Credit to Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman, columnist for the New York Times, wrote an outstanding editorial, “More Risk-Taking, Less Poll-Taking”, in yesterday’s paper. The concluding paragraph, cited below, sums up the gist of the article and is worth reading and contemplating at length. Much wisdom regarding the improvement in our country’s fortunes rests in these words. ‘Obama has spent … Continued

Fix the Debt NOW

At an investment conference in Chicago last week, I attended a presentation hosted by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, authors of The Campaign to Fix the Debt. I agree with their assertion that citizens need to communicate with their elected officials NOW to address this problem and follow their bi-partisan plan. I did. Please do … Continued

Think it Through

A client forwarded an article to me regarding the strong movement of the stock market and suggesting a sale of stocks. He wanted my input – My response, and the actual article, follows. Bob Bilkie, CFA ——————– Dear xxxx: Well, I don’t know. If you read the comments of the “expert” cited in the article, … Continued

Let’s Debate It

One of the research services that my colleagues and I subscribe to is called Mauldin Economics, authored by John Mauldin. This week Mauldin writes “As we saw last week, in research I cited from Europe, there is a correlation between government size and GDP growth. Which makes sense, in that jobs really come from the … Continued

I Can Hear the Bells

“I Can Hear the Bells” is a wonderful song from the musical Hairspray, sung by Tracy Tumblad as she “hears the bells” when thinking about her fantasy love with heartthrob, Link Larken. Yes, even after all these years bells still ring when I think about my husband. However, each time I hear someone bemoan or … Continued

Will Weakness in Ford and GM Shares Continue?

Despite improving domestic sales, Ford and GM shares have not kept pace with the market, as measured by the most of the popular averages. GM’s US vehicle sales were up 15.5% in June and up 4.3% for the first six months of 2012. For the same periods, Ford reported gains of 7.1% and 6.6%. But … Continued

You Did Not Build That, or, Atlas Shrugged (again)

“He didn’t invent iron ore and blast furnaces, did he?” “Who?” “Rearden. He didn’t invent smelting and chemistry and air compression. He couldn’t have invented his Metal but for thousands and thousands of other people. His Metal! Why does he think it’s his? Why does he think it’s his invention? Everybody uses the work of … Continued

A Countdown to the End of Countdowns

Financial network television producers love a countdown.  I hate to blame the recently deceased Dick Clark, but I sometimes wonder if CNBC and other financial networks favor producers who worked on his New Year’s Eve Times Square Countdowns.  Earlier this month, much of the news was focused on a “Countdown to the Facebook IPO” that … Continued

Adding Fuel to the Fire

Last week, JPM Chase reported a $2 billion loss on a bad bet it made from its proprietary trading desk. Moreover, the bank conceded that the company was still unwinding the trade and that this loss could double over the next several quarters. In addition, the company may be fined and incur other legal expenses related to … Continued

The Upside of Foreclosure

The upside of foreclosure; an unintended temporary stimulus to the economy? An article in this weekend’s Barron’s magazine highlighted several interesting foreclosure statistics. At the end of 2011 nearly 1.9 million homes had some sort of foreclosure filing activity. In addition to the sheer number of foreclosures, legal issues with regard to robo-signing have slowed the … Continued

One Size Does Not Fit All

A recent article released by the Associated Press has led to some interesting discussions among Sigma colleagues and clients. The article, which can be referenced here, was a Q&A done with David Stockman, a former Michigan congressman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan, and successful private equity investor discussing his … Continued