Thoughts At #400

alice in wonderland

400 (June 19, 2016)

NFTRH 1 was published on September 28, 2008. It was a 7 page sample letter to whomever may be interested. These are the opening paragraphs…

“Welcome to Notes From the Rabbit Hole (NFTRH)! The letter is so named because beginning in 2002, when I first delved deeply into the mechanics of what makes markets and financial systems run I met, communicated with and learned from ‘many strange characters’ who helped me become more conscious of certain realities that we, as investors and global citizens, must be aware of.

I am not a guru, nor do I have a crystal ball. What I have is a deep desire to win, or maybe not to become a victim of misperceptions that run rampant where markets – and in particular within the inflation/deflation debate – are concerned. I also have a deep grounding in psychology (no Ph.D., just extreme interest) which feeds my interest in markets, which after all are nothing more than the collective actions of millions of people – and few ‘black boxes’ 🙂.”

Now at the #400 milestone, reports average 35-40 pages and I feel the service has evolved into something much more valuable than at its humble beginnings, when it was purposefully launched into the teeth of an oncoming financial disaster in Q4 2008.

I am still not a guru and my crystal ball is still broken, but I have a lot of tools that give me confidence that we will remain on the right side of markets or when needed, get on the right side of markets. As for psychology, that may actually be coming into play now.

Look no further than omnipresent BREXIT headlines and global NIRP expectations. Take a look at the herds huddling in US Treasury bonds, as evidently there is no inflation because the Fed says so with its refusal to raise interest rates. The whole thing feels to me, speaking strictly as a wannabe psychologist or sociologist, like a setup. I wrote a lot about inflation at nftrh.com last week and we will discuss it further later in the report.

Anyway, at round numbers I tend to think ‘wow, still going strong…’ but 400 seems like the first really big number, when you consider the detail in each report. The amazing thing is that I still love it. That is why the report’s content and depth of detail has grown over the years. The analysis I feel is needed takes me where it takes me.

I find there is a minimum amount of work I need to do in order to get my own ducks in a row with regard to understanding what the markets are doing at any given point, and so I cast that assumption onto you as well. I barely veil my negativity toward analytical entities that simply issue opinions disguised as analysis for the lazier of the herds to glom on to and follow without critical inspection.

I want to always try to show why I am writing what I am writing because without the work, I am just guessing like everyone else. Even with the work, I am guessing. But hopefully in an educated way and definitely with the willingness to adjust as the analysis and facts instruct. This is why each week I invite critical feedback as well. There must be no ego, hubris or laziness involved. We must simply get it right and that takes work and humility in over managed (read: massaged, manipulated, rigged through media megaphones and/or direct actions) markets like we have currently.

Moving on, I still remember the “strange characters” from early last decade but more so I remember the late Jonathan Auerbach, an Emerging Markets expert and specialty brokerage owner who begged me not to launch the service (I was after all, a successful “strumming widget maker” * as he called me) before signing up as NFTRH’s self-described “charter subscriber”.

I used several of Jon’s quotes in early NFTRH editions; from “picking off the sissies” to “it’s inflation all the way, baby!”, each in reference to our shared bullishness in Q4 2008 and Q1 2009. When he passed away, I felt pretty damned alone in this financial market milieu. I have a couple people I consider compadres, but am really part of no teams, associations or cheering squads. I pretty much hate everybody. 😦

Please take that last sentence as the humor it is meant to be. But all humor has some kernel of truth in it as well. The more I see out there in the large and small financial media, the more I resolve to continue making NFTRH what it needs to be in order to have a different, flexible and ultimately correct vantage point.

* A reference to my status as manufacturer and a guitar player in a rock band. Jon shared stories with me about hanging out with the New York Dolls’ Johnny Thunders and attending a Mets game with Iggy Pop. Frankly, the guy was amazing. A gold bug through and through, he passed away just as the gold bear market was hitting its worst.