Blog Archives

Gold – The Spot On Take From The Fundamental View

September 26, 2011
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Gold – The Spot On Take From The Fundamental View

The Fundamental View has done a great job profiting from the bull market in gold and has also called the correction over the past month spot on. Worth reading for all gold investors. Click here to read The Fundamental View’s recent analysis of the gold market. The above link will take you right to The Fundamental View site.        

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EM Stock Markets – Destabilized by Currency Sell-offs and Capital Outflows

September 26, 2011
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EM Stock Markets – Destabilized by Currency Sell-offs and Capital Outflows

Developed market equities are attempting to stabilize based on additional talks from Eurozone leaders who are meeting with the IMF and reported to be discussing items such as expanding the size of the EFSF, creating a TARP-EU, and recapitalizing more of the European financials. Developed market investors are attempting to look ahead during scary times. This contrasts to the overnight session in Asia, which saw another spiral into panic selling towards the Asian close. Most markets were down 3-6% again, and for a short period last night the S&P futures were down 15 points (2.5% lower than 8:00am NY time). There are a number of signs that this round of selling is liquidation with little regard to fundamentals in the region. The selling is indiscriminant when you look across...

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Tom Brady, Mos Def and Deckers launch Ugg for Men

September 25, 2011
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Tom Brady, Mos Def and Deckers launch Ugg for Men

Decker (DECK) has been one of the biggest success stories in the consumer space this decade. Since the depths of the financial crisis the stock has more than quintupled from sub-$20 to $100. The brand expansion and sustainability of growth have been questioned all through the bull market in the stock. Ugg has been the key brand driving growth. The products have always been very high quality and comfortable but the fashionista set has continually cringed thinking that styles would morph and Ugg would hit a wall in terms of growth. In short, the company continues to thrive. In the consumer space, success often begets additional success. In a savvy move, Deckers launched an advertising campaign with Tom Brady as they attempt to expand market share in the men’s...

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Nike’s Strong Results Indicative of Solid Global Consumption

September 23, 2011
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Nike’s Strong Results Indicative of Solid Global Consumption

Nike (NKE) reported an excellent set of results after the close last night. Headline earnings were $1.36 vs a street consensus of $1.21 (12.4% beat). I listened to the Nike earnings conference call and was really impressed with the strong business trends relative to the obvious dislocations we are seeing in the market and talk of global recession. Nike is one of the world’s strongest global brands and has a diversified business across both developed and emerging markets, across product categories such as footwear, apparel, and equipment, and across income demographics. If there was a global slowdown taking place right now it would be something that should impact Nike’s business. Basketball and running sneakers are mature categories in most countries. Nike’s earnings were driven by strong sales trends around...

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Europe’s Minimalist Approach Is the Wrong Course

September 22, 2011
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Europe’s Minimalist Approach Is the Wrong Course

What an 18 hours, as a conflux of negatives weigh on the market. In wrenching fashion, the US markets are down 6% since yesterday at 2:00pm. Most international markets around the world are down significantly more. Many emerging markets are off over 10% over two days. The Fed implemented Operation Twist yesterday, and the size and scope was actually greater than expected. The US Fed is not the crux of the current set of global financial problems, nor is it reasonable to expect that the Fed can fix things. I have highlighted previously that Europe has the capacity to avoid a full blown financial crisis by taking decisive actions. Unfortunately, Europe’s hard stance with respect to minimizing backstops, bailouts, the EFSF, coupled with a cavalier approach towards the French...

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Operation Twist – What the Fed May Announce Today and the Implications

September 21, 2011
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Operation Twist – What the Fed May Announce Today and the Implications

The Federal Reserve is likely to announce additional easing measures at the conclusion of the two-day Fed meeting today. Additional easing is anticipated by the market but there are a number of uncertainties related to the scope of what the Fed will implement. The most focused on initiative is called “Operation Twist” which is jargon for selling shorter-term Treasury note holdings (which are yielding a number of basis points which can be counted on one hand) and reinvesting the proceeds out the maturity curve. The action has the effect of increasing the duration of the Fed’s treasury holdings and effectively taking duration out of the market. The System Open Market Account (SOMA) is the account where Fed purchased securities reside. It has been estimated by Brian Sack’s New York...

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Why A European Sovereign Debt Crisis Can Be Avoided

September 20, 2011
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Why A European Sovereign Debt Crisis Can Be Avoided

The European sovereign debt crisis has dominated financial news and been the primary driver of markets for the past month. I would argue that we are in an actual crisis in Europe and this is no longer about fears of a crisis. When banks can’t finance independently through the market and when large countries can’t issue debt at reasonable interest rates you are in the throes of a crisis. The outlook regarding how this unfolds is really the dominant driver behind any and all short and medium term investment decisions right now. If one believes that this crisis can’t be contained and it will be a 2008-2009 redux, then it would make no sense to be invested and a lot of sense to be short. If one believes this...

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Flow of Funds Household Net Worth – US Making Progress

September 19, 2011
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Flow of Funds Household Net Worth – US Making Progress

On Friday, the Federal Reserve Board released the quarterly Flow of Funds data which measure the US household sector’s assets, liabilities, and net worth. The data are released with a lag as we just received Q2 measurements, two and a half months after the calendar quarter came to a close. While the level of net worth declined very slightly from Q1 to Q2 (25 basis points) the y/y growth rate in net worth (wealth) actually accelerated from up 5.9% in Q1 to up 8.1% in Q2. 8.1% growth rates are not sustainable nor do they need to be. The strong growth rate in the second quarter is a function of depressed markets in last year’s second quarter coupled with a market rally in June 2011. The market is already...

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The Johnny Cash Project – Google Now A Global Marketing Titan

September 18, 2011
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The Johnny Cash Project – Google Now A Global Marketing Titan

Google recently ramped up spending to pursue initiatives described by the company as the next billion dollar opportunities. During the first quarter of this year, Google had plenty of detractors as the growth rate in expenses far outpaced the growth rate in sales. In Q2, there was a slightly different tune as Google achieved a much better balance between expense growth and sales growth – which accelerated north of 30%. The Johnny Cash project is representative of an inflection point in the corporate history of Google. This creative campaign represents some of the most innovative marketing (of any kind) in years where Google is able to juxtapose music, art, pop-culture, emotional connection, and corporate branding. The last company to establish such a strong connection with a consumer base was...

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Target – Missoni is a Home Run!

September 16, 2011
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Target – Missoni is a Home Run!

A number of news reports have been out regarding the new exclusive apparel and home line designed by Missoni for Target (TGT). The Italian designer is very well regarded in the fashion world and Target getting an exclusive launch of this magnitude speaks to the credibility of the merchandising team and the power of the Target brand. Target experienced a website crash while the product line launched due to high demand (perhaps the site was intentionally crashed?). This has created enormous buzz and an air of exclusivity. There have been reports of lines at the door before stores open across the country. When you invest in Target you get one of retail’s best merchandising and branding teams in the nation. The success of the Missoni line has the potential...

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Europe Starts to Come Back Together – Bullish Sign for Depressed Markets

September 15, 2011
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Europe Starts to Come Back Together – Bullish Sign for Depressed Markets

Yesterday, German Chancellor Merkel and French President Sarkozy proclaimed they are convinced that Greece will remain in the Eurozone. While the announcement was short on details, the spirit of it was enough to lift markets. Why news such as this can have an impact is because the markets have started to invest with “crisis” as a baseline result. This is why I’ve been holding the view that at certain price levels it is quite sensible to be constructive with investing despite how bad the news is – the news gets in the price. Recently the market has been reflective of this dynamic so news which is really just a signal of continuing to work together can actually be quite bullish. The present debate around Greece, the role of the...

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Why the Market Will Bottom Higher than 2009 – An Analysis of S&P 500 Free Cash Flows

September 13, 2011
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Why the Market Will Bottom Higher than 2009 – An Analysis of S&P 500 Free Cash Flows

The market is in the midst of a crisis. The US sovereign credit rating has been downgraded. Developed market economies are demonstrating an inability to create jobs. Greece is about to default on its sovereign debt which will lead to contagion through the financial system in Europe. French and other European financials will be downgraded this week and markets are in a period of exceptional volatility and uncertainty. How does one invest in the crisis that everyone sees coming? I continue to hold a constructive view with respect to investing and taking risk. In order to be rationally bullish, one must have some view with regard to the amount that will be lost if a crisis gets out of control. Knowing what you can lose ahead of time, while an...

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