January 5, 2012 – Quote of the Day

“The days of leading companies or countries via a one-way conversation are over. The old system of ‘command and control’ – using carrots and sticks –to exert power over people is fast being replaced by ‘connect and collaborate’,” said author Dov Siedman.

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Rubbing Shoulders With “The 1%” at Incline Village

If you really want to get a read on how “the 1%” are faring these days, take a ski vacation to the tony hamlet of Incline Village on the pristine shores of Nevada’s Lake Tahoe. Each morning, I trekked to Starbucks, one of the few local sources for the Wall Street Journal and the New […]

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January 4, 2012 – Quote of the Day

“America’s colleges and universities churn out lots of liberal arts graduates….By and large, the economy doesn’t need all these generals. We’re not training enough scientists and engineers. The high schools used to churn out enough people with technical skills in the fifties and sixties, but not so today. It’s cheaper just to prepare everyone to […]

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2012 Annual Asset Class Review

I am writing this report from a first class cabin on Amtrak’s California Zephyr en route from Chicago to San Francisco. The majestic snow covered Rocky Mountains are behind me. There is now a paucity of scenery, with the endless ocean of sage brush and salt flats of Northern Nevada outside my window, so there […]

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Lunch With Robert Reich

The other day had me sharing a cold, congealed chicken salad for lunch with Bill Clinton’s Secretary of  Labor, Robert Reich, at San Francisco’s posh Fairmont Hotel. We covered a wide range of market impacting topics, which I have summarized below. A Rhodes Scholar who dated Hillary Clinton at Yale, ran for governor of Massachusetts, […]

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The Ultra Bull Argument for Gold

I am constantly barraged with emails from gold bugs who passionately argue that their beloved metal is trading at a tiny fraction of its true value, and that the barbaric relic is really worth $5,000, $10,000, or even $50,000 an ounce (GLD). They claim the move in the yellow metal we are seeing is only […]

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December 30, 2011 – Quote of the Day

In Despicable Me, the latest animated children’s’ film from 20th Century Fox, the Bank of Evil, used to finance the nefarious deeds of villains, has listed under its name “formerly known as Lehman Brothers.”

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Lunch With the Treasury Secretary

When I wake up at 4:30 am each morning to check the overnight markets and review the opening salvo of incoming emails, I often have trouble focusing in my groggy state. So I had to blink twice when the first message in my inbox politely inquired if I had time to meet the Secretary of […]

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December 29, 2011 – Quote of the Day

“If You’ve lived long enough on Wall Street, you know that we shoot our wounded and eat our young,” said Brad Hintz, an analyst with Sandford Bernstein.

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The Collapse of the Yen: When is This Party Getting Started?

“Oh, how I despise the yen, let me count the ways.” I’m sure Shakespeare would have come up with a line of iambic pentameter similar to this if he were a foreign exchange trader. I firmly believe that a short position in the yen should be at the core of any hedged portfolio for the […]

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December 28, 2011 – Quote of the Day

“At some point in 2012, knuckles are going to be turning white, and we’ll see whatever rabbits Ben Bernanke is going to have to pull out of his hat,” said David Rosenberg of Gluskin, Sheff in Associates

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Take a Look at Occidental Petroleum (OXY)

There are a lot of belles at the ball, but you can’t dance with all of them. While a student at UCLA in the early seventies, I took a World Politics course which required me to pick a country, analyze its economy, and make recommendations for its economic development. I chose Algeria, a country where […]

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Why Natural Gas is Setting Up for a Big Short

I always thought that a great strategy for a new hedge fund would be to only buy positions from existing hedge funds that were blowing up. That fund would buy securities subject to margin calls and distressed liquidations, which are by definition at six standard deviation extremes. It would not trade very often, but few […]

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The True Cost of Oil

I received some questions last week on my recent solar pieces as to whether I minded paying more money for “green” power. My answer is “hell no,” and I’ll tell you why. My annual electric bill comes to $1,500 a year. Since the California power authorities have set a goal of 33% alternative energy sources […]

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December 27, 2011 – Quote of the Day

We have been pretending that we’re too big to fail. We’re not too big to fail, You can jump off of a 90 story building and feel fine for the first 89 stories. It’s the sudden stop at the end that tells you you’re not.” said Tom Friedman, New York Times columnist and author of […]

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