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June 24, 2018 | Europe Has Train Wrecks, Too

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini at least made the trains run on time, according to legend. But other sources say the nation’s railway system remained horrible under his rule (see here, here, and here). The same may be true of modern Europe’s (and Canada and Australia and…) vaunted social welfare programs. Certainly, they have helped many […]

June 17, 2018 | The Pension Train Has No Seat Belts

In describing various economic train wrecks these last few weeks, I may have given the wrong impression about trains. I love riding the train on the East Coast or in Europe. They’re usually a safe and efficient way to travel. And I can sit and read and work, plus not deal with airport security. But […]

June 10, 2018 | Debt Clock Ticking

Rather go to bed without dinner than to rise in debt. —Benjamin Franklin What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience? —Adam Smith There are no shortcuts when it comes to getting out of debt. —Dave Ramsey Modern slaves are not […]

June 3, 2018 | The Italian Trigger

Train wrecks and their financial analogues are a worldwide phenomenon. Europe, as I have written for several years, remains a giant accident waiting to happen—as Italy reminded us last week. You may have noticed the results when US trading resumed Tuesday. A wider crash may not be imminent but is certainly possible and will have […]

May 27, 2018 | High Yield Train Wreck

My still-unfolding Train Wreck series is getting a lot of attention. It’s not exactly good news, but people at least appreciate the warnings. Thanks to all who sent thought-provoking comments. I always consider them carefully. A few readers characterized the crisis I foresee as being a repeat of the 2008 fiasco. That’s partly right, in […]

May 20, 2018 | Train Crash Preview

Today we will summarize something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Exactly how will we get from the credit crisis, which I think is coming in the next 12–18 months, to what I call the Great Reset, when the global debt will be “rationalized” via some form of nonpayment. Whatever you want to […]

May 13, 2018 | Credit-Driven Train Crash, Part 1

In last week’s letter, I mentioned an insightful comment my friend Peter Boockvar made at dinner in New York: “We now have credit cycles instead of economic cycles.” That one sentence provoked numerous phone calls and emails, all seeking elaboration. What did Peter mean by that statement? I vividly remembered that quote because it resonated […]

May 6, 2018 | Thoughts from the Mailbox

Since last week’s letter, I have flown enough to send me over 100,000 miles on American Airlines this year and make Executive Platinum. That is not necessarily a good thing. But wow, I learned a lot between all those flights. Today’s letter will be a little different. First, I want to relate some of the […]

April 29, 2018 | Economy with a Fever

Getting a fever is no fun. You likely get chills, you sweat, and you’re just generally uncomfortable. You get tired easily and need to rest. But here’s the weird part: Fever isn’t the real problem. It’s a symptom of something else. You must treat whatever that is to relieve the fever. Economic indicators are similar. […]

April 22, 2018 | China Plays It Cool

Photo: Getty Images China is the world economy’s elephant in the room. We can’t possibly ignore it, yet many try anyway. Admitting China’s influence forces us to admit the world is changing—and we all must change with it. This year, China is in the headlines because President Trump wants better trade terms. That’s important, but […]

April 15, 2018 | How to Get Your Tax Weekend Back

This weekend millions of Americans and/or their accountants are preparing to file income tax returns. Tax day is an annual event as significant as the Fourth of July – though far less fun. Photo: Getty Images My friends outside the US – and I have many – observe our ordeal with a combination of amusement […]

April 8, 2018 | Assumptions Equal Problems

The future is tantalizing because it is both unknown and unknowable. At best, we can make educated guesses about tomorrow or next year. Sometimes, it’s actually hard to understand what happened in the past, much less to chart how the future might unfold. The problem is that some guesses are more educated than others, and […]

March 31, 2018 | Springtime Chart Fling

Here in Texas you know spring is here when our state flower, the bluebonnet, pops up everywhere. I was at the Masters in Augusta last year, and the azaleas were beautiful. But they are cultivated and take a lot of work to bring out their beauty. The bluebonnet is pure Texan. It is independent and […]

March 25, 2018 | Squares, FAANGs, and Stock Valuations

Valuing a stock isn’t hard. Each share is worth exactly as much as a buyer offers you when you try to sell. Quite simple. But of course, there’s more to it. We heard a lot about valuations at my Strategic Investment Conference, and particularly about the “FAANG” stocks that drove much of the recent bull […]

March 18, 2018 | SIC Perspectives

It’s been a week and I’m starting to recover from my post-SIC high. It’s a weird feeling. I love SIC, yet processing it all takes time. Imagine one of those brain maps that shows the neurons opening new pathways. That’s what SIC does. It opens connections that I didn’t previously have. Mapping these new connections […]

March 11, 2018 | The Great Jobs Collision

We’ve just wrapped the Strategic Investment Conference, which in many ways is the best week of my year. Seeing so many old friends, making new ones, and having countless fascinating conversations is my idea of heaven. On the other hand, this particular heaven is also exhausting. I’ve been running at full power 24/7 since Monday. […]

March 4, 2018 | Inflation and Honest Data

I’m going to wrap up our series on the problems of collecting and analyzing data in the first half of this letter, and then I’ll quickly comment on the Trump tariffs. I think both topics will feature in this week’s Strategic Investment Conference. At the end of the letter there will be a link to […]

February 25, 2018 | State of Inflationary Confusion

“Nobody knows anything…. Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.” – William Goldman, Oscar-winning screenwriter On the surface, the film industry and central banking have little in common. Each does its own […]

February 18, 2018 | Data-Dependent … on Imaginary Data

Federal Reserve officials like to say their policy course is “data-dependent.” That sounds very cautious and intelligent, but what does it actually mean? Which data and who’s interpreting it? Let’s ask a few questions. Photo: Federal Reserve Board of Governors First, how could their policy choices not be data-dependent? The only alternatives would be that […]

February 12, 2018 | Where Will We Get the Cash?

Last week’s turbulence shined a harsh spotlight on the stock market. Appropriately so, if that’s where your investments are. But in the hubbub many investors are missing the deeper and far more urgent bond market issues. We already knew interest rates were rising. Recent data suggests they could rise significantly more than many expected just […]

February 4, 2018 | Enjoy It While You Can

If you travel as much as I do, you come to value nonstop flights. Connections introduce uncertainty and potential delays, not to mention what often feels like wasted time; but sometimes connections are just unavoidable. But you don’t want them to be too tight. Those five-minute sprints from one concourse to another are never fun. […]

January 28, 2018 | Gross Domestic Problems

Fictitious Wall Street villain Gordon Gekko famously declared, “Greed is good.” I think actual Wall Street titans would mostly disagree. They would change one word. Instead of “greed,” they would say, “Growth is good.” That is Wall Street’s real mantra. Growth is the magic elixir we all need. Getty Images The question, if we define […]

January 21, 2018 | A Fly in the Economic Ointment?

The holidays are fading from memory, and 2018 is off to a good start, economically speaking. Most of the forecasts I’ve read expect a good year – not a blockbuster year or a horrendous one, but a mild pickup that ought to satisfy investors. Even the bears seem less confident than usual. The holidays are […]

January 13, 2018 | Year of the Octopus, Part 2

Only two weeks in and 2018 is already breaking records – mostly in a good way. But that leaves 50 potentially less enjoyable weeks to go. So rather than focus on promising current events, I think I’d better dip back into my annual forecast bag and share a few more highlights with you. Getty Images […]

January 7, 2018 | Year of the Octopus, Part 1

Greetings from Hong Kong, where the locals are preparing to welcome the new year on February 16. While 2018 is the Year of the Dog on the traditional Chinese calendar, on the nontraditional Mauldin calendar we call it the Year of the Octopus. I don’t know exactly what’s coming, but I’m pretty sure it has […]

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