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Mar 12, 2013, 1:19 PM EST

The new new normal

By Brad McMillan

The is the first part of a two-part column that will be updated March 12; to read the second part, click here.I am rather proud of that headline. How often do you get to riff on Bill Gross (“the new normal”) and Michael Lewis (“The New New Thing”) at the same time? As a bonus, I think it actually reflects what we are seeing as the economy and markets evolve. “The New New Thing” (Penguin Books, 2001), for those too young to remember, is a book about Jim Clark and his role in the new Internet economy. It is a great read and recalls a time when everything seemed possible, when we were entering a new economy and it really was different this time. Freed from the constraints of geography and profitability, Internet companies were going to change the world.The funny thing is, he was right. Not in the sense that everyone thought — but see that link to above? That is where many people now buy ... Read full post

Mar 5, 2013, 4:03 PM EST

Why Apple will grow again

By Bob Turner

The following commentary appears in the latest quarterly letter from Turner Investments. It is a response to a question submitted by David S. Newcomb, director of portfolio management for Sterling Investment Advisors, who wanted to know whether Apple Inc.'s struggles meant its days as a growth company were over. To read more of the quarterly letter, here. .Apple's recent struggles have been widely chronicled by the business press.Apple's share price is down about 30% from its peak last September, and sales of its iPod and Macintosh products are declining. Although it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why Apple has looked uncharacteristically average lately, some observers have attributed it to the death of Steve Jobs, the company's brilliant and innovative chief executive; a lack of new market-changing consumer products; increased competition from companies such as Google Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.; and the company's now-... Read full post

Mar 5, 2013, 4:01 PM EST

The value investor's schizophrenia

By François Sicart

Superstar investor Warren E. Buffett is widely quoted as having said, “The best time to sell a stock is never.”But Mr. Buffett, though a proclaimed disciple of Benjamin Graham, the “pope” of value investing, was later just as much influenced by Philip Fisher, the recognized “pope” of growth investing. In fact, it was Mr. Fisher who, in “Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits” (Harper, 1958) wrote that the best time to sell a stock is “almost never.”I never met Mr. Graham and haven't met Mr. Buffet. But I did meet Mr. Fisher, who invited me to visit a company with him after reading one of my papers sometime in the 1980s. Without even a stock quote machine in his office, he was a voracious reader of company financials but also a compulsive evaluator of corporate management. Mr. Fisher wanted to know and talk to everyone he could in a company, from the chief executive to operations... Read full post

Feb 17, 2013, 2:39 PM EST

The impact of migratory patterns on munis

By James Colby

Let's give credit where credit is due. Recently, Forbes published an article that to some might seem like the kind of article that sits on the shelf until there is a slow news day and the editor is looking for a filler piece. In fact, this article raises a number of important points that, in my opinion, all touch upon the national economic recovery and just may be the locus of the revival of small business and wealth creation.Why is this important to MUNI NATION? My concern is for the economic health — no, survival — of state and local governments that issue tax-exempt debt securities in order to meet the public needs of their inhabitants. The Forbes article points to migratory population shifts (measured in part by statistics from moving companies) that I believe will have very real consequences for certain states. As there is net "out migration," there may typically be loss of tax revenues, user fees and consumption at... Read full post