29 Dec 2015

Market Forecasts Part 2

Yesterday I posted some of the questions and answers from the Barron’s annual ‘Test Your Wall Street Skills’ quiz. Here’s a link to my article from yesterday and here is the link to the article in Barron’s (a subscription may be required). Most of the ‘big’ questions have already been answered, but there are still some fun ones: 1. Which ‘FANG’ stocks will fare worst in 2016 – Facebook, Amazon,… Read More

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28 Dec 2015

Market Forecasts Part 1

Over the weekend, Barron’s put out their annual quiz for readers to predict market related events in the coming year (you can find the quiz here, but a subscription may be required). I thought it would be fun to share some of my answers – but keep in mind the quote from Warren Buffet, who said that ‘the only value of stock forecasters is to make fortune-tellers look good.’ I… Read More

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23 Dec 2015

Oil and Energy Stocks

One of my favorite long-timer readers asked me today to follow up on the chart from yesterday to include the performance of energy stocks (click here to see yesterday’s chart). The best quality sector data from S&P only dates back to 1989, so this data set isn’t quite as long as what I showed yesterday, but the story is basically the same and I have to admit that I was surprised… Read More

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22 Dec 2015

Treasury Bills Beat Oil 30 Years On

Although oil ultimately finished higher yesterday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude touched on a 2004 low during the day.  I know I am repeating myself, but I continue to be surprised by how far oil has dropped in the last 18 months. As you know, I think a chart is worth 1,000 words, so I’ve plotted the spot price for WTI as far back as my Bloomberg data would take… Read More

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21 Dec 2015

Analyzing Air Force Bombers

I read an interesting story recently about risk management in a book titled Red Blooded Risk by Aaron Brown. During World War II, the Air Force was trying to figure out the optimal amount of armor that should be added to it’s bombers.  Since every pound of armor means one few pound of bombs, it means that more bombing runs will be needed to deliver the same payload. The Air… Read More

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18 Dec 2015

Fed Euphoria Fades

There was fairly downbeat sentiment surrounding commodities and commodity-linked stocks yesterday.  The Bloomberg Commodity index hit its lowest level in 16 years, and is close to setting an all-time low since its launch in 1991. Not surprisingly, the dollar’s strength (up 1.93 percent yesterday and 9.66 percent year-to-date) in the wake of the Fed liftoff yesterday has been getting a lot of attention. Some investors thought that the increase in rates… Read More

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17 Dec 2015

The Fed Awakens

As expected the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised interest rates a quarter of one percent so that the target range for overnight lending is now 0.25-0.50 percent. Importantly, the Fed said that rates would rise gradually from here, actually using the word ‘gradual’ twice in the statement. Also, somewhat surprisingly, the vote to increase rates was unanimous.  I believed, and heard other commentators say, that there would likely be… Read More

16 Dec 2015

Finally, Fed Day is Today

Well, today’s the day that we will in all likelihood get news that after seven years, interest rates will come off of the floor.  The Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) that the Fed has engaged in will finally be over. Although I have the feeling that what the Fed will do next will still dominate the conversation (when will they raise again, by how much, etc.), it will be nice… Read More

15 Dec 2015

Junk Bond Selloff Continues

The junk bond market was under pressure again yesterday, but managed to finish off of their worst levels.  The high yield market was roiled again after one hedge fund, Lucidus Capital, announced that it was shutting down its $900 million credit fund, and another hedge fund, Stone Lion, said that they were suspending redemption on their $400 million fund. This comes after news from last week that Third Avenue, a… Read More

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