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Jeff Miller  

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  • Investor Guide To The Super Committee Failure [View article]
    Jon -- Welcome to Seeking Alpha and good luck with your investments. I always like it when people make their first comments on my articles.

    This morning's Squawk Box had a general discussion among Romney-backers and Republicans emphasizing jobs. This is also the mainstream viewpoint. I expect everyone to campaign on a jobs theme not just the left-leaners.

    This morning's polls show Romney with a GOP lead in NH and also a lead over Obama in NH. If he wants to win, he'll talk jobs.

    The unemployment rate understates the effect of the current economic circumstances. More than 30 million people lost jobs last year. Everyone has friends and family in this situation.

    I agree about the dysfunctional nature of poloicymaking, but I don't mind the closed-door aspect of the Supercommittee. Whatever they came up with was going to be subject to open debate. As you know from your experience, many ideas are developed in quiet negotiations before going forward.

    Thanks for bringing an interesting perspective to the discussion.

    Jeff
    Nov 22, 2011. 12:16 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Investor Guide To The Super Committee Failure [View article]
    James -- Thanks for the helpful links. People should try the Pew Center challenge you cite. The New York Times has a similar interactive tool that I cited a few months ago.

    Good stuff!

    Jeff
    Nov 22, 2011. 11:27 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Investor Guide To The Super Committee Failure [View article]
    levin70 -- I'm sorry that you find the article to be worthless, but I know that my audience is limited.

    I took great care to emphasize that I am writing for investors and describing what is market-friendly. Attention to the economy and improving the jobs situation is (along with European debt) one of the two biggest market concerns. Investors should interpret every policy decision with the immediate economic impact in mind.

    Going one step further, your highly political perspective does not work well as a predictive model. Elected officials take responsibility for solving problems. It is not partisan. President Bush was quite activist with both stimulus and TARP in 2008. If McCain had been elected, I daresay he would be seeking stimulus right now.

    If you want to analyze policy to find the best investment angles, You should embrace my approach. You are free to believe that government should only defend the shores and deliver the mail (oops, that is an outdated slogan, since we no longer want mail delivery!), and by all means vote for candidates who share that viewpoint. It does not square with the behavior of elected officials either here or in Europe, so it is not a good analytical or predictive model.

    I am not going to keep repeating this whenever there is a political comment.

    Finally -- I enjoy vibrant discussions from a wide audience, but I am writing for investors. I have spent many hours with classes discussing the proper role of government. If you and I were sitting down enjoying a refreshing malt beverage we could talk about the interpretation of your quotation and why it is too limited.

    Meanwhile, let's look for some stocks that fit this new reality.

    Jeff
    Nov 22, 2011. 10:50 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Weighing The Week Ahead: Waiting For The ECB [View article]
    Angel -- a few things to consider --

    1) Taking unpopular actions is very difficult in democracies. If you do something that is the "right thing" but unpopular are you ignoring your constituents or exercising leadership? This is a traditional question that I have spent many hours on with classes. The answer is not obvious.

    2) Attempting an incremental strategy is a tried and true approach that often works. Since these successes do not reach a general attention level, they disappear from view. It is rather like a survivor bias.

    3) With #2 in mind, you are condemning something that did not work with the advantage of hindsight. BTW, your idea of the right policies seems to be the opposite of Peter. His approach, a popular choice, is to allow "crash and burn" but it will be OK. If we had a society consisting of half of people like you, and half of people like Peter, what would we get?

    I am not trying to say who is correct, only that both viewpoints are unfairly demanding. You are criticizing democratic leaders because they did not take unpopular actions that you think were correct.

    The more experience you have working in an actual policymaking environment, the more you understand why this is unrealistic.

    Meanwhile -- our real mission is to figure out what is going on and to find good investments.

    Thanks for your valuable perspective in this discussion.

    Jeff
    Nov 20, 2011. 08:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Weighing The Week Ahead: Waiting For The ECB [View article]
    Thanks for clarifying both the leaders and your point of view.

    Jeff
    Nov 20, 2011. 05:00 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Weighing The Week Ahead: Waiting For The ECB [View article]
    Peter -- Which failed leaders do you mean? We have new leaders in Greece and Italy and at the ECB and the IMF.

    Don't the new leaders get a chance before we decide?

    Jeff
    Nov 20, 2011. 02:09 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Weighing The Week Ahead: Waiting For The ECB [View article]
    Last Boomer -- I disagree on two fronts:

    1) I am optimistic only in contrast to the pervasive negative sentiment and commentary. I have described the situation as an outline, a work in progress, messy, requiring compromise, needing many participants, and defying an easy magic bullet solution. I think these characterizations remain accurate. I do believe that progress will continue, but I understand that delay makes everything more difficult.

    2) I disagree about the "deteriorating situation" assessment, for which you offer no evidence. I do not use stock market moves either way to determine facts about Europe. I listed a number of factors in the article. The only one that is worse is interest rates. I'll probably do a longer Europe piece soon, and it will focus on objective facts -- more austerity, improved leadership, progress toward the outline of a plan, and an economic uptick in France.

    One thing that is different about my approach from most others -- I have much more respect for the leaders with these responsibilities. I see neither arrogance nor delusional tendencies in Merkel and Draghi. They are very intelligent and capable people, dealing with a difficult situation, and balancing competing interests.

    But you have aroused my curiosity. If you were in their positions -- and not ignorant or arrogant like them -- what would you do?

    Jeff
    Nov 20, 2011. 12:28 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Weighing The Week Ahead: Waiting For The ECB [View article]
    MexCom -- You have a wise viewpoint. As I made clear in the article, most of my programs are in a very cautious mode as well. For new accounts with a long-term focus I have been using the volatility to establish good dividend portfolios enhanced by covered calls, and stocks that reflect exceptional values.

    All investors are different, but I find that many make the mistake of over-reacting to news headlines, thinking that they must go "all-in" or "all-out."

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

    Jeff
    Nov 20, 2011. 12:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Weighing The Week Ahead: Waiting For The ECB [View article]
    rshort -- In the US, recession dating is done by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization. When I discuss recessions, I mean those meeting the NBER definition. For that to occur we have to have a business cycle peak. They use several data series to find such a peak, and we are not there yet.

    The methods that I am reviewing have good historical records and suggest that recession chances are 25% or lower for the next nine months -- that is we will not reach a peak for the next couple of quarters at least.

    I am working on a longer article on this subject. Thanks for the helpful link!

    Jeff
    Nov 20, 2011. 12:09 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Weighing The Week Ahead: Waiting For The ECB [View article]
    Michael -- Typo yes -- thank you for pointing this out.

    Jeff
    Nov 20, 2011. 09:49 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Predicting The Outcome In Europe And What It Means For U.S. Stocks [View article]
    Tack --I agree. I am not attempting to be comprehensive on the derivative issue. I am trying to address the original main theme, which IMHO is the propagation of fear....

    Jeff
    Nov 19, 2011. 11:28 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Predicting The Outcome In Europe And What It Means For U.S. Stocks [View article]
    OG -- In my first response to your question, I wrote as follows:

    "And finally, I agree with Mobius that we need better regulation and transparency concerning derivatives."

    Most of the derivatives are offset with others, of course, but it would be better for all if there was some central clearing of this. That is yet another subject for another day, but there is progress: http://bit.ly/sy3Lbg

    The main point is that the author of the original piece took an old speech which might not even reflect the current Mobius viewpoint. He took some other lame evidence and turned it into a scare piece that went viral. I get links to several of these in my email every day.

    Your point that it was picked up as a Forbes blog and then on Yahoo shows how weak the editorial/gatekeeping is with the demise of regular print media, and also the willingness to run articles that generate page views or support a political agenda.

    It is up to the individual reader to recognize what is wrong with articles like this.

    I hope that our discussion helped a few readers (if anyone is still with us!)

    Jeff
    Nov 19, 2011. 10:49 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Predicting The Outcome In Europe And What It Means For U.S. Stocks [View article]
    Endeavor -- And thanks to you.

    I used your comment as a basis for a reply to the entire thread, obviously, and it had nothing to do with you personally.

    At some point I will point back to this article. People read that they should buy when others are fearful. Then when confronted with a specific case, they join the herd and think they are really smart.

    This is why the individual investor trails the market by 4% a year and I beat it by 7%.

    Thanks for your understanding and your measured comment. And yes, we'll move on to the next subject, although this one will not go away for a bit.

    Jeff
    Nov 18, 2011. 10:26 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Predicting The Outcome In Europe And What It Means For U.S. Stocks [View article]
    Endeavor -- I would like to make a point-by-point reply, but it is time to move on.

    I urge you to think hard about what I wrote:

    The individual investors I meet are usually very intelligent and well-informed. They think that they have an advantage when they understand everything that they read in the daily financial news. This is wrong -- exactly wrong.

    They have an advantage only when they see the error of those writing or quoted in the daily news.

    The comments on this thread have proved the point. We have a long list of people who have never even thought about Europe until a few months ago. Now they read a few articles and they are going to bet their investments on this newspaper knowledge.

    When I try to explain that there are actual analytical methods, the comments range from how I need to get a clue, to Miller is naive, to I am "talking my book" (from someone who has no idea what that means or what the book is), to another guy who thinks that poli sci methods somehow dictate this conclusion (proving that he knows nothing about poli sci).

    There is only so much that I can do to help. I am trying to teach people to recognize shallow analysis and politically biased commentary, as well as the value of being a contrarian.

    I will continue to do so, and when I get around to the book this will be a prime example. It is my earnest hope that there are many investors who are reading and learning, but not writing comments.

    At least we proved that my approach is contrarian, since no one here agrees that there is a ghost of a chance for the eurozone!!

    Jeff
    Nov 18, 2011. 09:42 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Predicting The Outcome In Europe And What It Means For U.S. Stocks [View article]
    To my surprise, AdvisorOne did a fact check article on the blog post you cited: http://yhoo.it/uKEur2

    It is unusual for anyone to act as a truth squad in this, but apparently the widespread attention caused them to think that investment advisors should be aware of it. They call the piece "exaggerated, stale...and thinly sourced" among other things.

    I thought you would be interested.

    Jeff
    Nov 18, 2011. 07:53 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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