Don’t Eat The Haggis

I recently returned from Edinburgh, Scotland where I had the honor of representing the CFA Society of Detroit at the CFA Institute Annual Conference and Strategic Leadership Retreat. I was joined by my Sigma colleagues Denise Farkas, Bob Bilkie, and Shari Bilkie. While in Edinburgh, Denise was presented with the Special Service Award. This award … Continued

Time to Begin the Debate

Representative Paul Ryan, R – Wisconsin, Chair of the House Budget Committee released a fiscal policy blueprint for the US on April 5. The blueprint called for a materially different vision of the size and role of the federal government than what has been in place for the past several decades. Importantly, the document projects … Continued

A Black Eye

My colleagues and I spent a considerable amount of time this morning discussing and debating the recent blockbuster disclosure that Warren Buffet’s (CEO Berkshire Hathaway and all around investment guru) fellow executive and heir apparent, David Sokol, had resigned from the company. Mr. Buffet released a statement that Mr. Sokol had resigned, and apparently there … Continued

Still Climbing a Wall of Worry

Political conditions in Libya appear to be deteriorating. The rest of the Middle East and North Africa continue to be buffeted by protests. President Obama warned Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi yesterday that the “US was outraged by the violence.” This is good old fashioned saber rattling, but it indicates an escalation of global tensions. Crude … Continued

Revolutionary Lessons from the Middle East and North Africa

This blog was written by Haleh Vaziri, Ph.D, a long time friend and confidante of Sigma’s President, Bob Bilkie. Haleh has a rich training in, and personal knowledge of, Middle Eastern politics and culture, which make her views of the current tumult in that region of the world particularly timely and valuable. * * * … Continued

Bond Investors Must Exercise Patience

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?

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

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

“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

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

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

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