Entries by Simon Lack

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Banks and Leverage

Another near death experience in equity markets avoided – at least for now. Kevin KAL Kallaugher’s cartoon in last month’s newsletter could scarcely have been better timed (if you missed it October’s letter is available on our website). Stepping back to examine levels of risk seems a reasonable place to start. There is perhaps no […]

Democracy Returns to Greece

What could be more appropriate than Greece delivering a lesson in democracy. The word itself is derived from the Greek language. Democracy began in Greece and is returning there. How very appropriate. The enduring weakness of the EU has been its management by technocrats with often scant regard for popular opinion. The beauty of a […]

Thirty Years of Hurt

It’s not just the last decade that’s been harsh on stocks. A report from Jim Bianco’s eponymous research company calculates that for the past thirty years treasury bonds have outperformed stocks. It’s the first thirty year period since 1861 that this has happened according to research on the topic by Jeremy Siegel. What could be […]

The Elusive CDS Payoff

What exactly is a Credit Default Swap (CDS) on Greece worth? It seems likely that the International Swaps Dealers Association (ISDA), the industry body that rules on such things, will soon confirm that the 50% write-down on Greek debt accepted by the banks does not constitute a credit event, because it was accepted voluntarily by the banks […]

Another Problem with Low Rates

The Federal Reserve’s wealth transfer strategy of shifting purchasing power from savers to borrowers has other unintended consequences apart from plundering the thrifty in favor of the profligate. If you run a fixed income fund, ten-year treasury notes with a 2% handle doesn’t create much raw material from which to manufacture some income for your […]

Savour the Moment

Sometimes you feel as if you’d like the world to stop right where it is. For most investors, arriving at work and checking their portfolios over coffee this morning should be one of the most pleasant beverages they’ve consumed in many months. After the misery of the third quarter culminating in September’s testing of every […]

The Quiet Buying of Shale Gas Assets

The FT notes in an article this morning how M&A activity in the shale gas arena reached almost $50BN during the third quarter, a 135% jump on a year ago. Some deals were large and notable, such as Kinder Morgan’s (KMP) purchase of El Paso. Others took place out of the spotlight, but what is clearly taking place […]

Monday Morning Thoughts, October 24th

There’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal highlighting that banks are increasingly the first source of funds for takeovers – providing more funds that the high yield bond market. Kinder Morgan’s recent acquisition of El Paso is cited as an example, but there’s increasing evidence that banks are increasing their risk appetite. The […]

Reining in the Rating Agencies

Through the ongoing and mind-numbing complexity of the European sovereign debt crisis, the bureaucrats in Brussels can be relied upon to introduce some absurdity into their deliberations. The latest is a report in the FT that under certain circumstances  the EU will suspend the ability of rating agencies to evaluate sovereign credits. Now it’s true that markets […]

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