201603.21
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Social Security Changes

By Bob Williams You’ve heard it said that the government giveth and the government taketh away.  It’s happening again.  This time retirement dollars for couples are being taken. With the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 Congress prohibited spouses from coordinating Social Security Benefits.  Now, Americans on the brink of retirement are scrambling…

201603.09
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Is Inflation About To Make A Comeback?

We may well at present be seeing the first stirrings of an increase in the inflation rate — something that we would like to happen. Stanley Fischer Fed Vice-Chair in a speech before the National Association for Business Economics Anyone renting an apartment over the last few years might well wonder what rock Mr. Fischer…

201511.28
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Things Everybody Knows…

It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we know that just ain’t so. Mark Twain Mark Twain probably wasn’t thinking of investors when he wrote those words, but truer ones have rarely been written. Investors routinely become overconfident in their assessment of economic and market…

201509.20
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The World’s Central Bank

Well, thank goodness that’s over. The Fed met last week and decided to maintain the Fed funds rate in the 0 – 0.25% range in which it has been confined since the great financial crisis of 2008. Of course, the fed funds market is essentially kaput having been usurped by the Fed itself during the…

201508.23
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The Mysterious Selloff

Why was the stock market down almost 6% last week? I know what you’re thinking – has this guy been under a rock somewhere? But I’m serious. I know what all the pundits, commentators and talking heads are saying about the immediate cause. It’s about the China devaluation and the knock on effect in other…

201507.19
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Bailout – “the Greequel”

The Greek government, EU, IMF and ECB agreed to new terms for a third bailout. As I see it, there are two very important items for markets today. The Greek government will be selling assets to pay down debt and re-capitalize the banking sector. Creditors essentially accessed the Greek collateral they were seeking. In return, the…

201506.28
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The Market Waits For No One

Our lens suggests that the very low interest rates that have prevailed for so long may not be “equilibrium” ones, which would be conducive to sustainable and balanced global expansion. Rather than just reflecting the current weakness, low rates may in part have contributed to it by fuelling costly financial booms and busts. The result…

201506.21
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Greek Scenario Analysis

Here is a simple conditional probability table one might use to gauge the potential risks and rewards stemming from the Greek credit negotiations. The table considers 3 paths which may arise from ongoing talks. It assigns a probability for each and what an investor might expect for market returns under each scenario. Given recent events, the…

201505.17
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Let Them Eat Cake

It’s very decorative, it’s very large, it looks very expensive, it’s very splashy. I’d identify the new owner as being very rich, and it’ll brighten up his expensive apartment. Would you want any more reasons? John Richardson, Picasso biographer on why Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O) is worth the $179 million it fetched at a…