Surprises From Market Breadth with Record Margin Debt

Surprises From Market Breadth with Record Margin Debt

As we discussed earlier, heading into the third quarter earnings season, we have above average level of positive guidance in terms of both top line sales and earnings as well as lower-than-average negative earnings guidance. We  pointed out yesterday, however, that an uncomfortable portion of that guidance is driven by gains from a weak dollar […]

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Calm Before the Storm?

Calm Before the Storm?

While D.C. is full of fireworks over health care and Russians, the Treasury is scrambling to pay the bills, yet the markets are peacefully awash in Xanax. The spread between the 6-month and 3-month Treasury bills is now pricing in a potential technical default, but given that the rest of the Treasury market looks unaffected, […]

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What The Financial News Isn’t Telling You That You Need to Know

What The Financial News Isn’t Telling You That You Need to Know

Investors as a group are notorious for chasing returns, which means everyone piles into whatever has been working best lately and more often than not tends to be late to the party. The catch this time around is whatever has been working best lately is whatever has gone up in price the most. All this […]

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Volatility – It's here!

Volatility – It's here!

In my firm’s newsletter last month I pointed out that the S&P 500 had been showing some technical signs of weakness, with the index falling below its 50-day moving average and with the 50-day moving average plateauing at that time.  I also pointed out the lack of breadth, with the number of stocks making new 52-week highs declining […]

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China's Crashing Markets

Every Monday morning I have the great pleasure of speaking with Matt Ray on America’s Morning News and try to break down the latest market developments for listeners.  On August 24th we talked about the recent pullback in the U.S. markets, rising volatility, and China’s crashing markets and what it may mean for the U.S. Click here […]

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What Deleveraging?

What Deleveraging?

What deleveraging? China, the nation that helped bull the global economy out of the last financial crisis, is slowing markedly. China is also facing a debt problem. From 2002 to 2008, China’s total debt/GDP ratio was fairly stable and remained below 150%, but is now about 250%. It is possible that China’s debt issues may […]

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Margin Debt – What and Why

Margin Debt – What and Why

If you’ve been listening to CNBC or reading any of the main financial publications, you’ve probably heard talk about the significance, (or insignificance based on the speaker’s perspective) of margin debt. Last week the NYSE released its latest data on margin debt which increased for the seventh straight month. January was also the fifth straight […]

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Volatility Returns

Volatility Returns

Since Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress on May 22nd concerning tapering its current QE programs, the markets have been rockin’ and rollin’ and trending downwards, yet we keep hearing the pundits say this year’s stock market gains have nothing to do with QEInfinity. Just what turnip truck do they think we all fell […]

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Where's the Boogeyman?  Rising Volatility?

Where's the Boogeyman? Rising Volatility?

With the markets on a roll and volatility still at record lows, my prose may at times appear overly cautious as I assess the markets, but remember that’s my job. Portfolio managers are essentially professional worriers, looking around every corner and under every data point for the hint that a major shift is on its […]

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The Case for Optimism

A friend of mine pointed out what he considered a rather surprising contradiction between what I write in this blog and my usual cheerful and optimistic demeanor, so I thought I’d share just why I still walk around with a considerable sense of optimism. To understand why I am in no way surprised by the […]

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