A Durable Future (Part 2)

By |2017-07-06T17:34:18-04:00July 6th, 2017|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |

Do durable assets create durable returns? Jason and the Golden Fleece, c. 340 BCE. Source: Wikipedia Gold and silver are often touted as “alternative” investments. That is, their returns aren’t highly correlated with other, more typical, investments. So they have the potential to diversify an investment portfolio while providing return in their own right. Gold and silver served as a monetary standard for millennia. Are they useful investments? It’s hard to evaluate the long-term returns of a [...]

Golden Fetters?

By |2016-11-17T16:04:28-04:00November 24th, 2015|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , , |

Every few years someone suggests we return to a gold standard. Source: Pixabay It’s an election year, so discussions about money, the Fed, deficits, debt, and the gold standard are bound to come up. For millennia gold served as medium of exchange, unit of account, and store of value. As the densest material in the world, it’s fairly easy to determine its purity. Politicians often suggest tying the currency to something—in order to restrain the government’s ability [...]

Moment of Truth For Non-U.S. Markets

By |2016-12-01T15:44:55-04:00May 22nd, 2015|Categories: Technical Perspective|Tags: , , |

Image Source: Philip Brewer, Flickr The FTSE All World Ex-US index (VEU) is testing multi-year resistance in both dollar and gold terms. (See Chart 1)  Dollar-based investors are obviously interested in dollar thresholds, but why monitor relative strength in gold terms?  Because gold provides an alternative base “currency” that measures confidence in the institutions of money and credit.  A market making higher highs versus gold is exhibiting organic strength independent of local-currency devaluation or unsound credit expansion [...]

A Bitcoin Economy?

By |2016-11-17T16:32:51-04:00December 5th, 2014|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |

Is Bitcoin money?Bitcoins have been accepted by some online merchants for payment on their systems. The crypto-currency is designed to work like digital cash, changing hands anonymously, with no centralized ledger keeping track of who owns what. As such, it’s been the currency of choice for anyone who doesn’t want the government to trace their transactions—notably drug-dealers and libertarians. […]

The Color of Money

By |2016-11-17T17:01:27-04:00March 26th, 2013|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |

Is gold money?That’s the question Ron Paul asked Ben Bernanke a couple years ago when he testified before the House Banking Committee. Rather than lecturing the congressman on the proper role of a central bank in a modern welfare economy, Dr. Bernanke punted, feigning surprise at the question, graciously letting Dr. Paul pontificate on the manifold virtues of the yellow metal. […]

When Bad Things Happen

By |2016-11-17T17:22:21-04:00February 13th, 2012|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |

Bad things happen. What do you do about them?Last week I mentioned how people tend to over-predict extreme events. It’s true. From shark attacks to lightning strikes to monetary collapse, people tend to be overly concerned about statistically remote events, and under-concerned about issues like highway safety or saving for retirement. It may be the news media or the nature of our minds, but we often obsess over statistically unlikely events to our financial and personal detriment.But [...]

Exchanging Places

By |2011-12-21T22:58:59-04:00October 14th, 2011|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |

A lot of people are interested in currencies or gold. With Exchange Traded Funds linked to currencies, it’s easier than ever to take a position on the dollar. For those who might consider this, I have just one piece of advice: don’t. When you look at an investment, you need to understand what you’re buying. In a market economy, wealth is created by enterprise. Stocks represent […]