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March 2, 2021 | Another Excellent Time To Review Financial Plans and Risk-Exposure

Rob Carrick’s Globe article last week bemoans a “second-opinion desert” for unbiased financial and portfolio reviews.  Noting a few online review services, Carrick concludes they are really designed as “sales promotion” for financial products and services.  That’s true, and it’s unfortunate because, particularly in the present financial mayhem, individuals are badly in need of unbiased, […]

March 1, 2021 | The Fifth Estate: The Missing Millions

As forensic accountant Harry Markopulous explained in this interview from November, fraud has become rampant over the past decade enabled by lax regulation, complicit accounting firms and financial advisors and investors who are keen for gains but remiss in due diligence.  These factors all played a role in this recent Canadian story and thousands of others. […]

February 28, 2021 | Grantham: A Historic Market Bubble

A worthwhile hour-long discussion on our historic market bubble. Jeremy Grantham is the Long-Term Investment Strategist and Co-Founder at GMO. We cover the three key signs of a bubble, why Jeremy believes we are in a bubble right now and how it’s being led by retail rather than institutional investors: “This bubble is more impressive […]

February 27, 2021 | Small Business Prospects Darken with Rising Debt

Meanwhile, in the real economy, where companies with fewer than 100 employees are the largest economic driver, employing two-thirds of Canada’s private labour force, survival prospects are getting worse.  See Small businesses rack up loans to survive: The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) estimates that, based on a recent survey of its members, about seven […]

February 26, 2021 | Munger on SPACs, ‘Free’ Trading, Bankers and Bitcoin

The 2-hour live stream with 97-year old Charlie Munger yesterday (youtube clip here) was slow-moving but still a breath of fresh air for the few remaining souls not intoxicated with speculative manias, brokers and investment bankers.  A couple of my favourite quotes: “The investment banking profession will sell shit so long as shit can be […]

February 25, 2021 | Higher Yields and Commodity Prices Intensify Recessions

Commodity prices and inflation expectations (below since 1995) have been following government and central bank stimulus flows higher over the past six months.  This is no all-clear sign for risk markets or the economy—quite the opposite.   Treasury yields have moved higher for the ride. From a low of .43% on August 20, 2021, Canada’s […]

February 24, 2021 | Psychological Foibles Behind Financial Errors

Many of today’s market participants have no first-hand experience of an extended bear market that grinds asset prices lower over many months and does not recover prior highs for many years.  Others have experienced an extended bear market in the past, they should know better, but they believe (hope) this cycle is different. The Dunning-Kruger […]

February 23, 2021 | Pump and Dump is a Tale as Old as Markets

Pump-and-dump schemes have been suckering in the gullible for centuries.  Past major loss cycles have resulted in stiffer regulation and prosecution of perpetrators.  Following last week’s congressional hearing, the Securities and Exchange Commission is preparing a report about the trading frenzy around GameStop’s shares, with a view to informing potential regulatory action.  We shall see; so […]

February 22, 2021 | Innovating Greener Energy Storage

Amanda Hall, Co-founder and CEO of Calgary-based Summit Nanotech, recently joined CBC Calgary Eyeopener to discuss the company’s innovative method of generating more environmentally-friendly, battery-grade lithium compounds.  Here is a direct audio link. Summit Nanotech has designed an innovative new method to generate battery grade lithium compounds from brine fluids, named denaLi. This process is the most […]

February 18, 2021 | Roubini Not Buying Cryptomania

The higher prices go in financial manias, the more people buy in, and the more infectious the pressure to declare gains justified.  Even those who can do the math and know better are very often swept into ‘new era’ thinking. Roubini sees a naked Emperor in crytocurrencies and doesn’t mind saying so.  He summarizes many […]

February 17, 2021 | Keeping Clear

Someone recently asked me how I stay rational and focused amid manic markets and people. It’s pretty simple, really: I know that crazy is as crazy does. Growing up, I witnessed alcoholism and destructive behaviors in close family members. I know the critical importance of self-control and maintaining mental health. For more than thirty years, […]

February 16, 2021 | Re-Opening and New Variants Suggest Third-Wave in March

In Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, 27 regions will begin a gradual reopening today against the backdrop of stark scientific modelling that has predicted a third wave of infections and the potential of a third lockdown. Several community-based outbreaks of the more virulent and vaccine-challenging South African variant have been confirmed in Ontario over the last week. […]

February 12, 2021 | The Human Ups and Downs of Market Mania

Lest anyone thinks it is just large-cap tech stocks that are trading to Jupiter these days, the chart of small-cap stock prices (the Russell 2000 index below since 2001) shows an incredible 40% gap above their 200-day moving average.  Sven Henrich points out in Signal Fire, never before has the weekly chart seen such a steep disconnect, […]

February 11, 2021 | What’s Your Self-Preservation Plan?

Whatever people may think they are doing in risk markets today, it’s not investing.  If you feel that you must hold sticks of dynamite, at least understand that the wicks are lit and define your self-preservation plan. David Rosenberg, chief economist, and strategist at Rosenberg Research & Associates, offers a lucid overview of our present […]

February 10, 2021 | Canadian Household Insolvency Filings Paused as Debt Expands Further

Older Canadians facing insolvency are in a “race against time”, according to a new report from licensed insolvency trustees Hoyes, Michalos & Associates.Here is a direct video link.

February 9, 2021 | The Siren Song of Record Capital Risk

The tech-heavy NASDAQ index has now risen 100% since its March 2020 low (see a green rectangle in the chart below from my partner Cory Venable since 2013) amid a pandemic and the worst recession since the 1930s, where thousands of small businesses have closed, unemployment rates have near doubled, and levered gambling has become […]

February 8, 2021 | Public Markets Designed To Fleece The Public

The National Association of Securities Dealers, the NASDAQ began trading fifty years ago today on February 8, 1971, as the world’s first electronic stock market with for over 2,500 listed securities. In November 1998, the National Association of Security Dealers announced that the American Stock Exchange would merge with the National Association of Securities Dealers […]

February 4, 2021 | Simply Bonkers

As John Hussman patiently explains (again) in this month’s missive Detached Parabolas and Open Trap Doors, the impulse to exchange cash for any other security, regardless of price, has bid up markets to positively mindless levels. This first chart of the total U.S. equity market capitalization level (price x shares as a percentage of GDP since […]

February 3, 2021 | Better Markets Spells Out How a Lawless Financial Sector Robs Its Customers

Better Markets is a public interest 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Washington, DC that advocates for greater transparency, accountability, and oversight in the domestic and global capital and commodity markets. They make it their mission to clearly articulate for the public and legislators the conflicts of interest and trust abusing activities today rampant in a largely […]

February 1, 2021 | USD Support Warns Risk-Rally

Between March 23 2020 and January 5, 2021, the US dollar index (greenback versus the Euro, Yen, Pound, Cdn$, Swiss franc and Swedish krona) fell 13.2% to test long-term support in the $89 area as shown below in my partner Cory Venable’s chart of December 31, 2020. As the dollar fell, risk-assets on the other […]

January 29, 2021 | Speculative Mania is a Losing Game

The ‘Reddit mob’ has legitimate reasons to feel retaliatory against a financial sector that has increasingly been run by and for predators that are afforded advantage at the expense of their customers, economic strength, taxpayers and workers, worldwide. But there should be zero delusion that broker/dealers, including the deceptively named ‘Robinhood’ (presently working with investment […]

January 27, 2021 | Option Trading Helping To Fuel Stock Market Bubble

Good article on the frenzy of retail participants inflating stocks (and related capital loss prospects) with call options, see How option’s trading could be fuelling a stock market bubble.  Here’s a taste: Since the sharp setback for tech stocks in September, retail traders have redoubled their interest in buying single-stock options, which have become especially popular […]

January 26, 2021 | Grantham: Next crash will rival 1929, 2000

Jeremy Grantham, co-founder and chief investment strategist of Boston’s GMO, believes U.S. stocks have become an epic bubble and will burst in a collapse rivalling the crashes of 1929 and 2000. In this interview, he explains why, discusses the futility of Federal Reserve policy, criticizes the state of American capitalism, and shares his thoughts on […]

January 22, 2021 | Progress Requires Redirecting Where Money Goes

Just as junk food fills a near-term hole but undermines health, so too are easy money policies. Ruchir Sharma, chief global strategist at investment dealer Morgan Stanley (itself a huge beneficiary of regulatory largesse and financial bailouts over the past twenty years) penned a lucid op-ed in The Financial Times this week, “Dear Joe Biden: […]

January 21, 2021 | The Global Financial Bubble will Implode. Will you use it to your benefit?

For those who are mandated to always be in equities (like pensions and long always funds) emerging market stocks are less extremely valued than developed markets and could drop less than when the present global bubble pops.  But a loss of maybe 30% versus 50%+ is still a huge setback. With the risk-trade massively correlated […]

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