Views from the Crows Nest: December 2013 Issue

Welcome to this edition of Views from the Crowsnest. It’s been many months since I sat down to peck out my newsletter. We’ve been busy with important AND time-sensitive matters, as our Client Families always come first. It’s good to be back.

My wife and I love to watch comedy as we relax before bed, and one of my favorite stand-up routines from the Montreal Comedy Festival is a rant from a humorist whose character is a bombastic pub owner from GREAT BRITAIN! In answer to the question about why Brits and Canadians don’t have their own dream, like our neighbours with “The American Dream,” he answers quite poignantly, “It’s because we’re awake.”

The Renaissance Era in western civilization took place following many centuries of tight control of the scientific, creative and philosophical communities by the Catholic Church. The severity of this centralized control was a significant factor in the scope and force of the eventual bursting of the shackles…not unlike compressing a spring that cannot be permanently constrained.
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Views from the Crows Nest: July 2013 Issue

Welcome to the July edition of Views from the Crows Nest.

Calgary summers are short, and so this edition will be, too.

Too much of almost anything is bad for us, including essential elements of a healthy lifestyle. Food, drink, sunshine, and exercise in moderation are excellent, but in excess they can be destructive.

The same holds true of information consumption. In respect of our investment portfolio, the mainstream financial industry would have us believe that more information is always better. The typical hooks that broader media use include: conflict (very polarized market opinions), celebrity (what the richest and famous Wall Street types are saying), fear of missing out on gains (greed), and fear of losing capital (this is the big hot-button).

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Views from the Crows Nest: June 2013 Issue

Welcome to the June edition of Views from the Crows Nest.

There are certain times – like now – when investment markets appear to be in a state of “suspended animation.” And it’s extreme times like these when the disconnection of markets from common sense, logic and rational valuation puts our Patience and Discipline to the test in an almost overwhelming way. Rest assured, a major tipping point is coming soon, perhaps even before the next edition of this newsletter.

Since the equity markets hit their crisis bottom in early March 2009, many investors have been waiting for the second half of the global debt hurricane to hit. This bias, based on then-recent experience, makes it difficult for many to ride an uptrend with patience…after having been burned significantly by market declines that mainstream “experts” said were simply not possible. It’s also incredibly difficult to forget the emotional and financial pain caused by the 2008-9 financial crises.

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Views from the Crows Nest: May 2013 Issue

Welcome to the May 2013 Views from the Crowsnest.

The great gold trader Jessie Livermore is credited with saying “The biggest profits are in your patience.” This wisdom rings true whether you are still invested in US equities which continue to rise seemingly incessantly, or you are waiting to play the downside in equity markets.

And if you’ve already exited most or all of the equity positions in your portfolio, you may find yourself feeling rather impatient while waiting for the current market euphoria to end. Patience, indeed.

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Views from the Crows Nest: April 2013 Issue

The interval since my last Views from the Crows Nest

has been longer than usual. When one is faced with a family member in a health crisis, financial markets don’t graciously pause while we deal with these priorities. Thus we still need to attend to markets with a calm focus, which left no time for writing.

After a surreal and determined rise in the face of ever-growing fundamental risks, broad U.S. equity markets appear to be nearing the end of seasonal strength. Defensive measures will be taken for any current stock-based positions once the markets confirm the upward trend has been broken. In the meantime, there may be some more upside left to capture. Market tension is high but that doesn’t  preclude a continued rise of prices for a week or two. Eventually we’ll get to that tipping point when bad news begins to get priced in again.

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Views from the Crows Nest: February 2013 Issue

“Mass Media Mimics Mass Mania”

Since our January edition of Views from the Crows Nest, equity markets continued their slow grind higher for almost two weeks. In the last two weeks we’ve finally begun to see signs of a short-term market top. One of the most reliable signs of an inflection point was delivered yet again by the mainstream media.

On Saturday February 2nd, uber-accurate gold market timer Mark Leibovit spoke at the World Outlook Financial Conference and remarked about a powerful headline in that day’s business section of the Globe & Mail. In reference to the equity market rally, they declared “The End of Fear.” We know from experience that “The Herd is always wrong at the extremes, but creates the trend in between.”

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Views from the Crows Nest: January 2013 Issue

Welcome to the January 2013 issue of Views from the Crows Nest.

Well, the folks in Washington D.C. certainly did another number on investment markets with a slightly- later-than-eleventh-hour “fiscal cliff fluff deal” that does nothing to address a life-threatening spending addiction by the US federal government. And now we get to listen to endless yammering about raising the debt ceiling.

Over the next six weeks this debate will escalate, with the predictable grandstanding, digging in of heels, standing on principle, then caving in at the last minute to prevent both a shutdown of the US Federal Government and any kind of default on outstanding US debt obligations. It will likely become the primary hot button topic for everyone, cause a significant rise in market anxiety and serve as a wonderful distraction from everything else that is happening. In a democracy, a nation gets the government it deserves.

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Views from the Crows Nest: 2013 Annual Forecast

Welcome to the 2013 Annual Forecast Issue of Views from the Crowsnest. Over the last six weeks we’ve been hunkered down in quiet contemplation of what 2013 may bring. The world continues to edge closer to the second major downturn in what I believe is The Second Great Depression.

Final editing of this edition is happening on December 30th, before the “fiscal cliff” negotiations have been resolved…so we could start 2013 with a bang, though we’re not certain where the gun is pointed! It’s better to be out of the markets and wishing you were in, than to be in and wishing you were out of the markets…so we’ve been rather conservatively positioned for over a week now.

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Views from the Crows Nest: 2012 Annual Forecast

Welcome to the December 2011 edition of Views from the Crows Nest, which doubles as our 2012 Annual Forecast issue. Your author took an unplanned break from publishing for November. The bottom line is that we were so busy with client meetings across western Canada and ongoing market research that there simply wasn’t time available.

Our 2011 Annual Forecast created quite a stir, with many readers remarking that your author’s view of the world seemed unrealistically dark and pessimistic. Unfortunately, the majority of the risks we identified either contributed directly to extreme market volatility, or have at least continued to worsen on the periphery. There are two kinds of people in the world: people with too much class to say “I told you so,” and people like me. That being said, there is negligible pleasure in being correct about negative situations.

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Views from the Crows Nest: 2011 Annual Forecast

Welcome to the December 2010 issue of Views from the Crows Nest, which also serves as our 2011 Annual Forecast. Having spent most of my professional career serving people with common sense and very competent critical thinkers such as engineers, accountants, entrepreneurs, medical professionals, etc, I understand the need to provide evidence of my views. Electronic delivery of newsletters makes it easy to provide source references, which you will find embedded throughout. I suggest reading it once with clicking on the various links and once without doing so, in whichever order you prefer. Taking some time between readings might be helpful, because there’s a lot to digest…and some “holiday cheer” might help wash it down. However you approach this holiday meal, I believe it will be worth your time and intellectual energy.

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