Musings.

Musings

The world, the economy, the markets, and our lives are dynamic. Events can have a large or small impact on us. They can create excitement, cause fears, raise questions, and spark insight.

Listed here are our most spontaneous, timely, and succinct comments on wealth, life, and more.





  • August 26, 2010 - With weekly jobless claims still hovering around 500,000

    With weekly jobless claims still hovering around 500,000 (473,000 seasonally adjusted), the employment picture still looks anemic. Until jobs stabilize, a sustainable economic recovery is uncertain at best. Until uncertainty is removed from economic forecasts, investment returns are likely to be muted at best. US Dept of Labor Report



  • August 25, 2010 - You may be aware of recent tax rules that effect the conv

    You may be aware of recent tax rules that effect the conversion of assets from traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs. In 2010, some investors who previously were precluded from using Roth accounts can convert their retirement savings. Would it be wise to convert my traditional IRA to a Roth? Hawk100 can help answer that and other financial planning questions. Meanwhile, the following guide from Fidelity offer quick tips: Would I benefit from a Roth 2010 conversion?



  • August 24, 2010 - Existing homes sold during July cascaded like the Niagara

    Existing homes sold during July cascaded like the Niagara Falls. Dropping 27.2% from June, only 3.83 million units sold. Meanwhile supply leaped 40% from 8.9 months to 12.5 months. Briefing.com analysis



  • August 23, 2010 - Increasingly commentary calls current market conditions a

    Increasingly commentary calls current market conditions a bond bubble. Google "Bond Bubble" for the past week alone returns 381,000 sites. Nearly two years since the Fed adopted its 0 to 1/4 percent (read zero percent) target, the 10-year treasury note yields just 2.63%. I call that a bubble. The Great American Bond Bubble (WSJ)



  • August 20, 2010 - This weekend, I plan to ride my bicycle 102 miles in the

    This weekend, I plan to ride my bicycle 102 miles in the 2010 Pelotonia. Charity is part of my life purpose, aligned with the Hawk100 values, and I have a dear interest in advancing treatments for cancer patients and their families. I would greatly appreciate your support of my ride to benefit the James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State. My rider profile



  • August 20, 2010 - Life is sudden and precious. Cherish each moment like it

    Life is sudden and precious. Cherish each moment like it is your last and you will accomplish everything you could dream in your lifetime.



  • August 18, 2010 - Research Affiliates founder, Rob Arnott, argues that inve

    Research Affiliates founder, Rob Arnott, argues that investors are underallocated to inflation hedges. Morningstar Fund Manager Q&A



  • August 16, 2010 - Here is the original article from March 2009. Hough begin

    Here is the original article from March 2009. Hough begins sharply, "The four-year college degree has come to cost too much and prove too little. It?s now a bad deal for the average student, family, employer, professor and taxpayer." The Case Against the College Degree (WSJ-Smart Money)



  • August 16, 2010 - With a quiet day in the markets, I impart sage personal a

    With a quiet day in the markets, I impart sage personal advice for your benefit. Keep in mind that Hawk100 often tends to find favor in "hawkish" or contrarian views. This particular piece definitely swims against the stream and provokes with meaningful questions. The author closes on a soapbox, "Students seeking dignity and knowledge shouldn't be lured into financial servitude. Cheaper loans and more tax breaks aren't the answer. The recent housing bubble has taught us that. Today's degree system as it stands is a tyranny. It's time to replace it." Against the College Degree (WSJ-Smart Money)



  • August 16, 2010 - China supplants Japan as world's #2 economy, in terms

    China supplants Japan as world's #2 economy, in terms of the value of its output. Those arguing for a European-style "quality of life" indicator to include in the measure of a nation's wealth should take note and use caution when inserting additional subjectivity when justifying artificially high standards of wealth. Simply ask Greek pensioners how wealthy they feel today. China Output Tops Japan (WSJ)



  • August 13, 2010 - CFA Institute has provided an exceptional cross reference

    CFA Institute has provided an exceptional cross reference matrix for comparing countries tax systems, using the "Law in Context" form from Baker & McKenzie. Tax System Matrix



  • August 12, 2010 - GM reports profits of 1.3 billion while simultaneously an

    GM reports profits of 1.3 billion while simultaneously announcing resignation of CEO Edward Whitacre. The announcement follows the resignation of Board member Kent Kresa earlier this month. Usually, such news foretells something is amiss beneath headline profits. Recent changes to company bylaws with respect to shareholder and board meetings show further consolidation of power which often indicates malfeasance. On August 3, the GM (1) increased the threshold to call a stockholder meeting from 15 to 25 percent (i.e., without consent of the UAW or US Government, forget about it), (2) deleted description how regular meetings should be set, and (3) shortened required notice for meetings to less than 24 hours. To offer a final confirmation of stifled share rights, the annual meeting of stockholders was held with no proxy solicitation. Yet, somehow, stockholders voted to elect the proposed slate of directors without exception.



  • August 10, 2010 - The Federal Reserve Board decided to maintain rates at 0-

    The Federal Reserve Board decided to maintain rates at 0-1/4% and added language committing to maintain the size of its extraordinarily large balance sheet by purchasing Treasuries. This is in essence a standing commitment to monetize a broken fiscal policy. Fed statement changes from June



  • August 10, 2010 - Research following an insightful piece from Henry Olsen i

    Research following an insightful piece from Henry Olsen in today's Journal, Unemployment: What would Reagan do? (WSJ), led us to an even more interesting piece of economics history. 75 years of American finance: A graphical presentation 1861 to 1935 (St Louis Fed) places into perspective differences from yesteryear to today.



  • August 10, 2010 - Non-farm productivity declined 0.9% for the quarter, evid

    Non-farm productivity declined 0.9% for the quarter, evidence of a faltering U.S. economy.



  • August 09, 2010 - Article 216

    According to EconoDay's International Perspective, "China?s banking regulator told lenders last month to conduct a new round of stress tests to gauge the impact of residential property prices having fallen as much as 60 percent in the hardest hit markets. Banks were instructed to include worst-case scenarios of prices dropping another 50 percent to 60 percent." If markets have fallen 60% on the heels of a 60% decline, that leaves a mere 16% of the original market value. Under a 30-year fixed mortgage with 6% annual interest, only those loans that within 28 months of final maturity would be in the money. Everything else would be under water. Find a bank that would survive that scenario and Hawk100 will invest immediately.



  • August 05, 2010 - Welcome adversity with an open and curious mindset rather

    Welcome adversity with an open and curious mindset rather than a closed and defensive posture. For example, take full responsibility for the issue and the results. This usually drives positive actions toward a resolution. Avoid blaming someone or something or pretending to agree when you don't. This typically wastes energy on counterproductive measures to deliver punishments that advance nothing. From "Shifting from Defensiveness to Curiosity" courtesy AUMPartners.



  • August 04, 2010 - Claymore pending move to make bond ETFs actively managed

    Claymore pending move to make bond ETFs actively managed products. It will be interesting to see how this venture plays out if systemic risk increases. Claymore Bond ETFs to Convert to Active Strategy (Morningstar)



  • August 03, 2010 - Linda Stern surmises that your retirement plan may be in

    Linda Stern surmises that your retirement plan may be in better shape than you think. She points to trends that people spend less in retirement than most planners assume. Retirement Math ... (Reuters)



  • August 03, 2010 - The gap between personal income and personal spending wid

    The gap between personal income and personal spending widened in June -- a pattern of increased austerity among US consumers -- as income rose 0.3% and spending was unchanged. The sluggish figures are consistent with weaker economic activity. Spending, Income Flat in June (WSJ)



  • August 01, 2010 - While in Barcelona last week, I spoke with an investment

    While in Barcelona last week, I spoke with an investment industry leader from Abu Dhabi. Inquiring of the state of markets in the UAE, he replied that everything is "sunshine" in the Arab Emirates. Research in Motion may beg to differ as thr UAE bans Blackberry phones until they come into compliance with UAE (censorship) laws.