Bond Investors Must Exercise Patience

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As the global economy has recovered, commodity prices have been trending higher. Whether one looks at crude oil, industrial metals, agricultural commodities or livestock, the price direction over the past year has been up. This spells inflation. At the same time, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) has maintained an anti-DEFLATION stance. We would agree that … Continued

Is This A Bull Market?

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I have been watching stock markets for the better part of 25 years. In my career, I have witnessed many global geo-political “surprises.” The impact on common stock prices has typically been negative as investors generally abhor uncertainty. Hence, I have been observing with wonderment at the direction of global stock prices – with the … Continued

A Taxing Issue

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A long held maxim in the investment business is that bonds issued by stable governments have no default risk because governments have unlimited taxing authority. The ability to repay debt is simply a function of collecting tax revenues. The fact that the Greek government is presently discussing the terms of its “non-default” default challenges this … Continued

Enough Already

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“On the fifth floor of Merrill Lynch & Co.’s headquarters at the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan, a small team of traders who bought and sold securities with the firm’s own money for two years were close enough to see the computer screens of traders taking orders from clients and overhear their phone calls. … Continued

Common Sense Regulations and Diet Coke

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I have a Diet Coke almost every day with my lunch. Last Tuesday, I was shocked to read in the Wall Street Journal editorial page that according to the EPA guidelines, the artificial sweetener in my Diet Coke was treated as hazardous waste! If the FDA says it’s okay to consume, how could it be … Continued

A Tale of Two Cities

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Today’s Wall Street Journal carries an editorial titled “How Washington Defriended Investors.” The piece dissects how the recent private equity position taken in the social media company Facebook by wealthy clients of Goldman Sachs put at a disadvantage the ordinary investor of much more modest means that was not afforded the same opportunity to purchase … Continued

Happy New Year

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On behalf of all of us at Sigma, we would like to extend our best wishes in this blog for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. We are reasonably constructive on the global and US economic outlook for 2011, expecting further moderate growth. We are mindful of the fact that common stock prices have … Continued

Tax Loss Harvesting: Business As Usual

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At Sigma, we traditionally use the end of the year to go through taxable portfolios and sell positions that have significant losses so that they can be used to offset realized gains for our clients. This simple process is used to lower tax bills through a few straightforward trades and is a no-brainer if tax … Continued

Uncertainty and Black Swans

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We continue to hear about the struggles of our economy due to “uncertainty.” Much of the criticism towards Washington focuses on this “lack of certainty.” Businesses have been crying that this lack of certainty regarding regulation and taxes has postponed plans to spend and hire, resulting in growing amounts of cash on their balance sheets. … Continued

Good Policy

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Many of my blogs over the past few months have focused on government policy – fiscal and/or monetary. While this may seem to the casual observer somewhat removed from investment analytics, the reality is that government policy always impacts the financial markets (Ronald Reagan’s massive tax cuts in 1981 ignited the subsequent stock market rally; … Continued

‘Not So Fast – Raising Taxes Could Impact Jobs”

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Robert Frank writes in the New York Times on 11/28/10, that taxpayers who have incomes above $250,000 can handle the tax increases embedded in the expiring tax cut legislation from the Bush Administration because it would not “…affect their own standard of living.” He notes further that “Truly wealthy families wouldn’t have to alter their … Continued

Detroit Tiger’s Trades – Capital Gains or Losses?

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As a former professional baseball player, it appears appropriate to me to take my “portfolio managers” hat off and turn it around and attempt to be the General Manager for the Detroit Tigers in analyzing where the Tigers were a year ago versus where they are today, given the announcement of recent trades and some … Continued