January 23, 2012 – Quote of the Day

Steve Jobs offered me one third of Apple for $50,000 and I was so smart that I turned it down. It’s funny when you think about it now, except when I’m crying,” said Nolan Bushnell, the founder of game company Atari and Jobs’ first employer.  

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The Weekly Jobless Claims Blockbuster

Traders were taken aback this morning when the Department of Labor announced a 50,000 drop in weekly jobless claims to 352,000. The street had been expecting a decline of only 19,000. It was the lowest report in almost three years, and the sharpest weekly decline in seven years. I tell people that, if stranded on […]

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January 20, 2012 – Quote of the Day

“You can’t keep on firing people. We’ve gotten so mean and so lean that you naturally get to the point where there are fewer people to let go,” said Steve Ricchiuto, chief economist at Mizuho Securities.

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2012 Strategy Luncheon Schedule

Many of you have asked for this year’s strategy luncheon calendar so you can make advance travel arrangements, so here it is. This is understandable, since the Orlando luncheon saw visitors from Brazil and Australia, the Los Angeles one had subscribers from Alaska thawing out, and at the London event the distinctive accent of Johannesburg […]

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Beware the Coming Equity Famine

The world is about to suffer an acute shortage of equity capital over the next eight years which could total $12.3 trillion. That is the conclusion of the McKinsey Global Institute, an affiliate of McKinsey &Co., a great well of long term economic thinking which I have been drawing from for the last 40 years. […]

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Fade the Second Half of January

Let me tell you about the real January effect. Many pension and retirement funds only reshuffle weightings between different asset classes once a year, mostly in January. That has created a temporary surge of stock buying and bond selling that exhausts itself by the middle of the month. After that, the market sells off. During […]

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January 19, 2012 – Quote of the Day

“The journey is the reward,” said the late Apple founder, Steve Jobs.

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Carnage in the Grain Pits

I have been warning readers away from the agriculture space for the past few months, and on Thursday you found out why. More than 90% of the street was positioned for a bullish report, expecting that the last summer’s blistering drought and ongoing dryness in South American would lead to inevitable shortages. Instead, the US […]

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Demographics as Destiny

If demographics is destiny, then America’s future looks bleak. I have long been a fan of demographic investing which creates opportunities for traders to execute on what I call “intergenerational arbitrage”.  When the numbers of the middle aged are falling, risk markets plunge. Front run this data by two years, and you have a great […]

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January 18, 2012 – Quote of the Day

I think this year you’re going to have six years’ worth of movement in the commodities markets,” said Mark Fisher of hedge fund MBF Clearing Corp.

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Another Nail in the Euro Coffin

The only surprise in the downgrade of nine European sovereign borrowers was that it took so long. It is a classic case of locking the barn door after the horses have bolted. The only unknown is how many more downgrades remain. The marketplace is already valuing this paper at CCC levels, with ten year yields […]

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Natural Gas Goes Down in Flames

I received a scratchy and barely audible call from my buddy out in the Barnet natural gas fields just outside of Fort Worth, Texas the other day. With the price for CH4 decisively breaking through $3/MBTU yesterday, traders were now resigned to seeing a new ten year low in the near future, possibly as low […]

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January 17, 2012 – Quote of the Day

“My heart sank when I heard the corn number. I literally felt sick to my stomach. I just knew that most of the market was looking for a big rally in corn and had positioned themselves that way,” said Scott Shellady, a trader at ICAP US Derivatives.

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Riding the Rails on the Transcontinental

Chicago’s Union Station is one of those places that is permanently jammed. Commuters rushing to catch trains run into bottlenecks at every turn. Today, they were fleeing a freezing rain outside that left the city’s skies a leaden overcast. The entire station smelled of wet wool. Only the Great Hall, which was setting up for […]

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Testimonial

Thank you for a terrific year.  I have been managing assets for 27 years and I find your writings and work truly insightful.  I wish I had met you in 1984 (started at Merrill Lynch and then spent the bulk of my career at Bear Stearns) and let you help me shape my thoughts for […]

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