ACTIONABLE ADVICE FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS: Newsletters and Commentaries Focused on Investment Strategy

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2014-11-24 On the Verge of Chaos by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In this week’s letter we’re going to explore some of the ramifications of the currency war that Japan is precipitating. It is more than just Germany, Korea, and China having issues and needing to contemplate their own competitive devaluations. If the yen goes too far too fast, there will be geopolitical repercussions far beyond the obvious first-order connections.

2014-11-24 The Clock is Ticking in Switzerland by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

For most of my career in international investing, I had always placed a great deal of faith in Switzerland's financial markets. In recent years, however, as the Swiss government has sought to hitch its wagon to the flailing euro currency and kowtow increasingly to U.S.-based financial requirements, this faith has been shaken.

2014-11-22 A Tale of Two Worlds by Doug MacKay and Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

We are in a Tale of Two Worlds. One world’s success is highly dependent on the outlook for oil and other commodities, while the other’s is far less exposed and perhaps even a beneficiary of a more bearish climate. Commodity dependent countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Australia are hurt by falling oil prices, weak global demand and new sources of supply, while the United States, with a far larger consumer driven economy, experiences an overall net benefit, as perhaps seen in earnings from the likes of Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Lowe’s in recent days.

2014-11-21 Emerging Markets Opportunity Still Emerging by Burt White of LPL Financial

We believe emerging markets (EM) fundamental conditions are set for improvement in 2015, based on our outlooks for economic growth, earnings, and policy. Valuations are compelling and EM may be situated to recapture some of their relative losses from a technical perspective, particularly in Asian markets. However, somewhat mixed fundamental and technical pictures suggest a better opportunity may be forthcoming

2014-11-21 Is Your Portfolio Truly Diversified? by Eric Stein of Eaton Vance

In this Insight, Eric Stein, co-director of Eaton Vance Global Income Group, discusses the potential benefits of absolute return strategies, what they invest in and the role they can play in investor portfolios.

2014-11-21 Asia's Deepening Capital Markets by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

The drivers of economic growth, the region's small- and medium-sized enterprises, are finally gaining access to capital through alternative funding sources outside of just banks. Retail investors are accessing increasingly diverse products in which to store their savings and build wealth. Institutions are demanding long-dated assets to match their liabilities? Are we finally seeing more stable local demand in Asia's local capital markets?

2014-11-21 Still A Winning Hand by Scott Mather, Mark Kiesel, Mihir Worah of PIMCO

The U.S. is finally enjoying a self-sustaining economic recovery, but slow global growth remains a concern and financial markets are bouncing up and down by the day. So what exactly does this U.S. recovery mean for investors?

2014-11-18 How AQR's New Fund Adds Value - An Alternative Approach to Alternatives: Investing with Style by Larry Swedroe (Article)

The conventional justification for alternative investments has been their ability to effectively diversify against core equity and fixed-income allocations. But, in many cases, the empirical data doesn't support that view. A new fund provides a different way to obtain returns from sources that have low to negative correlation to stocks and bonds, as well as each other - an alternative to alternative investment vehicles.

2014-11-14 Global Investing: Are Foreign Stocks Attractive? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

One of today’s most glaring inter-market divergences is the relative performance of US versus non-US equities. For dollar-based investors, non-US stocks have underperformed US stocks by a whopping 40% over the past five years. But are foreign stocks attractive at current prices? And if so, how much of my portfolio should I allocate abroad?

2014-11-14 How the Long Bond Stole the Trophy by Gibson Smith of Janus Capital Group

The aggressive bet many investors made on long-end rates in 2014 was the equivalent of betting on a Hail Mary pass to win the game. It has been rewarding, but is it repeatable? Probably not. Janus Fixed Income CIO Gibson Smith reflects on why he believes consistency beats the long shot, in sports and in investing.

2014-11-11 The Last Argument of Central Banks by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In this week’s letter I have for you a brief essay on the topic of deflation. Depending on your view, you might find some of my thoughts controversial, but I will try to make my case clear, at least. Please note this is the 30,000-foot view and is nowhere close to definitive.

2014-11-11 The Continuation of QE by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

October 30, 2014 ended the third and final round of Quantitative Easing. Right? The announcement was couched in a hyperlinked document at the end of the FOMC statement. Those who made it through the statement and still felt like reading, realized that the end of QE was not as finalized as one may have expected.

2014-11-11 The Return of the Dollar by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

The recent dollar rally, the result of genuine economic progress and divergent policy developments, could contribute to the “rebalancing” that has long eluded the global economy. But that outcome is far from guaranteed.

2014-11-11 Switzerland: Vote Yes on Gold Initiative by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

On November 30th, the Swiss are voting whether to amend their country’s constitution on an initiative entitled ‘Save our Swiss Gold.’ The Swiss gold initiative appears widely misunderstood, both inside and outside of Switzerland. We discuss implications for gold, the Swiss franc and Switzerland as a whole.

2014-11-10 Three Reasons Why Commodity-Related Debt May Hold Value Under Pressure by Kathleen Gaffney of Eaton Vance

In this timely Insight, Kathleen Gaffney discusses how a flexible multisector bond strategy can be a great way to gain exposure to, and take advantage of, potential value opportunities in hard-hit commodity related debt.

2014-11-10 Emerging Markets Trends: What’s Negative for One Market May Boost Another by Steve Cao of Invesco Blog

Economic conditions have continued to deteriorate in emerging markets, and corporate earnings forecasts have fallen. Overall, emerging markets were down 4.3% in the third quarter, underperforming the developed world. In the midst of this negative news, however, we’re seeing a few bright spots start to emerge, and we’ve been able to add holdings that, in our view, became mispriced during market volatility.

2014-11-07 Retirement Planning: Millennials vs. Boomers by Noah Beck of Research Affiliates

Rob Arnott and Lillian Wu recently wrote that young workers are more likely than older ones to lose their jobs in an economic downturn.They are also prone to draw on their 401(k) plan to meet basic living expenses while they are unemployed. Given these facts, the early-phase concentration in equities—whose market prices are roughly correlated with the business cycle—makes target-date funds inordinately risky for young investors. In this article, Noah Beck considers TDFs in the broader context of workers’ total assets, including their own human capital.

2014-11-07 Reconsidering Asia's Currencies by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia

The Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-1998 looms like a ghost over any attention to Asian currency risk. But what new considerations are needed now? Given the robust performance of the region’s currencies since 1999, Portfolio Manager Gerald Hwang, CFA, explores this topic in a modern context that takes into account the diverse monetary systems, business cycles and development stages of Asia’s economies.

2014-11-05 What a Rising Dollar Means for Your Stock Portfolio by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

Typically, if a company’s home currency is weakening compared to the currency where the company’s sales are generated, this will have a positive effect on sales and profitability, and if the home currency is strengthening, it could negatively impact sales and profitability.

2014-11-04 Martin Wolf on the Financial Crisis: The Fire Next Time by Michael Edesess (Article)

If you think the global financial crisis of 2007-2009 was a one-time event caused by lax regulation and a financial industry run riot, then Financial Times chief economics commentator Martin Wolf has some bad news for you. Wolf, one of the world's most respected economists, says these circumstances were only part of its proximate cause and that the financial crisis was the inevitable product of the global economic system. If that system does not undergo radical change, says Wolf, financial crises may keep on recurring until the world economic order collapses.

2014-11-04 Cameron Uses EU Fine to Bolster Support by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Last week, the unelected European Commission demanded that the United Kingdom pay an additional $2.8 billion to fund the European Union. The new charges resulted from the fact that the British economy had grown faster than had been expected in the past year. The demand sparked outrage from Great Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, and media, particularly as France and Germany would receive rebates, financed largely by the new funds being demanded from the UK.

2014-11-04 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: September 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices corrected in September on concerns about weaker global growth even as the U.S. Federal Reserve is set to wind down its bond purchases. Signs of yet another downturn in the Euro-zone economy are likely to hurt the export outlook for the major emerging countries that had seen a modest improvement in exports in recent months.

2014-11-04 Americas: Regional Economic Review - Q3 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

The clear divergence in economic growth trends between the developed economies in North America and Latin America widened during the third quarter. The U.S. is now the fastest growing developed country in the world, and has lifted the outlook for Canada and Mexico, two of its major trading partners in the region.

2014-11-03 Losing Velocity: QE and the Massive Speculative Carry Trade by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

What central banks around the world seem to overlook is that by changing the mix of government liabilities that the public is forced to hold, away from bonds and toward currency and bank reserves, the only material outcome of QE is the distortion of financial markets, turning the global economy into one massive speculative carry trade. The monetary base, interest rates, and velocity are jointly determined, and absent some exogenous shock to velocity or interest rates, creating more base money simply results in that base money being turned over at a slower rate.

2014-10-31 Financial Markets Review Third Quarter 2014 by Team of AMG Funds

Similar to earlier this year, the third quarter featured further evidence of a multi-speed economic recovery across the globe. Central banks reacted in a less-than-coordinated fashion compared to years prior, with the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) loosening monetary policy while the U.S. Federal Reserve (the Fed) retained more of its status quo as detailed further here.

2014-10-23 How Consensus Thinking Works Against Investors by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

Over the past several years we have used this newsletter to voice our concerns regarding the macro-economic landscape, while attempting to provide practical solutions for investors. Since our venture into financial commentary, we have questioned the veracity of consensus opinion and how it tends to be wrong, especially in regards to interest rates.

2014-10-22 What’s Next for the Indian Rupee? by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

Even before the election results were fully counted in May, Indian currency and equity markets were reacting. After touching all-time lows last year, the rupee surged on the optimism that the reform-minded Modi would push through an agenda to improve Indian economic competitiveness.

2014-10-21 The Economy: October Viewpoint by Robert Cron of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

The U.S. economy continues to move forward in its slow but steady recovery. Despite the Federal Reserve ending their bond buying program in October, demand for U.S. fixed income continues to be robust. The recent downward movement in the stock markets has some investors talking “correction” once again, and growth concerns overseas finally seem to affecting the performance of the domestic markets. We believe there is still more room for improvement for foreign economies, while the U.S. seems to be a more stable environment.

2014-10-21 Opportunities Amid Divergence by Michael Gomez of PIMCO

As in developed markets, the trends of increasing growth and policy dispersion will be borne out in emerging markets over the next 12 months. Brazil has some of the highest interest rates in the world, which presents an opportunity for investors, and we expect the next four years will be marked by a better mix of fiscal and monetary policy. Because our outlook for China has moderated somewhat, we are focusing attention on trade and financial linkages and how the ripple effects of a slower China might unfold.

2014-10-21 Attractive Stocks in a Bifurcated Market by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

As value stock picking managers, we assume we will be operating in a bifurcated equity environment. We think the bifurcation will be between sectors of the stock market which appear over-capitalized due to “rear-view mirror” success and those which look undervalued when considering the present value of their future income stream. The combination of numerous forces, both positive and negative, will most likely create this bifurcation.

2014-10-20 Japan: Small Change Clouds Big Picture by Mark Jason of Invesco Blog

We continue to believe that achieving real economic growth in Japan requires changes that are hard to come by. On a recent trip to Japan, it became clear to me that this next stage of Abenomics — shorthand for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “three-arrow” economic revitalization program of monetary easing, targeted financial support and structural reforms — calls for corporate governance reform to take the spotlight as a core part of the important third arrow, particularly as regulatory reforms have made slow progress thus far.

2014-10-16 Governments Need Inflation, Economies Don't by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In an article in the UK's Telegraph on October 10, veteran economic correspondent Ambrose Evans-Pritchard laid bare the essential truth of the nearly universal current embrace of inflation as an economic panacea. While politicians, CEOs and economists talk about demand stimulus and the avoidance of a deflationary trap, Evans-Pritchard reminds us that inflation is all, and always, about debt management.

2014-10-16 Global Carry a.k.a. Risk Parity by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

It is customary to think of “Risk Parity Asset Allocation” and “Carry Trading Strategy” as two different things. We explain that the Risk Parity after the Global Financial Crisis is nothing else but a hugely successful Global Carry Trade funded in Japanese Yen, Dollar and Euro. The performance of this trade is fantastic, the allocation is huge (100s of blns of $) and the risk of crash that will precipitate the next financial crisis is growing day by day. But for now the music is still playing.

2014-10-16 Optimizing a Portfolio Allocation to Gold by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

Gold continues to be an attractive asset class that many investors wish to hold in their portfolios primarily for its diversification benefits and defensive characteristics during periods of high risk aversion in global markets. And notably many investors gain their gold exposure via exchange traded products given the ease of access, liquidity and the transparency they offer, particularly to retail investors who historically faced numerous barriers to holding gold in their portfolios.

2014-10-16 Risk Aversion and Dollar Strength by Rick Harper of WisdomTree

Since the dollar is the primary reserve currency of the world, investors typically seek exposure to the dollar via short-term assets when market sentiment begins to shift. As we explain, the U.S. dollar can serve as an effective hedge to market uncertainty when volatility unexpectedly spikes.

2014-10-14 The Eurozone Plots Its Long Road to Recovery by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

Growth in much of Europe is slow - some observers even say the economy is moving sideways. Lately, the eurozone seems to have more in common with Japan, whose economy has been idling for years, than it does with the UK or the United States.

2014-10-14 How’s the Market Feeling These Days? by Edward Perkin of Eaton Vance

Recent investor sentiment on the equity market – and what conclusions might be drawn. Recent investor sentiment readings suggest that lingering fear from the 2008 financial crisis has abated somewhat, and that sentiment has finally begun to catch up with market performance.

2014-10-10 Bullish on Gold Priced in Euro – Gold Priced in Dollars, Not So Much by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In this week’s discussion we revisit our earlier analysis looking at the relationship between the gold price and real interest rates. Over the last three months the gold price in dollar terms has fallen 9% moving briefly below $1,200 and naturally raising concerns amongst investors that this pull-back may extend as the dollar continues to strengthen against a broad basket of currencies.

2014-10-09 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), states in his latest quarterly letter on gold that "On a near term basis, this looks and feels like a bottom to us. On a longer term view, we are more bullish than ever." He goes on to write that "Expanding earnings and valuations, the underpinnings of the four year bull market in financial assets, may be approaching an inflection point. A reversal of this cycle would in our opinion restore interest in gold."

2014-10-09 Rethinking Core Fixed Income in a Rising-Rate Environment by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Michael Hasenstab, chief investment officer, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group®, says it is time for fixed income investors to think outside traditional boxes. He believes that with today’s market environment and the prospect of rising US interest rates on the horizon, investors need to rethink their core fixed income portfolio. He makes the case for an actively managed, global, unconstrained fixed income strategy.

2014-10-09 Putting the Pieces Together: An In Depth Chart Review of Global Financial Markets by Team of GaveKal Capital

One of our favorite grounding exercises is to peruse our chart library and review what has happened in the global financial markets so we can opine about what those prices and patterns are telling us about the world. We'll save the opining for another time, so we present the following charts with little commentary.

2014-10-08 Is Style Box Investing Holding You Back? by Richard Bernstein, Kathleen Gaffney of Eaton Vance

In today’s market environment, tethering your portfolio to a style box or a benchmark could potentially lead to volatile investment returns when those asset classes or investment styles fall out of favor. Consider taking a flexible approach, which looks at the entire spectrum of equity and fixed income assets, to widen your opportunity set and further diversify your portfolio.

2014-10-07 Dynamic Markets Call for Flexible Strategies by Richard Bernstein, Kathleen Gaffney of Eaton Vance

Historically low yields, recurring market volatility and other challenges have increasingly enhanced the appeal of investment strategies that take a more flexible approach to investing.

2014-10-04 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

What is a good monthly U.S. payroll number?; The September U.S. job data were strong but may not move the Fed's needle; Falling inflation and inflation expectations will keep central banks from tightening

2014-10-03 Gold update by Adam Feik of Take Time For This

I don’t believe “rising interest rates” are – or will be – a reason for the dollar to continue to rally (or for gold prices to fall). Right now, investors seem convinced the dollar’s rally will continue for the foreseeable future. It may; but more likely, the dollar will continue to fluctuate when compared to foreign currencies, as well as when compared to gold. I, for one, will probably view any large declines in gold, silver, oil, gas, and the companies that produce those commodities as an opportunity to “buy low.” Note, I’m not ready to

2014-10-02 Voya Fixed Income Perspectives – September 2014 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms of Voya Investment Management

Change is in the air, and it’s evident beyond the riot of color overwhelming our natural landscape. Market dynamics, too, are shifting, with the yield on the U.S. two-year Treasury inching higher and the U.S. dollar appreciating. Both not only suggest markets are pricing in a stronger U.S. economy, they are also potential harbingers that the end of zero interest rate policy is near.

2014-10-02 Six Months of Nothing by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Political problems have escalated over the past seven months. Russia has been aggressive and so have extremists in certain Muslim countries. Having said that, financial markets seem to care about nothing but QE. Despite a growing disconnect in some markets between equity valuations and economic fundamentals, we expect the low interest rate environment to carry the equity bull market for a little longer, but eventually it will end in tears.

2014-10-02 Uncertainty in markets, economy puts focus on stock picking by Michael Avery, Cynthia Prince-Fox, Chace Brundige of Ivy Investment Management Company

The U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) has indicated it will stop buying U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities – the “taper” of its QE3 program – by the end of October. The Fed also has said it will keep interest rates at a very low level for a “considerable time.”

2014-09-28 The End of Monetary Policy by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Let’s explore the limits of monetary policy and think about the evolution and then the endgame of economic history. Not the end of monetary policy per se, but its emasculation.

2014-09-25 Global Equities Stay Thirsty for Liquidity by Rick Golod of Invesco Blog

Taking a step back from the usual economic and market insights, my September commentary is devoted to a topic that I’ve been long overdue in addressing. Financial advisors have frequently asked about my approach to asset allocation, and I’ve outlined my strategy for diversifying within the US equity space in my commentary, “Harnessing the Market’s Natural Rotation: An Asset Allocation Strategy.” Here, I’d like to provide a summary of my outlook, which remains unchanged from the previous month.

2014-09-23 The U.S. Dollar is Rising, Interest Rates Could Be Next by Rick Harper, Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

Since bottoming July 1, the U.S. dollar has mounted an impressive rally against virtually every major foreign currency. While many analysts have been predicting a secular appreciation in the U.S. dollar on account of stronger economic fundamentals, the current rally has caused even casual market participants to take notice.

2014-09-22 It Will Take More Than ECB Rate Cuts for the Eurozone to Fully Recover by John Greenwood of Invesco Blog

The European Central Bank’s (ECB) surprise rate cuts on Sept. 4 — reducing its main lending and deposit rates by 10 basis points — show that its policies so far have been inadequate to solve the euro-area’s economic malaise. Economic growth has stalled, and deflation remains a threat in the eurozone. The rate cuts may help to weaken the euro further in the currency markets, but nobody should be under any illusion that banks will start lending or expanding their deposits as a result of the rate cuts alone, or that these cuts will trigger a wider economic recovery.

2014-09-22 The Ponzi Economy by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

When the most persistent, most aggressive, and most sizeable actions of policymakers are those that discourage saving, promote debt-financed consumption, and encourage the diversion of scarce savings to yield-seeking speculation rather than productive investment, the backbone that supports a rising standard of living is broken.

2014-09-22 It’s Time for Your Portfolio to Break from Tradition by Kathleen Gaffney, Kevin Dachille of Eaton Vance

Given the current low-yield environment and with rising interest rates looming, now may be the right time to consider new strategies for generating favorable returns in your fixed-income portfolio.

2014-09-22 Destroying the Dollar a Penny at a Time by Editorial Team at Peter Schiff’s Gold Blog of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

Efforts are once again underway to discontinue the US penny due to the “rising cost of zinc.” But it is not zinc that is becoming more precious, but rather the dollar that is losing value relative to all commodities. A comparison of product prices over time shows that a dollar just isn’t what it used to be.

2014-09-19 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The choice for Europe: coming together or breaking apart; Scotland votes nay; The dollar has been the beneficiary of global uncertainty

2014-09-18 Gold for the Long Run by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

We continue on the theme gold and the dollar but this week take a short look at their “long-term” relationship and relative movement over the last 40 years. In particular we focus on the period post the ending of the Bretton-Woods agreement by the Nixon administration in 1971 (the so-called “Nixon Shock”) which terminated dollar convertibility to gold and thus established the dollar as a fiat currency.

2014-09-13 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The implications of Scottish independence; U.S. consumer spending outlook remains positive.

2014-09-12 Conditions are right for the dollar to weigh on gold by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In last week’s Gold Report we looked at the historical relationship between the gold price in dollars and the value of the dollar, as measured by the Intercontinental Exchange US dollar trade weighted index (USDX) and found a strong inverse relationship between the two – a strong dollar has historically tended to be associated with a weak gold price.

2014-09-11 ECB Measures Highlight Draghi’s Determination by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

The reduction in eurozone interest rates announced on September 4 by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi came as a bit of a surprise to some market players. But David Zahn, Head of European Fixed Income and portfolio manager, believes that this move, along with the confirmation of the commencement of the bank’s asset-backed securities purchase program, is very much in line with its previous action and suggests a central bank president who is in control and determined to get the eurozone’s economy back on track.

2014-09-10 Scottish Independence Vote: Investor Implications by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Is your portfolio’s fate dependent on Scotland’s? Why is it that when a place known for haggis, kilts and bagpipes indicates it might want to be independent, the markets pay attention?

2014-09-10 Why Take Currency Risk if Diversification Benefit is Declining? by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

We have been exploring the case for layering in foreign currency (“FX”) on top of foreign equity returns. One of the most common arguments I have heard for taking on FX risk in international equity portfolios in an unhedged fashion is that FX can be a portfolio “diversifier.”

2014-09-09 Xi’s Purge by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Since taking power, Chinese President Xi Jinping has implemented a strong program to punish corruption. A large number of the Communist Party of China (CPC) have been under investigation or punished for their failings. We believe these purges are being implemented for reasons beyond the simple exercise in political power. This report will discuss the purge in detail, introduce the concepts of environmental and social capital, and discuss China’s four stages of growth. We will conclude, as always, with market ramifications.

2014-09-09 Escape Fandango? by Paul McCulley of PIMCO

When I entered the Fed-watching business over three decades ago, a clichéd phrase of advice from graybeards was: “Watch what they do, not what they say.” Thinking back, there was not actually much Fed rhetoric to either watch or hear.

2014-09-08 Searching for Value in Global Small-Cap Stocks by Virginia Au of Invesco Blog

While many global small-cap companies have gotten their balance sheets in good shape over the last few years, valuations are currently a concern. The MSCI World Index is up 184% since the market low on March 9, 2009, and we believe most equities are at or near full value. This makes it much harder to find high-quality companies at cheap prices. Against this backdrop, the challenge is to find the hidden gems within the vast universe of global small-cap companies.

2014-09-06 Back in the Saddle Again: Time to Pull in the Reins? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Interest rates and seasonal tendencies are taking some attention away from the stronger economy and pose short-term risks for the stock market. Another pullback would be welcome from a sentiment perspective and would not dent our longer-term optimism that we are in a secular bull market that still has room to run. But just as fear has been the strongest emotion keeping many investors out of this bull market, greed is an emotion to rein in as well.

2014-09-05 Gold in the Time of the US Dollar by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

Continuing on the theme of the impact that strength in the US dollar might have on the price of gold in dollars, in this week’s discussion we investigate the close historical relationship between the price of gold expressed in dollars and the value of the dollar.

2014-09-04 Could a China Recession Cause $50/barrel Crude Oil? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Globalization has created an interconnection between major world economies and commodity prices. China, as the world's most populous country, rearranged the commodity landscape by growing their economy at double-digit compounded rates from 2000-2010. By doubling their use of oil, copper and other major commodities, China created a golden era for commodity investors and everyone involved in oil exploration and production.

2014-09-04 What's Next for the Dollar and Gold? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

One reason markets tend to get a little nervous in September is that it’s time for investors to ponder about their asset allocation for the remainder of the year and beyond. With the markets at or near record highs and the US dollar on a roll, what could possibly go wrong? Let’s look at what’s next for the dollar, gold, and currencies.

2014-09-03 Voya Fixed Income Perspectives – August 2014 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms of Voya Investment Management

Like the buzz of the alarm clock on the first day of school, the July/early August market selloff awoke investors to the fact that the lazy, carefree days can’t last forever. Though a single catalyst for the latest shift in sentiment is tough to identify, there are a number of suspects: ample geopolitical uncertainty, the possibility that strong U.S. economic data may hasten fed funds rate normalization and Fed rhetoric about froth in certain markets.

2014-09-03 All Eyes on the ECB as Europe’s Recovery Remains Fragile by Matthew Dennis of Invesco Blog

While the European Central Bank (ECB) has successfully eased financial market stress over the past two-plus years, Europe’s long-awaited recovery still remains fragile and imbalanced.

2014-09-02 Banking on BRICS by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

In July, leaders of the five emerging market countries known as the “BRICS” (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) met in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza and announced the creation of a New Development Bank (NDB).

2014-08-27 Gold: Keeping Calm And Carrying On by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

We continue from last weeks discussion on the role of interest rates in the gold market by looking at trends in the cost of carry of gold as priced in dollars, euro, yen and pounds. By way of a brief primer we define the cost of carry of gold in dollars as the London Bullion Markets Association 3 month Gold Forward Offered Rate (GOFO). GOFO is published every day by the LBMA and is calculated as US dollar Libor minus the gold lease rate.

2014-08-22 Assessing Corporate Credit Risk in Asia by Satya Patel of Matthews Asia

Investing in foreign markets requires a constant questioning of many long-held assumptions that underpin traditional security analysis. This issue of Asia Insight is the first in a series of commentaries to explore the fixed income themes of credit, currencies and interest rates. Given the complexities of Asia’s fixed income markets, we will examine the many considerations that investors need to take into account to fully appreciate the inherent risks of investing in this market.

2014-08-21 Lucid Dreaming! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Evidentially, the “lucid dreamers” on Wall Street practiced their skills two weeks ago as professional traders were sneaking large “buy orders” into the equity markets on the closing bell. Simultaneously, the Commitment of Traders’ Report showed those same traders were dramatically reducing their “short sale” bets.

2014-08-20 Americas: Regional Economic Review - Q2 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Economic trends from the region during the second quarter were in line with earlier periods, as the developed economies in North America are seeing healthier growth while most of the emerging economies in Latin America are facing a slowdown.

2014-08-20 What's Your Exit? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Are you prepared for an “Exit”? If the Fed pursues an “exit” from ultra low interest rate policy, are you be prepared for an exit from the stock market should things turn South? We discuss how investors prepare, noting the most common mistakes investors make along the way.

2014-08-19 European Bank Stocks: Time to Buy, or Bail? by Cindy Sweeting of Franklin Templeton Investments

In recent months, European banks have been under increased regulatory scrutiny, meeting the ire of regulators (in the United States in particular) for a range of alleged improprieties, resulting in sizable financial penalties. Throw in a bailout-inducing crisis at Portugal’s Espírito Santo bank, and it’s perhaps no surprise that share prices of many bank stocks in Europe have languished this year. These developments have provided investors with a stark reminder of the risks associated with investing in the banking sector.

2014-08-19 Strange Days Indeed by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

In the dog days of summer, investors are buying both US stocks and Treasuries. Why the pull toward two asset classes that normally diverge? It could be a simultaneous expression of bullishness and hedge against risk, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-08-19 Gold – Keeping it Real by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

One of our favorite measures to monitor in relation to the gold market has been the relationship between the gold price expressed in US dollars and the US 10 year real yield with the real yield being the nominal yield on a government bond adjusted for inflation expectations. Over the long term studies have shown that gold has a much stronger relationship with real interest rates versus nominal interest rates.

2014-08-18 Global Economic Perspective: August by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group® of Franklin Templeton Investments

The US economy seemed to move into a higher gear during the second quarter, when gross domestic product (GDP) growth reached an estimated annual rate of 4%, supported by personal consumption and inventory build-up. Its first-quarter downturn also was not quite as severe as previously thought, falling by an annual rate of 2.1% instead of the 2.9% initially reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

2014-08-18 Australia’s Terms of Trade: Implications For Credit Investors by Tracy Chin, Aaditya Thakur of PIMCO

Australia is contending with a multi-year decline in the terms of trade and a rebalancing toward the non-mining sectors of the economy. For companies, the macroeconomic consequences of a downswing in the terms of trade provide both challenges and benefits. For investors, it is important to find companies that have a clear, demonstrated understanding of the macro environment and can navigate the headwinds through operational efficiencies, cost control, market positioning and balance sheet management.

2014-08-13 Time to Consider Korea Hedged Equities by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

The Korean won has been on a tear as one of best-performing emerging-market currencies in 2014. And this has the Korean government and central bank officials worried that the rising Korean won is eroding the competitiveness of Korea’s exports.

2014-08-12 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - Q2 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

During the first half of 2014, developed Asia Pacific economies faced challenges arising from lukewarm consumption and meek trade growth. Most countries in the region tried boosting their economies with a mix of infrastructure spending and loose monetary policies. Countries that had their trade skewed to China, Asia’s largest economy, faced prospects of slowing trade.

2014-08-12 Federal Reserve Tapering Part II: Emerging Market Local Debt Performance by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

In part two of our discussion, we focus on the impact of recent changes in Federal Reserve (Fed) policy on locally-denominated fixed income across emerging markets (EM).

2014-08-07 Federal Reserve Tapering Part I: Emerging Market Currency Performance by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

While many investors tend to focus on changes of currency spot rates, a primary reason we have long advocated that investors allocate to EM currencies is the income potential driven by the higher interest rates in many emerging market countries. In today’s yield-starved environment, EM currencies remain one of the most significant means of generating income in a portfolio while limiting interest rate risk.

2014-08-06 What Asset Class Rallied Last Week amid the Sell-Off? by Luciano Siracusano III of WisdomTree

Last Thursday’s sell-off in U.S. stocks (the Dow was down 317 points, the S&P 500 Index was down nearly 2%) marked the biggest stock market decline in nearly four months. The S&P 500 Index closed at 1,930 after it broke its 50-day moving average for the first time since April.

2014-08-05 Would John Templeton See Light at the End of Aflac’s Tunnel? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

As someone who came into the investment business in 1980, I was immediately enamored by the logic of Sir John Templeton. He was the founder and portfolio manager during the first 40 years of the Templeton Growth Fund. During his tenure the fund beat the S&P 500 Index by 2% per year, net of annual expenses. We believe his best concept as a contrarian investor was his idea of buying common stocks at “the point of maximum pessimism.”

2014-08-04 US Stocks Make 31 Record Highs in 2014, But Investors Panic During 3% Selloff by David Edwards of Heron Financial

US stocks as defined by the S&P 500 made 31 record highs in 2014, most recently on July24th. Through Friday afternoon, stocks declined 3.3%, which is to say less than the decline of 4.2% we saw in April of this year, and decline of 5.6% in January.

2014-07-31 Opportunities in Developed International Equities by Christopher Gannatti of WisdomTree

Each year, WisdomTree screens the universe of dividend payers in developed international markets so that we can refocus the weights of constituents back to relative value and away from simply holding increasing amounts of stocks that have performed well. The rebalance was recently completed, suggesting that this is an opportune time to review the positioning of our broad developed international Indexes.

2014-07-31 Which Denomination of Gold is Your Parachute? by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

We continue on the theme of gold as a defensive asset in this week’s discussion by examining the performance of gold priced in dollars (USD), European euro, British pound and Japanese yen through a number of different periods which were characterized by a sudden rise in investor risk aversion.

2014-07-30 Anything Built By the FED, Can Also Be Destroyed by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

Bond Investors have had a great run so far in 2014. It's time to take some profit. Inflation expectations are rising, should we be worried? Why has the Japanese Yen been strengthening against the USD?

2014-07-29 Strengthening the Euro’s Governance Structure? by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

?Today’s relative tranquillity in eurozone financial markets owes largely to the ECB’s willingness to hold the single currency together. However, history suggests the eurozone’s citizens ultimately will have to choose between returning to a regime of flexible exchange rates or retaining the single currency and deepening political and fiscal integration.

2014-07-29 Blowback: The Tragedy of Flight MH-17 by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On July 17, a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 persons aboard. Evidence suggests that Russian-backed rebels fired the rocket, inadvertently attacking the civilian aircraft. In this report, we will discuss the recent escalation of tensions in Ukraine that led to the mistaken attack. We will examine the use of proxies in warfare between nuclear powers, both the costs and benefits. In terms of cost, the problem of “blowback” will be analyzed, with a focus on how this situation affects President Putin. We will conclude with market ramificat

2014-07-29 How to Blend In a Currency Hedge by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

Looking across developed markets today, a common thread is that central bank policies have pushed interest rates to very low levels to support their economies.

2014-07-25 Looking for Attractive Income with Less Volatility than Equities? by Michael Weilheimer, Steve Concannon, Will Reardon of Eaton Vance

High-yield bonds offer investors the potential to earn total returns comparable with equities without the level of volatility stocks have. While many income investors are naturally concerned about the prospects of higher interest rates, high-yield bonds have a set of characteristics that may enable them to maintain their value even as rates rise.

2014-07-25 The Outlook for Emerging Market Bonds by Shane Shepherd of Research Affiliates

Emerging market bonds exhibit high real yields and improving credit quality. In addition, emerging market currencies are likely to strengthen. This article explains why emerging market bonds issued in local currencies might be a solid addition to a diversified portfolio.

2014-07-25 Think Floating-Rate Loans Are Just a Rate Hedge? Think Again. by Scott Page, Craig Russ, Christopher Remington of Eaton Vance

The prospect of higher interest rates has many advisors and investors considering floating-rate loans. Because loans’ coupons regularly reset, these debt instruments can maintain their value even as rates rise. But the characteristics of loans, as well as their performance track record, suggest they may deserve a place in strategically allocated portfolios in any interest-rate climate.

2014-07-24 Instability is the New Normal? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Once upon a time, there were safe havens in this world, places where investors could hide when the going got rough. If you believe this fairy tale world will persist, pinch yourself. In our assessment, not only are there no safe havens left, but instability may be the new normal. Is your portfolio ready?

2014-07-23 Long Commodities, Short Contango via Commodity Currencies by Rick Harper of WisdomTree

On the back of a resurgence in Chinese economic data and rising geopolitical risk in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, increases in global commodity prices have reinvigorated investor interest in allocating to commodity-based investment strategies.

2014-07-22 Is Timing Everything? Practical Implementation of Tail Risk Hedging?? by Michael Connor, Markus Aakko of PIMCO

“Just in time” hedging is nearly impossible: By the time an investor decides to hedge, the market may already price in the significant risk of a tail event. Instead, hedges could be included as a permanent part of an asset allocation: what we might call “just in case” hedging. An optimal strategy may involve averaging into a hedging allocation. In addition, using a broader set of hedge instruments may help lower the costs. We believe that tail risk hedges have a place in any portfolio that has a substantial allocation to risk assets. ?

2014-07-19 Perspectives from the Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group by Christopher Molumphy, Michael Materasso, Roger Bayston, Michael Hasenstab, and John Beck of Franklin Templeton Investments

In early July, there was a noticeable disconnect between the median forecast of Fed officials for interest rates by end-2015 and the markets’ forecast, as expressed in the federal funds futures rate. But if unemployment continues to decline and inflation to pick up in the coming months, the danger for bond market participants is that their predictions for interest rates may be too low and will have to be adjusted.

2014-07-17 The Tolling Bells of Complacency by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

A few years ago, facing a world in crisis, central banks aggressively employed monetary policy to avoid catastrophe in financial markets. Now, they must be equally aggressive in fighting complacency.

2014-07-15 The High Tide in China by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

One axiom that has been used over the last couple decades is that high tide lifts all boats; meaning that a rise in economic or market conditions will lift every component of an economy or market to some degree. While true, we deal with relative measurements when discussing returns comparable to a benchmark. So, while the high tide does lift all boats, if the boat is tethered too tightly, you may be higher than being beached, but you also could still be underwater.

2014-07-15 The Dollar Weapon by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past few years, various prosecutorial arms of U.S. government entities have brought charges against foreign banks that have violated U.S. sanctions that were placed on different countries. In this report, we will discuss the general nature of U.S. sanctions and how these banks violated American law. From there, we will reiterate the dollar’s reserve currency role from both a historic and theoretical perspective and show how this role makes the currency and the U.S. financial system pivotal in the global economy. We will conclude with market ramifications.

2014-07-15 Is the Euro the New Yen? by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

Currency-hedged equity strategies broke onto the exchange-traded fund (EFT) investment scene in late 2012 following significant weakening of the yen, which led to a wide disparity in performance between unhedged and currency-hedged Japanese ETFs.

2014-07-14 Rising Rates and the U.S. Dollar by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

While interest rates in the U.S. have fallen so far year-to-date, we continue to believe that rates may be poised to rise in the second half of 2014. Over the last several weeks, we have seen increased interest from clients about how best to prepare their portfolios for an eventual rise in U.S. interest rates.

2014-07-11 Solving the Income Puzzle by Christopher Remington, Michael Cirami, Kathleen Gaffney, Scott Page of Eaton Vance

With interest rates at near historic lows, investors are starved for income. Government bonds and high-grade corporates have generally been the core of investors’ income portfolios, but yields on these bonds are minimal. Delivering a potential double whammy for investors, the prospect of rising interest rates could bring principal losses because the prices of bonds in these core sectors are highly sensitive to changes in interest rates. Diversifying into nontraditional income sectors may provide investors with greater income and lessen their exposure to interest-rate risk.

2014-07-09 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter: Second Quarter 2014 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), remarks in his latest quarterly letter that it appears "the precious metals complex, both mining shares and bullion, appears to be in the process of completing a major bottom extending back to mid-2013." He goes on to add that he is "becoming more comfortable with the proposition that the downside potential has been fully exhausted after nearly three years of declining prices and that the stage has been set for a major advance in the years to come."

2014-07-08 An Allocation to Currencies May Provide Income and Lower an Overall Portfolio’s Volatility by Michael Cirami, Eric Stein, John Baur, Matthew Murphy, Bradford Godfrey of Eaton Vance

Most investors understand the benefits of diversification and the risks of owning just one security. But many overlook the benefits of broadening their currency exposure and have all their investments concentrated in the U.S. dollar. Investing in a mix of foreign currencies may lower the risks of an overall portfolio, provide additional sources of income and can potentially enable investors to pursue a wider array of opportunities around the world.

2014-07-07 India and Indonesia: Change, Challenge and Opportunity by Jack Deino of Invesco Blog

In both India and Indonesia, leaders are facing intense pressure from markets and investors to initiate reforms that are real rather than merely cosmetic. Our outlook is somewhat more bullish for India, but we believe change can lead to opportunity in both countries.

2014-06-24 Hexavest Viewpoint: Neutral on Japan by Frederic Imbeault of Eaton Vance

Macroeconomy: With little traction from fiscal policy and structural reforms, the pro-growth policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe known as “Abenomics” will continue to rely on the Bank of Japan’s loose monetary policy to maintain economic momentum. Valuation: Rising profits and the 2014 correction have pushed down P/E ratios on Japanese equities into more attractive territory. Investor sentiment: As contrarians and as the crowd has become less bullish on Japanese stocks, we have become more constructive about investor sentiment.

2014-06-20 A Brief Review of Year-to-Date Gold/Currency Performance by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

As a brief primer on how the performance numbers are calculated, we note firstly that all figures shown here are expressed in US dollar terms.

2014-06-20 A Contrarian’s View of Value: Pharmaceuticals by Kevin Holt of Invesco Blog

The pharmaceuticals industry is in the midst of a renaissance. Patent expiration concerns, pipeline disappointments and setbacks, and a highly uncertain regulatory backdrop have forced managements to rethink the way they have historically conducted business. In this environment, certain companies stand out to us as deep value opportunities — businesses whose stock prices don’t reflect our view of their long-term potential.

2014-06-19 Draghi Hits Savers To Salvage Faux Recovery by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On June 5th, Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), announced a package of measures, including a policy of negative interest rates, aimed at encouraging or even forcing Eurozone banks to increase their lending to businesses.Although previously imposed by Swiss banks on their depositors, this will be the first time that a central bank has charged negative interest rates.

2014-06-18 Outlook on the US Dollar, Currencies & Markets: Look Out Below! by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

The FIFA World Cup and market predictions have in common that we are tempted to create a world of make-believe when it comes to predicting outcomes. While others ponder about the meaning of a round ball, we’ll focus on the implications of a make-believe world comprised of ever-higher asset prices. Our caution: look out below!

2014-06-16 Some Gold Indicators to Watch by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

With recent sharp falls in the price volatility of a wide range of assets including gold and the markets’ apparent insensitivity to macroeconomic news, many gold investors have shifted focus to some of the more widely watched gold technical indicators to see if they provide insight into the future direction of the gold price. In this week’s short discussion piece we look at the Gold Forward Offered Rate (GOFO), the US inflation adjusted (real) interest rate and the Gold/S&P500 ratio.

2014-06-14 The Good News In All The Bad Data by Adam Taggart of PeakProsperity.com

We are at the rare moment in history, where probability is unusually high that a large move to the downside will happen in the financial markets in the relatively near future. This gives investors a degree of confidence in future price movement that they rarely enjoy. The importance of building dry powder and developing an actionable investment plan -- for before, during and after the coming price reset -- is of top priority:

2014-06-14 The Age of Transformation by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Today I offer some musings on what I’ve come to think of as the Age of Transformation (which I have been thinking about a lot while in Tuscany). I believe there are multiple and rapidly accelerating changes happening simultaneously (if you can think of 10 years as simultaneously) that are going to transform our social structures, our investment portfolios, and our personal futures. We have had such transformations in the past. The rise of the nation state, the steam engine, electricity, the advent of the social safety net, the personal computer, the internet, and the collapse of communis

2014-06-13 A Contrarian’s View of Value: Energy by Kevin Holt of Invesco Blog

This is the second in a three-part series on sector opportunities as seen by a contrarian value investor — Senior Portfolio Manager Kevin Holt. The previous post discussed financials.

2014-06-12 EM Debt Seems Risky by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

At RBA, we search for gaps between perception and reality, and this seems to be the case for emerging market debt. Investors have been lured to these securities by their higher yields, yet the underlying economic and currency fundamentals are deteriorating without commensurate widening of spreads.

2014-06-11 I'd Choose Emerging Markets, Wouldn't You? by Ryan Larson of Research Affiliates

There’s a lot of negativity about emerging market stocks—so it makes sense for long-term, value-oriented investors to rebalance into the asset class. Here’s why a systematically contrarian strategy like fundamentally weighted indexing might outperform.

2014-06-11 Is Inequality Caused by Capitalism or Statism? by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The French economist Thomas Piketty has achieved worldwide fame by promoting a thesis that capitalism is the cause of growing economic inequality. Unfortunately, he is partially right. However, the important distinction missed by Piketty and all of his supporters is that state capitalism, not free market capitalism, has reigned supreme in recent decades in the world's leading democracies.

2014-06-10 The Central Bank Divide: 3 Implications for Investors by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Major central banks are no longer moving in lockstep. While the Fed is pulling back, other central banks are maintaining very easy monetary policy. Russ explains three implications this new dynamic has for investors.

2014-06-09 Bright Signs for the Economy and Equity Markets by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The macro backdrop last week was positive for the markets. As expected, the ECB cut interest rates, highlighting the favorable global monetary policy backdrop. Closer to home, solid vehicle sales and a good May labor market report gave investors additional reasons to bid up stock prices. The S&P 500 Index advanced 1.4%, marking a third straight week of gains above 1% — the longest such streak since last September. Looking ahead, we believe the combination of an improving world economy, low levels of volatility and easy global monetary policy should continue to provide support for equ

2014-06-08 Can Central Planners Revive China’s Economic Miracle? by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

We are going to try gamely to finish with China today, having left at least three or four letters worth of copy on the editing floor. There is just so much information and misinformation to cover. I’m going to turn it over to Worth and then follow up with a few final thoughts of my own.

2014-06-06 A Contrarian’s View of Value: Financials by Kevin Holt of Invesco Blog

In the wake of the Great Recession, and significant regulatory changes, investors are concerned that large banks may not be able to generate the type of profits that they have in the past. We don’t disagree with that assessment. However, we do disagree with the current equity valuations of the large banks — we believe the market has priced in a too-pessimistic view of profitability.

2014-06-05 Is Your Portfolio a House of Cards? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Politics and financial markets may both be resting on an increasingly unstable house of cards. The S&P 500 continues to hit new all time highs, while central banks try to enforce low volatility and financial stability and politicians demagogue in their quest for higher office. The one thing politicians throughout the world have in common is that they rarely ever blame themselves. They tend to diffuse responsibility or place blame on groups such as political opponents, the wealthy, or foreigners.

2014-06-04 Why should clients seek out investable benchmarks? by Jason M. Laurie of Altair Advisers

Benchmarks are fundamental measuring tools that gauge the relative performance of securities, investment managers and portfolios. They help answer the question, “How are my investments performing?” Yet despite their importance, they often have inherent shortcomings that can make them less than optimal for evaluating performance.

2014-06-02 Thai Coup: Business as Usual by Paul Chan, Jalil Rasheed of Invesco Blog

On May 22, Thailand’s military launched its 12th coup after a failed attempt to get the caretaker government and the opposition to resolve a seven-month political stalemate. While the military has seized temporary control, we believe the coup will have limited economic and investment impact.

2014-05-30 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Reflections from a fortnight abroad;Last weekend's European elections will make cooperation more difficult

2014-05-27 Lacy Hunt: The Dark Side of Debt by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Lacy Hunt has used econometric research to persuasively demonstrate the statistical relationship between excessive debt and slow economic growth. Although Hunt and I disagree over whether this analysis can be applied to the U.S., our forecasts for growth in the U.S. economy and for the bond markets are remarkably similar.

2014-05-20 Computer Tutor?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

My friend Jerry Goodman died recently. His nom de plume was Adam Smith, obviously taken from the legendary economist Adam Smith (1723 – 1790). In addition to the book The Money Game, Jerry wrote numerous other books. In his later years, he worked at another friend’s establishment, that being Craig Drill, eponymous captain of the insightful Drill Capital Management.

2014-05-16 Examining the Relationship between Gold and the Commodity Currencies by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In this week’s commentary we examine the performance of the price of gold expressed in the currencies of the world’s largest gold producing countries. In a number of previous commentaries we have investigated the currency like nature of gold investing.

2014-05-16 Why Should Clients Seek Out Investable Benchmarks? by Jason Laurie of Altair Advisers

Investable benchmarks enable clients to see what their returns would have been had they invested in a passive alternative to any actively managed recommendations. They answer the question, “How are my investments performing?,” with far greater clarity, yet they are still a rarity in the investment world. We believe that is changing.

2014-05-15 Thoughts on Investing in Convertible Securities by Alan Muschott of Franklin Templeton Investments

Changes and potential changes in monetary policy across the globe, along with increased volatility in currency and equity markets, have thrown a spotlight on convertible securities, described by some as offering the “best of both worlds” in terms of stock and bond characteristics. But what are they, how do they work, and how can they play a part in a diversified investment portfolio in today’s market? Alan Muschott, portfolio manager for Franklin Convertible Securities Fund, who has been investing in convertible securities for more than a decade, provides his take.

2014-05-13 How to Tame an Aging Bull by Bill Hackney of Eaton Vance

Despite more than five years of strong stock market performance, the evidence suggests that the current bull market could continue for the foreseeable future. That being said, the “easy money” has likely already been made, so investors may want to increase their focus on equity risk management going forward. One way to mitigate the risks attendant with an aging bull market is to evaluate funds and managers based on three key portfolio metrics: active share, beta and downside capture ratio.

2014-05-12 Emerging Markets at Risk by George Bijak of GB Capital Pty Ltd

The massive post-GFC Quantitative Easing (QE) in the USA, EU, and now in Japan has repaired the global banking system’s balance sheet. Debt of various qualities, worth trillions of dollars, was moved from struggling banks to the central banks at book value where it is likely to run out to maturity or rollover.

2014-05-12 Floating-rate Loan Core Value Remains, Despite Headlines by Scott Page, Craig Russ, Christopher Remington of Eaton Vance

In February, we shared with you our perspective on “7 timely questions about today’s floating-rate loan market.” Our views have not changed substantially over the intervening two months and our principal belief remains the same, which we would like to underscore.

2014-05-12 Energy: An Overlooked Bull Market by Ron Sloan of Invesco Blog

Defensive stocks, such as health care and utilities, have led the market for most of 2014. But we’re starting to see a shift toward cyclical sectors that offer greater exposure to a strengthening economy. In my view, the most overlooked cyclical sector is energy, which has experienced a very strong start this year that’s been under the radar of many investors.

2014-05-09 Thoughts on Investing in Convertible Securities by Alan Muschott of Franklin Templeton Investments

Changes and potential changes in monetary policy across the globe, along with increased volatility in currency and equity markets, have thrown a spotlight on convertible securities, described by some as offering the “best of both worlds” in terms of stock and bond characteristics. But what are they, how do they work, and how can they play a part in a diversified investment portfolio in today’s market? Alan Muschott, portfolio manager for Franklin Convertible Securities Fund, who has been investing in convertible securities for more than a decade, provides his take.

2014-05-09 Fighting History? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

A lot of movement to go nowhere can characterize the major indexes to this point in the year. History suggests we're entering a potentially tough period for stocks, due to both seasonal and midterm election year tendencies.

2014-05-08 Gold and Portfolio Efficiency by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In previous commentaries we have discussed the benefits of using a diversified financing currency approach for investing in gold by which we mean using two or more currencies (rather than just the US dollar) to make gold purchases. The example we have used to demonstrate the approach was to construct a time series of the price of gold purchased with an equal weighted basket of dollars, euro, yen and pound.

2014-05-08 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review - Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

As the Middle East and Africa region stepped into the New Year, the three regional economies under our coverage did not see any material change in their political or economic situation. Labor problems remained the most immediate concern for South Africa while Egypt unveiled yet another stimulus program to mend an economy that has been struggling amid political uncertainty for three years now.

2014-05-07 First Quarter Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

The broad equity market displayed a fair amount of volatility during the quarter, but essentially went sideways. This pattern continued through April; 2013’s losers became 2014’s winners and vice versa. In the broadest sense, bonds narrowly beat stocks on the heels of 2013’s thorough drubbing.

2014-05-05 Retail, Infrastructure Are Issues to Watch in Colombia and Peru by Jason Trujillo of Invesco Blog

The Invesco Emerging Markets team spent a week traveling through Colombia and Peru, meeting with company management teams, consultants and government officials. During our trip, two themes were prevalent that could have broad implications for local companies and global investors: the relative under-penetration of modern-format retailing throughout Colombia and Peru, and the severe need for infrastructure improvement.

2014-05-05 Asian Currencies to Stay Calm at Center of EM Storm by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

Emerging markets have fallen from favor, but does that mean investors should avoid them entirely? We don?t think so.

2014-05-02 Emerging Markets Outlook - April 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities as an asset class have been underperforming developed market equities for more than three years, though they continue to maintain the lead over 10-year returns. The divergence in returns between emerging and developed markets widened sharply in 2013, when the prospect of reduced capital inflows heightened investor concerns about slower economic growth in the emerging countries.

2014-05-01 The Gold Price is Fixed: So What? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

We can't ignore it anymore - the markets are rigged. The LIBOR scandal broke almost two years ago, and the banks found responsible for manipulating that key index are still dealing with lawsuits. Meanwhile, allegations of gold market manipulation have been simmering for over a decade and grew into an inferno after the spot price dropped dramatically last spring.

2014-04-29 Americas: Regional Economic Review - Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

The developed economies in North America continue to see relatively healthier growth prospects this year, while the outlook for the emerging economies in Latin America remains subdued. Trends from both the U.S. and Canada indicate that these economies are recovering from the slowdown at the beginning of the year, caused by adverse weather.

2014-04-29 Has the Dollar Lost its Safe Haven Status? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

The greenback isn?t what it used to be. At least for now, when there?s a ?flight? to U.S. Treasuries; historically a sign of ?safe haven? demand; the U.S. dollar has not only not benefited but has increasingly been on the losing end. Is this a temporary sign of special circumstances or has the dollar lost its safe haven appeal? There may be profound implications for investor?s portfolios seeking downside protection.

2014-04-28 The Devolution of Diversification by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

We are only some 40 years removed from an era when the typical investment account had 12 or fewer individu-al holdings, and less than 20 years removed from a time when respected stock funds might hold 20-30 stocks and be considered ?fully diversified?. Now we find that the typical active equity portfolio or fund holds between 50-100 individuals stocks and that there are generally three or more such active equity managers for each institutional or high net worth account, all adding up to hundreds of underlying holdings.

2014-04-27 The Cost of Code Red by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

There is reason to believe that there have been major policy mistakes made by central banks - and will be more of them - that will lead to dislocations in the markets - all types of markets. And it’s not just the usual anti-central bank curmudgeon types (among whose number I have been counted, quite justifiably) who are worried. Sources within the central bank community are worried, too, which should give thoughtful observers of the market cause for concern.

2014-04-23 Gold as a Defensive Asset by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In our previous commentary ?Gold and the US dollar ? a love hate relationship? we used a normalized time series of the price of gold expressed in US dollars and an index representative of the value of the US dollar on currency markets to show the inherent relationship between the price of gold and the financing currency. As the financing currency strengthens on currency markets, one would expect the price of gold expressed in that currency to fall.

2014-04-22 Unloved Emerging Markets May Hold Value for Opportunistic Bond Investors by Kathleen Gaffney of Eaton Vance

· Emerging markets have come under pressure over the past year due to the Federal Reserve tapering its asset purchases and increased expectations of higher interest rates in the U.S. · We think investors should consider emerging markets to find opportunities that may provide a yield advantage and diversification away from U.S. interest-rate risk. · A multisector approach that uses bottom-up, fundamental credit analysis may be helpful in finding opportunities in emerging markets.

2014-04-21 Rising Food Prices May Whet Investors' Appetite for Agriculture by Nick Kalivas of Invesco Blog

Food prices are affected by a wide range of factors - from weather to geopolitics. Today, these factors seem to be pointing toward rising food inflation, and investors want to know where potential opportunities may lie.

2014-04-17 What to Make of the Rebound in Emerging Market Equities by Dara White of Columbia Management

A month ago, much of the news from the emerging markets (EM) was negative. We saw headlines highlighting the liquidity headwinds created by U.S. QE tapering, Russia?s aggressive opportunism in the Ukraine, and China?s imminent hard landing.

2014-04-17 Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust by Sam Stewart of Wasatch Funds

Former Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes was well-known for his conservative offense-often quoted as saying, "There are only three things that can happen when you pass, and two of them are bad." The two bad outcomes are either an incompletion or an interception. Instead, Hayes favored a methodical, grind-it-out approach, running the ball directly into the line: "three yards and a cloud of dust." What Hayes’ style of play may have lacked in pizazz, it more than made up for in results. The U.S. economy today is following a similar offensive playbook, but with less satisfying results.

2014-04-16 Echo-Mania at The Fed by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

Greetings from a thawed out Savannah! Q1 of 2014 will be remembered for a number of things, but the most prominent were the erratic weather patterns and arctic-blast temperatures that most of the country experienced. I missed writing my Q1 letter for the first time in ten years due to a nasty bout with pneumonia in mid-January. For those of you who have never had pneumonia, I do not recommend it!

2014-04-15 Equity Market Insight by Thomas Faust, Jr. of Eaton Vance

After a powerful rally in 2013, the first quarter of 2014 saw the bull market demonstrate a measure of resilience in the face of several headwinds. In the latter half of January, stocks fell sharply on emerging-market concerns, with volatility spiking to more "normal" post-financial crisis levels. The market bounced back strongly in February and went on to record a new all-time closing high on March 7. Performance was choppy in the final few weeks of the quarter, as investors digested mixed economic reports, geopolitical issues and the latest U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting.

2014-04-15 What's Next for Emerging Markets? by Nathan Rowader of Forward Management

Emerging markets (EM) have been an enduring growth story, but their recent stretch of underperformance and fears of a global economic slowdown are chilling investors’ enthusiasm. Pulled between opportunity and risk avoidance, many investors have been left uncertain as to what they should do next.

2014-04-14 Uncovering Opportunities in Emerging Markets by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

Emerging markets have underperformed expectations, but the longer-term secular outlook remains constructive for many regions. Highly negative investor sentiment and outflows have sharply reduced prices, significantly improving relative value in emerging markets. We see opportunities in emerging markets in interest rates, sovereign credit and select companies for investors with a longer-term investment horizon. ?

2014-04-11 Gold - Managing the Downside by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

We get a lot of questions regarding the impact on portfolio risk of having an allocation to gold. In particular given the status of gold as a safe haven asset, focus has centered on its performance during periods of extreme market stress ? what is the downside to gold during periods of high risk aversion? The high level answer to this question is that the financing currency used to make the gold purchase matters and as is often the case when discussing portfolio construction, ?you ask a simple question, you get a complex answer?.

2014-04-01 Have You Looked at India Lately? by Eric Stein, Patrick Campbell of Eaton Vance

In our judgment, it?s time to remove India from the ranks of the so-called ?Fragile Five?* emerging-market countries. We believe the strong investment case to be made for India today underscores the importance of taking a country-by-country approach to emerging-market investing.

2014-04-01 U.S. Growth Offers a Tailwind for the Region by Mohit Mittal, Ed Devlin, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

PIMCO expects growth in the U.S. to improve due to a reduction in fiscal drag, although the Federal Reserve?s tapering and slowing growth in China are risks. While higher U.S. growth should offer a boost to exporters, Canada will likely face headwinds from a housing correction and drop in consumption. Latin America has fared relatively well amid the recent volatility in emerging markets, but differentiation across credits and markets continues to increase.

2014-03-28 Americas: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

The outlook for the developed economies in North America remains healthy while the emerging economies of Latin America continue to face headwinds. Though recent data from the U.S. and Canada have indicated moderation in economic activity, most of the slowdown was likely caused by adverse weather conditions in the region.

2014-03-26 Striking a Balance: Risks and Opportunities in Emerging Market Debt? by Francesc Balcells, Anton Dombrovsky of PIMCO

?We believe the risk of a full crisis in emerging markets is greatly diminished as the initial conditions of such economies nowadays are quite different. Although there are vulnerable credits out there, the mark-to-market volatility in the financially strong emerging market economies can present advantages as longer-term fundamentals reassert themselves. By monitoring key triggers and employing a differentiated investment approach, investors may be able to take advantage of attractive valuations in emerging market debt. ?

2014-03-26 Understanding Gold Cost of Carry in Various Currencies by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

Under normal market conditions, the term structure for the price of gold for delivery at increasing maturities (the term structure) exhibits an upward sloping curve. In futures market terminology the term structure is said to be in contango and implies that the price of gold for spot delivery is lower than the price of gold for future delivery.

2014-03-20 The Song Remains the Same by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The noisy journey from winter to spring in the United States may mask the underlying strength in the U.S. economy. The risk-on environment should remain intact, despite international tensions.

2014-03-19 What if Grantham is Right? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

There were two articles recently both exploring the same possible outcome; that investor returns from capital markets could be much lower in the coming years. No matter what markets end up doing, advisory clients and do-it-yourselfers still have financial plans that likely require some amount of growth over time in order to have a chance of succeeding without something, such as desired lifestyle or working longer than hoped for, having to give.

2014-03-18 Gundlach - Rates Will Remain Low in 2014 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Slowing economic growth, low inflation and a lack of motivated sellers will keep interest rates depressed, at least for the rest of this year, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. But investors should prepare for an eventual rise in rates, he said, because he is skeptical of the Federal Reserve’s ability to successfully exit from QE.

2014-03-18 Currency Markets Heat Back Up, and Will Likely Remain that Way by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Long dormant after the financial crisis, foreign exchange markets are beginning to heat up, offering ample trading opportunity for asset managers. The U.S. dollar was widely viewed as being the best long trading opportunity for 2014, but so far, that has not played out, with activity in the Euro, Chinese Yuan, and other currencies impeding dollar strength.

2014-03-18 Global Economic Overview - February 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Pessimism over the sustainability of global growth this year has subsided as it is now widely acknowledged that softer data from some of the developed countries in recent months were influenced by the severe winter weather.

2014-03-17 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary - February 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

After a weak start to the year, emerging market equity prices recovered in February as concerns about slower than expected global expansion and a further decline in Chinese economic growth subsided.

2014-03-14 Assessing the Impact of Financing Currency on Gold Price Performance by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In our weekly commentary we follow up our discussion from last week with a brief overview of the impact on performance of diversifying the financing currencies used to make gold purchases. We also compare "Gold/Basket" performance versus gold financed with a number of different, single currencies. For the purposes of this analysis we define the Gold Basket as a gold financed with an equally weighted basket of four currencies, the dollar, euro, yen and pound; the portfolio is also assumed to be rebalanced weekly.

2014-03-13 A Closer Look at Japanese Yen Depreciation and its Impact on Growth and Equities by of Manning & Napier

Weakness in the Japanese economy has given investors reason for concern. Recently released data showed that GDP grew just 0.2% quarter-over-quarter (qoq) during the last three months of 2013. This worked out to be a qoq annualized rate of merely 0.7%, and marked the second consecutive quarter of weaker growth relative to the preceding periods. Growth in the country has softened despite significant monetary and fiscal stimulus, and it is especially concerning considering that an impending tax increase (April 2014) has pulled some consumption forward.

2014-03-10 Four Reasons to Consider Emerging Markets for the Long Term by Borge Endresen of Invesco Blog

Emerging markets are at that peculiar place where everyone likes them over the long term, but very few like them in the short term. Many well-publicized headwinds from 2013 remain going into 2014, accompanied by election uncertainty in Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey. And political uncertainty keeps surfacing in such places as Thailand, Turkey and the Ukraine.

2014-03-06 Emerging Markets: Distinguishing Opportunities by of Manning & Napier

The recent sell-off in emerging market currencies and equities is part of a broader move that has seen the asset class heavily underperform developed markets since mid-2012. Part of the underperformance can be attributed to disappointing economic performance, as actual growth in the emerging markets (EMs) has come in much lower than broader consensus expectations.

2014-03-06 The Dollar's Long Term Decline by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

The cleanest of the dirty shirts doesn?t necessarily preserve your purchasing power. Sure, the U.S. dollar has beaten the Russian Ruble and some others of late, but when it comes to real competition, the U.S. dollar has taken a back seat. The U.S. dollar?s long-term decline may be firmly in place and investors may want to buckle up to get ready for the ride.

2014-03-05 "Purer" Gold Exposure for the Long Term Investor by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

This week we dive into a discussion on the impact of diversifying the financing currencies used to purchase gold. At a high level the primary objective of wanting to diversify financing currencies is to gain a ?purer? form of exposure to gold by using a number of different currencies (rather than a single currency) to make gold purchases. For example an investor could decide to use a combination of euro, yen, pounds and dollars to make a purchase.

2014-03-05 The Renminbi's New Normal by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

The gyrations in Chinese money markets in the last few weeks have caused much alarm in the financial press. The moves in these markets are not only inline, but healthy for an economy looking to increase the role of the market in allocating resources. Those who believe these moves indicate financial stress, or draw parallels between the recent volatility and that which preceded the subprime crisis in the U.S., might be looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

2014-03-05 The Renminbi's New Normal by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

The gyrations in Chinese money markets in the last few weeks have caused much alarm in the financial press. The moves in these markets are not only inline, but healthy for an economy looking to increase the role of the market in allocating resources. Those who believe these moves indicate financial stress, or draw parallels between the recent volatility and that which preceded the subprime crisis in the U.S., might be looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

2014-02-28 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: January 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices corrected in January as investors worried about slower growth in China as well as political and economic turbulence in some the frontier economies such as Argentina and the Ukraine. Markets were also unnerved by the unexpectedly large interest rate hike in Turkey, which failed to prop up the currency.

2014-02-28 Hide and Seek by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

Hide and seek. A game investors played as children but should not forget these days. Currently, investors need to hide safely to protect from some unfavourable developments in an environment that could hurt them.

2014-02-28 What Areas of the Market Will Remain in the Limelight? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The current bull market has been five years in the making. Since the bottom on March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 Index has grown an incredible 174 percent. With this spectacular performance, investors are asking if U.S. companies will stay in the limelight or if it is time to draw the curtain on equities.

2014-02-25 The Return of Japan by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Two weeks ago, we discussed Germany?s apparent early steps to return to regional power status. In this week?s report, we will examine Japan?s steady evolution to regional power status.

2014-02-25 How to Profit from the Yellen Fed by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Janet Yellen might have the most powerful job in the world, as the Federal Reserve (Fed) she now chairs controls what may be the world?s most powerful printing press. We take a closer look at what her reign might mean for investors? portfolios.

2014-02-25 Flirting With Deflation by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

Over the medium term, we see downside risks to both growth and inflation in the eurozone, unlike the ECB?s more balanced view. However, even if eurozone inflation sinks close to 1% in 2014?2015, as PIMCO forecasts, this in itself probably would not be low enough for the ECB to consider further easing. A lack of further policy action may undermine the ECB?s credibility to anchor longer-term inflation more closely to 2%.

2014-02-24 Three Reasons Frontier & EM Equities Are Not Created Equal by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

With all the turmoil in emerging markets recently, some investors may be especially wary of investing in so-called frontier markets. Russ explains why frontier and emerging markets are separate asset classes, each deserving of a strategic allocation.

2014-02-24 Leading Indicators Offer a Window into Europe?s Recovery by Matthew Dennis of Invesco Blog

We?re seeing signs that the recovery in Europe is progressing. I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the positives, uncertainties and opportunities that we believe investors should consider about the region.

2014-02-21 Is the U.S. Economy Under the Weather? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Is the U.S. economy under the weather?; Japan is faltering a bit as year two of Abenomics begins; Bitcoin has generated a lot of attention, some of it unwanted

2014-02-20 International Equity Commentary: January 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity markets have started the year on a difficult note, as concerns about the robustness of economic growth in the U.S., Japan and Europe have made investors more cautious. Though the U.S. economy expanded at a faster than expected pace during the last quarter of 2013, recent data reports from the labor market have not been as healthy.

2014-02-20 The Fed: Yellen's Tapering Tightrope by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

In reducing quantitative easing, the Federal Reserve chairwoman faces a big challenge: preventing asset bubbles at home without pressuring developing economies.

2014-02-20 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: January 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices corrected in January as investors worried about slower growth in China as well as political and economic turbulence in some the frontier economies such as Argentina and the Ukraine. Markets were also unnerved by the unexpectedly large interest rate hike in Turkey, which failed to prop up the currency.

2014-02-20 American Industrial Renaissance Revisited by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

We first wrote about The "American Industrial Renaissance" in 2012, and it remains one of our favorite investment themes. We continue to implement this theme through small US-centric industrial companies and small financial institutions that lend to public and private industrial firms. It remains unlikely that the United States will be the manufacturing powerhouse that it was during the 1950s and 1960s, but many factors are suggesting that the US industrial sector will continue to gain market share.

2014-02-20 Bond Investors Need Not Feel Powerless by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Jeff Hussey, global CIO, explains the strategies investors should be pursuing when considering fixed income investments in their portfolios and how additional yield cushion while opening a door to additional security selection returns from active management.

2014-02-18 Why Emerging Market Fears are Overblown by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Conditions in the emerging markets bear little resemblance to those in 1997 leading up to the Asian crisis, according to Simon Derrick, a leading market strategist with BNY Mellon. In this interview, he also explains why the euro is overvalued and picks the winners and losers in today’s currency wars.

2014-02-18 After a Rocky 2013, What's in Store for Asia This Year? by Brent Bates of Invesco Blog

Overall, 2013 wasn’t the best year for Asian markets, however there are several trends emerging that we believe will be good for the region this year.

2014-02-14 Weather Related? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

The recent slowdown in economic data appears to be largely weather related and we believe decent growth will reassert itself. Stocks have bounced after a weak start to the year, but the threat of a further pullback remains, although our longer-term optimism has not been dented. Likewise, we believe Europe offers some attractive investment opportunities but we’re in a wait-and-see mode with Japan. Finally, we don’t see EM turmoil becoming overly contagious, but we are watching that situation closely.

2014-02-14 These Gold Charts Will Make Your Heart Beat Faster by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So while gold may correct over the next several months as the metal enters its seasonally weak period of the year, this looks promising for gold investors.

2014-02-13 A Centennial to Celebrate - The Federal Reserve Looks Forward to Its Next 100 Years by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Fed’s centennial arrives at an interesting juncture. Never in its history has the American central bank been so deeply involved in economic management, and rarely has it attracted such controversy. The recent transition in Fed leadership marks the end of a significant era. In some ways, this makes it a perfect time to contemplate what the Fed was, what it has become and what it should be during its second century. The results of this review will be valuable to central banks the world over.

2014-02-11 Equities Markets Start 2014 in Deep Freeze by Douglas Coté of ING Investement Management

By slowly normalizing policy, the Fed is passing the responsibility of pricing risk back to the markets, resulting in higher volatility. The health of the emerging markets is vital to global growth, as developing countries have doubled their contribution to global GDP over the past decade to nearly 40%. S&P 500 corporations derive half their revenue from overseas; support from global consumerism and manufacturing is on track to continue. Broad global diversification across equity and fixed income markets is the best way to protect against volatility.

2014-02-11 ?Hot? Money?s Fast Exit Cools Emerging Markets by of Knowledge @ Wharton

Capital flight from emerging markets has been accelerating in recent weeks ($6 billion alone in the week ending February 5). Turkey is the poster child, but the exodus is also happening in India, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa and others ? mostly from equity markets. This ?hot money? is moving out over concerns that asset bubbles have built up, and that emerging market economic growth is now slowing. The slowdown is partly a result of tighter money in the wake of the Fed?s tapering plans and a decelerating economy in China, many believe. To better understand the risks to the global financial

2014-02-10 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary - December 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices saw a modest correction for the second successive month in December, as investors remained cautious about the outlook for some of the emerging economies. Select countries such as Thailand in Asia and Turkey in Europe continue to face difficult political environments, with large demonstrations against the governments. Their currencies have reacted negatively to the latest developments, making investors fearful of a repeat of the volatile market movements seen during the third quarter of 2013.

2014-02-10 Bond Investing in a Rising Rate Environment by Kathleen Gaffney of Eaton Vance

After a transitional year like 2013, when a multidecade declining rate environment moved to a rising rate environment, we think it is important for investors to consider a multisector approach to finding value in the bond market. Finding bonds that can appreciate in price regardless of the interest-rate environment is what a multisector strategy generally seeks to accomplish.

2014-02-10 What Would a Stronger Dollar Mean for Global Markets? by Borge Endresen, Brent Bates of Invesco

As the world watches the progress of the US Federal Reserve’s tapering program, and anticipates the strengthening of the US dollar, We’re often asked how this affects our view of international markets and risk. The short answer is that it doesn’t. We’re long-term, bottom-up stock pickers , so we;re primarily concerned with currency impacts on a company-by-company basis. However, there are some broad trends that are worth noting.

2014-02-10 What Would a Stronger Dollar Mean for Global Markets? by Borge Endresen, Brent Bates of Invesco

As the world watches the progress of the US Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) tapering program, and anticipates the strengthening of the US dollar, we’re often asked how this affects our view of the international market and risk. The short answer is that it doesn’t. We’re long-term, bottom-up stock pickers, so we’re primarily concerned with currency impacts on a company-by-company basis. However, there are some broad trends that are worth noting.

2014-02-07 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

How do you follow up some 30%-ish annual index gains in 2013...with major losses in January? Sadly, that’s what investors experienced as the Dow plunged over 5% to start the month, the worst January since 2009. Those who say "as January goes, so goes the market" are not among the most popular these days. Earnings have been lackluster at best; emerging markets are in panic mode; Bernanke is moving out to pasture; investors still have quite a few profits they can take from last year. Then again, 11 months is plenty of time to "right the ship."

2014-02-06 How Did the Emerging Markets Get Into This Mess? by Andres Garcia-Amaya of J.P. Morgan Funds

A number of central banks around the world tightened monetary policy during the week of January 27, but the rationale for their policy decisions varied significantly. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve continued its "tapering" of quantitative easing (QE) to reflect the strong economic growth prospects, while Turkey, India and South Africa tightened policy in an attempt to prevent an exodus of foreign capital from their countries.

2014-02-06 Emerging Market Woes abd Fed Tapering Equals Stocks Plunge by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

January saw US stocks record their first losing month since last August. After reaching new record highs at the end of December, the Dow Jones shed almost 1,000 points in the last half of the month and the decline continues. Analysts attributed the sell-off in large part due to troubling news from several emerging nations, in particular to the so-called "Fragile Five" - Turkey, India, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa.

2014-02-05 Emerging Market Turmoil Creates January Decline by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished lower last week, as the S&P 500 ended January with the first monthly loss since August 2013 and the largest monthly decline since May 2012. A global retreat from risk has been sparked by unrest around the world, sell-offs in emerging markets led by a 20% decline in the Argentine peso, weaker than expected economic reports from China, U.S. economic growth concerns in light of frigid temperatures and anxiety over Fed tapering.

2014-02-05 2014 Market Outlook by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

Some Bumps along the Road of Global Recovery

2014-02-04 China’s Problems are America’s Opportunity by Justin Kermond (Article)

Fear not Federal Reserve tapering, lackluster U.S. earnings, oncoming deflation or markets heading into bubble territory, says Francois Trahan. Our economic and market growth will be fueled by structural changes driven by rebalancing in China. Don’t be surprised to see a repeat of 2013’s U.S. equity market performance, according to Trahan, who offered a script for countering clients’ unfounded fears over what might go wrong.

2014-02-04 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Stephanie Kelton’s article, Code Red or Red Herring? Mauldin and Tepper’s Code Red Reviewed , and a reader responds to Justin Kermond’s article, Harvard’s Post-Crisis Endowment Strategy, both of which appeared last week.

2014-02-04 Volatility Prompts a More Cautious View Toward Emerging Markets by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

The market selloff continued last week, and emerging markets stocks are looking more uncertain in the short term. With U.S. wages under pressure, consumer-related stocks remain an unattractive option. The Federal Reserve’s tapering program is starting to remove a pillar of support for stocks.

2014-02-03 10 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back! Comments on January Stock Market by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

US stocks as measured by the S&P 500 delivered a phenomenal 32.4% return in 2013. That was the 6th best year for US stocks since 1940. In January, US stocks fell 3.5%. We don’t watch business news anymore, but judging from an increased volume of phone calls from clients, we presume that CNBC, Fox Business, CNN and MSNBC have categorized this modest decline as "an apocalypse." Our "dashboard" shows return numbers for US and International stock markets, commodities, currencies and bond yields. A lot of red YTD 2014, but all green at the end of 2013.

2014-02-01 Central Banker Throwdown by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The Federal Reserve is signaling that it is going to end quantitative easing at some point in the future; therefore, investors are trying to find the exits before the end actually comes.

2014-01-31 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

China’s shadow banking products are coming under the spotlight. Emerging markets: Be sure to differentiate. The fixed income sector’s surprising strength.

2014-01-31 The New Watchword-Deflation? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Equity markets have been shaky to start the year but we don’t believe it’s time to abandon ship. The fundamentals in the United States continue to look appealing and the recent pullback has helped to correct some sentiment and valuation concerns. We are watching the fight against deflation carefully in Europe and Japan, and believe both countries may need to do more via monetary policy stimulus. Meanwhile, some emerging economies are dealing with inflation, but we don’t believe the recent problems will morph into a widespread crisis at this point.

2014-01-30 A Healthy Correction in Emerging Markets by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

It has been a hard start to the year, especially for emerging markets, but the latest dislocation is a healthy part of the cycle and the risk-on trade remains intact.

2014-01-30 The Equity "Game" by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

We have seen the cracks begin to emerge in the equity story over the past week. Earnings are beginning to come in and so far have been a disappointment. The retail sector is showing signs that Q4 was weaker than originally expected, with store cuts announced by, Sears, J.C. Penney, and Macy’s and job cuts at Target. Emerging markets have been roiled this week, with Argentina shifting policy, likely devaluing their currency, and other currencies plunging.

2014-01-29 2014 Oil Outlook: How Slick Is the Oil Slope by Greg Sharenow of PIMCO

While the supply outlook tilts the balances toward bearish in 2014, an improving global economy is a positive for oil demand and a support for prices. With roll yields positively contributing to returns, investors ultimately could be paid to hold a security that hedges both global event risk and any resulting shock to inflation. Growth in shale oil has been a powerful moderating force for prices by both filling an important gap in global supply and demand and by anchoring the back end of the futures curve.

2014-01-29 How the Pioneer of Hydraulic Fracturing changed the MLP Landscape by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

A banner year for MLPs and the future looks bright.

2014-01-29 Fed Responsible for EM Crisis? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

From the bully pulpits in Sao Paulo to the blogosphere in cyberspace, the Fed is blamed for the turmoil in Emerging Markets (EM). That’s a bit like blaming McDonald’s for obesity. Blaming others won’t fix the problems in EM economies, it won’t fix investors’ portfolios and it is an unlikely way to lose weight. Investors and policy makers need to wake up and realize that they are in charge of their own destiny. Let us explain.

2014-01-29 Bear Raid? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I should have guessed that something was wrong when I checked into the Langham Hotel last Thursday only to be told by the valet, "There is a bear on the loose in the neighborhood so watch out." At first I didn’t believe him, but when I turned the TV on there it was, and as the cameras rolled the news anchor said, "Pasadena police and wildlife officials are warning residents to be on alert for a black bear after it was spotted wandering through backyards. The animal appears to be moving from home to home."

2014-01-28 Bitcoin, QE, and Disintermediated Currency by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

Though it may be financial sacrilege to link the emergence of Bitcoin, the $10 billion online currency, with the Federal Reserve’s 300x larger $3 trillion QE program, we believe the two have more in common than their 2008 birthdates. In fact, we think each represents a further extension in our human understanding, use, and possibly abuse of "currency", the lifeblood of our modern societies. Both Bitcoin and QE continue a process that began some 3000 years ago with the invention of coinage in the Greek Isles and, later, the invention of paper money in China.

2014-01-28 Expect Higher Volatility to Persist by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Last week’s selloff can be attributed to EM turmoil, stretched valuations and mediocre earnings. Volatility is likely to move higher to levels closer to long-term averages. We suggest investors adopt overweight positions in European and Japanese stocks.

2014-01-28 An Active Management Turning Point? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Active managers faced a difficult road in recent years, leading to many questions about the efficacy of active versus passive investment management. There are signs that the tide is once again changing in favor of active managers and the road ahead could offer happier times.

2014-01-28 Demystifying Gold Prices by Nicholas Johnson of PIMCO

What is it about gold prices? Many people seem to believe they are impossible to predict, or even understand. At her Senate confirmation hearing in November, Janet Yellen said, "I don’t think anybody has a very good model of what makes gold prices go up or down." Ben Bernanke also said last year that "nobody really understands gold prices, and I don’t pretend to understand them either." While many factors influence the price of gold, PIMCO believes there is one that can explain the majority of changes in gold prices over the past several years: changes in real yields.

2014-01-28 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

My caution last week unfolded into a market sell off related to both disappointing earnings and concern over emerging markets affecting the foreign exchange markets.

2014-01-24 United Arab Emirates: An Emerging Market Melting Pot by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The investable Middle East/North Africa region known as "MENA" encompasses 11 diverse countries, extending from Oman to Morocco, and also includes Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I recently had the pleasure of returning to Dubai, the largest city in the UAE, a truly striking and cosmopolitan city with a diverse population from around the world.

2014-01-22 Market Share: The Next Secular Investment Theme by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

It is well known that corporate profit margins are at record highs. US margings, developed market margings, and even emerging market margins are generally either at or close to record highs. A myopic focus on profit margins may miss an important investment consideration. Whereas most investors remain fearful of margin compression, we prefer to search for an investment theme that could emerge if margins do indeed compress. Accordingly, our investment focus has shifted toward themes based on companies who might gain market share.

2014-01-21 Albert Edwards and Dylan Grice: Bearish Forecasts from Two Top Strategists by Robert Huebscher (Article)

It’s been nearly 18 years since Albert Edwards forecast an "ice age" in which bonds would outperform equities. He’s been right until just recently, when cumulative returns on the two classes converged. But Edwards insists that his thesis is still accurate - deflation will be the force to propel bonds over stocks, he says. Dylan Grice, meanwhile, warns that the markets operate on an unstable equilibrium that could devolve into apocalyptic conditions.

2014-01-21 Brother, Can You Spare a Bitcoin? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The electronic currency has attracted attention from speculators and financial media, but it’s unlikely to upend the existing monetary order.

2014-01-15 Investment Insights from a Road Warrior by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As part of our investment process, we often take the explicit knowledge learned from our statistical models and overlay them with global travel.

2014-01-14 What Have We Learned from the Financial Crisis? by Michael Edesess (Article)

Why do we need yet another discussion of the 2007-09 financial crisis and its aftermath? That question is asked and answered by Alan S. Blinder in his new book, After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead. Blinder provides new details about this harrowing chapter in our financial history and valuable insights about the effectiveness of potential regulatory policies.

2014-01-14 Merk 2014 Dollar, Currency & Gold Outlook by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Rarely has the future been so clear. Really?? A lot of money has been lost jumping on the bandwagon. Let’s do a common sense check on the greenback to gauge where risks might be lurking and where there might be profit opportunities for investors.

2014-01-13 Money Matters Part 2: China's Bitcoin Ban by John Greenwood of Invesco Blog

This second of a two-part series about bitcoin looks at the impact of China’s recent ban on the virtual currency. Part 1 examined the viability of bitcoins as a potential global currency.

2014-01-13 3 Reasons the Dollar Should Strengthen This Year by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ explains why the U.S. dollar is likely to strengthen in 2014, and what this means for various asset classes.

2014-01-08 Consumer Confidence Jumped in December, But Why? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we’ll look at several economic reports, including a big jump in consumer confidence last month. That seems a little odd given that over 63% of Americans still believe the country is headed in the wrong direction as I reported last week.

2014-01-08 I'm Back by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Well, I’m back after roughly a two-week hiatus where I didn’t do very many strategy calls, or strategy reports. I did, however, pen a letter regarding my forecast for 2014 dated 12/30/13. And for those who, like me, kicked back over the past two weeks to spend time with family and rejoice in the holidays, and did not read anything, I urge you to peruse my "2014" report.

2014-01-06 Reflections on 2013: What's Important, What's Not, and What's Ahead by Mike Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

A tale of 2 halves with lingering questions characterizes what we can say was the story for housing for 2013. In the first half of the year, rates were low as the 10 year note was well under 2%. People were still refinancing, as home prices rocketed. Multiple bids were common, and pundits like Ivy Zelman cheered the improving market with praise like "Housing is in Nirvana".

2014-01-06 Too Big to Pop by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Most economic observers are predicting that 2014 will be the year in which the United States finally shrugs off the persistent malaise of the Great Recession. As we embark on this sunny new chapter, we may ask what wisdom the five-year trauma has delivered.

2014-01-06 Money Matters Part 1: Bitcoin as Global Currency? by John Greenwood of Invesco Blog

In 2009, bitcoin became the first cryptocurrency, or digital medium of exchange, to begin trading. Is it currency or a commodity? Is it a potential peer or a threat to existing currencies? Let’s take a closer look.

2014-01-03 Gold Stocks: What to Expect in the New Year by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After three years of pain, can gold stocks break their losing streak and see a gain in 2014? History says chances are good.

2014-01-03 2014 Outlook: The Emergence of a Global Expansion by Team of Loomis Sayles

After years of a global recovery characterized by fits and starts, we expect more synchronized global growth in 2014. Global GDP growth will accelerate modestly from 2.7% in 2013 to approximately 3.4% in 2014, primarily driven by larger advanced economies. In particular, we are optimistic that US growth will be sustainable. The fading economic drag from government policy and the ongoing housing recovery should help boost US GDP growth toward 3% as the year progresses. The UK is poised for a similar rate of expansion in 2014, and Europe will likely post positive growth in the coming year.

2013-12-31 2014? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Year-end letters are difficult to write because there is always a tendency to discuss the year gone by or, worse, attempt to forecast the coming year. Typically, when the media asks where the S&P 500 (SPX/1841.40) will be at the end of the new year, I tell them you might as well flip a lucky penny.

2013-12-30 Bitcoin Takes on Gold by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Ever since President Nixon broke the US dollar’s last link to gold, the world has been set adrift on a sea of fiat currencies that have been increasingly debased, serving the interests of governments and financial elites. For the last five years, central banks have imposed near-zero rates of interest that have helped push up stock, bond, and real estate prices, but have made it nearly impossible for savers to receive meaningful returns on bank deposits.

2013-12-30 What Does US Tapering Mean for Asia? by Paul Chan of Invesco Blog

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) took its first step toward unwinding its unprecedented monetary stimulus. Beginning in January 2014, the Fed will reduce monthly asset purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion. The scale of the tapering was very much in line with market expectation. While timing may have surprised some investors, the market had already priced in the Fed’s imminent move.

2013-12-27 The Risk Tolerance Paradox....And What You Can Do About It by Ken Mungan, Matt Kaufman of Milliman Financial Risk Management

The risk tolerance level many investors expect to achieve over the long-term rarely equals the same tolerance investors actually experience over shorter periods. This paper provides a brief introduction to this paradox, explores the main reason we think it exists, and introduces a risk management strategy that seeks to solve the problem.

2013-12-23 Risk Assets Take Fed Taper Announcement in Stride by Roger Bayston of Franklin Templeton

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) delivered an early holiday surprise to some market participants, announcing at its December 18 policy meeting it would start slowing its asset purchase program known as quantitative easing in January. For some thoughts on what this may mean for the markets in the new year, we turned just after the announcement to Roger Bayston. He believes the markets should be able to take the Fed’s tapering in 2014 in stride, although investors should prepare for the proposition of higher Treasury yields.

2013-12-20 Let's Get Physical: Gold Bullion and Bitcoin by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), discusses in his latest insights piece the disparity in price direction between gold bullion and Bitcoin, in spite of the strikingly similar rationale for holding the two. He notes that the "Bitcoin-Gold incongruity is explained by the fact that financial engineers have not yet discovered a way to collateralize bitcoins for leveraged trades."

2013-12-19 Coal in the Fed's Stock-ing by Tony Crescenzi, Lupin Rahman, Ben Emons of PIMCO

Forward guidance has become an increasingly common practice among global central banks. Communicating a possible change in the policy rate could have a large effect on long-term interest rates. Capital has moved literally around the globe as a result of central bank activism in developed countries. Looking ahead, we expect 2014 to be a year of increased differentiation across emerging markets in terms of economic fundamentals, policy reactions and market outcomes.

2013-12-12 The Wisdom of Looking Like An Idiot Today by Adam Taggart of PeakProsperity.com

Here’s a recently-released report on the stark choice that bubble markets force investors to make: to look like an idiot now, or look like one later. Those that have sought to position themselves prudently and defensively since 2008 currently look foolish as liquidity-inflated stocks and real estate prices have passed them by over the past 2 years-- while ’safe havens’ like precious metals have suffered mightily. But it’s critical to remember that the nefarious nature of a bubble is to suck in as many participants as possible before bursting and causing maximum damage.

2013-12-12 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook: Synchronized Optimism by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

In the U.S., the abatement of fiscal policy tightening combined with steady improvements in labor market demand and higher asset valuations is likely to drive an increase in real growth. The eurozone should finally emerge from recession in 2014, and Japan is likely to continue to grow with the continued assistance of extraordinarily expansive policies. In China, external demand will likely improve, but domestic demand will likely slow somewhat.

2013-12-11 Muddling Through: The 'Realpolitik' of the Eurozone Crisis by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

The long-term cost of Europe’s economic recovery is likely to challenge social tolerance and political will to achieve a fully integrated fiscal and political union. Although able to exploit the untapped potential of European treaties, the soon-to-be-elected 8th European Parliament looks more likely to continue to muddle through. We see low medium-term risk for government and corporate bonds with maturities of up to three years, but caution may be required for securities with longer maturities and lower down in the capital structure.

2013-12-10 Best Consumed Below Zero? by Bill O'Grady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we will turn our attention to Denmark to study its decision to undertake the below-zero rate, the specifics of the situation that prompted it and the effects of the negative rate on financial conditions and the broader economy. We will then briefly look at the possibility of a below-zero rate policy for the ECB and, most importantly, the geopolitical ramifications of the decision by the world’s second largest currency block to ease into unknown consequences of negative rates to stimulate the economy.

2013-12-09 Debt Crisis Recovery: Bell Curves and Balance Sheets by Team of GaveKal Capital

The purchasing power parity (PPP) theory basically states that the exchange rate between two countries should adjust so that a basket of goods in Country X costs the same as it does in Country Y when priced in the same currency. It is a useful theory in understanding the relative strength of a currency, especially for a reserve currency such as the USD. It is important to keep in mind that over/under valuation based on PPP can remain in place for years and that this is not at all a timing tool.

2013-12-06 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The U.S. employment report puts taper onto the table. Don’t expect further rate cuts from the ECB or the Fed. Auto sales have been a bright spot amid sluggish consumer spending.

2013-12-05 No Silver Bullets in Investing by James Montier of GMO

In a new white paper today, James Montier of GMO’s asset allocation team reviews recent "innovation in our industry." He argues, "one of the myths perpetuated by our industry is that there are lots of ways to generate good long-run real returns, but we believe there is really only one: buying cheap assets."

2013-12-04 Gold, What Is It Good for? by Miguel Perez-Santalla of BullionVault

Absolutely nothing! Well, except 5,000 years of value exchange, non-correlation, and preserving wealth...The current market environment has led many in the press to question gold’s value as an investment or an asset class, writes Miguel Perez-Santalla at BullionVault.

2013-12-04 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - Q3 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

The second half of 2013 has posed significant challenges to growth in major Emerging Asia Pacific economies. Almost all emerging Asia Pacific economies showed signs of strain arising from stubborn inflation, higher interest rates, slower consumer spending and lukewarm exports.

2013-12-03 Turning Over Rocks by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

The S&P 500 is at a record high and we believe the markets generally are fully valued. Corporate revenue growth is anemic, profit margins are stretched, and the prospect of earnings rising meaningfully is not high. And, the outlook for the U.S. and global economy is still uncertain. Market psychology is at a level suggesting the market is overbought. Margin debt is at record levels and the current popularity of stocks by retail investors at market highs is in itself a red flag.

2013-12-03 Is the Fed Increasingly Monetizing Government Debt? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Fed Chair Bernanke vehemently denies Fed "monetizes the debt," but our research shows the Fed may be increasingly doing so. We explain why and what the implications may be for the dollar, gold and currencies.

2013-12-03 U.S. Economy Slowly Gaining Traction - What's Ahead for Year-End? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

As we enter the final month of 2013, my themes of the last several weeks continue - the capital markets, in general, remain quiet and U.S. economic data, while mixed, shows signs of steady improvement. This week, I’ll start by looking forward to some news we’ll be watching as the year closes out...

2013-11-30 Arsonists Running the Fire Brigade by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In the old days, central banks raised or lowered interest rates if they wanted to tighten or loosen monetary policy. In a Code Red world everything is more difficult. Policies like ZIRP, QE, LSAPs, and currency wars are immensely more complicated. Knowing how much money to print and when to undo Code Red policies will require wisdom and foresight. Putting such policies into practice is easy, almost like squeezing toothpaste. But unwinding them will be like putting the toothpaste back in the tube.

2013-11-29 Back to Housing Bubbles by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

What we are witnessing in many countries looks like a slow-motion replay of the last housing-market train wreck. And, like last time, the bigger the bubbles become, the nastier the collision with reality will be.

2013-11-29 ING Fixed Income Perspectives - November 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers and Matt Toms of ING Investement Management

Given rich valuations globally, we remain broadly neutral on interest rate risk with the exception of Japan.

2013-11-27 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary - October 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Equities Gain as Currencies Remain Stable and Data Trends Show Positive Signs.

2013-11-25 Recent Economic Trends Help Make Korea a Hidden Gem in Asia by Paul Chan and Simon Jeong of Invesco Blog

After more than two decades of financial setbacks, recent macroeconomic data is helping Korea overcome the negative economic stigma associated with its economy and equity markets.

2013-11-25 Solving the Income Puzzle by Christopher Remington, Michael Cirami, Kathleen Gaffney, Scott Page of Eaton Vance

Income needs may be as high as they’ve ever been, while the yield potential from many traditional investment classes has dwindled to generational lows. Investors who remain in high-priced, low-yielding core bond strategies could experience loss of principal (and mounting retirement shortfalls) if interest rates revert toward their mean. We advocate creating an integrated, multi-pronged income plan that may offer yield potential that meets investor needs, while managing key risks found in the typical core fixed-income allocation.

2013-11-21 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review Q3 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies were back on their feet during the second quarter of 2013 as economic growth gained momentum, inflation fell mildly and exports climbed strongly. Most developed countries in the region such as Japan, Australia, and New Zealand reported a sharp positive swing in consumer and business confidence. Predominantly expansionary monetary and fiscal policies also helped keep the pace of economic recovery.

2013-11-20 Setting Sail on the QE Express by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

I’ve been managing money for over 25 years and rarely have I seen the level of craziness and insanity in both our politics and financial markets in the U.S. I’m frightened of this deepening manmade disaster that’s unfolding in front of us right now in both the financial markets and the economy. Too much faith is being placed in untested theories and that quantitative easing is going to cure all of our ills.

2013-11-20 Yellen's Testimony Not Surprising: Fed Has More Work to Do by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Janet Yellen’s Senate testimony in last week’s confirmation hearings was very dovish and offered no real surprises. She did not signal or hint at any change in Fed policy (it was a confirmation hearing), but suggested that the best way to achieve an exit from unconventional policy is to deliver a stronger recovery . . . and the Fed has "more work to do" to support that recovery. The risk that she will not be confirmed is considered negligible.

2013-11-15 “Great Rotation?” How About “Selective Rotation?” by Eric Takaha of Franklin Templeton

A few months ago there was a lot of buzz about a so-called “Great Rotation,” used to describe an investor exodus from fixed income and into equities, conjuring up images of a massive herd of wildebeest on the African plain racing for greener pastures. Oftentimes, when investors react to the market with a herd mentality, they can wind up losing sight of where they are going, and why. Eric Takaha, senior vice president and portfolio manager for Franklin Strategic Income Fund, says what he’s seen is more of a “selective rotation.”

2013-11-15 The Future of the Indian Rupee Is Tied to Oil Imports by Ignatius Chithelen of Knowledge @ Wharton

The weakness or strength of the Indian rupee will continue to be largely determined by the level and costs of the country’s crude oil imports, according to Ignatius Chithelen, managing partner of Banyan Tree Capital Management.

2013-11-14 The Secret of the Euro's Survival by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Despite fiscal strains and political controversy, the common currency still enjoys broad support among member nations. Here’s why.

2013-11-13 Why I Sell the Dollar: From Dollar Strength to Dollar Weakness by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

To those that say the U.S. has the cleanest of the dirty shirts, we would like to point out that it hasn’t helped the greenback, as evidenced by the euro outperforming the dollar both so far this year, as well as last year. Yes, we have a mess in the Eurozone that won’t be resolved anytime soon. But we also have a mess in the U.S., Japan, and many other places around the globe.

2013-11-12 Reflections on a Week in Cuba by Robert Huebscher (Article)

My recent one-week visit to Cuba revealed why our relationship with this island country ? less than 100 miles off the coast of Florida ? has been problematic for the U.S. for the last half-century. Once the Castro brothers are gone, the government of Cuba may change in dramatic ways. But such a transition would have to be accompanied by a change in U.S. policy to Cuba. Pictures from my trip are also provided.

2013-11-12 Currency Markets Show Signs of Reversal by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

A mixture of surprising economic data and changing central bank policy led to sharp moves in currency markets last week. This came after several gyrations in FX markets earlier this year. Looking forward, volatility is likely to remain, but many signs point towards a strengthening U.S. dollar.

2013-11-12 New Fed Papers Foreshadow a Dovish Fed Policy Under Yellen by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

New Fed Papers Foreshadow a Dovish Fed Policy Under Yellen Two new Fed papers presented at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) argue for prompt lobbying for continued aggressive monetary policy, but suggest prompt tapering of quantitative easing (QE) and more emphasis on forward guidance. The assumption is that these papers would not have been released if Janet Yellen intended to push policy in a different direction . . . and they reinforce the message of papers released at Jackson Hole this summer, suggesting that QE wasn’t acting as effective economic stimulus.

2013-11-12 Dream to Outperform the Market by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

If you dream about investment market outcomes which are already popular in the marketplace, your dreams can turn into nightmares. The Everly Brothers 1958 hit song, “All I have to do is Dream” tells us a great deal about the long-term posture of investors in late 2013 and how dreams can turn to nightmares. On the other hand, if you dream about an outcome which most experts aren’t expecting, the rewards can be explosive.

2013-11-10 What Would Yellen Do? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In advance of this week’s confirmation hearings for Federal Reserve Board Chairperson-nominee Janet Yellen, let’s pretend we are prepping our favorite Banking Committee senator for his or her few questions. What would you like to know? In this week’s letter I offer a few questions of my own.

2013-11-08 Bubbles Without Borders? by Vivek Tanneeru of Matthews Asia

If you are a wealthy person living in Asia, you might be tempted, with good economic reason, to look overseas to diversify your asset base. Overseas markets often offer good diversification as they are typically exposed to different economic cycles and also give exposure to different currencies. But while overseas stocks, bonds and other financial instruments all offer diversification, few asset classes seem to have the same allure as overseas propertythat is, overseas property in the right cities.

2013-11-07 Gold: Hold It or Fold It? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

It’s starting to feel like we are part of a giant poker game against the US government, whose hand is the true condition of the American economy. The government has become so good at bluffing that most people feel compelled to watch how the biggest players in the game react to determine their own investment strategy.

2013-11-04 Bubbles in the Broth by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

As below-trend GDP growth and high unemployment continue to afflict most advanced economies, their central banks have served up an alphabet soup of unconventional monetary policy measures. But, with asset prices continuing to rise, many countries may have more helpings than they can stand.

2013-11-04 The Great Stall of China by Steve Cao, Mark Jason of Invesco Blog

While China is without question the growth driver and the outperformer among Asian emerging markets, it’s clear the country is transitioning toward slower growth because of demographic factors and domestic rebalancing. In our view, China is entering a multiyear period of slower growth, but we consider its future growth robust and sustainable when compared with overall global gross domestic product (GDP) growth -- albeit below the annualized pace of more than 10% China experienced from 2001 to 2010.

2013-11-01 What the End of a Greek Tragedy Means for Investors by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After six long years, Greece’s economy is finally expected to grow in 2014. GDP expectations of 0.6 percent next year is a remarkable improvement compared to a loss of 4 percent this year. In addition to rising GDP, here are a few other significant changes from Greece lately:

2013-11-01 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices saw a robust recovery in September as investor concerns about slower capital inflows to these markets faded after the U.S. Federal Reserve unexpectedly decided to delay the tapering of bond purchases.

2013-10-31 Global Economic Outlook by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The United States avoided a fiscal accident after Congress struck a deal to end the partial government shutdown and bought time to resolve differences over the federal budget. Assuming political discord will not result in another standoff, the U.S. economy is projected to show steady and stronger growth in 2014 compared with 2013.

2013-10-31 The Age of Experimentation (Global Economic Outlook for Fourth Quarter 2013) by Robert Scherfke of Hartford Funds

Macroanalyst Robert Scherfke, PhD discusses the progress global economies have made since 2008 and the challenges officials face as they normalize fiscal policies.

2013-10-29 Is This the New Normal'? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Markets Settle into a New “Normal” All sorts of economic data were released last week, but volatility has dropped: rightly or wrongly, market forecasts about the pace of quantitative easing (QE) and earnings growth in the U.S. appear to have coalesced around an outlook for “slow growth with ongoing QE”.

2013-10-26 A Code Red World by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The heart of this week’s letter is the introduction of my just-released new book, Code Red. It is my own take (along with co-author Jonathan Tepper) on the problems that have grown out of an unrelenting assault on monetary norms by central banks around the world.

2013-10-26 Why U.S. Dollar Will Remain World's Reserve Currency, Despite Political Brinkmanship by Tatjana Michel of Charles Schwab

The U.S. dollar is not likely to lose its premier world reserve-currency status anytime soon. But continuing U.S. political brinkmanship could drive foreign countries into other currencies faster. With the market focus shifting to monetary policy and growth, we expect a Fed taper delay to give foreign currencies some time to recover.

2013-10-23 Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

The portfolio enjoyed another index-beating month with a gain of 0.9% versus 0.6%, so improving further the long term numbers. As noted in previous Bulletins, correlations between growth and equity market returns are low. Investors remain fixated otherwise, but some confusion is reasonable given that growth in earnings per share is also slowing. Yet strong equity markets can be justified by the Free Lunch Theory.

2013-10-22 Washington Strikes a No-Surprise Deal - Now What? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Congress called a time-out in the budget/debt fight last week, striking a deal to avoid default and fund the U.S. government through January 15, 2014 and raise the debt limit through February 7, 2014. While the parties agreed to budget talks, they did not commit to reaching an agreement (technically, Paul Ryan and Patty Murray, the House and Senate budget committee chairs will begin a process of fiscal negotiations, due to wrap up by mid-December).

2013-10-22 Could US Issues Lead Investors to Emerging Markets? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The US government had been shuttered for more than two weeks, and investors around the world, including those in emerging markets, have been watching the impasse and beginning to plan in the event of a default of US government debt. Late Wednesday, the US Congress agreed to a short-term extension of the debt ceiling until February and set the stage for the government to reopen. However, a definitive, long-term solution to the nation’s debt issues was still not reached and we could see a repeat of the political dysfunction.

2013-10-22 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review - 3Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Economic activity in the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) has been hindered by prolonged political unrest and civil strife. The region’s vulnerability has increased over the last two years due to mounting structural challenges. What’s more, widening fiscal deficits due to the economic slowdown and dwindling foreign currency reserves remain sources of concern, as noted by a World Bank report.

2013-10-21 Fourth Quarter Investment Outlook by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The macro theme of the fourth quarter and early 2014 is monetary reflation and global growth resynchronization. The Fed’s surprising decision to postpone tapering its QE program will likely encourage further risk-taking. In the meantime, we observe increasing signs of a synchronized improvement among the four important economies - the United States, Europe, Japan and China.

2013-10-20 The Damage to the US Brand by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

There is no doubt that the image what I will refer to in this letter as the "brand" of the United States has been damaged in the past month. But what are the actual costs? And what does it matter to the average citizen? Can the US recover its tarnished image and go on about business as usual? Is the recent dysfunction in Washington DC now behind us, or is it destined to become part of a bleaker landscape?

2013-10-18 Despite Uncertainty, the Market Still Looks Strong by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

Although it was an ugly battle, on Thursday morning October 17 President Obama signed a bill that reopened the government into January 2014 and raised the debt ceiling until early February of next year.

2013-10-18 Debt Limit Extended, Fed Policy in the Wings - What to Expect from the Markets by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments

Last night Congress reached an agreement to raise the debt limit and end the 16-day shutdown. After all the acrimony and tense negotiations, the deal passed by a comfortable margin with 81-18 vote in the Senate and 285-144 in the House.

2013-10-17 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Last quarter we wrote about the confusion that can be created by the Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) two official mandates: keeping inflation in check and ensuring full employment. We also pointed out that given the rather fragile economic backdrop, talk of letting the economy stand on its own two feet by reducing their bond buying might be premature. During the third quarter, it appeared most economists felt comfortable that the Fed would indeed begin “tapering” its purchase of Treasuries and mortgage securities after the September Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetin

2013-10-16 Pacific Basin Market Overview - September 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

North Asian markets ended higher during the quarter after comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke appeared to infer that the Fed’s asset purchase program would be extended for a while longer. On the other hand, India and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region underperformed along with weakening currencies and continued fund outflows. In China, Premier Li Keqiang’s statement that China would meet its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target this year, coupled with better-than-expected economic data, brought some relief to the equity markets.

2013-10-15 Is Gold Overpriced? by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

New research, based on an econometric model of gold prices, has attempted to answer the question, “Is gold overpriced?”

2013-10-15 Equity Markets to Congress: “What, me worry?” by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

President Obama said he was willing to have discussions, though he said he wouldn’t engage in negotiations. (Comment: I guess it depends of what the meaning of "is" is.) So far, those discussions haven’t produced a deal, but at least they’ve started talking.

2013-10-14 Accidental Speculation by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

When markets get tied in a knot over an issue like the debt ceiling, it’s helpful to break down investor’s decisions about how to handle it in their portfolios. Whether it is an investment in foreign currencies, shorting the stock market, selling everything or some other investment strategy that comes complete with a perceived safety net, it’s tough for investors to manage their emotions and the mixed messages they get from the media.

2013-10-12 Sometimes They Ring a Bell by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Three items have come across my screen in the past month that, taken together, truly do signal a major turning point in how energy is discovered, transported, and transformed. And while we’ll start with a story that most of us are somewhat aware of, there is an even larger transformation happening that I think argues against the negative research that has come out in the last few years about the reduced potential for growth in the world economy.

2013-10-09 Little Visible Progress on the Budget Shutdown, but Some Inside Baseball In Play by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

President Obama canceled his planned visit to Asia and participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summitciting the inconvenience caused by the government shutdown (“the difficulty in moving forward with foreign travel in the face of a shutdown), sending John Kerry in his place, and reiterating his unwillingness to negotiate with Republicans.

2013-10-09 Gold Strategy Investor Letter, Q3 2013 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

We believe the gold market is set up for a major advance, but recognize that the timing of a turn has been elusive and frustrating. The longer current Fed policies remain in force, the greater the potential disruption to financial markets when it changes, most likely due to events yet unforeseen. Still, conventional economic commentary remains confident of Fed competence to unwind its balance sheet. When this confidence dissipates, as we expect, investment demand for gold will resurface in the most forceful manner.

2013-10-09 Emerging Values by Cliff Stanton of Envestnet

The current valuations and fundamentals in Emerging Markets make for an attractive entry point, if you can stomach the increased volatility and risk associated with the asset class.

2013-10-04 Much Ado About Fed Tapering by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

In the past few months, the global markets seem to have been fixated on the US Federal Reserve’s words and actions (or lack thereof). Will the Fed wind down its longstanding quantitative easing (QE) program, and when? Will the money tap dry up, and, with it, global liquidity? In more recent days, US markets in particular have been focused on a looming government shutdown, adding a dose of uncertaintyand volatility.

2013-10-04 Is the Pump Primed for Emerging Markets Investors? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The vulnerabilitiesor rather, perceived vulnerabilitiesof emerging markets have been the focus of heightened discussions over the past few months. Concerns about the health of emerging markets came on the heels of political upheavals in Egypt, economic deceleration in China and protest demonstrations in Brazil and Turkey this summer.

2013-10-02 The Death Knell of Global Synchronized Trade by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management, we believe the interest on September 18th in emerging markets, oil and gold are the last gasps of a dying trend. Our discipline demands that you must avoid popular investments and completely avoid investments attached to a perceived “new era.” We argue that the international investment markets reaction to Bernanke’s reprieve on September 18th is proof of a vision we have of the future.

2013-10-01 The Most Predictable Economic Crisis? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Forget about a government shutdown. The quibbling over concessions to keep the government funded distracts from what might be the most predictable economic crisis. We have problems that may affect everything from the value of the U.S. dollar to investors’ savings, but also to national security.

2013-09-30 Investing in a Fairly Valued World by Herb Abramson, RJ Steinhoff, Randall Abramson, Anthony Visano, Jeff Sayer of Trapeze Asset Management

For several years we have been arguing that global equity markets are undervalued and represent the best investment alternative given growing corporate profits (S&P 500 Index earnings have nearly doubled in the last five years), a favorable monetary backdrop and a recovering economy.

2013-09-28 The Renminbi: Soon to Be a Reserve Currency? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Contrary to the thinking of fretful dollar skeptics, my firm belief is that the US dollar is going to become even stronger and will at some point actually deserve to be the reserve currency of choice rather than merely the prettiest girl in the ugly contest the last currency standing, so to speak. But whether the Chinese RMB will become a reserve currency is an entirely different question.

2013-09-27 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Merkel’s win is unlikely to lead to any changes in the Eurozone. Extra lift from exports is not guaranteed. Robust growth is a challenge in India, Brazil and Indonesia.

2013-09-25 Surprise! No Tapering and More Budget Progress than Meets the Eye by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

On Monday, Larry Summers exited the pool of candidates for the next Federal Reserve (Fed) chairman. (Only the timing was really a surprise.) On Wednesday, the Fed didn’t taper and de-emphasized several of the targets they’d set earlier. (Big surprise versus consensus - not central bank best practices). Municipal bond offerings by Puerto Rico, California, and Illinois were met with strong investor demand.

2013-09-25 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Last week, total AUM in all active ETFs increased by almost $80.2 million. Assets in the two largest categories “Short Term Bond” and “Global Bond” fell by $20.65 million and $38.585 respectively. As the dollar weakened on the Federal Reserve’s decision to delay tapering, the “Foreign Bond” category increased by $65.725 million and “Currency” active ETFs added $7.43 in value. Just like the previous week, the second largest increase in AUM came in the “High Yield” ETF category, which this time rose by over $44.35 million, main

2013-09-25 Secular Trends in Asian Credit Markets Shape Long-Term Investment Themes by Robert Mead, Raja Mukherji of PIMCO

The next several years will likely see many Asian corporate issuers to come to the market for financing, whether to pursue long-term business plans or to employ traditional corporate finance and leverage strategies. Rigorous credit research, flexible resources, experienced local portfolio management and strong relationships with local stakeholders are all crucial to uncovering attractive opportunities while monitoring volatility in Asia’s credit markets.

2013-09-25 Occupy QE by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

The Occupy Wall Street movement began two years ago this month, galvanizing attention to income and wealth inequality in the US and around the world. But, if anything, economic inequality has deepened since then and, lost in the angst over inequality, is the critical role that central banks have played in exacerbating the problem.

2013-09-25 Surprise... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Clearly, the numbers didn’t meet the Fed’s preconditions for tapering. And while the jobless rate has fallen to 7.3% (from 8.1% when QE3, the current round of quantitative easing began), Bernanke had to acknowledge what’s been obvious to all. The decline in the jobless rate hasn’t occurred just because more folks are getting jobs; it’s because many are dropping out of the workforce, which means they’re not counted as unemployed by the government.

2013-09-24 Lehman Five Years LaterLessons and Threats by Dean Curnutt of Macro Risk Advisors

The five-year anniversary of the Lehman bankruptcy and onset of financial crisis is here and so too is the raft of opinion pieces around what caused the meltdown and how it is different this time.In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, when asked about the risk of another 2008 event, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said, “The probability of it happening again in our lifetime is as close to zero as I could imagine.”

2013-09-23 The Euro Tug-of-War by Thomas Kressin of PIMCO

Faced with lingering economic stagnation, record unemployment and continued political strife in the region, the common consensus for a depreciation of the euro seems only natural and very much required to counter the weak cyclical position of the eurozone. The rising current account surplus in combination with net long-term capital inflows point to a stronger euro that could stay with us for an extended period; such a development could potentially undermine the fragile social consensus to continue with the necessary structural and fiscal reforms.

2013-09-23 Happy Anniversary? Perspectives on the Financial Crisis Five Years Later by Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson of Hartford Funds

Since 2008, there’s been slow but steady improvement in the global economypolicy makers’ unconventional tools have helped stabilize ?nancial markets and bought time for economies to rebalance. Expectations are too low for developed-market growth and in?ation, in our view. As such, we think this environment will be positive for developed-equity marketsparticularly in Europe and Japan.

2013-09-21 How Did The Fed Catch Markets Off Guard? What Does it Mean for Investors? by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investments

We think this decision prolongs the positive market environment we have seen in both equities and fixed income. With the Fed seemingly a distance away from tapering and raising rates, this could bode well for the risk sectors, where we could see further tightening in credit spreads on both high yield and investment-grade corporate bonds.

2013-09-20 Q&A: Emerging Markets Powerhouses China and India by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Given their heft in the emerging markets world, China and India are among the countries I get asked most often about, particularly when they show market distress signals like economic slowing.This past week, the Templeton emerging markets team and I have been in China as part of a large research trip, doing further analysis on the market and key company prospects. I thought it would present a good opportunity to share a few of my answers to recent questions on both China and India.

2013-09-18 Is the Commodity Supercycle Dead? by Nicholas Johnson, Greg Sharenow of PIMCO

While commodity price appreciation won’t likely mirror the supercycle, this shouldn’t necessarily imply a negative view on commodity returns going forward. We believe commodity prices are at reasonable levels from a long-term valuation perspective. In addition, the roll yield from investing in commodities is the highest it’s been since 2005. The outlook for commodity returns today seems broadly consistent with historical returns, and commodities remain an important tool for hedging inflation risk.

2013-09-18 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Last week, total AUM in all active ETFs increased by over $68.76 million. Assets in “Short Term Bond” active ETFs increased by nearly $140 million. The second largest increase in AUM came in the “High Yield” ETF category, which rose by about $20.366 million, largely due to creation units. “US Equity” active ETFs also saw a significant increase in AUM of over $8.68 million. The biggest decreases in AUM came in the “Global Bond” and “Foreign Bond” categories, which fell by $58.85 million and $44.3 million respectively.

2013-09-16 Investing in Puerto Rico: What Investors Should Know by Stephanie Larosiliere of Invesco Blog

In recent quarters, investors have been on high alert about Puerto Rico’s ailing financial situation. The concern was sparked by the US territory’s ongoing recession, which has been characterized by high unemployment, $70 billion of total debt and a consecutive streak of annual budget deficits. Compounding investors’ fears were Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing and June’s massive sell-off in the municipal bond market, which may have caused some weakness in Puerto Rico’s debt.

2013-09-13 Pacific Basin Market Overview August 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Asian equity markets ended lower in August, chiefly due to concerns about currency weakness in India and Indonesia, while improved macroeconomic data from China contributed to this market’s outperformance. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan fell by 1.3% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 0.71% lower during the month. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)

2013-09-13 What's Developing in Emerging Markets by Gene Goldman of Cetera Financial Group

Despite strong returns in United States equity markets, a different story has played out in the emerging markets. The MSCI Emerging Market Index, a proxy for emerging market equity returns, has fallen 9.94 percent year-to-date through Aug. 31, 2013. In contrast, the S&P 500, a proxy for U.S. equity markets, has risen 16.15 percent over that same span.

2013-09-12 Cold Hard Facts About Syria and Investment Portfolios by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

What does the Syria situation mean to the financial markets and client portfolios? Will actions (or inactions) by the U.S. be a catalyst to send the stock market plummeting? Everyone around the world is watching Syria as well as Washington as it determines what the response will be to the tragic use of chemical weapons.

2013-09-12 The Best Time to Own Cash: No Return is Better than a Negative Return by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest essay, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, writes about "the best time for an investor to own cash," which somewhat counter-intuitively, he believes is when that cash pays nothing.

2013-09-11 Absolute Return Letter: A Case of Broken BRICS? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

EM currencies, stocks and bonds have struggled since the Fed signalled its intent to change course in late May. This has seemingly triggered an exodus of speculative capital from emerging markets but, as is always the case, there is more to the story than that. EM countries (ex. China) no longer run a current account surplus with the rest of the world, and this hurts global liquidity. It is not yet a re-run of the 1997-98 Asian crisis, but it has the potential to become one with all sorts of consequences for bond yields in developed markets, currency wars, etc.

2013-09-09 Reasons for Optimism in a Sloppy Third Quarter by Ron Sloan of Invesco Blog

Investors are anticipating the day that we transition from a market dominated by monetary stimulus to an earnings-driven market. The problem is that earnings aren’t cooperating yet. In my view, we’ve still got a sloppy third and maybe fourth quarter to get through, but I think 2014 will likely be a much better earnings market.

2013-09-06 The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

“Good” economic news in developed markets has been overshadowed lately by the “bad” (burgeoning Asian currency crisis) and the “ugly” (Syria). Unwinding central bank support from the markets will be arduous; it is already contributing to destabilization of certain emerging market currencies. News out of Washington this autumn tapering, Fed leadership and the debt ceiling has the potential to add volatility and uncertainty. The U.S. equity market has been the place to be this year, but diversification remains key.

2013-09-06 Will Gold Follow Its Seasonal Pattern This Year? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

There are factors beyond Syria this week driving gold. That’s the Love Trade. This group gives gold as gifts for loved ones during important holidays and festivals. This is the time of the year that we are in the midst of right now. Historically, September has been gold’s best month of the year. Looking at more than four decades of monthly returns, the precious metal has seen its biggest increase this month, averaging 2.3 percent.

2013-09-05 India and Indonesia by Team of Matthews Asia

Comments from the Federal Reserve to begin reducing its stimulus operations have weighed heavily on markets across Asia in recent weeks. Growing investor concerns have largely centered on those economies that have been running current account deficits and that are likely to be further impacted by lower growth forecasts and reduced capital inflows. More short term, speculative flows from investors into fast-growing Asian economies have also fallen as expectations for higher interest rates in the U.S. have risen.

2013-09-05 Seventh Inning Stretch by William Gross of PIMCO

They say that reality is whatever you wish it to be and I suppose that could be true. Just wish it, as Jiminy Cricket used to say, and it will come true. Reality’s relativity came to mind the other day as I was opening a box of Cracker Jacks for an afternoon snack. That’s right I said Cracker Jacks! I can’t count the number of people who have told me during the seventh inning stretch at a baseball game to make sure I sing Cracker Jack (without the S) because that’s what the song says. I care not. No one ever says buy me some “potato chip” or some “pea

2013-09-04 4 Signposts To Watch for an Emerging Markets Turnaround by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

When will we see a significant and prolonged reversal in emerging markets (EM) stock performance? Russ says to watch for four signposts that could signify the EM underperformance tide is turning.

2013-09-03 How to Find Value in Real Estate With “Risk On, Risk Off” Off Again by Walter Stabell, III of Invesco Blog

Recent trends, including falling stock correlations, have been strong indicators that the global economy is normalizing and the practice of “risk on, risk off” investing, in which investors enter and exit perceived riskier investments based on how they feel about the economy, is now off again after becoming a phenomenon in the post-financial crisis years.

2013-08-31 How Do I Hate Thee? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

I will list a number of reasons why I hate this market and then suggest a few reasons why that should get you excited. We will look at some charts, and I’ll briefly comment on them. No deep dives this week, just a survey of the general landscape.

2013-08-30 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Global policy-makers increasingly at odds with one another. Foreign exchange reserves may hold key to stabilizing emerging markets. Geopolitics weigh heavily on energy markets.

2013-08-30 An American Energy Revolution by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In Texas these days, there’s a feeling of absolute and unwavering confidence in the concept of an American energy revolution. From the depths of reserves to the richness of the energy, an incredible transformation is taking place.

2013-08-29 Monthly Investment Commentary by Litman Gregory Research Team of Litman Gregory

U.S. stocks resumed their positive streak in July (after a slightly negative June). Large-cap stocks rose in three out of the four weeks and were up 5% for the month. Smaller companies generally outperformed their larger-cap counterparts. After Federal Reserve comments regarding the timing of its stimulus withdrawal upset markets in May and June (particularly the bond market), investors seemed to take comfort in the Fed’s more recent comments. Among other points, Chairman Bernanke reiterated that a decision to taper bond purchases is different from raising the federal funds rate

2013-08-29 Have Emerging Markets Gotten Oversold? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

At Templeton, we’ve repeatedly championed our value-driven philosophy by frequently buying at times others are most pessimistic. This is not easy to do, even for seasoned market veterans. During the past few months, emerging markets have been subject to such pessimism. These periods of short-term volatility are certainly not new to us, and don’t change our long-term conviction of the potential emerging markets hold.

2013-08-27 Emerging Markets Feel the Ripples of Fed Tapering by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Many Emerging Market currencies (notably those of India, Brazil and Indonesia) have been weak since the beginning of May. The declines accelerated sharply in recent weeks, leading to something approaching panic in several markets last week.

2013-08-25 France: On the Edge of the Periphery by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Charles de Gaulle said that "France cannot be France without greatness." The current path that France is on will not take it to renewed greatness but rather to insolvency and turmoil. Is France destined to be grouped with its Mediterranean peripheral cousins, or to be seen as part of the solid North Atlantic core? The world is far better off with a great France, but France can achieve greatness only by its own actions.

2013-08-24 Revisiting the USD Bull Market by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments

The USD bull market has begun with signs that the USD is transitioning to a cyclical currency. Monetary policy divergences in G4, slowing in USD diversification and a dramatic turnaround in the twin deficits, provide a strong fundamental underpinning to a USD rally going forward.

2013-08-23 Buckle Up by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Caution is warranted near-term. For investors that have a solid strategy of dollar-cost averaging into the market, we don’t recommend deviating from that path. However, for investors who are more tactical, better entry points are likely yet to come. Longer-term, we remain bullish on US equities and prefer developed international markets over emerging markets.

2013-08-22 Hot Potato: Momentum As An Investment Strategy by Ryan Larson of Research Affiliates

Investors increasingly are attracted to momentum as a key ingredient in their portfolios. But how does momentum fare as a stand-alone strategy? In this issue of Fundamentals, we look at the pros and cons of this important risk factor.

2013-08-20 A Lot Of Action In What Was Expected To Be A Quiet Week by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Most of the U.S. economic data released last week was rather ho-hum, consistent with continuing slow growth, but markets weren’t boring. Maybe markets are thin because it’s August, but the U.S. Treasury market had one of its worst weeks in a long time, and the selling spilled over into the U.S. stock market.

2013-08-19 What Triggers Would Make Japanese Equities Attractive? by Mark Jason of Invesco Blog

Through the second quarter of 2013, Japan remained Invesco International Growth Fund’s largest underweight versus the Custom International Growth Index because our EQV (earnings, quality and valuation) discipline criteria drive us toward high-quality companies at reasonable valuations, and those are scarce in Japan. Why? Because Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s success is being priced in, and overcoming two decades lost to stagnation is difficult.

2013-08-14 What Role for Emerging Markets After the Sell-Off? by Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

While history suggests that the sell-off in emerging market bonds could ultimately offer attractive buying opportunities, it is important to anchor investment decisions firmly within a forward-looking economic and market outlook. Continuing vulnerabilities in global growth suggest there is fundamental value in EM bond yields at present valuations, as interest rate hikes priced into EM yield curves are unlikely to materialize in an environment of tentative growth.

2013-08-13 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - Q2 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Asia’s emerging nations, the darling of the world economy since the 2000s, uncharacteristically slowed in the first quarter of 2013. After a decade of robust growth, many of Asia’s fast-growing economies are coming to terms with structural changes. Asian currencies, which had appreciated quite a bit over the past few years thanks to ultra-loose monetary policy in the developed world, came tumbling down at the first talk of a slowdown in the supply of cheap money.

2013-08-13 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review Q2 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Many developed economies in the Asia Pacific region rebounded during the second quarter of 2013 to post a healthy set of growth and inflation numbers. Turning on the monetary spigots during the past one year provided a major fillip to many developed Asian economies. Countries that fumbled in the wake of natural disasters in the recent past, showed marked improvement. Even those countries that were said to be suffering from structural deficiencies, too, responded well to the monetary medicine administered by their various central banks.

2013-08-13 China's Government Can't Stop the Bust by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

On a recent trip to Europe we participated in a forum in Milan of five stock picking organizations. Two were from Brazil, one was from Malaysia and one was picking stocks inside China via the Shanghai Stock Exchange. We believe what they said was an enticement to investors for the purpose of getting them excited about stocks in their country. To us, this reveals a great deal about where prices in emerging stock markets and commodities are headed over the next five to seven years.

2013-08-13 Europe's Queasy Status Quo by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The eurozone’s weaker members continue to falter, but the currency union will likely hang together. Make no mistake, though: Europe remains at the edge of crisis.

2013-08-09 Futures Markets Signal Gold Ready to Erupt by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

With gold recouping some losses in its most recent trading sessions, many are asking whether or not the bottom has finally formed for the yellow metal. Most of these gains have been simply chalked up to short-covering and dovish remarks by Bernanke during the recent Federal Open Market Committee meetings; however, there are some key indicators for gold which are overshadowed by the media hubbub. Two of them in particular are important to understand, because they reveal a renewed investment demand for physical gold over paper gold or fiat currencies.

2013-08-09 A Generational Selling Opportunity for the U.S. Long Bond by Jim O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

Because investors tend to extrapolate what their general experience in markets has been recently well into the future, it’s easy to see why investors are having a long-term love affair with bonds. Yet the data in this paper suggests that a crisis in long bonds is coming and, given this information, individual and institutional investors alike should reconsider the bond portion of their portfolios.

2013-08-08 Bond Wars by William Gross of PIMCO

Adaptation is tantamount to survival in the physical world. So argued Darwin, at least, and I am not one to argue with most science and its interpretation of natural laws. Adaptation has been critical as well for the survival of countries during wartime, incidents of which I am drawn to like a bear to honey, especially when they concern WWI. Stick with me for a few paragraphs on this the following is not likely to be boring and almost certainly should be instructive.

2013-08-08 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

To begin, let us state that we are tired of writing about macroeconomic issues. We suspect you are tired of reading about them. We would like nothing more than to send out a quarterly letter full of updates on the companies we own and the rationale for individual buy and sell decisions. Nevertheless, we must address the market action following Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s May 22nd testimony before Congress, where he merely floated the idea of “tapering” the Fed’s quantitative easing efforts.

2013-08-06 Is China the New France? by Marianne Brunet (Article)

Imagine a country that grows its economy by greatly devaluing against the reserve currency to develop a strong export sector. As the country becomes a major world power, it accumulates massive amounts of the reserve currency, and fears grow that its actions could destabilize global markets. If you think that description sounds like China today, you’re right. But it also describes France in the 1920s. Lessons from that era are instructive for those seeking to forecast China’s long-term position in the world.

2013-08-06 China's Slowdown by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past three decades, China has seen its economy grow significantly.

2013-07-31 The Context of Price by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

While the stock market has enjoyed a recent rally, some investors are experiencing some “weakness in the knees” as they continue to ascend the climb. These new all-time highs in the market compound the problem for some investors as they suffer from the recency effect, or the not-too-distant memory of significant market losses.

2013-07-30 Leuthold's Chun Wang on 10-year Rates by Chun Wang of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

So now the question is how high can it go? Just like every other market, bond yields tend to overshoot, and we think 3% is the upper bound in the short-term. However, we believe it will settle back closer to 250 bps by the end of the year.

2013-07-29 Global Economic Outlook by Team of Northern Trust

Growth is expected to improve in the United States and the United Kingdom while disappointing in Europe.

2013-07-26 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary June 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices declined appreciably on heightened investor concerns over an early withdrawal of the monetary stimulus measures in the developed world. The most recent policy statement issued by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which was more optimistic about the growth prospects for the U.S. economy, and comments by Fed officials seemed to suggest that the central bank is preparing to wind down its bond purchase program.

2013-07-19 Egypt: Stating the Obvious by Michelle Shwarzman of Invesco Blog

Although the outcome may have been viewed as a surprise by many, the ongoing economic malaise that partially fueled the revolt against and eventual ouster of Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi, was not.

2013-07-18 ASEANSeeking Further Integration by In-Bok Song of Matthews Asia

Southeast Asia is pushing ahead with an economic initiative analogous to the E.U. called the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The 10-member bloc is striving to make this partnershipwhich envisions creating a single market and production base and developing closer economic ties both within the region and the broader global economya reality by 2015. In-Bok Song, takes a look at the benefits and hurdles that may be expected in this lengthy process for further integration of such aspects as liberalized trade, investment, skilled labor and free flow of capital.

2013-07-18 What's Next for the U.S. Dollar? by Nic Pifer of Columbia Management

Global government bonds have performed poorly so far this year. Year to date through July 13, the Barclays Global Treasury Index, which covers 30 investment grade domestic government bond markets, is down 5.5% in unhedged U.S. dollar terms. The same index hedged back to U.S. dollars is down 0.6% year to date. This difference in returns highlights a key point.

2013-07-15 Investment Bulletin: Emerging Markets Equity by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

For the half year to end June the index was buffeted, falling 3.1%. In contrast, the portfolio managed a gain of 8.3%, more than 1,000 basis points better. During the month of June, the Emerging Market index was whacked by 6.4%; the portfolio’s value also fell, but by a lesser 6.2%. The relative year-to-date and longer term falls in some of the regional indices have been grim (Chart 1, p.4): for example, in the first six months of 2013, EM equities underperformed those in developed markets on a total return basis by 16%, and by 14% over the last 12 months.

2013-07-15 Mid-Year Outlook: Waiting to Move Beyond a Muddle-Through Economy by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

By focusing on current economic conditions while giving due importance to the uncertainty created by Fed actions we offer thoughts for consideration in evaluating “risk-on” investments.

2013-07-12 Even My 92- Year-Old Mom Questioned Me! by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

When I told Mom that I was buying gold bullion this week (7/8), she asked, “Are you sure you want to do that?”

2013-07-12 Global Markets at Mid-Year by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Most investors based in the U.S. are walking around thinking “the market has gone way up this year.” They are rightif they are talking about certain indexes within a big wide world of markets, including stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities. But the disparity (i.e. lack of correlation) among markets has been striking. I think that the best way to convey this to you is to simply show you how a small group of market indexes have done for the year-to-date yesterday along with brief commentary, in bullet point form.

2013-07-11 Pacific Basin Market Overview June 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Equity markets in Asia ended generally lower in the second quarter of 2013 due to concerns over the U.S. Federal Reserve’s apparent shift towards a more balanced monetary policy stance following Chairman Bernanke’s statements suggesting a “tapering” of its asset purchase program.

2013-07-10 What is Happening to Gold? by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), examines in his latest Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter the dramatic developments in the gold market over the last six months. The letter goes on to discuss the impact the Fed continues to have, and suggests that today’s valuations represent a “compelling entry point.”

2013-07-09 The Five Best New Investment Ideas: New Age Paradigms for the Post-MPT World by Bob Veres (Article)

Over the past four years, I’ve been collecting the most tangible, concrete post-Modern Portfolio Theory insights offered by professional investors.

2013-07-09 Is Now a Good Time to Buy Gold? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

No, says Russ. While Russ still believes that gold should be a part of a diversified portfolio, he explains why he advocates trimming holdings of the precious metal.

2013-07-08 Absolute Return Letter: Much Ado about Nothing by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

A 300 bps rise in bond yields across the term structure would, according to their calculations, do substantial damage to financial institutions’ balance sheets. Holders of U.S. Treasuries alone would lose in excess of $1 trillion on such a move in rates, equal to 8% of U.S. GDP. Other countries would fare even worse. Losses on JGBs would equal 35% of the Japanese GDP, effectively wiping out its banking industry in the process. Holders of U.K. bonds wouldn’t do much better, losing the equivalent of 25% of U.K. GDP.

2013-07-08 Emerging Markets Debt Remains Fundamentally Strong by Claudia Calich, Jack Deino of Invesco Blog

June’s massive bond sell-off, prompted by fears that the Federal Reserve would wind down its bond-buying program, has had a negative trickle-down effect on emerging market debt-dedicated assets, which were hit hard as part of the record $14.45 billion in outflows seen in the overall bond market for the week ending June 12.

2013-07-03 Investment Bulletin: Emerging Markets Equity by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

The portfolio performed very well in May, taking the year to date net gain to 15.0%, vs. 3.5% for the index. There were two causes for the good numbers: stock selection i.e. ignoring index weightings - and the avoidance of countries with deteriorating balance of payments and budget deficits, and with high government debt to GDP ratios, such as Hungary, Poland, India, Turkey and South Africa.

2013-07-02 Gundlach’s One-Word Explanation for June’s Decline by Robert Huebscher (Article)

According to Doubleline’s Jeffrey Gundlach, a single word explains the declines global capital markets experienced in June.

2013-07-01 "This Country is Different" by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Cyprus is a very small country, some 800,000 people. Among the leadership, everyone knows everyone. There is much to admire, as we will see. But Cyprus has had a gut-wrenching crisis, proportionately more dire than any in other European countries recently; and precedents are being established here for how future problems will be dealt with in the Eurozone and elsewhere.

2013-06-28 Riding Out Recent Volatility by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

Major central bank policy turns are naturally going to cause some market dislocations. Hasenstab says it’s pretty clear the Fed couldn’t continue printing money forever, and while some investors are panicking about what the end of the Fed’s easy money policy will mean, Fed tapering doesn’t equate to Fed tightening.

2013-06-27 Currency Wars: A Case for the U.S. Dollar by Gibson Smith, Chris Diaz of Janus Capital Group

In recent years, the U.S. dollar has tended to lose value when the global economy improves, as investors are more willing to take risks. We believe that pattern has changed and that the U.S. dollar will outperform the Japanese yen, the euro and the British pound over the medium term, even if the global economy continues to improve. In our view, current conditions justify a material deviation in currency exposure compared with certain global fixed income benchmarks, such as the Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index.

2013-06-27 ING Fixed Income Perspectives June 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Fears of Fed tapering are overblown; we expect global funding conditions to remain easy. We continue to favor the U.S. dollar and are bearish on the euro and the yen; we are cautious on EM local currencies, as volatility is likely to persist.Spreads are appealing at current levels, with higher-quality industrials offering the most attractive risk/reward.

2013-06-27 Is There Life After BRICs for Emerging Market Investors? by Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein

For more than a decade, Brazil, Russia, India and China have dominated the landscape in emerging markets. But as the BRICs-driven commodities boom wanes, investors may need to rethink their approach.

2013-06-25 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

All markets came under pressure last week (and this morning) over the dual concerns of a slowing global economy coupled with the Federal Reserve’s suggestion that things are improving and thus “tapering” might start by the end of the year.

2013-06-24 How Does the Fed's Recent Action Compare to EM Central Banks? by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments

In an interview on Bloomberg Radio with Tom Keene and Ken Prewitt, I shared my thoughts on the Fed’s recent announcement that it would continue its QE efforts for the time being. If you missed the segment, I’ve summarized that conversation here for you.

2013-06-24 The Fed Unintentionally Lays an Egg by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities declined last week as the S&P 500 ended down 2.09%.1 The S&P suffered the first back-to-back one-day declines of more than 1% since last November. Global equities and bonds were also hit hard, with large sell-offs in emerging market assets, commodities and commodity currencies. Concerns about the fallout from dampened Fed policy accommodation are driving the weakness.

2013-06-21 Asia Brief: China's Energy Demand by Edmund Harriss, James Weir of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

China has the world’s largest unconventional gas reserves, but these so far remain untapped despite its growing demand for energy. China is now trying to follow the example of the US, and the government has set aggressive targets for unconventional gas production. As the demand for transportation fuels grow over the next decade, this gas could be a major contributor to meeting that need.

2013-06-21 Outlook for the Global Bond Market by Nic Pifer of Columbia Management

The global economy continues to expand, but seems stuck on a moderate, below-trend trajectory. Lately, the story seems to be more about a growth rotation across regions than a clear-cut acceleration or deceleration at the global level. Looking to 2014, however, we still expect the global economy to accelerate to a more trend-like pace.

2013-06-21 End of Quantitative Easing Tapers Asian Returns? Part II by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

While yields have come off their historical lows in the U.S. and Asia, there is substantially more room for rates to continue to rise. In terms of credit spreads, we have seen investment grade and high yield spreads widen. We believe that spreads will have some room to widen given a repricing of risk across the globe.

2013-06-18 Fed Zombification by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

The enthusiasm of our culture for Zombies is estimated to contribute a tidy $5 billion dollar a year to GDP, and that doesn’t even include the too-big-to-die zombie banks. In my opinion, the acute interest in zombies and horror (and escapism in general) says something about our country’s mental health.

2013-06-17 Recent Volatility in the Foreign Exchange Market and the Strengthening Yen by Team of Nomura Asset Management

There are two issues underlying the increased currency market volatility; depreciation of the Yen may have resulted in worldwide competitive devaluation and concern about early tapering of quantitative easing (QE) in the U.S. appears to have triggered currency depreciation for countries that are running current account deficits.

2013-06-14 Changing Picture by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We could be in the beginning stages of an adjustment toward a more "normal" monetary policy environment, with attendant volatility. This once again illustrates the importance of diversification and focusing on long-term goals when investing. We continue to believe the US equity markets are an attractive place for assets and recommend buying on pullbacks to the extent that you need to add to equity exposure. Additionally, continue to exercise caution around fixed income allocations and focus more on the developed markets vs. EM.

2013-06-11 Crushing the Middle Class by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Like a carefully memorized religious incantation, politicians and central bankers continually stress how their stimulus policies are designed to promote the interests and prosperity of the middle class. Cynical observers may note that this brave political stance may have something to do with gaining the support of the vast majority of voters who identify themselves as "middle class." However, the cumulative effect of their economic programs has achieved the opposite.

2013-06-11 How Asia's Growth Transitions and Policy Experiments Are Shaping the Global Outlook by Ramin Toloui, Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead of PIMCO

Our view is that Chinese GDP growth will downshift, averaging 6%-7.5% for the next five years as net exports and investment are reaching their limits. In Asia, Japan is perhaps the economy closest to the “T-junction” described in PIMCO’s global secular outlook: The destination of Japan’s journey looks increasingly uncertain, with multiple potential outcomes that could stabilize or destabilize the global economy and markets.

2013-06-08 Banzai! Banzai! Banzai! by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In practice it may be harder for Japan to grow and generate inflation than it might be for other major nations. Today we’ll focus on Japanese demographics. While the letter is full of graphs and charts, it does not paint a pretty picture. The forces of deflation will not go gently into that good night.

2013-06-06 The Risk of Government Policies and the Rationing of Retirement by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

In late April, a group of leading economists and investment practitioners assembled in La Jolla, California, for Research Affiliates’ 2013 Advisory Panel. Our theme this year touched on two topics that have been front-and-center in recent public debates: the risk of government intervention and the potential rationing of retirement.

2013-06-06 June Economic Update by Justin Anderson of Cambridge Advisors

Stocks sold off on the last day of the month but still managed to finish higher in May with the large-cap S&P 500 index up 2.2% and the small-cap Russell 2000 up 4.0%. International stocks finished the month lower with the MSCI EAFE index down -2.9%. Bond prices came under significant pressure as yields rose after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke hinted that Quantitative Easing may be tapered off sooner than the market expected. The 10-Year US Treasury Yield rose sharply to end the month at 2.16%.

2013-06-05 Will Green Shoots Flourish in U.S. and Latin America? by Josh Thimons, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

The US economy is much further along the road to repair relative to its developed market peers, but it is still dealing with an unsustainable fiscal situation. Latin America is closely coupled to the rest of the world. What happens in the U.S., China and Europe over the secular horizon is especially critical. Our secular investment outlook calls for a more defensive posture toward risk. In U.S. fixed income, this suggests positioning for alpha rather than capital appreciation.

2013-06-04 Vincent Reinhart on Debt and Growth in the U.S. and Japan by Robert Huebscher (Article)

High debt levels translate to slower growth, according to Vincent Reinhart. That conclusion will be disheartening to those who jumped on the errors several University of Massachusetts scholars found last month in Carmen Reinhart (Vincent’s wife) and Ken Rogoff’s research. But Vincent Reinhart is the author, along with his wife and Rogoff, of a study published in 2012 that documented the degree to which high debt-to-GDP levels correlate with slower economic growth in developed countries.

2013-06-04 The Gold Bull vs The Paper Tiger by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

That’s all, folks. One look at the headlines will tell you the gold bull market is officially over: the stock market is booming, a modest recovery of the US economy is underway, and the dollar is dominating the forex. Time to sell your bullion and get back into US stocks!

2013-06-03 Is Volatility Dead? Hardly. by Paresh Upadhyaya, Michael Temple of Pioneer Investments

Certain pundits suggest we have entered a new volatility regime that volatility has been tamed by the massive amount of liquidity injected into worldwide capital markets by very accommodative central banks. We take a different view. While volatility has been declining across many asset classes, it is creeping into several that may have escaped some investors’ attention.

2013-06-01 Central Bankers Gone Wild by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

For the last two weeks we have focused on the problems facing Japan, and such is the importance of Japan to the world economy that this week we will once again turn to the Land of the Rising Sun. I will try to summarize the situation facing the Japanese. This is critical to understand, because they are determined to share their problems with the world, and we will have no choice but to deal with them. Japan is going to affect your economy and your investments, no matter where you live; Japan is that important.

2013-05-30 Understanding Gold Market Dynamics by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

To an extent that reveals a thorough misunderstanding of the market forces, the financial media has failed to consider the different motivations and beliefs that drive the different types of investors who are active in the gold market. By treating the gold market as if it were comprised of just one type of investor, analysts have drawn false conclusions about the recent volatility.

2013-05-30 Global DC Plans: Similar Destinations, Distinctly Different Paths by Stacy Schaus, William G. S. Allport, Justin Blesy of PIMCO

DC plans in in the U.S., Australia and the U.K. may benefit from better aligning asset allocation defaults to workers’ needed outcome: purchasing power in retirement. Focusing on needed outcomes would suggest a higher allocation to real assets, earlier de-risking and consideration of tail risk hedging.

2013-05-29 Outlook on the Japanese Equity Market by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The Nikkei Stock Average closed 128 points higher, or 0.9%, to close the week at 14,612 following the dramatic 7.3% sell-off on Thursday, May 23, 2013. The Tokyo Stock Price Index (TOPIX) also added 6 points, or 0.5%, to 1,194, following a 6.9% sell-off on Thursday, May 23rd.

2013-05-25 The Mother of All Painted-In Corners by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Japan has painted itself into the mother all corners. There will be no clean or easy exit. There is going to be massive economic pain as they the Japanese try and find a way out of their problems, and sadly, the pain will not be confined to Japan. This will be the true test of the theories of neo-Keynesianism writ large. Japan is going to print and monetize and spend more than almost any observer can currently imagine. You like what Paul Krugman prescribes? You think he makes sense? You (we all!) are going to be participants in a real-world experiment on how that works out.

2013-05-24 The Biggest Loser Wins by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific

While the world’s economies jockey one another for the lead in the currency devaluation derby, it’s worth considering the value of the prize they are seeking. They believe a weak currency opens the door to trade dominance, by allowing manufacturers to undercut foreign rivals, and to economic growth, by fighting deflation. On the other side of the coin, they believe a strong currency is an economic albatross that leads to stagnation. But the demonstrable effects of currency strength and weakness reveal the emptiness of their theory.

2013-05-22 The Benefits of Diversifying the Funding of a Gold Position by Team of AdvisorShares

The recent sell off in gold has sharpened the focus of even the most committed gold bugs, and has highlighted one of the key risks that many investors face when they access the gold market. Do you purchase Gold in dollar terms or something else? How do you look at Gold, as a currency or something else? For the purposes of this analysis, Treesdale Partners took a look at a gold transaction in foreign exchange terms.

2013-05-21 Measuring the Cost of Socially Responsible Investing by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

Quite apart from its motivations, the consequences of socially responsible investing have intrigued analysts. The actual results, as distinct from the desired results, cannot be taken for granted. Mark Kritzman has written about the subject, but his research was little noticed until recently, when SRI achieved renewed prominence in the form of popular demands that institutional portfolios divest themselves of investments in fossil-fuel companies. Kritzman’s point, and the conclusion of his analysis, is that SRI, properly understood, incurs a cost to the portfolio.

2013-05-20 Global Real Estate Is Hot Again, but Where Are the Best Opportunities? by Joe Rodriguez of Invesco

In this low interest rate environment, yield-hungry investors have been moving out of bonds, and many are opting for real estate investment opportunities. Combine that with a structural undersupply of institutional quality real estate in many key cities across the globe, and an attractive case for investment starts to emerge. Here’s where we see the most attractive and promising opportunities by region this year.

2013-05-18 All Japan, All the Time by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week we again focus on Japan. Their stock market has been on a tear, and their economy grew 3.5% last quarter. Is Abenomics really the answer to all their problems? Is it just a matter of turning the monetary dial a little higher and voila, there is growth? Why doesn’t everyone try that? And what would happen if they did?

2013-05-17 Finding Opportunity Far and Near by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Would it surprise you to learn that a vast majority of equity valuation models state that stocks should head much higher over the next five years?

2013-05-15 Yen Weakness: Buffett's "Shot Heard Round the World'" by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We returned recently from the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Conference. The most exciting and profound comment to us was what Warren Buffett said about the unprecedented actions the last three years by the Federal Reserve Board. Buffett was asked about the risks of the Federal Reserve’s current plan to buy Treasuries to keep interest rates very low.

2013-05-15 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Pacific Basin equity markets continued to rally in April, led by Japan where the central bank announced that it intends to double the monetary base and inject liquidity into the markets. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 4.9% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.6% higher in April. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)

2013-05-14 Is Kyle Bass Wrong About Japan? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

It’s standard practice for short sellers to kick dirt on their targets, and Kyle Bass is doing just that by asserting that Japan’s economy is on the verge of a financial crisis. In a talk on May 3, he said that Japan’s demise is imminent. So far, though, Bass has been wrong ? and he has his detractors, who are far less certain of Japan’s destiny.

2013-05-14 Nassim Taleb on the Anti-Fragile Portfolio and the Benefits of Taking Risks by Ben Huebscher (Article)

As we recover from the most recent financial crisis, how we can we learn from the mistakes to best prepare for the future? Nassim Taleb tackled this very question in his latest book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, which built off his previous works and applies the lessons learned to today’s biggest challenges. Taleb examined how small doses of volatility can help systems handle larger disruptors in the future.

2013-05-14 New Normal ... Morphing by Mohamed El-Erian of PIMCO

The New Normal has morphed to include consequential elements of a "stable disequilibrium." In the midst of notable multi-speed dynamics, the global economy as a whole is muddling along a road that will give way over the next three to five years to one of two stark alternatives: either sustainable global growth, institutional and political renewal in the West and safe deleveraging; or growth shortfalls that cause financial instability, fuel greater social tensions, accentuate political dysfunctions and complicate debt traps.

2013-05-13 Tenuous Times? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

US stocks continue to make new highs, yet commodities have struggled and Treasury yields remain low, albeit up from recent near-record lows. Although not the standard playbook, we remain optimistic but acknowledge an equity pullback can occur at any time. Manufacturing data has been soft, the employment picture is mixed, and housing continues to improve. The European Central Bank (ECB) has joined the easing arty, illustrating the continued disappointments coming out of the eurozone.

2013-05-10 2013 US Financial Markets: Part 2 - The TINA Hypothesis by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

Contrary to the “Bernanke Illusion” (money market funds are a zero return investment), history indicates that money market funds are likely to provide investors with returns approximating inflation over the next decade. As I pointed out in our last letter, the markets are pricing in inflation levels significantly higher than the prospective total returns of 10 year TBonds. The small additional return achieved by corporate bonds or US stocks (at current prices) is unlikely to compensate a buy and hold investor with sufficient gains to justify the interim risks.

2013-05-08 Screaming “Bear Market Rally" by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

In the summer of 2009, I was a regular guest on CNBC shows like “Larry Kudlow”. We believe we were invited to participate in those panel discussions because we were the token “bull” in the conversation and I am obnoxious enough to state my piece against significant mental and verbal opposition. The US stock market had bottomed in March of 2009 and rallied explosively into the late spring and early summer. What reminded me of this is the news coverage and expert reaction to the recent collapse in commodity prices, especially gold and corn.

2013-05-07 Why Did Gold Prices Fall So Sharply? by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments

April’s sharp decline in gold got people’s attention. Plunging from $1,561 to $1,347/oz on April 12 and 15, it was a staggering decline of 13.7% the biggest 2-day drop since 1983. Is anything significant going on behind the scenes? We believe this price action is not a new phenomenon for gold, but a continuation of a much bigger trend that has been in place since the third quarter of 2011.

2013-05-07 Global Bonds: A Flexible Solution for an Uncertain Market by Olivia Albrecht, Michael Story of PIMCO

The recent rallies in both safe-haven and risk assets have left many investors in a quandary. We believe alpha, or above-market return, will have to play a greater role for investors seeking to meet return targets. In our view, the current environment affords many opportunities for generating alpha.

2013-05-06 Dispelling Dollar Doubts by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Will the U.S. dollar, almighty no longer, be supplanted as the world’s reserve currency? Not anytime soon.

2013-05-02 The Great Gold Redemption by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

The most puzzling part of the investment business is seeing how the vast and largely economically illiterate masses interpret any given piece of news. Take the recent gold selloff: many large players were motivated to sell by news that Cyprus will have to liquidate its gold stockpiles to pay off acute debt obligations. But just a moment’s reflection shows this reaction to be knee-jerk. The real story behind Cyprus’ deal has much more profound ramifications - and they are positive for gold.

2013-04-30 Stockman to America: Sinners, Repent! by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

In a massive volume that melds economic history and social criticism, the former Reagan administration budget director David Stockman has documented countless ways in which America went astray over the last century. Most notably, he decried the corruption of free-market capitalism by those seeking effortless profits at the public’s expense. This is the source of his book’s title, The Great Deformation.

2013-04-29 Economic Slowdown Has Not Weakened Share Prices by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities rebounded last week as the S&P 500 increased by nearly 1.8%,1 despite continued weak economic data. We believe recent data is not yet weak enough to change forecasts. The relative stability of data and forecasts - supported by stimulative monetary policies, an improving U.S. housing market and fading political polarization in the U.S. and Europe - sends a message of reasonably low volatility and manageable downside risks.

2013-04-26 The Return of the Asian Tigers: Guinness Atkinson Asset Management Asia Brief by Edmund Harriss, James Weir of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

Often overlooked by international investors, South East Asia encompasses some of the world’s best performing equity markets in recent years, putting the more established emerging markets in the shade. This performance is backed by good economic results and the favourable demographics of some of these countries, with youthful populations ready to improve productivity and increase consumption. One catalyst for future growth is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) free trade area, which will bring down trade barriers between the South East Asian nations.

2013-04-26 Financial Repression: Why It Matters by Shane Sheperd of Research Affiliates

Financial repression refers to a set of governmental policies that keep real interest rates low or negative, with the unstated intention of generating cheap funding for government spending. The ramifications of these policies will be measured in decades, not years.

2013-04-25 The End of “Expansionary Austerity?” by Scott Brown of Raymond James

A few years ago, an economic paper by Harvard professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff helped fuel the push for austerity. It was met with some criticism from economists, but was widely embraced by the press and by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. The study has now been demonstrated to have had serious flaws, but will those in power fold? Or will they double down on bad economic policy?

2013-04-24 Europe's Sovereign Debt Problem: A Call for a Clear Destination by Andrew Bosomworth, John Henning Fock of PIMCO

Without political commitment to a common fiscal destination, the long-term instability and market distortions within Europe’s capital markets are likely to intensify. To preserve the euro, the eurozone must develop federal fiscal policies that tackle significant economic, cultural and societal differences and define a credible roadmap to achieving structural reforms, a banking union, political union and fiscal union. Historical precedents in Europe may help guide the way.

2013-04-24 Growth From the Ground up in Iskandar by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Our emerging markets team isn’t too keen on following crowds. Part and parcel of Templeton’s contrarian approach is traveling to places others aren’t, and thinking about the long-term potential in specific industries and companies that may not be on others’ radar screens. One place we’ve had our eye on for several years now is Iskandar, Malaysia, which has recently been attracting more investor attention. I think it could be viewed as an example of the potential we see in Southeast Asia.

2013-04-23 The New Challenges to Reinhart and Rogoff by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Advocates for debt reduction and austerity have had no more authoritative sources than Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff. But last week, these two professors had to defend claims that errors in their research ? ranging from a typo in a spreadsheet to the failure to include data from New Zealand ? invalidated their much-acclaimed findings.

2013-04-22 The Endgame is Forced Liquidation by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Rule o’ Thumb: When the cover of a major financial magazine features a cartoon of a bull leaping through the air on a pogo stick, it’s probably about time to cash in the chips.

2013-04-19 Japan Steps into the Void by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In the years following the global financial crisis, economists and investors have gotten very comfortable with very high, and seemingly persistent, government debt. The nonchalance may be underpinned by the assumption that globally significant countries that can print their own currencies can’t get trapped in a sovereign debt crisis. However, it now appears that Japan is preparing to put this confidence to the ultimate stress test.

2013-04-18 The Lure of Hedge Funds by John West of Research Affiliates

Investors often buy what they think is exciting, sophisticated, and complex with the embedded assumption that all of these attributes will lead to greater returns. We see this today where we witness the continued explosive growth of hedge funds. But, a careful examination of the data reveals that these fancy lures fail to hook as much in excess, after-fee returns as more time tested strategies.

2013-04-18 Emerging Markets Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

The benefits of focusing on attractively priced, well managed and growing businesses, irrespective of their inclusion in an index, continued to aid fund performance. Thus it was virtually flat in March, capping a strong quarter in absolute and relative terms with a gain of over 10%, again beating the 5% gain by the index. These - achieved through a combination of a valuation discipline that sets the entry and exit prices and the focus on quality businesses. Not surprisingly, stock selection has been a consistent factor behind the outperformance, both this year and previously.

2013-04-18 Inflation and Interest Rates by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The Federal Reserve began its first asset purchase program in the fall of 2008, during the depth of the financial panic. Some observers feared that the Fed’s actions would fuel higher inflation. However, the Fed is now well along in its third asset purchase program and inflation (as measured by the PCE Price Index) has remained low. In fact, Fed officials expect that inflation will trend at or below the 2% target for the next couple of years. That hasn’t stopped the inflation worrywarts from predicting that inflation is still “just around the corner.”

2013-04-17 Hyperactive Monetary Policy: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by Lupin Rahman, Mohit Mittal, Josh Thimons of PIMCO

Hyperactive monetary policy (HMP) is in full force as fiscal policy retreats. The benefits of HMP outweigh the costs for now. Despite cyclical growth, we will likely not achieve escape velocity and eventually the costs will likely overtake the benefits.

2013-04-17 What's Driving Emerging Markets? by James McDonald, Daniel Phillips, Phillip Grant of Northern Trust

Emerging market (EM) equities have historically outperformed as the global economy gained momentum, as shown in Exhibit 1. After a great catch-up rally in the second half of 2012, the stocks finished the year as global outperformers only to lose that momentum in the first quarter of 2013. What is behind the recent underperformance, and what does it say about the outlook? Our research points to a number of contributors to the recent weakness.

2013-04-16 Gold in the Crosshairs by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In the opening years of the last decade, most mainstream investors sat on the sidelines while "tin hat" goldbugs rode the bull market from below $300 to just over $1,000 per ounce. But following the 2008 financial crisis, when gold held up better than stocks during the decline and made new record highs long before the Dow Jones fully recovered, Wall Street finally sat up and took notice.

2013-04-16 The Asian Economic Crisis and the IMF by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In May 1997, a speculative run against the Thai baht became the first clear signal that a problem was developing in Asia. Over the next three years, Asia and other emerging markets, including Russia and Brazil, were rocked by a historic financial crisis. These nations recovered strongly in the following eight years and generally made it through the 2007-09 global financial crisis in relatively good shape. However, the impact of the Asian economic crisis remains a major factor in the behavior of these emerging nations.

2013-04-15 Is Gold Signaling a Secular Bull Market in Common Stocks? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

Gold is an asset that some people love to hate. Intelligent investors, however, should keep an open mind toward the shiny metal and the message it conveys.

2013-04-12 The Bank of Japan Pulls All the Stops by Raymund Uy of Invesco

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) surprised the markets by announcing a particularly aggressive round of quantitative easing (QE) designed to rid the Japanese economy of its persistent deflation. The new policy was unexpected not only in the size of the asset purchases announced, but also in the types of securities to be purchased and their maturity.

2013-04-11 The Ripple Effect of Abenomics by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Monetary policy in Japan will continue to drive investors in that country to overseas markets, which will affect global asset prices and bond yields.

2013-04-11 Global Investing in 2013: Policy Dominance, Active Management and a New Paradigm in Currencies by Scott Mather of PIMCO

We expect that the impact of ongoing global policy experimentalism on real economic growth and financial markets will likely vary substantially from country to country, creating both risks and opportunities. With flexible, active global strategies investors can potentially benefit from a broader opportunity set and the ability to go off benchmark in an effort to both avoid risks and tap opportunities.

2013-04-09 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for Asia: How Leadership Changes Are Shaping Asia's Outlook by Q&A with Ramin Toloui, Tomoya Masanao and Robert Mead of PIMCO

For Asia, “slow but not slowing” global growth will likely keep external demand neutral, and policy developments will therefore help shape the economic outlook. In Japan, we see a significant boost to aggregate demand coming from the concerted monetary and fiscal expansion of the new Abe government. In China, concerns about inflation, housing market excesses, and long-term financial stability are prompting policy restraint that should keep growth below 8% this year.

2013-04-08 Cypriot Chaos Assists EU Centralization by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Remarks by members of the European Union’s elite suggesting that banking deposit seizures may become standard practice appear to have heightened the risk of a European bank run and perhaps even a catastrophic collapse of the euro. Any threat to the euro is a threat to the European public’s conception of the Union’s manifest destiny. As such, I believe members of the EU elite may be purposefully leveraging the crisis to push for a centralized European banking system to cement the political framework of an EU superstate.

2013-04-05 Every Gold Coin Has Two Sides by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Just as every coin has two sides, every data point that doesn’t meet expectations usually has an upside somewhere. For instance, although the gold price has fallen with the strengthening U.S. dollar, the yellow metal is appreciating in Japanese yen. So when negative news about the economy came out this week, along with the U.S. Labor Department reporting that the country added only 88,000 jobs in March, investors found reasons to be encouraged.

2013-04-02 Bernanke’s Motives Behind Quantitative Easing by Paul Franchi (Article)

We are at a turning point: away from one global monetary standard, to a yet-to-be-determined new form.

2013-04-02 Cypriots In The Streets by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

The news of the month comes from the large Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where Keynesian economic planning left the economy facing complete bankruptcy. The result was an unprecedented step forward in the financial collapse of the West: direct forfeiture of bank deposits. Despite official protestations to the contrary, this fallout will spread to a bank near you.

2013-04-01 Again and Again. by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

My work has always been predicated upon using quantitative modifiers to enhance portfolio value through greater efficiency of information processing and the creation of momentum-driven asset allocation models. But because so many investors quizzically suffer from a herd mentality, they find it difficult to digest common sense solutions to diffuse problems. And yet, our methodology and its consistent point of view has enabled clients to benefit without compromising investment expectations.

2013-04-01 Currency and Emerging Markets: What Can We Expect? by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments

Currency markets are making headlines again after taking a low profile amid the crises and the turmoil in financial markets of the last five years or so. I asked Greg Saichin, Head of High Yield and Emerging Markets Fixed Income Portfolio Management here at Pioneer, to provide his views about what is going on, and what he sees as the drivers of investment flows into emerging markets.

2013-03-28 Emerging Markets Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

The increases in the portfolio’s net asset value continue easily to beat the hardly exacting returns from the index. The fund has gained 10.4% gross for the year to date (to 22 March), vs. a 3.0% rise for the MSCI Emerging Index. This outperformance (replicated over rolling 1- and 3-year periods) has been achieved by choosing investments irrespective of index country or sector weightings or where they are listed, so long as they derive the majority of income and profits from developing countries.

2013-03-28 Whatever It Takes in Japan? It Takes an 'Audacious' Monetary Policy! by Richard Clarida and Tomoya Masanao of PIMCO

The BOJ will have to make some key monetary policy decisions soon, given Kuroda’s sincere but ambitious desire to achieve 2% inflation within two years. The BOJ has lagged far behind other major central banks in the deployment of its balance sheet since the onset of the financial crisis. Expect Japan’s monetary policy to be more aggressive and experimental as it shifts toward reflating the economy. For global investors, this may mean a modest economic growth contribution from Japan, at least over a cyclical horizon, as well as additional central bank liquidity pouring into global m

2013-03-26 Currencies in a Race to Debase by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Since the start of the year, investors have seen rapid shifts of sentiment in currency markets. The debasement that for so long was assumed to be a purely Western phenomenon is beginning to impact countries globally, driving changes in expected returns and growth prospects.

2013-03-26 North Korea's Problem by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In December, North Korea launched a satellite into orbit, which was a violation of U.N. resolutions against ballistic missile tests. Last month, it carried out its third nuclear test, which was apparently more successful than the previous two attempts. The U.N., with Chinese approval, approved additional sanctions on the regime.

2013-03-22 ING Fixed Income Perspectives March 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Developed sovereigns are still broadly unattractive, but global central banks appear poised to ease. We prefer EM currencies that will continue to benefit from positive global growth and tolerate further upward pressure on the U.S.

2013-03-19 Rising Political Risk and Ongoing Economic Weakness Challenge a Difficult Journey to Recovery by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

Looking ahead, it will continue to be a very bumpy journey as we anticipate economic contraction in the eurozone by -0.75% to -1.25% over the next year, hampered by growing political risk and fiscal tightening. Although we expect the pace of contraction in the eurozone to diminish over 2013, the duration of the recession is likely to be longer than consensus forecasts.

2013-03-18 And That’s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Move over Dow Jones, here comes the S&P. What few thought possible a year ago is coming to fruition as the major indexes continue to push toward record territory. The S&P 500 is close (but no cigar) to besting its personal high set in late 2007, before this whole banking mess emerged and sent equities into a tailspin. Confident investors seemed to be overlooking the numerous concerns (budget/sequester, payroll taxes, Europe, China) so they can participate in the record run.

2013-03-18 Don’t Forget About Emerging Market Equities by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While emerging market stocks are underperforming US stocks, Russ explains why longer-term investors may want to give EM markets another look.

2013-03-18 Currencies: A 1970s Flashback? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Four decades ago, a currency war and significant Fed easing were followed by a bout of high inflation. Now investors are worried that history could repeat itself.

2013-03-14 Global Currency Battles: A Waiting Disaster or a Win for All? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

To many, Japan’s recent moves to devalue the yen looked like the spark that could ignite a global currency war -- a series of competitive devaluations that, last century, helped plunge the world into the Great Depression. Until now, central bankers have been resisting the urge to politicize exchange rates. However, while currency skirmishes can be dangerous and require monitoring, they are also necessary for establishing equilibrium in markets and will help in the global economic recovery, some experts say.

2013-03-08 Spasmodic Stupidity: The Wile E. Coyote Congress by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

I predict the Ides of March will find us in a continued sequestration, and Congress will use the time between now and the debt ceiling deadline on March 27th to debate the merits of true tax reform as opposed to governing by crisis. In the end, though, the reform conversation will revert to governance by crisis, with another stop-gap measure to avoid government shutdown during Holy Week and Easter, which will tide us over to the elections of 2014. Do you expect any different?

2013-03-06 A New Yen for Japan by Team of Janus Capital Group

In Japan, a little inflation could go quite a long way. After stepping down six years ago, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned in November with a platform promising to put an end to the deflationary cycles that have plagued Japan for decades.

2013-03-05 What Economists can Learn from Downton Abbey by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Economists warn that the U.S. economy could be heading toward one of two catastrophes: the two-decade long stagnation that has befallen Japan, or the hyperinflation that struck Zimbabwe and the Weimar Republic. Such cautionary tales alert policymakers to the failed efforts of their predecessors. But the most relevant comparison is rarely cited ? to Great Britain in the 1920s, as depicted in the highly popular PBS series Downton Abbey.

2013-03-05 Currencies: The Winds of War by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

In this conflict, the collateral damage could include asset bubbles and accelerating inflation.

2013-03-01 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

With the battle over sequestration going on in Washington, the President has made it clear he wants to raise more revenue. Just what does he have in mind? First, he would like to limit itemized deductions beginning at the 28% tax bracket. This means that taxpayers in the top three brackets would lose some of the benefit of their itemized deductions. Of course, these deductions have a phase out, so the effect may not be as great as is perceived.

2013-02-27 ING Fixed Income Perspectives February 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Despite its diminutive size, February has been a whirlwind. Eat and drink too much on Fat Tuesday, be reminded of our corporeal nature on Ash Wednesday, receive a sappy Hallmark card on Thursday, and cap it all off with a memorial for a bunch of ex-presidents on Monday. Unfortunately, the next several weeks don't appear to offer any relief from this calendar whiplash.

2013-02-27 Singapore A Wise Owl Among Currency Snakes by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

As China enters the "Year of the Snake," Singapore stands as a beacon of sound currency in a world gone mad. China's renminbi remains pegged to the US dollar, while even steadfast Switzerland has followed the US, UK, EU, and Japan into an impoverishing strategy of currency debasement. Singapore, alone, has been able to sustain genuine economic growth in the context of a strong national currency.

2013-02-26 Global Investment Review First Quarter 2013 by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

At the beginning of last year the prospects for capital markets were grim yet the results surprisingly good: positive returns and modest economic growth. The cause was central banks in developed countries acting as a backstop for sovereign and other large debts, through direct purchasing funded by accelerated money printing. This also ensured low interest rates. Subsequently, mountainous debt problems are slowly being tackled, even as they appear to increase.

2013-02-26 A Permanent Investment by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The Buying Power, and Selling Pressure, indicators continue to suggest no major top is in the works. Ditto the Advance/Decline line traded to a new high before the mid-week pullback, also confirming the upside. The major averages continue to reside above their respect 50-DMAs and 200-DMAs; and, those moving averages are rising, another bullish sign. Then there is Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A/$152,009/Not Covered), which is somewhat of a proxy for the stock market, as it traded to a new all-time last Friday.

2013-02-20 Trying And Failing To Make The Math Work For Long-Term Bonds by Doug Ramsey, Eric Weigel of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

For the past 31 1/2 years, owners of 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds have earned "real" total returns of 6.7%on par with the long-term real return to equities. Long before government bonds matched real stock returns, they suffered a 55-year period that offered investors a real return of zero. The short-term implications of higher U.S. Treasury rates on asset allocation decisions.

2013-02-20 Nervous Investors Approaching a Trap? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

With the S&P 500 reaching new post-crash highs, it is interesting, to say the least, that most individual investors are not bullish on stocks. Rather, as the market has moved relentlessly higher this year, individual investors have turned more and more bearish.

2013-02-20 Whatever It Takes by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Was it only a few years ago I visited the Emerald Isle of Ireland? The collapse of its largest banks foreshadowed the demise of many other European banks that had borrowed money from British, German, and other European banks to lend against homes and property. The Irish government had to guarantee deposits and bond holders in order to prevent a bank run. I think I am correct when I state that the Central Bank of Ireland was the first central bank to avail itself of large-scale use of the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) provision of the European Central Bank.

2013-02-19 Kyle Bass on Inflation and How to Protect Against It by Mark Quam (Article)

Kyle Bass, the founder of Hayman Capital, foresaw the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage bond market in 2008 and the foreign sovereign debt crisis in Greece. Bass' latest warning is about looming Inflation ? and he advises how to protect against it.

2013-02-19 The Pound Gets Pounded by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

As the global currency war intensifies, the majority of attention has been paid to the 17% fall of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar over the past few months. The implosion has given cover to the sad performance of another once mighty currency: the British pound sterling. But in many ways the travails of the pound is far more instructive to those pondering the fate of the U.S. currency.

2013-02-19 On Competitive Devaluations by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Aggressive monetary policy moves in recent years have been accompanied by a growing fear of a currency war. In a currency war, or competitive devaluation, countries attempt to weaken their currencies to boost exports, but each devaluation leads to counter devaluations. That's not what's going on now. However, whether a country is purposely devaluing its currency or is merely pursuing accommodative monetary policy is irrelevant, the consequences are the same. The recent meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bankers highlights the lack of coherent policies to boost growth.

2013-02-15 International Equity Commentary January 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices sustained the uptrend in January, helped by data releases that supported the growing optimism over healthier global economic growth. Though the U.S. and U.K. economies declined unexpectedly during the fourth quarter of last year, the pace of growth improved in several Asian countries, including China, during the period.

2013-02-15 Hyperinflations, Hysteria, and False Memories by James Montier of GMO

In the past, Ive admitted to macroeconomics being one of my dark, guilty pleasures. To some value investors this seems like heresy, as Marty Whitman1 once wrote, Graham and Dodd view macro factors...as crucial to the analysis of a corporate security. Value investors, however, believe that macro factors are irrelevant. I am clearly a Graham and Doddite on this measure (and most others as well).

2013-02-14 Emerging Markets Consolidate After Last Year's Gains by Team of Thomas White International

After the strong relative performance towards the end of last year, emerging market equities settled with moderate gains during the month of January as global investor sentiment remained optimistic. Global economic data continue to be mostly positive, sustaining the trend from the second half of last year.

2013-02-13 Concerned by Recent Economic Data? Look Closer by Marco Pirondini of Pioneer Investments

We've seen a lot of GDP data recently that, at first look, may seem a bit concerning. But if we take a moment for analysis, much of the news is actually good for the economy and the markets.

2013-02-08 Unconventional Policies and Capital Flows by Ben Emons of PIMCO

Although quantitative easing has grabbed the headlines, a number of central banks around the world have enacted other extraordinary measures in attempts to manage their economies. The Swiss National Bank (SNB), for example, adopted an exchange rate peg versus the euro while increasing its foreign exchange reserves to almost 80% of Swiss GDP.

2013-02-08 World War C: Neosho Capital On The Currency War by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

This summer, Brad Pitt will star in a new film called "World War Z", an action-horror film about a post-zombie apocalypse Earth, hence the "Z" in the title. Zombie films are not our cup of tea at Neosho (we thought the genre was dead), so it is debatable whether we will see this film, but one thing is clear to us, we are perched on the precipice of "World War C", where "C" stands for "currency".

2013-02-06 Focus on Fixed Income by Steve Van Order of Calvert Investment Management

Last week Administration officials, including the President, clearly ruled out using extraordinary legal measures to avoid defaulting on Treasurys financial obligations in the absence of a debt ceiling hike by Congress. The two legal measures most discussed, going back to the summer 2011, were invoking the 14th Amendment and minting a trillion dollar platinum coin. The coin idea was dismissed as Fed officials commented that the central bank would not honor the coin as a deposit, and the amendment idea has been shelved a number of times.

2013-02-05 Currency War or Something Altogether Different? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

"Who is afraid of currency wars?" asks Gavyn Davies in the FT. I have known Gavyn for 25 years and have to confess that he is way out of my league intellectually. He is one of the smartest people I have ever met and, thankfully, also one of the humblest. He rarely gets things wrong so, when I occasionally disagree with him, it always makes me slightly uneasy.

2013-02-04 Shifting Sentiment? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Is investor sentiment shifting in favor of equities, which could help to continue the recent rally?

2013-02-01 Crystallization at Davos by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The euphoria among my fellow Davos attendees was palpable, but short and long-term risks for the world's advanced economies, including competitive currency devaluation, remain concerning.

2013-02-01 The Biggest Loser by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

For the past few generations Switzerland has enjoyed some of the strongest economic fundamentals in the world. The country boasts a high savings rate, low taxes, strong exports, low debt-to-GDP, balanced government budgets, and prior to a few years ago one of the most responsible monetary policies in the world. These attributes made the Swiss franc one of the world's "safe haven" currencies. But in today's global economy, no good deed goes unpunished.

2013-02-01 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

Is the world engaged in a currency war? Januarys job report had some pleasant surprises, but more progress is needed. Purchasing managers surveys suggest growth in the US, retreat for Europe

2013-01-31 Hasenstab: Little Value in U.S. Treasuries Right Now by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

The financial markets may have let out a collective sigh of relief on January 1 when U.S. politicians managed to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff, but the fact is the fundamental issue plaguing the U.S. still hasn't been addressed mounting debt. As a result, Dr. Michael Hasenstab, co-director of the International Bond Department and portfolio manager for the Templeton Global Bond Fund, says he doesn't see much value in U.S. Treasuries right now. He does see it elsewhere in the world, though, including Ireland and select emerging markets where fiscal houses appear in much better order.

2013-01-31 Credit Supernova! by Bill Gross of PIMCO

They say that time is money. What they don't say is that money may be running out of time. There may be a natural evolution to our fractionally reserved credit system which characterizes modern global finance. Much like the universe, which began with a big bang nearly 14 billion years ago, but is expanding so rapidly that scientists predict it will all end in a "big freeze" trillions of years from now, our current monetary system seems to require perpetual expansion to maintain its existence.

2013-01-31 Elliott's Paul Singer On How Money Is Created ... And How It Dies by Team of TimeCapital

When we launched our series into the US Shadow Banking system in the summer of 2010 we had one simple objective: to demonstrate just how little the process of modern (and by modern we mean circa 2004 not 1981) money creation was understood.

2013-01-30 Expanding Horizons: The Most Difficult Environment for Generating Income in 140 Years by Ehren Stanhope, Travis Fairchild of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

In the most difficult environment for generating income in 140 years, we survey the landscape of income-generating options, review lessons from the previous bond Bear Market, and demonstrate why we believe global, dividend-paying equities deserve a prominent role in investor portfolios.

2013-01-29 Strategies for Speculating on the Crisis in Japan by Simit Patel (Article)

Bears on Japan are finally, after nearly two decades of being on the wrong side of the market, getting some vindication. The end of 2012 was marked by a significant decline in the Japanese yen and a rise in the yield on 30-year Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs). Should those trends continue, the conventional wisdom is that investors will do best by shorting JGBs. But a superior strategy is to short the yen itself.

2013-01-29 In Japan We Trust by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

In fewer than 60 days, one country has made a splash larger than all the others. No, we are not referring to the US, where Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term. Nor are we referring to China's recent transition of power. Instead, the country we reference is Japan. After decades of malaise, Japanese officials moved to embrace policies previously only accepted by Western officials.

2013-01-28 Capitulation Everywhere by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The bears are gone, extinct, vanished. Among the ones remaining, many are people whom even I would consider to be either permabears or nut-cases. And yet, the historical evidence for major defensiveness has rarely been stronger.

2013-01-28 Conflicted Objectives by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Policymakers in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and elsewhere all seek to weaken their currencies to stimulate exports and domestic growth. It is not possible for all of them to succeed, since some currencies must rise in value, if others decline. Although their individual objectives may be in conflict, their efforts are actually mutually supportive. As each country runs an accommodative monetary policy to weaken its currency, they are also simultaneously promoting stronger domestic growth directly. Indirectly, they are also stimulating demand for their trading partners.

2013-01-24 Beggar Thy Currency Or Thy Self? by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

One need not be an economist to figure out that, while all currencies can depreciate against something else (like gold, land, and other real assets), by definition they cannot all depreciate against each other. Yet, when push comes to shove, country after country is being dragged into a negative dynamic of competitive depreciation.

2013-01-24 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia Pacific economies showed strong signals of a rebound in economic activity amidst generally rising exports and stabilizing inflation. While some major economies like China, which had cut interest rates throughout 2012 to stimulate the economy, saw a mild resurgence in inflation, many countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Philippines saw inflation stabilize significantly during the quarter. Still, India, the region's second largest economy, continued to be troubled by rising prices despite high interest rates.

2013-01-23 PIMCO's Secular Forum Preview by Mohamed El-Erian of PIMCO

It is almost time again for PIMCO's Secular Forum a critical part of the firm's investment process. This annual event, which takes place each May, brings together our investment professionals from around the world to debate and specify the key themes that we believe will affect the global economy and, consequently, our investment strategies over the next three to five years from asset allocation and relative value positioning to returns expectations and risk management.

2013-01-23 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies witnessed mixed economic fortunes during the fourth quarter of 2012. While the group's largest economy, Japan, suffered from stubborn deflation and slumping trade due to a bitter territorial dispute with China, Singapore and Hong Kong managed to fare better.

2013-01-22 Dylan Grice: Witch Hunts, Inflation Fears, and Why I?m Bearish in 2013 by Michael Skocpol (Article)

For someone who started his remarks proposing to 'kill all the economists,' Dylan Grice can wax surprisingly sentimental, with a fresh, human take on monetary policy that leads him to some worrisome conclusions. Making a case for gold, cash, and other safe havens, Grice said the biggest threat to investors today is a problem that has plagued societies throughout history ? mistrust.

2013-01-22 Year-End Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

Stocks shrugged off numerous worries to log a very good year in 2012, but can markets continue to climb? Certainly the worries remain. The most immediate has to do with the spending side of the fiscal cliff. The cliff deal made permanent the Bush tax cuts for all but high-income taxpayers but it did not address spending. So while the worst case of the cliff was avoided, the work is not nearly done. In this commentary we discuss our current assessment of the investment environment including a detailed look at what could go right, and tie it all back to our portfolio positioning.

2013-01-18 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

According to the International Monetary Fund's Regional Economic Outlook report, countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are expected to grow at different rates. Oil exporting nations are cashing in on high energy prices and production, and are projected to expand 6.6 percent in 2012 before tempering in 2013. On the other hand, oil importers such as Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia among others are expected to clock growth just over 2 percent as the slowdown in the world economy and political tensions continue to hinder expansion for some of these countries in transition.

2013-01-14 Bond Market Review & Outlook by Thomas Fahey of Loomis Sayles

The ?nal quarter of 2012 was the icing on the cake of an exceptional year for the credit sectors. Fourth quarter credit gains stemmed in part from uncommonly aggressive monetary policy responses in the third quarter. As economic growth continued to undershoot expectations, major central banks made clear that they were dissatis?ed with the status quo of tepid economic growth and high unemployment. The Federal Reserve went so far as to tie its monetary policy to the level of the unemployment rate.

2013-01-10 A New Years Vantage Point: Michael Hasenstab by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

As we ring in a new year, it's a good time to gain some perspective on where we've been, and where we might be headed. In the first few weeks of January, Beyond Bulls & Bears will be featuring a series of investment commentaries from select Franklin Templeton investment management teams. These professionals provide their insights on the market ups and downs of 2012, and the potential challenges and opportunities that may lie ahead from their respective vantage points. Today we hear from Michael Hasenstab, portfolio manager and co-director of the International Bond Department.

2013-01-07 An Unconstrained Approach to Bond Market Investing by Sabrina Callin, Lisa Kim of PIMCO

Investors are increasingly focused on alternatives to traditional investment strategies. Unconstrained bond portfolio construction should be driven by an outcome-oriented goal, with strategies assessed on an individual risk/reward and correlation basis, and each investment in the portfolio evaluated rigorously for the expected risk and return as well as the potential impact of the correlation to other investments in the portfolio.

2013-01-03 Money for Nothin' Writing Checks for Free by Bill Gross of PIMCO

It was Milton Friedman, not Ben Bernanke, who first made reference to dropping money from helicopters in order to prevent deflation. Bernanke's now famous "helicopter speech" in 2002, however, was no less enthusiastically supportive of the concept. In it, he boldly previewed the almost unimaginable policy solutions that would follow the black swan financial meltdown in 2008.

2013-01-02 Brian McMahon on Thornburg?s Investment Income Builder Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Brian McMahon is the chief executive officer and chief investment officer for Thornburg Investment Management, where he the co-portfolio manager for the $11.4 billion Thornburg Investment Income Builder Fund (TIBAX). The fund's goal is income production, and it has outperformed its benchmark, the Morningstar Moderate Target Risk, over the last ten years (10.87% versus 2.88%). In this interview, he offers his views on the economy and the markets, and how he has positioned his fund.

2013-01-02 Washington Squanders its Gift of Time by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

As the clock winds down on 2012, the Fiscal Cliff is all anyone seems capable of discussing. Right now it appears that some sort of narrow deal has just emerged that will include raising tax rates on family income over $450,000 a year, increasing the estate tax rate, extending unemployment benefits for one year, and delaying spending cuts. But the prospect of higher taxes and the great uncertainty that has surrounded this fiscal fiasco has been acting like sand in the gears of the complex but sputtering U.S. economy.

2012-12-28 Don't Wait for the Robins: Investment Strategy for 2013 by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

Warren Buffet once remarked, "If you wait for the robins, spring will be over." "Uncertainty" has been an overarching issue since the financial crisis of 2008 and one of the principal reasons that investors have remained on the sidelines away from the equity markets. As it has been a part of the investment lexicon, "uncertainty" will always exist in some capacity. In 2012, investors began by focusing on European issues, then the U.S. election, and now the fiscal cliff. In fact, when there is little uncertainty and investors appear unafraid, one should be more concerned.

2012-12-28 Readers' Golden Nuggets Focused on Gold, Resources and Overcoming Negativity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The past few days Ive been counting down the most popular commentaries over the past year. China, commodities and bond fund popularity were big hits; so were the Surprises in Gasoline, Oil and Resources Stock Prices. Here are the top four.

2012-12-21 The Barbarous Relic Expresses an Opinion by John Gilbert of GR-NEAM

Gold has a long and varied history in economics and finance. Otherwise sensible people lose rationality and logic when conversation turns to the subject, with some rising to passionate romance, and others to apoplexy. It elicits neither for us, which allows us an attempt at a reasoned view. That is more important today than usual, because there is a message in gold's price behavior, and it is not an encouraging one. That message is that not only are rates of return low at the moment, but they may remain there for some time.

2012-12-20 The Ghosts of Fiat Currencies Past by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Nearly 600 paper forms of money created over the past several centuries are no longer in circulation, according to research summarized by Gold Silver Worlds recently. While the reasons vary from declarations of independence, monetary unions, war or hyperinflation, these ghosts of currencies past portray a haunting history for paper currencies backed only by the trust of a government.

2012-12-19 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for Europe: Policy Developments Will Shape Growth Prospects and Risks by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

Policy developments in particular, the European Central Banks acceptance of its role as a lender of last resort have helped to normalize European financial markets but been insufficient to promote decent growth. Eurozone leaders recently laid out a long-term roadmap to achieve stability, but the plan faces great execution risk, technically and politically, and in cross-border coordination. We continue to take a cautious approach and underweight European credit risk and European financials in general, looking for specific opportunities rather than broad exposure.

2012-12-19 ING Fixed Income Perspectives December 2012 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

While all the good little boys and Cindy Lou Whos dream of sugar plums and new iPhone 5s in blue, the adults in our modern-day Christmas story can't sleep but a wink, as visions of getting Scrooge'd by the fiscal cliff are making hearts sink. No matter if this political humbug cease or persist, down the chimneys of a recuperating housing market Ol' Saint Bernanke-olas will continue to gift $85 billion of Treasury and MBS purchases per month or more until the labor market can finally get over the hump and deliver 6.5% unemployment and inflation of 2.5% and no more.

2012-12-18 Pulling Back the Lens in Emerging Markets by Western Asset Management (Article)

Emerging markets remain resilient, according to Western Asset Portfolio Manager Rob Abad. But in the face of so much global uncertainty, investors would be wise to consider the latest trends and dynamics impacting this maturing asset class.

2012-12-18 Central Bank Insurance by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Possibly, the question I am asked the most is, "What do you think about gold?" While I have written brief bits about the yellow metal, I cannot remember the last time I devoted a full e-letter to the subject of gold. Longtime readers know that I am a steady buyer of gold, but to my mind that is different from being bullish on gold. In this week's letter we will look at some recent research on gold and try to separate some of the myths surrounding gold from the rationale as to why you might want to own some of the "barbarous relic," as Keynes called it.

2012-12-13 Investors Vote for Equities as Japanese Elections Near by Takeo Aso, Nicholas Davidson of AllianceBernstein

Current bearishness on the yen is reigniting investors' interest in Japanese equities. In our view, yen weakness is likely to continue and may help boost the Japanese equity market, with undervalued companies poised to benefit most.

2012-12-13 2013: A Year in Emerging Market Debt (Relative Strategies) by James Barrineau of Schroders Investment Management

Perhaps the biggest positive for emerging market debt investors is the deteriorating fiscal and economic fundamentals in the developed world. As the asset class has evolved, the opportunity set for investors has grown rapidly. Local currency in emerging markets has attracted tremendous interest but we think returns will moderate in 2013, possibly significantly.

2012-12-12 Mish Shedlock Exposed by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In January 2009, just as the "Peter Schiff was Right" YouTube video that catalogued my previously derided predictions about a coming financial collapse was racking up views and attracting mainstream attention, a blogger and investment advisor named Mike Shedlock (aka "Mish") saw an opportunity to make an unethical grab at my current and prospective clients by breaking the nascent wave.

2012-12-11 The Death of Managed Futures? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Managed futures strategies, or systematic trend followers, have long been an important component of diversified high net worth portfolios. Because of their ability to go both long and short in more than 100 global futures markets spanning equities, currencies, commodities, rates, and bonds managed futures have historically generated very uncorrelated performance to traditional investments.

2012-12-07 The Keynesian Depression by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Five years have passed since the beginning of the Great Recession. Growth is slow, joblessness is elevated, and the knock-on effects continue to drag down the global economy. The primary difference between today and the 1930s, when the U.S. experienced its last systemic crisis, has been the response by policymakers. Having the benefit of hindsight, policymakers acted swiftly to avoid the mistakes of the Great Depression by applying Keynesian solutions. Like the last depression, we are likely to live with the unintended consequences of the policy response for years to come.

2012-11-27 Ten (Near?) Certainties to Invest Around by David Rosenberg (Article)

The ten key trends that should guide your investment decisions.

2012-11-27 Fixed Income Perspectives by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

A wise American once said "Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid." A good example is when your pals in Washington are so busy pushing their partisan agendas that they lose sight of what could happen to the American economic Thunderbird if it goes all Thelma and Louise over the fiscal cliff. With the latest elections in the books, it remains to be seen if a Democratic president and acrimonious Republican House can put on their thinking caps to devise a way to delicately pump the brakes of fiscal restraint.

2012-11-26 Fiscal Cliff: An Emerging Markets' View by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Now that the U.S. presidential election is over and President Barack Obama has been re-elected to serve a second four-year term, we're able to do what we always do after a major election or regime change, and that's examine the potential implications of policy changes on our investments. As our team sees it, there are two main factors for global investors to consider: the U.S. economy's future health, and President Obama's foreign policy stance toward key countries, particularly China.

2012-11-26 Deja Vu All Over Again by Tony Crescenzi, Andrew Bosomworth, Lupin Rahman, Ben Emons of PIMCO

If the eurozone is to endure, it will require reduced economic differences among countries and larger common fiscal capacity. Emerging market central banks are likely to remain in wait-and-see mode while looking to the U.S. for clarity on the fiscal negotiations and domestic macro prints for signs of moderation in both inflation and activity. While central banks in advanced economies have not traditionally used explicit policies to target exchange rates, the European debt crisis may change all that.

2012-11-20 President Obama?s Re-Election and the Impact on the U.S. Economy by Eaton Vance Distributors, Inc. (Article)

President Obama?s re-election resolves a major element of uncertainty that has hung over the political landscape. But what kind of impact will his victory have on the economy and the markets, especially with the House still in Republican control? We posed that question to a roundtable of five investment professionals from Eaton Vance Management, Hexavest and Richard Bernstein Advisors.

2012-11-20 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to our articles, The Downside to Socially Responsible Investing, which appeared last week, and, Lacy Hunt on Our Economic Future, which appeared on November 6.

2012-11-20 Euro Crisis: Major Implications For Investors by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The euro crisis has begun to feel like an everlasting steeplechase with high hedges and water obstacles blocking the path to economic resurgence on the Continent. Each time a hurdle has been cleared another problem emerges to potentially block the track. The latest developments involve ugly anti-austerity riots across the southern tier and open rifts emerging among the creditors, most notably between the International Monetary Fund and northern nations.

2012-11-17 Three Events That Sum Up the Week by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

India regained its title as the strongest performing market, overtaking the greater China area, as the country experienced a bounceback in demand due to improved sentiment during the festival season. The Federal Housing Administration reported that it has exhausted its reserves, possibly requiring a bailout from U.S. taxpayers for the first time ever in its nearly 80-year history. The global economic picture came into focus a little more this week with the announcement of Chinas new leadership.

2012-11-13 Emerging Markets: Maintaining Perspective by Robert O. Abad (Article)

In this Q&A, Western Asset Portfolio Manager Robert Abad discusses the latest dynamics and trends within emerging markets (EM). Although EM continue to demonstrate resiliency, Mr. Abad believes that given the amount of global uncertainty today, it is important that investors evaluate opportunities alongside a manager equipped to guide them through the risks and rewards of this evolving asset class.

2012-11-13 Europe: Opportunity of a Generation by David Marcus of Evermore Global Advisors

A difficult political and economic backdrop is masking exceptional opportunities in European markets for discerning, long-term oriented investors. Evermore believes that there is a generational opportunity to build significant wealth by selectively investing in catalyst-driven, deep value European securities, trading at depressed valuations.

2012-11-13 The Election by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

As most of you know I was in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Zurich, and Geneva during election week seeing institutional accounts and speaking at conferences. Of course the question on all the portfolio managers' (PMs) minds was about the election, the subsequent effect on the economy and the various markets, currencies, and the Fiscal Cliff.

2012-11-12 Surveying the Post-Election Landscape by Team of Lord Abbett

Of all the uncertainties facing investors over the past few years, the U.S. presidential election was among the most significant. And now that the election is over, asset managers are assessing the opportunities and riskssuch as the looming fiscal cliffwithin their respective markets. Indeed, the direction of fiscal policy remains investors' foremost concern, according to a recent survey of nearly 600 financial advisors conducted on Lord Abbett's postelection Web conference.

2012-11-09 A Portrait of Two Presidents by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

On Friday, President Obama addressed the two topics that have been on many equity investors minds since election night: the economy and the dreaded fiscal cliff. In his speech, he delivered his familiar plan to combine spending cuts with increasing revenue by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Thats how we did it in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton was president, says the president.

2012-11-09 Americas: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Economic trends in most countries across the Americas region saw a moderate recovery during the third quarter, though the pace of growth remains subdued. Slower global demand due to the ongoing European recession and the slower expansion in Asia continues to restrict exports from the Americas. At the same time, domestic consumption growth has been relatively more robust than expected and has helped most regional economies prevent a deeper slowdown.

2012-11-08 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia Pacific economies faced a challenging third quarter in 2012 as exports to key developed markets such as the Euro-zone came under pressure. As the austerity policies implemented by many of the countries in the Euro-zone caused a significant slump in demand, emerging market economies, which serve as the workshop of the world faced significant difficulties. Almost all major export-dependent nations like China, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia faced pressure to export growth. Still, most of the economies possessed both monetary and fiscal ammo to overcome the slowdown.

2012-11-07 Report Raises Questions About Central Bank Gold Holdings by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

For years I have cautioned that changes in the ownership of gold held in the vaults of key central banks around the globe may not have been accurately reported. A report issued last month in Germany has once again brought these issues to the fore. In today's environment of rampant money creation and questioning of central bank activities, such uncertainty is bound to spark the curiosity of an increasing number of investors.

2012-11-06 Favorable Reports Post Sandy by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

The devastation of Sandy blighted the week. We were lucky in that most of our employees escaped the worst effects. We had some evacuations and plenty of lost power. But the images of devastation were overwhelming and we hope our clients and friends of the firm are safe. Perhaps, as a non-native, my perspective is warped but in the US we have an uncanny ability for industry, problem-solving, drive, inventiveness and optimism. Sometimes the very best of us comes out in these times.

2012-10-29 Distinction Without a Difference by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In recent weeks, market conditions have fallen into a cluster of historical instances that have been associated with average market losses approaching -50% at an annualized rate. Of course, such conditions don't generally persist for more than several weeks the general outcome is a hard initial decline and then a transition to a less severe average rate of market weakness (the word "average" is important as the individual outcomes certainly aren't uniformly negative on a week-to-week basis).

2012-10-26 Will South Africa's Struggles Overshadow its Potential? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Africa is a continent many investors bypass, but from my perspective as a long-term investor, I think that's a mistake. South Africa has faced some struggles recently, but I think they can be overcome, and a brighter future could be ahead there for its people. South Africa is the largest economy in Africa, and is the only country on the continent where I think the "frontier" market label doesn't apply. Some have added an "S" to the end of the "BRIC" acronym to include South Africa in the grouping of emerging market economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

2012-10-25 Renminbi on the International Stage by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

For more than a decade, China's currency, the Renminbi (RMB), had been on a path of appreciation, but some weakness this year generated renewed talk about whether the currency is fairly valued against global currencies. As global equity investors, we are constantly faced with currency changes. This is an important factor when considering our investments, because currency movements impact companies' earnings and operations.

2012-10-24 Emerging Markets Local Currency Bonds: Reducing Risk and Improving Returns in a Global Fixed Income by Marcela Meirelles, Blaise Antin of TCW Asset Management

Emerging market (EM) local currency bonds broaden the scope for income generation and risk diversification in a global fixed income portfolio. The asset class offers a unique opportunity to access higher income and potential for capital appreciation through a basket comprised of mostly investment grade credits with an average yield spread of 475 basis points over US Treasuries.

2012-10-24 A New Low for China Bashing by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

As America's election season nears the finish line, the debate always seems to come unhinged. Nowhere is that more evident than in the fixation on China singled out by both President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, as a major source of pressure bearing down on American workers and their families.

2012-10-19 International Equity - Monthly Product Commentary: September 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

International equities made strong gains in September as aggressive policy action from central banks in Europe and the U.S. helped offset concerns over moderating economic growth across the globe. The European Central Bank (ECB) announced a program to buy unlimited quantities of debt issued by troubled countries such as Spain, Portugal, and Greece, provided they adhere to a strict fiscal adjustment timetable.

2012-10-19 Blurring Lines: Positioning for Developed and Emerging Market Realignments by David Fisher, Julie Salsbery of PIMCO

The demographic, financial and political lines separating developed and emerging countries are increasingly blurred, and we believe bond investors will need to adapt. Not only do investors need to take a more holistic approach to analyzing and investing in sovereign debt, they also need to reconsider their strategic thinking regarding benchmarks and their tactical approach to seeking returns. PIMCO Global Advantage Strategy utilizes a GDP-weighted benchmark and capitalizes on PIMCO's global resources to create a portfolio designed to reflect the evolving international opportunity set.

2012-10-19 Beyond Borders: Currency Considerations for Investing by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

As more international assets are finding their way into investment portfolios, it's important for investors to recognize the effect that currency exposure may have on their portfolios.

2012-10-18 Investment Outlook 2013: "ABCD" Investing: Anything Bernanke Cannot Destroy by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

The Ben Bernanke and Mario Draghi concert gave the markets a double shot of their love in the month of September by promising to print as much money as needed to finance the debts of their respective countries. Ever since the financial fraternity party ended in 2008 and the world began deleveraging its massive credit hangover, the global markets have been hooked on the next shot of love from the central bankers.

2012-10-18 Emerging Markets Equity - Monthly Product Commentary: September 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Investment inflows and low interest rates helped emerging market equities. Emerging market equities saw a healthy recovery during the month of September, as the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank rolled out aggressive monetary measures to support their respective economies. As the U.S. and Europe are the biggest markets for exports from emerging market countries, it is hoped that the latest monetary stimulus measures will help these countries revive the export growth that has slackened in recent months.

2012-10-17 Great US Companies: Tomorrow's Foundation by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Fears of a collapse in European economies and of a US recession subsided. Residential real estate appears headed for a comeback (Surprise?) in the US and nothing gives American consumers more confidence than knowing that their house is becoming more valuable.

2012-10-15 Bond Market Review & Outlook by Thomas Fahey of Loomis Sayles

Aggressive policy responses from major central banks were dominant forces in the third quarter. The European Central Bank (ECB), Federal Reserve (Fed), Bank of Japan (BoJ) and other central banks took decisive action, prompted by the escalating European sovereign debt crisis, slowing global growth, ?nancial market volatility, and the impending US "?scal cliff."

2012-10-15 Commodity Inflation Complicating Pro-Growth Policies by Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The return of commodity inflation raises several questions, primary among them being the impact it will have on emerging markets. While rising commodity prices are generally bullish for equity prices in emerging markets, it may also inhibit central bank flexibility at a time when many developing countries are experiencing decelerating economic growth. This issue was paramount in 2010, leading to underperformance in many EM stock markets. Since then, however, commodity prices have generally moved sideways, allowing those fears to subside.

2012-10-12 Chinas Pyramid of Power by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We've been able to witness Chinas incredible growth, with GDP averaging 10 percent per year and more than 500 million people moving out of poverty over the past 30 years. Now after three decades of tremendous expansion, this new generation of leaders will have to carefully maneuver the country into the next decade, towing the line between maintaining the stability created during the previous Hu-Wen administration and continuing the political and economic reform necessary to adjust to the countrys slowing growth.

2012-10-11 Inflation Regime Shifts: Implications for Asset Allocation by Nicholas Johnson, Sebastien Page of PIMCO

Investors who are concerned about inflation should focus on increasing their exposure to asset classes that provide a positive beta to changes in inflation. We believe that asset prices are much more sensitive to inflation surprises than actual inflation levels themselves. Given the current macro environment, investors face the possibility that low growth and high inflation may coexist. Commodities provide a levered response to inflation. Investors can hold a relatively small amount of commodities to hedge a much larger portfolio.

2012-10-10 Return to Bretton Woods by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The gold-convertible U.S. dollar became the global reserve currency under the Bretton Woods monetary system, which lasted from 1944-1971. This arrangement ended because foreign central banks accumulated unsustainably large reserves of U.S. Treasuries, threatening price stability and the purchasing power of the dollar. Today, central banks are once again stockpiling massive Treasury reserves in an attempt to manage their currency values and gain advantages in export markets. We have, effectively, returned to Bretton Woods.

2012-10-10 Beyond the Fiscal Cliff: the Dollar At Risk? by Alex Merk of Merk Funds

Looking beyond the fiscal cliff, we are afraid the greenback may be at risk no matter who wins the election. We examine the risk to the U.S. dollar in the context of the likely policies pursued under either an Obama or Romney administration.

2012-10-10 Will South Africas Struggles Overshadow its Potential? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Africa is a continent many investors bypass, but from my perspective as a long-term investor, I think that's a mistake. South Africa has faced some struggles recently, but I think they can be overcome, and a brighter future could be ahead there for its people. South Africa is the largest economy in Africa, and is the only country on the continent where I think the "frontier" market label doesn't apply. Some have added an "S" to the end of the "BRIC" acronym to include South Africa in the grouping of emerging market economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

2012-10-09 Is Gluskin's David Rosenberg Right about Utilities? by Geoff Considine (Article)

They're not the sexiest property on the Monopoly board, but in today's market, there's plenty of evidence mounting that utilities are a great source of income. Indeed, Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg made the case for utilities in a recent commentary.

2012-10-05 How Helicopter Ben Helps Jobs and, Inadvertently, Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The world's central bank leaders continue to spike the monetary punch bowl, with investors imbibing on gold once again. This flurry of gold buying prompts many curious investors and doubting media to ask me two questions: 1) How can demand for gold and gold stocks continue; and 2) How high can the precious metal go? To answer these questions, we need to look at the intentions behind the economic and political decision-making across several developed countries, analyze the causes, the effects, and the possible ramifications.

2012-10-03 The Fed Plays All Its Cards by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

There never really could be much doubt that the current experiment in competitive global currency debasement would end in anything less than a total war. There was always a chance that one or more of the principal players would snap out of it, change course and save their citizenry from a never ending cycle of devaluation. But developments since September 13, when the U.S. Federal Reserve finally laid all its cards on the table and went "all in" on permanent quantitative easing, indicate that the brainwashing is widely established and will be difficult to break.

2012-10-02 Lessons from Scandinavia by Kaisa Stucke, Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Scandinavian nations suffered through balance sheet recessions. Commentators have suggested that U.S. policymakers could use the Scandinavian response to their crises as a roadmap for resolving the current U.S. situation. As part of our own analysis, we have studied several earlier events to understand the underlying similarities and differences to develop insights into the current event.

2012-09-28 Gold Glitters by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Just a few weeks ago, Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, announced that he would do anything required to bailout the weakest members of the Eurozone and in so doing prevent the euro currency from dissolution. Two weeks ago, as signs of recession increased, Fed Chairman Bernanke announced he would do anything required to stimulate the U.S. economy, real estate, and the financial markets. But the biggest winners thus far that may have resulted from these newly communicated intentions are not the euro or the broad stock markets but rather gold and gold-related investments.

2012-09-27 PIMCO'S Cyclical Outlook for Asia: Structural Slowdown Shaping Near-Term Growth Dynamics by Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead, Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

Rather than a hard landing for China, we foresee a structural downshift that could be called a "New Normal with Chinese characteristics." Australia has considerable scope for additional rate cuts and more expansionary fiscal policy to address regional weaknesses. The Japanese economy will be affected by weak economic growth in China, which will add more pressure for the Bank of Japan to respond.

2012-09-26 Bernanke Put: Beware of Easy Money by Alex Merk of Merk Funds

Central bankers around the world may be providing a backstop to the financial markets in much the same way Greenspan did during the "Goldilocks" years, but when the short-term euphoria wears off, will the negative repercussions be even more severe?

2012-09-25 Jim Bianco ? Markets Will Benefit From Disastrous Fed Policy by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The Fed's quantitative easing policy will be 'disastrous,' according to Jim Bianco, but prices for riskier assets will rise over the near term as a result. In remarks last week, Bianco, the head of the Chicago-based economic research firm that bears his name, also gave the US economy a near-failing grade of C-, and warned that inflation will be 'problematic.'

2012-09-24 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

These days, the various central bankers keep trying to outdo themselves with new stimulus deals. This week, Bank of Japan followed the Fed leads with an expanded bond buying program. Perhaps the moves will reap dividends and the global economy will surge to higher highs in the not so distant future. (Or perhaps the "easy money" strategies will have little impact long-term and lead to periods of inflation and asset bubbles.) Apple's latest "new new" thing remains in hot demand (but can supplier keep up?).

2012-09-24 Trade Winds Shifting in America's Favor by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The improvement in the U.S. trade balance can be traced to the dollar's relative weakness and increasing domestic energy production.

2012-09-21 The Volatility Risk Premium by Graham Rennison, Niels Pedersen of PIMCO

Amid elevated global macroeconomic uncertainty and market turbulence, investors are searching for ways to diversify portfolios with non-traditional asset classes. Volatility risk premium strategies aim to capture a return premium over time as compensation for the risk of losses during sudden increases in market volatility. We believe investors seeking to diversify their equity risk exposures should consider adding volatility risk premium strategies to their portfolios, albeit with appropriate diversification across major option markets, active risk management and prudent scaling.

2012-09-21 About That Swiss Neutrality by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Swiss stocks still merit a positive long-term outlook but on a short term basis, Russ is changing his allocation to underweight from neutral.

2012-09-19 Fed to Debase Dollar? by Alex Merk of Merk Funds

Is the Fed's goal to debase the U.S. dollar? The Federal Reserve's announcement of a third round of quantitative easing (QE3) might have been the worst kept secret, yet the dollar plunged upon the announcement. Is Bernanke intentionally debasing the dollar?

2012-09-19 Farmland: The New Gold? by Randy Bateman of Huntington National Bank

Yes, it's just 'dirt', but life on this planet wouldn't exist as it does today unless it didn't comprise a third of the world's surface. Unfortunately much of that 'dirt' is in areas too wet, dry, rocky, salty, devoid of nutrients, or covered by snow for agricultural production. With only 14 percent of the world's landmass considered fertile, and that shrinking at a significant pace, there's a realization that increased farm production is essential to satisfy the increasing demand for food products.

2012-09-17 Low-Water Mark by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

As of Friday, our estimates of prospective return/risk for the S&P 500 have dropped to the single lowest point we've observed in a century of data. There is no way to view this as something other than a warning, but it's also a warning that I don't want to overstate. This is an extreme data point, but there has been no abrupt change; no sudden event; no major catalyst. We are no more defensive today than we were a week ago, because conditions have been in the most negative 0.5% of the data for months.

2012-09-14 Australias Second-largest Export It Isnt Coal by Adam Bowe of PIMCO

With growth in China now moderating, and the price of commodities and Australias terms of trade now declining, many investors are questioning how the Australian dollar has managed to remain well-supported. The explanation lies mainly in the changing structure of the funding of the current account deficit. Going forward this will likely have important implications for monetary policy in Australia if the decline in national income growth is not offset by a similar decline in the Australian dollar.

2012-09-14 Afraid of QE3? Buy Real Assets by Seth J. Masters of AllianceBernstein

We expect to see continued asset-buying announcements from central banks around the world: the ECB last month, the Fed today, the Bank of Japan imminently. The impact of these announcements, and ensuing implementations on the real economy, are likely to be ambiguous at best. However, our research suggests that real assets such as real estate and commodities will profit from asset purchases in the near term and protect from related inflationary risks in the medium term.

2012-09-13 U.S. Dollar: Don't worry, be happy by Alex Merk of Merk Funds

May we suggest a Twitter version of today's FOMC statement: "Don't worry, be happy!" The Fed may want you to take a valium to stomach the ride ahead. Will the latest statement by the Fed put the U.S. dollar at risk of melting away under your feet?

2012-09-11 The Winds of Market Change by Mark Mobius, Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

As we cross the mid-way point of the year, you might say the equity and fixed income markets have been a lot like the recent weather in much of the world: uncertain, and tending toward extremes. The perception of a stormy economic climate has driven some equity valuations to extremely low levels, particularly in Europe, and investors have been pouring into fixed income despite extremely low yields.

2012-09-10 Late-Stage, High-Risk by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The market conditions we observe at present are very familiar from the standpoint of historical data, matching those that have appeared prior to the most violent market declines on record (e.g. 1973-74, 1987, 2000-2002, 2007-2009).

2012-09-10 As the Euro Tumbles, Spaniards Look to Gold by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

The unremitting deterioration of the eurozone's sovereign debt landscape continues to fuel uncertainties about the longevity of the euro as a strong currency. Such uncertainties are not only leading to capital flight from the EMU's periphery to the core and destabilizing markets worldwide, but they are also beginning to frighten southern European savers into seeking refuge outside their 10-year-old currency.

2012-09-10 Will Greece Set Sail from the Euro? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Despite a chorus of voices calling for Athens to exit the currency union, the potential consequences would likely be unpalatable for the rest of Europe.

2012-09-07 Euro: Looks Like a Duck, Quacks Like a Duck by Alex Merk of Merk Funds

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it just might be a duck. We are talking about the euro: it now looks like a currency, acts like a currency, it might as well be yet another currency.

2012-09-07 The Fed's Campaign by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

This past Friday, as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered his annual address from Jackson Hole - the State of the Dollar, if you will - I couldn't help but hear it as an incumbent's campaign speech. While Wall Street was hoping for some concrete announcement, what we got was a mushy appraisal of the Fed's handling of the financial crisis so far and a suggestion that more 'help' is on the way.

2012-09-06 How to Unscramble an Egg by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward, Thomas Wittenborg of Absolute Return Partners

This month we take a closer look at the root problems behind the current crisis. Too often root problems are confused with symptoms and the wrong medicine is prescribed as a result. We identify five root problems, all of which must be addressed before we can, once and for all, leave the problems of the past few years behind us.

2012-08-29 International Real Estate Securities: Review and Outlook by Jon Cheigh, Rogier Quirijns, Gerios Rovers, Luke Sullivan of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the international real estate securities market as of July 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed ex-U.S. Real Estate Index had a total return of 5.2% for the month (net of dividend withholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. By comparison, U.S. REITs returned 2.0% for the month, as measured by the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index. Year to date, the indexes returned 21.3% and 17.2%, respectively.

2012-08-27 European Real Estate Securities: Review and Outlook by Rogier Quirijns, Gerios Rovers of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the European real estate securities market as of July 31, 2012. For the month, the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Europe Real Estate Index had a total return of 3.9% (in U.S. dollars, net of dividend withholding taxes). By comparison, U.S. REITs had a total return of 2.0%, as measured by the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index. Year to date, the indexes had total returns of 14.0% and 17.2%, respectively.

2012-08-24 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities: Review & Outlook by Jason Yablon of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for emerging markets real estate securities as of July 31, 2012. For the month, the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Emerging Real Estate Index had a total return of 2.2% in U.S. dollars (net of dividend withholding taxes), compared with 3.6% for the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index (net), a broad measure of the global real estate securities market. Year to date, the indexes returned 19.0% and 18.9%, respectively.

2012-08-23 Early Retirement for the Eurozone? by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Germany and the ECB are now relying on the hope that large-scale liquidity will buy time to allow the adjustments needed to restore growth and debt sustainability in the eurozone periphery. But, if a eurozone breakup can only be postponed, delaying the inevitable would merely make the endgame worse much worse.

2012-08-23 The Emerging Story in Europe by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

There's a unique and often overlooked story coming out of some of Europe's emerging markets that interests me more. While much of developed Europe is still struggling to get its fiscal house in order, much of emerging Europe already has. Some of the emerging markets in Europe deserve to be a greater part of the European story, and in my view, can offer compelling investment opportunities at attractive valuations.

2012-08-23 Global Real Estate Securities: Review and Outlook by Jon Cheigh, Chip McKinley of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the global real estate securities market as of July 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index had a total return of 3.6% for the month (net of dividend withholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. Year to date, the index returned 18.9%.

2012-08-23 Global Listed Infrastructure: Review and Outlook by Robert Becker, Benjamin Morton of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review of the global infrastructure securities market as of July 31, 2012. For the month, the UBS Global 50/50 Infrastructure & Utilities Index had a total return of 0.5% (net of dividend withholding taxes). Year to date, the index had a return of 5.0%.

2012-08-22 Reflections: Frenzy and Illusion by John Gilbert of GR-NEAM

The insolvency of Lehman Brothers was a fault line in financial history. The failure of the U.S. government to act as lender of last resort in Lehmans insolvency was a deflationary shock unlike anything in decades. Now, in Europe, there is a growing risk of a second large deflationary shock in just five years, if Germany were to disavow contingent liability for deeper Eurozone union. The result is that there is a developing craze for safety underway.

2012-08-22 The Faustian Bargain by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

In Goethe's 1831 drama Faust, the devil persuades a bankrupt emperor to print and spend vast quantities of paper money as a short-term fix for his country's fiscal problems. As a consequence, the empire ultimately unravels and descends into chaos. Today, governments that have relied upon quantitative easing (QE) instead of undertaking necessary structural reforms have arguably entered into the grandest Faustian bargain in financial history.

2012-08-16 Monthly Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

A good month: a gross increase of 3.13%, over twice the index at .49%. Opinion polls the morning after the opening ceremony for the London Olympic Games estimated that 2.5% of the television audience (or 30m viewers) actually believed that the Queen and James Bond parachuted into the Olympic arena. Even if true (the poll was tiny and perhaps respondents had a better sense of irony), such gullibility is understandable on live TV. But naivety in financial markets is unforgivable.

2012-08-15 Preparing Portfolios for Inflation by Ronit Walny, Kevin Winters of PIMCO

Although disinflation has seemed the more likely scenario in recent years, PIMCO expects inflation to accelerate from recent levels over the next three to five years, but double-digit rates are unlikely. An understanding of the constituents of the Consumer Price Index can help us design portfolios that seek to better defend against inflation. The core building blocks of such portfolios are commodities, Real Estate Investment Trusts and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.

2012-08-15 Early Retirement for the Eurozone? by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Whether the eurozone is viable or not remains an open question. But what if a breakup can only be postponed, not avoided? If so, delaying the inevitable would merely make the endgame worse much worse.

2012-08-14 The Eurozone Drama Continues by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we will review the political and economic structure of the Eurozone. From there, we will discuss the critical event that caused the reversal in safety assets and what this reversal likely means for the geopolitics of the Eurozone. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2012-08-14 Blind Faith by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Central banks are facing political and practical obstacles that will render it very difficult for them to deliver anything more than anodyne words and actions as summer moves into the always dangerous August holiday season. IPhones should be kept on alert at the beach through Labor Day.

2012-08-13 Begging for Trouble by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Investors remain so addicted to the temporary high of monetary intervention that they are practically begging to be shot, mauled by dogs, and diced by a Veg-O-Matic so they can get their next fix of pain-killers.

2012-08-09 Pacific Basin Market Overview - July 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management Co.

Most equity markets in the Pacific Basin region recovered somewhat in July after a weak second quarter on expectations of further monetary easing and measures by the European Central Bank to forestall a Euro currency crisis. However, when we examine the sector results, it is hard to conclude that the recovery was accompanied by an improvement in sentiment.

2012-08-08 Emerging Markets Equity Monthly Product Commentary: July 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities made modest gains during the month of July, as global markets sustained the optimism from the last week of the previous month. Select markets in Asia, such as Indonesia, Korea, and Malaysia, as well as Turkey and South Africa outperformed during the month. Repeated assurances by European policymakers over further policy action helped assuage market concerns about the region's fiscal crisis worsening, though economic data continues to be relatively weak.

2012-08-08 Monthly Product Commentary: International Equity - July 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

International equities made modest gains during the month of July on repeated assurances from European policymakers that they will explore all possible steps to prevent a collapse of the monetary union and arrest further economic decline. Developed markets in Europe's Nordic region and the Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, as well as select emerging markets in Asia ended with healthy gains for the month.

2012-08-07 A Second Wave of Capital Flight Reaches Eurozone Core by Thomas Kressin of PIMCO

During the first phase of the euro crisis, private capital flowed out of the "peripheral" countries to the core of the eurozone, but this shift had no adverse impact on the euro. Now, investors are taking their capital out of the eurozone altogether. The euro threatens to fall further, possibly leading to serious concerns about a devaluation spiral.

2012-08-06 From Resource Curse to Blessing by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

New discoveries of natural resources in several African countries including Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, and Mozambique raise an important question: Will these windfalls be a blessing that brings prosperity and hope, or a political and economic curse, as has been the case in so many countries?

2012-08-05 Erasers by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Moderate losses may be a necessary feature of risk-taking, but deep losses are erasers. A typical bear market erases over half of the preceding bull market advance. It is easy to forget - particularly during late-stage bull markets - how strongly this impacts full-cycle returns.

2012-08-03 Hedging Against (and Profiting From) A Prospective Decline In The U.S. Dollar by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

The U.S. dollar has remained the world's reserve currency due to several factors: 1. Its large circulation (roughly $1.1 trillion); 2. The denomination of many transactions (especially commodities such as oil and other natural resources) being in USD; 3. The stability of its political system; and 4. The lack of any other viable options. However, that may not always be the case.

2012-07-31 The False Promise of Gold as an Inflation Hedge by Michael Edesess (Article)

If you were a time traveler, hopping from one point in history 2,000 years forward or back, you'd best carry with you - if your time machine will allow it - a small stash of gold. Gold has been an effective hedge against inflation over the very, very long term. But that's about all it's good for. The other common reasons for owning gold - in particular, to use as a short-term or even a long-term hedge against inflation - are baseless.

2012-07-31 The Young General Emerges by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On July 16th, the official North Korean media reported that General Ri Yong Ho, the militarys Chief of the General Staff, had been dismissed of all duties. Reports suggested that the general had been removed due to illness. General Ri was a close confidant of the late Kim Jong Il and was thought to be tasked with smoothing the transition of the new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, the Young General. Ri's exit, along with other events, suggests changes in the Hermit Kingdom.

2012-07-30 No Such Thing as Risk? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In the face of present enthusiasm over central bank interventions, one almost wonders why nations across the world and throughout recorded history have ever had to deal with economic recessions or fluctuations in the financial markets.

2012-07-30 The Euro's Survival Requires German Engineering by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

As Europe's paymaster, Berlin faces a tricky task: promoting austerity among economically stressed peripheral nations but not too much. In Europe's seemingly endless debt negotiations, Berlin would seem to hold all the cards. It is, after all, Europe's largest economy, its most powerful, and its most financially sound. But in reality, Berlins options are highly constrained and require a remarkably delicate policy balance.

2012-07-30 The Longest Yard by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons, Andrew Bosomworth, Isaac Meng of PIMCO

As the global slowdown progresses, we can expect central banks to deploy more policy tools without limits to stem the pace of deleveraging. In Europe, quantitative easing using ESM bonds could prove to be another bridge that buys politicians more time, but does not solve the root problem. We expect real economic growth in China to be muted. While some stabilization is possible later this year, it is hard to foresee a sustained recovery.

2012-07-28 Gambling in the House? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

The problem that gave rise to the LIBOR scandal is the lack of transparency. Why would banks want to reveal how much profit they are making? The last thing banks want is transparency. This week I offer a different take on LIBOR, one which may annoy a few readers, but which I hope provokes some thinking about how we should organize our financial world.

2012-07-27 Who is Muhammad Lee? by John Scott of Saturna Capital

Who is this Muhammad Lee? (So named, as these are the most common first and last names in the world.)1,2 Where is he from? How many brothers and sisters will Muhammad Lee have in the future? What are the implications of his arrival for U.S. investors?

2012-07-25 Global Bonds - Where To Now? by Nic Pifer of Columbia Management

Economic data over the past four months show a clear softening trend in global economic activity. From our perspective, the muddle-along, sluggish global growth scenario remains very much intact. Highly accommodative monetary policies by the major central banks are helping support activity and contain downside risk.

2012-07-25 Economic Review: Americas - 2Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Among the developed economies in the region, growth forecasts for both the U.S. and Canada have been revised lower. Though the U.S. outlook has weakened, the Mexican economy has so far remained unaffected, as manufactured goods from the country remain competitive in export markets. Brazil is yet to see a recovery even after a series of monetary and fiscal measures taken since the second half of last year to support the economy.

2012-07-22 Extraordinary Strains by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

A broad array of observable evidence suggests extraordinary strains in Europe, and abrupt though expected deterioration in U.S. economic activity. The Federal Reserve certainly has policy options, but those options have no material transmission mechanism to the real economy.

2012-07-21 The Lion in the Grass by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

Today we'll explore a few things we can see and then try to foresee a few things that are not so obvious. This is a condensation of a speech I gave earlier this afternoon in Singapore for OCBC Bank, called "The Lion in the Grass." The simple premise is that it is not the lions we can see that are the problem; but rather, in trying to avoid them, it is often the lions hidden in the grass that we stumble upon that become the unwelcome surprise.

2012-07-20 No Armageddon, but Consequences by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

In a time of severe stress and crisis, its easy to come to the conclusion that Armageddon is upon us. Those who believe the European Union is going to split up and Chinas growth will come to a screeching halt are probably building bunkers and sharpening their survival skills right about now. Hasenstab isnt in panic mode. In fact, hes optimistic the eurozone will survive, and that no, China wont move back into the feudal age.

2012-07-19 Europe Risk Preparedness by William De Leon of PIMCO

PIMCO's risk management process is dynamic and flexible, allowing us to evolve to understand, quantify and manage risks in broad scope and at the portfolio level. We are particularly focused on preparation for multiple potential scenarios, from a one-country redenomination to a full break-up of the eurozone into 17 separate currencies.

2012-07-18 Emerging Markets Equity: Monthly Product Commentary by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities saw a moderate recovery during the month of June, as reduced fears about the European fiscal crisis led to a rebound in global markets. The latest agreement by European policymakers is expected to address some of the short-term challenges faced by countries such as Spain and Italy, as well as the troubled banks in the region.

2012-07-18 How to Look Past Negativity to See Opportunity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Among investors these days, a fellow commodity bull is about as rare as finding a positive story in the media, especially when you look at the results of metals and natural resources during the first half of 2012. Only four commodities on our periodic table pulled off a positive return. Wheat grew the most, rising 13 percent, followed by single-digit rises from corn, gold and copper.

2012-07-18 The LIBOR Mess: How Did It Happen - and What Lies Ahead? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

When regulators in the United Kingdom and United States announced a settlement with Barclays bank over its manipulation of LIBOR, the benchmark interest rate used around the world, there were plenty of reasons for jaws to drop. First and foremost was the whopping fine of $450 million, reflecting the seriousness of the case, along with analysts' predictions that LIBOR rates could influence interest rates on between $350 trillion and $800 trillion in loans and investments.

2012-07-17 Gundlach ? Avoid Riskier Assets by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Since early this year, Jeffrey Gundlach has warned investors to avoid exposure to riskier assets ? among them, equities, non-dollar-denominated securities and sovereign debt. Still reluctant to move to a more aggressive position, Gundlach said on Thursday that 'substantial opportunities await,' but they may be as much as a year away.

2012-07-17 The Mystery of Chinese Capital Flight by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

Capital flight is defined as the rapid withdrawal of assets out of a country for political, economic or geopolitical reasons. Since late last year, there have been steady reports indicating that capital flight has been occurring in China. China restricts its capital account; inflows of foreign capital are carefully regulated and private outflows face significant restrictions. Chinese citizens can legally transfer only $50k per year out of the country.

2012-07-16 The Third Law of Randomness by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Proper investing doesn't rule out randomness and unpredictability, particularly when it comes to individual events. It instead diversifies against randomness both across holdings at each point in time, and across time by repeatedly acting on the basis of averages instead of individual forecasts.

2012-07-16 Rethinking Asset Allocation by Curtis Mewbourne of PIMCO

As risk and return characteristics evolve, we believe investors need to adapt the way they think about using asset classes. Asset classes are likely to be affected by the situation in Europe and, more broadly, by high debt levels in developed countries. The related political debate about austerity vs. growth is also critical. Fixed income investors should note whether countries control their own currencies and can monetize their debts. Those that can may be greater inflation risks.

2012-07-16 Still Drifting by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Asset Management

We are in earnings season. This is a welcome relief from the macro and political world that has dominated markets and sentiment for several weeks. Earnings allow us to look at what companies are seeing and how they're reacting. We know they're operating in world of miserable nominal GDP growth so we will look at margins, sales, pricing power, management and cash positions. But first, why so listless and skittish?

2012-07-13 Mid-year Market Review by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

After one of the most trying years for investors in 2011, the first half of 2012 had a similar feel. The split-personality of optimism about a slow but visible recovery in the U.S. and weekly do-or-die drama in Europe produced the type of half-year that, frankly, we expected. Specificially, a continued pattern of news-driven, unsustainable moves in both directions landed much of the U.S. stock market in a tight price range.

2012-07-11 Gold to Outshine Dollar? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

As the price of gold has gone up fivefold over the past 10 years, why would one buy it at todays prices? For the same reason an investor would buy any other asset: if one believed it would be a good investment now, that is if one believed it may appreciate in value and add portfolio diversification benefits. A key reason to hold gold today might be to prepare for the crisis tomorrow.

2012-07-09 What if the Fed Throws a QE3 and Nobody Comes? by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

When we look around the globe, we find that the impact of quantitative easing is rarely much greater than the market decline that preceded it. Investors seem to be putting an enormous amount of faith in a policy that does little but help stocks recover the losses of the prior 6 month period, with scant evidence of any durable effects on the real economy.

2012-07-04 What Next For The Euro-Zone? by Victoria Marklew of Northern Trust

The European Union has just completed its 20th make or break Summit in a little over two years, and actually managed to beat expectations. Two key agreements were reached on June 28-29: expanding the remit of the two bailout funds to include sovereign debt purchases and eventually direct banking sector support; and creating a unified banking regulator for the Euro-zone under the auspices of the European Central Bank (ECB).

2012-07-03 The 2012 Mid-Year Geopolitical Update by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

As is our custom, we use this early July report to offer our outlook for the next six months. In this issue, we will discuss what we see as the key geopolitical issues that will affect the markets for the rest of 2012. This list is not exhaustive but highlights our greatest concerns.

2012-07-03 What's In A Name? by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Not only banks and insurance companies but sovereign nations as well cannot all be counted on to guarantee a return of principal, let alone a return on investment. An authentic debt crisis which the world is now experiencing can only be ultimately cured in two ways: 1) default on it, or 2) print more money in order to inflate it away. There are very few clean dirty shirts in this world. Timing in investment markets is critical and at the moment the U.S. is considered to be the cleanest.

2012-07-02 Anatomy of a Bear by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The unusually bad outcomes of similar historical precedents help to convey why we retain such a durable sense of doom, even after last weeks scorching risk on advance. A moderate continuation of constructive market action would likely be sufficient to move us to soften our presently hard defense by retreating from a staggered strike option hedge. At present, conditions remain aligned with those that have preceded some of the most negative consequences in market history.

2012-07-02 Weekly Commentary and Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks were mixed last week as the news from Europe remains difficult, while here at home the Fed told us things were not going well but decided to do very little about it (maybe because they cannot).

2012-07-02 U.S. Economic Outlook: Potential for Growth, Vulnerability to Policy Mistakes by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

There are very early signs of improvement in the housing market. Another plus is the shift in U.S. energy supply from imported oil to domestic oil and natural gas. The U.S. economy still faces significant headwinds from over-indebtedness, large imbalances, growing inequality and policy incrementalism. In our view, investors need to consider the implications of rising forward tax rates and that price inflation will play a greater role in generating nominal GDP growth than in the past.

2012-06-28 European Leaders Play With Fire by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The world economy today stands at the doorstep of great change. A gathering crisis looms in Europe, splitting the Continent into two competing blocs. While leaders there face off against one another in a high stakes game of chicken, the rest of the world powerlessly watches the train wreck slowly unfold.

2012-06-27 United States of Europe has Arrived! by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

A fiscal union, a banking union, a United States of Europe has arrived! Dont believe it? Just like many newborns, this one has its shares of wrinkles, but what you see is what you get. We discuss a tough love approach to move forward in Europe, as well as implications for currencies.

2012-06-27 An Ending Made For Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Over the past several months, the markets have tested investors conviction to gold. Since February, the price of the yellow metal has steadily stepped lower, rallying somewhat in May before falling again when Ben Bernanke disappointed by not providing the U.S. with more stimulus. Meanwhile, the dollar gained ground as global investors fled the euro.

2012-06-27 Q3 2012 Outlook by Asset Allocation Committee of Neuberger Berman

The second quarter experienced a return to volatility as heightened concerns over the European sovereign debt crisis and an aura of pessimism around the pace of global economic growth have reverberated through financial markets. The year began on a positive note, with all major equity indices posting strong double-digit gains.

2012-06-26 Where in the World is Risk Today by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

With the sovereign debt crisis centered in the developed world, the traditional notion that all developed markets are less risky for investors than all emerging markets doesnt hold up anymore. Today, while developed markets certainly top the list of the least risky countries and vice versa for emerging markets, some developed markets are now just as risky as emerging markets. At the same time, some emerging countries are now just as safe as their developed market counterparts.

2012-06-25 Enter, the Blindside Recession by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The joint evidence suggests that the U.S. economy has entered a recession that will eventually be marked as having started presently. In recent months, our measures of leading economic pressures have indicated the likelihood of an oncoming U.S. recession.

2012-06-25 Emerging Markets Converge With the Developed World by Michael Gomez, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

We expect to see growth moderating in emerging economies over the secular horizon, but still outpace growth rates in Europe and the U.S. Emerging economies entered this period of global uncertainty with relatively clean balance sheets, reasonably high degrees of policy flexibility, and substantial dry powder in the form of international currency reserves. Emerging markets are likely to be affected by the considerable growth headwinds and uncertainty emanating from the developed world.

2012-06-20 Growth Versus Austerity: A U.S. Dollar Perspective by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Austerity versus Growth? Which economic model is sustainable? If it werent for those pesky bond vigilantes, it may be only politics. Lets not get too excited that either path will work. Lets look at the implications for investors with a focus on the U.S. dollar.

2012-06-20 The World Needs Another Greek Hero by Joseph Giulitto of Trust Company of America

Hesiod wrote a few years ago- A spirit of competition, of good conflict that tends to reduce the problems of scarcity. (Hesiod was in favor of the rule of law and the dispensation of justice to provide stability and order within society. He spoke out against corrupt methods of wealth acquisition and denounced robbery.700BC) A very telling tale with eerie significance to current events.

2012-06-19 Achilles Last Stand: Greeks Vote in Favor of Euro by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The June 17 Greek elections favored the pro-bailout party and allow for a likely coalition to be formed probably the least-tumultuous outcome. However, kicking the can further down the road doesn't solve the eurozone's structural problems, nor does it stem contagion. Next on investors' radar is this week's Federal Reserve meeting, where additional easing is expected.

2012-06-19 The Known Unknowns by Ronald Roge of R. W. Roge & Company

On Friday, June 1, 2012 we had an all day investment strategy meeting. The purpose of this semi-annual meeting is to review our current portfolio strategy and evaluate it against the current state of the global economy...Easier said than done.

2012-06-19 Cohen & Steers European Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the European real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. For the month, the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Europe Real Estate Index had a total return of 7.5% (in U.S. dollars, net of dividend withholding taxes). By comparison, U.S. REITs had a total return of 4.5%, as measured by the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index. Year to date, the indexes had total returns of +3.0% and +8.8%, respectively.

2012-06-19 Cohen & Steers Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for emerging markets real estate securities as of May 31, 2012. For the month, the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Emerging Real Estate Index had a total return of 9.7% in U.S. dollars (net of dividend withholding taxes), compared with 6.4% for the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index (net), a broad measure of the global real estate securities market. Year to date, the indexes returned +9.8% and +7.9%, respectively.

2012-06-18 A Brief Primer on the European Crisis by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Europe has repeatedly been successful at addressing its recurring liquidity crises with the help of other central banks, but its still an open question whether they can durably solve the solvency crisis without more disruption and more restructuring of both government debt and troubled banks. In my view, the hope for an easy solution is misplaced, and the likelihood of recurring disruptions from Europe will remain high.

2012-06-18 Cohen & Steers Global Infrastructure Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review of the global infrastructure securities market as of May 31, 2012. The UBS Global 50/50 Infrastructure & Utilities Index had a total return of 6.2% (net of dividend withholding taxes) for the month. Year to date, the index returned 2.1%.

2012-06-18 Japanese Equity The Impact of Global Instability by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Mainly owing to fears of a potential Euro break up, the decline in the global stock markets in April 2012 continued through May as well. On June 4th, the Japanese equity market (TOPIX) sank to its lowest level in 29 years, declining even further below the bottom set in the aftermath of the Lehman shock in Japanese yen (JPY) terms. However, in U.S. dollar (USD) terms, the level of the Japan equity market is still above its post Lehman low recorded in March 2009.

2012-06-18 Why Inflation Could Rise Over the Long Term by Mihir Worah of PIMCO

In developed markets, there is a serious debt problem, and inflation is one of the only "solutions" we see as likely to occur. We see a secular rise in global commodities prices, with some cyclical dips as the middle class expands in merging markets in the years ahead, consuming more commodities. Structuring portfolios in an attempt to guard against high inflation should be a central element of any investment strategy.

2012-06-18 Choosing the Right Asset Class in Emerging Markets: Why it Matters by Ignacio Sosa, Christopher Getter of PIMCO

Depending on individual risk tolerances during the past five years, it may have made more sense to overweight one or two EM asset classes and at times to avoid one or two EM asset classes altogether. In general, asset classes are better viewed as carriers of risks rather than each being considered a risk in its own right. This phenomenon is readily apparent in the emerging market space. We have advocated that asset allocation in EM should be dynamic with respect to both segment and country.

2012-06-15 Falling Equity Prices Reflect the European Crisis and Slower Economic Growth by Team of Thomas White International

Heightened concerns over the European fiscal crisis and slower economic growth dragged down emerging market equity prices during May. The emergence of political parties opposed to short-term austerity measures in recent elections in countries such as France and Greece has upset the political consensus that paved the way for an agreement on tackling the crisis last year. Borrowing costs of some of the troubled countries such as Spain have increased substantially, while countries that are in better fiscal health such as Germany remain hesitant about the issuance of common euro bonds.

2012-06-15 Every Economists Career Ends in Failure - The Irony of Hyman Minsky by John Gilbert of GR-NEAM

The economist Hyman Minsky held that capitalist economies are inherently unstable because investments are financed with debt, and the financial markets pricing of debt is volatile. Economies are prone to booms and busts as the cost of financing falls too far, or rises too much, revealing poor investment decisions. This has always been obvious to observers of business cycles, of which Minsky was one. Too many of his colleagues in economics ignore this, which we have found puzzling.

2012-06-15 Cohen & Steers Global Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the global real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index had a total return of 6.4% for the month (net of dividend withholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. Year to date, the index returned +7.9%.

2012-06-15 Speed Up or Slow Down--Don't Exit the Commodities Highway by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A positive signal received this week came from Goldman Sachs, when the firm recommended stepping back into the markets in its latest Commodity Watch. Goldman is anticipating a 29 percent return for the S&P GSCI Enhanced Commodity Index over the next 12 months and suggests investors might want to increase their position in commodities.

2012-06-13 Saving the Euro by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

The management of the Eurozone debt crisis is dysfunctional. In our assessment, to save the Euro, policy makers must focus on competitiveness, common sense and communication. If policy makers strived to achieve just one of these principles, the Euro might outshine the U.S. dollar.

2012-06-13 Creative Destruction by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

Creative Destruction is always at play in competitive markets of all kinds. Given the metamorphic pressures caused by todays over-levered and structurally low- growth global economy, the forces of Creative Destruction are perhaps far greater than normal. Low overall growth and historically high profit margins create a particularly potent environment in which corporations compete for their share of a potential profit pool. Revenue growth is increasingly hard to come by and cost-reduction opportunities may have been stretched to their outer limits.

2012-06-12 Asia's Role in Global Economic and Portfolio Rebalancing by Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead, Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

We expect that the reallocation of global investor portfolios toward more balanced allocations to emerging market bonds the Great Migration to support Asia in the coming years. To pivot to a growth model that emphasizes domestic demand, China must alter government policy on taxes, profits of state-owned enterprises as well as make other structural changes. Japans growth will continue to be challenged by secular dynamics, and by the countrys inability to respond to them.

2012-06-11 The Heart of the Matter by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The ongoing debate about the economy continues along largely partisan lines, with conservatives arguing that taxes just aren't low enough, and the economy should be freed of regulations, while liberals argue that the economy needs larger government programs and grand stimulus initiatives. Lost in this debate is any recognition of the problem that lies at the heart of the matter: a warped financial system, both in the U.S. and globally, that directs scarce capital to speculative and unproductive uses, and refuses to restructure debt once that debt has gone bad.

2012-06-08 Monthly Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

Global stock markets dropped sharply in May amid renewed macroeconomic fears. Large-cap U.S. stocks fell 6%, while small and mid-cap stocks lost 6.6% and 6.7%, respectively. Domestic stocks are still well in positive territory for the year, with returns ranging from just over 5% for large-caps to 3.4% for small-caps. Foreign markets fell further, as questions over the stability of the eurozone dominated headlines. Both developed and emerging-markets were down 11% for the month and in negative territory year-to-date (down 3.3% and 0.4%, respectively).

2012-06-08 The Default Delusion - Inevitable....and Desirable by Jonathan Compton of Bedlam Asset Management

The many tortuous what if articles on the eurozones financial problems address the risks of collapse and contagion together with the inchoate political responses. Inevitably they conclude catastrophic consequences. There is no gain in further exaggerating this fairy tale, which is repeated to frighten voters into submission. Every scribbler had got there apart from those for whom it became a quasi-religious cult. The current cacophony of commentary remains backward looking so will again miss the key issue: default is good.

2012-06-04 Investors Position for a Synchronized Global Slowdown by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

The insufficient job creation, stagnant earnings and alarming long-term unemployment highlighted by Mays disheartening jobs report underscore Americas persistent unemployment crisis. The numbers also speak to a synchronized slowdown that is now taking hold of the global economy a phenomenon that is being signaled by virtually every other data release out of Europe, the U.S. and emerging countries.

2012-06-04 Tomorrows Europe by Andrew Balls, Andrew Bosomworth, Mike Amey of PIMCO

Our secular view is that the status quo is not an option for the eurozone. In the near term, we believe it is more likely than not that Greece will exit the eurozone. While a Greek exit would likely be messy and volatile, our baseline view is that a smaller union will persist. To be sustainable, it will have to be underpinned by much stronger fiscal union, greater support for the banking system, and mutualization of debt to mitigate cross-border capital flight risks.

2012-06-04 4 Reasons Europe is a Major Risk for US Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Some investors have argued that events in Europe are having a disproportionate impact on US stocks. Their logic: the US is in the midst of a recovery, albeit a fairly anemic one, that is unlikely to be derailed by Europes travails. Its true that the US economy is doing much better than Europes, and especially southern Europes. But from my perspective, the trajectory of the US economy and the US stock market are very much tied to eurozone events. Here are four reasons why US investors should not underestimate the potential impact of events in Europe.

2012-05-30 U.S. Dollar and Euro - Review and Outlook by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

The 12-month period ended March 31, 2012 (the Period) could be described as one of contrasting halves. News emanating from Europe dominated market gyrations for the majority of the Period. During the second half of the Period, the market appeared to ascribe a more optimistic assessment to the European situation and the global economy. Regarding the U.S. dollar, we consider the more dovish FOMC voting member composition to be a negative for the currency, as it will likely lead to more expansionary policies relative to global central bank counterparts

2012-05-30 The What-Why-When-How Guide to Owning Emerging Country Debt by Tina Vandersteel of GMO

As GMO looks forward to its 20th year managing emerging debt portfolios, we offer our perspectives on the frequently-asked questions that have come up over the years, including: What is meant by emerging debt (external, local, corporate)? Why and when to own it: portfolio fit considerations, alpha, and absolute and relative value. How to own it: dedicated external, local, or corporate; blended; or multi asset (including emerging equities).

2012-05-25 There's No Place Like America by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Investors arent endorsing U.S. equities today. With all the positive aspects mentioned above, todays low participation in the U.S. stock market is perplexing. Here are two more reasons to invest today: 1) About 620 companies in the S&P 1500 Index are growing their revenues at more than 10 percent; and 2) 428 stocks in the index have an annualized dividend yield higher than the 10-year Treasury.

2012-05-24 Jumping Into The Abyss: A Bull Case for Gold Mining Stocks by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

Gold mining stocks, as measured by the AMEX Gold Bugs Index (HUI), are down nearly 40% from their August 2011 high. Representative ETFs such as GDX and GDXJ as down similar amounts, if not more. Mining company stock prices look to be falling into the abyss. While buying mining stocks here could certainly look foolish in the near-term, NOT accumulating positions, or selling them for that matter, is likely to be the bigger mistake over the long term.

2012-05-24 Why Invest in Asian Credit? by Showbhik Kalra of PIMCO

Asian sovereign and corporate credit offer more attractive yields than a number of other global fixed income sectors as investors take on additional risk. Given Asian markets diversity and the global macroeconomic environment, investors may wish to consider investment managers with a strong global macro process coupled with strong relationships with local stakeholders and experience in local portfolio management and markets.

2012-05-22 What History Tells Us about a Potential Greek Exit by David Schawel (Article)

Greece's future is less certain given the recent elections. Is an exit now possible or probable? What would an exit from the euro look like, and how would it be accomplished? Some historical examples give us a clue to the repercussions.

2012-05-22 Were Off to See the Wizard by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

In October of 2010 we explained in a missive called The Wizard of Oz that investors had put too much confidence in the ability of a group of Chinese National, US-educated economists to manage the China economy. Thanks to the writing of Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in The Telegraph on May 13th of 2012, we can see just how successful the Wizard has been in perpetuating the myth that China can be the first major world economy to defy business cycles.

2012-05-18 Sublime to Ridiculous by John Gilbert of GR-NEAM

There was a time when governments were held to account for the long-term consequences of their financial habits. Those days appear to be long gone, of course, to policymakers frenzied at the political urgency of producing rising employment. But there must be a price to pay for thumbing our noses at lessons previously learned. We look here at just how far government husbandry of the financial system has strayed over time, and how important the consequences are likely to be in years to come.

2012-05-18 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

In a global economy characterized by moderating inflation and tepid growth in developed markets, we believe emerging markets real estate securities offer attractive upside potential on a risk-adjusted basis. Policymakers in emerging economies have indicated increasing comfort with accommodative monetary policies, while domestic demand remains robust, creating a positive operating environment for both landlords and developers. On a relative value basis, we are finding more opportunities in residential developers, as we believe share prices remain depressed following their poor 2011 returns.

2012-05-18 European Real Estate Securities April 2012 Reivew & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

Valuations for many listed real estate companies have reached levels that are likely too low on a relative basis. We continue to closely monitor macroeconomic developments, and remain focused on companies that we think are best positioned to shield themselves from the adverse effects of deleveraging. Specifically, we generally favor high-quality companies with strong balance sheets and relatively low cash flow multiples. We continue to like London offices and the Berlin residential market.

2012-05-18 Global Real Estate Securities April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

North America fundamentals are on a slow but positive trajectory. European economic challenges keep us focused on high-quality names. Policy easing trends likely to benefit Asia Pacific.

2012-05-18 Global Listed Infrastructure Investment Review and Outlook April 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

The predictable income, modest volatility and long-term growth potential of infrastructure securities continue to offer an attractive combination in the present market environment. We remain focused on subsectors we believe offer attractive relative valuations and compelling growth dynamics, such as pipelines, water and communications infrastructure. We are significantly underweight electric utilities given continued sector-specific fundamental and regulatory risks.

2012-05-18 International Real Estate Securities April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

European economic challenges keep us focused on high-quality names. Policy easing trends likely to benefit Asia Pacific.

2012-05-16 Germany Faces Political Isolation by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

One month ago it appeared that Germany held the whip hand in its titanic struggle against those seeking to cure all economic ills with the snake oil of currency debasement. Now, it appears that the ground beneath its feet is being swept away in a flood of popular unrest and political exploitation. The recent elections in Europe, which highlight both the strong grass roots revolt against Germanic demands in Greece and France show that the cause of sound money and fiscal prudence to be a lonely and difficult endeavor.

2012-05-15 Lacy Hunt on Debt, Austerity and Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Global economies are experiencing unsustainable debt disequilibrium, according to Lacy Hunt. Economic textbooks preach that equilibrium, rather than transition, should be the predominant condition. But our attempts to reduce our indebtedness by taking on more ? and less productive ? debt are weakening our economy and creating unstable conditions.

2012-05-15 Policy Confusions & Inflection Points by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

During this important annual event, PIMCO colleagues from around the world debate the major trends that will play out over the next three to five years, focusing not on what should happen, but what is likely to happen. Based on the 2012 Secular Forum discussions, we expect three themes to play out: continued policy and political confusion, overly incremental public and private sector responses and, therefore, greater potential for inflection points. In terms of regions, the status quo is no longer an option for Europe.

2012-05-14 The Flaws of Finance by James Montier of GMO

Bad Models, or, Why We Need a Hippocratic Oath in Finance. The NRA is well-known for its slogan Guns dont kill people; people kill people. I have often heard fans of financial modelling use a similar line of defence. However, one of my favourite comedians has a rebuttal that I find most compelling. He points out that Guns dont kill people; people kill people, but so do monkeys if you give them guns. This is akin to my view of financial models. Give a monkey a value at risk (VaR) model or the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) and youve got a potential financial disaster on your hands.

2012-05-14 Let's Stress Test Governments by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Several years ago, Treasury Secretary John Snow was testifying to Congress about the federal budget. He worked for President Bush and, after a long career of opposing deficits, was trying to justify a deficit of about 3% of GDP. Representative Barney Frank was incredulous. He asked Snow how he could now justify deficits. Frank then came up with a theory: He said Snow was opposed to deficits when the president was a Democrat, but didnt care about them when the president was a Republican. Frank was being sarcastic, but he had a good point.

2012-05-10 A Mixed Fixed Landscape by Team of Franklin Templeton

The lingering low-rate environment in the U.S, Eurozone, Japan and some other nations has many yield-seeking investors feeling stuck in the mud. At its April policy meeting, the Federal Reserve pledged to keep its key short-term interest rate exceptionally low at least through late 2014. Some other global central banks, even in emerging nations, have pushed their rates lower too this year to spur growth. On top of that, many countries are also still trying to dig out of debt, but seem to be spinning their wheels.

2012-05-10 Emerging Markets Equity: Monthly Product Commentary April 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices were subdued for the second successive month in April as renewed concerns over the European fiscal crisis dulled the outlook for exports from some of the leading emerging economies. The moderate correction in energy and other commodity prices also dampened the optimism over economic growth in some of the leading resource exporting countries. Among the major emerging markets, Brazil declined the most followed by India and Taiwan. Most emerging markets in Europe also underperformed during the month.

2012-05-10 Staying Bullish by Herbert Abramson and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

We believe we are in a new bull market, and bull markets thrive on climbing that proverbial wall of worry. Bullish sentiment is low and bearish sentiment high. Anxious retail investors, having suffered two ugly bear markets since 2000, continue to shun stocks, with money flowing out of mutual equity funds now for more than 5 consecutive years. The public is hugely underinvested. Cash on the sidelines is enormous. The fuel to ultimately power stocks higher as confidence returns.

2012-05-09 Economic Update by Team of Cambridge Advisors

More money has flowed out of stock funds and into bond funds consistently over the past three years even though stock returns have outpaced bond returns and forward looking bond fund returns are expected to be low and possibly negative. This movement reflects investor aversion to the inherent risk in stocks. Bond investments tend to provide some stability to a portfolio when stock prices decline.

2012-05-08 Richard Bernstein: US Assets will Outperform over the Next Decade by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Prior to founding the firm that now bears his name, Richard Bernstein was the chief investment strategist at Merrill Lynch & Co. In this interview, he discusses why he expects US assets - both equities and fixed income - to be the outperformers among global markets over the next decade.

2012-05-08 Eurozone Election Hangover by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

The euro is recovering after a dire Monday morning; keep in mind, though, that much of Asia had a holiday and missed digesting the disappointing U.S. unemployment report; liquidity is low, as London is closed for a holiday. Medium term, however, our bigger concern is that big money, such as the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, is taking a step back from the Eurozone. As such, the odds of more liquidity provisions from the ECB have increased. We believe the euro will underperform other European currencies; note, though, that the world, including the U.S., will remain awash in money.

2012-05-08 Dont Fight the Last War Lessons from the Battlefields of Risk Management by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Investors often behave as if they operate in a world of logic and certainty even when that is not the case. For that reason, history is littered with investors who have failed miserably. In this month's Absolute Return Letter we look at many of the pitfalls facing risk managers and we take a stab at where the next big crisis is going to surface. Our conclusion may surprise a few readers.

2012-05-04 Bullish on America by Andrew J. Redleaf of Whitebox Advisors

Todays crisis has nothing to do with the shadow banking system or any other sort of shadow. Todays crisis is all out in the bright sunshine and remarkably straightforward. The supposed danger is that some major economic power (i.e., not Greece) will become unable to access credit markets. Spanish or Italian or French bonds will decline so steeply as to imperil the banks that own them or appear to do so, causing a run on global financial institutions as severe as 2008s.

2012-05-04 Watchful Waiting by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons, Andrew Bosomworth and Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

Today, the Federal Reserve itself faces an unusually uncertain period because it lacks a complete understanding of the potential side effects of its unconventional policy actions; in particular the elongated timeline of its zero interest rate policy and its massive money printing. What matters in shaping market expectations about inflation and deflation are the credibility of fiscal policy, the prospect for real economic growth and the central banks commitment to step back from the punch bowl.

2012-05-01 Wind Shear Avoidance: Why There Is Value in Momentum by Vineer Bhansali of PIMCO

Explicit tail hedges that look expensive in a normal world may indeed turn out to be cheap if the unimodal morphs into the bimodal. When faced with bimodal outcomes, momentum as a risk factor becomes potent, and cost-efficient exposure to momentum becomes critical to proper portfolio construction. In this world of low, pegged interest rates, an investor who is going to take risk needs other means to make the portfolio more inured to unforeseen shocks and market storms. Investors should look at effective alternative beta strategies, such as momentum, that can be implemented efficiently.

2012-05-01 Tuesday Never Comes by Bill Gross of PIMCO

The current acceleration of credit via central bank policies will likely produce a positive rate of real economic growth this year for most developed countries, but the structural distortions brought about by zero bound interest rates will limit that growth and induce serious risks in future years. Gradually higher rates of inflation should be the result of QE policies and zero bound yields. Focus on securities with shorter durations bonds with maturities in the 5-year range and stocks paying dividends that offer 3%4% yields. Real assets/commodities should occupy an increasing percentage.

2012-05-01 Bernanke: Be Humble! by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

To Bernanke, being humble means to keep strong monetary policy support to avoid deflation. This humbleness creates a lot of debt whether that be out of thin air on the Feds balance sheet, or across the economy as consumers, businesses and the government alike are enticed to borrow evermore money. What we consider monetary largess, as well as fiscal unsustainability, may ultimately lead to deterioration of the US purchasing power. We have encouraged investors to take a diversified approach to cash. A basket of hard currencies or gold might serve to mitigate the risks of a declining dollar.

2012-04-26 Why Eurozone Woes are Creating Headwinds for Global Firms by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Europe is in crisis -- and that has major implications for multinational firms with significant operations in the region. In fact, while much is written about the race by corporations to penetrate emerging markets like China and Brazil, the reality is that the investment by multinationals in Europe dwarfs the assets they have in those fast-growing economies. And the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, along with weak economic growth, is sparking changes in how these firms operate -- altering everything from manufacturing strategies to marketing to financial maneuvers.

2012-04-25 Readers Questions Answered Part IX by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

I agree with your outlook on the emerging economies. My concern is the Eurozone, where there is political and currency instability. There is talk that one or more countries may leave the Eurozone. This could be a shock to the financial world, affecting currencies, and banks with exposure may tumble. How would you assess this risk? I believe the Europeans are on the right track and are addressing the fiscal issues facing not only Greece, but other countries in the Eurozone. Ultimately, these are issues impacting all developed countries, includng the U.S. and Japan.

2012-04-23 Americas: Economic Review First Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Optimism over economic prospects increased across the Americas regions during the first quarter of the year, as economic data showed sustained improvement and global risks eased somewhat. Despite costlier fuel, consumer spending climbed in most countries across the region, especially in the U.S. The European fiscal crisis now appears less worrisome when compared to last year, while the slowdown in Asia has turned out to be milder than expected earlier. Commodity prices have recovered after the correction during the second half of last year, on an improved outlook in global demand.

2012-04-23 Decoding Duration to Better Understand Your Portfolio by William G. De Leon and Ravi K. Mattu of PIMCO

Duration is often used as a shorthand way to communicate the interest rate risk of a fixed income portfolio. We frequently encounter duration quotations presented as though no subtleties exist. These quotations average duration exposures across maturities and across currencies, implicitly assuming that yields across maturities and currencies are equally volatile and perfectly correlated. We approach the task of understanding interest rate risk with a more complete view of the risk dynamics driving interest rate sensitivity.

2012-04-21 A Little Bull's Eye Investing by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Bull's Eye Investing was the book that really helped establish this letter. It dealt with a host of investing ideas, secular market cycles, value investing, alternative investing, and more. I have taken that material, updated it, and written a new book, part of the Little Book series done by Wiley, called The Little Book of Bull's Eye Investing Finding Value, Generating Absolute Returns, and Controlling Risk in Turbulent Markets. I have waited to announce this one until it is off the presses and being shipped. Here is the introduction and part of the first chapter of the book.

2012-04-20 Currency Wars: Gambling With Other Peoples Money by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

If running out of your own money wasnt bad enough, policy makers are increasingly spending other peoples money to bail their country out. At the upcoming G-20 meeting, finance ministers from around the world will contemplate an increase to the resources of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). At stake for politicians is whether they can continue to do what they know best to play politics. In contrast, at stake for investors may be whether currencies will retain their function as a store of value.

2012-04-20 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities Investment Review & Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

A general moderation in inflation pressures is giving emerging market authorities more liberty to pursue policy stimulus, auguring well for domestic growth. We believe this will create opportunities for residential developers in various markets and we have increased our allocation to these companies.

2012-04-20 Global Listed Infrastructure Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers

Infrastructure securities predictable income, modest volatility and long-term growth potential have always attracted income-focused, risk-averse investors. If market volatility increases in the second half of the year, we expect these qualities will exert an even greater pull.

2012-04-20 European Real Estate Securities Investment Reivew & Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

Europes attempt to rein in its fiscal imbalances has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the continent, marked by more severe contraction in the southern region. The recent LTRO facilities have prevented a severe credit crunch and collapse of the EU banking system. However, we take the view that this three-year program merely buys time to sort out the overleveraged balance sheets of most EU banks; it does not solve the long-term solvency crisis facing Greece and possibly Portugal.

2012-04-20 International Real Estate Securities Investment Review & Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

Europes attempt to rein in its fiscal imbalances has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the continent, marked by more severe contraction in the southern region. The recent LTRO facilities have prevented a severe credit crunch and collapse of the EU banking system. However, we take the view that this three-year program merely buys time to sort out the overleveraged balance sheets of most EU banks. It does not solve the long-term solvency crisis facing Greece and possibly Portugal.

2012-04-20 Global Real Estate Securities Investment Review and Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

We are encouraged by the recent trend of U.S. economic data showing measured improvement, although our expectation for GDP growth in 2012 remains modest at around 2%. With funding costs likely to remain low and demand showing signs of strengthening, we believe U.S. real estate fundamentals will continue to gradually improve in 2012, driven by growing demand from tenants and the scarcity of new supply in most markets. We believe these fundamentals will help support growth in asset values and dividend distributions for the U.S. public real estate sector.

2012-04-18 Monthly Product Commentary: Emerging Markets Equity March 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

After gaining during the first two months of the year, emerging market equity prices saw a moderate correction in March and underperformed the developed markets. There are renewed concerns that domestic consumption growth in some of the larger emerging economies could be lower than currently expected, and could restrict aggregate economic growth in the coming quarters. Signs of the European fiscal crisis worsening again have also dampened investor sentiment as further economic weakness in the Euro-zone would cloud the export prospects of several emerging economies, especially China.

2012-04-18 Monthly Product Commentary: International Equity March 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

After the robust gains during the first two months of the year, international equity markets corrected marginally during March as the markets waited for further economic data and trends from first quarter earnings announcements. Emerging markets underperformed on renewed concerns that domestic consumption growth in some of the larger emerging economies could be lower than current expectations. The lack of investor interest for a new issue of Spanish bonds drew renewed attention to the European fiscal crisis.

2012-04-18 Global Overview: March 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Select indicators showing a possible worsening of the European fiscal crisis and slower domestic demand growth in some of the emerging economies have dulled the global economic optimism in recent weeks. After Spain faced difficulties in finding enough buyers for a new issue of bonds, several distressed European countries have seen their bond yields rise. Inflation and retail sales data from China for the month of February suggested weaker than expected consumer demand, and slower growth in March imports strengthened these concerns.

2012-04-17 Is China Serious about Currency Reform? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Chinas central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, made comments that drew less attention than they deserve. First, he suggested that market forces would play a bigger role in setting the value of Chinas currency, the yuan. He also mused that the yuan should rise further against the dollar and on foreign exchange markets generally. An announcement by the People's Bank of China relating to increased flexibility in the trading band of the currency would appear to confirm Zhou's intent. There is room for two responses to this new Chinese positioning, one cynical and the other much more positive.

2012-04-17 Question for the ECB: What Now? by Fred Copper of Columbia Management

The ECB tipped its hand last week in terms of which direction it is likely to go. Board member Benoit Coeure indicated the ECB could step in and buy Spanish bonds. It is unlikely to be a sustainable solution. It wouldnt be surprising to see renewed stresses emanating from the peripheral sovereign debt markets. There is a limit to how much the ECB is going to be able to do in this situation. Ultimately, the real burden is going to have to be borne by politicians through substantial fiscal adjustments.

2012-04-17 The Elusive Equilibrium: How Financial Markets Shape Global Rebalancing by Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

The mental and organizational infrastructure in the asset management industry has been built for a world with a sharp dichotomy between developed countries and emerging markets. Effective portfolio management requires an integrated approach that eschews the traditional dichotomy between developed and emerging markets. Emerging markets account for about 36% of global output and 68% of global GDP growth, but only represent about 4% of the equity portfolios of U.S. investors. We believe the representation in bond portfolios is even lower.

2012-04-17 Quarterly Review and Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

From both economic theory and historical experience the answer is clear; austerity is the solution to too much debt. McKinsey Global Institute examined 32 cases where extreme leverage caused financial crises since the 1930s. In 24, or 75% of these cases austerity was required, which McKinsey defines as a multi-year and sustained increase in the saving rate. Public and/or private borrowers took on too much debt because they lived beyond their means, or they consumed more than they earned. Thus, to reverse the problem spending had to be held below income, increasing the saving rate.

2012-04-13 Wheres the Beef for Gold Equities? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If you plan on shopping for bargains in the gold miner department, youre going to fight a crowd. Numerous global investors have been pounding the table for gold stocks, including Marc Faber who said gold shares have become extremely oversold and could rebound in the next few days and Global Portfolio Strategist Don Coxe, who reiterated that gold equities are undervalued compared to the precious metal. A big buyer has been the miners themselves. Mergers and acquisitions in the mining sector have been at an all-time high over the past two years. Theyve been willing to pay a premium too.

2012-04-11 A Balancing Act by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The balancing act between inflation and growth that economies often face is perhaps even more pronounced in the emerging markets world: stimulate growth too much, and inflation could flare, but stamp out inflation too hard, and growth could freeze. The fire of inflation seems to have moderated and some central banks have taken actions to stimulate growth. I believe the fundamentals in many emerging markets look supportive of these actionsas long as it doesnt tip out of balance. Inflation is a big challenge, and I believe it will probably be a very important consideration going forward.

2012-04-10 Allocating to Real Assets: Why Diversification Matters by Cohen & Steers (Article)

One way to extend the long-term purchasing power of a traditional stock and bond portfolio is through an allocation to real assets. But individually, categories like commodities, natural resource equities and REITs can be volatile. Cohen & Steers meets the challenge with a focus on broad asset-class diversification.

2012-04-10 The Greenback Remains the Preferred Choice of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The IMFs Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves (COFER) database continues to indicate that dollar remains the preferred reserve currency. In Q4 2011, the dollar made up 62.1% of official reserves vs. 61.8% in Q3. The dollar accounted for 61.4% of official reserves in 2011 vs. 61.8% in 2010 and 62% in 2009. The euros share was virtually unchanged in 2011 at 26%. Is the dollars role as an official reserve currency shrinking? A small decline is visible prior to the onset of the crisis but the dollar has prevailed in the past three years.

2012-04-05 BRICS Plan for the Future by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Last week, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa met in New Delhi for their fourth annual "BRICS" summit. The meeting brought together five countries that together represent 43% of the world's population and 18% of the world's GDP. When the gathering concluded on March 29, the coalition subtly issued its latest challenge to the increasingly desperate bankers and politicians of the West. They announced more definitive plans to establish a BRICS-focused development bank, to be solely funded by the BRICS countries themselves.

2012-04-05 Calm After the Storm by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The Fed has announced that it stands ready to promote economic growth with all the tools at its disposal. The Fed policy of low interest rates and cheap credit may still be needed to help the job market heal for some time to come. However, the inevitability of a rise in interest rates at a foreseeable point may encourage investors to avoid fixed income securities. The financial reality is that markets clear and prices depend on buyers as well as sellers. Time horizons and global forces are always considerations. The importance of diversification is always prudent for long-term investors.

2012-04-04 Fed - Actions Speak Louder Than Words by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

The Fed has a credibility problem: having assured investors that rates will remain low for an extended period, it may only take one or two FOMC members to turn more optimistic about the economic outlook to cause the markets to more aggressively price-in tighter monetary policy. Conversely, Bernanke has made it clear that he is most concerned about a recovery in the housing market and that low interest rates throughout the yield curve are desirable. Operation Twist is specifically aimed to achieve that, lowering long-term rates and flattening the yield curve.

2012-04-03 Christine Lagarde: Emerging Market Nations Will Get More Power in the IMF by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, sees no alternative to the strict austerity policies being imposed on many peripheral European countries, says the double dip recessions in Italy and Ireland just announced come as no surprise, and notes that IMF reforms will shift 6% of current quotas to dynamic emerging and developing countries. Lagarde's comments came in an exclusive interview with Knowledge@Wharton and media partner ParisTech Review late last week, as BRIC countries demanded more voting power in return for the larger financial contributions being requested by the IMF.

2012-03-31 All Spain All the Time by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The events of the last 24 hours compel me to once again look "across the pond" at the problems that not only plague Europe but will be a drag on world growth as well, as Europe goes through its continued painful adjustment as a consequence of trying to adopt a single currency. Since Spain is going to be on the front page for some time, it will be useful to look at some of the problems it is facing, to put it all into context. And what I heard while in Europe in private meetings is troubling.

2012-03-27 Bernanke's Problem with the Gold Standard by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

In his new lecture series, Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Ben Bernanke is going out of his way to discuss the "problems with the gold standard." To a central banker, the gold standard may be considered "competition," as their power would likely be greatly diminished if the U.S. were on a gold standard. The Fed, Bernanke argues, is the answer to the problems of the gold standard. We respectfully disagree. We disagree because the Fed ought to look at a different problem.

2012-03-23 International Real Estate Securities- Investment Review & Outlook - February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

International real estate securities added to their year-to-date gains in February, although the pace of the rally moderated. Most markets in Europe and Asia Pacific continued to benefit from the retreat of macro risk concerns. Europes difficult grapple with its fiscal crises has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the region. Given this environment, we seek to invest in companies that are best able to shield themselves from the most adverse effects of slowing economies and a general deleveraging.

2012-03-23 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities - Investment Review & Outlook February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

As emerging economies work through the late stages of a mid-cycle slowdown, policy markets are attempting to engineer soft landings as inflation pressures continue to moderate. Given the potential for better domestic growth in such an environment, we expect to take advantage of buying opportunities among residential developers. Our favored markets include Brazil, based on its natural resources, growing consumption trends and shareholder-friendly business environment. We particularly like the retail market, which continues to exhibit strong fundamentals.

2012-03-23 Europe Investment Review & Outlook February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

Europes difficult grapple with its fiscal crises has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the region. The recent LTRO facilities have prevented a severe credit crunch and collapse of the EU banking system. However, we take the view that this three-year program merely buys time to sort out the overleveraged balance sheets of most EU banks; it does not solve the long-term solvency crisis facing Greece and possibly Portugal.

2012-03-23 Global Real Estate Securities Investment Review and Outlook February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

Global real estate securities added to their year-to-date gains in February, although the pace of the rally moderated. Most markets in Europe and Asia Pacific continued to benefit from the retreat of macro risk concerns. U.S. REITs, which advanced in 2011 while other regions struggled, had a modest decline.

2012-03-23 Global Listed Infrastructure - February 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

We have a positive near-term outlook for infrastructure securities based on improving U.S. economic data and stabilizing credit conditions in Europe. But our optimism remains tempered by rising sovereign debt levels in Europe and the United States and a likely protracted period of economic hardship in the European periphery. Emerging markets are likely to be somewhat stronger, in our view, driven by better structural demand and monetary easing. For this reason, we have increased our investments in Brazil, China and Mexico.

2012-03-22 Explaining the Stir over Recent Fed-Speak by Team of American Century Investments

The official statement from the Federal Reserves March 13 interest rate policy committee meeting was relatively ho-hum (no significant changes from Januarys statement), but other recent Fed communications have raised more of a stir. In particular, we explain what fiscal cliff and sterilized QE mean, and help put them into context. Its all part of a mixed, uncertain economic outlook in which slower mid-year growth, like last year, cant be ruled out, but higher inflation by next year is also a possibility.

2012-03-21 Falling Treasuries: A Currency Perspective by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

What are the implications for the U.S. dollar and investors portfolios if bond prices continue to fall, as they have of late? Within that context, should investors care whether the U.S. retains its status as a reserve currency? Should it effect the way investors think about their own cash reserves?

2012-03-20 Is There a Bubble in Treasuries? by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

Both Sides of the Case; Explaining the 2011 Treasury Rally (It's Not What You Think); Where to From Here? People have been calling a bubble in treasuries for at least a decade. The shocking result, especially to hyperinflationists, has been a stair-step decline in yields for 30 years. That's quite a long time.

2012-03-19 Readers Questions Answered Part IX by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

It doesnt make sense for any of the countries in the Eurozone to leave the Euro. Moving into another currency does not solve any problems. Thats why Im baffled when people say a particular country should leave the Eurozone. As I see it, the choice to exit a currency is not made by the government, its a choice made by the people. The good news is that the Europeans, in addition to providing more liquidity, are striving to get to the core of the problem by trying to impose fiscal discipline. For this reason, I think the outcome should be positive in the long term.

2012-03-15 Diversification 101 by Rich Weiss of American Century Investments

In this edition of Weekly Market Update, Rich Weiss, discusses diversification-the rationale, the benefits, and ways to apply this approach. This is the first in a series of monthly write-ups on the topic with future pieces devoted to topics such as the state of diversification in a post-financial crisis world; portfolio rebalancing; and when and what types of diversification strategies make the most sense, among other topics. Outfitted with this information, investors can make better investment choices, improving portfolio diversification and risk-adjusted performance now and into the future.

2012-03-13 Europe's ?Back-door QE?: Good News for Global Bond Investors by OppenheimerFunds, Inc. (Article)

By restoring confidence in the global financial system, the European Central Bank's Long Term Refinancing Operation has allowed global bond investors to participate in attractive opportunities around the world.

2012-03-13 The Gutenberg Economy by Michael Lewitt (Article)

As commentators near and far speculate on what 2012 will bring to the global economy and markets, there is little question that one factor will be decisive: the central banks' printing presses. Both the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB) will keep printing dollars and euros around the clock until their presses run out of ink.

2012-03-12 EuropeAll Talk, Little Action by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Europes heads of state have done a lot of summiting and deal- making of late. Greece has voted for still more austerity. But on balance, the results have, again, disappointed. Though Europes monetary authorities have staved off Greek default, the more significant help for Europes sovereign debt troubles has come from the European Central Bank (ECB), which, at last, has begun to provide markets much needed liquidity. Otherwise, Europes leaders, though they have managed something, seem incapable of thinking broadly enough even to begin grappling with the continents underlying problems.

2012-03-09 The Healing Powers of a Weaker Yen by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

In mid-February, the Bank of Japan surprised markets with an expansion of its Asset Purchase Program, Japans version of quantitative easing. At the same time, the BOJ reworded its stance regarding inflation, revising its quantitative easing understanding to a goal and formally adopting an inflation target of 1%. Equity markets reacted positively, prompting foreign investors to pour more than US$5 billion into Japanese stocks and futures over just a 2-week period. The yen weakened to levels not seen since May 2011, and the currency seems to have broken from its 5-year appreciation trend.

2012-03-08 Oil and Gasoline Prices Rise Again: How High and How Long? by Team of American Century Investments

One year ago, we wrote on the recent up-tick in crude oil and gasoline prices which was caused by turmoil and revolution in the Middle East. A year later, were experiencing a similar rise in crude and gasoline prices. Last week, the average national cost for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline was approximately $3.75 per gallon. One contributing factor has been the increase in tensions between Western countries (and Israel) with Iran over its continuing work to produce nuclear fuel which could be used in atomic weapons.

2012-03-08 Bernanke Spooks Gold by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Regardless of who wins the reserve currency race, a key issue will be the gold conversion price. To accommodate the world economy without being recessive, many have concluded that the price of gold would need to be far higher than it is today. In any case, if China continues to pursue a path towards a fully convertible Yuan, investors might be wise to pursue a buy and hold strategy. This of course discounts the possibility that their holdings are not confiscated by debtor governments with plummeting fiat currencies.

2012-03-03 Unintended Consequence by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week we wonder about the consequences of the European Central Bank (ECB) issuing over 1 trillion in short-term loans to try and postpone a banking credit crisis and lower sovereign debt costs for certain peripheral countries in Europe. What if, instead of holding the European Monetary Union (EMU or Eurozone) together, that actually makes a breakup more likely? That would certainly fall under the rubric of unintended consequences, and be worth our time to contemplate in this week's letter.

2012-03-02 TARGET2: A Channel for Europe's Capital Flight by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

The Eurosystem's TARGET2 transaction system introduces elements of fiscal union via the back door. The large TARGET 2 positions developing among national central banks in the eurozone reflect capital flight from the periphery to the core and de facto introduce transfer and burden sharing elements of a common fiscal policy. Monetary policy ends up substituting for fiscal policy without going through the same democratic channels that governments' expenditure and taxation decisions entail. Taxpayers in the eurozone are contingently liable for losses incurred by monetary policy operations.

2012-03-02 Will Oil Continue Heading Higher? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We expect there to be corrections in the price of oil throughout 2012, just like the ups and downs commodities experience from year to year. While the world is hungry for energy, theres no free lunch on the Periodic Table of Commodities, and historically, from year to year, commodities fluctuate. Crude oil, for example, has seen its share of ups and downs: In 2008, oil lost 53 percent; in 2009, it increased a substantial 78 percent. While oil may remain elevated, use these higher prices to your advantage by owning natural resources companies that benefit from higher prices.

2012-02-29 No Easy Fix for Gas Prices by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Oil and gas prices are high now for a very simple reason: the Fed has gone on a campaign to push up inflation and push down the value of the U.S. dollar. Just last week on CNBC James Bullard the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, stated this unequivocally. What is overlooked is the degree to which an inflationary policy at home creates inflation abroad. Many countries who peg their currencies to the U.S. dollar need to follow suit. As China prints yuan to keep it from appreciating against the dollar, prices rise in China. This is especially true for commodities like crude oil.

2012-02-24 Global Real Estate Securities - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

We are encouraged by the recent trend of U.S. economic data showing measured improvement, including steady employment gains. With funding costs remaining low and demand showing signs of strengthening, we believe U.S. real estate fundamentals will continue to gradually improve in 2012. Importantly, new supply remains scarce in most sectors, due in large part to banks continued reluctance to finance speculative development projects.

2012-02-24 Global Listed Infrastructure - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

We have a positive near-term outlook for infrastructure securities based on improving U.S. economic data and stabilizing credit conditions in Europe. But there are still headwinds. The road to Europes recovery is unlikely to be smooth; and in the United States, state and local government debt may dampen growth. Emerging markets are likely to be somewhat stronger, in our view, driven by better structural demand. For this reason, we have increased our investments in Brazil, China and Mexico.

2012-02-24 International Real Estate Securities - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

International real estate securities rallied along with stocks broadly in January amid an easing of macro risk concerns. Positive developments in Europe significantly reduced the risk of a liquidity crisis, while data from China suggested the country was successfully navigating a soft landing to its economy. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy continued to show evidence of modest yet self-sustaining growth.

2012-02-23 9 Key Themes To Impact Returns in 2012 by Scott Migliori of Allianz Global Investors

A breakdown of the key drivers of market performance in 2012 including corporate profits, pricing/inflation, interest rates, economic activity, international performance, the dollar, valuations, technical/sentiment and fiscal policy. The U.S. economy is likely to grow 5%

2012-02-22 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities by Team of Cohen & Steers

We believe that recent developments within emerging real estate markets are consistent with our macro view. As emerging economies work through the late stages of a mid-cycle slowdown, policy markets are attempting to engineer soft landings as inflation pressures moderate. Given the potential for better domestic growth, we expect to take advantage of buying opportunities among residential developers (e.g., in Brazil), and have selectively been moving in that direction.

2012-02-22 European Real Estate Securities by Team of Cohen & Steers

Recent initiatives to address the sovereign credit crisis appear to be having a meaningfully positive effect on credit conditions across Europe. Importantly, the ECBs long-term repurchase program has given banks vital breathing room to recapitalize. While we are cautiously optimistic, we remain vigilant to the potential risks and have a keen eye on Greece, which is engaged in ongoing negotiations with international lenders.

2012-02-21 David Rosenberg: "Searching for Certainty in a Sea of Uncertainty" by Katie Southwick (Article)

David Rosenberg is known for his bearish outlook, and he has not yet seen anything in recent economic news that persuades him to change his tune. Contrary to prevailing "bullish complacency" and the widespread belief that central banking systems "have the answers to the ongoing global debt deleveraging cycle," in the United States Rosenberg sees monumental deficits, flat growth, an underlying trend of deflation, and current fiscal policies that will limit future flexibility. In other words, trouble remains on the horizon.

2012-02-21 Emerging Markets Equity - January 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities outperformed the developed markets by a wide margin in January, as investors became increasingly confident that weak data trends from the third quarter of last year were not an indication of a significant growth deceleration in the major emerging economies. The gains were well spread out as almost all regions participated in the uptrend. India, Egypt, and select markets in Europe that had seen the worst price declines during the second half of last year, recovered the most during January.

2012-02-16 Currency Funds - Special Case International Bond Funds by Axel Merk and Kieran Osborne of Merk Funds

Investors may want to reduce their exposure to interest and credit risk in their international fixed income investments. One way to accomplish this may be to invest in international fixed income funds that have a commitment to the short end of the yield curve and to high credit quality securities. Currency funds may be considered special cases of international bond funds, as many typically invest in international fixed income securities of short duration to gain currency exposure. As such, currency funds tend to focus on currency risk while seeking to mitigate interest and credit risk.

2012-02-15 February 2012 Newsletter by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup and Tim Roesch of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

So far in 2012 the stock market rally that began in the gloom last October continues to power ahead producing one of the best starts to a year in over a decade. The primary reason for the rekindling of animal spirits is the efforts of the ECB and our Fed. While we applaud these move that reduced the chance of another financial crisis in the short term, we question the speculative response by the stock market because long-term solvency issues still need to be addressed.

2012-02-15 Not in My Lifetime by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

The weak dollar and international economic fears have sparked multi-year bull markets in gold, oil and most major commodities. This has forced asset allocators at the largest institutions, consulting firms, registered advisory firms and financial advisor networks to over-emphasize all aspects of the capital eaters and the longer-term Treasury bonds which compete for these dollars. In effect, the Federal Reserve Board caused the last of the unbelievers to give up in early February because it does not appear that rates will rise in our lifetime.

2012-02-10 A Stock for its Dividends - Revisited by Jesper Madsen of Matthews Asia

Since investors often turn to Asia looking for growth, they may overlook that the region offers a well-diversified universe of dividend-paying companies in terms of sectors and countries. This month Jesper Madsen revisits the notion that the Asia Pacific region should play an essential role for investors seeking yield and growth in income.

2012-02-07 Neel Kashkari on PIMCO's Equity Strategy by John Heins (Article)

Bond titan PIMCO has been methodically building its equity-investing expertise. Here the architect of that effort, Neel Kashkari, and his first major hires describe their strategy and how they're uncovering value in today's market.

2012-02-07 Market Dimensions by James Damschroder of Gravity Capital Partners

We estimate there is a 15% to an upwards of 31% opportunity for some reasonable re-inflation to normal valuation to be had in emerging equity securities. It wouldnt be too aggressive to even call 60%. That would bring us to an implied P/E of only 15. I dont know if itll take six months or several years to accomplish this, but this was the logic I used in getting back into the international markets quickly after having correctly anticipating the start of the sovereign debt crisis. In retrospect, we came back a little early; but I believe this move will be very fruitful in the long run.

2012-02-03 Thunderstorm First, Then Rising Pressure by John Gilbert of GR-NEAM

The developed world is riskier than it was, and should be valued accordingly. That is a dour conclusion, but avoiding it does not mean that one can outrun it. Perceptions of what makes risky assets attractively valued need to be adjusted for the context. Valuation levels that were attractive when the world was less indebted are attractive only at lower levels since valuations have not yet anticipated eventual inflation. Those that will do the best are those that benefit from inflation and the negative real interest rates that result, since ultimately that is the choice governments will make

2012-01-31 Lacy Hunt on the Roadblock to Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)

'The fundamental key to prosperity is not governmental financial transactions, or even private sector financial transactions,' according to Lacy Hunt, the widely respected economist at Hoisington Investment Management, with whom we spoke last week. 'The key to prosperity is the hard work and creativity of our individuals in businesses.'

2012-01-31 Barry Eichengreen on the End of the Dollar by Dan Richards (Article)

Barry Eichengreen is a professor of economics and political science at the University of California, Berkeley and a former senior advisor to the International Monetary Fund. In this interview, he discusses the future of the dollar as the reserve currency and the role of the IMF in the Eurozone crisis. This is the transcript of the interview.

2012-01-31 To Fight or Not to Fight the Worlds Central Banks by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons, Andrew Bosomworth, Lupin Rahman and Isaac Meng of PIMCO

We are skeptical that fiscal austerity alone is sufficient for all eurozone countries to grow and remain solvent. We thus expect the ECB to continue supporting the euro area with liquidity in 2012. Recent central bank policy in China is oriented toward stabilizing growth in a political succession year, while balancing lingering inflation and medium-term systemic risks. Investors may want to hedge portfolios by looking to select emerging markets with the ability and willingness to cut policy rates both from a cyclical as well as structural perspective.

2012-01-27 Europe Investment Commentary - Full Year 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers

Our global macro outlook has turned positive given the shift toward monetary easing as well as U.S. economic data steadily improving growth. However, Europes central role in fiscal crises has made for a difficult backdrop in the region. We have begun to envision a recession in Europe as a base-case scenario. Given this, we seek to invest in companies that are best able to shield themselves from the most adverse effects of a slowing economy. Broadly speaking, opportunities to invest in companies with good balance sheets that are trading at meaningful discounts to their property values.

2012-01-27 LCV Web Commentary - December 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers

We continue to believe that the crisis in Europe is far from over; that the improving U.S. economic data, while encouraging, signal something well short of a robust recovery; and consequently, that the first half of 2012 remains highly uncertain. For these reasons, we still expect (1) more intervention by politicians and central bankers, (2) continued historically low interest rates in the US, (3) modestly positive U.S. economic data, (4) high but slowing growth in China and emerging markets, (5) short-term measures to address Europes long-term debt crisis.. and others.

2012-01-27 12 Trades for 2012 by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

Earlier this month, I suggested that investors closely watch 12 macroeconomic and financial indicators in deciding whether the world economy is improving or worsening (12 Indicators for 2012, January 3, 2012). Some readers wrote to ask if I would discuss what those indicators would mean for investment strategies. That was the genesis of the present piece which is intended to be consistent with expectations on the economic and financial fronts.

2012-01-27 Waist Deep in the Big Muddy by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

As long as interest rates remain far below the rate of inflation, the U.S. economy will fail to equitably restructure itself for a lasting recovery. As a secondary effect, U.S. savers will likely continue to suffer from a lack of yield and a weakening currency. In the end, the collapse of the U.S. economy will be that much more spectacular due to the great lengths we have gone to postpone it.

2012-01-25 Emerging Markets Real Estate Investment Commentary Full Year 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers

Over the long term, we believe emerging market real estate securities are well positioned to benefit from secular trends such as expanding urban centers and the rise of the consumer class. In the near term, however, we expect volatility to continue as markets grapple with uncertainty about Europe and further deceleration in economic growth. In this challenging market environment, we continue to favor commercial landlords over developers.

2012-01-24 Beyond Reinhart and Rogoff by Robert Huebscher (Article)

My article two weeks ago, The Misreading of Reinhart and Rogoff, elicited a number of challenges, both from those who argued that excessive debt imperils our economic growth and from those who claimed that my proposed solution was unworkable. Among those challengers was Lacy Hunt, who raised several valid concerns. I will explain why I disagree with Hunt and others, and why the dollar's position as the reserve currency increases our borrowing capacity. But our ability to borrow cannot be a license to spend unwisely, and I will conclude by expanding on the policy choices the US must pursue.

2012-01-23 Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Sovereign Debt Wolf? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Last Friday, the sovereign debt of nine European nations was downgraded by S&P. Now, there are only four European nations whose sovereign bonds carry the highest AAA rating: Finland, Germany, Luxemburg and the Netherlands. Since the sovereign debt refinancing and potential default problem still goes unsolved, we foresee the markets having to keep digesting more waves of bad news. Yet the fear created by such news is diminishingnot because of a shortage of negative news headlinesbut because European banks are more protected by the many lifelines that central banks keep throwing them.

2012-01-23 Cutting Debt and Deficits by Keith Wade and James Bilson of Schroder Investment Management

Clearly fiscal tightening in the developed markets will produce strong headwinds to world economic growth at an already unfavorable phase of the economic cycle. The extent of this drag on growth will in part be determined by the composition of the consolidation taking place between spending and revenue. Fiscal multipliers - the extent to which changes in spending and taxation affect real output - are difficult to predict with great accuracy at the best of times, but two factors suggest they may have become more powerful.

2012-01-21 Staring into the Abyss by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Europe's leaders are committed to keeping both the euro and the eurozone as it is. But for it to do so, everything must change, as the wonderful quote from the 1958 Italian novel suggests. This is no easy task, as no one wants a change that will impact them negatively; and there is no change that will allow things to stay the same that does not impact all severely, as we will see. In the third part of a continuing series, we look at the actual options that are available on the menu of choices, or as one group called it, the menu of pain.

2012-01-20 Equity Investment Outlook by John Osterweis and Matt Berler of Osterweis Capital Management

We believe that 2011 was an aberration in terms of stock market correlations and that gradually stocks will once again perform based more on their individual results and outlooks and less on the markets en masse risk on, risk off vacillations. Despite our near-term caution, which reflects a very uncertain economic and political climate, we are increasingly convinced that equities are poised for solid longer-term returns. Over the past ten years, stocks generally underperformed bonds. This is highly unusual. Stocks are now reasonably priced and profits are expected to expand.

2012-01-20 Emerging Consumers Drive Gold Prices: Who Knew? by Amit Bhartia and Matt Seto of GMO

Conventional wisdom has it wrong. The prevailing view is that the rapid rise of gold prices over the past 10 years has been caused by monetary authorities in the developed world debasing their currencies. By this logic, investors in the developed world have hedged debasement risk by pouring money into gold, both in the form of direct purchases and via ETFs. We believe that gold is an emerging markets asset as much as it is a bet against the Fed and that much of the rise in gold prices has been driven by purchases by emerging consumers, who are driven primarily by financial repression.

2012-01-19 Asia-Pacific Portfolio Managers Discuss PIMCOs Cyclical Outlook by Robert Mead, Isaac Meng and Raja Mukherji of PIMCO

We expect emerging Asia growth below the market consensus due to its less aggressive policy responses compared to 2008-2009. The Asia-Pacific region is less affected than others by eurozone turmoil but contagion is still a risk through direct trade and the regional production chains that characterize Asias export-oriented economies. In this environment, we favor Australian government bonds for their high credit quality, low-beta currencies such as the Chinese yuan, corporate issuers that have delevered, covered bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

2012-01-18 Chinese Dragon To Unshackle Renminbi? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Chinese consumer spending is likely to have been under-reported for some time; we dont think a housing bust in China will stifle consumer spending as much as some fear. Importantly, Chinese consumer spending may rise like an avalanche in years to come. China is right to prepare its economy for this rise, amongst others, by unshackling the renminbi. A currency serves as a natural valve for domestic policies, helping to tame inflationary pressures. Currencies of the more developed Asian neighbors may also benefit in the process.

2012-01-18 Americas Economic Review: Fourth Quarter 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

As the year 2011 ended, the clouds of pessimism about the economy lightened across the Americas region, as key data trends suggested that earlier fears of a steep downturn were unfounded. Financial markets stabilized as investors turned more optimistic about the outlook for 2012. Concerns over external risks, particularly about the European fiscal crisis, also calmed down as hope was renewed that enduring political solutions will be found for the fiscal challenges facing the developed countries.

2012-01-17 Letters to the Editor - the Misreading of Reinhart and Rogoff by Various (Article)

Many readers responded to Robert Huebscher's article, The Misreading of Reinhart and Rogoff, which appeared last week.

2012-01-17 The Mess That Is the Eurozone Inflation-Linked Bond Market by Michael Althof and Jeremie Banet of PIMCO

Italian ILBs now mostly reflect credit risk and tend to trade at a discount to compensate for the higher volatility. Unless the eurozone collectively decides to inflate their way out of their sovereign debt problems through a large increase in the ECB balance sheet, Italian inflation-linked bonds are likely to keep trading like a more volatile and less liquid version of nominal Italian bonds. A European investor looking to secure consumption of real assets in the future may wish to think about alternative measures to help protect their real purchasing power when hedging real liabilities.

2012-01-17 Thinking About the Implications of Rising Euro-Exit Risks by Myles Bradshaw of PIMCO

Even if the euro survives this crisis intact, the market will price in uncertainty as the crisis evolves. Scenario planning is indispensable for investors. Politics may prevent the European Central Bank from buying government bonds, but it could provide funding support via a special government or banking intermediary. This balance sheet expansion could be a negative for the euro. Within the eurozone we believe investors should look at alternatives to the government sector, including agency, regional government and covered bonds.

2012-01-13 The Year that Was and The Year to Come by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

From a long-term perspective, we continue to have a positive outlook on emerging economies. In our opinion, balancing growth, inflation and global competitiveness will be the task ahead for many emerging countries in the months to come. We believe that emerging stock markets could be much larger than they are today, and over the long term, their combined value could potentially exceed the combined value of the U.S., Japanese and European equity markets.

2012-01-12 It's Too Late by David Baccile of Sextant Investment Advisors

As we set expectations for 2012, the global financial markets are no less complicated but expected returns for most asset classes are even lower now than when we started 2011 making our jobs that much more difficult. The margin for error has narrowed. For fixed income investors, returns of 2 or 3% will probably look pretty good this year and next. Equity managers will need to be focused on stock selection with an emphasis on companies that possess very strong balance sheets, stable cash flows and price valuations with low expectations built in.

2012-01-10 Gundlach on the Key Risk for Bond Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Watch out if you own a bond fund that underperformed its benchmark by 2% or more last year, as most did. Rather than put their careers at risk by suffering a second year of poor performance, those fund managers will turn to indexation, according to DoubleLine?s Jeffrey Gundlach. And since the Barclay?s Aggregate Index holds nearly 35% of its assets in Treasury bonds with near-zero yields, its investors will endure poor returns.

2012-01-10 Chaos Theory by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO

How developed nations address their fiscal deficits will have broad implications for equity markets. Debating a future of inflation vs. deflation is radically new territory for investors. The chaotic nature of the choice facing societies is whipsawing equity markets and dominating bottom-up factors. Equity investors seem to be pricing in a combination of outcomes, with the largest weighting going to a goldilocks, mild inflation scenario. But the markets large daily swings reflect jumps back and forth as investors update the probabilities of very different destinations.

2012-01-09 Macro Matters: Incorporating Top-Down Views in Emerging Market Equities by Curtis Mewbourne and Masha Gordon of PIMCO

From 2003 to 2011, over 50% of returns of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index came from country-related and currency-related factors. Over the next 12 months, there will be elections in countries representing just under half of global GDP. Therefore, we expect more policy experimentation, varying degrees of effectiveness, and unintended consequences. Currencies are also an important driver of EM equity returns, and the cost of hedging currencies has meaningfully declined over time.

2012-01-09 Middle East/Africa Fourth Quarter 2011 Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

Weakening global activity and further political uncertainty are the foremost risks that are likely to affect the Middle East and Africa (MEA) regions performance. The IMF report notes that oil exporting nations of the MEA region have benefited from continued high energy prices and are slated to finish off 2011 clocking in a GDP growth of 5% before easing to 4% in 2012. However, these countries do face a downside risk in the likelihood of fiscal and debt challenges in the developed nations that could adversely impact global activity and international oil prices.

2012-01-06 Doing Nothing Nothing Done by Cliff W. Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

Somehow, this is about the only time of year when most people reflect on the past, ponder the present, and plan/predict the future. There are several themes we have identified that will affect our asset-allocation discipline for 2012. As I commented in November, the market risks are geopolitical and the sentiment is driven by government policies. Our themes for 2012: Germanys Euro, Inflation versus Deflation, Election Year and It Isnt All Bad . For the year 2011, stocks basically broke even, although the 37 days where the Dow was plus or minus 200 points certainly made for a wild ride.

2012-01-06 Burgers or Barrels--What's Your Power Play? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In a recent blog post, the Wall Street Journal asked its MarketBeat readers if a share of McDonalds stock or a barrel of oil made a better $100 investment. The share price of the fast-food restaurant topped $100 for the first time ever in late December and rose 30 percent over 2011, substantially beating the overall market. Crude oil prices had less sizzle, only moderately increasing over the year. The three-year picture is a little different, with crude oil more than tripling since its bottom in late 2008. Over the same time, McDonalds increased about 66 percent, says the Journal.

2012-01-06 What Happened in 2011Whats up for 2012? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

This all lends itself to a volatile, but nearly flat trend for stocks and bonds in 2012. Fundamentals dont yet support a run-up, but easy money may put a floor underneath assets over the short run. Unless the situation were to change, we believe aggressive dips in stock markets represent buying opportunities. We tend to think bonds will underperform equities in 2012, given their dramatic outperforming in 2011.

2012-01-06 What Will 2012 Bring? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

In 2011, financial news was dominated by the turmoil in Europe. Looking ahead, the ongoing crisis will be addressed by a global money printing jamboree and coordinated funding from central banks in the developed world, including the Fed. When the money starts rolling off the presses, the liquidity infusion will create some genuine buying opportunities for American, European, and Asian stocks, as well as selected commodities. Liquidity infusions are like a rising tide of money available to buy assets. Buy stocks, commodities, and primarily gold to protect the buying power of their assets.

2012-01-05 Europea Source of so Much Pain and Distortion by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The panic from the risk of default and the possible dismantling of the euro has gained the headlines and depressed most asset prices across the globe. The austerity measures, seemingly demanded by the situation and certainly by the EU and the ECB, have clearly set Europe on a recessionary path that threatens the pace of global growth. Europes problems have also distorted currency values across the world, creating problems in yet another way. These will linger even though the ECB seems to have overcome its former objections and has begun to provide the liquidity needed to quell market fears.

2012-01-05 U.S. Dollar & Currencies: Review and Outlook by Axel Merk and Kieran Osborne of Merk Funds

In 2012, policy makers around the world may be driven by the realization that the theme of 2011 was not a Euro-specific crisis, but simply another stage in a global financial crisis. Central bankers may ramp up their printing presses in an effort to limit contagion concerns. As such, the currency markets may be the purest way to take a view on the mania of policy makers. Market movements may continue to be largely driven by political rhetoric. We dont believe this trend will abate over the foreseeable future, especially given the likely leadership changes throughout several G-7 nations.

2012-01-04 Towards the Paranormal by Bill Gross of PIMCO

The New Normal, previously believed to be bell-shaped and thin-tailed in its depiction of growth probability and financial market outcomes, appears to be morphing into a world of fat-tailed, almost bimodal outcomes. A new duality credit and zero-bound interest rate risk, characterizes the financial markets of 2012, offering the fat left-tailed possibility of unforeseen policy delevering or the fat right-tailed possibility of central bank inflationary expansion. Until the outcome becomes clear, investors should consider ways to hedge their bets.

2012-01-03 Ghosts of Christmas Past by Michael Lewitt (Article)

While Europe desperately needs the liquidity that the latest bailout scheme provides, nobody should mistake liquidity for solvency and think for a moment that the crisis is over. Much more work is needed to heal the wounds that European policy makers and business leaders have inflicted on their societies since the European Union was formed.

2012-01-03 The Right Kind of Hope by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

We enter the year with great hope. But our hope is not for continued speculation and the maintenance of rich valuations (that only look reasonable because long-term cyclical profit margins are at a short-term peak about 50% above their historical norms). Our hope this year is for a return to a proper investment opportunity set - where saving is encouraged and rewarded by sufficiently high prospective returns, and the cost of capital is high enough to discourage high-risk, low-return investments and unsustainable fiscal deficits.

2012-01-03 Dependence on the U.S. Consumer by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

China and Japan announced a joint effort to diversify themselves from the U.S. dollar by allowing direct trading of their currencies. The interesting aspect is the still high dependence upon the U.S. consumer. At its peak, the U.S. consumer was (with all in consumption, Medicare and Medicaid transfers and other expenditures added in) from Merrill Lynch at 18.9% of global consumption. If we simply use the total chained consumption metric, the consumer is 15.0% of current world GDP. The central point to the global economy is still primarily on the U.S. consumer.

2011-12-30 Is the Gold Super Cycle Still Intact? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Golds short-term and long-term drivers remain intact. Money supply in the worlds largest countries is expanding by roughly 18 percent. Countries like the U.S. and Europe are continuing to print paper, while holding interest rates near zero, as they grapple with debt issues.

2011-12-27 Vitaliy Katsenelson on Krugman?s Missed Call by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Vitaliy Katsenelson is the chief investment officer at Investment Management Associates, a Denver-based money management firm, and the author of two highly acclaimed books on value investing. In this interview, he identifies what Paul Krugman failed to see with regard to China, discusses the prospects for the European and domestic economies, and explains why Microsoft is a grossly undervalued stock.

2011-12-23 Twenty Years of Investing in Asia by Paul Matthews and Mark Headley of Matthews Asia

This month Asia Insight speaks with Paul Matthews and Mark Headley to get their thoughts on 20 years of investing in Asia. Why were you so convinced of Asias growth prospects at a time when few others were? Paul: As a young businessman trying to build an asset management firm focused on Asia ex Japan, the challenge for me was that Japan was 95% of the investment universe and also a majority of the market for asset gathering. While based in Hong Kong, I was given the task of looking for ways to build the business and so I was attracted to the markets that were open and growing.

2011-12-23 Banking Reform: Hopefully Britannia Creates A Wave by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The British government has set in motion this week a future overhaul in the way that individual banks do business. British banks will be required to separate their basic lending and deposit operations from investment activities involving trading and speculation on behalf of clients and the banks themselves. This should mean that the deposits of retail customers will be shielded and protected from bank investment and trading ventures.

2011-12-23 Emerging Markets Real Estate by Team of Cohen & Steers

Emerging markets real estate securities had a negative return in November following an exceptionally strong October. Worries about the global economy and Europe continued to weigh on equities broadly, while signs of slowing growth in China were of particular concern to developing countries. A sharp rally in the last few days offset some of the decline, as China cut its reserve requirement ratio for the first time in three years and central banks announced a coordinated effort to provide much-needed liquidity to European banks.

2011-12-23 European Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers

Our global macro view has turned more positive given the recent shift toward monetary easing in Asia Pacific and emerging markets, as well as U.S. economic data confirming slow but positive growth. However, we expect Europe to struggle in the intermediate term as austerity measures introduced by a variety of governments continue to hinder growth.

2011-12-23 Global Real Estate Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers

Our macro outlook has turned more positive given the recent shift toward monetary easing in Asia Pacific and emerging markets, as well as U.S. economic data confirming slow but positive growth. However, Europe is likely to remain an overhang, as the region appears to be heading into recession, making a resolution to its debt crisis considerably more difficult.

2011-12-23 International Real Estate Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers

Our macro outlook has turned more positive given the recent shift toward monetary easing in Asia Pacific and emerging markets, as well as U.S. economic data confirming slow but positive growth. However, Europe is likely to remain an overhang, as the region appears to be heading into recession, making a resolution to its debt crisis considerably more difficult.

2011-12-23 Large Cap Value Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers

We expect the markets to do better through year-end (although most of November gave us pause), but the outlook for the first half of 2012 remains wildly uncertain. Modestly improving U.S. economic data have not fully offset the European debt quagmire that is now inhibiting growth around the world. Recent economic news from the continent has been decidedly weaker, and is beginning to show up in data from Germany, the regions economic juggernaut and stalwart defender of a unified Europe.

2011-12-23 Global Infrastructure Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers

The investment environment is likely to continue to be characterized by heightened risk, including political risk as governments institute austerity measures and posture ahead of upcoming elections. The delay in the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States and Canada and the challenge faced by Central Japan Railway in confirming government financial assistance underscore these risks. Positive fundamental trends do continue, such as in the North American pipeline space, where companies continue to benefit from the need to reshape the regions energy grid.

2011-12-21 Hot Potato by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons, Andrew Bosomworth, Lupin Rahman and Rob Mead of PIMCO

The world is playing a game of hot potato with European financial assets, and the European Central Bank is a reluctant player. Together, Europes fiscal and monetary authorities can likely avert a systemic accident, but they must act quickly and courageously. Differentiation among emerging market monetary policies is increasing. And in Australia, the central bank will likely need to ease further in 2012. If every central bank enacts similar monetary policy tools, those tools compete for the same targets (financial and inflation stability), thereby potentially eroding their effectiveness.

2011-12-20 Has Gold Lost Its Luster? by Josh Kapp of Columbia Management

In the last few days, the price of gold appears to have found some footing on improved macroeconomic data and a weaker dollar, together with apparent support from physical demand. While recent volatility may have dented confidence in golds safe haven status, golds appeal may ultimately balance on moves toward austerity vs. stimulus. As we head into the new year, the scales appear to be tipped to austerity.

2011-12-20 A Look Back at 2011 by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Although 2011 started off on a relatively strong note for the global economy and markets, the past year was dominated by fears that contagion from the European debt crisis would derail the recovery. Overall global economic growth struggled as most areas of the world experienced growth slowdowns (the notable exception being the U.S.) Emerging markets were also faced with some mounting inflation pressures, which presented a challenge for policymakers. Although there have been some signs of progress regarding the debt crisis, uncertainty levels remain high going into 2012.

2011-12-19 Changing of the Guard: Do European and U.S. Debt Woes Signal a Shift in the Economic World Order? by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

Industrialized nations in the West have enjoyed decades of economic prosperity and generous social safety nets. However, recent events have made it clear that shifting demographics and huge debt burdens will make it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for many industrialized nations to maintain the same standard of living for their citizens. It seems that many formerly emerged economies are now on the verge of submerging. As citizens and political leaders in Europe and the U.S. slowly awaken to this reality, economies in many emerging markets are moving ahead at full steam.

2011-12-15 Asia: Diverging Outlooks Going Into 2012 by James A. Pressler of Northern Trust

With most of the industrialized world focusing on all things European, we thought it might be worthwhile to see just what was happening on the other side of the Ural Mountains. Asia has not become embroiled in the debt problems sweeping through the likes of Greece and Italy, and its exposure to the euro is contained. However, what happens in Europe will inevitably drift into Asia, so a look at its major economies might provide insight into what awaits the region in 2012. In particular, we are focusing on the two most populous countries in the world China and India.

2011-12-14 Dollar Soars Following FOMC No Hint of QE3; Looking Ahead, What's Next? by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

I have read countless articles recently regarding the inevitability of QE3. I have disagreed for four reasons:1.Price of oil near $100 give Fed little choice 2.Rising price of food gives Fed little choice 3.Stock market has risen on hype of European bailout giving Fed little reason 4.Falling unemployment rate (even though it's totally bogus) gives Fed little reason 5.Why should the Fed react when hot air from Europe gave a huge lift to the markets? I would have been surprised if the Fed tossed a QE3 bone under those circumstances. And it didn't.

2011-12-13 Harnessing the Power of Momentum by Michael Nairne (Article)

A market phenomena that we can harness on behalf of our clients is momentum - the propensity for price trends to persist in the short-term. I examine the origins of momentum, illustrate its return premium and consider how managers can leverage momentum on behalf of investors.

2011-12-12 Hard-Negative by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The present market environment warrants unusual concern, in my view. Based on a wide variety of evidence and its typical market implications over an ensemble of dozens of subsets of historical data, the expected return/risk profile of the stock market has shifted to hard-negative. This isn't really a forecast in the sense that shifts in the evidence even over a period of a few weeks could move us to adjust our investment stance, but here and now we observe conditions that have often produced abrupt crash-like plunges.

2011-12-12 Rethinking Asset Allocation: PIMCOs Strategy for a Changing World by Mohamed A. El-Erian, Vineer Bhansali and Curtis Mewbourne of PIMCO

Alpha generation is a distinct component of the strategy because it is critical to actively seek opportunities in all global markets in this challenging environment. Explicit tail risk hedging is essential to prepare for more frequent significant downturns, both to mitigate their effects and to potentially benefit from them. The strategy is positioned to navigate a world of muted growth in the Western economies, significant market volatility, recurring balance sheet issues and continued income and wealth convergence of the emerging world with the developed world.

2011-12-09 Markets Rolling Look For More Of The Same by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

During the last two weeks, global markets have moved their way to higher ground and indications point to a healthier finish than expected to an otherwise sickly 2011. We see several developments supporting a continued equity market rally. They have to do with measures taken in China, Europe, and by central bankers around the globe. The Canadian and Singapore dollars are well-managed currencies in countries with conservative banking systems. They are good candidates for continued long- term appreciation versus the Euro and U.S. dollar.

2011-12-09 2012: Politics Versus Fundamentals by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Assessing the prospects for a coming twelve-month period is always a challenge. We rely on our broad arsenal of fundamental barometers for profits, sentiment, momentum, and our cyclical indicators to help us identify whether markets are correctly aligned relative to their economic and profits cycles.

2011-12-09 Emerging Markets Bonds and Currencies in an Uncertain World by Ignacio Sosa of PIMCO

Even if global risk deteriorates significantly, emerging markets may continue to offer compelling risk-adjusted return characteristics. Emerging markets external sovereign debt, along with receiving interest rates in higher-quality EM countries, could be the best relative performers. EM currencies would likely sell off sharply in risk-off periods but would also tend to rebound robustly when risk appetite returns. Several Asian currencies are likely to be the best relative performers. Emerging markets assets remain a risk asset class and will not be immune to waves of global jitters.

2011-12-07 After the Flood: Surviving in a Sea of Debt by David Fisher and Olivia Albrecht of PIMCO

Since 2009, developed country governments have run fiscal deficits unprecedented outside of wartime, and their debt levels have reached epic heights. Investors accustomed to considering only the interest rate risk associated with their developed government bond holdings have been shocked to find that credit risk has become dominant in many cases. For investors in government bonds, inflation and currency debasement have the potential to be just as costly as outright default. Investors should consider focusing on GDP, or national income, as a measure of a countrys ability to service its debt.

2011-12-06 Risky Moves Spark Quick Rally by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

In order to win for itself as many economic cards as possible, we can expect Germany to continue playing economic brinksmanship. The high stakes game will continue creating extreme market volatility. Various bodies such as the Fed, ECB, EU, IMF and G-20 likely will continue to issue calming statements to cover a building crisis of confidence in paper currencies and sovereign debt. Meanwhile, greatly increased liquidity threatens high future inflation. In such an environment, precious metals remain a hedge against inflation and a form of insurance against possible catastrophe.

2011-12-06 Evaluating Optimum Currency Areas: The U.S. versus Europe by Ben Emons of PIMCO

While economic integration has progressed materially since the inception of the EMU, the U.S. scores much higher in terms of labor productivity, labor mobility and wage flexibility. Research shows that wage rigidity-defined as wage freezes or cuts as a fraction of total workers-is much lower in the U.S. than the eurozone. Eliminating these rigidities is crucial for the eurozones growth as an optimum currency area. Albeit painful, the intensity of the debt crisis in Europe may force a quicker progress of reform implementation, which could be a competitive advantage for the EMU in the future.

2011-12-06 Life Finds a Way by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO

Even the most sophisticated risk management models can't protect against scenarios we've never even contemplated. In this New Normal economic environment of slow economic growth, high volatility and enormous macro risks we don't believe ignoring major downside risks is prudent for equity investors. We believe investors are best served by employing a combination of three strategies to actively manage downside risk in equity portfolios to hedge against the risks they can see, and equally importantly, the risks they can't see.

2011-12-05 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Like a train wreck, the global markets have maintained a vicious shakeout whose collapse is frightening not only for the Europeans but for America and its trading partners. For the past several months we have been building a slow crescendo which, like a great symphony, has many codas yet to play. Clearly, a correction to overborrowing, overspending, and over-expecting is in place. Turbulence and volatility, both in the markets and political discourse, is the order of the day. The foundation of trust which underpins all capital exchange and political governance is nearly in default.

2011-12-05 Treading Water by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

The good news is that the economy does not appear to be contracting. The bad news is that its still not growing fast enough to make up much of the ground lost during the downturn. The unemployment rate fell to 8.6% in November, from 9.0% in October and 9.8% a year ago. However, more than half of that drop was due to a decrease in labor force participation. The data suggest an economy that is growing just enough to absorb the growth in the working-age population.

2011-12-02 Beware the Falling Euro by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Neither the U.S. economy nor U.S. stock indexes will benefit from the euros decline. A declining euro means a rising dollar in relative terms, so our exports will necessarily become less competitive. During the Great Depression, the country that devalued its currency the quickest and the most was the country that was least affected by depression and that recovered the fastest. This truism will aid Euroland, and hinder the U.S. recovery.

2011-12-02 Are Stars Aligned for a Year-End Rally? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Correlations will decrease along with volatility as we get more clarity on the eurozone crisis and see signs of stability in the global economy. Volatility fell this week, with the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) declining 20 percent. This could be related to the news that November U.S unemployment unexpectedly dropped to 8.6 percent, U.S. auto sales in November were the strongest in more than two years, and preliminary data on holiday retail sales appears to be strong. According to Bloomberg News, Black Friday sales hit a record high this year, with consumers spending $11.4 billion.

2011-11-30 Flex 5, a Tactical, Practical Portfolio for Todays Volatile Markets. by Charles Gelineau of PGA Financial

Volatility has increased dramatically and is expected to continue. It is an extraordinary drag on returns due to the disproportionate impact of losses versus gains. Traditional asset allocations are flawed 5 ways. Style-pure funds are inflexible with extreme exposure to systematic risk and no escape hatch.Flexible funds, by design, can go defensive or opportunistic resulting in better odds for attractive capture ratios. Flexible funds is a practical, tactical replacement for traditional allocations. With flexible fund portfolios, advisors can potentially Improve investment returns.

2011-11-28 Are Corporate Balance Sheets Really the Strongest in History? by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

At an aggregate level, corporate balance sheets look reasonable, but are certainly not "stronger than they have ever been in history." Cash levels are elevated, but this is at best a second-order factor (with excess cash representing only a few percent of total assets), while debt remains near record levels relative to total assets and net worth.

2011-11-28 The Global High Yield Opportunity by Matt Eagan, Kathleen Gaffney and Elaine Stokes of Loomis Sayles

The shifting characteristics of US, European, Asian and emerging markets high yield assets have contributed to an expanding opportunity set. This has prompted many institutional investors to broaden their high yield investment guidelines, often giving portfolio managers the ?exibility to include exposures to these markets within one portfolio. The days of silo investing, in which non-US investors sought exposure to US high yield and emerging market debt through separate mandates, may be giving way to an era of sector allocation driven by investors.

2011-11-26 Innovation Always Trumps Fear by J Michael Martin of Financial Advantage

While the stock market is behaving fearfully, we want to examine the thesis that the human capacity for innovation is an inexhaustible source of power that routinely topples seemingly intractable challenges. Our genius for betterment has flourished in the social arrangement known as democratic, free-market capitalism. Its promise of rewards for our efforts tends to subdue our baser instincts of fear and envy, and to stimulate the powerful creativity with which we are endowed. Capitalism has raised the standard of living wherever its been tried.

2011-11-26 The Case for Optimism: Our Top 25 Dividend Growth Stocks are Dirt Cheap by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Within each challenge there has also been accompanying opportunity.And in most cases, the opportunities tend to dwarf the risks. The opportunities that we believe our recent challenges are bringing us are unnecessarily low valuations on some of our highest-quality companies.Yet, it is a fact that investors are flocking to bonds in droves at precisely a time when the risk of owning bonds is perhaps the greatest it has ever been. Most investors want to defy the cardinal rule of investing-buy low, sell high.

2011-11-23 Whose Fuse is Shorter? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Any significant reversal of the current upward dollar trend could provide a long awaited catalyst for nations holding large dollar reserves to diversify into other currencies. My guess is that Merkel understands the great advantage the U.S. has enjoyed as the issuer of the worlds reserve currency. I believe she covets that prize for Europe, and based on her strategy, it is clearly within her reach.

2011-11-22 The Joy of Cooking by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Last Friday CNBCs Maria Bartiromo asked me what was going to happen with this weeks Super Committee decision? After jokingly responding that if past is prelude if the Super Committee doesnt arrive at a decision they will appoint a SuperDuper Committee, I then stated, I dont think the Super Committee will reach a consensus.I also opined, I believe there is a wink and a nod between President Obama and Speaker John Boehner to not implement the mandatory cuts and let the 2012 Presidential election resolve the debate between increased taxes and spending cuts.

2011-11-21 Why the ECB Does Not Bail Out Distressed Debt by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Investors are not likely to be treated with a "surprise" announcement that the ECB is going to expand its purchases of distressed European debt. Any significant ECB intervention would likely follow a formal revision of EU treaties that trades greater ECB flexibility in return for more centralized fiscal control.

2011-11-15 Michael Aronstein on Today's Key Macro Trends by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Michael Aronstein is the president and chief executive officer of Marketfield Asset Management. Since its inception in 2008, his fund has returned 31% while the S&P has been down 15%. I spoke with him about the key macroeconomic and strategic issues facing investors today.

2011-11-15 Capital Flows: Asias Quiet Revolution by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia

As markets evolve, so do regulations. The reflexive rebuke of capital controls once voiced by Western regulators has given way to a more flexible approach in times of extreme volatility. Asias regulators have observed the efficacy of volatility-dampening measures, and thus far, appear to have avoided the worst excesses. As fears continue over diminishing U.S. dollar power, Asias bonds remain attractive diversifiers for their yields and good credit ratings. However, one should never forget the volatile history of currencies in Asia.

2011-11-15 An Endgame for Japans Debt? by Bryce Fegley of Saturna Capital

The Japanese government's ability to extract itself from two decades of runaway debt has become all the more challenging in the face of its shrinking tax base, rising interest payments, and social security obligations, not to mention the aftermath of its earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters. The recent precedent of the country's dysfunctional political system does not bode well for making tough choices necessary to stabilize the debt. Of the possible consequences of the runaway debt, eventual monetization, high inflation, and currency devaluation are the most likely outcomes.

2011-11-14 Super Committee To The Rescue? by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Hows it going? Not good. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has to score the super committees recommendations and return its analysis to the committee by November 21, which would allow the committee two days to make changes before its final recommendations. The CBO was supposed to receive the bulk of the recommendations by late October or early November. Things are a little behind schedule. The committee seemed doomed to fail from its inception

2011-11-14 Hokey Pokey by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Sound monetary policy requires sound fiscal policy, coupled with a habit of the private sector to allocate resources productively so that the government isn't forced to compensate for bad decisions. That's where the global economy has failed.

2011-11-14 The European Stutter Step by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Markets have shown a mixed response to Europes agreement on sovereign debt. On the positive side, Germany, France, European banks, and other members of the eurozone have shown more direction, control, cooperation, and concerted action than previously, and in so doing, have taken a step to avoid panic and what could easily have become a global financial meltdown. But still, Europe and, consequently, the rest of the world remain far from out of the woods. This latest step is inadequate. To get a grip on the crisis, the ECB will need to add its financial resources.

2011-11-11 The Beginning of the End of Fiat Money by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Last week, the G-20 meetings did not produce an expanded bailout fund for the eurozone. While this may bode well for the long-term solvency of the member-states (moral hazard and all), it has also triggered a market reaction that I expect to help destabilize the common currency. Yesterday's market moves suggested that this development is good for the dollar and bad for gold. Allow me to step back from the stampeding herd to evaluate whether they are, in fact, moving in the right direction.

2011-11-10 The Drachma is Dead: So Is the Welfare State by Brian S. Wesbury of First Trust Advisors

A weak currency cannot replace a strong currency. In other words, the existence of the euro will force the countries of Europe to confront budgetary problems fiscally, not monetarily. No wonder governments are collapsing across the continent. The Greek government, and some misguided economists, think the failure of the welfare state could be averted if Greece would only devalue its currency. A de-valuation is just a default by another name. It puts most of the burden on creditors, savers, and income earners, who face the pain and loss of reduced purchasing power.

2011-11-09 Ich bin ein Berliner by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Last week at the G20, like John Kennedy, President Obama tried to emphasize support for a German bailout plan to prevent a Greek tragedy. The tragedys trajectory rose sharply on Tuesday when Papandreou announced there would be a referendum to decide if the new austerity measures for a second bailout would be acceptable to the Greek people. That news shocked the worlds equity markets, which was reflected by the Dows Dive of some 297 points. I was seeing portfolio managers at the time and told them that in my opinion Papandreous prose was telegraphing a Greek withdrawal from the EU.

2011-11-08 Bill Gross' Revised Paradigm: The New Normal Minus by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Following the financial crisis of 2008, PIMCO articulated its 'new normal' forecast of slow growth and mediocre capital market returns. Appending the even drearier modifier 'minus' to that outlook, Bill Gross said that expectations now appear worse than even he previously feared. Gross was pessimistic in both the near and long terms, and he startled the audience with his premonition that 'capitalism is at risk.'

2011-11-08 Perfect Storm: Eight Reasons to be Bullish on the US Dollar by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

One of my much appreciated contacts is Steen Jakobsen, chief economist for Saxo Bank in Copenhagen, Denmark. Today he passed on an "internal note" that he gave permission to share. Steen Writes..."One of my main themes over the last quarter has been a "relative outperformance" of the US economy relative to consensus. This has materialized and our call was almost entirely driven by Consumer Metric data which over the last three years has outperformed any other relevant predictor. This is now slowing down slightly, but still elevated..."

2011-11-08 O Dollar, Where Art Thou? by Chris Turner Guest Commentator of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

What would the value of S&P 500 index be if it were adjusted based on the dollar index? Many of us are familiar with the dollar index. We know that the value of our dollar versus a basket of currencies fluctuates as a result of many reasons. Let's look at our dollar index, which is conveniently available from Federal Reserve's economic data repository (FRED). What would the S&P 500 Index look like if we adjusted for the rise or fall of the dollar? We typically adjust for inflation, but do we know what impact our central bank, government spending, and monetary policies have upon the dollar?

2011-11-05 Fund Manager Interview by Nick Robinson of Aberdeen Asset Management

The popular perception of Latin America as a region of weak political systems and economies is changing. Prudent fiscal and monetary policies have helped many countries stabilize their economies. The region came through the recent credit crisis relatively unscathed. Good-quality companies trading at attractive valuations can be found in the region. A local presence helps bolster our research.

2011-11-05 The Political Season Heats Up by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

U.S. presidential elections are a year away, while France and many other countries will be staging elections within the next twelve months. We can expect continued volatility as politicians around the globe say things to benefit their re-election chances which can have a negative impact on stock prices globally over the short run. This has made and will continue to make the tried and true method of buying and holding specific stocks for the long term a difficult road to travel anywhere in the world.

2011-11-04 Greek Democracy Could Be Costly by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Financial planners and politicians could be faced with a possible depression accompanied by a breakdown of confidence in fiat currencies if either the euro or the EU collapses. As the worlds second currency, the euros collapse would create a massive currency crisis in the European Union, the worlds largest economy, possibly triggering a massive depression. With both the dollar and the number two global currency (the euro) facing an uncertain future, investors would likely be wise to maintain some exposure to stores of value, such as precious metals.

2011-10-31 Whipsaw Traps by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Current market conditions cluster among a set of historical observations that might best be characterized as a "whipsaw trap." Though last week's rally triggered several widely-followed trend-following signals, the broader ensemble of data suggests a high likelihood of a failed rally. In this particular bucket of historical observations, less than 30% of them enjoyed an upside follow-through over the next 6 weeks. So while the expected return/risk profile of the market remains negative here, we have to be somewhat more tentative about taking a "hard" defensive position.

2011-10-31 Financial Market Update & Outlook by Jonathan E. Lederer of Lederer Private Wealth Management

In this volatile environment, I consider preservation of capital to be a higher priority than speculation and am inclined to remain defensive until valuations appear more attractive. I strongly believe that we will see better opportunities in 2012 as the markets start to better reflect the global economic situation and the inevitable reduction in corporate earnings estimates. Though we run the risk of getting left behind if this rally turns into a longer-term bull market, it is a risk that Im comfortable taking in light of the global macroeconomic backdrop.

2011-10-31 Tiedemann Wealth Management 3 Qtr Market Commentary by Team of Tiedemann Wealth Management

Despite the ongoing debt crisis in Europe the news is not as grim for investors as it may seem. We believe that markets have more than discounted the risk of European recession as fallout from this crisis, which an inept political system has exacerbated. It marks the first time in many years that markets are questioning political leadership in developed world nations something they normally only consider when investing in emerging markets. We do not believe that the G-20 leaders will allow a major counterparty bank to fail, despite their apparent lack of coordination over the past few months.

2011-10-28 U.S. Corporate Third Quarter Profits Looking GoodSo Far by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The events of the past few days have proved our case that more QE will be coming. In Europe, they will not let their banking system fail and will provide the necessary liquidity to backstop their banks. They can either nationalize banks or recapitalize the banking system with new capital from several countries. The bottom line is that liquidity will be added and central banks balance sheets will expand. Growing use of QE is bullish in the short to intermediate term for stocks in the U.S. and emerging markets, and it is bullish for gold, oil, wheat, and the currencies we have recommended.

2011-10-28 Et tu, Berlusconi? The Daunting (But Not Always Insuperable) Arithmetic of Sovereign Debt by Rich Mattione of GMO

This paper sets itself two tasks. The first is to construct a simple model that would arithmeticize the dynamics of sovereign debt so as not to get hung up with all of the acronyms and programs designed to save the world. The second is to put this into the context of the European sovereign debt problem and hazard some opinions as to which options can work, and which cannot. Grand solutions may yet come, but they probably will not come soon enough. Now is the time to separate the daunting from the insuperable, and to fix both sets of nations.

2011-10-27 Whither the Deficit Super Committee? by Andy Friedman of Washington Update

Although tax increases are never welcome, there is a silver lining. Expiration of the Bush tax cuts is calculated to raise $3.5 trillion, virtually eliminating budget deficit concerns. A reduction in future deficits likely will prompt S&P to reinstate the countrys AAA rating and China to cease its sword-rattling over the United States fiscal condition. The markets, too, likely will react favorably to the prospect of lower deficits. Thus, while investors may face higher taxes, they also may find the values of their investment holdings enhanced substantially.

2011-10-26 Occupy Wall Street: A Threat to the Dollar? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Both T.Partiers and Occupyrs say this is all crazy and must stop-albeit they have different prescriptions. However rather than stopping policy makers are ever more engaged. The best of intentions are creating an avalanche of unintended consequences. Voting with their feet to get their voices heard, the Twitter revolution wont stop with the Arab spring but sweep across America in its own incarnation.The issues are complex, the answers appear so easy; we dont want to belittle the movements, but see a trend that fosters politicians capable of distilling their political message into a tweet.

2011-10-25 ASEANHow Different is it This Time? by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia

ASEAN nations have recently seen increases in foreign ownership, and many show attractive demographics and the potential for strong economic growth. But with ASEAN nations having been a root cause and major casualty of crises past, investors may be asking: How sustainable is this? This month Kenneth Lowe, CFA, takes a look at how ASEAN got where it is today, and what challenges may still lie ahead.

2011-10-24 Greeks May Look North by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

If the citizens of Greece follow the Icelandic lead, a larger sovereign debt crisis will likely follow. In such a scenario all fiat currencies will likely suffer. However, those considerations will merit little concern from those throwing Molotov cocktails on the streets of Athens. In the end, Greek politicians will cater to their constituencies rather than their creditors. We should all prepare for that.

2011-10-21 Closed-End Funds by Doug Bond of Cohen & Steers

In a volatile quarter for global capital markets, U.S. closed-end funds tumbled as investors factored in meaningfully lower expectations for global economic growth. We are expectating a challenging economic environment over the near term, including an increased likelihood that Europeand possibly even the U.S.may slip into recession. As such, we have moderated our allocation to equity funds, while increasing our investments in fixed income and gold. We believe we are well-positioned, with the flexibility to take advantage of price breaks that emerge across asset classes.

2011-10-21 European Real Estate by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers

European real estate securities fell sharply in the risk-averse environment that defined the third quarter. The region underperformed North America and Asia Pacific, which also had double-digit declines amid slowing global growth and concerns regarding Europes unresolved sovereign debt problem. We believe the European financial system is in need of substantial equity recapitalization. Until banks are able to achieve this, corporate financing in Europe, combined with austerity measures introduced by a variety of governments, is likely to remain restrictive.

2011-10-21 Emerging Markets Real Estate by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers

Emerging market real estate stocks were hit hard in the risk-averse environment that defined the third quarter. The asset class underperformed its developed-market counterpart, which also had a double-digit decline amid slowing global growth and concerns regarding Europes unresolved sovereign debt crisis. Slowing global growth is taking some pressure off emerging markets in terms of inflation containment. A trend of policy easing appears to be underway. This could result in improved performance for recently problematic sectors. We have been incrementally adding to such sectors.

2011-10-20 International Real Estate by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the international real estate securities markets as of September 30, 2011. International real estate securities fell sharply in the third quarter, along with equities broadly, as risk factors escalated. All major regions had double-digit declines amid slowing growth in the U.S. and China and intensified concerns regarding Europes sovereign debt problem.

2011-10-20 Global Infrastructure by Global Infrastructure Team of Cohen & Steers

Global infrastructure stocks are in a position to perform well in the current economic environment as historically, their cash flows have been relatively resilient in the face of slowing economic growth. On a regional basis, we remain overweight the U.S. and underweight Europe, given the high degree of uncertainty regarding a solution to sovereign debt issues and the long-term impact of austerity on the regions growth outlook. Our Asia Pacific outlook is mixed: our investments in Japan remain defensive, and we are cautious on Australia, given the potential impact of a slowdown in China.

2011-10-20 Global Real Estate by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the global real estate securities market as of September 30, 2011. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index had a total return of 17.4% for the quarter (net of dividend withholding taxes) in U.S. dollars, and 12.7% for the year to date. Global real estate securities fell sharply in the third quarter, along with equities broadly, as risk factors escalated. All major regions had double-digit declines amid slowing growth in the U.S. and China and intensified concerns regarding Europes sovereign debt problem.

2011-10-19 Five Policy Prescriptions for Europe by Tom Fahey of Loomis Sayles

The European sovereign debt crisis is chronic. It can not be resolved until countries can demonstrate the ability to grow and improve their budget deficits. The immediate need is to stop Europe from hemorrhaging risk into the global financial markets. That can only be done by the ECB because it is Europes most effective and high profile euro-area institution and the banking systems only lender of last resort. Until the ECB steps up to commit sufficient liquidity, the overall septic conditions of European risk will likely continue to infect the global capital markets.

2011-10-19 U.S. Dollar and Euro - Review and Outlook by Axel Merk and Kieran Osborne of Merk Funds

With so many global dynamics playing out, and the worlds financial markets fixated on the political process (or lack thereof) in the Eurozone, driving market sentiment around the world, it may be a good time to take a deep breath, take a look back at where weve come from, and assess the likely implications going forward. Specifically, what are the implications for the U.S. dollar and currencies globally? With continued expansionary monetary policy here in the States, and lack of such policies elsewhere, the divergence in monetary policy is likely to further erode the U.S. dollar.

2011-10-19 Pacific Basin Market Overview September 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Europes inability to find a solution for its current fiscal problems and the weakening macroeconomic outlook sent equity markets into a downward spiral during the July-September quarter. In Asia, concerns about the risk of a hard landing in China resurfaced as well. All country and regional indices declined, with the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan and the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index declining 16.35% and 21.28%, respectively, for the quarter. In the short term, the rush to raise cash could lead to further declines in markets

2011-10-19 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

After battling inflation for over a year, many emerging Asia Pacific economies are now facing challenges over stimulating growth. A year of persistent monetary tightening in emerging Asia Pacific has unfortunately coincided with slowing growth prospects in the developed world. The U.S. and the European Union are the largest trading partners for many export-dependent emerging Asian economies like South Korea, Taiwan and even China. With economic growth slowing in the U.S. and the European Union, many emerging Asian nations are rightly worried about their export prospects.

2011-10-19 Global Overview: October 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Global financial markets have partly recovered from Septembers extensive price declines, helped by hopes of stability in the Euro-zone and moderately better economic data from major countries, including the U.S. Volatility in the currency markets has also eased somewhat after last months steep fall in international currencies against the U.S. dollar. Commodity prices have seen similar trends as well, though concerns about global demand persist. Monetary policy in major economies has seen significant shifts over the last month, as central banks have lowered their economic outlook.

2011-10-17 Connecting the Dots by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

The efficient frontier provides the optimal expected return for a portfolio for a given level of risk, or the lowest level of risk needed to achieve the optimal expected return. Over the years, investors have come to perceive that certain asset classes with higher risk premiums are more risky than others. We believe what many view as traditional asset allocation may be vulnerable going forward. In short, it is dynamic, not static. In todays negative real interest rate environment, investors will be well served by investing in certain asset classes perceived to be more risky.

2011-10-15 Can 'It' Happen Here? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The beginning of the end of the Weimar Republic was some 89 years ago this week. There is a stream of opinion that the US is headed for the same type of end. How else can it be, given that we owe some $75-80 trillion dollars in the coming years, over 5 times current GDP and growing every year? Remember the good old days of about 5-6 years ago (if memory serves me correctly) when it was only $50 trillion? With a nod to Bernankes helicopter speech, where he detailed how the Fed could prevent deflation, I ask the opposite question, Can it (hyperinflation) really happen here?

2011-10-13 Our Fixed Income Macro OutlookFourth Quarter 2011 by Team of American Century Investments

Our economic outlook has become a bit more defensive and cautious, compared with earlier this year. After improvement last year, economic conditions have slowed. In particular, the financial sector has come under renewed pressure from the European sovereign debt crisis and continued housing market stagnation. It remains to be seen if this slowing is transitory or more significant. Both the consumer and business sectors have experienced slowing. But a subpar recovery with headwinds remains our projected most-likely scenario, not a recession.

2011-10-11 Managed Futures are not a New Asset Class by Michael Kitces (Article)

The focus on finding investments that have a low correlation to equities has grown to such an obsession that we're willing to name anything that has a low correlation as 'a new asset class.' While some alternatives truly have their own investment characteristics unique from stocks and bonds, other alternatives - like managed futures - simply represent an active manager buying and selling existing asset classes.

2011-10-11 A Q3 Client Letter Drawing on Buffett?s Optimism 'The U.S. is coming back now' - and why three inves by Dan Richards (Article)

Since 2008, each quarter I have posted a template for a letter to clients; these are consistently among my most popular articles. This quarter's letter provides clients with perspective on the recent market turmoil.

2011-10-07 U.S. Awakening To Its Domestic Energy Potential? by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

Geologists have known about major reserves of oil and natural gas within the continental U.S. for a very long time, but the ability to access these massive energy reserves was limited in the past. These resources lie in and under rock, miles below the surface and were thought to be impossible to bring to the surface economically. This has all changed with new technologies developed over the past decade. The word is getting out to the public about the extent of these energy producing fields that are located in many areas of the country.

2011-10-07 Fiddling While the Euro Burns by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Last week, eurozone finance ministers postponed, the most difficult decisions on the Greek debt crisis. The assembled powers could have forced an orderly Greek default or they could have taken steps to push Greece out of the union. Instead, they simply bought time until the next major rollover of Greek debt-which comes due in November. Much of the prevarication can be attributed to political disagreement in Germany, where some see the current crisis not only as a means to further European unification, but also as an opportunity to extend German influence throughout the continent.

2011-10-07 Despite Skeptics, Can Gold Continue to Glimmer? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

In recent weeks, a number of market watchers and media headlines have declared that the gold bubble is finally bursting and the gold rally is over. I disagree. First, Ive never believed that gold was in a bubble. Second, I believe that prices for the precious metal are likely to remain high for the foreseeable future. As I pointed out in a recent post, Why Gold Prices Are So High, there are three long-term factors supporting gold. 1) The negative real interest rate. 2) Gold tends to do best when fiat currencies depreciate. And 3) Uncertainty over the endgame of the US deficit.

2011-10-07 On Teflon and Emerging Market Currencies by Andrew Foster of Seafarer Capital

Investors can distinguish between the fundamental health of EM credit which is, as some have suggested, strong and the still fragile currencies of those markets. Rapid unwinding of capital flows may do quick damage to local currency EM bonds, wiping out fixed income investors expectations for current income. EM credit denominated in U.S. dollars may be a viable alternative. EM currencies may offer desirable diversification, and they may even be a good investment but they remain speculative, and should not be considered a safe haven.

2011-10-07 Bond Market Review and Outlook by Thomas Fahey of Loomis Sayles

Amid the ongoing debate, the financial markets are signaling a need for liquidity. Until Europe and the US are able to demonstrate economic growth, the financial markets are likely to remain skittish, leaving risk premiums high. In the interim, policy-makers will be in the spotlight. In our opinion, central banks should supply more liquidity on a global basis in this turbulent environment. We believe such intervention can help assuage the markets.

2011-10-06 The Risk of Recession and the Variable of Adjustment by Team of GaveKal

Looking solely at financial markets, it seems impossible to avoid the conclusion that we are heading straight into a global recession: most major equity markets have entered bear territory and registered new 52-week lows, commodity prices are plunging (see our Indicator of Economic Sensitive Prices on p. 2), spreads are widening everywhere, all currencies except for the US$ and Yen are feeling weak at the knees, etc... As one client put it to us, in September there was simply ?nowhere to hide; and such market dislocations are typically a harbinger of bad economic news.

2011-10-06 Global Investment Outlook: October 2011 by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Global growth momentum continues to decline but is worst in Europe. Solvency of national governments and now banks is creating fears of a crisis. Coordinated policy action is key to stemming adverse market reaction. Although economic data has continued to demonstrate slower business activity, this is most obvious within Europe which has suffered from fiscal contraction as well as diminishing export demand from the emerging world. Unemployment levels remain elevated, and the reluctance to create new jobs is proving the Achilles heel of policymakers efforts to kick start private sector demand.

2011-10-05 Million Dollar Question: Dollar and Recession Risk Up Together by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Recession fears have mounted, but the picture is still mixed and it's not yet conclusive. The US dollar is winning the "least ugly" currency contest, but isn't helping stocks or commodities. Short-term, a stronger dollar is a negative for riskier assets but not necessarily longer-term, if history's a guide.

2011-10-04 Jeffrey Gundlach: Preparing for the Coming Crisis by Katie Southwick (Article)

Speaking at a luncheon in New York last week, Jeffrey Gundlach, the founder and chief investment officer of DoubleLine Capital, gave investors advice on how to survive pending crises at home and abroad. After outlining the current state of U.S. debt and tax policy, Gundlach advised against European investments, favoring the U.S. dollar and owning U.S. government bonds as a hedge against credit.

2011-10-04 Currency: The Hidden Portfolio Risk by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In the spirit of sharing our favorite dollar-alternatives, I recently sat down with Axel Merk, founder and president of Merk Investments, who is a well-known authority in the international currency arena today. That conversation resulted in a new report, entitled Peter Schiff's and Axel Merk's Five Favorite Currencies for the Next Five Years, which is now available for free download. In a world where gold is in the quadruple-digits and the S&P has downgraded US debt, we both feel it's high time every American consider diversifying his or her portfolio to mitigate currency risk.

2011-10-03 Recession, Restructuring, and the Ring Fence by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

We are headed toward a recession because our policy makers never addressed the underlying problem in the first place, which was, and remains, the need for debt restructuring. This is an issue that I suspect will re-emerge to the forefront of public debate in the next year. Hopefully, the response of our policymakers will be at different. In Europe the only real option is to allow peripheral defaults; to allow distressed and insolvent countries to exit the euro; and then for those countries to redenominate their own national currencies and peg them to the euro at a gradually depreciated level.

2011-09-30 The Impact of Uncertainty by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

While markets act like toddlers over the short term, what are the key drivers over the long term? The impact of the European crisis on global growth will be the key determining factor on market performance. Small, open economies such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan will likely be more greatly impacted. Countries with domestic consumption as large drivers of GDP, China, Indonesia and India, might be relatively sheltered due to their relatively large internal markets. While risk aversion may cause markets to overreact in the short term, we believe long-term structural growth should continue.

2011-09-29 Grease (Greece) is the Word by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

You might think that the countries in Europe like Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain are the source of the current consternation in the US stock market. We believe that Europe is peripheral to the core issue. American investors have spent the last ten years falling in love with the BRIC trade and feeding an infatuation with the global synchronized economy and the emerging consensus surrounding global stocks/bonds. In our opinion, it is time to go back to conventionality and leave the BRIC trade before its time is gone and investors put their capital back in motion.

2011-09-29 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook: Growth Risks, Policy Polarization and Rethinking Returns by Saumil H. Parikh of PIMCO

Over the next 12 to 18 months, we expect the global economy to expand at a very modest real rate of 1% to 1.5% Global imbalances have continued to rise in the post financial crisis environment, global leaders continue to fail in their policy coordination efforts, and deleveraging and reregulation continue to be critical over the course of our cyclical horizon. We are transitioning into a world where we believe the incentives of policymakers and the divisiveness of politics will become the predominant drivers of investment returns and economics.

2011-09-28 On Flexibility, and Why the World Needs More of It by Andrew Foster of Seafarer Capital

I hold no illusions about the gravity of the current sovereign crisis. The intractable nature of such large debts has sapped confidence. Most of Europe is saddled with unsustainable obligations, and a decade of fiscal profligacy has put the U.S. on a trajectory to match Europes worst. The West must put its fiscal house in order. All that stated, I want to be clear about what I view as our central problem today: the world is not growing fast enough. The challenge we face is, first and foremost, one of growth, and not necessarily one of debt.

2011-09-26 Not Over by a Longshot by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Unless we observe a robust improvement in market internals from current levels, which appears doubtful given further confirmation of oncoming recession, the broad ensemble of data we observe doesn't offer much latitude to establish a constructive position based on, say, weak technical reversals or other scraps that the markets might toss out in the near term. The first 13 weeks of a recession are among the most predictably hostile periods for equities in the data. We'll take our evidence as it comes, but the primary risks - recession, default and global credit strains - continue to increase.

2011-09-23 All Eyes on Europe by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

The longer policymakers wait, the more likely Europes financial crisis will deteriorate. The risk of a global liquidity trap has also increased as many healthy balance sheets around the world are also refusing to engage. Germany and other strong sovereign nations in Europe have to make a choice: continue to provide financial assistance to countries with more debt and assist in helping to restructure the debt of some European peripheral countries, or potentially move forward with a smaller, stronger group of countries-or at the extreme walk away from the Euro and the EU all together.

2011-09-23 Extreme Moves Leave Markets in Rare Territory by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Many investors have used gold and other commodities as a haven from recent volatility, buoying prices while equities sunk, but even those investments werent immune to the wave of selling. The U.S. dollar, in contrast, was up 2.2 percent. Much of the dollars rally came after the Fed announced the creatively named Operation Twist. The Fed will sell $400 billion of short-term securities and buy an equal amount of long-term debt. The goal is to push down long-term interest rates, which would spur economic activity.

2011-09-21 Liquidity Crisis? A Currency Perspective by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

In 2008, the global financial system faced a potential meltdown when funding seized up for investment banks, ultimately leading to the failure of Lehmann Brothers. Three years on, we have got plenty of problems, but as we shall argue - investors may want to differentiate between a financial meltdown and insolvency. While complaining about policy makers and bankers may generate animated water cooler discussions, lets take their human (and fallible) nature as a given, and discuss implications for investors. In this context, we assess the U.S. dollar, currencies and equities.

2011-09-20 Ya Gotta Believe! by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons, Andrew Bosomworth, Lupin Rahman and Isaac Meng of PIMCO

Central banks around the world consider easing monetary policy amid concerns of a global economic slowdown. At least one major central bank, however, appears to be taking an opposite stance: China. Policymakers there are concerned about inflation, excessive credit and property speculation. In other emerging nations, central bankers are generally poised to ease, but have less ammunition than they did after Lehman collapsed.

2011-09-19 Preparing for a Greek Default by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The yield on 1-year Greek government debt ended last week at 110%, down slightly from a mid-week peak of 130%. Even with the pullback, the Greek yield structure continues to imply default with certainty. All the markets are really quibbling about here is the recovery rate. That figure was still hovering near 50% as of Friday, but was a bit higher than we saw a few days earlier. A bailout today does not avert default, but at best defers it to a later date, and squanders funds that could otherwise be used to stabilize the European banking system once that inevitable default occurs.

2011-09-16 A Yuan, Euro and Dollar Walk Into a Bank... by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Currency markets have been the pawns in central bankers chess games around the world in recent weeks, as each country looks to gain the slightest edge in todays economy. Weeks ago we saw an intervention from the Bank of Japan, which tried to stop the yens downward slide. Last week, the Swiss National Bank moved to improve the Swiss francs stature. Also recently announced was that the Hong Kong dollar will no longer be pegged to the U.S. dollar. Given the important role paper currency plays, weve developed a quiz so you can test how much you know.

2011-09-16 Is the End Near for the Eurozone? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Warning signs are flashing red. Bond markets are projecting a 98% chance of default on Greece's debt. Stock prices for French banks, heavily invested in that debt, have plunged 10% in recent days. Has the European debt crisis hit the breaking point, with Greece -- and perhaps others -- soon to exit the eurozone? Or, will officials once more cobble together new agreements that keep Greece in the club and prevent a huge contagion effect likely to cripple an already slowing global economy? Wharton finance professors Franklin Allen and Bulent Gultekin offer their insight.

2011-09-16 Crises Ahead As U.S. Banks Fight Against Needed Overhaul by Team of Guild Investment Management

Banks are supposed to be conservative institutions that do prudent analysis of credit risk, make loans accordingly, and buy government bonds. In the initial years of the 21st century, the banks were far from prudent and conservative. They were gamblers, and when they lost, the taxpayer had to bail them out. The banking sector is currently hard at work trying to stop implementation of the Volcker rule, a key provision in a needed financial overhaul legislation targeting the over-speculation madness.

2011-09-13 An Uncritical Glorification of Hedge Funds by Michael Edesess (Article)

Sebastian Mallaby's book, More Money than God, sheds some light on interesting events in hedge fund history and is strewn with a few valuable insights. Mostly, though, it is a work of serial hagiography. It seems designed to attract worshipers like those who drive by celebrity homes in Beverly Hills.

2011-09-13 The Risks of Exchange-Traded Products by Dennis Gibb (Article)

Every major financial crisis has been foretold by timely but ultimately ignored warnings. At the end of mania, the rush to secure more fees, investment performance and status trumps common sense. In the last few months, the drumbeats of warnings from financial journals and regulators about exchange-traded funds have been sounding. Few seem to be listening.

2011-09-13 Balance Grasshopper by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Over the weekend Greece did not default, although for over a year I have expressed the view that Greece has to default; a stance I continue to embrace. This morning, however, rumors are swirling again about a Greek default along with hints that Germany is not going to prevent it. That leaves the pre-opening futures down over 20 points, which would represent a retest of the selling-climax lows. While I am hopeful this will be a successful retest, consistent with the October 1978/1979 bottoming sequence, if 1100 is decisively broken it would imply the rally from the March 2009 lows is over.

2011-09-12 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

September has been a wild ride for global markets, and October is expected to bring more of the same. On the horizon is a key inflection point at which portfolio allocation might either protect or bury any portfolios. As global economic recovery sputters there is a new urgency about either continuing on a portfolio path of growth, or reverting altogether to a default cash position. Within each scenario, however, is a psychological uneasiness that borders on shock and awe. It is much more difficult to manage clients downside risk appropriately, than to pick winners when all stocks are rising.

2011-09-09 Examining Systemic Risk in the Banking System by Team of Litman Gregory

When we spoke over two years ago, we discussed credit default swaps as speculative derivative instruments, the risks these presented to the financial system, and the need to better mitigate these risks. Can you comment on the progress the industry has made in reducing the systemic risk they pose to the financial system and talk about the risks they continue to pose? Derivatives, as such, were never entirely the problem. But, in some senses, they were symptomatic of a much deeper problemwhich is why we had created a system that was highly leveraged, highly complex, and highly networked.

2011-09-09 Merk sells Euro to buy Australian Dollar by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Given that many know Merk Investments as "euro bulls", arguing that the euro can thrive despite all the turmoil in the Eurozone, we wanted to share with our investors and the public that in our hard currency strategy, currently with over $700 million in assets, we sold over U.S. $90 million worth of euros late Thursday to re-allocate to the Australian dollar. This re-allocation was an acceleration of a recent trend to deploy euro holdings elsewhere. The strategy is now underweight in euros. Our move was motivated by recent European Central Bank (ECB) and U.S. Federal Reserve communication.

2011-09-08 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific countries faced increasing headwinds to economic growth during August. Lukewarm growth figures in developed Western economies such as the U.S. and the European Union are troubling the growth prospects of many export-oriented markets such as Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. Despite some support from emerging markets, export orders for Singapore and Hong Kong have slowed down substantially. In Japan the current account surplus slid, while the Singapore government revised its export growth figures down for the rest of the year.

2011-09-08 The Changing Landscape of Global Investing by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

National and global realignments are fundamentally and durably changing the global investment landscape. Investors face the challenge of recalibrating some of the traditional parameters that are key to managing risk and delivering returns. There are also implications for investment management firms which are yet to be sufficiently reflected in the thinking and actions of the industry as a whole.

2011-09-07 A discrepancy in earnings affecting corporate, commodity and debt by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

There is a rising disconnect in the marketplace between perceptions and forecasts. It is occurring predominantly in the corporate earnings sector; however, we notice it in the commodity markets and the debt markets. For the last couple of months we have noticed a rising discrepancy between the top down earning analysts as compared to the bottom up analysts and CEO forecasts. We would typically side with the bottom up analysts as a general rule. However due to some interesting dynamics, we are leaning even more to the side of the bottom up estimates.

2011-09-06 Five Strategies for a Sideways Market by Kane Cotton, CFA and Jonathan Scheid, CFA (Article)

If this slow growth environment coupled with asset price volatility continues for (to steal a quote from Fed Chairman Bernanke) 'an extended period,' what additional portfolio strategies might aid the overall risk/return profile of investor portfolios? More specifically, how do you manage investments in a sideways market?

2011-09-06 No Way Out by Michael Lewitt (Article)

There aren't enough Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs to innovate our way out of the Everest of debt we have built for ourselves (and will continue to build for the foreseeable future). The good news (a purely relative evaluation) is that astute investors will find enormous opportunities in today's markets as they increasingly reflect unsustainable fiscal and monetary imbalances.

2011-09-02 If Carlsberg Did Mortgages by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

The old world is drowning in debt. Governments are responding with austerity programmes and near zero interest rates but neither will work. Economic growth will be required to get the escalating debt under control, but policy makers need to dig deep into the tool box for different ideas as to how to create this growth. In this month's Absolute Return Letter we focus on one particular idea which will greatly benefit economic growth at no cost to the tax payer - reform the mortgage finance system across the world, using the model developed by the Danes over the past 200 years.

2011-09-01 Q&A with Litman Gregory Research by Team of Litman Gregory

We regularly use a Q&A format to address questions from readers about our investment views and current strategy. This format permits us to address a range of different topics and allows readers to focus on areas that are of interest to them. This Q&A piece was worked on jointly by members of our research team and tackles questions received during the past several weeks. We have grouped the questions into broad categories for convenience. The main topics include the Fairholme Fund, Investment-Grade Bonds, Floating Rate Loans, Municipal Bonds, International Bonds, China and Commodity Futures.

2011-08-30 New-Fangled Love Songs by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Liquidity concerns may affect all European peripheral bond markets unless the European Central Bank counters the rush for the exits with an enlarged daily checkbook. In the U.S., discord between rich and poor has led to lower, not higher, Treasury yields as approaching recessionary winds force the Fed and private investors to favor bonds. We prefer investing in the cleaner dirty shirt countries of Canada, Australia, Mexico and Brazil, along with non-dollar currencies that have strong trade ties with the Asian continent.

2011-08-27 The End of the World, Part 1 by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

It is only a matter of time until Europe has a true crisis, which will happen faster BANG! than any of us can now imagine. Think Lehman on steroids. The US gave Europe our subprime woes. Europe gets to repay the favor with an even more severe banking crisis that, given that the US is at best at stall speed, will tip us into a long and serious recession. Stay tuned.

2011-08-26 The US Financial Sector in an Environment of Turbulence by Team of Loomis Sayles

US financial companies have spent the past three years trying to improve their balance sheets. We saw this trend reflected in company reports of asset quality improvements, increasing capital and strengthening liquidity. Heightened anxiety about the European debt crisis, a potential slowdown in the global economic recovery and the US credit downgrade appears to have overshadowed financial company fundamentals. Fundamental improvements by financial companies have fortified the sector, leaving it substantially stronger than in 2008. Currently, we think financials are well positioned.

2011-08-26 Confidence Counts by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Most of the normally historically-telling leading indicators continue to point to the US avoiding a recession. However, risks are clearly heightened as continued erosion of confidence could push perception into reality. The Fed continues to be divided on whether to attempt further monetary stimulus. We question if any efforts will have the desired impact. The Obama Administration and Congress continue to scramble to be seen as doing something to help, but also have limited policy options. European policymakers seem oblivious to the erosion of confidence.

2011-08-24 Much Ado About Debt: Dollar vs. Euro by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

A key reason for recent market turmoil may be the long overdue untangling of important debt-driven interdependencies between the U.S. and Europe. Not only has the Feds ultra-low monetary policy taken away any incentive to engage in meaningful reform in the U.S., but the easy money also spilled far beyond U.S. shores, providing European banks with hundreds of billions of reasons not to shore up their capital bases. With volatility riding high, investors appear to be chasing emotions rather than facts.

2011-08-23 Strategies for a Rising Rate Environment by Jayant Kumar of Fisher Francis Trees & Watts (Article)

Shortening the duration of a fixed-income portfolio is often considered the default option, but it is not the only way to hedge against a potential rise in interest rates. This article provides investors with a framework to analyze and implement a range of fixed-income strategies, and highlights various investment considerations that should carefully be taken into account.

2011-08-23 Chinas New Currency Policy by Martin Feldstein of Project Syndicate

Chinas government may be about to let the renminbi-dollar exchange rate rise more rapidly in the coming months than it did during the past year. The exchange rate was frozen during the financial crisis, but has been allowed to increase since the summer of 2010. The dollar is likely to continue falling relative to the euro and other currencies over the next several years. As a result, the Chinese will be able to allow the renminbi to rise substantially against the dollar if they want to raise its overall global value in order to decrease Chinas portfolio risk and rein in inflationary pressure.

2011-08-19 Paper Currencies Finally Redeemed for Gold by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The basic unwillingness of politicians to face economic and financial realities has caused the United States and European Union to face currency collapse. The politicians are content literally to paper over the problem with massive amounts of newly printed currency. This means that savvy investors, facing major real losses, are turning increasingly to gold. In essence, even though currencies are no longer on a gold standard, they are increasingly being redeemed for gold in the marketplace.

2011-08-17 Readers Questions Answered Part VII by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Many of you may be particularly concerned about the developments related to debt in the eurozone and theU.S.over the last few weeks. Id like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts on these events and respond to a couple of reader questions. To me, the European debt situation does not seem as serious as the U.S. debt crisis, both in terms of scale and the possible impact on the global economy. As such, I believe the worlds focus should really be on the U.S. debt crisis. We also have to remember that the tolerance for debt is generally affected by investor confidence levels.

2011-08-17 Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

While people who live in glass houses should not throw rocks, I have to observe how the media has trotted out super-bear Robert Prechter at every major stock market low for the past decade. They featured him again last week. Combine such anecdotal gleanings with the aforementioned market valuation metrics and it suggests a downside inflection point may have been reached. And while the bottoming process should take weeks, many individual stocks have likely already bottomed.

2011-08-16 ?The Case for Tail Risk Hedging in Emerging Market Equities by Vineer Bhansali and Masha Gordon of PIMCO

While our secular outlook for emerging markets is solid, we expect long-term success will be earned by those who can manage cyclical risks. There is a tradeoff between the cost of establishing a hedge and the downside protection that it imparts to a portfolio. The best approach to tail hedging is a flexible one; using dynamic rebalancing, diversification and affordable option-like securities. A diversified macro approach to hedging tail risk actually may be more efficient for EM than it is for developed asset classes.

2011-08-15 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Inflation has been the highest in the MENA regions due to capacity constraints and food prices. While rising costs of food and oil have increased inflationary pressures in South Africa, Israels inflation rate has breached the target range set by its central bank. In addition, South Africa is witnessing strained consumer demand, while growing economic disparity despite lower unemployment rates has triggered social unrest in Israel. Jordan is also battling pricing pressures and is looking to bridge its wide funding gap by raising capital with the issuance of its first Islamic debt instrument.

2011-08-15 Are We There Yet? The Value Restoration Project Resumes by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

The declines in the stock market over the last three weeks have done a lot of damage to most investors portfolios. This would merely be an inconvenience if it meant that future returns could be expected to be robust enough to compensate for the losses. Investors in the stock market may rightly be viewing this recent decline of about 12% over the last 16 trading days as a painful, but necessary, correction in prices which will once again bring value back to the market.

2011-08-12 Got Volatility? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The world markets have clearly stated that they want growth, and through growth, balanced budgets. Unfortunately, growth is not in the economic cards for Europe or the U.S. over the next few months. Rather, both regions will have stagnation, inflation, fear, turmoil, and two deeply opposed world views will be bandied about in political pronouncements. It does not matter what political view you have. If one wishes to survive and prosper, one must be very alert.

2011-08-11 Saying No to Keynes and Fiscal Folly by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons and Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

?Taxpayers have been hoodwinked into believing the cost from profligate government spending is low relative to the benefits. The Keynesian revolution ignited a decades-long abuse of the core principle of Keynesian economics: for government to increase spending when private sector aggregate demand weakens and stymies job growth. The central banker is left to shoulder the burden, seeking all the while to pressure the fiscal authority to amend the abuse of Keynesian economics and decades of fiscal folly.

2011-08-11 Saying No to Keynes and Fiscal Folly by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons and Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

?Taxpayers have been hoodwinked into believing the cost from profligate government spending is low relative to the benefits. The Keynesian revolution ignited a decades-long abuse of the core principle of Keynesian economics: for government to increase spending when private sector aggregate demand weakens and stymies job growth. The central banker is left to shoulder the burden, seeking all the while to pressure the fiscal authority to amend the abuse of Keynesian economics and decades of fiscal folly.

2011-08-10 Global Investment Outlook: Aberdeen's monthly outlook for economies and markets. by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Eurozone crisis threatens financial stability Global industrial production momentum may be turning back up Fiscal policy and sovereign indebtedness is the major medium-term issue Monetary policy remains accommodative with emerging countries becoming less restrictive

2011-08-10 The Economic Recovery Has No Clothes by Kevin D. Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

What likely transpired yesterday was that investors finally siad, The economic recovery has no clothes, despite repeated claims by the Federal Government and certain economists to the contrary over the past 6-12 months. While historical research has shown that typical stock market recoveries generally precede economic recoveries by 6-9 months; perhaps it was too soon. While many encouraging signs pointing to a sustainable economic recovery have emerged over this timeframe in terms of corporate earnings GDP growth and M&A activity, many headwinds for the U.S. economy still exist.

2011-08-09 S&P's Downgrade of Long Term U.S. Debt by Ronald W. Roge of R.W. Roge

Expect the markets to remain volatile between now and the 2012 election. Over the next few weeks, there will be plenty of talk about the impact of the S&P downgrade. Clearly it's not positive, but I don't buy into the catastrophic talk. Many insurance, trust companies, money market funds and municipalities (Muni Bond Issuers) will have to review their contracts and trust documents to see exactly how they are worded as far as the quality of the bonds they are required to hold. Until this legal review is completed, there is no way of assessing the impact of the downgrade on the markets.

2011-08-09 Don't Shoot the Messenger by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

With large-scale bond purchases announced, the ECB is moving closer to how the Fed operates in a crisis. In 2008, then NY Fed President Geithner conferred with Treasury Secretary Paulson whether to "foam" the markets. That referred to massive liquidity injection by buying Treasuries. Now the ECB may buy bonds of the largest European bond market, the Italian. The ECB has indicated it would sterilize any purchases. Let's not forget that some of the market tension comes from U.S. money market funds having dumped commercial paper issued by European banks after a lot of scrutiny.

2011-08-09 Implications of the Debt Downgrade by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

As we had suggested in recent weeks, a U.S. downgrade was going to likely be more negative for the equity market than Treasuries, and that is exactly how the week is starting off. The reason is that history shows that downgrades light a fire under policymakers and the belt-tightening budget cuts ensue, taking a big chunk out of demand growth and hence profits. It is not just the United States the problem of excessive debt is global, from China to Brazil to many parts of Europe. And lets not forget the Canadian consumer.

2011-08-09 US Credit Rating Downgrade Q&A by Team of Loomis Sayles

Will foreign investors, who own almost half of US Treasurys, suddenly lose confidence in the US? We think not. The US is not the only nation struggling with a debt burden. But the US Treasury market is the largest, deepest, most liquid bond market in the world, by far. Investors may talk about diversifying their holdings away from the US dollar, but it is tough to execute. This is particularly true for countries who wish to maintain a fixed exchange rate or manipulate their currencies.

2011-08-09 The U.S. Debt and Emerging Market Opportunities by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The initial market reaction will likely be a high degree of uncertainty and volatility, since investors will likely not know where to turn for assets with lower short-term volatility. During the subprime crisis, investors largely sought such assets in U.S. Dollars and Treasuries. While during the subprime crisis the USD index was high, now it is low reflecting a changed perception of markets that may be considered less volatile in the short-term. In particular, we believe currencies and stocks of emerging countries may look relatively attractive.

2011-08-09 A quick update on the S&P downgrade by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Bond investors like nothing more than low growth, high unemployment and low inflation. In an asset class of finite return, their only concern is to be paid in real, non-depreciated currency. Fine. Japan is an example where gov bonds returned 600% in the two recent decades to a dollar investor, and stocks fell by two thirds. Many commentators are seemingly fine with that. We disagree. Some fiscal stimulus and inflation can be very good for the economy at large. Bond vigis have a visceral fear of both. If nothing else, the downgrade can start a sensible discussion on the growth/debt trade off.

2011-08-08 Recession Warning, and the Proper Policy Response by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

As of Friday the S&P 500 was below its level of November 2010, when the Fed initiated its second round of quantitative easing. Aside from a brief bump in demand that kicked the recession can down the road a bit, the U.S. economy is not much better off. Meanwhile, countless individuals in developing countries have been injured by predictable commodity hoarding and global price instability. The Fed has leveraged its balance sheet by over 55-to-1. As policy makers look to address the abrupt deterioration in U.S. , we should ask ourselves: Do we really long for more of the Fed's recklessness?

2011-08-05 Portfolio Commentary Q211 by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisors

The Fund's overall positioning and exposures have changed very little over the past few months as our managers continue to see almost all asset classes priced to deliver unsatisfactory long term returns. There is no real change in overall thoughts from our previous commentary except to add that many of the issues and risks we have discussed are starting to become more significant and weakening fundamentals are finally becoming more apparent to investors. Ironically, the things that have created short term rallies of late are largely noise and are less positive than they were 3-6 months ago.

2011-08-05 Denominators Matter! What the Price of Gold Tells Us About the Value of Other Assets by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

In an environment where holding either U.S. dollar cash or a broad market portfolio may be detrimental to real wealth preservation, more active asset allocation is required. Portfolio managers who have a broad toolbox of assets to choose from, nimbleness and flexibility, and an eye on the denominators that show us real value, will be in an enviable position to capitalize on the next great bull market in stocks.

2011-08-05 The Center of Gravity Shifts Slowly by Andrew Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

To an extent not fully appreciated by the investing public, financial markets are influenced by human emotion just as much as they are by economic data, corporate earnings, and dividend yields. Of all human motivations, fear is perhaps the most powerful. When people get scared, the fight or flight instinct forces us to take action. Simple dangers prompt simple responses. If we unexpectedly encounter a bear on our driveway, we immediately run into the house and call animal control. But its harder to know what to do when financial danger stalks the stock market.

2011-07-30 The 2011 Gold Season is Just around the Corner by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

September has traditionally been the beginning of the gift-giving season for gold. This is the time of year when gold jewelers are the busiest. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins in August and concludes with generous gift-giving in early September. Then its Diwali, known as the festival of lights in India, Christmas in the U.S., and Chinese New Year. The key to this seasonal strength over the past few years has been demand from China and India.

2011-07-30 Shifting Focus by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Some economic indicators are starting to perk up while corporate earnings have been strong as we wind down reporting season. Stocks will move higher in the coming months once confidence is restored. Whatever the near-term outcome of the debt debate, the US still has deficit issues to deal with and hard choices must be made to ensure economic stability for years to come. Europe finally arrived at their debt deal, but it likely falls short of what will eventually be needed. Meanwhile, China is key to emerging market performance and continues to deal with inflationary concerns.

2011-07-28 Quarterly Commentary: 2nd Quarter by Steven Romick of First Pacific Advisors

We pay attention to the macro environment because it sometimes allows us to identify significant opportunities and, at other times, to avoid or limit catastrophic risk. We still find ourselves worrying today, particularly about unreasonable government budgets that have helped foster unmanageable burdens. Over the past three years we have witnessed a shift in financial obligations from the personal to the public (governments) that has done nothing to enhance the solvency of the overall system, although the optics appear favorable to some.

2011-07-25 Simple Arithmetic by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

For most countries in Europe, government revenues typically run between near 40% of GDP, while government spending presently runs several percent ahead of that. In Greece, government debt now represents about 150% of GDP at interest rates between about 10% for very short and very long-maturity debt, to about 25% annually on 2-year debt. The overall average yield on Greek debt is close to 15%. The problem is that 15% interest on 150% of GDP works out to 22.5% of GDP in interest costs if the debt actually has to be rolled-over without restructuring it.

2011-07-21 Making the U.S. Dollar Safer: Return ON Your Money by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Todays debate may be focused on whether the debt ceiling will be raised, but its tomorrows debate that really concerns us. Last week, Standard & Poors made it clear that raising the debt ceiling would be one thing, but in order to withhold a downgrade to the U.S. credit rating, the U.S. must show that it is not maxed out. In other words, show that it would be able to manage another crisis, or a potential war. What would be the implications of a credit downgrade? And what policies would need to be engaged in, in order to avert a downgrade and strengthen the U.S. dollar over the long-term?

2011-07-20 On Your Mind: Debt Ceiling and the US Dollar by Team of Charles Schwab

The uncertainty surrounding the upcoming decision on the debt ceiling has been a negative factor for the dollar. A US default and/or a downgrade of the US credit rating would almost certainly be negative also. It could weaken confidence in the dollar and cause it to fall. However, there are many global factors driving demand, including support of Japan and China, which continue to be large holders of US Treasuries. It would not be in their interest to sell dollar-denominated assets, including Treasuries, if there was simply a rating change or short-term default.

2011-07-20 Golds Value Made Powerful by the Dollar, Euro and Yen by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

In reviewing the weekend headlines and data points released, it appears the gold rush fever is alive and well. It is almost as if a sequel to Shakespeares Merchant of Venice is about to be revived for reality TV... One might expect to read: It appears that what ever side of the Atlantic you lay, gold and gold only appear the play. Gold has crossed over $1600 per ounce, a mere 125% increase over where it stood a little over 2 years ago.

2011-07-19 Staring at the Ceiling by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Everyone's focused on the debt-ceiling negotiations, impacting everything from market action to consumer confidence. Default remains unlikely, but investors are wondering about portfolio positioning in the event the unthinkable occurs. Behind the scenes, the news isn't all bad, as some economic readings and most corporate earnings releases have been pleasant surprises.

2011-07-19 A Palinized Nation - No Direction, No Leadership, No Clue by Cliff W. Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

America is being palinized by total lack of leadership and responsibility from both political parties on Capitol Hill. The discussion of whether the US should default on our government debt if Congress is unable to pass a budget compromise and raise the debt ceiling by August 2nd, 2011 is absurd. The result of the impasse is a gradual erosion of trust by individuals, corporations, and foreign debt holders. How did we arrive at this point of lunacy, where our leaders are actually talking about the USA defaulting on our debts? Luke 23:34: Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

2011-07-18 Are Emerging Markets Ready to Lead the Global Economy? by Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

We forecast emerging economies will expand at a faster pace than advanced economies over the secular horizon. The challenge for emerging market central bankers is to remain ahead of inflation expectations and retain credibility on inflation targeting. We feel they are well positioned for this. We believe global investors remain significantly underweight emerging market assets. We expect this underallocation to decrease, providing multiyear support for the asset class.

2011-07-15 The Fraying European Union by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

Gold, oil and food prices will rise much higher in an inflationary climate where pivotal currencies are depreciating and astronomical sums of money are being infused into sick economies. The U.S. banking crisis of 2008 was by no means a first-of-its-kind. The most immediate previous example was in Japan in 1990, a crisis that generated a long-term economic malaise. Now, the U.S. and Europe are following precisely in Japan?s ill-fated footsteps.

2011-07-15 What a Multi-Speed World May Mean for Equities by Anne Gudefin and Masha Gordon of PIMCO

Equity investors may look in unfamiliar places as they navigate potential shifts in the global economy. An apparent rebound in risk tolerance since the financial crisis has supported higher equity valuations. Emerging market economies appear to be undergoing a mid-cycle rebalancing. We view this as a welcomed cyclical adjustment rather than the end of their growth cycle; long-term fundamentals remain intact. We believe advanced economies should continue to see headwinds to growth, and that potentially means investors may be generally willing to pay lower multiples to earnings.

2011-07-13 Treading Water by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

While unemployment remains high, corporate balance sheets are healthier, Wall Street de-leveraging is proceeding, savings rates are up, and many strategists currently consider equities cheap.The lackluster performance of domestic equities in the quarter was associated with negative returns in financials, a symptom of the continuing de-leveraging process and new regulations worldwide. However, the underlying conditions for a long sustained business expansion do not seem in-place. A cyclical expansion, typically lasting roughly four years, seems a reasonable, though far from certain, scenario.

2011-07-12 An End-of-Quarter Letter to Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Given recent unrest in Europe and uncertainty about economic growth, many clients are looking to their advisors for direction. This template for an end-of-quarter letter is a starting point for your own letter to clients, one that can be a catalyst for a conversation about how to position portfolios.

2011-07-12 The Titanic Has Sailed by Michael Lewitt (Article)

It was entirely predictable that the U.S. equity market would rally on the news that Greek would not default this month, but it does little to convince me that the long-term outlook for European sovereign debt or the global economy has improved. Markets - particularly the equity markets - are trying to pretend that the global economy is experiencing a self-sustaining recovery. A hard look at the economic numbers would tell an objective observer that no such recovery is occurring.

2011-07-12 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review June 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia Pacific economies continued to be troubled by persistent inflation in June. Almost every country in the region had to either hike benchmark interest rates or bank reserve requirement ratios to rein in lending and credit growth. The monetary tightening effects are largely expected to make capital more expensive and this in turn is expected to crimp growth across many emerging markets. Inflation, which thus far has been more pronounced among food and fuel items, now seems to be spilling over to structural inputs like labor as well.

2011-07-11 Perspective on the 2nd Quarter by Sean Hanlon of Hanlon Investment Management

At the start of the second quarter Hanlon Investment Management portfolios were positioned somewhat conservatively as our research anticipated that there was some volatility ahead. Our expectation was right-on as volatility and whipsawing markets were on display during this past quarter. We further increased our cautious stance and in June raised additional cash in client accounts as the risks warranted. The upcoming "summertime" third quarter is typically a sluggish trading quarter and we remain prepared for the prospect of continued volatility.

2011-07-11 A Look at Our 10 Predictions for 2011 by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

At the halfway point of the year, we thought it would be appropriate to look at the predictions we made at the beginning of 2011 to see where we stand. 1. US growth accelerates as US real GDP reaches a new all-time high. US real gross domestic product growth reached a new all-time high in the first quarter of 2011, so we have already gotten the second half of this correct. The first half will be dependent on the degree to which the US economy is able to accelerate in the second half of this year. 2. The US economy creates 2 million to 3 million jobs in 2011 as unemployment falls to 9%.

2011-07-08 On Your Mind: Debt Ceiling and the US Dollar by Team of Charles Schwab

Theres been a lot of media attention on the US debt ceiling and the outlook for the US dollar. Here we'll answer some of the questions weve been receiving from clients. The US debt ceiling: What are the chances of the U.S. defaulting on its debt? Will the United States automatically default if the debt ceiling isnt raised? When can we expect a resolution? What will happen if the United States does default? What does this mean for investors? Outlook for the US dollar: Is there a risk of the dollar collapsing in the short term? Is the world going to abandon the dollar as a reserve currency?

2011-07-05 Essential Summer Reading - Desperate Households and More by Michael Shamosh (Article)

Summer reruns don't have to be boring and predictable. If we use a little imagination, televised repeats can depict the problems facing our economy and markets, and the storylines can become tantalizingly uncertain.

2011-07-05 The End of Currency Wars? by Richard Clarida of PIMCO

International capital is flowing to countries with good growth prospects and to countries with central banks confident enough to raise interest rates. Certain nations are placing controls on capital or intervening in currency markets with an eye to maintaining economic competitiveness. We see central banks in the U.S. and the U.K. winding down monetary stimulus that has exacerbated the situation. Also, we see potential for emerging market currencies to appreciate, and that may give developed nations a boost.

2011-07-01 Eye on Washington: Oil and Food Price Manipulation by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

We have been saying for some time that the developing world is now exporting higher-priced products abroad and contributing to inflation. A recent WSJ article and video discusses how higher wages and higher commodity costs are resulting in the end of low cost goods from China. We recommend that investors repurchase Malaysian equities as their market looks poised to move higher. U.S. equities also look like they are set for a rally that could last four to six weeks, so we recommend them for a trade. We also remain committed to our bullish recommendations on Japan and India.

2011-06-27 Higher Commodity Prices and the End of Economic Growth Without Inflation by Mihir P. Worah of PIMCO

Global inflationary patterns may shift amid higher commodity prices. We expect commodity prices to be generally rising going forward, though with volatility and differentiation among commodities. Emerging markets going through a particularly commodity and energy intensive phase of growth may affect what developed-world consumers pay for commodities. Currencies are another factor. If developed-world policymakers attempt to make their economies more competitive via a cheaper currency, that could lead to higher inflation for those that are net importers.

2011-06-25 The Contagion Risk of Europe by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Europe would be better off just taking the money they are giving to Greece and using it to recapitalize their banks. Let Greece go. Give it up. Let them enter a 12-step program or whatever it is that insolvent nations do. That is harsh, but it is also the truth.

2011-06-23 Greek Drama and the Eurozone's Future: Wharton's Franklin Allen Weighs In by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

After a week of political drama within his Socialist Pasok party and a new wave of violent riots in the streets, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou survived a vote of confidence, helping to pave the way for his plans to unleash further austerity measures to keep the country afloat. It has been just over a year since he shepherded in a multibillion-euro rescue package from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, which commits Greece to several more years of drastic budget cuts and will save it from defaulting on its staggering debt.

2011-06-23 A New Era of Global Financial Repression by Scott A. Mather of PIMCO

Investors need to be especially alert to increasing financial repression. Any sovereign policy that interferes with free market activity and the pricing of debt or currency can be thought of as financial repression. Repressionary policy rates percolate through the global financial markets and affect asset prices across the risk spectrum. Many emerging market countries use repressionary tactics to capture a larger share of global growth.

2011-06-23 The Disconnect Continues by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

BRIC yield curves are on the brink of inversion, while the US has the steepest yield curve in the world. Such signals, while certainly not infallible, have historically been reliable predictors of future equity returns, but investors? portfolios nonetheless remain generally overweight emerging markets and underweight the US. We see opportunity in this disconnect.

2011-06-21 The Currency Exchange Market by Frank Wei of FundQuest

The currency exchange market is a global market with a daily trading volume of nearly $4 trillion transpiring worldwide. However, it is also a very fragmented market with no central exchanges and with arguably the most diverse participants. While fundamental factors such as economic growth and interest rates determine long- and intermediate-term trends of the market, random, and even irrational short-term factors, play an already disproportionate and ever increasing significant role. Rigorous risk-control and trading disciplines are essential for active participants.

2011-06-21 Euro: Safer than the U.S. Dollar? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Which one is safer: the euro or the U.S. dollar? Before jumping to a conclusion one way or the other, let?s look at different sides of the respective coins. We have been warning for years that there may be no such thing anymore as a safe asset and investors may want to take a diversified approach to something as mundane as cash. We believe Greece has rather serious issues, but concerned investors may want to take a closer look at their dollar holdings for potential ?contagion? risks.

2011-06-20 Hard to Take a Bone from a Dog by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Only by enacting massive reforms of major entitlements, which includes cuts to Social Security and Medicaid benefits, and reductions in military and domestic spending, will America be enabled once more to balance its books, generate real wealth, and issue sound currency. But given all that we know of how politics works in America, how many elected officials will grab the bone from the dog's mouth and pull? Regrettably, I can't assume many are up for the challenge. As a result, we must assume the worst for the U.S. dollar.

2011-06-20 Game Change for Bond Investors? by Scott A. Mather of PIMCO

Over the next three to five years, we argue that market behavior may be vastly different than what typical cyclical models would predict. Sovereign debt, which is at the core of our global financial system, is undergoing a seismic shift. Governments practicing financial repression may be transferring wealth from creditors (citizens) to debtors (governments) to the detriment of creditors, fixed income investors and savers.

2011-06-17 Could the Eurozone Break Up? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

If the euro is not going to fall sharply, if reducing unit labor cost takes too long to restore competitiveness and growth and if deflation is unfeasible or (if achieved) self-defeating, there is only one other way to restore competitiveness and growth: Leave the monetary union, go back to national currencies and thus achieve a massive nominal and real depreciation. After all, in all emerging market financial crises where growth was restored, a move to flexible exchange rates was necessary and unavoidable on top of official liquidity, austerity and reform and debt restructuring and reduction.

2011-06-16 U.S. Investors Overexposed to U.S. Dollar Risk? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

The U.S. dollar has experienced significant weakness over recent years. And there is a risk the U.S. dollar will experience ongoing deterioration for an extended period of time. U.S. investors may want to take this possibility into consideration when assessing the U.S. dollar risk inherent in their investment portfolios. Our analysis into the aggregate financial asset holdings of the U.S. personal sector finds that the vast majority of investor?s financial assets are denominated in U.S. dollars and as a result, significant U.S. dollar risk exposure is evident.

2011-06-15 RMB Liberalization ?What All the Excitement is About by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia

Investors tend to be a fairly excitable bunch, always looking for the latest trends and themes to try to make a profit. But many trends have little relevance or impact over the longer term. During the past 12 months, one of those more ?exciting? topics that have been discussed is the initial stages of renminbi (RMB) liberalization in Hong Kong?a concept that allows foreigners to get their hands on, and trade in, Chinese currency for the first time. But how excited should long-term investors be? A roundtable discussion among Matthews? managers, on the same topic, is also included.

2011-06-15 The End of QEII: Gaining Clarity, Losing the Treasury?s Biggest Customer by Anthony J. Crescenzi and Ben Emons of PIMCO

?The Fed?s policies and its fat balance sheet are playing a powerful role in shaping financial and economic conditions around the world. The drain of a single dollar from the financial system will signal a reversal of Fed policy and thus have a major bearing on financial conditions. Depending on the speed of the economic slowdown, the Fed could decide to keep a level of discretion over when and what will be reinvested in its portfolio.

2011-06-14 The Consequences of Policy Failure by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Investment performance for the rest of the year will be determined by the macro-economic views of investment managers. While microeconomic factors are always extremely important in charting investment strategies, they are particularly important today as the U.S. and global economies continue to fight their way through the detritus of the global debt crisis. A compelling case can be made for weaker 2Q112 growth based on a combination of factors.

2011-06-13 How Strategic Deficit Reduction Could Spur Growth by Saumil H. Parikh of PIMCO

Much of the evolution of our secular economic outlook for advanced economies will depend upon the degree and success of structural policy changes. To date, few such policies have been implemented. We think the U.K. is implementing what is probably the best combination of fiscal and monetary policies to address deficit reduction with an eye to structural issues. In the U.S., we see great economic benefit from shifting some public spending from consumption to investment ? for example, to the energy sector, where the U.S. has a large deficit vs. the rest of the world.

2011-06-13 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Aggressive interest rate hikes by emerging markets in the past twelve to eighteen months have started showing some results. Although food inflation in many emerging markets remains at elevated levels, the pace of inflation seemed to slow in some countries. Further, inflation expectations are expected to cool, primarily due to anticipation of record harvest of food grains in many countries. The threat from oil prices, which grew at a menacing pace during the first quarter of the year, also subsided a bit in May. Nonetheless, many central banks across Asia were cautious over monetary policy.

2011-06-13 Oil Prices?Fundamentally Unhinged by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Oil prices spiked up more than 40% between September 2010 and early May, before suddenly giving back half the gain within the space of a week. Analysts naturally sought to explain the wild price swings with supply and demand. But, as is so often the case with commodities the fundamentals mean less than speculative money flows. These explain both the run up and the retreat and why prices moved so far so fast. Speculative motivations, more than the fundamentals, will set future price movements, though the fundamentals, when they influence, should keep the direction pointing down more than up.

2011-06-10 Searching for the Market's 'Sweet Spot' by John Derrick of U.S. Global Investors

One of U.S. Global Investors? ?sweet spots? is investing in global small-and mid-cap companies. We generally define these companies as having a market capitalization between $1 and $10 billion. Ten billion sounds like a lot but is relatively small compared to market caps of companies such as Apple ($301 billion), Johnson & Johnson ($181 billion) and Coca-Cola ($149 billion). We like small and mid-cap companies because they tend to be less volatile than micro-caps, but still nimble enough to grow at faster rates than large companies.

2011-06-08 Gold at $1,500 an Ounce: Speculation or Fundamental Demand? by Team of American Century Investments

We believe gold?s performance in recent years and current price above $1,500 an ounce reflect solid fundamental demand, rather than speculative fervor. A key driver of gold demand in the current environment is buying by central banks around the world. In addition, it appears that investors looking for a hedge against both the falling dollar and broader economic uncertainty have been buying gold for its diversification benefits. Jewelry demand in India and China are other, underappreciated positives.

2011-06-08 The Economy: When Will Happy Days Be Here Again? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

The latest economic reports show the U.S. recovery has faltered. But someday, surely, there will be a real recovery. What forces will drive that upturn? And will the healthy economy of the future look different from those of the past -- establishing a "new normal?" Two intertwined factors are critical to any rebound, according to many experts: Home prices must stop declining and begin to rise, and consumers must spend more freely.

2011-06-07 Why Jim Rogers is Bullish on Gold by Dan Richards (Article)

The veteran investor Jim Rogers explains why he is bullish on gold and the US dollar, and offers his thoughts on Asian economies why he chose to move his family to Singapore. This is the transcript of the interview.

2011-06-03 Natural Resources Q&A with the Global Resources Fund Team by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week Frank Holmes and the co-managers of the U.S. Global Investors Global Resources Fund (PSPFX), Evan Smith and Brian Hicks, participated in a special webcast for the Peak Advisor Alliance. Here are some candid portions of the Q&A: Q. How are interest rates currently affecting commodity prices? A. The magic number for real interest rates is 2 percent. That?s when you can earn more than 2 percent on a U.S. Treasury bill after discounting for inflation. Our research has shown that commodities tend to perform well when rates fall below 2 percent.

2011-06-01 Buy Cheap Bonds with Safe Spread by Bill Gross of PIMCO

If the government is going to artificially repress yield, then focus on the parts of a bond that are less repressed! Rather than outright default, many countries attempt rather successfully to keep nominal interest rates lower than would otherwise prevail. Over the long term, this ?financial repression? results in a transfer of wealth from savers to borrowers. Investors shouldn?t give their money away, and at the moment, the duration component of a bond portfolio comes close to doing just that ? because it doesn?t yield enough relative to inflation.

2011-06-01 What?s Gold Really Worth? by Kevin Feldman of BlackRock Investment Management

Determining an exact value for gold isn?t easy?but the pressure to do so is diminished by the fact that gold shouldn?t be a short-term investment. The drop in silver?s price earlier this month suggested that some major market players had decided that silver had risen far above a reasonable valuation. In the aftermath, some writers argued that the price drop of about 27% for the week of May 2nd was a reasonable correction. Since some investors still link gold and silver some market observers and gold investors wondered if gold, down about 4 percent last week, was also due to plummet.

2011-06-01 The Danger of Emerging Market Inflation by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

If left unchecked, high and accelerating inflation in emerging markets will have growing adverse economic, social and political effects. In addition to undermining overall growth and resource allocation, emerging market inflation imposes a very heavy burden on the poor and erodes political unity. Emerging economies will tap multiple policy brakes as they seek to counter mounting inflationary pressures. And they will continue to grow, but not enough to pull up decisively the sluggish advanced countries.

2011-05-28 Railway Revolution Builds China's Consumer Culture by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China is building the world?s largest network of high speed rails. Since opening the first high speed line between Beijing and Tianjin in 2008, the country has laid down more than 4,600 miles of new tracks. This is three times more than Japan, where the bullet train was invented. Once completed near the end of this decade, the high speed rail system will connect more than 250 Chinese cities, span 18,641 miles and reach roughly 700 million people. Currently, the high speed rail network connects about one-third of China?s cities. That figure is set to nearly double over the next two years.

2011-05-27 All That Glitters by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

It is hard to find anything in the current financial landscape that has caught investors? attention as much as gold. We were proponents of gold at times over the past decade. However, the rationale for investing in gold has changed in the last three years. The story was once a fundamental one, but today?s general enthusiasm seems more emotionally-based. Gold prices might rise further, but we prefer to sit out the current rally in favor of more fundamentally-based investments that tend to perform well during periods of sizeable nominal growth.

2011-05-25 Double-Invoicing and the Yuan by Andrew Foster of Seafarer Capital

It?s widely held that the Chinese yuan is a ?cheap? currency, and that it is undervalued relative to the U.S. dollar. I agree, especially in light of how expensive some foreign currencies appear to be. However, I would quickly caveat my opinion by clarifying that it applies only to a long-term horizon. If you are looking for pessimism regarding the yuan, there is no shortage of popular arguments against it, but I will leave that aside for now. By examining a little-known practice called ?double-invoicing,? we can observe commercial traders? preference for the yuan versus other currencies.

2011-05-25 Setting the Scene by Eric S. Ende of First Pacific Advisors

As it stands today, without a combination of reducing the growth of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and/or increasing taxes, the Congressional Budget Office projects that by 2022 these three programs and interest payments alone will consume all the government?s yearly revenue. That means running a single program in any of the other federal departments would immediately create a deficit for the year. And 2022 is only eleven years away!

2011-05-24 A Washington Forecast for Advisors and Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Only entitlement reform can bridge the federal deficit, and your clients should prepare for changes to Medicare and Social Security, according to Andy Friedman. Cost-sharing and means-testing are among the big changes that Friedman sees on the horizon. Don't expect much progress in the near term, though, as Friedman forecast continued gridlock on the budget at least until the 2012 elections are decided.

2011-05-24 Debt Ceiling Jeopardizes Dollar?s Reserve Status by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

While borrowing costs for the U.S. government have not yet risen, irreparable harm may have already been done to the U.S. dollar and its status as a reserve currency. Ironically, it?s not a plunging, but a rallying bond market that is a symptom of the problem. Most observers believe that a) the Treasury has a big bag of tricks to continue servicing the debt; and b) politicians will play a game of chicken, but eventually do what they always do: agree to spend more money. We don?t know how the bond market will react; but we do know that policy makers are playing with fire.

2011-05-24 What is conservative about Absolute Return, Market Neutral or Long/Short Mutual Funds? by Kendall J. Anderson of Anderson Griggs

The machine of Wall Street has convinced many individuals who believe they are prudent, conservative, investors that a mutual fund whose name or objective includes the terms Absolute Return, Market Neutral, Long/Short or hedged, will never lose your money. An individual whose fear of losing again from common stocks just can?t bear sitting on cash and earning a nickel of interest every three months 1k. The desire to increase returns is just too great. Before you fall for the hype there are a few things you should know. The most important item you should remember is that there is no guarantee.

2011-05-21 All for One Euro and One Euro for All? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

What Will the EU Do? Seriously, will Trichet really say ?non? when they once again peer down at the abyss? He blinked last time. But if the desire is to acknowledge in private what they cannot say in public - that Greece should leave the eurozone and go back to the drachma - there is no better way than to not take Greek debt onto the ECB?s books. It is not a matter of whether Greece defaults, but when. It may be easier in the long run to clean up the mess they have now than continue to create even more debt that cannot be paid.

2011-05-20 What?s Eating You? Global Inflation and Your Portfolio by Matt Tucker of BlackRock Investment Management

Headlines have been filled with news about inflation, from rising commodity, precious metals and gas prices to higher prints of the consumer price index. Traditionally investors have looked to US real estate, commodities and US TIPS to help protect against inflation. As news of rising foreign inflation reaches the US, investors may now be asking if they need to think this in the context of their portfolios. Is global inflation different than US inflation? Could investing in assets that help protect against global inflation increase a portfolio?s efficiency? Am I missing an opportunity?

2011-05-19 Explaining U.S. debt levels, credit ratings, and recent bond market behavior by Team of American Century Investments

This week, we discuss the U.S. debt ceiling and the credit ratings for U.S. sovereign debt, plus explanations for seemingly counterintuitive bond market behavior. To fully comprehend the ceiling, we should first review the U.S. federal debt it?s attempting to cap, and why. The U.S. federal debt reflects what the U.S. government has to borrow to help pay for its multitude of operations, services, and financial commitments. Like some of its citizens, the U.S. government has been living beyond its means in recent years, spending more money than it has in reserve or receives in tax revenues.

2011-05-17 The Smooth Illusion by Michael Lewitt (Article)

In retrospect, the Federal Reserve's interminable zero-interest policy and its quantitative easing programs are likely to be seen not only as ineffective but damaging to the prospects for sustainable long-term economic growth. A number of asset classes are beginning to exhibit bubble-like behavior, something that would be far less likely to occur were interest rates normalized.

2011-05-17 Plantar Fasciitis? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

In past missives I have opined that China is slowly revaluing its currency in an attempt to create more domestic demand, dampen its inflation rate, and placate U.S. leaders. To be sure, the Chinese realize in the long-run the manufacturing/export driven economic model will eventually morph to the lower cost of labor, which is quickly becoming the Vietnams of the world. Accordingly, they are following what Brazil did with its currency (the Real) a few years ago. To wit, Brazil raised interest rates and increased the value of its currency.

2011-05-17 Breakdown: Commodities Tumble ? For Good? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

'When in doubt, get out' has become the mantra for commodities traders the past couple of weeks. Sentiment had become too one-sided (and may need to ease even further). Is risk-on, risk-off trading finally coming to an end, and can fundamental analysis prevail? We've written a lot about the 'risk-on, risk-off' trading environment prevalent over the past several years. Risk on is basically when investors have been feeling better about the global economy and about the markets, so they buy and embrace more risky assets. Then, when fears rise investors essentially avoid all risk?risk off.

2011-05-13 Congress, The Fed Reserve, and Markets by Cliff W. Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

I never did particularly care for Alice in Wonderland, watching her go down rabbit holes and discover the characters of the White King and Queen, Humpty Dumpty, Cheshire Cat, and the Mad Hatter. But when watching the ongoing budget debates I feel as if the American people are Alice and we are being subjected to a world of budgetary nonsense, spoken in a language that is incomprehensible. The American people know they are being held hostage in a strange place where our Congress orchestrates a Mad Hatter tea party for which the entertainment is kicking the can of debt down the road.

2011-05-13 Postcard from Vietnam by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

The use of both the U.S. dollar and Vietnam?s currency, the dong, is widespread in Vietnam. Just as easily as you might pay for a new pair of jeans with cash or with credit in the U.S., you could do so in either dong or dollar in Vietnam. Over the last two decades, currency depreciation, in combination with bouts of hyperinflation, has led to Vietnam?s use of the U.S. dollar and gold as primary stores of wealth. Unlike China, which has experienced appreciation relative to the U.S. dollar over the last two decades, Vietnam has seen a drastic depreciation of its currency over the same period.

2011-05-11 The Strong Bond Between India and Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Casey Research?s BIG GOLD newsletter recently published a great interview that I?d like to share with you. BIG GOLD editor Jeff Clark interviewed Shanta, the mother of U.S. Global consultant and longtime friend Jayant Bhandari, on how strong the cultural bond between gold and Indians is, especially women. "When it comes to supply and demand, what you?ve been told about gold jewelry is wrong. That?s a strong statement, but I?ve got a firsthand account to back it up."

2011-05-11 Supreme Moment by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Kairos - is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The world of value investing and portfolio management includes mean reversion and patience. Speculative episodes typically go on for much longer than expected. This fact forces us to take a stand by avoiding overvalued common stocks and owning undervalued shares. Everyone would love to make their adjustments at the ?Kairos?. We believe that the greatest existing misallocation of capital in the world today is based on over-confidence in the uninterrupted growth of emerging markets.

2011-05-10 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review April 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Faced with persistent inflation, central banks across emerging Asian economies turned more active in the foreign exchange markets during April, aggressively raising interest rates. However, these actions have coincided with a loose monetary policy in the developed markets. Consequently, the investment capital, which typically chases high interest rates, continued to flow from the developed markets to emerging markets, pushing up the value of the currencies of emerging markets. To prevent a sudden appreciation of their respective currencies, central banks turned into buyers of the U.S. dollar.

2011-05-10 Americas: Economic Review April 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Rising inflation remains the major policy concern across most economies in the Americas region and is attracting stronger policy responses, as energy and commodity prices remain elevated. While some of the Latin American countries continue with monetary policy tightening, Canada is widely expected to start hiking interest rates later this year. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve will end its quantitative easing program by the end of this quarter, though interest rate hikes are not expected until early next year.

2011-05-10 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review April 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies that were hit by natural disasters during the initial months of 2011 registered mixed economic performance with some countries in the group recovering faster even as other countries are still dealing with the aftermath of the crisis. While Japan, finalized a fiscal and monetary plan, investment-led growth was helping Australia recover from floods. New Zealand, which also suffered a devastating earthquake, showed a considerable rise in dairy exports. Other advanced economies continued to do well, although strong growth has been stoking inflation.

2011-05-06 Watch Out Below! Commodities Falling Off the Cliff! by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

This week we have seen a huge sell-off in commodity prices. Silver is leading the way down posting another steep loss today. Some think the smart money is getting out even as the commodity exchanges are raising margin requirements. Is this the end of the ?hard asset? commodity trade? I hardly think so. We believe that we are in a commodity ?super-cycle? that has its foundation not in speculation or weakening currencies, but in a sharp rise in global demand. The weak dollar has merely exacerbated the move over the past couple of years as the Fed has embarked on very loose monetary policy.

2011-05-06 Silver Takes it on the Chin by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

This week saw the type of downside volatility in the precious metals market that will be remembered for years to come. For those of us who have been long gold, and silver in particular, the memories will not be pleasant. While many had been expecting a pullback in silver, when the violence did come it was still shocking. Silver shed one third of its value in less than one week. And while gold was pulled down by the general sell off in all commodities. the yellow metal shed only 6.5% during the carnage. Those mild losses should remind us that gold is not just another commodity.

2011-05-05 A Roadmap For The Coming Changes In Fed Policy by Will Denyer of GaveKal

Last week?s FOMC statement, and Bernanke?s first press conference, were predictably anticlimactic. But they did confirm what the FOMC plans to do this summer, and what they currently think should be the next steps thereafter. Based on this apparent plan, market participants would be right to assume that Fed policy will continue, well after QE2 ends in June, to weigh on the Dollar and support the already elevated Euro, commodity prices, commodity currencies, etc? In other words, the Fed?s telegraphed trajectory would continue to contribute to the world?s biggest macro risks today.

2011-05-03 The Caine Mutiny (Part 2) by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Low policy rates and the increasing negative real yields that they engender as inflation accelerates represent an immediate threat to investment portfolios. Bond prices dont necessarily have to go down for savers to get skunked during a process of debt liquidation. PIMCO advocates a renewed vigilance, stressing bond market alternatives available globally, including developing/emerging market debt at higher yields denominated in non-dollar currencies.

2011-05-03 The Dollar: It?s Payback Time! by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

It?s payback time for Ben Bernanke. In some ways, this should neither surprise, nor scare anyone. Unfortunately, it might do both. In any open market, information is absorbed into asset prices, including exchange rates. Indeed, exchange rates may be the best pricing source to assess the impact of the relentless involvement of policy makers? ?print and spend? mentality in the markets. When trillions are spent, markets are likely to move. However, an unintended consequence has been that a broad range of assets are now moving more and more in tandem, giving investors fewer options to diversify.

2011-05-02 Warm Milk and Sweet Dreams by Herbert Abramson and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

There is a lot of scary noise out there. MENA turmoil, the Japanese nuclear crisis, European debt, U.S. debt, debasing of the U.S. dollar, commodity prices, higher inflation, a potential left wing coalition government in Canada and Donald Trump as U.S. President. Understandably, our clients, and individual investors generally, are fretting. Confidence levels are low and risk aversion has become paramount. Surveys show that individual investors believe the odds of a one-third stock market drop is over 50% in any given year where true odds are closer to 2%. Investors are too fearful.

2011-05-02 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

It looks to me as if some are confusing a market rally, an extension really, for an economic revival. The Fed Chairman declared last Wednesday that we are only half-way through a decade?s long process of recovery. The primary engines of capital gains today are price pressure, speculation, natural resources and inflation. It?s no wonder that Energy, Basic Materials, and Technology are in the vanguard, while ?traditional? front-end engines of economic prosperity languish. At first blush this reveals that the consumer is not the driver of prosperity at this time.

2011-05-02 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

As we have been saying for some time, U.S. economic growth is stuck in the slow lane.We have seen a serious slide in the American standard of living over the past three years, since the beginning of the recession.The slide can be measured in many ways.Food stamps recipients have increased by 48 percent and the cost of the program ballooned by 80 percent.Medicaid recipients are up 17 percent and programcosts are up36 percent.Welfare recipients are up 18 percent, and program costs up24 percent. That isnt the kind of growth thats good for any economy!

2011-04-29 How a Falling Dollar Affects Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Statements by Chairman Ben Bernanke on April 27 shouldn?t have surprised investors. Following the Fed?s press conference, the Fear Trade continued. Gold hit a new high while the dollar fell further, touching a three-year low on Thursday. As gold investors know, the metal has historically been negatively correlated with the dollar, meaning when the greenback is weak, gold tends to be strong. That correlation is reaching an extreme, widening substantially over the last year. Spot gold prices on the COMEX closed above $1,527 yesterday while the U.S. Trade Weighted Dollar Index tumbled to 73.32.

2011-04-29 Bernanke Falls Flat by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Despite loud huzzahs from a variety of boosters who proclaimed that Chairman Bernanke spoke with gravitas and wisdom at the first ever Federal Reserve press conference, the wider investing public clearly saw the performance as unconvincing. During and immediately after the proceedings the prices of gold and silver rose strongly to new highs as the U.S. dollar plummeted. The affair seemed to solidify the understanding that Bernanke and his cohorts have no intention whatsoever to reverse the current trend of inflation and a weakening dollar.

2011-04-22 Could the U.S. Return to 1970s Style Inflation? by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

The U.S. appears to be at the crossroads of fiscal and monetary policy. Many are painting a very bleak picture of the future of the dollar, U.S. credit and the validity of the U.S. economy as the model for the world. Could the U.S. return to 1970s style of inflation? The answer is that, although the possibility is there, the probability that such a high level of inflation returning any time soon is actually very low. Is the Fed conducting monetary policy that is inflationary in nature? Yes they are, but let?s not forget why they are doing this. The Fed is engaged in the avoidance of deflation

2011-04-22 Silver Set to Soar as Paper Folds? by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

As a result of active ?demonetization? efforts by the IMF and its member central banks, gold and silver have experienced the type of volatility that has given conservative investors reasons not to perceive the metals as dependable cash alternatives. Instead gold and silver have become known as the asset class to hold as a hedge against inflation. However, during the 1990?s, when inflation was in general much higher than it has been since the turn of the millennium, gold and silver prices drifted lower and stagnated.

2011-04-19 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Inflation continued to be the watchword for the emerging Asia Pacific economies in March. The world?s second largest economy, China, has slowly but firmly gained control over its banks, whose relentless lending had stoked inflation. Consequently, fears about excess inflation affecting China?s economy are expected to come down over the next few months. However, worries over the damage done to Japan by an earthquake could affect a number of export-based emerging economies in the Asia Pacific region. In other emerging Asian economies, monetary tightening continued at an accelerated pace.

2011-04-19 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

During March, most developed Asian economies faced headwinds to export growth. Continued efforts to tighten credit in China, inflationary pressures and strengthening currencies were some of the factors affecting export growth across many developed Asian economies. However, a devastating earthquake that struck Japan in early March disrupted supply chains across Asia. Japan, which accounts for 9 percent of the worlds GDP, plays a crucial role in the functioning of the global auto and electronics industry. It is estimated that Japan will require another 2-4 quarters to recoup the losses suffered.

2011-04-19 Americas: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

The economic repercussions to the Americas region from Japan's earthquake are expected to be limited. Though Japan is a large trading partner the percentage share of Japan in their total external trade is low. However, some of the large manufacturers, especially in electronics and automobiles, may face slower output because of shortage in supplies from Japan. Similarly, the escalation of political unrest in the MENA region, have not yet caused a flare up in energy prices. Though retail prices of gasoline have risen, they are not considered high enough to cause damage to consumer spending.

2011-04-19 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

The turmoil in the Middle East region continues, with Libya exploding into civil war, and troops from the Gulf Cooperation Council being called in to suppress the protests in Bahrain. In terms of the economic repercussions, stock markets in the MENA are estimated to have lost around $140 billion in market capitalization during the last month. According to the Arab Monetary Fund, the market capitalization of 16 Arab bourses was valued at $862 billion on March 4, compared with $1.002 billion on January 25, a day before the political crisis in Egypt triggered upheaval across the Middle East.

2011-04-19 The Reserve Currency and the S&P Warning by Team of GaveKal

Back in May 2009, S&P placed its AAA rating for the UK on negative watch for a possible downgrade, in effect putting the UK government on notice that its proposed policy path was unsustainable. Then in October 2010, after the UK took aggressive deficit-slashing measures, S&P revised the UK outlook from negative to stable and maintained the country?s AAA rating (see p. 2). Yesterday, S&P similarly placed the US government on notice with the same warning and equal odds (one in three) of a downgrade, even if this downgrade is unlikely to be realized until after the 2012 election.

2011-04-18 Approaching the Eraser by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market conditions in stocks continue to be characterized by a hostile syndrome of overvaluation, overbought conditions, overbullish sentiment, and rising interest rates, which has historically been associated with a poor return/risk profile, on average, across a wide variety of subsets of historical data. Though I question the ability of the economy to "pass the baton" to the private sector as government stimulus effects run off in the coming 8-10 weeks, I should emphasize up front that our present defensive position is not driven by those economic concerns.

2011-04-16 Inside Information by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Earnings season gives an 'insider' look at economic growth. Businesses see and react to changes in the economy before the broader macro data show a clear trend. The Fed has floated some trial balloons about reining in its extremely accommodative policies, the time for which is overdue. Budget issues remain a problem at all levels of government, but likely wont derail the recovery at this time. Despite ongoing debt problems in peripheral European nations, the ECB hiked interest rates. Europe still faces significant issues that make it more likely to underperform other areas of the world.

2011-04-15 Will Precious Metals Survive the Double Dip? by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

It is rare for precious metals to appreciate in parallel with the broader stock market. Yet, this has been the case in the two years since the stock market began coming back from the 2008 financial crisis. Although metals have outperformed US equities over that time frame, it is noteworthy that stocks have gone up at all. Since January 2, 2009, the S&P is up about 50%. While gold is up 68% and silver is up a staggering 267%. With rising interest rates, oil at over $100 a barrel, and the recovery running out of steam, many investors are wisely asking if the markets are set for a sharp pullback

2011-04-14 U.S. Dollar ? Review and Outlook by Axel Merk and Kieran Osborne of Merk Funds

We believe that continued U.S. dollar weakness may be a consequence of the diverging monetary approaches central banks are taking around the globe. While many international central banks have been on a tightening path, raising rates (i.e. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Norway, Sweden, to name a few), the U.S. Federal Reserve has been conspicuous in its continued easing monetary policy stance. Indeed, while other central banks have been shrinking the size of their balance sheets, the U.S. Fed?s balance sheet continues to expand on the back of ongoing quantitative easing policies.

2011-04-12 A Top Value Manager Looks Outside the US by Robert Huebscher (Article)

David Winters, manager of the Wintergreen Fund, began his career working for Max Heine, where Seth Klarman and Michael Price also worked. In this interview, Winter discusses the why he believes many of today's best opportunities are outside the US and how he is hedging against the threat of inflation.

2011-04-12 Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Michael Lewitt (Article)

"The budget crisis is a crisis of leadership," writes Michael Lewitt in the latest issue of the HCM Market letter. "There is no intellectual mystery involved in cutting the budget - entitlement spending must be reduced through the adoption of tighter eligibility standards... The markets will also have to evaluate whether Congress and the Obama administration can make any meaningful progress on budget reform, which will mean tackling the entitlement issue. The failure to rein in federal deficits remains a profound threat to the dollar and interest rates."

2011-04-12 The Return of the Carry Trade?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

There may be an increase in the carry trade in both dollars and yen, but I dont think this is the main factor behind the rise in commodity prices and demand for risk assets. Bank policies matter a lot for currencies. However, the U.S. is not going to raise rates anytime soon, implying a somewhat softer dollar. Youre hearing inflation concerns among some of the district bank presidents, but that is a minority view. The Fed sees higher oil prices as bad for growth, not a catalyst for a higher trend in underlying inflation; but officials will be watching the trend in core inflation, and wages.

2011-04-08 Important Recent Developments by Louis-Vincent Gave of GaveKal

It seems obvious to us that we are approaching a tipping point. The rise in commodity prices and risk assets does not seem to be compatible. Neither does the rise in commodity prices, equity prices, and inflation expectations and overly easy central banks. The recent surge in certain currencies to two standard deviations above their purchasing parities should also have economic consequences. So the situation does not seem stable from a bottom-up perspective. And from a top down perspective, it seems obvious that the recent period of exceptionally easy fiscal policies should come to an end.

2011-04-06 Sell in April and Go Away? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Heading into April 2011, we thought it timely to hoist up for consideration a point in stock market lore that says sell in May and go away. According to the Stock Traders Almanac, the market has been strongest over the years from November 1 to April 30. That stretch of time has seen average returns of 9.2 percent from the Dow Jones Industrial Index since 1950 compared to an average loss of 1.2 percent from May through October. By this standard, the current surge in the markets that took off at the beginning of September 2010 is a good bit ahead of schedule.

2011-04-05 A Trading System that Disproves Efficient Markets by Erik McCurdy (Article)

Efficient market adherents claim it is impossible to outperform the stock market over the long term. Although their principles are the foundation of modern investment theory, other compelling models, including the one I propose here, reveal that precisely the opposite is true, supporting the thesis that markets are highly inefficient.

2011-04-05 Inflation Worries? Commodities May Help by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

Many of you may remember the movie This classic shed some interesting light on  the world of commodities. Commodities include natural resources, industrial metals, precious metals, and agricultural products. Or, as Duke explained to Billy Ray Valentine, "Commodities are agricultural products...like the coffee you had for breakfast...wheat, which is used to make bread...pork bellies, which are used to make bacon, which you might find in a BLT sandwich. And then there are other commodities, like frozen orange juice...and gold. Though, of course, gold doesn't grow on trees like oranges."

2011-04-05 Does a Weak Dollar Cause Inflation? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Should investors be concerned that a weaker U.S. dollar causes inflation? The price at the gas pump should be a stark reminder that a weaker dollar may contribute to higher prices. Yet, economists tell us that food and energy inflation does not count. Why do economists have such a baffling sense of logic? Are economists really aliens in disguise, locked up in ivory towers? Let?s shed some light on the logic and why it may not merely be strange, but wrong.

2011-04-04 Will the Real Phillips Curve Please Stand Up? by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Much of the intellectual basis for the Federal Reserve's dual mandate "to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates" is based on the Phillips Curve. The curve, named after economist A.W. Phillips, is understood as a "tradeoff" between inflation and unemployment. The idea is so engrained in the minds of economists that it is taken as fact. High unemployment, is associated with low inflation risk, and in that environment, policy makers can pursue measures targeted at increasing employment, without consequences for inflation.

2011-04-02 Above the Fray by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Attacks on Libya and recovery efforts in Japan have dominated the headlines, but behind the scenes US economic growth remains solid and we remain optimistic on the stock market. Commodity prices have backed off a bit and the Fed is likely to see QE2 through to its June 2011 end. Of particular concern is the unwillingness or inability for Congress to agree on a budget that addresses the growing deficit issues in the US. Japan has a significant debt burden with which to deal as it rebuilds, while Europe is struggling to come up with a comprehensive plan to deal with the eurozone debt crisis.

2011-03-30 Andrew Balls Discusses PIMCO?s European Cyclical Outlook by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

Europe?s outlook hinges on limiting contagion from the most troubled peripheral countries. The European Central Bank has signaled its intentions to start tightening, which could complicate the outlook for the more distressed countries. We think the Bank of England will begin to tighten rates over the summer. The UK outlook depends on the impact of fiscal tightening.

2011-03-29 The Inflation Knuckleball by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

For the past 40 years or so, every country on the planet has relied on fiat money. To a very large extent, this means that the national economies are far more exposed to the whims of their central bankers than they have been in the past. So, if central bankers go off their meds, the danger to the currency becomes profound. Unfortunately, at America's Federal Reserve, it seems the inmates are now running the asylum.

2011-03-28 The Profit Boom is Over by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

A seven-quarter run of positive profit growth ? six were double-digits ? came to an end in the fourth quarter as pre-tax corporate profits in the U.S.A. sagged at a 10% annual rate (looking at corporate earnings before tax without inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments). That was the first decline since the fourth quarter of 2008. The YoY growth rate is still healthy at +16% but off the boil, that is for sure.

2011-03-25 Bullish Sentiment Entrenched by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

A mini corrective phase in the equity market came and went. Investors have been groomed to buy the dip this cycle, and this is not just a mere observation. The flare-up in the Middle East, the tragic nuclear disaster in Japan, and not even a recent slate of poor U.S. economic data have put much of a dent in what is still an extremely positive sentiment readings. Bob Farrell?s Rule 9 seems to be facing a stiff headwind from the Fed?s overt policy stance on lifting valuation levels for risk assets. The bulls are fully in control and can now see new highs in sight for the major averages.

2011-03-25 Unrest and Turmoil = Rising Oil Prices by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Nine of the eleven nations sharing land or water borders with Saudi Arabia (SA0 have had demonstrations. Trouble is likely to surface in SA because much of the country?s wealth is located under lands where Shia Muslims are in the majority. The ruling House of Saud is Sunni Muslim. The distrust and bad blood between the two sects predates oil discovery and is not likely to be solved with oil money. The political events are about freedom from repression but also represent a basic struggle between these two Muslim groups for control of revenues from the huge oil fields in that part of the world.

2011-03-25 Quantitative Easing: How the Rest of the World Reacts by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

The decision was made to implement new purchases of $600 billion in U.S. Treasurys by June 2011. The transactions would expand the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve to about $2.9 trillion, a multiple of the $800 billion dollar level it was at in September 2008. This paper examines how the countries which have been recipients of the newly created liquidity have responded to the Feds move. While the Fed explained that its purchase of securities was intended to make riskier assets, the excess liquidity also made its way to foreign countries to take advantage of attractive interest rates.

2011-03-23 In Search of Value by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Within the space we do favour large-caps, strong balance sheets, high-quality, low P/E stocks, and commodities, especially energy. But among all the worries, we still see this as an overvalued market and we believe in buying low and selling high. We know that many pundits like to use short-term market measures of valuation using year-ahead or trailing earnings or cash flow, which at times seems a little disingenuous for an asset class that is inherently long-term in duration. Be that as it may, perhaps we can shed some light on why patience may still be virtuous here.

2011-03-23 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook: U.S. Economy, Global by Saumil H. Parikh of PIMCO

PIMCO continues to foresee a multi-speed global recovery over the next few years. The U.S. is experiencing a cyclical economic rebound, but its strong durability is uncertain. Several countries in Europe face headwinds to growth over our cyclical horizon. Japan?s growth rate will likely fall in the near term, but reconstruction activities should stimulate growth over time. We expect real economic growth in key emerging economies to remain at a solid rate during 2011, but lower than 2010.

2011-03-21 The Treasury Auction Shell Game by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Very few people have the time to sift through the data released by the Treasury Department in the wake of its bond auctions. But the numbers do provide direct evidence of the country?s current financial condition that in many ways mirror a financial shell game that typifies our entire economy. Despite continued deterioration of America?s fiscal health, the Treasury is still attracting buyers of its debt. Market watchers take these successful auctions as proof that our current monetary and fiscal stimulus efforts are prudent. But who?s doing the buying, and what do they do with the bonds?

2011-03-19 The End of QE2? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The Fed committed to buying $600 billion of Treasuries between the beginning of QE2 in November and the end of June. June is 3 months away. What will happen when that buying goes away? The hope when QE2 kicked off was that it would be enough to get the economy rolling, so that further stimulus would not be deemed necessary. We?ll survey how that is working out, with a quick look at some recent data, and then we go back and see what happened the last time the Fed stopped quantitative easing.

2011-03-15 Running on Empty by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Despite the increasing undercurrent of negative news creeping into the financial markets, the stock market remains strong. HCM expects equities to continue to perform well for the foreseeable future (i.e. through the end of June) although most of this letter will discuss the reasons why it shouldn't. In some ways, this market is a lot like Charlie Sheen. It pretends to have tiger blood and the powers of a warlock, but deep inside it is suffering from an addiction to a substance (i.e. debt) that will ultimately kill it.

2011-03-12 Volatility on the Rise by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Geopolitical unrest and rising inflation concerns have conspired to increase market volatility. We remain bullish on US stocks and believe that this recent increase in consternation will ultimately be healthy for stocks. The US government keeps kicking the debt can down the road, while the Fed seems unconcerned about inflation and is intent on completing QE2. We believe changes are needed at both entities to foster sustainable economic growth. The European debt crisis is bubbling up again, while the ECB is talking interest-rate hikes. Future growth depends on the path of both issues.

2011-03-11 Americas: Economic Review February 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Rising energy prices, due to the political upheavals in the Middle East, are becoming the primary economic risk for the Americas region. While the subdued inflationary trends will provide banks leeway to hold interest rates, they may be forced to advance their rate hikes if prices rise at a faster rate. In contrast, several of the emerging economies are expected to slow down this year. These economies may see interest rates rising faster, which may slow their pace of expansion even more. Also, higher interest rates will likely keep their currencies stronger and may restrict export growth.

2011-03-11 Asia Pacific: Economic Review February 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Asian economies recorded some of their best performance for the full year 2010. In particular, Southeast Asian nations witnessed a banner year, clocking their best performance in recent memory. However, although the full year record was exemplary, growth in the final months of 2010 began to cool off. While a rising currency continued to trouble export-based economies, inflation haunted almost all central banks in the region. Central banks, having to choose between raising interest rates and attracting foreign capital, opted to hike rates.

2011-03-07 A Little Understanding Goes a Long Way by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

As the world confronts one of the most critical periods of economic upheaval that it has ever seen, it is clear that our most influential economic stewards have absolutely no idea what they are doing. But, like kids with a new chemistry set, they are nevertheless unwilling to let that stand in the way of their experimental fun. As they pour an ever-growing number of volatile ingredients into their test tubes, we can either hope that they magically stumble on the secret formula to cure the world?s ills, or more pragmatically, we can try to prepare for the explosion that is likely to result.

2011-03-07 Investment Commentary by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

A tug of war is taking place in the markets, with crosscurrents of good economic reports on the positive side and a continued rise in oil prices from the conflicts in the Middle East on the negative side. Last week, US equities were up modestly, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 0.33% to 12,169, the Nasdaq Composite advancing 0.13% to 2,784 and the S&P 500 adding 0.10% to close at 1,321.

2011-03-04 The Job Market, Oil Prices, and the Fed by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Higher oil prices have raised new concerns about the strength of the economic recovery. If sustained, the rise in gasoline prices will restrain the pace of economic growth noticeably, but does not appear to be large enough (so far) to derail the expansion. Meanwhile, a federal government shutdown looms as lawmakers bicker over the future path of expenditures. Austerity at all levels of government is well-intentioned, but is not advisable at this point in the economic recovery.

2011-03-03 What Happens If There is No QE3? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

?who picks up the slack if the Fed stops its bond-buying program?? The answer is hardly complicated since we have a template for this. It is a very simple guidepost. Last year, from April 23rd through to August 27th, the Fed allowed its balance sheet to shrink from $1.207 trillion to $1.057 trillion for a 12% contraction as QE1 drew to a close. Go back a year to the Federal Open Market Committee minutes and you will see a Federal Reserve consumed with forecasts of sustainable growth and exit strategy plans. A sizeable equity correction coupled with double-dip fears were nowhere to be found.

2011-03-03 Multi-Asset Real Return: Assessing & Exploiting Price Pressures in their Many Forms by Kevin Kearns, Laura Sarlo and James Balfour of Loomis Sayles

An asset manager?s challenge is to preserve and grow the purchasing power of investors? portfolios under a variety of economic conditions. Understanding the breadth of global inflationary or deflationary trends that can occur, and the ways different assets might perform in these environments, is critical to this objective. Based on our research, we have determined that no single asset class can protect investors from inflation. On the contrary, we believe the flexibility and diversification offered by a multi-asset-class strategy is necessary to help weather changing inflation regimes.

2011-03-01 Disasters Rocking U.S. Dollar? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

From earthquakes in New Zealand to revolutions in the Middle East, natural and man-made disasters are rocking the world. We are all too often made to believe that in times of crisis there?s a flight to the U.S. dollar. However, the U.S. dollar has instead had a rocky ride of its own thus allowing the crisis-ridden Eurozone to shine. What?s going on? Is there no crisis, or has the U.S. dollar lost its appeal as a safe haven?

2011-03-01 The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The good: The manufacturing data in the U.S. continues to improve, at least within the confines of the major diffusion indices. The bad: The U.S. income and spending numbers were hardly stellar. It remains to be seen how much of the weakness was weather-related, but consumer spending dipped 0.1% in January ? the first decline since Apr 2010. The fact is that consumers kept a lid on their spending even with the fiscal windfall in Jan, pushing the savings rate up to a four-month high of 5.8% from 5.4% in both Nov and Dec. The ugly: The housing sector remains in the dumpster.

2011-03-01 The Absolute Return Letter by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Two remarkable events unfolded during the month of February. One cleared the front pages all over the world. The other one barely got a mention - outside of its home country that is. Both have the ability to derail the economic recovery currently unfolding. The first one is not surprisingly the uprising in the Middle East and North Africa. The other one is perhaps less obvious; we are referring to the Irish elections. We take a closer look at both of those events and what the implications may be for financial markets.

2011-02-28 Morgan Opens Gold Window by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Earlier this month, J.P. Morgan made an important announcement: the bank would now accept gold as collateral for loans. The move appears to have been well-timed, the price of gold and silver climbed steeply, based largely on political turmoil in the Middle East. But why should Morgan?s decision be of interest to anyone outside the bank? It can be argued that J.P. Morgan is the world?s premier major bank. As such, its decision to accept gold as collateral offers a rare glimpse into the very private financial decision-making of some of the largest and most sophisticated investors in the world.

2011-02-25 Inflation: Coming to a Store Near You by Jesper Madsen of Matthews Asia

During the past decade, consumers (and central bankers) in developed economies have grown accustomed to the cost benefits of outsourcing their manufacturing to Asia. This resulted in lower prices at the cash register, which in effect gave households in the U.S. greater purchasing power. The outsourced manufacturing model has historically hinged upon the availability of relatively cheap labor, undervalued currencies, access to preferential tax treatments and ongoing improvements in productivity. However, it has become apparent that this model may be under some strain.

2011-02-24 Will the Oil Price Be a Game Changer? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

First Tunisia. Then Egypt. And now Libya. What makes Libya different from a market?s perspective is that we are now talking about an oil exporter in the sudden grips of political upheaval. In this domino game, the next critical country we have to keep an eye on is Bahrain. The risk of further unrest is rising, especially with sectarian issues in full force in Bahrain. This means that oil prices at a minimum will retain a geopolitical risk premium. Bottom line: there is still more near-term upside potential than downside risk for the oil price (and most energy stocks).

2011-02-24 Arab Autocracies and US Inflation by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

Civil revolt is currently spreading across the Arab world. What began in Tunisia has now metastasized into Bahrain, Egypt and Libya. Though two dictators have been ousted, the chances that these regimes will fundamentally transform from autocracy to a system of free markets and property rights are also up in the air. There are many unknowns, but what is known is that the turmoil has had an immediate and significant impact on the price of oil. It is also evident that global consumers continue to get pummeled by rising food and energy prices.

2011-02-21 Inflation or Deflation? Or is it Global Weimar? by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst

As we've noted in recent missives for The IRA Advisory Service, the visible volume of business flowing through the bank consumer channel seems to be receding or maintaining low levels. The commercial channel at most banks we hear from is still running at 1/3 to 1/2 of pre-2008 levels in terms of new originations and demand for credit. This is why when clients ask us about whether we worry more about inflation or deflation, our answer is "both." The chief worry bead remains revenue flowing through banks, housing and the US economy.

2011-02-20 December 2010 Semi-Annual Report by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

For the third time in a decade, the Federal Reserve has embarked on a policy that addresses structural economic problems by provoking speculation in asset prices. The first two attempts were ultimately followed by stock market declines greater than 50% each. As we enter 2011, the stock market remains in what we view as an already strenuously overvalued advance, which has driven our estimates for S&P 500 Index total returns to less than 3.2% annually over the coming decade. My expectation is that this attempt to create ?illusory prosperity? will end no better than it has in the past.

2011-02-16 Inflation Anxiety ? Misplaced? by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Commodity prices have moved sharply higher over the last several months, leading to increased worries that the Fed is ?behind the curve,? ?debasing the currency,? or ?monetizing the debt.? Such fears are based on a poor understanding of the inflation process and how the Fed conducts monetary policy.

2011-02-16 Politics of Inflation by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

In arguing food inflation is not the Federal Reserve?s (Fed?s) fault, Fed Chairman Bernanke points the finger at everyone but him. Just as with a lot of Bernanke?s policies, his argument may hold in an academic setting, but the real world is a bit more complicated.

2011-02-10 The Two Faces of Ben Bernanke by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

When the rest of the world no longer links their currencies to ours, the Fed will truly not have to worry about fueling global inflation. Instead, all of its inflation will burn through our banks accounts right here at home. And that blaze, so concentrated, will burn a lot hotter than the fires we see abroad.

2011-02-10 Inflation: Say Goodbye to Buying Power by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Economy watchers see its growing presence in official government statistics. Yet you won?t hear government officials admitting it. It?s too politically unpleasant ? and threatening ? to do so. Official spin and fantasy aside, the reality is that inflation is here and here to stay for quite a while. That means the buying power of the dollar is declining and being experienced on a daily basis.

2011-02-04 The Cause and Evidence of Inflation by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

The fate of the US dollar in the future may not be all that different from the fate of Enron shares in 2001. In the 1990s, Enron was one of the most respected corporations in America, and the share price soared. But once the accounting scandal broke, and Enron?s profits were proven to be illusory, the purchasing power of its shares plummeted. Eventually, the shares became worthless.

2011-02-03 Regime Change: A Global Domino Effect? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

We are bullish for commodities, stock markets, and for income-earning real estate. It will be most felt in those countries where governments are stable and democratic. For stock investments throughout the world, we base our recommendations on careful study of individual companies and industries, always keeping in mind that companies and sectors are at differing stages of growth. We recommend continuing to hold shares of growing companies in Canada, South Korea, and the U.S. We favor technology, metals, auto and auto-related, agriculture-related, and energy, including oil and coal.

2011-02-03 Q4 2010 Market Commentary by Alan T. Beimfohr and John G. Prichard of Knightsbridge Asset Management

All in all, it should be a year of recovery, both economically and for the equities markets. The market undoubtedly will once again climb the proverbial wall-of-worry with negatives and risks including: Unresolved euro currency issues, government debt growth, federal and municipal, and municipal solvency issues. We also believe that consensus 2011 real GDP growth, currently expected to be about 3.5%, a number that has moved up in the past few months, is supportive of a 16-multiple for the market as seen to the left. Therefore we must believe P/E?s are going higher rather than lower.

2011-02-03 Feb 2011 Absolute Return Letter by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

We celebrate the Chinese New Year - the year of the rabbit - by taking a closer look at what is now the second largest economy in the world. We embrace the longer-term opportunities which present themselves, but we also discuss some of the near term challenges, which include uncomfortably high inflation combined with surprisingly weak economic growth towards the end of 2010. Enjoy the read!

2011-02-03 Reagan for President...of China! by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

China needs to re-balance its economy to tame inflationary pressures. To achieve this, portfolio manager Axel Merk provocatively suggests Ronald Reagan needs to become the president of China. This analysis discusses the Chinese renminbi.

2011-02-02 Devil?s Bargain by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Money has become the economic and political wedge for profound changes in American society. Perhaps the most deceptive policy tool to lessen debt loads is the ?negative? or exceedingly low real interest rate that central banks impose on savers and debt holders. Old-fashioned gilts and Treasury bonds may need to be ?exorcised? from model portfolios and replaced with more attractive alternatives both from a risk and a reward standpoint.

2011-02-01 The Inflation the Fed Fears Most by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The term inflation is widely used but generally misunderstood. Economists, politicians and the general public understand it to mean one thing. Inflation, however, has a very different meaning to our central bank, as I will explain.

2011-01-26 Pavlov?s Bulls by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

About 100 years ago, the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov noticed that when the feeding bell was rung, his dogs would salivate before they saw the actual food. They had been ?conditioned.? And so it was with ?The Great Stimulus? of 2008-09.

2011-01-24 The Great Debt Shift by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

If one were asked to describe the major global economic changes that have unfolded since the financial crisis began, a good starting place would be the massive shift of debt from the private to the public sector. Attempting to arrest a deepening crisis, governments all around the world have bailed out businesses and companies by transferring bad debts to the public books. Although these moves have provided some current stability (after all, governments are much less likely to default), the long-term consequences may be dire.

2011-01-21 Pricey Eats by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

From all accounts it appears that the world is in the early stages of a major leg up in food prices. The major macroeconomic trend will likely drive economic policy and the investment outlook for years to come. Although mainstream pundits like to focus on cyclical drivers like the weather, the real force behind the move is secular. The U.S. is leading the world in a pandemic of monetary inflation that is helping to cause commodity prices, food in particular, to skyrocket across the globe.

2011-01-20 Addressing Concerns about a Two-Track World by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

I recently had a conference call with our investors around the world. Depending on where they were from, some of them were concerned about inflation while others were worried about sovereign debt problems. Here are a few topics that we discussed.

2011-01-18 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A number of readers respond to Nancy Opiela's article, Tactical Asset Allocation and Market Timing: What's the Difference?, and one reader responds to Michael Lewitt's article, The Wages of Growth. Both articles appeared last week.

2011-01-18 A Market Story by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia

It is not the headline rates of growth in Asia that excite me?it?s the profit-making opportunities within those economies that are necessary to sustain reasonable rates of growth and support the changing lifestyles of Asian households. And that, I hope, is a sentiment with which both the old and the reformed Scrooge might embrace.

2011-01-18 China and the Dollar by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The US should not take this week?s visit as an opportunity to lecture the Chinese about the yuan. If we do, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke may find himself on the receiving end of a lecture about the importance of price stability and how to run a central bank. And he would deserve it.

2011-01-18 Headwinds Ahead by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

It is difficult to understand why it is that everyone is so whipped up about U.S. growth prospects. Even the latest set of data points has been less than exciting. Retail sales, payrolls, and consumer confidence have all been below expected and all of a sudden we see that jobless claims are moving back up. We have federal fiscal support, which at the margin is subsiding. And we have massive monetary support, and on this the Fed is going to be facing much more intense congressional scrutiny going forward. At the same time, about half of last year?s GDP growth was inventory accumulation.

2011-01-18 Bubble-Liscious by Cliff W. Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

In the world of investing there is no substitute for taking action. Therefore, as your advisor, I seek to understand our bias and attempt to make rational and prudent decisions. Savvy investors understand the risks inherent in their assumptions and adopt a more businesslike approach to investing by reducing and hedging risk. Investors are typically surprised when facing a loss, and the psychological power of losses far outweighs the power of gains. Therefore remember the critical rule of compounding: Don?t lose money

2011-01-11 The Two Elephants Facing the US Economy by Michael Lewitt (Article)

The consensus has reached the conclusion that financial markets will enjoy a strong start to 2011. This is reason enough to approach the markets with caution as the year begins. When everybody is leaning to one side of the boat, the vessel is far more likely to tip over, particularly if it hits an unexpected wave.

2011-01-11 Inflation a Growing Concern for Emerging Market Countries by Team of American Century Investments

As a group, emerging market countries have rebounded from the Great Recession in much better shape than developed economies. And driven by higher commodity prices, robust domestic consumption, and a growing middle class with buying power, the emerging market asset class appears poised for more growth heading into 2011. While investors have been focusing on the European debt crisis, however, many emerging market economies have been getting a little overheated from the rapid pace of growth, and inflationary fears are quietly becoming a daily reality.

2011-01-10 Global Instability by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

With inflation in China over 5%, Chinese policymakers are going to spend 2011 in restraint mode. Count on it. We are in the throes of a global currency war and late last week we saw Brazil move aggressively to rein in the real?s strength by imposing reserve requirements on domestic banks? foreign exchange positions. We have food prices surging and this is very likely going to cause social strife in the emerging market world - India, China and Indonesia come to mind. The Eurozone sovereign debt situation is looking increasingly tenuous.

2011-01-10 Q4 Bond Market Review and Outlook by Teri L. Mason of Loomis Sayles

The US economic picture brightened as policymakers announced additional steps to stimulate the economy. Bond yields rose, causing many sectors of the bond market to lose ground in the final quarter of 2010, though high yield bonds, selected currencies and equity markets roared ahead.

2011-01-10 The Key Asset Classes For 2011 Will Be: Oil, Gold, And Stocks by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Investors are moving from bonds to stocks and the huge cash balances at money market funds will likely find their way into stock and commodity markets in 2011. This means inflation and commodities prices are likely to rise faster than wages, and those living on fixed incomes or bond interest will be affected the most, due to the fact that their money buys them less of everything; both luxuries and necessities. However, the ramifications of this inflationary trend are also serious for wage-earners. In every inflationary period in recorded history, wages have risen more slowly than inflation.

2011-01-08 Forecast 2011: Better than Muddle Through by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Mauldin reviews his prior-year forecast. He was right on currencies and gold, but missed the bull market in equities. For 2011, he likes gold relative to the euro, pound and yen, but is less bearish on the pound than he was a year ago. He fears the Kamchatka volcanoes (in Russia) will trigger a spate of bad wealth which will lead to scarce resources and inflation. He is optimistic about the job market and employment, and forecasts that the US economy will grow 2.5-3% in 2011. He fears, however ,that structural problems in the work force will leave many untrained for employment.

2011-01-06 2011: Year of the Yellow Brick Road by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

As far as gold is concerned, the continued concerns over sovereign solvency - not the eurozone in particular, but globally, combined with the U.S drive to achieve growth at any cost, make the yellow metal worth considering. What's in your vault? Is your yellow brick road made of dreams or gold? Just because policy makers are dreaming, doesn't mean investors need to.

2011-01-05 11 Wishes for a Better 2011 by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

The beginning of a new year is a time to make resolutions. It is also a good time to set out ones wishes regardless of whether they can be actually achieved during the following months. In that spirit, here are my top wishes for the U.S. and global economy during 2011. Achievement of even a few of them would help bring about sustainable economic growth as well as reduce the level of risk in the financial system.

2011-01-05 Things Are Looking Up in LatAm by Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics

In our 2011 Outlook, we revised up our growth forecasts for Latin America, in anticipation of resilient domestic demand, improved external conditions and elevated commodity prices. We now envision annual growth rates of 4.7% in 2011 (compared to the forecast of 4.1% we set in September) and 6.1% in 2010 from 5.7% previously. If we are correct, 2010 will mark Latin America?s strongest economic performance of the last decade and its fastest growth since 1980.

2011-01-05 Off With Our Heads! by Bill Gross of PIMCO

American politicians and citizens alike have no clear vision of the costs of a seemingly perpetual trillion-dollar annual deficit. Meanwhile, policy stimulus is focused on maintaining current consumption as opposed to making the United States more competitive in the global marketplace. Dollar depreciation will sap the purchasing power of U.S. consumers, as well as the global valuation of dollar denominated assets.

2011-01-05 What The Bulls May Be Ignoring ... At Their Peril ... Plus Some Ideas For 2011 by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The bullish case is pretty well established right now and there is no sense repeating them but what may be ignored are these half-dozen. Nothing of course says that the market can?t keep going up over the near-term. risks, I list. Just as the onus was on the double-dippers last summer given the sentiment and market action, the onus now is clearly on the V-shaped enthusiasts.

2011-01-04 The 2011 Economic Outlook ? Credit Given Where Credit Is Due by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

With regard to 2011 real GDP growth, we now expect Q4/Q4 growth of 3.3% vs. 3.0%. An upward revision of 2011 Q4/Q4 real consumption growth to 2.9% from 2.5% in November is the primary factor accounting for the upward revision to the real GDP growth forecast. We are more optimistic about 2011 real GDP growth primarily because QE2 implies that the Fed will be purchasing all of the additional Treasury debt issued in conjunction with the Obama-McConnell tax and unemployment insurance compromise. We currently see more upside risk to our 2011 real GDP growth forecast than downside risk.

2011-01-03 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The stock market has begun the New Year with a growing consensus that the economy is improving. Even the banks are starting to show some signs of life and they have become the most hated group as well as the most dependent upon an upturn in the economy and employment. Having said this, the market, while off to a fast start this morning, has been discounting this improving news (as well as the presumptive upcoming deadlock emerging from Washington DC). Thus the sentiment towards stocks has improved to pretty high levels and this concerns many of those who are contrary in their trading.

2010-12-31 2011: A Look Ahead by Bob Doll of BlackRock

As a way of discussing our economic and market views for the coming year, we present our 10 predictions for 2011: 1. US growth accelerates as US real GDP reaches a new all-time high. 2. The US economy creates two to three million jobs in 2011 as the unemployment rate falls to 9%. 3. US stocks experience a third year of double-digit percentage returns for the first time in more than a decade as earnings reach a new all-time high. 4. Stocks outperform bonds and cash. 5. The US stock market outperforms the MSCI World Index.

2010-12-29 2011 Here We Come! by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

There are two major trends in place that set the stage for world economics in 2011. The first is China?s continued rise. Although the U.S. remains the most powerful economic force on earth, China will soon be replacing Europe as the second most powerful economic force. China?s power is not built on sheer size alone: indeed, China?s statesman-like behavior during the current economic crisis in U.S. and Europe has highlighted its maturity and greatly enhanced its image. The second major trend going into 2011 is the rise of inflation.

2010-12-28 Emerging Markets in 2011 ? Strong Economies, Rising Prices by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

I believe emerging markets are now in a secular bull market, and as discussed below, I expect this trend to continue into 2011. Even more money is likely to be directed into these markets as investors around the world realize that emerging economies on average are growing three times faster than developed economies, and generally have more foreign reserves and lower debt-to-GDP ratios than their developed counterparts.

2010-12-25 The Skinny On Thursday?s Data Flow by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

We got a flurry of U.S. data releases on 12/24 that, at the margin, added some comfort for the growth bulls. Initial jobless claims came in roughly as expected at 420k on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week of December 18, down 3k from the prior week. The 4-week moving average is at 426k and this time last year it was sitting at 479k, so the pace of firings has clearly receded sharply. The issue at this time is really one of hiring and going beyond part-time help.

2010-12-23 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Investors should continue to hold gold for long-term investment. Food and food-related shares remain a favorite of ours and we believe that oil-related investments have promise. For long-term investment, we do not like the U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, British pound, or the Euro. As we mentioned in our September 14th letter, we like the Singapore, Thai, Canadian, Swiss, Brazilian, Chinese, and Australian currencies. In summary, investors should continue to hold shares of growing companies in India, China, and Colombia. We believe U.S. stocks can rally further.

2010-12-22 The Waves of 2011 by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

2011 likely will open with a deepening recession, increasing austerity, and falling asset prices. If this is met by a new round of inflation creation and yuan revaluation, then investors should weigh whether to redeploy assets in anticipation of potential rising commodity prices. I expect these developments not to happen gradually, but to come in great waves. Smart investors will tie their fate to an investment vessel with a solid hull, because in these seas, even a hint of rot could tear a ship asunder.

2010-12-21 All That Glitters by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

I have ave no doubt: gold is the ideal investment. It serves as a reliable store of value, especially in challenging and uncertain times. It?s a hedge against inflation, since its price rises in sympathy with the general level of prices. It exists without the involvement of man-made constructs such as governments. And it?s desired and accepted all around the world (and always has been.) The supply of gold is finite. It can?t be created out of thin air. Thus it?s not subject to dilution or debasement, as is paper currency when governments decide to print more.

2010-12-17 Capital Markets Brace for Exciting 2011 by Andreas Utermann of RCM

Andreas Utermann, global chief investment officer at RCM, a company of Allianz Global Investors, highlights key themes likely to shape the direction of capital markets in the coming year and provides a brief outlook on how he expects major asset classes to perform.

2010-12-17 Whole Foods vs. Twinkies: 2011 Outlook by Jeffrey Bronchick of Reed, Conner & Birdwell

Our ?Outlook? usually falls back on a ?normalized? sense of equity returns in the mid- to high-single digits for the long run, from which we add to or subtract from factoring in current valuations in the portfolio and the market as a whole. We think between reasonable economic activity, operational competence and generally solid capital allocation strategies, we can expect the value of our holdings to appreciate at least in line with a normalized ?forecast,? and then we get our boost from purchasing this value and/or growth at 20% to 50% of our estimate of intrinsic value.

2010-12-15 Europe Remains a Clear Downside Risk by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Europe remains a clear downside risk for the global economic outlook with the problems spreading to Spain and Portugal. Contagion risks are being underestimated by Mr. Market who has been myopically focused on irresponsible fiscal expansion in the US and recent hopes that QE2 would morph into QE3. As some proof that the recent economic data flow are over-rated, and likely exaggerated by seasonal influences, the Fed barely raised its macro outlook and actually seemed to dampen its view of the housing sector.

2010-12-11 U.S. Tax Cuts Extended - This Is Bullish For Stocks by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The tax breaks will mean even more QE?and the bond market seems to agree with us. This weeks? poorly bid U.S. Treasury auctions says that while investors agree that tax breaks are good for encouraging economic growth, they also drive government deficits higher. Bond offerings from the U.S. Treasury are going to go up, and the Fed had better buy the Treasury?s bonds, because it is apparent investors don?t want them. QE is here to stay.

2010-12-08 Two Flawed Currencies by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Despite America?s economic problems, the US dollar has maintained its respected status the world over ? and has even managed to maintain value in comparison to other currencies. The dollar?s charmed life stands in strong contrast to the euro, which is currently suffering from its internal flaws and the Europeans' unfortunate recognition of reality.

2010-12-06 The Worst US Employment Report of the Year? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

This was arguably one of the worst employment reports of the year. It was fascinating to see what little negative market reaction there was to the data ? not just nonfarm payrolls but also the news that factory orders slipped 0.9% MoM in October, the steepest decline in five months. This is why everyone seems to believe the economy is improving and it?s so easy to do that when you simply ignore the bad data points! One of the key features of the payroll report was the continued retrenchment in the state/local government sector. This promises to be a major macro theme for 2011.

2010-12-06 Trade Wars by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Trade tensions seem to intensify daily, especially between the United States and China. Congress not too long ago upped the ante, labeling China a "currency manipulator." both the United States and China could get around immediate passions and politicking and find a basis for accommodation in their common, longer-term goals. In this regard, it is at least modestly encouraging that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has become involved in the China?U.S. currency dispute.

2010-12-06 Real Return Expectations by Michael Nairne (Article)

There is nothing more important to long-term investors than the real rate-of-return that they can reasonably expect to earn on their investments. We forecast the expected real annual return for US stocks over the next 10 years and then set out ways to potentially improve on what many will find to be a discouragingly low expected return.

2010-12-04 Rebalancing the World by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

We are currently witnessing a largely one-way flow of capital, as money moves from countries of disinflation or deflation to countries with inflation, possibly perpetuating the situation for both. We need to see a rebalancing of the world economy. In recent history, financial authorities in the developed world have encouraged a period of easy credit and loose monetary policy, driving a debt-fuelled rise in consumption. There needs to be more ?balance? in the world economy, so high-savings countries should spend more and develop their own vibrant domestic market as we see in the U.S.

2010-12-03 Texas, Ireland and Ten Little Indians by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Mauldin contrasts the plights of Iceland and Ireland in dealing with excessive leverage. Iceland devalued its currency, while Ireland must accept a bailout package. Iceland's economy is recovering; Ireland's may take years. Mauldin compares the situation in Spain and Portugal to those two countries. The stronger EU countries must rescue the weak, just as Texas is being asked to rescue fiscally troubled states like California.

2010-12-01 The U.S. Dollar Is A Poor Alternative To The Euro by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

The U.S. dollar is poorly managed, Congress has already saddled the U.S. with enough debt to keep the dollar under pressure for years, and the Federal Reserve has made it clear that it is their intention to devalue the dollar. The U.S. sponsored a 2nd round of QE, which was implemented to improve exports, to stop a deflationary psychology from forming and to create enough inflation in the U.S. economy to inspire the populace to begin investing to stay ahead of inflation. When investors begin to focus upon these obvious points, the inflation benefitted investments will rocket ahead.

2010-12-01 Open and Shut by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

Today some assets are fairly priced and others are high, but there are no bargains like those of 2008. Capital and nerve can?t hold the answers in such an environment. We?re no longer in a high-return, low-risk market, especially in light of the inability to know how today?s many macro uncertainties will be resolved. Instead of capital and nerve, then, the indispensable elements are now risk control, selectivity, discernment, discipline and patience.

2010-11-30 Black Gold, Texas Tea by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The flow of money into gold-related funds is, at least in part, driven by good intentions - hedging against dollar debasement, inflation, and systemic risk. As investors drive the price of gold to record levels, though, they are overlooking an equally compelling commodity hedge, one that the Beverly Hillbillies once dubbed 'black gold, Texas tea' - oil, that is.

2010-11-30 Currency Focus: QE2 and the Course Ahead by Ugo Lancioni of Neuberger Berman

We believe the dollar is likely to move higher on an intermediate-term basis. QE2, in our opinion, could lead to stronger economic growth in the U.S. and eventually drivehigher yields, making the dollar more attractive to investors. In our view, the impact of QE2 was already in the price of the U.S. dollar at the time of the announcement. And the market is generally still shorting dollars.

2010-11-29 The Debt is Still Here by Eric S. Ende of First Pacific Advisors

In the world of investment management, results are typically measured each quarter. While markets sometimes experience a dramatic shift in the course of ninety days, usually the most important influences on the economy evolve more slowly. That is the situation today, where from our perspective, little about the investment backdrop has changed in 2010. This commentary summarizes our view of the current situation, the policy options available and likely outcomes.

2010-11-23 The Fed Under Attack by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Despite hopes that the anti-QE rhetoric would die down, the noise continued last week, and unfortunately, become more political. One of the key aspects of the Fed is its independence. The Fed is answerable to Congress, and ultimately, to the American people. However, it is not controlled by Congress - nor would we want it to be controlled by Congress. Attacks on the Fed and its latest round of asset purchases aren't helping

2010-11-23 They?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Jeffrey Saut analyzes the DJAI and continuously favors the upside. Thus, he states his longstanding strategy that a "profits boom" will give way to an inventory rebuild, and then a capital expenditure cycle followed by increased hiring, and then a pickup in consumption, remains "stirred," but not shaken. As for the strongest sectors, they remain Energy, Basic Materials, and Information Technology, while the best performing market capitalization class is the mid-caps.

2010-11-22 Reality Check by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The world's economic environment is extremely fragile. The growth bulls are underestimating the fact that the fiscal disarray at state and local governments is a major headwind for the U.S. economy --state and local governments are the second largest contributor to spending outside of the American consumer. There is still scant evidence of a vibrant organic recovery. At least initially, the reversal of all the risk-on trends in the markets suggests that the pullback that became apparent after the peak in April is likely to be sustained over the intermediate term.

2010-11-22 Does the Fed Create Money? by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

Certain deflationists have recently gone on record saying that the increase in the Fed?s balance sheet is meaningless with regard to creating inflation because our central bank can?t print money, it can only create bank reserves. The problem with their view is that it both disregards the definition of money and ignores the process of creating bank reserves.

2010-11-19 Gold Standard or Political Discipline? by Stan du Plessis and Andreas Freytag of VoxEU

President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, caused a stir this week by hinting at a need to return to the gold standard. While supporting the drive for pro-growth policies and the desire to maintain an open international trade system, this column argues that a return to gold would struggle to achieve this and could even be a destabilising force.

2010-11-18 Europe Will Be The Next Region to Create Liquidity for the World by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

The coming European bailout of Ireland and Portugal will have to include some method of quantitative easing (QE), or the printing of new money. The European Central bank will claim they are not using QE, but using newly created money must be a part of the plan. Often, when hiding their bond-buying, governments will use means to disguise their actions. Clearly, very few professional investors have an appetite for Portuguese or Irish bonds unless they are put under some political pressure, so the buyer of last resort will be the governments and European Central Bank.

2010-11-18 The Dollar Survives Again by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

As far as investors are concerned, the G-20 provided little new information, but confirmed the continuing drift. The international monetary system is still based upon the gravely flawed U.S. dollar. The Yuan will not be allowed to rise in the near term, the euro faces great political challenges, and the U.S. dollar seems continually to be devalued. Meantime, precious metals, key commodities, and hard currencies should continue to benefit.

2010-11-17 Gold's Allure Tied to Interest Rate by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

The continued bull market in the price of gold has been one of the staple discussions in the financial media for the better part of a decade. But, in that time, almost no consensus has emerged to explain the phenomenon. The truth is the main drivers for the price of gold are the level and direction of real interest rates and the intrinsic value of the dollar.

2010-11-15 Lighten Up, Francis by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

The increase in the deficit over the last couple of years is due largely to the recession and efforts to minimize the impact of the economic downturn. Quantitative easing isn?t some hair-brained scheme, but is simply another form of monetary policy accommodation. The dollar is down, but not out of line with its longer-term trend. Stop the hysterics, please.

2010-11-15 U.S. Consumer Confidence - Less than Meets the Eye by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

So, when you do the simple math, Joe Sixpack sees inflation at 3% in the coming year (from 1% now) and then averaging 2% in the next four years. Depending on how food and fuels play out, this could well be consistent with a zero or even sub-zero environment as far as core consumer price trends are concerned. This is why long Treasuries are likely to remain in a secular bull market for some time to come.

2010-11-15 Export Engines by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

President Obama has singled out exports as a preferred driver of the U.S. economy. He plans to double their size over the next five years. Since the president, apart from announcing this goal, has offered hardly any substantive policy for export promotion, the goal resembles a wish as much as anything else. Nonetheless, it is plausible. Dollar weakness, among other things, has already lifted American exports smartly during this cyclical recovery and likely will continue to do so for some time, even if Washington dithers.

2010-11-12 A Bad Plan Poorly Disguised by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

With our economy sagging and our international clout waning, one of the few assets upon which the US can rely is the confidence that the rest of the world has traditionally showered upon us. That confidence is the reason why the US dollar was elevated to global reserve status more than 65 years ago. With so much riding on perception, Tim Geithner?s recent statements denying the existence of a dollar debasement campaign could not be seen as anything less than foolhardy.

2010-11-12 Down the Home Stretch by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Economic data has shown signs of strengthening. We believe we could be emerging from the soft patch and that stronger-than-expected growth could be in the offing. The elections are done and the Federal Reserve made its move, but the question remains as to whether much-needed confidence returns to businesses. Additionally, housing remains a problem that may not be helped substantially by either event. Competitive currency devaluations are dominating the international conversation, while investors are flocking to emerging markets, making us a bit skittish in the near term.

2010-11-11 Global Markets Up, Up, Up and Away by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

The world markets moved like Superman last week. They lifted off and moved higher in a decisive manner. In the ongoing contest between bulls and bears, the bulls have had the upper hand in many markets. Wall Street also moved firmly into the bullish camp with U.S. stocks eclipsing their April 2010 peaks. To us this means that the technical short-sellers who had been bearish on U.S. stocks and expecting a correction bought back their short positions and took their losses.

2010-11-09 Serenity Now by Emilio Vargas (Article)

Hope has transformed into fear - not about making money but about the prospect of another bubble. The recent statements and actions of the Federal Reserve Bank may be laying the groundwork for the third massive asset mispricing in ten years.

2010-11-09 Everybody?s Happy!? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Over the decades I have come to trust my 'day count' indicator because it has worked so well. Since the late-June ?lows? there have been ten 90% Upside Days, accompanied by strong Advance-Decline readings, reflecting the durability of this rally. In fact, the New York Composite Advance-Decline Line is well above its April rally peak and Lowry?s Buying Power Index has risen to a new rally high, while the Selling Pressure Index tagged a new reaction low, late last week. All of this only reinforces my view that any correction will be shallow and brief.

2010-11-09 RCM's Global Strategic Outlook: Fourth Quarter 2010 by Andreas Utermann of RCM

Analyzing various leading indicators, there is hardly any hint of a recession. This is not to say that there is no risk of a recession happening. A continued weak labor market is weighing on household consumption in industrialized economies. The housing market in the U.S. is showing signs of weakness. There is a risk of a policy failure in emerging markets, especially of China overdoing policy tightening. Fiscal policy tightening in the West may actually turn out to be too strong. In sum, we think that structural headwinds and tailwinds could balance each other out.

2010-11-09 There Was a Fed Chairman Who Swallowed a Fly by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In reality, quantitative easing will produce the exact opposite of its intended result. In the short-run, it may create the illusion of economic growth and temporarily add some service sector jobs, but once the QE ends, the growth and jobs will vanish. Then, the Fed will most likely try once again to douse the fire it started with another round of QE gasoline, creating an even larger and less manageable inferno.

2010-11-09 An Inflationary Death Spiral by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

I have no doubt that Bernanke will be remarkably successful in his stated goal of driving inflation higher. I simply disagree with his nonchalance about the long-term consequences. There is currently no easy exit strategy for the Fed. There is only the prospect of Americans suffering through either a deflationary depression or hyperinflation.

2010-11-05 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Investors should keep gold for long-term investment, as well as oil-related holdings. The U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, British pound and the euro are poor long-term prospects. Investors should continue to hold shares of growing companies in India, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Colombia, Chile and Peru, as well as food-related shares such as grains, wheat, corn, soybeans and farm suppliers. Finally, investors should continue to hold U.S. stocks for a further rally.

2010-11-05 More on QE2 - Will it Work? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Quantitative easing is no antidote for structural economic problems, even if it manages to give investors a short-term sugar high. Let's learn from the Japanese QE experiment. The day the Bank of Japan launched the program on March 19, 2001, the Nikkei surged 7.5 percent, from 12,190 to 13,103. Three months later, as it became painfully obvious that the real economy was not responding well to the shock therapy, the Nikkei index slid 16 percent to just over 12,000.

2010-11-04 U.S. Challenges and Hope by Charles and Louis Vincent Gave, Anatole Kaletsky of GaveKal

Why, in spite of record profitability and very strong cash flows, are U.S. firms not hiring more? One very simple explanation is the dramatic drop in the value of the assets of U.S. corporations. The net worth of U.S. non-farm, non-financial corporations stood at $16 trillion in 2Q07. By the last quarter of 2009, this net worth had dropped to $12.3 trillion. Now that the net-worth of U.S. corporations is expanding again, however, U.S. unemployment could improve rapidly given supportive fiscal and regulatory policy.

2010-11-04 QE2 Is Likely to Be More Successful than QE1 by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

The theory behind quantitative easing is that an increase in the quantity of combined central and commercial bank credit will lead to an increase in nominal aggregate spending on goods, services and assets. Indeed, the correlation coefficient between percentage changes in the annual average of combined Federal Reserve and commercial banking system credit and the percentage changes in nominal U.S. GDP from 1960 through 2006 is relatively high, at 0.62. This correlation coefficient is reduced to 0.49, however, when the period is extended through 2009. Northern Trust explains why.

2010-11-01 Quantitative Easing Measures Likely to Help Economy by Bob Doll of BlackRock

For the past couple of years, deflationary pressures and deleveraging risks have been front and center in the debate over the future direction of economic growth, and as the pending arrival of additional easing measures shows, these forces are still highly present. The worst of the deleveraging situation is now in the past, however, and the future growth impact of deleveraging will be less than it was over the past two years. The falling dollar higher commodity prices and the addition of more quantitative easing should prime the pump for inflationary pressures to begin increasing.

2010-10-30 Schwab Market Perspective: So Now What? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

The Federal Reserve and upcoming elections are in sharp focus and results and actions in these two areas could determine whether the momentum seen since September can continue. Earnings season was better than expected and the market reacted as such. But confidence remains a major issue, with brewing mortgage-related problems and continued uncertainty around tax policy causing consternation. Debt remains a major issue that's just now being addressed and protectionism still threatens economic expansion. China remains a bright spot for global growth.

2010-10-29 Four Critical Investment Themes for the Next Decade by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Four investment themes will dominate market behavior over the next decade, according to Martin Murenbeeld, the chief economist at DundeeWealth Economics, a Canadian investment manager and financial advisor. Investors, he said, would be wise to overweight gold and other commodities.

2010-10-29 The One-Sided Compromise by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Last weekend at the meeting of G-20 finance ministers China agreed to 'look into' a revaluation of the yuan and the management of trade surpluses in return for accepting America's continued dollar debasement. They also agreed to an international self-policing regime to curb currency manipulation. Secretary Geithner?s 'victory' at the G-20, however, was a Pyrrhic one. China will now become the third-largest shareholder in the IMF, and developing economies will get a six percent larger voting share.

2010-10-28 Night of the Living Fed by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

This is a summary of Grantham Mayo Von Otterloo chairman Jeremy Grantham's 3Q 2010 newsletter. Grantham notes that in the third year of a presidential cycle, risky, highly volatile stocks have outperformed low-risk stocks by an average of 18 percent per year since 1964. Levels of 1400 or 1500 on the S&P 500 one year from now are about a 50/50 bet. The biggest threats to this possibility are that Congress will initiate a new trade war, or that the Federal Reserve will start a currency dispute with quantitative easing.

2010-10-28 What the G-20 Achieved by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

A key item on the agenda last weekend during the meeting of G-20 finance ministers was the U.S. desire to have member nations' current account deficits and surpluses limited to 4 percent of GDP. A country with a bigger surplus (e.g., China) would have to let its currency appreciate. The United States, however, cannot insist on deciding on the size of QE2 based purely on domestic considerations, accuse Chinese authorities of currency manipulation, and expect other countries to provide a level playing field for American exports all at the same time.

2010-10-27 Where Inflation is Higher than Interest Rates, Liquidity Will Flow by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Investors should continue to hold U.S. stocks for a further rally. Long-term U.S. liquidity formation through QE will create demand for many assets, including U.S. stocks. Short-term U.S. stock market indices are near resistance areas, and so traders can consider taking profits. Investors should also continue to hold gold for long-term investment, as well as oil, and food-related shares such as grains, wheat, corn, soybeans, and farm suppliers. The U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, British pound and the euro are all poor long-term prospects.

2010-10-26 Have the Financial Markets and the Real Economy Become Disconnected? by Team of American Century Investments

There are solid and logical reasons why equity markets have been up substantially since the start of the third quarter. The U.S. economy remains in a fragile situation and the global financial system is far from healthy. Nonetheless, progress is being made and, barring any new crises or setbacks, the case for the market's recent rise can be justified. What's different this time is that two sectors that have traditionally led economic recoveries in the U.S. - consumer spending and real estate - will remain on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.

2010-10-25 Market Rally Continues by Bob Doll of BlackRock

Over the long term, modest levels of growth should be enough to allow corporate earnings to continue to make gains and push markets higher. However, because stock markets have advanced so strongly over the past several weeks (at least in part over expectations of additional easing), we may be looking at a classic 'buy the rumor, sell the news' scenario that could cause a near-term setback at some point later this year. In any case, the economic, earnings and valuation backdrop makes for an attractive longer-term case for equities.

2010-10-22 Don't Fear the Euro by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

When the euro hit a low of $1.1917 against the US dollar on June 7th, 2010, the airwaves crackled with assertions that the European common currency, beset by Greek debt problems and intra-union discord, was destined to trade at parity with the greenback. They were wrong. Since then, the euro has risen over 17% against the dollar, hitting $1.3961 today. The current upswing, delivered courtesy of the Fed, has at least temporarily silenced the euro?s critics.

2010-10-21 Latest Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Investors should continue to hold U.S. stocks for a further rally. U.S. liquidity formation through QE will create demand for many assets, including U.S. stocks. Long-term Treasury bonds have also become less bearish. Another round of QE, as well as fear of another depression will create strong demand for bonds; it is thus too early to sell them short. Meanwhile, investors should short the Japanese yen. The Japanese have neither the resources nor the political willpower to fight protect their currency's value.

2010-10-21 'Unusual Uncertainty'... It's Certainly Unusual by Jason R. Graybill and Neil D. Klein of Carret Asset Management

In mid-July, Federal reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated there is 'unusual uncertainty' with regards to the nation's economic outlook. As interest rates trend higher over the coming years from record lows, the yield curve will flatten. And as the economy improves, spreads between higher-risk credits and Treasury bonds will narrow.

2010-10-19 Bernanke's Impossible Dilemma by Robert Huebscher (Article)

David Wessel, economics editor of the Wall Street Journal, examines the challenge Ben Bernanke faces. His goal is to provide full employment and price stability. Yet he faces a slowly growing economy, unemployment close to 10%, consumers deleveraging and spending frugally, renewed fears of banking system instability, and the threat of an asset bubble is growing somewhere in the markets. Monetary and fiscal policy options have been seemingly exhausted, and the public is losing confidence in all aspects of government.

2010-10-18 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Low yields, high corporate debt issuance, increased monetary stimulus and the rising dollar do not mean that growth will accelerate any time soon; the outlook of a slow and meandering recovery still holds. Corporations continue to rebuild balance sheets and margins at the expense of hiring and investment. While this bodes well for future debt repayment, the outlook is not rosy for job seekers. When the job outlook does change, however, and the economic pulse quickens, the era of low interest rates could end quickly.

2010-10-18 It's All About Ben, the Fed's Intent and the Market Reaction by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The U.S. economy is caught in a classic liquidity trap. With additional fiscal stimulus no longer a viable political option, even though the government is better equipped to deal with many of the structural hurdles to growth than monetary policy, Mr. Bernanke clearly feels that the Fed is the only game in town. Monetary policy, even in a non-conventional form, is a very blunt tool to use to reverse a secular uptrend in the savings rate, fix chronic unemployment or induce people to spend rather than correct their debt-laden balance sheets.

2010-10-18 Smorgasbord by Michael Dana of Dana Investment Advisors

Now that the economy is truly now global, countries are adamant about protecting their currencies so that they can be competitive in the world market. The Bank of Japan just announced plans to limit the surging value of the yen against the dollar and the yuan. This will make their imports more attractively priced in the world market. Ben Bernanke at the Fed is considering phase two of quantitative easing for the same purpose. The exchange rate for currencies will continue to rest on the shoulders of the U.S. for some time.

2010-10-18 Market Rally Contines by Bob Doll of BlackRock

Over the long term, modest levels of growth should be enough to allow corporate earnings to continue to make gains and push markets higher. Because stock markets have advanced so strongly over the past several weeks, however, we may be looking at a classic 'buy the rumor, sell the news' scenario that could cause a near-term setback at some point later this year. In any case, the economic, earnings and valuation backdrop makes for an attractive longer-term case for equities.

2010-10-15 Global Currency Meltdown by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The Fed is being pressured to erode the value of the U.S. dollar in order making foreign sales more lucrative in nominal terms. But this form of stealth protectionism will fail just as surely as more overt trade barriers. Only when currencies are allowed to float freely will trade imbalances be corrected. Washington's attempt to force the issue is only doing harm to the world economy by introducing uncertainty and punishing the prudent. The Fed has gone radioactive, setting off a global currency meltdown. Perhaps only gold can truly shield investors from the fallout.

2010-10-14 Who's Doing the Buying? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

So who's buying equities right now? Good question. We know it's not the retail investor and private clients - they have been selling into this entire bear market rally and rebalancing their asset mix in favor of income. It's not the mutual funds, because institutional private managers already have cycle-low cash ratios. There would seem to be three principal buyers right now: pension funds struggling to reach their 8 percent assumed annual returns, hedge funds, and the proprietary trading desks at big commercial banks.

2010-10-14 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Historically, it has taken about four or five years of capital inflows into emerging markets to create an investment bubble. Thus far, we are only one year into a significant capital inflow into emerging markets, and we probably have another three or four more years to go before these markets become so popular that it is time to move on to other pastures.

2010-10-13 Currency Wars Heat Up as Growth Chills by Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics

As global growth stagnates, governments are increasingly focusing on monetary policy as a last resort to prop up ailing economies. The U.S. Federal Reserve recently signaled that it will refocus away from eventual exit strategies and toward the possibility of further intervention in the ailing U.S. economy. Between the Fed's second round of quantitative easing, the European Central Bank's stubbornness, and a new round of currency wars as countries fight each other for export growth, the path out of the recession remains unclear.

2010-10-13 Evolution of the Asia Bond Market by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

One of the most profound developments in the history of Asia's capital markets has been the deepening of the domestic bond markets over the last decade. The largest Asian issuers can now diversify their funding sources across both international and domestic currencies. While China's bond market is the largest in Asia outside of Japan, it remains largely inaccessible to most foreign investors. Korea's local currency-denominated bond market is the next-largest at just under U.S. $1 trillion, making it the single-largest bond market readily accessible to offshore investors.

2010-10-13 What's Ahead in Q3 Earnings Season; Our Fair Value of the S&P by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The consensus is still expecting U.S. operating earnings per share growth of $95-plus in 2011, but at a time when profit margins are at a cycle high, not a trough. Judging from past performance at cycle highs, however, it may be more prudent to be valuing the equity market at $75 EPS growth, rather than $95. Slap on an appropriate multiple and you can see why an underweight position in equities still makes sense, speculative fervor sparked by quantitative easing notwithstanding.

2010-10-12 Beggar Thy Neighbor, Beggar Thyself by Michael Lewitt (Article)

In the latest edition of the HCM Market Letter, Michael Lewitt argues that reported attempts by countries to devalue their currencies will only result in higher inflation and not economic growth. QE2 will similarly fail, and the necessary "heavy lifting" for the economy should be through fiscal, not monetary, policy. A continuation of Keynesian policies, as advocated by Paul Krugman, will also fail. Lewitt warns of dangers in ETFs and offers his investment recommendations.

2010-10-12 Capitulation to Uncertainties ? Does a Bond Bubble Really Exist? by Frank Wei of FundQuest

The recent near-record low in Treasury yields may be largely attributable to investors' capitulation to today's unusual and uncertain economic environment. While investments in Treasury bonds involve less uncertainty than other asset classes, their valuation is typically rich when yields are low. There remains a vast amount of potential for more lucrative investment opportunities in this low-yield environment, with only slightly more risk involved.

2010-10-11 Commodities - More Signs of Life by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The rise in commodity prices during the past few weeks offers yet another sign that the U.S. economy will avoid the dreaded double-dip recession and continue to grow, albeit slowly. Some of the commodity price rise, of course, reflects little on the economy. Gold's price increase, for instance, mirrors generalized fears on a number of fronts. The surge in agricultural prices stems from particular crop failures. However, industrial commodities, including energy, are connected to the economy, giving broader economic significance to their healthy price gains.

2010-10-11 Quantitative Easing Prospects Lift Stocks by Bob Doll of BlackRock

Despite the fact that Treasury yields have moved lower in recent weeks, the Fed's actions will help reduce deflationary risks and will help global economic growth. Stock markets and commodity prices have been pricing in inflation; those markets have it right in that central banks will do what is necessary to fight deflationary forces. The intentions of central bankers are quite clear at present, and this appears to be a case where the old saying 'don't fight the Fed' seems prudent advice: From an investment perspective, risk assets should continue to grind higher.

2010-10-11 In QE We Trust by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

Senior monetary officials worldwide have complained about the massive inflows of capital into their financial markets resulting from expectations of monetary easing in the United States. One of the major pitfalls of quantitative easing is that beggar-thy-neighbor currency interventions do not result in increased growth for all participating countries. Instead, they sharply increase the risk to exporters and international investors and, eventually, dampen global growth.

2010-10-08 Still Vulnerable by Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

Economic growth has been largely due to an unsustainable, and probably over-extended rebuilding of inventories. The proposed QE2 is unlikely to succeed, and the U.S. economy faces four problems: excess leverage, counterproductive fiscal policies, sub-optimal tax policies and excess bureaucracy. Treasury bonds are not in a bubble and represent good long-term investments.

2010-10-07 You Can't Make This Stuff Up! by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

In the October 6 New York Times, op-ed contributor Daniel Gross called on the American consumer to 'get back into the game.' 'The renewed willingness and confidence to spend money we don't have,' Gross wrote, 'is vital to the continuing recovery.' There was no mention in the article of the fact that with a 70 percent share of GDP, U.S. consumer expenditures never exactly went into hibernation, even if spending decisions have changed. And haven't employment and income always been the vital components to sustainable growth?

2010-10-07 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Inflation, which has heated up in countries like Brazil, India, Indonesia and many others, will eventually make its way to the U.S. and Europe. Attractive areas for investment include Chinese consumer stocks and currencies, stocks and bonds of growing countries in Asia and Latin America, U.S. stocks and gold. The Japanese yen is a short. Japan's quantitative easing, when combined with the QE going on elsewhere, provides a strong impetus for price increases in commodities, gold and stocks.

2010-10-07 Government Policy and the Markets: Prepare For Some Big Changes by Tony and Rob Boeckh of Boeckh Investment Letter

Proponents of gold base their arguments on predictions of eventual monetary ruin, a dollar collapse and high inflation. The bond market, however, is far bigger and more sophisticated than the gold market, and it indicates that inflation expectations are nonexistent. Bond yields are far below their long-run equilibrium levels and if anything, are forecasting deflation and possible stagnation. The huge disconnect between gold and bonds should serve as a reminder to gold bulls to tread carefully, unless they are sure that the bond market has it wrong.

2010-10-06 A Sobering Look at U.S. Treasury Debt by Peter Williams of Doug Short

Guest contributor Peter Williams presents charts of U.S. Treasury bond auction results grouped by maturity date and term in order to provide give a bird's eye view of how the Treasury has positioned all debt issued since 1982. The Treasury has issued a total of $4.5 trillion in new debt since 2008. A look at outstanding debt levels, however, suggests that that there is still plenty of wiggle room for more debt to be offered.

2010-10-05 Cyclical Outlook by Paul McCulley of PIMCO

The influence of emerging economies is on the rise, while developed countries are retrenching. Monetary policy in the developed countries will remain extraordinarily accommodative for an extended period, with policy rates pinned close to zero and use of quantitative easing. PIMCO will therefore position its duration and curve strategies accordingly: overweight investments in the developed world, concentrated in the 'belly' of yield curves. In contrast, an increasing share of its positioning in the 'spread sectors' will be allocated to the emerging markets, including their currencies.

2010-10-05 Do Past 10-Year Returns Forecast Future 10-Year Returns? by Bill Hester of Hussman Funds

The argument that above-average long-term returns typically follow periods of poor past long-term returns is not wrong, it's just incomplete.

2010-10-01 Race to the Bottom by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

At one time, a strong currency was viewed as a reward for the reliability, competitiveness and growth of a national economy. Now governments look to take market share from competitors by lowering the cost of their exports through a beggar-thyself policy of habitual currency debasement. Although such a policy may benefit those who buy the products, it is a burden to the country's own workers, who have to get by on subsistence wages. More successful economies will compete on quality and innovation, rather than price alone.

2010-10-01 A Fall Surprise... by David Baccile of Sextant Investment Advisors

If billionaire money manager John Paulson is correct, and inflation reaches low double-digits by 2012, the discount rate used by investors to estimate the present value of their stock investments will rise sharply, which will have a very negative impact on equity prices as present value calculations decline. Sure, companies will be able to pass along price hikes and inflation should have a positive impact on nominal earnings growth, but the higher discount rate will overwhelm any benefit to the bottom line.

2010-10-01 Liquidity Flowing into Asia and Western Latin America by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Liquidity will flow into the Asian region raising consumer spending, stock prices and currency values. In the following countries: India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and China much new liquidity will enter. It will be in the form of foreign direct investment and investment money moving into stocks and bonds. With the exception of China, which is being singled out for a trade battle by the U.S. Congress, all of these countries will see their currencies rise and their economies grow.

2010-10-01 Claims of the 'Death of Stock Picking' Are a Good Sign for Value Investors by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlights the macro-driven nature of today?s stock market. Long-time value investors lament the current environment where stocks appear to trade in unison based on unemployment data or European bank stress test results. If stocks are driven by macro factors instead of company fundamentals, stock pickers can?t get an edge. We think stock-picking is very much alive. Call us contrarian, but we couldn?t think of a better sign that fundamentally-driven, bottom-up stock-picking is likely to make a comeback sooner rather than later.

2010-09-28 Reality Check on the Macro Outlook by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

More than 80 percent of the economic growth we saw from the lows of 2009 in real GDP was due to the massive amounts of federal government stimulus and the huge inventory swing. The underlying trend in organic real final sales is barely above 0.5 percent. One therefore has to therefore wonder, with an estimated 1.7 percentage point drag from fiscal withdrawal in the coming year and the evident signs of a peaking-out in the inventory contribution to growth, how can the economy not contract heading into 2011?

2010-09-27 Are 401(K) Investors Fighting Yesterday's War? by Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates

It is time for investors and their advisors to look forward, not backward, in their 401(k) investment planning. Inflation is the biggest single enemy to long-term investors. A portfolio of real return assets balanced with a stock- and bond-heavy 401(k) fund menu is the best way to build a portfolio for an uncertain future. To do this, one needs to include inflation hedges before inflation strikes and when they are least costly.

2010-09-27 The Chinese Conundrum That Will Not Go Away by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

The determination by the U.S. government to revalue China's renminbi is another smoke and mirrors tactic to divert our attention from the true crux of the problem, a faltering economy with little hope for regaining stable ground for at least the next several years. Even if China appreciates its currency, there is no guarantee that it will provide a boost to the American economy. Jobs that were long ago outsourced to China will simply move to the next-cheapest home; they will not return to the U.S.

2010-09-27 'Rules are Rules?!' (An Email From Grandma) by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Last week most of the major stock market averages broke out of their May-September trading ranges to new recovery highs (small cap indices did not). While we are not necessarily looking at a repeat of the 2009 stock market rally, the S&P 500's April highs now seem achievable. Meanwhile, the bears continue to growl 'Where's the volume?' The reply to that question is that the whole 2009 rally came on declining volume, as did this year's May mauling, begging the question: Does volume really matter?

2010-09-25 Pushing on a String by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The Fed will move forward with aggressive quantitative easing (QE), unless economic growth reaches 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent. The Fed's QE efforts thus far have been ineffective, because funds remain on banks' balance sheets. Future efforts would likely lower interest rates or possibly devalue the dollar, but it is unlikely it will stimulate growth.

2010-09-24 The U.S. Stock Market by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The U.S. stock market is rallying, and the U.S. dollar is slowly declining in value relative to a basket of other currencies. Although inflation may not occur for another six to 12 months, it will eventually increase demand for assets with growth potential, such as income-producing real estate, gold, global growth stocks, and the world's better-managed currencies. Meanwhile, it is possible that we will see a small rally in bonds during late 2010. Many are expecting a slowdown in U.S. economic activity in early 2011.

2010-09-24 Housing Still in a Deep Funk and Gold Going Higher Still by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Existing home sales increased 7.6 percent month-over-month in August in what can only be described as noise around a fundamental downtrend. The three-month trend in single-family sales is still -72 percent at an annual rate, the six-month trend is -31 percent and the 12-month trend is -19 percent. Meanwhile, gold is now on the precipice of breaking above $1,300/oz, and is likely to remain in this secular uptrend for quite a while longer. We're talking years. We're still talking $3,000/oz.

2010-09-22 Too Soon to Call for Asian Decoupling by Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics

Even without a double-dip, weak U.S. and EU recoveries will cause export-dependent Asian economies to grow below their 2003-07 trends in the coming years. Nonetheless, widening growth differentials with the G7 countries and healthy public- and private-sector balance sheets - along with rising incomes and expanding middle classes - will drive economic growth and foreign investment in Asia and increase intra-Asia and EM trade and investment.

2010-09-20 An Interesting Week Ahead by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

The failure to reduce risk spreads in peripheral European countries means that the public sector bailout is not working. The list of industrial countries wishing to depreciate their currencies is not matched by a list of emerging economies happy to let their currencies appreciate significantly. As a result, foreign exchange tensions are mounting, and the price of gold has been driven to a new record level. This week will shed light on whether policymakers can do anything to deal with these two issues.

2010-09-20 Sequential Signals by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The U.S. economy is still in a normal 'lag window' between deterioration in leading measures of economic activity and (probable) deterioration in coincident measures. Though the lags are sometimes variable, as we saw in 1974 and 2008, normal lags would suggest an abrupt softening in the September ISM report (due in the beginning of October), with new claims for unemployment climbing beginning somewhere around mid-October. If we look at the drivers of economic growth outside of the now fading impact of government stimulus spending, we continue to observe little intrinsic activity.

2010-09-20 Gold Breaks Out ? Again; Investment Strategy in a Deflationary Environment by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

What is amazing is that there are just about as many naysayers about gold out there as there are bond bears. Until the investment elite catches on, the odds of these two asset classes continuing as relative outperformers are quite high because no bull market ends until the masses fall in love with the asset or security in question. What makes the gold story so interesting is that bullion has so many different correlations - with inflation, with the dollar, with interest rates, with political uncertainty - and it also has different faces.

2010-09-20 The Islamic Triangle: Tilting Toward Opportunity by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital

The Islamic Triangle - the space between Casablanca, Istanbul and Muscat - may not be a top priority for most global money managers, but perhaps it should be. At just over $1 trillion, the Islamic Triangle's total market capitalization is just a bit less than Brazil's or India's. Among major markets, it compares with Australia or Switzerland. Relative to GDP - a sign of an equity market's importance to a local economy - the number is nearly 60 percent, relatively low, but indicative of the region's structural potential over time.

2010-09-14 Autumn Leaves... And Election Cycles by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The passion is palpable about the upcoming November 2 midterm elections, and more and more market watchers are starting to study the historical election cycle to see if it provides any clues as to how stocks are likely to behave in the near term. It's also September, historically the weakest month of the year for stocks, and this year it's following a bruising August. But here's a word of caution for those relying heavily on past performance trends: In five of the past six years, the market was actually up in September.

2010-09-14 Sometimes We Get Lucky by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Monty Guild and Tony Danaher strongly recommend that investors sell long- and intermediate-term U.S. bonds, including U.S. Treasury bonds, U.S. government agency securities, municipal bonds and corporate bonds. It would be very unwise to bet that interest rates will stay down. Guild and Danaher also comment on the rising risk of inflation, the drug war in Mexico, the rise of the Japanese currency and bullish prospects for gold.

2010-09-14 Some Bullish Signs for U.S. Stocks by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The November U.S. congressional election is likely to bring in more pro-business and anti-tax legislators and the U.S. stock market is already beginning to discount this news. The fact that political gridlock is the most likely prospect for the next two years is music to the market's ears. This is because investors are nervous and unsettled by some political rhetoric that has been circulating, which portrays them as bad and even dangerous to the economic wellbeing of the nation. Guild also comments on strong performance by gold and silver, and demand pull in emerging markets.

2010-09-13 Market Comment and Forecast Update by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

One can call it a 'growth recession,' but if Mr. Market wants to focus on the word 'growth' and ignore the word 'recession,' then one may well see ebullience take hold for a time. The most important factor right now is the prospect of significant downward revisions to earnings estimates in the next several months and quarters. The next great buying opportunity will be when the market has come to grips with or even overreacts to that. Therefore, patience over the near-term will be extremely important; now is not the time for impulsive buying behavior.

2010-09-04 The Last Chapter by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Mauldin presents content from his forthcoming book. He reviews some fundamental precepts of economics, focusing on the Keynesian approach the US is taking to revive the economy. He presents data from Woody Brock showing that the US debt may rise by as much as $1.5 trillion per year. Ultimately, he says, the bond market will revolt and interest rates will rise and the results will be very unpleasant. Using taxes or savings to handle a large fiscal deficit reduces the amount of money available to private investment.

2010-09-02 Learning From Past Crises by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Although it is unrealistic to assume that the structural changes implemented in some emerging markets can completely shield them from the effects of future global crises, they seem to have borne the most recent global financial crisis reasonably well. While risks have not disappeared, things look a lot better today than they did 20 years ago. The growing use of derivatives contracts is just one of the many reasons to remain cautious, but some emerging markets' strong fiscal health is cause for hope and optimism.

2010-09-01 A Schizophrenic Market by David Baccile of Sextant Investment Advisors

On the surface it seems the markets are experiencing a relative period of calm with equity prices about flat year-to-date and up around 10 percent versus a year ago. The credit markets have also stabilized since the second quarter when it appeared that one or more of the European countries could be forced into defaulting on their debts. However, a look beneath the surface shows some very deep and turbulent cross-currents.

2010-08-27 Perception Versus Reality by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Market volume continues its traditional August swoon, making it difficult to gauge much from stock market action. Economic data continues to tell a mixed story, as growth slows and risks rise. Confidence is key to consumer spending, business investment and stock market performance. The Federal Reserve and the government are attempting to instill that confidence in the American public, but so far have had little success. Emerging markets continue to show signs of growth and China's market has been performing well. Germany also has posted some nice numbers lately, but Japan remains a concern.

2010-08-24 Crowded Trade by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Equity markets remain mired in a wide-swinging trading range. In such an environment, stock selection, combined with the ability to sell mistakes quickly, should be the key to portfolio performance. There are also reasonable investment alternatives to the sidelines.

2010-08-23 Why Quantitative Easing Is Likely to Trigger a Collapse of the U.S. Dollar by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

A week ago, the Federal Reserve initiated a new quantitative easing program, purchasing U.S. Treasury securities and paying for those securities by creating billions of dollars in new monetary base. Treasury bond prices surged. With the U.S. economy weakening, this second round of quantitative easing appears likely to continue. Unfortunately, the unintended side effect of this policy shift is likely to be an abrupt collapse of the foreign exchange value of the U.S. dollar.

2010-08-19 An Investment Strategy for a Market in Transition by Dan Fuss, Kathleen Gaffney, Matt Eagan and Elaine Stokes of Loomis Sayles

The world is entering a period of rising interest rates on a secular basis. While inflation is not a concern in the near term, the seeds of inflation are likely being planted now, even though it could take quite some time for them to overcome powerful disinflationary forces at work today. If anything, the recent events in Europe and the deceleration of global growth suggest interest rates could remain low for longer than anticipated. The economy will likely grow at a disappointingly meager pace, but it will grow nonetheless.

2010-08-18 Risky Business by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia

Much effort has gone into trying to understand the elements of 'risk' and 'uncertainty' for investors. Matthews' Chief Investment Officer Robert Horrocks tries to bridge the gap between what academic theories define as risk and the experience of practitioners - particularly when it comes to managing Asian equity portfolios. In an environment in which risk is not clearly or reliably defined, he cautions, be humble.

2010-08-16 Late Summer Slumber? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The stock market rallied nicely in July after reaching the bottom of its recent range. Incoming data remains mixed but indicates that the economic expansion continues. However, risks remain elevated. The Federal Reserve downgraded its view and is discussing how to combat possible deflation, while federal and state governments continue to grapple with budget issues. Chinese growth has slowed, but the stock market is providing some positive indicators. Central banks around the world are creating a muddied picture.

2010-08-13 Q2 Economic and Market Outlook: ?Soft Patch? or ?Double-Dip?? by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investment Management

Inflation should remain well-contained for the next year or two, but a credible plan to cut budget deficits and a return to positive real interest rates will be needed to prevent the bond market from pricing in rising inflation in the medium term. In this environment, the U.S. dollar can continue to strengthen versus other major currencies, and capital markets, especially equity markets, can deliver attractive returns.

2010-08-11 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The world is awash in fear: fear of war in Middle East, fear of a double-dip economic recession in the U.S. and Europe and fear of inflation in China and India, as well as many other potential problems. Gold and oil appear to be two of the wisest investment categories. India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China and Brazil also have strong potential for continued growth. Although it is less certain, we will probably see continued growth in Canada, Australia, Taiwan, and Korea. Europe, Japan and the U.S., meanwhile, appear to be set on low growth trajectories for the next few years.

2010-08-07 The Problem With Pensions by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

A report just out from the Center for Policy Analysis indicates that state and local pension funds are drastically underfunded. By the authors' calculations, state and local pensions are underfunded by $3 trillion. Pension funding in some states will be required by law to consume 25-30 percent or more of tax revenues. That is going to mean much higher taxes or reduced services. John Mauldin also discusses a possible surprise from President Obama concerning Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and provides an economic update on China.

2010-08-03 Roller Coaster Economics: Prepare for the Next Downturn by Brian Reading of Boeckh Investment Letter

This commentary features a piece by Brian Reading, former advisor to the Bank of England, former economics editor of The Economist magazine and founding partner of Lombard Street research service, on what should be done about massive fiscal deficits and spiraling debt-to-GDP ratios. Reading argues that no amount of exchanging domestic imbalances within the U.S., UK and other deficit countries between the public and private sectors can prevent a resumed recession. The prerequisite for sustained global recovery is increased consumption in Eurasia and a reversal of payment imbalances.

2010-07-30 Inflation in 2010 and Beyond? Practical Considerations for Institutional Asset Allocation by Michael Katz and Christopher Palazzolo of AQR Capital Management

Traditional institutional portfolios with risk characteristics similar to a 60/40 stocks/bonds allocation are not well-positioned for unexpected inflation. Stocks are not effective inflation hedges, particularly in the short and medium term. Meanwhile, traditional institutional allocations resemble a 'bet' on low inflation. A risk-based approach to strategic asset allocation, however, may generate more balanced performance across both inflationary and deflationary periods.

2010-07-24 The Artificial Economic Recovery by Tony and Rob Boeckh of Boeckh Investment Letter

Economic recovery in the U.S. and elsewhere has slowed rapidly and forecasts are being downgraded accordingly. The massive stimulus packages stopped a self-feeding downward spiral, but they have given us only an artificial recovery. Government tax revenues will be disappointing and expenditures will remain elevated. A fragile economy, however, should not push investors away entirely from risk assets. High levels of risk and uncertainty argue for continued focus on wealth preservation and sound diversification.

2010-07-22 A Precious Metals Bubble? by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

In the first few days of July, the prices of gold and silver appeared to break a five-month upward trend by drawing back about 5 percent from the record June peaks. Despite many similar corrections that have occurred frequently during the long bull market in precious metals, pundits nevertheless looked to draw bold and significant conclusions from the drop.

2010-07-21 No Golden Ticket by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor

Why aren't we giddy about gold? In the abstract, gold is most attractive as a hedge in one of three extreme scenarios: high inflation, persistent deflation, or when the risk of global financial meltdown is large. Once national balance sheets are repaired through a protracted and gradual deleveraging of households and governments following the relatively rapid deleveraging of the financial sectors, particularly in the United States, excessive deflation and inflation fears will subside.

2010-07-20 Cash Investing: Considerations for Investing in a Low Interest-Rate Environment by Northern Trust Investments (Article)

Northern Trust's chief economist, Paul Kasriel, forecasts that interest rates will remain low for the remainder of 2010. Investors are looking for guidance on how they should best position their cash and fixed income portfolios to take this environment into consideration, and should consider the tradeoff between liquidity and yield. We thank Northern Trust for their sponsorship.

2010-07-20 Summer Essays by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

This is a summary of Jeremy Grantham's 2Q 2020 newsletter. Grantham says that weak a weak economy and declining or flat prices are likely for the immediate future. A global equity portfolio with annual returns of 6 percent plus inflation is still possible, however, by overweighting high quality U.S. stocks and underweighting other U.S. stocks. Grantham also comments on the financial reform bill, fear and speculation in the stock market, global warming, the 'seven lean years' hypothesis, aging populations and health care costs.

2010-07-15 Facts on the Ground by Paul McCulley of PIMCO

What the developed world faces is a cyclical deficiency of aggregate demand, the product of a liquidity trap and the paradox of thrift, in the context of headwinds borne of ongoing structural realignments. Front-loaded fiscal austerity would only add to that deflationary cocktail. And that's what the market vigilantes are wrapped around the axle about: They are not fleeing the sovereign debt of fiat currency countries but rather fleeing risk assets, which depend on growth for valuation support.

2010-07-15 Emerging Asia's On/Off Switch by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor

In 2009 and the first half of 2010, low interest rates and an uncertain global outlook led to strong, volatile capital inflows into some of Asia's most promising economies. Policymakers in these places - which include, among others, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and India - need to tighten monetary policy sooner rather than later. New inflows from the rest of the world might prove problematic, but at present low or negative real interest rates seem to be fueling speculative investment by domestic players, and that too is a dangerous dynamic.

2010-07-12 Misallocating Funds by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The relative abundance of physical and educational capital has been a driver of U.S. prosperity for generations, and is the main reason why American workers earn more than their counterparts in the developing world. Neither advantage in capital, however, is intrinsic to American workers, and it will be impossible to prevent a long-term convergence of U.S. wages toward those of developing countries unless the U.S. efficiently allocates its resources to productive investment and educational quality.

2010-07-09 July 2010 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

Evensky & Katz president Harold Evensky doesn't know about you, but he's getting tired of living in interesting times. Unfortunately the market gods don't much care for his opinion. So, given the reality that the markets have been a tad exciting lately, in addition to his regular meandering tidbits, he's included a number of items that he thought might provide a little perspective on the ranting of the financial talking heads.

2010-07-07 Paper Gold vs the Dollar? Interview with James Rickards by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst

This commentary features an interview with James Rickards, senior managing director for market intelligence at Omnis, Inc., about the dollar and the outlook for the U.S. currency in the global economy. Mr. Rickards' career spans the period since 1976. He was a first-hand participant in the formation and growth of globalized capital markets and complex derivative trading strategies.

2010-07-06 Stock Markets and a Sea of Change by Ron Surz (Article)

Ron Surz provides his award-winning market commentary, analyzing performance across global markets during the first half of this year. He also addresses several other topics, including the fiduciary standard, developments in target date funds, and distortions in style assignments created as a byproduct of the financial crisis.

2010-07-02 The New Ideological Divide by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Despite the apparent deficit-cutting solidarity that emerged from this weekend?s G-20 meeting in Toronto, it is clear that the great powers of the industrialized world have not been this philosophically estranged since the end of the Cold War. Ironically, in this new contest, the former belligerents have switched sides ? the capitalists are now the socialists, and vice versa.

2010-07-02 Contemplating Capital Controls by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia

Some Asian countries have imposed capital controls as a measure to prevent asset bubbles. Policymakers are clearly wary of imposing further controls on capital. However, they cannot prevent the bubbles they fear by using monetary policy alone?until they allow their currencies to appreciate. Otherwise, they are simply allowing international investors to enjoy the high interest rates that tighter policy brings at the existing cheap exchange rate and capital will flow in.

2010-07-02 Stalemate in Toronto by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The G20 summit was an attempt to ignore the out-of-control spending contained in Western governments' budgets and instead unite behind a banner that they called "financial responsibility." This is akin to a group of Mafiosi holding a summit on business ethics. President Obama had three goals going into the summit; none were achieved.

2010-06-29 Inflation Protection Investment Strategies by Vern Sumnicht (Article)

The value of the dollar is sure to erode, and investors will be left to grapple with the inflationary consequences. As Vern Sumnicht shows in this guest contribution, recent policies suggest steep inflation may be just around the corner. Fortunately, investors have some options to bolster their portfolios against the threat of inflation.

2010-06-28 Not Much Out of G20 by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

David A. Rosenberg summarizes the current conditions and calls for restraint. Fiscal restraint was the overarching message of the G20, which established a goal 'to shave fiscal deficits in half by 2013.' Debates continue as to whether current trends predict 'the third depression' and as to what measures might be taken to prevent that outcome. Rosenberg cites this weekend?s outpouring of articles on deficits, crises, and deflation. There seems to be no 'bottoming out' for the housing market.

2010-06-25 Suiting Up For a Post-Dollar World by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The U.S. has always benefited from its reserve-currency status, which allows it to accumulate unsustainable debts for an unusually long period without the immediate repercussions of inflation or higher borrowing costs. This false sense of security, however, may be setting us up for a truly monumental crash. After two decades as net sellers of gold, foreign central banks have now become net buyers. What's more, more than half of central bank officials surveyed by UBS didn't think the dollar would be the world's reserve in 2035.

2010-06-25 A New Direction: China Eases Currency Peg by Richard Gao of Matthews Asia

China?s central bank announced over the weekend that it would reform the exchange rate regime for its currency, the renminbi, and allow it more flexibility. While the RMB should rise against the U.S. dollar in the near term, any movement will be small and gradual. The more important long-term impact of China?s RMB reform is the acceleration of structural changes to reduce the country's reliance on exports and grow more reliant on domestic consumption. China?s central bank officials have said that a more flexible currency will 'direct resources to domestic demand-driven sectors.'

2010-06-25 Does the Oil Leak in the Gulf of Mexico Herald a Big Discovery? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The Macondo well blowout may indicate that these Gulf of Mexico fields, located in deep water about 50 miles offshore and under another 20,000 to 35,000 of rock below the seabed, represent a massive oil discovery. The costs of exploitation will be huge (and already are), and it will probably be decades before the oil can be brought to the surface, but they may do a great deal to help the U.S. attain energy independence. Despite the ongoing tragedy of the Gulf oil spill, the reality is that these resources are likely to eventually make it to market.

2010-06-23 What a Flexible Yuan Means for the Economy by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor

Even if the Chinese authorities allow two-way movement of the yuan against the dollar to reduce speculation, Chinese policies could support the U.S. Treasury market, commodities and risky assets more generally - especially if other emerging market countries take a cue from China and allow only gradual depreciation. However, a sharp appreciation against the euro and dollar without other policies to support Chinese consumption could contribute to much slower global growth and higher inflation as increased Chinese production costs are transmitted to G10 consumers.

2010-06-22 Niall Ferguson on Japan, China, and the US by Dan Richards (Article)

Harvard's Niall Ferguson is arguably today's leading economic historian. In part two of this interview, Ferguson explains why he fears the future is bleak for Japan, why China may someday be the leading global superpower, and what all this means for the US. We provide a video and a transcript.

2010-06-21 China's Currency Shift Not a Game-Changer by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The big news over the weekend was the move by China to end the yuan peg to the U.S. dollar. This delink will allow the People?s Bank of China to pursue its own independent monetary policy. In turn, this will help to ease global trade imbalances, ward off the threat of trade protectionism, alleviate domestic credit strains and inflation pressures and accelerate the Chinese shift from export-led to consumer-led growth. It also suggests that the Chinese authorities have confidence in the sustainability of the global recovery.

2010-06-21 Why Own Gold? by John Petrides (Article)

Buyers of gold assume that a buyer will materialize who is willing to pay more for their shiny rock than they did. For this reason, buying gold is the epitome of a speculative investment. How does one value gold, from a fundamental standpoint? The conceptual answer is to match supply with demand and an equilibrium price is created, but how does one measure supply? Well, gold is mined, so that is one part of the equation, but what about holders such as central banks and investors, who keep the shiny rock in their vaults? How is that level of supply factored into the equation?

2010-06-17 The New Economic Reality - Part III by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Inflation can occur in either an economic expansion or a depression. In either case gold, currencies of countries with conservative financial management and stable banking systems, real estate, and other real assets can do well. In an inflationary expansion fast growing companies and producers of commodities will also do well. During deflation, bonds will do well if the issuer can make the payments. Gold often holds its value in terms of buying power even in a depression.

2010-06-15 Today?s Top Economic Historian: The Path to European Stability by Dan Richards (Article)

Harvard's Niall Ferguson is arguably today's leading economic historian. In this interview with Dan Richards, Ferguson discusses the current troubles and future outlook for Europe. We provide a transcript and a video.

2010-06-04 The New Economic Reality - Part II by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Some investors believe that deflationary influences will lead to an immense slowdown in world economic activity, and thus thus are selling stocks, buying bonds and short-selling commodities. Others think government action to forestall the deflation will end up creating inflation, and are buying commodities, buying stocks and avoiding bonds As the two sides pull markets back and forth, volatility will continue. To deal with the volatility, Guild is holding a large percentage of client assets in cash and gold, which can rise in either an inflationary or a deflationary situation.

2010-06-02 Manufacturing, Construction and Gold by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Deflation is still the primary trend, coupled with massive reflation efforts and the unintended consequences that come along with those efforts. The name of the game is therefore to focus on strategies that deliver income, minimize volatility and emphasize capital preservation in a secular bear market, and to use commodities as a buffer in a financially unstable world. Rosenberg also comments on rising manufacturing activity and construction, and rising gold sales at the U.S. Mint.

2010-06-01 Europe: Value or Value Trap? by Dan Trosch, CFA (Article)

European equities seem much cheaper than in the US, says Dan Trosch of Fortigent in this guest contribution. Europe trades at a 26% Price to Book discount and a 20% Price to Cash Earnings discount to the US. Some European industries and stocks are deservedly cheap and value traps; other industries and stocks are attractive and will benefit from global growth in exports and other macro trends.

2010-06-01 The New Economic Reality by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

There is too much debt throughout the developed countries, and not enough growth to service that debt. The first phase of the current deleveraging cycle began about 20 years ago, when Japan's giant real estate and stock market bubble began to deflate. The second began in 2007, when the U.S. real estate lending bubble burst. The third began this year, with the European sovereign debt crisis. U.S. investors should buy only on dips, be selective, and look for good income, strong balance sheets, and strong earnings growth generated from internal cash flow.

2010-05-28 May Volatility, Downward GDP Revision and Sputtering Labor Markets by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

We are still in the midst of a credit collapse. There is simply too much debt and debt service globally relative to worldwide income. The fact that we had a year-long respite does not alter this view, because that respite was induced by an unsustainable pace of bailout and fiscal stimulus in practically every country on the planet, not just in the United States. Governments bailed out the banks and stimulated the economy. But because the revenue cupboard was bare, public sector debt loads exploded at all levels of government, and to varying degrees, in every jurisdiction.

2010-05-28 Burgers, Parades & Baseball Games by Doug MacKay and Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

This year should bring only measured gains in equity markets, even as the economy demonstrates solid growth. A near-term range of 1050 on the downside and 1150 on the upside may likely persist until we get some sense of closure on both Europe and offshore drilling. If we can get past these issues, a year-end target of 1250 would still seem plausible, roughly the level where the markets traded when Lehman went down a year and a half ago. The good news is that this year-end target now represents a 14 percent gain from current levels as opposed to only 5 percent one month ago.

2010-05-28 Six Impossible Things by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

You can run a trade deficit, reduce government debt and reduce private debt but not all three at the same time. Choose two. Choose carefully. The UK will likely allow the pound to devalue to reduce its deficit, but will face higher costs of imported goods. Greece, in contrast, has no good options, and ultimately will default on its debt.

2010-05-26 Gold Prices, Housing, Bond Yields and the Shiller P/E Ratio by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The fact that earnings have been rising while the stock market has been correcting has helped cut the degree of overvaluation in half, to a 0.5 standard deviation from 1.0 just over a month ago on a normalized Shiller P/E ratio basis. The ECRI leading economic index is foreshadowing a deceleration in real GDP growth, however, to 1.5 percent in the second half of the year from the 3.75 percent average pace since the recession technically ended in mid-2009. The S&P 500 level that would be consistent with that sort of pace would be around 850, rather than the current level of 1,074.

2010-05-21 Take Your Pick - A Tale of Two Investment Trends by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The developed world is deleveraging and Europe is moving toward deflation and depression. Meanwhile, the Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Indian-led developing world is growing and experiencing inflation. Guild?s portfolios are largely in cash and, and they will spend it as bargains appear. Investors should consider buying gold and begin looking at China?s market, which is becoming attractively priced. In the case of oil, Brazil, India, Korea, and Singapore Guild plans to wait until the fear subsides and use the correction as an opportunity to buy into these markets.

2010-05-20 An Emerging Conundrum by John West of Research Affiliates

Emerging economies have nearly doubled relative to the developed world since the mid-1990s. Despite this growth, however, emerging financial markets have performed relatively poorly over the long term as measured by the traditional indices. This gap between emerging market economic and stock market performance is a direct result of the return drag from capitalization weighting. Often, one, two, or at most a handful of stocks dominate local emerging markets. Not once have these large capitalization stocks collectively outperformed the rest of the market over a five-year period.

2010-05-18 Anthony Boeckh on the Great Reflation by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Tony Boeckh has been the guiding force behind Bank Credit Analyst, and in this interview he discusses his new book, The Great Reflation. Boeckh stakes out a deflationary forecast, and explains how the flow of liquidity in the financial system will determine asset class performance.

2010-05-18 Spain: After the Bubble by Charlie Curnow (Article)

Today, Barajas Terminal 4 one of the most visible artifacts of the profligacy that fueled Spain's property bubble and led to the country's current financial crisis. Spain, like several other European states, has continued to spend rapidly over the past two years, even as its economy has contracted. As a result, the Spanish government's debt has skyrocketed, raising fears of a possible sovereign default.

2010-05-18 Understanding Recent Negative International Bond Returns by Team of American Century Investments

This year so far has been a challenge for U.S. investors in high-quality, unhedged international bonds, continuing a downtrend for this sector that began in December of last year. Fortunately, the long-term strategic reasons for holding international bonds remain intact, including inflation protection from a potentially weaker dollar as the U.S. budget deficit grows, and diversification benefits versus traditional domestic fixed income.

2010-05-17 Gold, Oil and the European Economic Crisis by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Why is oil falling while gold is rising during the European sovereign debt crisis? Gold is rising because quantitative easing in Europe will be highly inflationary in the long term and destructive to the standard of living of every citizen of the developed world, especially in Europe. Oil is falling as investors fear the austerity measures that are required in Europe will shrink economic demand. The other parts of Europe and the U.S. will all have their 'Greece Moment' in the coming months and years. When that happens, investors will be grateful for their gold holdings.

2010-05-17 Volatility on the Rise by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Volatility in stocks has increased during the past several weeks as investors have grappled with numerous global concerns. Is this the start of a longer-term problem or is it just a short-term phenomenon? Developments in the housing and job markets hold the key to further economic improvement. Meanwhile, the European debt crisis was addressed with a massive package, but long-term issues remain, and China's rapid growth rate could lead to overheating and inflation.

2010-05-17 Two Choices: Restructure Debts or Debase Currencies by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Without a central taxing authority, the common European currency can only survive if participating countries strictly control their deficits. It should not be difficult to recognize that confidence in any currency is tied to confidence in the assets which stand behind it, and associated confidence in the restraint of fiscal and monetary authorities. The bureaucrats in both the U.S. and European central banks have chosen to betray that trust.

2010-05-15 Europe Throws a Hail Mary Pass by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week's $1 trillion EU bailout is analogous to the US TARP program, and represents a "Hail Mary" last-ditch attempt to save the eurozone. The problems in the EU run deeper than government debt; when private debt is included, overindebtedness is even more striking. Mauldin says the prospects for growth in the EU are dim, the euro will go to parity with the dollar, and the EU will dissolve in the next 5-7 years.

2010-05-14 Why the Depression is Ongoing; Gold Glitters by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The "depression" is ongoing because real personal income, once you remove all the government handouts, has barely budged. Outside of the lagged impact of all the government stimulus and the arithmetic impact of inventory accumulation, the U.S. economy is not growing. Separately, gold has broken out to the upside even as the U.S. dollar has done likewise on the back of a renewed flight-to-safety bid.

2010-05-13 Driving Without a Spare by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

Mohamed El-Erian recounts the results of last week's PIMCO Secular Forum on the three- to five-year outlook for the global economy and the markets. Participants concluded that we are heading toward a world that is re-regulated, de-levered, and growing less rapidly in the industrial countries. It will be a world in which concerns about the dark side of globalization temper enthusiasm for its net benefits, and in which politics matter a lot for markets and the economy. The drama playing out in Europe these days is a vivid illustration of this general secular characterization.

2010-05-12 Bazooka Bust and Gold Glitters by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

On July 15, 2008, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson described his plan to back the liabilities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as a 'bazooka.' The stock market rallied that day by more than 1 percent, to 1,215 on the S&P 500, and the short-covering rally took the index above 1,300 by early August. Little did anyone know that we had almost 50 percent to go on the downside before reaching interim lows. Meanwhile, gold has managed to hit new highs in all currencies during the recent round of intense European-led volatility and financial market weakness.

2010-05-11 A Historical Perspective on the Slight Depression by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Armed with textbooks and formulas, economists attack a problem by drawing lines, forming equations and trying to fit data to the real world. Niall Ferguson, a historian by training, thinks you can learn more simply by analyzing what has already happened. So what's a historian's take on the current crisis? Ferguson says it has yet to run its course.

2010-05-11 Why Some Hedge Funds Made Money in 2008 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Steven Drobny is the co-founder of Drobny Global, an international macroeconomic research and advisory firm that counts many of the leading global hedge funds and money managers as clients. He is also author of a recently released book that identifies why some hedge funds made money in the 2008 crisis, while the majority did not. In this interview, he discusses the common themes among successful strategies.

2010-05-11 Across the Pond - Still a Sea of Red by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

It remains to be seen how Greece and the other problem countries in the euro area will manage to cut their deficits without at the same time controlling their monetary policy and their currency. While coincident economic indicators such as employment have improved in recent months, many of the leading indicators are pointing towards a discernible slowing in economic and earnings growth in the second half of the year and into 2011 as countries worldwide shift from stimulus to fiscal restraint.

2010-05-10 Euro-Sclerosis No Longer and Last Week's Market by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

In what can only be described as a spectacular showing of solidarity, European Union finance ministers managed to cobble together a 750 billion euro stabilization program. This is over and above the 110 billion euro Greek bailout package announced last week and is widely seen as a very powerful countermove against the 'wolf pack' that had been attacking the peripheral euro area financial markets over the past few weeks. Equities, commodities , credit and lower-tiered sovereign bonds should all improve markedly. Gluskin also comments on last week's uncertainty in capital markets.

2010-05-10 Greek Debt and Backward Induction by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Despite the potential for a short burst of relief, the broader concern about deficits in the euro area make it unlikely that global investors will be appeased by a large bailout of Greece, or will go forward on the assumption that all is back to normal once that happens. Looking at the current state of the world economy, the underlying reality remains little changed: There is more debt outstanding than is capable of being properly serviced. Hussman also comments on overbought equity markets, and the current market climate.

2010-05-07 Wild Ride by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates

The market went on a wild ride Thursday. The fundamental explanation for the selloff and the correction that began in April is the sovereign debt problem in Europe. At times like this, it is important to remember that stock prices represent the discounted value of a firm's future cash flows. Earnings season is winding down, and first quarter profits have been very strong, even though revenues are just starting to recover to previous levels. Despite the myriad of worrisome big-picture issues, corporate America is healthy and companies are trading at reasonable valuations.

2010-05-07 Keeping an Eye on Currencies by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Even though it is not clear if, when, and how China will make an upward revision in the value of its currency, one trend is clear: moves involving the renminbi by Chinese authorities will be closely watched around the world as China steps up to play a bigger role in world trade.

2010-05-04 How Much is that Investment Worth in Real Money? by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

In the latest installment of his series of articles geared to the educated layman, Adam Apt looks at the topic of the time value of money, and how discount rates can be used to determine the value of a security. He shows the practical applications of present value calculations and its limitations.

2010-05-04 European Debt Crisis Keeps Expanding by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The European sovereign debt crisis will continue to wax and wane, but will stay with us until European governments take much stronger actions to reign in excessive outlays of all types, including social and military spending. The euro and British pound will continue to fall in value versus the U.S. dollar and other better-managed currencies such as the Australian, Canadian and Singapore dollars, the Chinese yuan and the Brazilian real. Guild remains bullish on the strong currencies mentioned above, oil, gold, several Asian markets and exporting companies around the globe.

2010-05-03 Violating the No-Ponzi Condition by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Greece has insufficient economic growth, enormous deficits (nearly 14 percent of GDP), a heavy existing debt burden as a proportion of GDP (over 120 percent), accruing at high interest rates (about 8 percent), payable in a currency that it is unable to devalue. This creates a violation of what economists call the 'transversality' or 'no-Ponzi' condition. Unless Greece implements enormous fiscal austerity, its debt will grow faster than the rate that investors use to discount it back to present value.

2010-05-01 Resilience Resonates by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The stock market has absorbed numerous body blows recently, but continues to chug along?waiting for a big price correction to buy could be detrimental. Economic data remains solid, confounding some recovery skeptics and providing the Fed ample reason to slowly return to normalcy. European debt problems are growing and concerns over contagion are rising; there's no quick fix, and some politically unpopular decisions are going to have to be made.

2010-04-28 Focusing in on Latin America by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor

Latin American economies will expand in 2010 after contracting more than 2 percent in 2009. Better global growth prospects and solid commodity prices will support growth in the region. Inflation will grow, but will remain within central bank target ranges, except in Mexico. Current account deficits will widen and surpluses will narrow as growth in domestic demand outpaces external demand. Wider growth and interest rate differentials, as well as a relatively weak U.S. dollar and solid commodity prices, will continue to support currencies.

2010-04-22 U.S. Politics and Bank Reform Legislation by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Election years often bring wild political actions as politicians defend their poor records by blaming anything that comes to mind. If the rhetoric against banks is not too strong, the rally could continue. If the rhetoric gets out of hand, we will see a market correction for a few weeks with a resumption of stock price increases later in the year. Guild continues to invest in Asian growth countries, oil, gold, and export driven companies who can grow earnings while shipping products worldwide.

2010-04-21 The Over-Under on Valuation by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

According to the Shiller P/E ratio, the S&P 500 is now 35 percent overvalued - a full one standard deviation event. It would be nice to say that a higher-than-normal P/E is justified by low inflation and low interest rates. Real bond yields are not that far from their long-run averages, but equity valuation is, and something is going to give at some point. The operative strategy is to buy low and sell high, not the opposite. Defensive income-oriented strategies make perfect sense right now.

2010-04-19 Complex Structural Changes in China and the Global Economy by Michael Spence of PIMCO

China has come to a point where its size and global impact are large. Policy in China will have to be set within a delicate balancing act between domestic growth and development and distributional challenges on one hand, and recognition of global impacts on the other. The large developing countries need to understand better than they currently do that their growing size and presence in trade in goods and services is forcing uncomfortable structural change in the advanced countries as well.

2010-04-15 Europe Fiddles, Gold Sizzles by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Much to the relief of jittery global markets, Greece's chronic debt problem has been papered over in a burst of European solidarity and apparent magnanimity. This act of mercy, however, may cost Germany its key position of financial dominance over the European Central Bank, which, in turn, could be detrimental to the long-term health of the euro. And so even though the euro stiffened once the immediate default fears abated, the price of gold was pushed to a new all-time high in euro terms, and a five-month high in dollar terms.

2010-04-14 Will Inflation Reemerge as a Dominant Force? by Kendall J. Anderson of Anderson Griggs

The current monetary policy of developed nations is to reinvigorate consumer demand through massive monetary stimulus. There is no doubt that this policy will have its intended effect and revitalize the private sector. Increasing demand from the private sector, along with the fiscal demands of new government obligations, however, could easily create a round of inflation where the aggregate demand of government and the private sector will exceed available supply. There is therefore a real possibility that inflation will be higher in the next 10 years relative to the past.

2010-04-14 The Global Bond Market: Opportunity or Opportunity Cost by David W. Rolley of Loomis Sayles

The U.S. bond market is unlikely to offer investors the yield or capital appreciation opportunities they need to meet their investment objectives in 2010. Instead, investors will need to expand their investment universe. Investments in non-U.S., high-quality governments and supranationals could offer capital preservation, while emerging-markets debt and corporate debt might present performance prospects. In the non-dollar securities arena, investors could take advantage of securities offering capital preservation as well as performance.

2010-04-13 Investment Review by John K. Schneider of JS Asset Management

The great recession has ended and the recovery appears more robust than generally forecasted. The U.S. gross domestic product grew 5.6 percent in the fourth quarter, the fastest quarterly pace since 2003. The economic consensus forecast for 2010 of less than 3 percent growth is likely too low and we believe could be closer to 4 percent. While productivity generally improves after the end of a recession, the surge over the last three quarters of 7.4 percent was the highest in more than 30 years. This is yet another sign that corporate earnings leverage will be great.

2010-04-12 Is the Renmibi Merely A Distraction? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

It may be convenient to assume that a revaluation of the Yuan would lead to a readjustment of the US trade balance, but it is more likely that production would merely shift to the country with the next lowest costs. Gains in Chinese imports in the early 90s came at the expense of imports from other countries. In addition, politicians fail to recognize that many manufacturers in the US import production inputs from China, and so a currency revaluation would directly affect their ability to remain competitive. Fortigent also comments on rising equity markets, and the week ahead.

2010-04-07 Currency Manipulation: A Primer by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

The air is thick with allegations that China is manipulating its currency by keeping the renmibi fixed and undervalued with respect to the U.S. dollar. All of this is in anticipation of whether Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will designate China as a currency manipulator in his semi-annual report to Congress on trade practices. This designation could lead to new U.S. sanctions against Chinese exports. Ultimately, however, the key to success for U.S. authorities would not be public criticism of the United States' largest creditor, but a thoughtful discussion behind closed doors.

2010-04-06 Paul McCulley Discusses PIMCO's Cyclical Outlook by Paul McCulley of PIMCO

In an interview, PIMCO Managing Director Paul McCulley discusses his firm's cyclical economic outlook and its impact on investment strategy. PIMCO's cyclical outlook revolves around two core tensions in the global economy. The first is the huge disparity in the rate of recovery between highly leveraged developed countries and relatively balanced developing countries. The second tension is the resistance to cyclical recovery in the developed world due to deleveraging and other headwinds.

2010-04-06 Insights and Foresights into 2010 by Ron Surz (Article)

Ron Surz provides his award-winning market recap and analysis for the first quarter of 2010. The first quarter of 2010 did not start well, with US stocks experiencing losses in excess of 3% in January, but then we recovered most of those losses in February, setting the stage for 6%+ returns in March. All of the first quarter return was earned in March.

2010-04-01 Market Insight by Payson S. Swaffield of Eaton Vance Investment Managers

Evidence mounts that the U.S. economy is moving away from the depths of the Great Recession. The U.S. economy expanded at a 5.6 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2009, and corporate profits surged. While unemployment stands at 9.7 percent, there are indications that the jobs picture may be improving, and inflation has remained in check. The U.S. stock market has responded favorably to the current environment, with the Standard & Poor?s 500 Index climbing more than 5 percent since calendar year-end.

2010-04-01 The U.S. Bond Market is Losing Steam by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Smart investors will buy stocks on dips, sell their long term bonds denominated in the euro and the U.S. dollar, and shift into shorter maturity bonds or into stocks that can grow. Investors should consider selling all long term bonds of any type. Guild and Danaher favor foreign stocks in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. They also favor export-driven companies in developed countries, and commodity producers globally, especially oil companies that are increasing their production. Gold is in a trading range, and should be bought for below $1090 per ounce.

2010-03-30 Multisector Strategies in a Rising Rate Environment by Dan Fuss, Kathleen Gaffney, Matt Eagan and Elaine Stokes of Loomis Sayles

For three decades, the prevailing direction for interest rates was down. This made life easy for bond investors, since principal held up well and even grew for the most part. The cost of these falling rates, however, was steadily lower coupons. One of the best defenses against this reinvestment risk is to maintain a long duration in a bond portfolio with good call protection. The good news is that reinvestment risk appears to be waning as declining interest rates possibly prepare to reverse, and this could create potential for better yields.

2010-03-26 Comments Before the Money Marketeers Club: Reflections and Ruminations by Paul McCulley of PIMCO

In a technical discussion of monetary policy, McCulley argues the 2 percent real federal funds rate constant in the Taylor Rule should be toast. In a world of deleveraging and cash hoarding, it makes absolutely no sense to reward holders of cash with an after-tax real rate of return. May Wall Street relearn the doctrine of profit-motivated stewardship, he says, and unlearn the false god of speculation-driven avarice.

2010-03-20 The Threat to Muddle Through by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Mauldin criticizes Krugman's call for a 25% tariff on Chinese imports, and instead predicts that China will allow its currency to appreciate 5-7% per year for the next several years. Protectionism, he says, is the biggest threat to global recovery. In defense of his argument, Mauldin says similar tariffs could be imposed if the euro, Yen and the Canadian dollar continue their current trends. The larger problem is the growing US deficit, which must be dealt with in the medium term, or there will be no long term.

2010-03-19 Paul Krugman Versus Reality by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Paul Krugman is right about one thing - China's currency peg is destabilizing the world economy and it must end. If China reversed its role in the U.S. Treasury market, however, China would emerge as the long-term winner. The value of the Chinese currency would rise sharply, causing prices to tumble in China. Americans, meanwhile, would lose the ability to buy cheap goods overseas. The U.S. must formulate a plan that weans the country off its dependence on Chinese Treasury bond purchases without forcing change too quickly.

2010-03-19 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Welcome to March Madness. The time when the world looks on to ascertain the level of financial support to that European superpower of Greece?the time when politicos ignore each other and move forward with key legislation in a purely partisan manner (so what else is new?)?the time when Bernanke has to teach an Economics 101 class to elected officials?the time when Google says goodbye to the fastest growing Internet market?and the time when investors quit following the markets because Old Dominion is playing (and beating) Notre Dame.

2010-03-18 Dollar: Beleaguered No More? by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

After weakening for most of the past decade, the dollar has appreciated significantly against the euro and the pound sterling, the two major European currencies, over the past three months. This is due more to the weakness of European currencies than to the strength of the dollar. Fears of stagnation in Europe, uncertainties over upcoming U.K. elections, and concerns that Portuguese and Spanish debt sovereign may come under attack by hedge funds have all dragged on European currencies. Compared to this turbulence, the U.S. economy seems like a safe haven.

2010-03-18 How will an RMB revaluation affect China, the US, and the world? by Michael Pettis of Michael Pettis

Even if the U.S. took unilateral action to force a revaluation of the RMB and restore the balance of trade, it would take years to wean China away from its undervalued currency. An optimal solution would be to work out a multilateral plan that ends manufacturing subsidies in China, Japan and Germany and returns income to households, while the U.S. and the U.K. shift income from households to investment. Such a global solution, however, may prove politically intractable. Any country that benefits in the short term from stonewalling the adjustment process will probably do so.

2010-03-16 Greeks Bearing Gifts by Michael Lewitt (Article)

We are again privileged to publish the most recent edition of Michael Lewitt's HCM Market Letter, Greeks Bearing Gifts. Lewitt comments on Goldman Sachs' derivative transactions that helped Greece hide its debt and its larger implications for the financial system, for the European periphery and for Spain in particular. Lewitt also addresses the state of decline of the US economy and other topics.

2010-03-13 Dollar Bulls Beware by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The market is perfectly positioned for a massive dollar sell-off. The fundamentals for the dollar in 2010 are so much worse than they were in 2008 that it is hard to imagine that people will keep buying them once political and monetary stability returns to Europe. Indeed, the euro has recently stabilized. Once the dollar breaks decisively below last year's lows, many traders who jumped ship in the recent rally will look to reestablish their positions, and this will bring attention back to the financial disaster unfolding in the U.S.

2010-03-11 What the PBoC Cannot Do with Its Reserves by Michael Pettis of Michael Pettis

What the People's Bank of China does to the value of China's currency and how it invests its reserves matter a lot to China and the world, but not always in the way China and the world think. To get it right, we need to keep in mind the functioning of the balance of payments, the PBoC and other balance sheets, and the way the two are interrelated.

2010-03-08 Turning Cautious by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

The current global rallies in stocks seem to be short-cycle upswings within the existing secular bear trend. Low interest rates are leaving no other suitable alternative for investors, and high grade fixed-income opportunities are few and far between. Interest rates may rise, however, before year end as global debt continues to mount. Investors should therefore look for an above-average exposure to cash in the short term while waiting for downward movement in stocks in the long term.

2010-03-05 A Lengthening Shadow by Andrew Foster of Matthews Asia

The Reserve Bank of Australia announced February 2 that it would leave its key policy rate unchanged following an announcement by Chinese authorities that they would reduce stimulus to their economy. Analysts expected a rate increase based on domestic conditions. The RBA?s announcement suggests that the countries of the Asia Pacific region are moving tacitly toward harmonized currencies and interest rate cycles, dictated by the business cycles of the largest economies of the region.

2010-03-03 Will Silver Sparkle in 2010? by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor

Silver may never reach the price level of gold, but silver could gain relative to gold in the short term. The price volatility of silver compared to gold opens up short-term opportunities for higher capital gains. Silver has wider industrial applications than gold, and is therefore better positioned to benefit from the recovery in global industrial production. In the long run, however, silver is 16 times more abundant than gold, and has enjoyed increased mining production since 1999, and so gold probably always remain more precious than silver.

2010-02-26 The Global Banking Crisis Continues... by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The Icelandic and Greek financial crises can be seen as the second stage of the larger global banking crisis. This second stage, which centers on European sovereign debt, was caused by years of over-borrowing and now deleveraging. Many countries will print money to help ease the crisis, and this will keep developed economies and their currencies under pressure for years. Guild and Danaher also comment on rising demand for oil and gold, the U.S. stock market rally, rising interest rates and the continued rise of China and India.

2010-02-26 Will the Pause Refresh? by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Western governments allowed their structural deficits to fester during the current lull in the economic storm. Major players in the world financial system such as the United Kingdom and the United States now face the threat of default. Countries such as China, India and Switzerland that have pulled their wealth into the sturdy shelter of gold, by contrast, will likely emerge battered but viable.

2010-02-25 How to Whip Inflation Now (or Whenever It Arrives) by Isbitts of Emerald Asset Advisors

Inflation is coming, but it is hard to predict just when. When it does come, the inflationary era will be several years in length. A flexible investment toolbox that includes the ability to use the short side of the market and employ alternative styles will be essential.

2010-02-25 The Global Bond Market: Opportunity or Opportunity Cost by David W. Rolley of Loomis Sayles

The U.S. bond market is unlikely to offer investors enough yield or capital appreciation opportunities in 2010. Investors should instead expand their investments to include global bonds. High-quality governments and supranationals could offer capital preservation, while emerging market debt and corporate debt may present performance prospects. Non-dollar securities could offer both capital preservation and performance.

2010-02-24 Leading Indicators Reflect Positive Trends by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investment Management

GDP growth forecasts of 3 percent to 4 percent could mean gains in credit and equity markets. Higher growth could lead to quicker tightening by the Fed, however, which could depress bond prices, as well as increase discount rates for equity markets. Corporate credit and equity markets should provide strong opportunities in 2010. While inflation is not a threat in the near term, investors should consider incorporating inflation hedges such as bank loans or multi-sector inflation products as tensions grow between fiscal deficits and monetary policy.

2010-02-23 Hey Big Spender? by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

The most serious fiscal challenge ahead is spending, not deficits and debt. And the most serious spending challenge the government will face relates to the diversion of productive resources to future retirees, which will build over the next 20 years are more baby boomers retire. The second spending challenge facing government is ballooning interest payments on prior debt issued. Prior federal policies that established retiree entitlement programs and funded rapidly rising spending with the issuance of debt are to blame for these problems.

2010-02-23 Jason Zweig on Protecting your Wealth by David Raileanu (Article)

Jason Zweig is a senior writer and columnist for Money magazine and frequently writes for the Wall Street Journal. In this interview, he discusses strategies for protecting client wealth, proper asset allocation, and the role of advisors in a fiduciary relationship.

2010-02-22 Financial Economics, Deregulation and OTC Derivatives: Interview with Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst

This is an interview with author Yves Smith, the creator of Naked Capitalism. Smith?s new book explores the methodological shift of economics in the 1940s and 1950s, when economists decided to make their discipline more "scientific" and thus more mathematical. This methodological shift ignored the flaws neoclassical and financial economics, and led to the deregulation of financial services, which in turn allowed for predation and looting.

2010-02-22 Not So Fast! by Paul Kasriel and Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

Annualized growth rates over the first three quarters of 2010 will be less than one half of the 5.7 percent growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2009. Consumer inflation showed signs of slowing in January. Other than a costmetic increase in the discount rate, the Fed will probably find no pressing reason to tighten monetary policy this year.

2010-02-22 Markets Gain on Improving Sentiment by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Equity markets settled down tremendously this past week after a week of volatile trading, posting a 3 percent gain for the S&P 500 index. Subsiding fears about the impact of Greece on global markets support market gains. The CBOE Volatility Index fell in February to 20 from a high of 27. Maxey also comments on mortgages, inflation, and upcoming data releases.

2010-02-20 The Pain in Spain by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Mauldin examine the Greek crisis the the potential direction of the euro. Spain, he says, is a more threatening crisis because its debt is much greater than Greece's. "Pay attention to Greece and Spain and especially Japan over the next few years," he says. "Unless the US gets its fiscal house in order, we will be next."

2010-02-19 Debt Levels in G-7 Countries by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Stock markets in faster-growing countries will resume their rise after China stops raising interest rates to reign in runaway food and real estate prices. Asian countries should see declining debt levels by 2014 as European countries face an ongoing debt crisis. Investors should capitalize on weakness in the current volatile, and often irrational, markets.

2010-02-16 Emerging Economies Continue to Show Promise by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Despite recent financial turmoil in response to policy initiatives in Washington and fears surrounding the finances of Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, markets are up since the beginning of 2009, and are likely to grow this year. Emerging markets have the best prospects for growth, but their success depends on the precarious recoveries in the United States, Europe and Japan.

2010-02-16 Emerging Economies Continue to Show Promise by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Despite recent financial turmoil in response to policy initiatives in Washington and fears surrounding the finances of Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, markets are up since the beginning of 2009, and are likely to grow this year. Emerging markets have the best prospects for growth, but their success depends on the precarious recoveries in the United States, Europe and Japan.

2010-02-13 Fear Takes the Wheel by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital says in his economic commentary that the recent strength of the stock market may be more attributable to fears of inflation than an improving economy. Growing U.S. debt levels threaten to swamp to dollar, and are leading investors away from dollars and treasury bonds.

2010-02-12 Denial and the Pan-European Debt Crisis by Michael J. Schussele of Michael J. Schussele, CPA

Michael J. Schussele says the ill-conceived economic restrictions imposed by the European Stability and Growth Pact made the Greek debt crisis inevitable, and Germany and other Eurozone members seem unwilling to commit to a solution. The situation in Greece may just be the beginning of a pan-European debt crisis that includes Spain, Italy and Ireland.

2010-02-11 Euro Trashed? by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital says in his market commentary that Greece's debt crisis represents the first real test of the eurozone. A bailout of the Greek government financed by Germany and other EU member states might stabilize the euro in the short term, but would put the union on a path toward gradual monetary collapse. On the other hand, a Greek default might hurt in the short term but would preserve the integrity of the currency.

2010-02-11 U.S. Congress a Help or a Hindrance? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management say markets are undergoing a correction after the 2009 rally. Debt in Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain will keep investors on edge over the next few weeks or months, as will inflationary fears in China.

2010-02-09 Greek Financial Woes Escalate but Default or Euro Departure is Still Unlikely by Darren Williams of Alliance Bernstein

The sell off in Greece this week has taught the country a tough lesson in the urgency of getting its debt under control. Although several risks remain and Greece may eventually require outside support, we believe it will not be allowed to fail, largely because of the risk of contagion to other weak euro-area countries.

2010-02-02 2010 Off to a Tepid Start by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

This is a review of last week?s market activity and economic data announcements, with a focus on the GDP announcements from the UK and the US.

2010-01-30 This Time is Different by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Mauldin begins with an analysis of the reported Q4 GDP numbers, saying that it is not indicative of underlying growth in the economy. He then comments on the Reinhart-Rogoff book "This Time is Different," focusing on the point that governments can survive debt-fueled growth until confidence in them evaporates. He is discusses Greece's fiscal problems.

2010-01-28 Q1 2010 Market Commentary by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

?We expect world markets to be volatile but trade sideways or rise slightly through early spring. After that time, we expect a correction in world markets. We believe that the stock market correction

2010-01-26 The Ring of Fire by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Bill Gross reviews two recent analyses (the Reinhart/Rogoff book and the McKinsey study) of the plight of economies faced with large fiscal deficits. He says that these support PIMCO?s view of the Ne

2010-01-26 Using Alternative Investments to Build a Stronger Portfolio by Robert M. Hussey (Article)

Traditional asset classes may no longer provide sufficient portfolio diversification, but there's a new wave of mutual funds that offer alternatives strategies previously available only to large institutions. Robert Hussey of Natixis Global Associates describes how alternative strategies can be used in a mutual fund package. We thank them for their sponsorship.

2010-01-26 Robert Merton on Regulating Derivatives by Dan Richards (Article)

Robert Merton is a professor of finance at the Harvard Business School and the 1997 winner of the Nobel Prize in economics for his work on pricing models for options and derivatives. In this interview with Dan Richards, Merton explains the role of derivatives in creating the financial crisis, and what steps regulators should take to address them.

2010-01-26 The Potemkin Market by Michael Lewitt (Article)

We are again privileged to publish the current issue of Michael Lewitt's newsletter, titled The Potemkin Market. Lewitt updates his forecast for the S&P 500, criticizes the current financial reform efforts and the ongoing GSE bailout and Fed Chairman Bernanke. Lewitt argues that risk is overpriced in many segments of the market.

2010-01-25 The Week in Review by Christopher Probyn of State Street Global Advisors

SSgA?s weekly G7 market review and commentary

2010-01-22 Give Bernanke a Break by Michael Nairne of Tacita Capital

In a recent speech, Bernanke pointed out that it was low real long-term rates (i.e. nominal rates less inflation) determined in the bond market that were a major contributor to the housing bubble, not

2010-01-19 Inflation Myth and Reality by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

It is in this context that we should consider inflation risks over the coming decade. At present, inflation risks are hardly considered to be problematic by Wall Street. From the standpoint of the nex

2010-01-19 G7 Weekly Economic Perspectives: 1/15/10 by Christopher Probyn of State Street Global Advisors

This week?s data were generally disappointing. They were not bad enough to believe that the recovery is in danger, but rather that despite a potential fourth-quarter growth ?blip? caused by the invent

2010-01-19 Steve Leuthold: The Market will Rally This Year by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Steve Leuthold is chairman of the $4.5 billion Leuthold Group and one of the most widely-followed market analysts. In his keynote presentation at last week's Fortigent conference, he offered an upbeat forecast for the first half of 2010.

2010-01-18 Breakfast with Dave by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

2010-01-16 When the Fed Stops the Music by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Some time in the coming few years the bond markets of the world will be tested. Normally a deleveraging cycle would be deflationary and lower interest rates would be the outcome. But in the face of su

2010-01-14 Is Recovery Here to Stay? by William H. McAfee of WHM Capital Advisors

There are still high levels of uninvested cash sitting idly on the sidelines. Equity markets are likely to do well in 2010 as the perception of risk diminishes and cash flows out of low yielding mone

2010-01-13 Payrolls, Policies, Politics by Art Patten of Symmetry Capital Management

2010-01-11 Investors Kick Off the New Year in Quick Fashion by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

2010-01-09 2010 Forecast: The Year of Uncertainty by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

"This will be my tenth annual forecast issue. Time has flown by, and I enter a new decade of writing Thoughts from the Frontline. And even as I write about the high level of uncertainty of the curr

2010-01-06 The Carry Trade in 2010 by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor

2010-01-05 Annus Horribilis by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

2010-01-05 The Falling Dollar: Should We Worry? by Elisabeth L. Talbot, CFA (Article)

Over the past several months, it has become increasingly fashionable to refer to the decline of the U.S. dollar as another financial "crisis." Yet, given the current state of the global markets, declaring that the dollar's recent losses amount to a "crisis" is an overstatement, says Elisabeth Talbot in this guest contribution. To the contrary, current conditions surrounding the dollar are arguably supportive of - if not integral to - economic recovery.

2010-01-04 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

2009-12-31 The Last Apocalypse? by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

2009-12-30 Monetary Policy: Inflation-Deflation, Debt, Excess Reserves, Currency Volatility by Michael J. Schussele of Michael J. Schussele, CPA

2009-12-29 Special Report - Year Ahead: Can You Handle the Truth? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

2009-12-15 Barton Biggs on Undervaluation in the S&P 100 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Barton Biggs, the former Chief Global Strategist for Morgan Stanley who now runs the hedge fund Traxis Partners, says the high-quality, large-capitalization stocks in the S&P 100 are now undervalued by one standard deviation. In our interview, Biggs also discusses his fears and how investors should protect themselves from the worst-case scenarios.

2009-11-10 Bruce Greenwald on Structural Problems in the Economy and Unemployment by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Bruce Greenwald is a professor of finance at Columbia University, the Director of Research at First Eagle Funds, and perhaps the foremost expert on value investing. In part one of our two-part interview, he discusses the structural problems facing the economy, the parallels to the Great Depression, and the implications for the unemployment rate.

2009-11-10 Roubini: Fed Policies are Destabilizing the Financial System by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Nouriel Roubini, the once-obscure economist who gained celebrity and the title "Dr. Doom" after correctly forecasting the financial crisis, believes that current Fed policies are destabilizing the markets and pushing the economy toward another collapse.

2009-11-03 Absolutely ? Maybe by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Since Putnam introduced its absolute return funds earlier this year, over 4,200 advisors and $650 million in assets have flocked to the new financial products. Putnam's four funds seek to beat inflation by 100, 300, 500 and 700 basis points, and their performance over their first nine months (3.1%, 6.4%, 8.4% and 12.2%, respectively) was encouraging for their investors. Impressive as those results may be, the question is whether they are sustainable.

2009-11-03 Worry of the Dollar?s Collapse Is Overblown by Frank Wei, CFA (Article)

The fundamentals for the dollar could not be worse. The U.S. economy has continued to struggle, the federal deficit has skyrocketed, and the government has adopted super-easing monetary policies and aggressive fiscal spending. But anxiety over a potential dollar collapse is overblown. A gradual decline appears more likely, according to Frank Wei of FundQuest in this guest contribution.

2009-09-22 Will Momentum Move Your Portfolio? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Instead of mixing value and growth stocks, investors would be far better served by combining value and momentum stocks, according to Cliff Asness, co-founder and Managing Principal of AQR Management. In fact, momentum has "kicked butt" when compared to growth over the last 80 years, Asness said.

2009-09-15 Mohammed El-Erian: We Have Not Reached Escape Velocity by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Kicking off this year's Schwab Impact conference in San Diego, Mohammed El-Erian told an audience of nearly 1,000 advisors on Sunday night that the US financial system has not fully emerged from the financial crisis. El-Erian and his co-presenter, Larry Fink of Blackrock, addressed a range of topics, including the safety of the financial system, the future of regulation, and the outlook for inflation.

2009-09-15 The 'Cash For Clunkers' Economy by Michael Lewitt (Article)

We are once again privileged to offer the latest edition of the HCM Market Letter, edited by Michael Lewitt, titled The 'Cash for Clunkers' Economy. Lewitt examines the drivers behind the current market rally, the health of the banking system and the housing industry, the the future for derivatives regulation. If you enjoy this newsletter, we encourage you to subscribe directly though the link provided with our article.

2009-09-15 Five Reasons to Avoid the Gold Rush (Updated) by Vitaliy Katsenelson (Article)

The reasons why one should sell the cat, pawn the mother-in-law, and use the proceeds to buy gold are well known. However, in this guest contribution, Vitaliy Katsenelson offers arguments why one should think twice before jumping in bed with the gold bugs, or at least remain sober while determining gold's weight in the portfolio.

2009-07-07 Gary Shilling: Recovery is a Year Away by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Among economists, Gary Shilling owns one of the most prescient forecasting records, having accurately predicted the credit crisis and the performance of key asset classes over the last several years. Now, he says, the chances that the current wave of "green shoots" will be the finale to the recession are "pretty low."e

2009-06-30 Letters to the Editor: The Road to Zimbabwe by Various (Article)

In the second set of our letters to the Editor, we publish responses to to our article, The Road to Zimbabwe.

2009-06-23 The Road to Zimbabwe by Robert Huebscher (Article)

John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics is best known for exposing inaccuracies and biases in government reporting of data - most notably the understatement of the CPI index. Williams says the US economy is on the brink of hyperinflation which will render the dollar worthless, as happened recently to Zimbabwe's local currency.

2009-06-02 Letters to the Editor What the "Missing Out" Argument Misses by Various (Article)

We publish a number of responses to Ted Wong's article last week, What the "Missing Out" Argument Misses.

2009-05-26 What the ?Missing Out? Argument Misses by Theodore Wang (Article)

Market timing is discredited by passive investment advisors as a voodoo ritual. Buy-and-hold proponents argue most compellingly by citing the "missing out" scenario - they show a dramatic drop in return, to Treasury Bill levels, if investors are out of the markets for only a few good days. In this guest contribution, Ted Wong debunks the missing out argument, using 137 years of market data.


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