Economic Analysis

The Muddle Through Economy

Thoughts from the Frontline

January 25, 2002

The task I face every week as I begin this column is to interpret the tea leaves so we can get some glimpse into the future of the economy, and thereby get an idea of how to invest our hard-earned money. In theory, the direction of the economy (both local and global) will have a direct influence on stocks, bonds and other investments.

Blues Brothers: Enron and Cisco

Thoughts from the Frontline

January 18, 2002

Last week we looked at the continuing evidence of deflation, which is my primary concern when I analyze the future direction of the markets.

Simple Deflation

Thoughts from the Frontline

January 11, 2002

Last week's 2002 Forecast laid out the clear cut case that deflation would be the dominant economic force in the first part of 2002. I took pains not to use any recent data, trying to make the case on long-term economic patterns. I have always felt it is dangerous to use weekly data to make long-term forecasts.

2002 Economic Forecast

Thoughts from the Frontline

January 4, 2002

My annual predictions letters for the last two years have been easy to write, and with one glaring exception, have been generally on target. I start with a basic premise - one key economic factor -- and work out from there. I look for the one thing I believe is going to affect the economy more than anything else in the coming year. If I am wrong on my basic premise, then everything else is likely to be wrong.

One More for the Road

Thoughts from the Frontline

December 7, 2001

A lot of data has come out this week. I slice and dice it for you to help us figure out whether the economy is truly turning up, or is this just a head fake from the markets? Plus, we look at what some are calling a slam dunk investment. I agree it is as close as it comes to being a lock.

Market Insanity

Thoughts from the Frontline

November 30, 2001

Wow! What a data downpour the last few days! We are going to cover Warren Buffett, junk bonds, Enron, deflation, corporate accounting hank-panky, and the wildest markets I can remember. Let's jump in and see where we end up.

Stock Cycles

Thoughts from the Frontline

November 26, 2001

Time to put on our thinking caps. This is an important and seminal e-letter, as it will help form the basis and rationale for future investment suggestions. Rather than focus on where the market is going in the next two weeks, today we are going to try to get an idea over where the market is headed in the next ten years. Armed with that information, we can more logically structure our portfolios to take advantage of the prevailing winds.

Oil Is Not Well

Thoughts from the Frontline

November 16, 2001

"Leningrad gets DAMNED cold in the winter, so bring it on, lay the price siege, and lets see who can outlast whom." For details see more below.

Lot's of news this week, especially in the oil patch. Kuwait tells us there is "no floor for oil prices." I smell a rat. Let's jump right in.

Deflationary Warning Signs

Thoughts from the Frontline

November 9, 2001

Let's look at the huge amount of data that we had this week. (Thanks to Wayne Anderson in my office who gathered a few hundred pages of articles for me to read while I was out.)

I had dinner with fellow analyst Greg Weldon this last Sunday in New Jersey. Watching the scores of wild swans and Canadian geese on a tranquil ocean side pond, we reflected about what Greg calls the "deflation tsunami" that is sweeping the world, which is anything BUT tranquil.

Deflation has been a long time...

Interest Rate Limbo

Thoughts from the Frontline

November 2, 2001

What a week! There is so much to talk about, and the good news is that it is not all bad! The theme of today's e-letter is going to be : "The Games People Play". My less than sainted Dad was a games player. I have a letter on the wall over my desk from John Wayne to my Dad referring to some legendary WW II poker games. (The Duke was gloating. He won. Dad lost. But Dad made it up from Wayne's scotch horde.) Dad's dictum: "Tell me the rules and deal the cards. Just don't change the rules in...