Outside the Box, August 2008


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Dead Men Walking

August 25, 2008

Last Friday's letter was about the fact that it is not just Freddie and Fannie. There are other problems. The Weekend Edition and today's Wall Street Journal are filled with stories about the problems with Freddie and Fannie. The assumption in so many quarters is that they will soon need government assistance. The only questions seem to be when and in what form? Can this wait until a new president is in place? Congress is leaving town soon. Can it wait until the lame duck session?

As I have...

The Real World Order

August 21, 2008

"But this time it's different!!!" Any time you hear that from a financial analyst, you should run. Or better still, take the other side of his trade! If you're numerically oriented, you know that patterns tend to revert to the mean. If you're historically oriented, you know that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Can companies really make money selling a product for less than it costs to make - even in volume? Ask Buffett why he sat out the tech boom....

Today I'm passing...

The Elusive Bottom

August 18, 2008

In this weekend's Thoughts from the Frontlines, I quoted from part of a very thoughtful, right-on-target analysis by David A. Rosenberg entitled "The Elusive Bottom." Over the weekend, I decided that you should read the whole piece, as Rosenberg makes some very solid points about how the markets and the economy may play out over the next few years. He has a non-consensus viewpoint, but that is what I like for Outside the Box. In fact, I think this is one of the more thought-provoking pieces I...

A Value Investor Looks At China

August 12, 2008

China is all the rage for the next few weeks as the Olympics are going on. Many are calling this China's time to showcase itself to the world. I have a lot of friends and analysts who are big China bulls, believing that the next few years will see continued high growth in China, although less than the above 10% of the past few years.

In Outside the Box, we like to look at some contrarian analysis from time to time. Value Investor Vitaliy Katsenelson gives us some reasons why the outlook for...

Mediterranean Flyover: Telegraphing an Israeli Punch?

August 7, 2008

Kudos to my friend George Friedman and his crew at Stratfor. If you didn't see the article in this week's Barron's about Stratfor's analysis of the geopolitical risk premium built into oil prices, you missed a really good piece of work. You've probably heard Napoleon's quote that "Amateurs discuss strategy, and professionals discuss logistics." If you want a perfect example of how that quote plays out for the markets, take a look at Stratfor's article below. It's precisely the kind of sober,...

Survival of the Unfittest

August 4, 2008

It is indeed a very interesting time in which to live, especially watching the financial markets. The disconnect among authorities, regulators, companies and investors is almost too much to comprehend. There are no precedents for the turmoil we are in. This week we read an essay by a name familiar to readers of Outside Box, Michael Lewitt of Hegemony Capital Management (www.hegcap.com). As usual he offers us some very cogent comments on the continuing efforts by those in authority to bail out...