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   Investment Thoughts - Archives


2015 Observations





A Year In Junk
"The most important outbreak or story of 2015 had to have been the junk bond reversal. It combined all the major elements of what investors and economic agents are both fearing and, at one point in the past anyway, hoping."
Alhambra Investment Partners, Jeffrey P. Snider, 31.12.2015


Resetting Production And Risk Perceptions
"2015 must be remembered as the year of divergence. The economy “unexpectedly” fell apart in broad-based and sustained fashion, yet Janet Yellen’s pedigree still counts far more in seemingly so many places"
Alhambra Investment Partners, Jeffrey P. Snider, 31.12.2015

Global Growth: The Underappreciated Gift That Keeps on Giving
"Take this widely acknowledged truism: Global growth is weak. This meme has constantly dominated headlines, not only this year, but throughout most of the current expansion."
Fisher Investments MarketMinder, 28/12/2015

The Chinese Currency in 2016: Bigger But Smaller
"China may enjoy a net current account surplus, but she has simultaneously been borrowing huge amounts of US dollars. In short, the peg to the US dollar has effectively dollarized China’s inflating domestic financial markets, and the scale of this bubble is eye-watering."
CrossBorder Capital, Michael Howell, December 15th 2015



Global pension assets vs. GDP in local currency

Source: Towers Watson and secondary sources, 2015



Global pension assets

Source: Towers Watson and secondary sources, 2015


How The Best of Intentions Destroyed Liquidity
"Milton Friedman once said that laws should be judged by their results rather than their intentions. Liquidity has disappeared, and it is directly attributable to the Volcker Rule."
Mauldin Economics, The 10th Man, Jared Dillian, December 10th 2015


How The Best of Intentions Destroyed Liquidity
"Milton Friedman once said that laws should be judged by their results rather than their intentions. Liquidity has disappeared, and it is directly attributable to the Volcker Rule."
Mauldin Economics, The 10th Man, Jared Dillian, December 10th 2015


The Apex Of Market Stupidity
"In the last five decades, there has never been less thinking going on in financial markets"
GaveKal, Charles Gave, December 8, 2015


It’s a Trap: Emperor Palpatine’s Poison Pill
Washington University in St. Louis, Zachary Feinstein, December 1st 2015




The Coffee Chronicles

“Do you enjoy being stupid? Oh yeah, I love being stupid. When we were writing Python that was the word we always used: SILLY! We loved it when it was silly, sometime when it was naughty, but when it was silly! And it was always best when it meant nothing!"
John Cleese on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, November 2015



Out NOW in PDF!


Pension Funds Switzerland

2015 Edition


for institutional investors







on the Fly

"I don’t think there is any data precise enough to fine-tune a quarter of a point raise, that’s trivial (...) Well, if that’s all that’s keeping the economy going, we’ve got nothing going on!"
Wilbur Ross (Chairman of WL Ross & Co.), on Why He's Fighting the Fed, Bloomberg, October 20, 2015



The Fed DID NOT Save the Economy
"QE started in September 2008 and TARP was passed in October 2008, but the stock market fell an additional 40%. Mark-to-market accounting was changed in March/April 2009 and that’s when the stock market and economy bottomed."
First Trust Portfolios L.P., Brian S. Wesbury, October 12th 2015


Don’t Worry About Asset Bubbles
One of the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) current dilemmas is how to square its battle against deflation with investors’ fears of inflating asset bubbles. The former is part of the Fed’s mandate, the latter is not.
Oppenheimer Funds, Krishna Memani, September 3, 2015


The Challenge Confronting Banks
Once a company is as big as Apple, it needs to start eating up other industries in order to keep growing. Surely though, there are lower-hanging fruit than the auto industry? Most notably, there is the finance business.
Gavekal Dragonomics, Five Corners, Louis-Vincent Gave, April 2015


Simple balanced portfolio strategies since 1995
I can’t help but to admire these balanced portfolios. Simple and elegant in their asset allocation, easy to implement, highly liquid, transparent, low-cost; yet so profitable and consistent in their long-term results.
Investment Office, September 2015


Asset Class Returns in Swiss Francs since 1950
...with and without foreign currency hedging.
Hinder Asset Management, Dr. Alex Hinder, August 2015





on the Fly

"In a world of shadow banking, the abstraction of the market has become an economic reality unto itself. Today, paradox is the new paradigm, and volatility markets are a reflection of that duality."
Volatility: The Market Price of Uncertainty, Christopher R. Cole, Artemis Capital Management, 2014


Judging by real GDP, this has been the weakest of the five recent economic expansions...
...But, divide GDP by the labor force and the current expansion is not at all unusual
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Richard W. Fisher, March 2015

Breaking Down the Consumer Price Index
Change in the Eight Subcomponents since 2000
Advisor Perspectives, March 2015


GDP per capita vs. GDP per working age population: United States vs. Japan

By only looking at GDP per capita one may easily miss the fact that Japan’s working-age population has been declining since the late 1990s.
The costs of deflation: a historical perspective, BIS Quarterly Review, March 2015


Applying Deep Learning to Enhance Momentum Trading Strategies in Stocks
Working Paper, Stanford University, Lawrence Takeuchi, Yu-Ying (Albert) Lee, December 12, 2013


Python-Esque “Growth vs Value”
Daily Speculations, Charles Pennington, August 27, 2015


Risk Appears Seriously Wounded
I have no idea if that means a top, but this market increasingly looks very, very tired if not seriously wounded.
Alhambra Investment Partners, Jeffrey P. Snider, August 21, 2015




The Coffee Chronicles

“Culturally, the Austro-German world of late nineteenth century was one of iconoclasts who became icons: Nietzsche in philosophy, Sigmund Freud in psychology, Albert Einstein in science, Richard Wagner in music, Mann in literature, and Max Weber in sociology."
A Mighty Fortress, Steven Ozment, Granta Publications,  2004 



Swiss Franc Lending in Europe
"Our estimates suggest that at the end of 2007, CHF 238 billion in Swiss franc denominated loans were outstanding in the euro area, and another CHF 122 billion in other European countries."
Swiss National Bank,  Martin Brown, Marcel Peter, and Simon Wehrmüller, February 2009





on the Fly

"It's also one of these prominently disrespected recoveries, no one has ever taken it seriously, people always had a complaint, but it keeps chugging along (...) It's like the most hated bull rally."
Bloomberg, "What'd You Miss?" The Current U.S. Recovery May Be the Longest Ever, Alix Steel and Joe Weisenthal, July 2, 2015.



American Tobacco and the Legacy of the Antitrust Laws
An original member of the 12 stocks that made up the original Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1896 ceased to exist last month, though few people noticed. General Electric Co. is the only one of the original 12 members that remains in the DJIA.
Global Financial Data, Dr. Bryan Taylor, June 2014




Asset Management Switzerland 2015

NOW in PDF Version!


Asset & Wealth Managers

Market Characteristics
Macro Observations
Private Wealth
Investment Advisors




Strange Machinations
What to make of markets that are no longer on speaking terms with their fundamentals.
Guggenheim Partners, Scott Minerd, May 15, 2015


The Fed Isn’t Fueling This Typical Bull Market
“Quite high.” That is how Fed chair Janet Yellen described stock valuations last week. Cue the usual Fed rate hike speculation. One camp thinks a hike is overdue—that the Fed has been too accommodating, inflating asset bubbles across the land. Others fret a hike and argue the US economy needs continued “Fed support.” So who is right?
By Fisher Investments Editorial Staff, 15/05/2015



on the Fly


"...practically and analytically, a credit theory of money is possibly preferable to a monetary theory of credit."

Joseph Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis


The Economic Cycle Is Maturing but Still Has Room to Run
The current economic expansion, now over 70 months old, is entering its mature phase, having already exceeded the average length of prior cycles of 57 months. However,
Guggenheim Partners, Scott Minerd, May 08, 2015


The New Physics of Leverage

"Since 2008 the predictions of doom by the goldistas have all been wrong. There has been no hyperinflation among any of the countries whose currencies can be cleared in large amounts through the central banks of the world. Gold has proven to be no more reliable a "store of value" than any other investment".
Stefan Jovanovich, Daily Speculations, 04/05/2015

Who trades with whom? Individuals, institutions, and returns
Journal of Financial Markets, Noah Stoffman, November 2014 
As Goes Switzerland…?
Here is a question worth weighing these days: If a strong currency is so devastating to stocks and economies—as many allege—why did stocks in a tiny, export-heavy economy not succumb to a nearly 20% shock appreciation?
By Fisher Investments Editorial Staff, 17/04/2015




The Coffee Chronicles

“I guess that everyone was offered The Godfather,” he recalls. “The only reason I got to do it was that I was cheap, I was young, I was Italian and I was a screenwriter. It was a total stroke of luck. I had no business having such an important movie. I was always on the verge of getting fired. They didn’t like my ideas.” Breakfast with the FT: Francis Ford Coppola, February 13, 2015





on the Fly



"What you need to understand is that all the usual rules of economic policy changed when financial crisis struck in 2008; we entered a looking-glass world, and we still haven’t emerged. In many cases, economic virtues became vices: Willingness to save became a drag on investment, fiscal probity a route to stagnation. And in the case of the Swiss, having a reputation for safe banks and sound money became a major liability."

Paul Krugman, The New York Times, January 2015 






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