I’m back, and trying to figure out whether there is a bear at the door

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I am finally back home in Cape Town after a number of overseas trips over the past few weeks, including stops in Europe and South America. Both the business and leisure sides of the visit were excellent and enjoyable, having met with old acquaintances and new friends. On top, I was blessed with glorious sunshine in most parts.

Isn’t it amazing how the dramatic action on financial markets always happens when one goes away? Also, BlackBerry services seem to stall and Internet speed slow to watching-paint-dry levels as market volatility becomes panicky. In spite of this your globe-trotting analyst did manage to keep a high-level watch over developments. More about me throwing the bones on the market outlook elsewhere in today’s delivery and in future posts; suffice to say for now that with the particularly loud growl of bears as stock markets plunged to levels last seen in September 2010, I fully expected equities to not only bounce but also carry higher on an intermediate (two-three month) horizon.

However, it is not yet possible to know whether the fat lady of the 30-month bull market has made her appearance. The nature of the rally, especially to what extent up-days are supported by solid volume, would, among others, provide a clue as to whether the cyclical bull is still alive and kicking.

Regarding posts, my blogging endeavors came to a halt during my travels but don’t despair, the service has been resumed! I thoroughly enjoy sharing my ideas with readers, but also have business and diplomatic responsibilities that require a rightful allocation of my time. It’s a question of finding the elusive “happy balance” …

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9 comments to I’m back, and trying to figure out whether there is a bear at the door

  • Rick Mayor


    Good to have you back! I’ve been missing your posts for some time now, glad you’re settled back at home and ready to write again.

    Hope you’re having a good winter,

  • martin rosen

    where have you been and just what are you learning? anxious to hear. welcome home safely.
    martin rosen


    Good to see you back

    I was a bit missing your posts, especially when Mr. Market (or the manipuliation) took a dive these days.

    Thanks bring it back and it is very valuable to us.

  • @Martin: London, Cannes, Monaco, Geneva, Veysonnaz, Bern, Sao Paulo and Asuncion.

    The following are a few observations linked directly to my traveling:

    (1) Buy agricultural land in Paraguay. Besides being a good theme, the country is on the up, albeit off a very low base.
    (2) Notwithstanding disclosure issues as far as Swiss banks are concerned, the country will remain a safe haven for quite a number of years to come.
    (3) I am a long-term bull on Brazil and recommend buying on pullbacks.
    (4) The U.K. property market has bottomed as seen from positive trends in the mortgage market.
    (5) The Cote d’Azur is one of the best playgrounds of the world, with Antibes being a personal favorite.

  • Ilse Silva-Krott

    I am so glad you are back, as I have been waiting of a investment postcard for a while!

    Looking forward to your comments and links to interesting interviews and discussions…

  • p. chkoski

    Wishing you a much appreciated return to the fold. Would you care to
    share any contacts you have in Asuncion regarding the recommendation you make? Am developing a file for further investigation.

  • @ P Chkoski: I have sent you an e-mail with the names of contact people.

  • Rick Mayor


    Note on your comment on Brazil, Don Coxe mentioned in his latest about his concern for Brazil:

    “5. Brazil has been the investors’ favorite BRIC for several years. Apart from the economic overheating and the sky-high interest rates, its political situation has taken a turn for the worse since Lula retired. We think equity investors should resist the urge to take advantage of the Bovespa’s pullback. Brazil has a long record of blowing its great advantages with political folly. History shouldn’t repeat itself this time, but it might be prudent to wait and see.”

    I think you are probably right long term but with the new socialist leader there it might have some near term difficulties (I know Lula was a socialist, but he turned out to be a “sensible” socialist !


  • Frank W

    Well. I’ve been wrong before, but it is hard to see how we can escape going into recession. Indeed, we are probably already into it. John Mauldin says that on average markets drop 40% during a recession. But this IS NOT a normal recession caused by inventory build up. Rather it is a financial crisis like the Great Depression. Therefore, who knows how low we could go?

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