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Thoughts from the Frontline Archive, September 2007

The Return of Muddle Through
  • September 28, 2007

The Return of Muddle Through

The dollar reaches new lows. The housing market shows no sign of a bottom. Oil almost touches $84 before backing off. Interest rates go up after the Fed cuts. So naturally the stock market keeps climbing. But then, consumer spending came in strong, employment looks like it may be ok, inflation (at least by one measure) came in below 2%. This week we look at the question of whether you could have a continued bull market and a recession. (Maybe.) We look at the bigger picture for the...

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Sea Change at the Fed
  • September 21, 2007

Sea Change at the Fed

"Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea change
Into something rich and strange"
(The Tempest - Shakespeare)

The term "sea change" has come to mean a profound transformation ever since Will Shakespeare used it in The Tempest. I think this week we witnessed a true sea change in central bank policy, on both sides of the Atlantic. The stock market rejoiced over a 50 basis point cut from the Fed, assuming that it...

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The Black Swan
  • September 14, 2007

The Black Swan

"A similar effect is taking place in economic life. I spoke about globalization in Chapter 3; it is here, but it is not all for the good: it creates interlocking fragility, while reducing volatility and giving the appearance of stability. In other words it creates devastating Black Swans. We have never lived before under the threat of a global collapse. Financial institutions have been merging into a smaller number of very large banks. Almost all banks are now interrelated. So the financial...

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Should the Fed Cut Interest Rates?
  • September 7, 2007

Should the Fed Cut Interest Rates?

The unemployment numbers came in today, and if you look under the hood of the data, it is worse than the headline loss of 4,000 jobs. Should the Fed cut the interest rates in two weeks? Will it make a difference? Are we headed into recession (as predicted here in my January 2007 forecast issue)? When do we see a bottom in the housing market? Are we there yet? We look at all this and more. It should make for an interesting letter, if I can get my jet-lagged body to cooperate.

But first (and...

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