201706.20
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What We Are After

I am a long-term optimist by nature. Stop laughing. I am well aware I have attained a reputation as something of a permabear, but that is merely the consequence of the time period in which we inhabit. Read some of the things I wrote in 2009 (and even in early 2010) and you might think…

201706.19
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Root Monetary Behavior

Capitalism has always featured feedback mechanisms. They never were perfect, as nothing is going to ever be. Instead, market discipline was always a messy affair as it more often throughout history included periods of undisciplined behavior followed closely by mass exodus, crash, and then depression. Economists after 1929 thought of themselves as a replacement mechanism…

201706.19
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Global Asset Allocation Update:

There is no change to the risk budget this month. For the moderate risk investor, the allocation between risk assets and bonds is unchanged at 50/50. There are no changes to the portfolio this month. The growth and inflation outlook continued to weaken somewhat since last month’s update. Certainly nothing very dramatic though, just a…

201706.14 2

Valuations: It Is Different This Time

(with additional contributions from Margie Fernandez; edited by Joe Calhoun) The Net Worth of Non-financial Corporate Business declined slightly in Q1 2017 according to the Federal Reserve’s Financial Accounts of the United States (Z1). The revised quarterly figures suggest that economic net worth eased to $23.62 trillion after a record high $23.69 trillion in Q4…

201706.06
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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: The Return of Economic Ennui

The economic reports released since the last of these updates was generally not all that bad but the reports considered more important were disappointing. And it should be noted that economic reports lately have generally been worse than expected which, if you believe the market to be fairly efficient, is what really matters. The disappointing…

201706.06
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The Same Crossroads

Writing earlier this year on the topic of the Fed’s future balance sheet reductions, Ben Bernanke had occasion to recount his experience from 2013. It was a stressful time for the Fed after they panicked into QE3 (and then QE4) and then almost panicked right out of it. The then-Fed Chairman stressed from his experience…

201705.22
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Bi-Weekly Economic Review

The economic data releases since the last update were generally upbeat but markets are forward looking and the future apparently isn’t to their liking. Of course, it is hard to tell sometimes whether bonds, the dollar and stocks are responding to the real economy or the one people hope Donald Trump can deliver when he…

201705.18
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Global Asset Allocation Update

There is no change to the risk budget this month. For the moderate risk investor, the allocation between risk assets and bonds is unchanged at 50/50. There are, however, changes within the asset classes. We are reducing the equity allocation and raising the allocation to REITs.  Based on the bond markets there has been little…

201704.26
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Clickbait: Bernanke Terrifies Stock Investors, Again

If you are a stock investor, you should be terrified. The most disconcerting words have been uttered by the one person capable of changing the whole dynamic. After spending so many years trying to recreate the magic of the “maestro”, Ben Bernanke in retirement is still at it. In an interview with Charles Schwab, the…

201704.23
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Bi-Weekly Economic Review

It wasn’t a very good two weeks for economic data with the majority of reports disappointing. Most notable I think is that the so called “soft data” is starting to reflect reality rather than some fantasy land where President Trump enacts his entire agenda in the first 100 days of being in office. Politics is…