Thoughts From the Frontline, May 2008

The Problem with the Euro

May 30, 2008

Last week I wrote that we could see a drop in the price of oil as speculators seemed to be storing oil in very large tankers and "slow steaming" them to port in a bet that prices would rise. When everyone is on the same side of the trade, the time is right for a reversal. This is especially true when there is a large potential supply sitting on the sidelines.

This week we briefly look at this prediction, and perhaps even more ominous problems for commodities in general, at least in the short...

Whither the Price of Oil?

May 23, 2008

Why has the price of oil risen so much in the past few months? Is it a supply and demand issue as some believe; or is it because of an out-of-control futures market driven by the proliferation of commodity index funds and rampant speculation, as everyone tries to get in on the rise in commodity prices? This is a very complex issue, with a lot of emotion attached to it.

This week I try to give you an understanding of why oil prices have risen and whether they are likely to stay at such lofty...

The Fed at the Crossroads

May 16, 2008

Is the economy poised for a recovery, as the stock market seems to expect? Or are we in for another few more quarters of recession and/or slow growth? In this week's letter we take a look at consumer spending, inflation, and other data to see if we can find a clue or two to give us an idea of the direction of the economy. There is a lot of data, so let's jump right in. (Media note: Right now I am slated to be on Kudlow and Company next Wednesday.)

Many commentators, looking for a bullish...

Why Investors Fail

May 9, 2008

This week I am in South Africa and am not as connected as I would like to be due to meetings and slow Internet, so we are going to look at some material from my book, Bull's Eye Investing, which I think is more pertinent than ever. And since lately there has been rather large growth in the readership, there are a significant number of new readers for whom this material will be fresh. When I originally wrote much of this, the markets were coming out of the bear phase of 2001-2. I am...

Lies and Other Statistics

May 2, 2008

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics." -- commonly attributed to Benjamin Disraeli

If we are to believe the government statistics, the GDP of the US grew by 0.6% in the first quarter of this year. And unemployment actually fell. And there were only 20,000 job losses. This week we do a quick review of why the statistics can be so misleading. We also look at why I was wrong about the housing number last week, and I highlight what could be a very serious Black Swan...