Investing by Starlight

By |2018-04-17T06:50:01+00:00April 17th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Every decade or so, a new investment star is born. Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” Source: MOMA In the ‘60s it was growth stocks. In the ‘70s it was gold. In the ‘80s we all turned Japanese. The ‘90s had the Nasdaq. The ‘00s saw China’s growth. And now we have the data giants. Each one of these markets rallied some 10-fold during its heyday. What’s next? One approach is to look for the asset that no one wants. In the early ‘80s Japan just [...]

In Europe We Trust?

By |2017-09-22T07:20:40+00:00September 22nd, 2017|Global Market Update|

Why didn’t Europe fall apart? Horace Vernet, “The Battle of the Barricades.” Public Domain. Source: Wikipedia In 1848, revolution swept across Europe. Governments fell in Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, and elsewhere. In all, over 50 countries were affected. The uprisings were led by shaky ad hoc coalitions of reformers, intellectuals, and workers, which didn’t hold together for very long. They were often violently put down, but resulted in lasting social changes, even if the political order was only temporarily overturned. This history [...]

European Futures

By |2017-07-17T12:21:27+00:00March 10th, 2017|Global Market Update|

Where is Europe going? Source: Wikipedia An old joke from the ‘90s stated that the most boring headline of the time was, “Whither NATO: Canadian Proposal has Merit.” Europe has been struggling with its identity for as long as I can remember. During the Cold War, it was at the center of the ideological struggle between communism and democratic capitalism; since then it has tried to define itself economically, politically, and culturally. Is Europe simply an accident of geography? Or is it something more? [...]

Euro Futures

By |2017-07-17T12:21:56+00:00May 25th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Is the Eurozone dying? Photo: Dave Meier. Source: Picography It’s certainly facing tough times. Economically moribund, most Euro government bonds carry negative interest rates. Countries on the economic periphery still face crushing debt service. Unemployment remains above 10% -- the same level it was shortly after the Great Recession. And soon Britain will vote to leave the EU. Who can blame them? Who wants to tie their economic future to a 20-ton anchor? But bad as things are right now, they were significantly worse [...]

Alpine Meadows

By |2017-07-17T12:21:57+00:00May 23rd, 2016|Global Market Update|

What comes to mind when you think of the Alps? Photo: Kevin Connors. Source: Morguefile Maybe it’s clear mountain lakes and crystal blue skies. Maybe it’s sun and snow and skiing. Or maybe it’s money? A map of Europe scaled by per-capita GDP reveals an interesting tendency: the areas with the most mountainous topography tend to have higher incomes. Northern Italy, western Austria, southern Germany, and Switzerland are all significantly richer than other regions. This holds true despite differences in taxation, culture, transport, and [...]

Rising Dollar, Rising Markets?

By |2017-07-17T12:23:01+00:00March 17th, 2015|Global Market Update|

What does a strong dollar mean for the rest of the world? Source: Digital Juice Over the past six months the trade-weighted dollar has risen 25%. A strengthening labor market here, monetary stimulus by the Bank of Japan, Q€ in Europe, falling oil prices in Canada, and a slowdown in China have depressed those currencies relative to ours. […]

Germany Uber Alles?

By |2017-07-17T12:23:01+00:00March 16th, 2015|Global Market Update|

The German stock market is making new highs. But what is Germany, really? Source: National Geographic For many people, Germany calls up images of the Bavarian castles or the Rhine. For others it’s Oktoberfest and lederhosen, or the Autobahn, or cathedrals. Still others get their images from old war movies. […]

Fast and Slow

By |2017-07-17T12:23:15+00:00October 30th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Why is US growth faster than Europe? Source: In 2008 and 2009, the global economy collapsed, brought down by a credit crunch that started in here but quickly spread around the world. Since then, the US economy, while weak, is moving back towards normal. Europe, on the other hand, looks like it’s about to enter its third recession in six years. Why the difference? […]

Uh Oh ….

By |2014-09-18T09:50:31+00:00August 13th, 2014|Global Market Update|

Is Europe headed into another recession? Europe’s industrial production fell last month, after falling the previous month. Unemployment is stuck at almost 12%. Credit is contracting. Two-year German government bonds have negative yields. Short-term interbank rates are already negative. Even as the US appears to be accelerating, Continental Europe looks like it’s running out of gas. This is important. The Euro-zone is almost 20% of the world’s economy—bigger than China. From BMWs to Pirelli Tires to Hotel Sofitel, their goods and services compete with [...]