The Alternative Investments Channel

Gold and the Global Ticking Debt Bomb

Looking long-term, there are mounting risks involving debt that make gold appear very attractive right now as a safe haven and portfolio diversifier.

Three Market Concerns Move to the Fore

Last week brought renewed focus to three areas of concern that I’ve been writing about for some time: populism, protectionism and pressure on debtors. It appears that we may be moving closer to certain outcomes that could be of concern to markets.

Investors are Paying the Price for the Fed’s Experiment

Just as the well-meaning economists of the Soviet Union didn’t know the correct price of sugar, nor do the good-intentioned economists of our global central banks know where interest rates should be. Even more important, they can’t predict the consequences of their actions.

Economy Faces Slowdown as Oil/Commodity Prices Slide

Recent oil/commodity market rallies created an extra month of “apparent demand” down the major value chains, as buyers added inventory ahead of expected price increases for their own raw materials. In turn, this created the illusion of a synchronized global recovery – but reality will now intrude as the rallies end.

On My Radar: The Volatility Flash Crash Explained

One of my big risk concerns is the unknown amount of money in the risk parity trade. Essentially, volatility drives the weighting decisions. If equity market vol is low, then equities get a weighting. If equity market vol picks up, then, by rule, the risk parity strategies rebalance their exposures… in this case, reduce equity market exposure. They are mathematically-driven strategies and all essentially use very similar volatility measurements.

Weighing the Week Ahead: Will Inflation Data Spark Another Leg Down?

The economic calendar is heavy. In the battle of competing explanations for the market declines, the inflation story has taken center stage. With both PPI and CPI scheduled for release this week, I expect many to be asking: Will rising inflation spark another leg down for bonds and stocks?

The Man Who Outsmarted Casinos – and then Wall Street

A Man for All Markets is an autobiographical account of the life and work of Ed Thorp, a brilliant, accomplished, but humble man who figured out how to win at blackjack and roulette and then ran a successful hedge fund.

Has Amazon (Jeff Bezos) Taught This Old Value Dog a New Trick?

There is the old adage: “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Well, I have been a “card-carrying” and fully committed value investor for more than 45 years now. I think that qualifies me as an “old” value investing dog.

Macro Factors and their impact on Monetary Policy, the Economy, and Financial Markets

It seems that after years of expecting inflation to rise to its 2.0% target the Federal Reserve and many
economists have concluded it’s just not possible. The reasons most often cited are the Amazon Affect,
Artificial Intelligence, weak wage growth, years of excess capacity, and transitory factors like the mobile phone price war in March 2017.

Emotion Selling and the Upside of Lock-ups

It is often said that time in the market is more important than timing the market. Uncertainty always exists, and now more than ever – as a recent example, the market began last year in a month-long freefall, before reversing itself by the end of the first quarter.

How to Fire Difficult Clients

When dealing with problematic clients, there is no cookie-cutter formula that works all the time. But by getting clarity on and being proactive in dealing with what is causing the issue, you will manage the damage from problematic clients for you, your team and your practice.

Six Sweet Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas

Valentine’s Day is a huge commercial holiday for diamond companies and florists. It is great for financial advisors, too. Here are some ideas to get the love connection going with some new prospects this February 14.

When You’re Talking, You’re Losing

Advisors should focus on establishing trust with potential clients, but what happens when all that person wants to do is talk about risk?

Trump & Trade: The First Year

Trump campaigned on a populist agenda. His “America First” mantra railed against free trade deals, suggesting they were poorly negotiated, supported immigration restrictions and called on allies to shoulder more of the defense burden. In this report, we focus on trade following his first year in office, beginning with a review of American hegemony and trade.

Normal is Dead, Long Live Normal!

A look at how extraordinary items are making an all-too-common appearance in earnings reports.