Reckless Contrast

Amidst the lingering cloud of uncertainty hanging over the US financial sector over just who, or whom, or what caused the financial crisis of 2008-2009, I came across intriguing material in reviews of Gretchen Morgenson’s new book, Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. Morgenson is a well respected and … Continued

Have a Great Idea? Get In Line.

A Wall Street Journal article dated July 2, 2011, titled “Did Someone Say Tech Bubble?”, indicated that entrepreneurial idea flow continues unabated in the US. Given the dour headlines dominating the newswires over Greece’s debt problems and the US’ own budget problems, it is easy to lose sight of what is going on “off of … Continued

Give and Take?

Citizens outside of Greece, specifically the Germans, are frustrated by the notion that their taxes will be used to pay for what they view as the recklessness or laziness of others. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been very vocal about her stance on the situation. Her position is quite simple – all stakeholders, no matter … Continued

Why Governments Matter!

Many of our blogs focus on government policy and actions. We may not always be as clear as we should be as to why we pay such close attention to government policy, making an assumption that this is clear to our readers – that government actions can materially affect the economy and financial assets. A … Continued

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