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Robert Keyfitz  

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  • Audit The Fed? [View article]
    The ranks of the 10 dumbest congressmen have been swelling. It's no longer the exclusive club it was in Al Capp's day. But, to give them their due, you're sort of missing the point. The audit isn't to prevent unscrupulous regional presidents from stealing the office furniture. Rather, it's to establish some accountability to taxpayers.

    The Fed is a private organization belonging to the TBTF banking sector, with an unlimited line of credit from taxpayers. There's very little accountability. Sheila Bair (in her very nice book, Bull By The Horns) documents how the Fed and Treasury colluded under Tim Geithner's leadership (in both cases) and used that line of credit to keep Citibank afloat through the crisis. At outlandish expense.

    I don't agree with those who argue we don't need the Fed at all. It performs a necessary function. But without meaningful regulation and oversight of the banking sector it can get up to any sort of mischief. I imagine that's what the 'Audit the Fed' set are arguing for -- lifting the rock. But, bear in mind that any misbehavior by the Fed is more a symptom than a cause of the general problems of the banking sector.
    Feb 14, 2015. 12:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Forget Beaten Up Utilities, Buy This 7.1% Clean Energy REIT [View article]
    Brad: Thanks a lot for writing this up. I wish I'd heard about it before the 3-1/2% bump today, but hey -- that just says your advice is usually good. I want to invest in the area and it sounds promising. One question (maybe it's obvious), why was HASI set up as a REIT instead of a joint stock company (Clean Energy Inc) and what difference does that make to investors?
    Feb 13, 2015. 11:52 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • I Love The Irreplaceable Assets, But I Need A 5% Dividend Yield To Excite Me [View article]
    The ownership structure makes me uncomfortable. With little need to raise further equity, it would seem like an obvious way for insiders to raise their returns would be to expropriate the non-voting shareholders. Why pay a higher dividend on A shares? Or any dividend? Also, are the net insider purchases new shares, hence diluting ownership?
    Feb 2, 2015. 10:16 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Learning To Live With Cheaper Oil In The Middle East [View article]
    It appears more like 55% to our allies in the Middle East whose currencies are pegged to the dollar.
    Jan 23, 2015. 07:20 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Learning To Live With Cheaper Oil In The Middle East [View article]
    The marginal cost of fracking output at around $70 a barrel sets a price ceiling for oil for some time to come. No MENA oil producers can balance their budgets at that rate so some adjustment is unavoidable. The only question is whether it will be before or after they crash. My guess is the latter.
    Jan 23, 2015. 08:23 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Energy Sector - Risk Or Opportunity? The S&P 500 2015: Part 2 [View article]
    Chuck: It's a good story, but we've been here before. After the price crashed in 1986, it stayed low for 20 years. It turns out the best medium term price forecast for oil is today's price, whatever it is. To the extent you're taking a position on the global business cycle, is there a better way to do that? I'll wait and see what you have to say about the rest of the market.
    Jan 16, 2015. 01:30 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why You Should Hold Foreign Stocks Now [View article]
    I hope you're right (and sooner or later you will be), because I've been holding on to my globally diversified portfolio since 2009 on just this logic. It was doing fine until the downturn, but now I have some catching up to do. One thing you might clarify is whether you're measuring in US$ or local currency terms. Don't forget the dollar is likely to strengthen as interest rates start to rise.
    Dec 27, 2014. 08:55 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ghosts Of LTCM And 2008 Collide - Putin Is Crushed [View article]
    Catchy title, but where are the ghosts? Bad macro management isn't the same as ill advised financial speculation even if both involve arrogant hubris and end in tears.
    Dec 23, 2014. 08:29 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Watch This Brazilian ETF Following The Petrobras Scandal [View article]
    EWZ is down 40% since 2011. PBR's problems are more a symptom than a cause of its ailment.
    Nov 26, 2014. 08:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REZ: Crushing The Real Estate ETF Competition [View article]
    Exactly. May all your calls be good calls.
    Nov 1, 2014. 05:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REZ: Crushing The Real Estate ETF Competition [View article]
    If you're satisfied, I'm satisfied.
    Oct 31, 2014. 07:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REZ: Crushing The Real Estate ETF Competition [View article]
    Glad to hear it. Don't forget opportunity cost is what counts.
    Oct 31, 2014. 06:25 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REZ: Crushing The Real Estate ETF Competition [View article]
    The trend in millennials not purchasing homes hasn't done much for you so far, but hang in there.
    Oct 31, 2014. 01:25 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REZ: Crushing The Real Estate ETF Competition [View article]
    ARG1: Buying the S&P 500 is hardly chasing high flyers. My initial comment (that you responded to) was that REZ had underperformed the broader market since inception. Now my very superficial due diligence finds that has continued to do so by a wide margin. For all I know, REZ has been a stellar performer in the face of headwinds from the housing bust. Maybe it's well positioned now for a momentum play, though it's hard to see much reason for optimism about the residential sector in the foreseeable future. If you've compared it to other REITs/ETFs/construction companies in the same area and think it's good for you, go for it.
    Oct 31, 2014. 11:43 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REZ: Crushing The Real Estate ETF Competition [View article]
    Regardless of what in-depth research might find, the annual return on REZ in the three years since the article has been 13.5% compared to 22.8% on SPY or 25.1% on QQQ (data from ETrade). There may be a spot for it in your portfolio, but it's not obviously a good investment for everyone.
    Oct 30, 2014. 10:51 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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