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January 20, 2018 | ‘This Time is Different’ and the Same Old Speculative Fever

Economist David McWilliams has a rare command of historical context, the independence to speak freely, and an Irish gift for storytelling.  His recent article: Four very expensive words ‘This time is different’, is worth reading.  Here are a few highlights: There is a huge difference between speculating and investing. The speculator typically starts with a little […]

January 19, 2018 | IEA Sees “Explosive Growth” in Oil Supply

Exploding supply growth and falling demand growth is a full circle to lower prices. OPEC’s fear that another surge of shale oil could neutralize its production cuts might be coming true. U.S. oil output is set for “explosive” growth this year as prices rally, the International Energy Agency said on Friday. That was just one […]

January 18, 2018 | Financial Criminals Continue to Profit from Fraud and Theft with No Jail Time

A lawsuit filed this week by The Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado alleges that Canada’s six biggest banks and three foreign lenders conspired to manipulate a key Canadian benchmark rate, CDOR (Canadian Dealer Offered Rate), to extract “illegitimate profits” on derivatives trades for several years until 2014.  The alleged violations, including conspiracy under […]

January 17, 2018 | C-Suite Pillage Continues as Pension Deficits Gap Wider Worldwide

The bankruptcy of Britian’s largest construction company this week shines more light on the plague of underfunding that has compromised pension promises worldwide. Even after the enormous central bank funded rebound in asset prices to record highs today, Carillion has a 587 million pound pension shortfall for its 20,000 employees.  FTSE 350 companies broadly have […]

January 16, 2018 | BC Case Reveals 7 Scams That Have Pumped Up Canada’s Real Estate Bubble

A B.C. Supreme Court case that pitted two rich families from China against each other provides grim revelations about the kind of migration, tax, and real-estate scams regularly occurring in Metro Vancouver and beyond. “This case provides unusually candid insight into what those who would abuse our immigration and real-estate systems really think in their own […]

January 12, 2018 | Traders Ramp Oil Prices as Aramco Underwriting Fees Dangle Ahead

Oil is bouncing again, with the price of a European Brent barrel passing $70 today–more than doubling since 2014, and WTIC above $64 for the first time in more than three years.  Speculators are piling on, spiking volatility and price instability. The Saudis have said they want oil about $60 a barrel to meet their […]

January 11, 2018 | Canada Sees the Future, Ups Investment in EV Infrastructure

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources yesterday announced a $120-million investment to expand the network of electric vehicle charging and alternative refueling stations across the nation “to encourage Canadians to reduce their carbon footprint”.  Additional benefits will be improved air quality, lower household expenditures on fuel and internal combustion engine parts and repairs, and reduced pollution-related death […]

January 10, 2018 | Home-Equity Gutting: Nightmare on Main Street Continues

Paid-for-homes are a refuge of peace and shelter.  Homes continually gutted of equity are financial calamities waiting to happen.  Central bank-inspired speculation has wrought another nightmare on main street.  See: Home equity hits record high and here’s how homeowners are spending it: “there is now a strong confidence among borrowers that home values will continue to […]

January 9, 2018 | Risk-Blind and the Great Bear Market Coming

Our son was born in December 1999, three months before the ‘irrationally exuberant’ stock market peak of March 2000.  When he was young, we used to tell him that he was born at the top of the greatest stock market bubble of all time.  Apparently we were mistaken. Celebrating his 18th birthday last month, we […]

January 8, 2018 | How Much Life Savings Should We Bet on a ‘GOAT’?

Today on CNBC, Mike Santoli reviews the stats on the 2009 to 2018 stock market expansion and points out that, already the second largest and longest price expansion in history, Bulls are now betting this market will be the G.O.A.T (Greatest of all time) and manage to match the all time largest speculative price to earnings peak […]

January 6, 2018 | Getting Young People Off on Stable Start is Essential for All of Us

I was speaking to an art dealer yesterday who was explaining that art galleries are closing all across North America:  “Only wealthy investors are buying art at auction these days, galleries can’t make a go of it.  Young people are all about the internet, they have no interest in art,” she said. “They can’t afford it”, I […]

January 5, 2018 | Opportunity Coming for Those Who are Ready

While still up .7% over the last year, Toronto home prices fell for the 7th consecutive month in December, down 8.9% since May–the largest seven-month decline in data tracked since 2000. Falling 3.5% since November, the average sale price in Toronto is still–a wildly un-afforable for most–$735,021 ($1.2 million for single detached homes.)  See Toronto home […]

January 4, 2018 | The Current Looks at Predatory Payday Lenders

Financial services that prey on the poor and uninformed are undermining social stability everywhere.  Just one symptom of the widening wealth gap, payday loan franchises have enjoyed a boom phase over the past decade.  This has reduced the ability of users to consume and subsist going forward.  In the end, the economy and taxpayers pay […]

January 3, 2018 | One Word for Stock Valuations as we Enter 2018: Breathtaking

Stock bulls insist valuations aren’t definitive of durable investment returns. History does not agree.  This chart of stock valuations cycles back to 1900, showing present levels in the rare and fleeting company (red zone) of just October 1929 and March 2000,  says it all.

January 2, 2018 | Source of Funds Define the Depth of Mean Reversion

It is typical of long bull markets, that holders fall in love with their holdings and consider capital gains as money in the bank (without actually cashing out and putting cash profits in the bank).  Why would anyone sell rising assets when they can fund their spending through tax-deductible loans against their investment holdings in […]

December 30, 2017 | Lacy Hunt on the Consequences of ‘Too Much of the Wrong Type of Debt’

Like our firm Venable Park Investment Counsel, Hoisington Investment Management, manages the capital under its care as long-term pension savings on which owners are depending for their present and future security. This 30-minute audio interview is worth listening to a couple of times.  No slick sales pitch here, just valuable information and insight.   Direct audio link. […]

December 29, 2017 | How Both Political Parties Have Enabled Finance to Win at the Expense of Everything Else

It is important for thinking people to acknowledge that the financial sector that continues to hollow out the real economy, social stability and the rule of law today, has been aided and abetted by both political parties, over the past 30 years.  Meaningful change requires more than just swapping in different speech-reading figureheads. Critical first […]

December 28, 2017 | Christmas Week Must Read: ‘Three Delusions’

John Hussman has written a particularly valuable piece this month in Three Delusions: Paper Wealth, Economic growth and Bitcoin–and how they are all connected. A synthesis of key takeaways from history, fundamental analysis, technical analysis, macro perspective and human behavior around saving and speculation.  This is no Tweet-sized bite.  The article is longer, but well written […]

December 24, 2017 | Christmas Tree Rental Service

Cheers to more smart, sustainable business ideas in 2018! Happy holidays. Primrose Vale Farm offer their customers a Christmas tree rental service. Customers keep the tree over the Christmas period and then return it. People can also rent the same tree the following year. Here is a direct video link.

December 22, 2017 | TEDx: A “Eureka” for Solar Energy

Harnessing sunlight to meet the ever increasing demand for energy at the global scale has long been pursued by scientists and engineers. During his talk, Dr. Conings will discuss the relevance of solar energy, an everlasting sustainable energy source, that can reduce the dependency on adverse carbon emitting energy resources. Getting at the physical chemistry […]

December 20, 2017 | The Gutting of Household Equity

Funds to sustain Canadian consumer spending over the past several years, have come largely from credit–not income or savings. Thus, consumer debt has driven nearly all of the economy’s growth since 2014 and caused many observers to quite rationally ask, when will Canada hit the end of this debt binge? (Debt to GDP shown here […]

December 18, 2017 | “Wolf of Wall Street” Warns on Financially Destructive Human Behavior

Good comments in this segment on the vulnerability of humans to financially destructive behaviors. Belfort knows first-hand both how easy it is to lure people into harm’s way, but also how the slippery slope of greed tends to extinguish self-preservation sensibility for those promoting and selling the idea or product as well. “Wolf of Wall […]

December 14, 2017 | World’s First Solar Powered Train Begins Operation in Australia

Earlier this year the Netherlands announced that their electric trains are 100% wind powered, meeting their target a year earlier than planned.  And India has a “solar-powered train,”except in that case it’s still being pulled by a diesel locomotive and the solar panels only power comfort systems like air conditioning and lights.  This is the first train […]

December 12, 2017 | Most Valuable: The Currency of our Debt and Expenses

Cryptomania continues this week, with prices roaring and news of broke buyers using credit cards and loans against their homes to get in– classic financially-suicidal behaviors. Bizarre as all of this may seem, manufacturing digital credits is reminiscent of what governments have been doing with a vengeance the past decade in issuing and selling treasury […]

December 9, 2017 | A Word on Analyst Forecasts as we Approach Year End

As we move into year end, the airwaves are full of analyst forecasts for further equity gains in 2018.   Saved from bankruptcy by government bailouts in 2008 and emboldened by years of central bank asset buying since, the long always siren song has never been louder. But already the second longest expansion in market history, […]

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