Category Archives: Economy

MLPs, Munis and the fiscal cliff

The fiscal cliff is coming and the politicians are going to let us drive right over it. At least that’s the drumbeat you hear in the financial news media. And with 5 months to go until the end of 2012 the drumbeat is picking up its tempo. With that in mind I thought it would be useful to take a look at what impact the fiscal cliff would have on asset classes, the likely outcomes, and the implications for investors. That’s the bad, scary news. The likely outcome of what I described above is very very small in my opinion. … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Portfolio | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

2012 investment outlook

I don’t know why I feel the need to do an outlook post. I don’t pay any attention to market forecasts. I don’t invest in indexes. So, why the need for an outlook post? Well, over the years I have to come to the opinion that it is quite helpful to your investment results to know at a very broad level if you’re investing with a head wind or with a tail wind. For me this affects my broad allocation to cash versus risk investments and also helps me determine how much risk to take in my trading account. The … Continue reading

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Update on contrarian indicators – sit tight for now

Today I wanted to update my top 3 contrarian indicators. The market selloff continues and looking at contrarian indicators can give an investor an edge in determining the right time to buy. I introduced these indicators in this post; money flows; investors sentiment, and margin debt. Lets see what they’re telling us. First up, money flows. Money continues to pour out of equity mutual funds. The latest data from ICI is below. The $30B outflow out of equity funds in the week ending Aug 10th was the worst since Q1 2009. On a monthly basis you can see the comparison … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Stocks | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Is the US Japan 2.0?

With all the discussion of the current economic situation in the US, jobs, deficits, etc.. it constantly amazes me how short term oriented and myopic investors can sometimes be. In this regard I think we could gain some insight by looking at what’s happened in Japan since 1990. Barry Ritholz at the Big Picture has a great post comparing the Japanese and US stock markets from their great boom peaks. Take a look. As the famous saying goes, history doesn’t necessarily repeat but it often rhymes. In the most optimistic light I can put this, there are enough gloom and … Continue reading

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Timely investing wisdom from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Earlier this week my wife and I were discussing the stock market events that were taking place in front of us; markets gripped by political intrigue, both domestic and overseas, violent swings in volatility, slowing economic growth, and lots of uncertainty. I then started telling her about what my plan was (I was actually getting excited) and she chimed in “it’s like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!” I stared at her a bit taken aback while I searched my memory banks for any relevant investment wisdom from that hilarious tome. And then it hit me…… Right there, printed in … Continue reading

Posted in Dividends, Economy, Portfolio, Retirement | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

My top three contrarian indicators

I am a contrarian investor by nature. When there is too much fanfare around an investment, be it a stock or whole asset class, I usually find myself wanting to run for the exits. The hair on the back of my neck literally stands on edge sometimes. Most value investors tend to be at least somewhat contrarian. You almost have to be to buy cheap asset classes which by definition are unloved. Besides applying my contrarian nature in looking for cheap dividend paying stocks I also monitor the overall market for signs of what asset classes and when it may … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Portfolio, Stocks | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

April 2011 income investor dashboard

Here is the Income Investor Dashboard for April 2011. Prices are as of the close of markets on March 31, 2011. Despite a very exciting and volatile month not much changed in terms of market prices and yields. At one point during the month US markets were down, on the Japan and Libya situations, about 6% but managed to comeback in the end. There was basically no changed in stock index or sector yields except for the Vanguard High Yield Index. Also, the MLP index, AMZ, got a little cheaper during the month but only by less than 1%. In … Continue reading

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Why I’ll never invest in commodities again

In my 2011 outlook post earlier this month I mentioned that I had raised the cash portion of my portfolio to 40%. I did this by selling out of my commodity positions. A recent post I read at Pragmatic Capitalism reminded of me of this and that I should explicitly talk about it here on the blog. I highly recommend reading Cullen’s entire post but I’ll just use some highlights from it here to make my point. In general, I don’t view commodities as investments in the classic sense. They are a speculation pure and simple relying on selling your … Continue reading

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A non forecast 2011 Outlook??

Huh? Why the question mark in the title of this post you may ask? Well, it has to do with my thoughts on forecasts. This time of year is one of the more entertaining. Slews of economists, investment strategists, and research houses put out there forecasts for market performance in 2011. I find this to be one of the more comedic episodes in the Wall Street machine. First, for the forecasts themselves. Jeff Miller and Mebane Faber saved me the work of compiling some of the big name forecasts. From Mebane’s post; I was going to write an article about … Continue reading

Posted in Dividends, Economy, Portfolio | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

A couple of thoughts on inflation

The holidays are here and its made posting a bit tougher. Its hard to work on a post with family members all around, left over turkey and pumpkin pie all over the place. Not that I am complaining. For today, I found a couple of interesting charts on inflation. Its hard to find a more controversial topic today than the US dollar and inflation. There is a lot of gloom and doom on the US currency these days and rampant fears of its precipitous decline with accompanied hyper inflation. I find during times like these it is instructive to look … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Retirement | Tagged , , | 3 Comments