
This week's reading should be very helpful and thought-provoking. I hope you enjoy this read as much as I did.
In my Friday letter, "Thoughts from the Frontline," I touched briefly on the Yen Carry Trade and its effects on asset prices. Just what should investors be concerned with and profit from in a market bent on volatility and anchored by a new seat at the Fed? My good friends at GaveKal have written an excellent and timely article on global liquidity and its implications for the markets.
Charles and Louis-Vincent Gave, along with Anatole Kaletsky, are each co-founders of GaveKal, a global investment research and management firm. Their expertise on monetary policy and global trends is often very insightful and highly sought after. In one of their more recent commentaries, The Leverage in the System and the Weak U.S. $$, they take an in-depth look at the Bank of Japan, Oil, the U.S. Dollar and the Euro. This is a very interesting take on the strength of the dollar and very much Outside the Box.
I trust that you will pay less attention to the manic noise of the markets and find this piece to be an enlightening perspective on the global economy.
Any time a central bank speaks there are scores of investors lined up and waiting to listen. Each is interested in any number of tidbits that might have a plethora of implications affecting his positions and portfolio. Even after the long-winded speeches and discussions, that action does not stop as investors continue to try and anticipate the next set of policies.
My readers are well aware of how keen I find the writing to be of Paul McCulley, managing director of PIMCO. In his global central bank focus article, Paul ventures beyond the normal apparatus to discover what he labels a "moral hazard."
My Friday letter, Thoughts from the Frontline, has been written about some of the data variables that affect the decision making policies of the Fed. I believe that Paul's piece will shed some light on what the Fed might be facing, as well as add some global perspective to the central banks as a whole. May you find this editorial to be helpful in your outside the box thinking.
A few weeks ago, I posted a letter by Dr. Gary shilling on why he thinks there is deflation in our future. For another look at the inflation-deflation debate, this week's letter is by Myles Zyblock, who is Chief Institutional Strategist & Director of Capital Markets Research at the Royal Bank of Canada. Myles takes a look at why we have not seen a big increase in inflation even though the Fed has added vast amounts of monetary liquidity since the late 1990's. Milton Friedman's equation of exchange says that inflation is produced by money supply and the velocity of money. This report looks at a reason the velocity of money may have stayed low and theorizes that it will not last.
Is inflation knocking at the door and if so what are the implications for investments? Let's take a look in this edition of Outside the Box.