Look Forward, Look Backward, Look Out!

By | 2017-07-17T12:23:09+00:00 December 15th, 2014|Global Market Update|

What’s roiling the market? Source: Mythologica.fr It can’t be lower gas prices. Cheap oil is good for consumers. So is it higher interest rates from the Fed? But the Fed keeps putting off any increase, promising low rates for a “considerable period.” More sellers than buyers? That’s just how the market works. […]

Go Code

By | 2017-07-17T12:23:10+00:00 December 12th, 2014|Global Market Update|

Looking for work? Source: Wikipedia One area of the job market growing exponentially is computer programming, or coding. And it isn’t just tech firms that are hiring. As firms automate processes from human resource management to marketing to product manufacturing, they need people to write and maintain the code that makes everything work. And cyber-security is every bit as important as physical security: a recent study showed 97% of all company networks have been hacked in some way. […]

A Wounded Bear

By | 2017-07-17T12:23:10+00:00 December 11th, 2014|Global Market Update|

Are there any problems with lower oil prices? Source: Wildernessarena.com Some economies benefit from lower oil prices, and some are hurt. Among the winners are India and China, since agriculture and manufacturing are so energy-intensive. Also, China has become the world’s largest car market. Among the losers are Iran and Russia, whose budgets depend on significantly higher oil prices. And Russia is the second largest oil exporter in the world, shipping 7 million barrels per day. […]

Getting Some Gas?

By | 2017-07-17T12:23:10+00:00 December 10th, 2014|Global Market Update|

Will lower oil prices boost the economy? Source: Reuters/BRIAN SNYDER Most economists think so. Some estimate that the recent 40% plunge will provide a $1.5 trillion windfall to consumers around the world. Of course, that’s $1.5 trillion less for producers. But instead of going into the coffers of OPEC, that money will be in consumers’ pockets, who are more likely to recycle it into their economies. […]

Contagion & Confidence?

By | 2017-07-17T12:23:10+00:00 December 9th, 2014|Global Market Update|

Whatever happened to the muni meltdown? Source: NPR Four years ago there was mounting hysteria regarding municipal finance. Jefferson County, Alabama; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Stockton, California—places with hundreds of thousands of residents—were in or near bankruptcy. Investors from Warren Buffet to Felix Rohatyn commented on the many problems states and municipalities were facing—especially pension problems—in the aftermath of the Financial Crisis. And they had a point: pensions are what finally brought Detroit down. […]

Reviewing Risk and Return

By | 2017-07-17T12:23:10+00:00 December 8th, 2014|Global Market Update|

What’s your tolerance for risk? Source: Flikr Some people see risk and see only danger: lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Others look at risk as an opportunity for an adrenaline-rush: backflips off cliffs into mountain lakes, bungee-jumping off bridges and buildings. Risk is an integral part of finance. Different asset classes have different levels of uncertainty regarding their underlying cash-flow. This uncertainty translates into a risk-profile. […]

A Bitcoin Economy?

By | 2017-07-17T12:23:11+00:00 December 5th, 2014|Global Market Update|

Is Bitcoin money? Source: Wikipedia Bitcoins have been accepted by some online merchants for payment on their systems. The crypto-currency is designed to work like digital cash, changing hands anonymously, with no centralized ledger keeping track of who owns what. As such, it’s been the currency of choice for anyone who doesn’t want the government to trace their transactions—notably drug-dealers and libertarians. […]

A Winter of Discontent

By | 2017-07-17T12:23:11+00:00 December 3rd, 2014|Global Market Update|

The story is almost Shakespearian. Source: Shakespeare Online A charismatic leader arises. He demonstrates genuine ability. But he can’t maintain his position. His increasingly erratic behavior alienates his followers and they abandon him. Eventually, in a final conflict, the leader is put down. […]

Mutual Fun?

By | 2017-07-17T12:23:11+00:00 December 2nd, 2014|Global Market Update|

How do managers manipulate returns? Let me count the ways… Source: Bear Creek Fudge Factory Yesterday I noted how fund managers are conflicted. They want to look good so their firm can attract funds to improve their fee income. One way to look good is by gaming the system—fudging their returns. You’d think there would be rules about this sort of thing. But often, there aren’t. […]