Investing Basics

I’d be surprised if you’ve heard of Larry Meyer, but in the past few days, he’s created quite a buzz. Larry Meyer is a former Federal Reserve Governor. He holds a B.A. from Yale; a Ph.D. from MIT. His pedigree is top-notch. So are his connections. Meyer is still buddies with the folks on the Federal Open Market Committee, the policy-making body of the U.S. Federal Reserve. And his friends tell him what goes on at their meetings weeks before the general public gets to read about it. You would… Read More

I’d be surprised if you’ve heard of Larry Meyer, but in the past few days, he’s created quite a buzz. Larry Meyer is a former Federal Reserve Governor. He holds a B.A. from Yale; a Ph.D. from MIT. His pedigree is top-notch. So are his connections. Meyer is still buddies with the folks on the Federal Open Market Committee, the policy-making body of the U.S. Federal Reserve. And his friends tell him what goes on at their meetings weeks before the general public gets to read about it. You would think sharing that information with anyone outside the current Fed members would be illegal. You would also think the fact that Meyer charges well-heeled clients $75,000 each for access to what he has heard — well ahead of the investing public — would be unlawful. Amazingly, neither action is illegal, according to a Reuters investigation. One of the Federal Reserve’s main tools is setting target interest rates, and profits can be made or lost based on what the Fed says at its meetings. It makes me mad… Read More

The late-1970s was witness to one of the most remarkable gold rallies in history. From a low of $100 per troy ounce in 1976, prices rose to a then-record $873 by 1980. The culprit? Double-digit rates of inflation. Read More

As my colleague Mike Turner has noted, September was one for the record books. [Read Mike’s article here] And as Mike notes, it never hurts to play a little defense after such a good run. But in these markets, you’ll need to stay nimble. Coming earnings reports may just be good enough to keep the markets moving north, forestalling the moment when profit-taking dominates the action. With that in mind, let’s look at three companies that will report quarterly results in the next week or so. What they have to say about business… Read More

As my colleague Mike Turner has noted, September was one for the record books. [Read Mike’s article here] And as Mike notes, it never hurts to play a little defense after such a good run. But in these markets, you’ll need to stay nimble. Coming earnings reports may just be good enough to keep the markets moving north, forestalling the moment when profit-taking dominates the action. With that in mind, let’s look at three companies that will report quarterly results in the next week or so. What they have to say about business conditions may well set the trading tone for the rest of October and beyond. Aloca (NYSE: AA) On the first Monday in October, the Supreme Court kicks off a new term. And a few days after that, Alcoa always kicks off earnings season. For the past few years, Alcoa has set a somber tone as global demand for aluminum has been in a slump ever since Europe and the United States headed into the downturn. Yet I recently opined that a turn may be coming for Alcoa. [Read: “The Best… Read More

In recent weeks, stock market pundits have been wrestling with a curious phenomenon. Trading activity has fallen sharply, which these market-watchers presume to mean that investors have lost interest in stocks. Mom-and-pop investors have likely become more gun-shy this year. But the main culprit for lower trading volumes: Wall Street’s… Read More

There are plenty of good reasons to believe inflation is coming. U.S. government debt has surpassed $9 trillion, nearly tripling from $3.4 trillion in 2000. And things are getting worse. The government ran a deficit of $1.42 trillion in 2009 alone. Even as the economy has recovered, the current administration estimates the deficit for 2010 will be $1.5 trillion. [See Nathan Slaughter’s “Shocking Facts About the U.S. Debt Problem…”] How is the… Read More

There are plenty of good reasons to believe inflation is coming. U.S. government debt has surpassed $9 trillion, nearly tripling from $3.4 trillion in 2000. And things are getting worse. The government ran a deficit of $1.42 trillion in 2009 alone. Even as the economy has recovered, the current administration estimates the deficit for 2010 will be $1.5 trillion. [See Nathan Slaughter’s “Shocking Facts About the U.S. Debt Problem…”] How is the government going to pay all that debt? One way is inflation. The Federal Reserve has every incentive to boost inflation because it would in effect reduce the debt, as it would be paid with devalued dollars. Meanwhile, the government is injecting money into the system by basically giving it away. The current discount rate (the rate charged to commercial banks to borrow money from the Fed) is a microscopic 0.75%. To add perspective, the discount rate was 5.25% in 2006 and 19% in 1980. A massive flood of… Read More