First Quarter Closing On A Deceptively Volatile Note

This week’s Market Update is posted at Alpha Baskets and includes the following; Japan reported that its CPI 0.0 versus the Bank of Japan’s target of 2% which raises deflationary concerns which have plagued that country for many years. Japan is often cited as having a demographics problem (average age 44.6 in 2010) which some believe contributes to the deflationary threat. Europe and the US (close to 40 and 36 respectively) also have demographics problems, but not as bad as Japan, and they are both trying to stave off their own deflation. Please click through for the entire update. The picture is from the NASCAR race I went to a couple of weeks ago. There are few of these around the track. The on-duty firefighters sit in the tucks during the race waiting to be...

Figuring It Out: An Introduction

This will be an experiment of sorts. I have always enjoyed reading different perspectives that people have on how to make their lives better. I’ve included some of my thoughts on the subject in with my investing content. The genesis for all of this in terms of writing comes from our friend Bill, here in Walker who once said to us you can figure it out now or you can figure it out later but if you figure it out now you’ll be much better off. Figure it out refers to happiness/contentment/fulfillment/purpose. The catalyst for this sort of self-awareness in my own life came from my having been sick in high school which changed my some of my attitudes about life although this has been ongoing process. Over the years I’ve received positive feedback about the life that my wife and I have put together for ourselves. This is not about my having the answers for anybody else but having figured out some answers for myself and maybe knowing what questions other people can ask to help them to figure it out for themselves. These posts won’t be directly related to investing but there is a connection which I hope to explore. I will try to write a new post on a different, but related, subject once a week. A good starting point for this series might be making the effort to get to know yourself which I take as figuring out what is truly important to you. It seems like people often get clarity on this only after something bad happens. Figuring this sort of thing out is about...

The Fed Loses Patience

This week’s Market Update is posted at Alpha Baskets and includes the following; All of this puts up a major obstacle to the Fed’s raising rates anytime soon. All of the above have contributed to the dollar’s strength but too much strength becomes a problem for the US economy for domestic companies selling abroad. Higher interest rates would be likely to lift the dollar even higher, exacerbating the problem for domestic multinational companies. Should the dollar continue higher it would put further pressure on earnings growth which could then impact GDP growth possibly fomenting the next recession. Please click through to read the entire...

The Active Passive Debate Evolves by Necessity

My latest post at Alpha Baskets considers the extent to which the line between active and passive continues to blur into a more important outcome oriented approach to investing with the outcome typically being having enough money for retirement. From the post; When an investor can truly embrace that they need to focus on meeting their objective as opposed to beating the market they will invest more suitably which to me means a mix of different types of products that when blended together seek a particular outcome. For some that might mean less volatility than the market which is certainly an active objective or some sort of yield oriented strategy which again is an active objective. Most diversifiers are arguably active strategies, how passive is some sort of diversifier that tracks a recently made up index? Please click through to read the entire post. The picture is from a week ago Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway from the Campingworld.com...

Deflation In The USA?

This week’s Market Update is posted at Alpha Baskets and includes the following; On Friday the Producer Price Index (PPI) printed at -0.5% which was the fourth monthly decline in a row. This creates a quandary for the Federal Reserve Bank at their meeting this week because it wants to hike interest rates in the next few months. Of course part of the equation is the economy’s presumed ability to stay close to the Fed’s 2% inflation target which it has not been able to do. While lower prices are usually a positive for consumers, the data may be signaling a problem with demand which in turn becomes a problem for growth. This should not be too shocking given the sluggish economic performance in much of the developed world. Please click through to read the entire update. This weekend I went to my first NASCAR race, the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. My buddy’s company is very involved in auto racing and we were lucky enough to get some very neat...