Interest Rates

  • 27 Sep
    Should You Worry About What’s Happening With Deutsche Bank?

    Should You Worry About What’s Happening With Deutsche Bank?

    • European stocks pushed global markets down after the German Chancellor said they will not help Deutsche Bank if it fails.
    • Europe still offers too much risk for the expected return.
    • In this article we’ll share two critical things you have to think about in order to weather all possible storms.

    Introduction

    After a long and quiet summer, stocks are showing increased volatility. Last week’s FED decision not to increase interest rates has quickly been forgotten as markets try to digest news from Europe where increased fears over capital requirements for Deutsche Bank, which sent European markets down on Monday.

    In this article, we’ll assess the depth of the issue and look for the real reasons behind the European 2% market move on Monday morning. More →

  • 20 Sep
    7 Years In & Valuations Matter More Now Than Ever Before

    7 Years In & Valuations Matter More Now Than Ever Before

    • Volatility can tell you when to buy, but valuations tell you when to sell.
    • In the 2000s, faster than expected earnings growth, low transaction costs and reduced risks from lower volatility were considered factors of the “New Era” for stocks.
    • These days, low interest rates and low inflation are new factors that create the “New Era,” while the PE ratios just grow and grow. Does this sound familiar?

    Introduction

    Apart from professionals, you rarely find investors who are passionate enough about their investments to make it their day-to-day and weather through the peaks and troughs in the market.

    There are many traders, especially young ones, who were unaware of what stocks were back in 2009 that now believe they are the kings of the world as a result of the tailwinds of the current bull market. In such an environment, valuations are ignored and investors become euphoric which makes them believe, for example, that the merging of Tesla and Solar City is a good idea, or that Facebook will have everlasting growth. In reality, our “new normal” is one of negative interest rates and low yields. More →

  • 19 Sep
    Beware The House Of Cards

    Beware The House Of Cards

    • Stocks and bonds don’t provide diversification, while gold only does sometimes.
    • Alternative assets are better, but not all of them are equal.
    • Hedge funds perform well in bear markets but heavily underperform in bull markets.

    Introduction

    The increased market volatility after the quiet summer demonstrates how risky markets can be. The market falling by 2.5% in a few days on practically no news except for an increased probability of a small increase in in interest rates and no additional stimulus in Europe is a sign of the market’s fragility. More →

  • 16 Sep
    Want To Retire Comfortably? Do You Have $2,000,000?

    Want To Retire Comfortably? Do You Have $2,000,000?

    • The low yields we have now increase the amount necessary for a comfy retirement nest egg.
    • $500,000 is only estimated to last for a 13 year retirement. Most retirees will completely miss the mark.
    • Avoid risky assets no matter how tempting might the yield be.

    Introduction

    Last week we discussed the true cost of low interest rates with particular attention paid to pension funding. Many defined pension plans are underfunded, and it’s a situation that has to be dealt with now despite it being against human nature to think about a problem that will only arise in the distant future.

    On top of the problems in defined pension funds, low interest rates have a detrimental effect on general pensions and your retirement. More →

  • 07 Sep
    The High Costs Of Low Interest Rates

    The High Costs Of Low Interest Rates

    • The $3.4 trillion public retirement system funding deficit we have currently will only continue to get bigger when expected returns are lowered from science fiction levels of 7% to realistic levels of 3% to 4%.
    • Insurance companies and banks are also at risk as their business models are in jeopardy.
    • Low interest rates are good in a crisis situation, but harmful in the long run. However, politicians have hesitated globally to make changes.

    Introduction

    The fact that interest rates are low is not news. While many are discussing whether the FED will raise rates or not, few analyze what the long term costs of such an artificial environment will be.

    The environment is artificial because if it weren’t for the low rates, or negative rates in many parts of the world, there would be no lending as you don’t lend below a certain interest rate. In any case, this will have severe consequences on the economy, liquidity, inflation, banks, insurance companies, and retirement funds, and could create bubbles that will take years to deleverage. More →

  • 31 Aug
    Where To Look For Hope In Yellen’s Latest Speech

    Where To Look For Hope In Yellen’s Latest Speech

    • The FED is predicting long-term average interest rates of around 3%, not the 7% that used to be the case.
    • Even small increases in interest rates will have a huge effect on yielding assets’ values.
    • Even Yellen it telling us that productivity is the main factor for growth, so add it to your portfolio.

    Introduction

    There are two main drivers of what can be done to improve the economy. One is new inventions and structural reforms that increase productivity, while the other is monetary policy. As the former takes time to get results, we mostly talk about the latter. We can assume that increased knowledge and structural reforms take care of themselves. Companies are always investing in new technologies, and governments, no matter what kind, slowly push for social and political improvements. The results can only be seen if we look at it in the long term. The quality of our lives is much better now than it was 20 years ago and 20 years from now will be even better. More →

  • 24 Aug
    Carl Icahn Is Right, But When Will The Market Learn?

    Carl Icahn Is Right, But When Will The Market Learn?

    • Carl Icahn has been warning us how dangerous low interest rates are as they create bubbles.
    • The most important bubble is the earnings bubble.
    • Repatriation and inversions are two crucial issues for the U.S.

    Introduction

    We are continuing with our series of articles on successful fund managers. You can read more about Ray Dalio here, George Soros here and Peter Lynch here. Looking at what these successful managers are doing gives us a better understanding of the market, its potential and its inherent risks.

    In today’s article we are going to look at Carl Icahn’s investing style and look at his current positions through his latest SEC filing. More →

  • 23 Aug
    Are You An Investing Optimist? Check Your Portfolio

    Are You An Investing Optimist? Check Your Portfolio

    • Investors are very optimistic in bull markets and allocate much of their portfolio to stocks, increasing their risk.
    • Analysts and economists expect more spending which will consequently push GDP and inflation up, but low rates push people to save more for their retirement.
    • If the GDP and earnings don’t grow as expected, we could see a bear market in 2017.

    Introduction

    Stock markets keep going up while fundamentals keep going down and the economic situation isn’t that great either. The S&P 500 is dancing around new highs despite corporate earnings for Q2 falling by 3.6%, and the economy only growing by 1.2% on an annualized basis. Economic growth for the whole of 2016 is only at 1%. More →

  • 22 Aug
    The Important Insights From The FOMC Minutes No One Is Talking About

    The Important Insights From The FOMC Minutes No One Is Talking About

    • The FED’s “protect the market at all costs” attitude minimizes the risk of a severe bear market but increases the risk for an inflationary environment.
    • Trade deficits and low productivity are not good signs for the long-term, no matter the positive data from the labor market.
    • Until the focus shifts from central banks to real structural reforms, sluggish GDP growth could easily turn into a recession.

    Introduction

    There are more important insights that can be gained by going through the FOMC minutes than by just reading the news about an eventual interest rate increase. An interest rate increase of 0.5% won’t change much. It will give the news something to talk about for two weeks and from then onwards it will be business as usual. Structural risks and what the FED is ready to do or not do in the case of turmoil is what will determine our investing returns. More →

  • 19 Aug
    The U.S. Dollar: Should You Stick To It Or Diversify Now?

    The U.S. Dollar: Should You Stick To It Or Diversify Now?

    • The dollar has been positively correlated with stocks for the last 4 years which is unusual.
    • Potential FED interest rate increases don’t make international diversification a great idea right now.
    • Any sign of a U.S. recession should be a good time to think about international diversification with emerging markets.

    Introduction

    On big news sites like Bloomberg you often come across headlines related to the movement of the U.S. dollar. The headline below is a good example. More →

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