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Swiss Surprise

Last Thursday the Swiss National Bank (SNB) surprised the market by announcing that it would no longer peg the value of the Swiss Franc to the Euro. The news sent the Franc soaring against the Euro while the Swiss stock market cratered. This week we look at the reasons for the peg, why it may have ended so abruptly, and what it all means for our US-based clients.

Russia Hits The Panic Button

Although we are experiencing smooth sailing here at home, it’s important to realize that this is not the case when looking abroad. A handful of emerging economies are reeling in the face of collapsing oil prices with perhaps the most tenuous situation being found in Russia.

Oil's Winners & Losers

The recent collapse in oil prices is quickly becoming one of the most important macro developments of the year – and with it plenty of winners and losers are being made. We wrote about the downward trend in oil back in October after the price had dropped by 25% into the mid-80’s and now we revisit the topic at prices yet another 25% lower in the mid-60’s.

The Cleanest Dirty Shirt

There are myriad reasons for the recent strength in our currency, but one of the simplest explanations is that despite its problems the US Dollar is still the “cleanest dirty shirt in the closet”. The fact of the matter is that the headwinds of over-indebtedness, soft labor trends and anemic private sector growth are not at all unique to the United States.

Opposite Directions

With quantitative easing on its way out, the next important step from US policy makers will be to signal to the markets that they are ready to begin raising interest rates. Across the pond in Europe the situation is quite different, and monetary policy appears poised to move in the opposite direction as the US.

Side Effects May Vary

This week we finish looking at the last five dangers of news consumption outlined in Rolf Dobelli's research paper Avoid News: Towards A Healthy News Diet. At the root of it all, we must all understand that news outlets and the media in general are all in the business of making money rather than the more altruistic goal of creating a more informed public.

Mixed Signals

A lot has been made in the financial media recently of the behavior of the bond market in light of the stock market rising to new heights. So far this year this historical relationship has not held up. This has surprised most market participants given that the strong consensus heading into 2014 was that bond yields, hovering around 3% at the time, were going nowhere but up.

The Happiness Machine

Most Americans realize that we live in a consumer driven society, but what exactly does that mean and how did we get to this current state of affairs? To answer that question we have to go back to the early 20th century and the writings of Sigmund Freud.

Monthly Macro: Baby It’s Cold Outside

Our Monthly Macro highlights the global themes that we believe are the most important and discuss why they matter for investors. This month’s piece will focus on the impact cold weather in the US is having on economic data, gold's strong start to the year, and the political instability enveloping the Ukraine.

Monthly Macro: Policy Downshift

Our Monthly Macro is a recurring post that appears on the first Tuesday of every month and recaps the high level macro developments of the previous month. We highlight the global themes that we believe are the most important and discuss why they matter for investors. This month’s piece will focus on the long-awaited Fed taper, Washington’s budget deal and the skyrocketing stock market.

Is Bernanke Blowing A Bubble?

Are stocks in a bubble? This question seems to be nagging more and more people as stocks march to all-time highs. One of the main reasons for skepticism is the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy of zero percent interest rates and open-ended quantitative easing.

A Hedge(d) Fund

In 1949 Alfred Jones launched what is now considered the first hedge fund. Over the years the hedge fund industry has expanded dramatically to include a wide variety of strategies; many of which look nothing like Jones’ original fund. But there are funds today that still hedge their portfolio using the traditional long/short construction.

Fed Ed: The Genesis

Over the next four weeks we will be doing a series of Insights on the Federal Reserve. Today we start this series by taking a look at the history of the US banking system and the events leading up to the creation of the Federal Reserve under the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

Monthly Macro: Green Shoots, Meet Congress

The month of September brought a slew of positive marginal changes in global economic data, the FOMC decided to leave its quantitative easing program unchanged at $85 billion a month, and Congress decided to embark on the "Shutdown Showdown."

Monthly Macro: Tug Of War In Confidence

This month’s piece will focus on a few themes that show the ongoing tug of war between confidence and uncertainty. We’ll discuss equity market complacency, Syrian tensions and green shoots in the European and Chinese economies.

Monthly Macro: Risk & Opportunity In Suprise

This month’s piece will focus on the game of chicken being played by China’s leadership and its economy, the recent optimism towards the Eurozone and potential hiccups being experienced in the US housing market.

Targeting Infinity

“Our price target for the Yen is infinity, meaning it is going to be worthless.” – Axel Merk

Taper Tantrum

When the New York Times first affixed the words “Taper Tantrum” to a video released last week, they likely had no idea how appropriate the phrase would be for what would ensue in the financial markets over the next several days. Neither did we, or anyone else we know of for that matter.

Monthly Macro: Falling Forward vs Just Falling

In our Monthly Macro, we highlight the global themes that we believe are the most important and discuss why they matter for investors. This month’s piece will focus on the US recovery, speculation about Fed tapering, the improving federal deficit and a shift in Germany’s stance on austerity.

Trading At The Speed Of Light

HFT is an algorithmic (computer based) trading approach that tries to make a very small profit over an extremely short period of time. Most HFT trading is done by market participants trying to skim fractions of pennies off of millions of transactions each and every day.