201409.21
1
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Open Sesame

Open Sesame is, of course, the phrase used by Ali Baba to open the 40 thieves’ cave and plunder their riches in the Arabian Nights tale. It would seem an apt phrase to describe the frenzy surrounding the IPO of Alibaba, the Chinese internet commerce firm that floated shares in the US last week. Certainly…

201409.14
3
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Good Times, Bad Times

The economic data has taken on a more positive tone recently, at least in some areas, and with an FOMC meeting and Janet Yellen press conference on the schedule this week, the bulls pulled in their horns last week. It seems that, for now anyway, good news is bad news for markets as any indication…

201409.07
6
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Who You Gonna Believe?

I don’t believe it. … You can’t predict a weak number, but August tends to be weak consistently, and it tends to get revised up consistently. I think the trend is still north of 200,000. Every other data point is pointing to stronger growth, not weaker growth. Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s after last…

201409.01
3
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Secular Stagnation Or The Cusp Of A Boom?

I’ve mentioned several times recently that within Alhambra we often have vigorous debates about the economy and markets. I’m a big believer in the power of competition to improve outcomes whether we are talking about the macro economy or the micro debates about portfolio strategy in which we engage. The debates we have internally are…

201408.17
3
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The Art & Science Of Investing

In last week’s update I mentioned that within our own shop we often have disagreements about the economy and markets. Based on my email flow, that seems to have surprised and possibly confused some people. So, I want to spend some time this week talking about investing more generally rather than concentrating on the week…

201408.10
3
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Contradictions

Stocks managed to finish the week on a positive note after a volatile ride that seemed to be based mostly on the changing geopolitical situation. Stocks fell with the imposition of retaliatory sanctions from Russia and rose as Putin seemed to back off at the end of the week. Thrown into the mix was an…

201408.03
1
0

Same Economy, Different Perception

The stock market and the traders who rule it seem to have had a change of heart last week. Stocks were down over 2% with most of that coming Thursday with a 300+ point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow – and small caps – are now down for the year although…

201407.27
3
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Predicting The Future Is Hard

“Conditions for a hard economic landing — like slack in the labor market and weak balance sheets — are still largely absent.” If the case for U.S. stocks is built on global growth and lower interest rates, other factors, too, suggest that the market is heading higher. For one, Washington is determined to avert a financial…

201407.20
2
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A Change In Policy?

The Committee recognizes that low interest rates may provide incentives for some investors to “reach for yield,” and those actions could increase vulnerabilities in the financial system to adverse events. While prices of real estate, equities, and corporate bonds have risen appreciably and valuation metrics have increased, they remain generally in line with historical norms….

201407.13
5
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A Return To Normalcy

I think sometimes, with the stock market doing its best imitation of the Energizer bunny, we forget just how extraordinary are the times in which we live. We’ve been lulled to sleep by the relentless and mesmerizing march higher of stocks and all manner of risky assets. Maybe it’s just that having lived through two…