“We Are Entering a Period of Geopolitical Instability and Danger” – Ian Bremmer Speaks at Tufts University on Global Politics and Economics

As promised folks, here it is. These Tufts talks are excellent and as I get to them I will share them with you! It was also great sitting next to a fellow Tufts grad and current Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy student Alex Taylor; who, previous to her time at Fletcher, was reporting for a news service in Lebanon. Great to meet you Alex!

Ian Bremmer at Tufts University on March 25, 2015 – a bit of an ad hoc talk:

Ian Bremmer at Tufts – Audio Coming Soon

Ian Bremmer at Tufts – Audio Coming Soon

I listened to an excellent talk by Ian Bremmer last week at Tufts. if you don’t know, he runs the Eurasia Group and is an expert on foreign affairs and international diplomacy. I recorded the talk and will try to get that up soon.

I thoroughly enjoyed the session and I recommend you listen when I upload it!

2015-03-25 Chris with Ian Bremmer

Poor Ian caught imperfectly in this photo. I’ll blame the undergrad that took the photo but couldn’t wait to get me out of the way to chat with Ian.



On a side note, was bummed to find that I could not record it using the SoundCloud app. Apparently they changed their mission sometime in the past and just play music by artists, but my iPhone app wouldn’t record. I used Evernote and will have to figure out how to get that audio file to a player!

Why Lehman Events Happen

Why Lehman Events Happen

Snow up the wazoo!

Snow up the wazoo!

It’s Tuesday January 27th, and there’s 2 feet+ of snow outside my window. Nice to look at but I’m not going out, except maybe for a short quiet walk. The only time you can enjoy a moment outside without the sounds of some moron Boston driver beeping in the distance or screeching to a halt is when there is two feet of snow on the ground. So maybe I’ll go out.

In the meantime, I’ll ponder the thought – as the market falls hard today – of a common Wall Street saying (paraphrased): that the bond market is smarter than the stock market. I think of that as I watch the Russell 2000, an index of small company stocks, perform relatively the best today. If the bond market is truly the “smartest,” meaning the moves in that market best represent what is and what will happen in the economy, and stock markets aren’t as “smart,” where does that put people who mindlessly buy the smallest stocks on every dip, even as the economic news deteriorates?

Let me stop here to summarize a few things.

1. the 2009-2014 period is over – yes chronologically it is most certainly over. But the warm fuzzy feeling people had as every market dip was bought more ferociously and it seemed like market risk had disappeared, should be forgotten.

2. Volatility is back – meaning large price swings in assets as central banks the world over play with interest rates (some going negative!!!) and currencies. Historically, the textbook analyst values an asset based on a “risk free interest rate (usually a 10 year US treasury bond). When rates are up and down 1% every 6 months, and heading to 0% worldwide, then this idea of valuing an asset is hard to do.

3. Sucker punch probability rises – the chance of a market sucker punch, where prices move extraordinarily, in a day or a few days, is very large now in my opinion. Those of you that read my email newsletters know I have increasingly turned to using options as “placeholders” for full portfolio positions to eliminate the sucker punch risk.

Is the investor sucker punch coming? photo courtesy of Bark on Flickr

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