Dr. D: You have to understand what exchanges are and are not. An exchange is a central point where owners post collateral and thereby join and trade on the exchange. The exchange backs the trades with their solvency and reputation, but it’s not a barter system, and it’s not free: the exchange has to make money too. Look at the Comex, which reaches back to the early history of commodities exchange which was founded to match buyers of say, wheat, like General Mills, with producers, the farmers. But why not just have the farmer drive to the local silo and sell there? Two reasons: one, unlike manufacturing, harvests are lumpy. To have everyone buy or sell at one time of the year would cripple the demand for money in that season. This may be why market crashes happen historically at harvest when the demand for money (i.e. Deflation) was highest. Secondly, however, suppose the weather turned bad: all farmers would be ruined simultaneously. Read More

Remember when we were assured that HRC was not a target of interest to the Russians and therefore we could be confident that they never even attempted to hack her server, which was conveniently still in it’s woefully under-protected state while this spy ring was targeting her specifically? The people who told us not to worry our pretty little heads are the same ones who knew all about this spy ring.
Numerous economists and investors are warning of another great financial crisis to come but few people want to listen to them. No crisis is ever exactly like the last one and the next great depression will be different from the last one. In the last depression those who had money were in a good financial position to ride it out but the next depression will see those with fiat money drowning in it as it becomes worthless.
Nothing is going to be the same after this.  On Friday, the United States hit China with 34 billion dollars in tariffs, and China immediately responded with similar tariffs.  If it stopped there, this trade war between the United States and China would not be catastrophic for the global economy.  But it isn’t going to stop there.  Donald Trump is already talking about hitting China with an additional 500 billion dollars in tariffs, which would essentially cover pretty much everything that China exports to the U.S. in a typical year.  The Chinese have accused Trump of starting “the biggest trade war in economic history”, and they are pledging to fight for as long as it takes. Read More

The rise of protectionism has serious implications for investors. We have become used to companies being able to break into new markets and the idea of “multinational corporations.” This may not be the case going forward. Investors will have to pay a lot more attention to where the companies they choose to invest in operate, and where their sales come from. In short, protectionism is on the rise and investors must prepare accordingly.


A great example of what we can expect can be taken from Japan. In 1989, the Japanese stock market index (Nikkei) was at 38,916 points with a P/E ratio of 60. This is almost double the valuation of the S&P 500, but if we apply the S&P 500’s current P/E ratio of 26.14 to the Nikkei in 1989 it would be at 16,954 points. Fast forward almost 30 years and the Nikkei is at 18,331 points for an imaginary total return of 8% if equal the current S&P 500 P/E ratio.
Broadly speaking, Credit Suisse is overweight on cyclical stocks, as they tend to outperform when bond yields rise. The performance of European bank stocks is also highly - and positively - correlated to rising bond yields. Sectors that have high operational leverage (higher fixed costs than variable ones) and low levels of debt also perform well when bond yields rise. American utilities, telecom and beverage stocks look unattractive on that measure, while technology stocks appear poised for success.
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With the Fed now reducing the size of their balance sheet by $30 billion per month, and the European Central Bank scaling back bond purchases by $20 billion per month, this dynamic is going to change, radically. There will be a shift from a $250 billion net demand in 2017, to a $550 billion net supply in 2018. As the below chart shows, that is quite a large swing.
Wireless power technology recently became popular with its application in charging wireless-capable devices, (such as a smartphone) via a Powermat interface. There is one company currently building out a true wireless power supply without the need for an intermediary “pad,” which could develop into an investment opportunity of a lifetime if it or another company successfully launches an IPO, not to mention the upstream manufacturing interface components.  Read More

The reason to engage in this otherwise depressing exercise is that selling at or near a bear market low is one of the biggest sins of the investment arena, and is particularly harmful to retirees’ financial standard of living. That’s because selling at or near a low means that you will have suffered all or nearly all of the bear market’s losses but (depending on when you get back in) only a fraction of the gains in the market’s subsequent recovery.
Not only does David explain the idea behind a bear market on this episode of Money For the Rest of Us, he also examines nominal yields and how they can be dissected into the expected path of future short-term interest rates and term premiums. While the drivers behind climbing interest rates cannot always be observed directly, these two main factors shed light on just how high interest rates could climb in the coming years. Also, learn how the Federal Reserve estimates the path of short-term of interest rates and why term premiums are countercyclical and tend to rise when there is a great deal of investor uncertainty.
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