201807.11
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Buybacks Get All The Macro Hate, But What About Dividends?

When it comes to the stock market and the corporate cash flow condition, our attention is usually drawn to stock repurchases. With good reason. These controversial uses of scarce internal funds are traditionally argued along the lines of management teams identifying and correcting undervalued shares. History shows, conclusively, that hasn’t really been true. Last year’s…

201807.06
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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Welcome To The Slowdown

Welcome to the slowdown. It isn’t much – yet – and it may just be a passing phase, but there is little doubt that the US economy has slowed somewhat. The rise in short term interest rates has stalled and the long end of the curve has rallied. The result is a flatter yield curve…

201806.08
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Mysteriously Financialized (Or Not)

The Federal Reserve published its latest update for Z1, the Financial Accounts of the United States (formerly Flow of Funds). That means we can update our valuation metrics for a good piece of the US stock market. Tobin’s Q starts with the premise that the value of any company is in many ways dictated by…

201805.30
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Profits, Bubbles, And Labor That’s Missing But Not Unexplained

You’ve heard all the ridiculous explanations for the labor market’s big deficiency. When not attempting to characterize payrolls as strong, Economists have tried to explain the participation problem through opioids and Baby Boomers. According to this absurd theory, businesses just can’t find enough willing or able workers to grow in a more normal fashion. That’s…

201805.15
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Global Asset Allocation Update

The risk budget changes this month as I add back the 5% cash raised in late October. For the moderate risk investor, the allocation to bonds is still 50% while the risk side now rises to 50% as well. I raised the cash back in late October due to the extreme overbought nature of the…

201805.01
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Is It Over?

The world is full of anomalies. It may seem like a paradox, but financial markets are particularly eventful places. Something happens, some people notice, and most often it goes…nowhere. It’s all the time and a constant part of analysis, trying to identify and separate what is truly contained. The global eurodollar monetary system grew so…

201804.13
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Global Asset Allocation Update: The Certainty of Uncertainty

There is no change to the risk budget this month. For the moderate risk investor, the allocation to bonds is 50%, risk assets 45% and cash 5%. Stocks continued their erratic ways since the last update with another test of the February lows that are holding – for now. While we believe growth expectations are moderating…

201804.10
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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Investing Is Not A Game of Perfect

The market volatility this year has been blamed on a lot of factors. The initial selloff was blamed on a hotter than expected wage number in the January employment report that supposedly sparked concerns about inflation – although a similar number this month wasn’t mentioned as a cause of last Friday’s selling. The unwinding of…

201804.09
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Deutsche Bank Replaces Another CEO; Or, Bubbles And Money

Another global bank CEO is given his walking papers. John Cryan’s tenure at Deutsche Bank was unsurprisingly brief. He began it by being realistic. Upon being hired for the top job, Cryan predicted his stay there would, “[depend] on how well we deliver on strategy, impress clients and reduce complexity.” It’s that last one nobody…

201804.03
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Curse of the Zombie Junk

If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, in economic terms the paving is done by zombies. We’ve all heard of the convention regarding Japanification. In desperation trying to avoid a worse fate, many of Japan’s tortured financial institutions were left open and operating so as to not force losses too much at…