Ben Graham

The Tech-Wreck - A Shot Across The Bow For "Passive Indexers"

Once prices fall enough the previously “passive indexer” becomes an “active panic seller.” With the flood of money into “passive index” and “yield funds,” the tables are once again set for a dramatic and damaging ending.

Moving Closer To The Precipice

Slowing money supply and credit growth and historically extremely high stock market valuations far more often than not turn out to be uneasy bedfellows. In fact, usually the latter will eventually fall out of bed. Circumspection remains advisable.

The Death Of The Virtuous Cycle

Most Ph.D. economists, including those at the Federal Reserve, have convinced investors, policy-makers and U.S. citizens that durable economic growth stems from debt-fueled consumer spending. This is not only a patently false claim, but it has immense implications for investors...

The Bull Giveth, The Bear Taketh, & You’re Not Passive

Speculators often prosper through ignorance; it is a cliché that in a roaring bull market knowledge is superfluous and experience a handicap. But the typical experience of the speculator is one of temporary profit and ultimate loss.

Weekend Reading: Heterogeneous Elucidations

This week’s reading list is a collection of articles from people who have been “getting it right” for the last few years. While they are often dismissed by the media because they disagree with  “mainstream thinking,” it is quite apparent they had a better grasp of the issues in the end.

Weekend Reading: The Bull Is Back?

That didn’t take much. After a three-day rally, the media is back into “bullish” mode suggesting the bottom is likely in and by the end of this year, it’s all going to be just fine. Unfortunately, history suggests that after such a long unabated expansion risks are substantially higher than it has been previously. Furthermore, as I have repeated often in these missives, in an economy that is driven primarily based on consumption, and such consumption is already weak, it doesn’t take much to “flip the switch.”

According To SocGen The Problem Is Not "China", It's This

"... after four long years without any profits growth, the risk is that MSCI World mean-reverts to its original 2011 PE multiple, which would imply a further 50% decline from here. Even decline back to average would imply a 15% drop."

A Different Perspective On Market Valuations

When paying a premium for equities, or any asset for that matter, one runs the serious risk of capital impairment. Worse, most professional investment managers falling prey to the bullish sentiment currently surrounding this period of extreme valuations will likely not live up to their overriding fiduciary duty – the preservation of wealth. Following the herd may have its benefits at times, but following the herd over a cliff never ends well.  As Seth Klarman warned. “Risk is not inherent in an investment; it is always relative to the price paid”

Is It Really Different This Time?

There is an argument to be made that this could indeed be a "new market" given the continued interventions by global Central Banks in a direct effort to support asset prices. However, despite the coordinated efforts of Central Banks globally to keep asset prices inflated to support consumer confidence, there is plenty of historic evidence that suggest such attempts to manipulate markets are only temporary in nature.