A Journal of Independent Research, Analysis,
 Opinion and Insight

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Steady As She Goes
Neither Pandemic WFH nor CEO Succession Upends Harding Loevner
I checked in with Harding Loevner’s Simon Hallett recently, something I hadn’t done in any depth since I interviewed the then-CIO of the institutional investment manager in these pages back in the spring of 2016. Much has changed. After sharing the CIO role for five years with colleague Ferrill Roll, Simon took the firm’s Vice Chairmanship, and left the CIO headaches to Ferrill — though he’s still standing by, in an advisory role, while tending to external interests. The highly successful boutique institutional investment firm’s — and is own.

Vaccines, Efficacy & Variants
Assessing The Persistent Uncertainties
2/19/21 8:00 AM
By Arthur Kroeber
In the early stages of the Covid pandemic, I wrote that the biggest analytic problem was high uncertainty across several dimensions (see Six Degrees Of Uncertainty). A year later, despite volumes of new information and the lightning creation of vaccines promising a path out of the pandemic, uncertainty remains.

A Big Cheese Grater
That’s The Market; Institutions Are The Blocks Of Cheese
2/19/21 7:00 AM
By Tim Quast
Good offense beats good defense.

These five words are the heartbeat of the Saban Dynasty in football at Alabama — and the reason for the Gamestop trade in the stock market.

Digging Below The Scary Consensus
2/19/21 6:00 AM
By Dave Rosenberg
Well, let’s just call it for what it is — a consensus forecast versus a current reality.

I hear all the time — look at the money supply!!

Bitcoin & Elon
Unpacking Tesla’s $1.5 Billion Foray Into The Digital Currency
2/19/21 5:00 AM
By Jack Ciesielski
GameStop? Soooo January. In the second week of February, we’ve got bigger things to think about.

Taiwan At Center Stage
Nation’s Semiconductor Dominance Likely To Intensify
2/19/21 4:00 AM
By Vincent Tsui
Across Europe and the US, car plants are getting shuttered and workers are being furloughed, not because of Covid-19 but because of a shortage of microchips from Asia. This storm is centered on Taiwan, which for decades has been an unsung contract supplier of electronics and chemicals.

The Road Back
Sustained Strength In Labor Market Would Confer Many Benefits
2/19/21 3:00 AM
By Jerome H Powell
Today I will discuss the state of our labor market, from the recent past to the present and then over the longer term. A strong labor market that is sustained for an extended period can deliver substantial economic and social benefits, including higher employment and income levels, improved and expanded job opportunities, narrower economic disparities, and healing of the entrenched damage inflicted by past recessions on individuals’ economic and personal well-being.

Bond Market Conceding
Consolidation Expected But Targets Higher Rates In Time
2/19/21 8:20 AM
By Blaze Tankersley
The long term deflationary fever looks to be under test now. Let’s have a run through the bond charts today before we head into the big Feb expiry on Friday. [More]

To Infinity & Beyond?
Indexes, Sectors, Commodities, Federal Reserve Assets...
2/19/21 7:20 AM
By Ron Griess
New all time highs were reached in February, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P500. Nasdaq and the Russel 2000 also reached highs in February. [More]

Rip Van Winkles?
Could Bristol Myers Wake Up In A New Bull Market, Like AECOM
2/19/21 6:20 AM
By Andrew Addison
While BRISTOL MYERS has been like “watching paint dry,” it extended its rounding consolidation. Once it could hurdle 68 resistance, then it would confirm the start of a new Bull market. [More]

Killer Acquisitions
A Look at How Pharma Mergers Squash Potential Competition
2/19/21 8:00 AM
By Colleen Cunningham and Alison Benson
This paper argues incumbent firms may acquire innovative targets solely to discontinue the target’s innovation projects and preempt future competition. [More]

Social Repercussions
More Good News: Unrest Tends To Reemerge As Pandemics Ebb
2/19/21 7:00 AM
By Philip Barrett and Sophia Chen
Epidemics may have social scarring effects, increasing the likelihood of social unrest. [More]

Pandemic Opportunity
How U.S. Could Use Business Stimulus To Boost Climate Resilience
2/19/21 6:00 AM
By Sanjay Patnaik, Siddhi Doshi, and Kelly Kennedy
Fundamentally, climate change is a serious economic threat. [More]

Covid-19 In Brazil
Stark Racial, Regional, Class Inequalities Turbocharge Impact
2/19/21 5:00 AM
By Luiza Nassif-Pires, Laura Carvalho, and Eduardo Rawet
After spending over 6 percent of GDP responding to the COVID-19 crisis, Brazil has suffered among the worst per capita numbers in the world in terms of cases and deaths. [More]

MMT In Japan?
Generally, The Nation’s Policies Are The Polar Opposite
2/19/21 4:00 AM
By L Randall Wray and Yeva Nersisyan
Modern Money Theory (MMT) economists have used Japan as an example of a country that demonstrates that high deficits and debt do not lead to insolvency, high interest rates, or inflation. [More]

The Straight Truth
Big Money Drove The Congressional Elections — Again
2/19/21 3:00 AM
By Thomas Ferguson, Paul Jorgensen, and Jie Chen
The 2020 election and the cataclysmic series of events it triggered have left many Americans dazed and sometimes even breathless. [More]

No Time To Spare
Exploring The Middle Class Time Squeeze
2/19/21 2:00 AM
By Tiffany N Ford, Jennifer M Silva, Morgan Welch, and Isabel V Sawhill
In the last few decades, middle-class wages, especially for men, have stagnated, and the middle class has experienced slower income growth than the bottom and top quintiles.? If not for women’s increased economic contributions, middle class incomes would not have risen at all.

Acute Observations, February 19, 2021
Perceptive Commentary from January 29-February 19, 2021
2/19/21 8:00 AM
Philip Stephens
The abiding sin threaded through it all was that of certitude. Perfectly plausible but untested theories, whether about the money supply, fiscal balances and debt levels, or market risk, were elevated to the level of irrefutable facts. Economics, essentially a faith-based discipline, represented itself as a hard science. [More]