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Burton Malkiel on the world today

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

One of the perks of our job is we get invited to great conferences. Jessica was able to attend a special conference Vanguard held for independent financial advisors like ourselves. The keynote speaker was Burt Malkiel (author of “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” and someone who has gotten the big picture right consistently over […]

Dinner with Axel Merk

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

I attended a dinner last night sponsored by the Financial Planning Forum, a Palo Alto based group of attorneys, accountants and people like us. The speaker was Axel Merk, an economist and founder of Merk Investments. Merk has two public mutual funds – one of which focuses on “hard” currencies and the other offers access […]

Australia, on the cheap

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Australia, until recently, had very high interest rates. Japan had very low interest rates. Recipe for easy money:  borrow money in Japanese Yen, convert it into Australian Dollars and then invest it in Australia. This was called the “carry trade”. This was done by all self-respecting hedge funds who wanted to make a quick buck. […]

Worse Before Better – An Update

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Our financial markets update to clients (September 17, 2008): The usual caveats apply. Everyone’s financial situation differs. Consult your own advisor or do your own research. We have been wrong before. [Formatting problems at the bottom are known issue. Webmaster on the case.] ———————————————————————— Lehman is toast, Merrill’s in a shotgun wedding and AIG is […]

Worse Before Better

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Our financial markets update to clients (September 10, 2008): The usual caveats apply. Everyone’s financial situation differs. Consult your own advisor or do your own research. We have been wrong before. ———————————————————————— Shocking VP picks, Russian invasions and now a government takeover of Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC)… the news just won’t stop […]

Roth IRAs: What was Congress thinking?

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

I attended a conference yesterday for practitioners and academics to determine the requirements for software that would help advisors make recommendations for taxwise decisions about timing retirement withdrawals from all the various investments (401(k)s, Roth IRAs, brokerage accounts, personal residences) their clients hold. Things I learned: 1) These decisions have a huge impact over how […]

Network Appliance

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

We recently published an article about Network Appliance (NTAP) available at Our investment thesis was that a classic growth stock became a cash machine and no one noticed (except us and company management). Disclaimer: We are not single stock pickers, we generally do not use single stocks in our client portfolios and we use […]

Economic Update

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

We recently sent this out to clients : Alexis and Palmer Financial Market Update January 2008 (PDF). For further reading: An explanation of why it is a problem if the bond insurers blow up Barron’s article by Vitaliy Katsenelson that explains why we should value stocks assuming profit margins are lower in future New York […]

Whither E*TRADE

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

We sent the following note to our clients and those we have put on our “Friends of Alexis and Palmer” email list. If you would like to be added to this list, please send a request to with your name and affiliation. We are getting inquiries about E*TRADE, their financial future, and the safety […]

Lore and lure of employee stock options

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

The Wall Street Journal ran a story today about a woman who works for Moody’s. Moody’s stock has stumbled with the securitized debt market, and so has the value of her employee stock options. Her financial advisor is quoted as saying, “Options, as part of a portfolio, are often the riskiest asset a client has.” […]

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