Great Investors

James Grant: The Federal Reserve’s Most Outspoken Critic

September 28, 2012

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has been widely credited with playing a key role in saving the global financial system from spiraling into a deeper recession. As a recent Financial Times headline read, “Central Bank Action Lifts Gloom”; “Bold Fed and ECB Moves Cheer Investors- Confidence Increases in U.S. and Europe.” There is no question that the Fed and to a lesser degree the ECB, the European Central Bank, are pulling out all stops to boost economic growth, investor confidence, and stock returns, going far beyond what their critics maintain is their proper role. As this week’s guest, financial journalist and historian James Grant told me, “Central bankers have morphed into central planners.” Continue Reading »

Matt McLennan: The Collision of Macroeconomic Tectonic Plates

September 21, 2012

Have the financial markets become more stable? Is a sense of equilibrium returning to the global financial system? Several widely followed measures would seem to indicate yes.
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David Darst: Should You Trust the U.S. Financial Markets?

September 14, 2012

Is the cult of equity dying, as bond king Bill Gross recently opined in his monthly investment outlook? Gross runs the world’s largest and one of its most successful bond funds, the PIMCO Total Return Fund and is one of the country’s most influential investors and prognosticators. As Gross’ chart, “Stocks For The Really Long Run” shows, stocks, with their 6.6% annualized inflation adjusted returns, have vastly outperformed bonds and cash over the last one hundred years; a fact chronicled by Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel in his investment classic, Stocks For The Long Run. Gross maintains this track record is unsustainable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is PIMCO’s expectation that the economy will grow at a much slower pace for the foreseeable future.  Under PIMCO’s now famous “new normal” forecast, real GDP should crawl along at 1-2% a year versus the historical average of 3.5% in the post-war era.
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Robert Kessler

August 3, 2012

Sticking with a Fixed Income Strategy, A Contrarian View

Three years into an economic recovery, it sure doesn’t feel like one. We are even beginning to hear the dreaded “R” for recession word here in the U.S.  A recent headline in the Financial Times read: “Blue-Chips Raise Recession Fears.” The FT reported that “estimates of revenue growth for the largest us companies are being scaled back sharply by Wall Street analysts, signaling a mounting risk that the world’s largest economy may enter recession later this year.”
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BOB DOLL: BULLISH ON STOCKS

July 20, 2012

There was a counter culture novel published in the 1960s, titled I’ve Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me, a phrase later memorialized in a song written by Lee Hazelwood and picked up by the rock band The Doors that just might describe where market psychology is today. As last week’s guest, economist David Rosenberg wrote recently, the phrase “consumer confidence is an oxymoron.” As you can see from his chart consumer confidence is “mired in recession territory.” As Rosenberg points out “we are supposedly in the third year of a recovery, but confidence is below the level that would be consistent with economic contraction.” As he noted, he is “noticing a certain degree of despair these days, just as I am getting enthusiastic about the future.”
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