Author Archive | Michael Rosen

Shock, Part 4 (Divided We Are)

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We began this series with a review of the likely economic policies and their implications of the new Trump administration, and discussed the long-term challenges investors face. We would have undertaken this exercise for a Clinton administration, but the election of Donald Trump represents a stark break from the broad consensus of the past 70 years favoring free (or freer) movement of goods, capital and people; the establishment of multinational treaties and supranational institutions to establish rules governing international relations; and enforcement of this world order primarily by the United States military. As such, we expanded our review of the Read More


Shock, Part 3 (The End of Pax Americana)

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We are all trying to make sense of the election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency, and a few weeks ago I outlined the possible economic agenda and its consequences the administration may pursue (http://blog.angelesadvisors.com/2016/11/shock-part-1/). In the month since the election, US stocks have risen more than 5%, and bonds have turned one of their worst months on record, as 10-year Treasury yields soared 60 basis points to almost 2 ½%. The markets’ message is that tax cuts, deregulation and large government spending on defense and infrastructure will boost economic growth with only moderately higher inflation. Apparently, trade wars Read More


Shock, Part 2 (The Asset Allocator’s Dilemma)

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In Shock (Part 1) (http://blog.angelesadvisors.com/2016/11/shock-part-1/), we looked at a possible Trump economic agenda and its consequences. A large increase in government spending, tax cuts and deregulation will likely boost GDP growth in the near-term, while restrictions on trade and immigration are headwinds to growth. These policies will add to the inflationary pressures that have already been building. Markets responded immediately to this agenda. US stocks rose to record levels, led by domestically-focused small cap companies, pharmaceuticals and banks, the prime beneficiaries of less future regulation. Trade-dependent emerging markets were sold, as were bonds, which offer little protection in an inflationary Read More


Shock (Part 1)

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Shock, a sudden drop in blood flow, is a serious medical condition. Untreated, it can quickly be fatal. There are numerous types and causes of shock, including anaphylactic, an allergic reaction, cardiogenic, from heart damage, hypovolemic, from blood loss, and neurogenic, from spinal cord trauma. The election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States induced shock in virtually all of the people who did not vote for him, and probably even in many of the ones who did. Thankfully, I am not a political pundit, which may now be the most disgraced profession in the country. But Read More


What I Learned While Atoning

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Twenty-four hours without food or drink is supposed to help focus the mind on the task at hand: atoning for the sins of the past year in hopes that your name is placed in the Book of Life for another year. Of course, I can’t know if I was successful this year (although I have a perfect record so far). I am pretty certain that 24 hours is not enough time even to skim the surface on my multitude of sins this past year. So I have to rely (again) on a forgiving God. We have a tradition, just an hour Read More


Janet Yellen Is Your Friend

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I have not met Janet Yellen, but she seems like a perfectly friendly person. Yet, for some reason, investors seem to panic whenever she hints that the Fed is discussing whether and when to lift interest rates from close-to-zero to a smidgen above zero. That instinctive panic is not rational. Part of the problem is that it appears there are so few people with a grasp of how monetary policy works, and certainly none who work in Congress or the media. So here’s a quick primer. The Fed does not set interest rates. The Fed adds or withdraws reserves to Read More


Give Us Your Poor

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A large percentage of energy expended at Angeles is in evaluating, analyzing and judging investment managers. It is a core competency at Angeles, and we think we’re pretty good at it. In doing this work, we crunch a lot of numbers, talk to a lot of people, and argue incessantly (and occasionally, productively) among ourselves. Success in selecting superior managers comes mostly from employing very smart, experienced people in this pursuit, and by having them interact in a structure and culture that seeks to discard the mediocrity and lowest common denominator settled by consensus, in favor of the truly outstanding, and Read More


Falling Behind

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It’s good to be tall. Tall people tend to be more highly educated, earn more over their careers, are higher in the social pecking order, and live longer with better health. [Please don’t complain to me that these statement are untrue or unfair: these are true as generalizations, and I can cite the studies if you insist; these are fair because, well, maybe they’re not fair. But that’s not my department.] By better health, I mean a lower risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and less risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, although there is a greater risk of some cancers. Read More


Negative Negative is Positive

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Housing is a small part of the larger economic picture, contributing only about 5% to GDP (although including all the ancillary and related services probably triples that number). Still, for most people, equity in their homes represents the single biggest investment they have, and for many, maybe the only investment they own. Many statistics about this economic recovery are disappointing, especially the very sluggish growth rate, averaging just over 2% p.a. since 2010. Other data are more encouraging, such as the halving of the unemployment rate from 10% to under 5%. One of the more impressive markers of recovery is found in Read More


Rupture

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[nota bene: this is a long one; if you don’t have time, just skip to the summary at the end. I promise, no hard feelings.] The political experts were remarkably accurate in last week’s UK referendum on continuing to remain in the European Union, projecting a vote of 52%/48%. The actual final tally was 51.9% to 48.1%, so chalk one up to the pundits. Well, the numbers were spot on, but the sign was the wrong way: instead of a narrow victory to remain, the voters chose to exit. The Bloomsbury Crowd [a group of Cambridge-educated intellectuals who gathered in Read More