No One Believes it Could Happen…

One of things the investment team sometimes talks about is what’s consensus versus what’s non-consensus with respect to investor preferences. The reason we talk about it is that we typically think of the consensus as a herd going one way. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, since the consensus can be correct at times. But…

Excellent Speakers at the NorCal Conference

One of the fringe benefits of being asked to speak at professional conferences is that you get to hear the excellent keynote speakers. NorCal was no disappointment in that regard as two of their keynotes were Neel Kashkari, who famously helped Hank Paulson design and run the TARP program, and Michael Lewis, the famous author…

I Hate Capital Gains Taxes

When it comes to my personal taxes I am a chronic late filer. In my own defense, it is usually because some partnership or another could not get me my K-1’s by the deadline so I go ahead and file the extension. Or maybe it’s because the pain of actually seeing my tax bill is…

U.S. Bank CDS Rising, but Still Low

Last week, Rick wrote an entry describing how we’re watching closely for any signs of banking sector stress in Europe as they continue to wrestle with their debt crisis. We are also keeping close tabs on the U.S. financial sector, which is still one of the largest sectors in the S&P 500 Index despite all…

Looking For Positive Data Points

We’ve been writing about a slowing growth profile for weeks, and yesterday brought more evidence that the economy has clearly entered a soft patch. We are currently scrubbing the weight of the evidence and puzzling through whether we believe this slowdown is transitory or here to stay.

10 Year Under 3%

So, in the short run, bond yields rising have proven to be anything but a sure bet. The chart below is a chart of the 10 year U.S. Treasury yield and the current yield has been pushed below 3%. The 3% level is a big psychological level on the 10 year as indicated by the…

On the Road Again

I will be leaving tomorrow morning to speak at the FPA NorCal conference in San Francisco. I understand the conference is sold out again this year and once again about 500 of the top financial planning professionals on the West Coast will attend. I will be speaking about tactical asset allocation as the financial planning…

Watching for Signs of European Banking Risk

The PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain) simply can’t get out of the news lately, and the problems on the periphery of the Euro-Zone continue to create uncertainty and legitimate risk for financial markets. Debt downgrades by ratings agencies as well as the threat of restructuring, reprofiling, or just plain old default continues to…

Divergences Among LEIs

We regularly follow several different types of leading economic indicators (LEIs), often times looking for divergences with the stock market – in either direction. What we’re witnessing today, ironically, is a divergence among LEIs, which makes interpretation more difficult than when they’re moving in a more uniform fashion.