Author Archive for Keith Fitz-Gerald

Why The Fiscal Cliff "Deal" is Spelled P-O-R-K

After narrowly missing the fiscal cliff, the President went out of his way to thank the Senate and Congress for getting things done. Granted, it wasn’t an Academy Award speech, but it could have been given the performance he delivered as he congratulated everybody from his “extraordinary” Vice President Joe Biden to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and even Speaker Boehner. It was quite a spectacle really, but puuuulleeeassssse…now for the back- room details. Behind the scenes, th…

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Fiscal Cliff Deal Averts the Crisis… But Now What?

[Singapore] – It’s late Tuesday evening and I’m about to go on air with CNBC Asia in Singapore regarding the impact of the Fiscal Cliff bill which passed minutes ago after Republican leaders decided not to try and tack on amendments nor engage in further bickering. Passed by a 257 to 167 vote, the bill is now headed to the White House and a draft may even be on the President’s desk by the time you read this. So I’ll have to write quickly. Here’s the scoop on the fiscal cliff deal…

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The Weakest Holiday Sales Growth Since 2008 Means It’s Time to Short These Retailers

Initial U.S. retail sales figures released on Wednesday showed sales growth for the holiday season was the worst since 2008. According to MasterCard SpendingPulse, holiday sales posted a paltry 0.7% increase against expectations of a 3-4% gain. That’s below the same period last year when sales grew at a 2% pace. Analysts looking for a convenient excuse have been quick to blame Hurricane Sandy. But in reality, there’s something else much bigger at work here. That’s why I’m a…

Keep on reading: The Weakest Holiday Sales Growth Since 2008 Means It’s Time to Short These Retailers

Why Japan’s "Lost Decades" Are Headed to America in 2016

It’s only been a little more than a week since Shinzo Abe won election as Japan’s latest Prime Minister in a landslide-election victory and the pundits are already lining up telling investors to “buy Japan” because it’s “dirt cheap.” The hope is that Abe’s promises of fresh stimulus, unlimited spending and placing a priority on domestic infrastructure will be the elixir that restores Japan’s global muscle. As a veteran global trader who actually lives in Japan part time each year, a…

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Why You Can’t Trust Bob Toll’s Prediction of 20% Home Price Increases in 2013

Bob Toll, Executive Chairman of Toll Brothers, recently told Reuters that home prices are going to jump 20% in 2013 and another 25-30% in 2014. But before you decide to pile into real estate, you might want to think about it for a moment. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Mr. Toll, nor even his prediction. He is a seasoned executive in one of the most respected homebuilders in the country; it’s why he made this prognostication and what he stands to gain from it that bothers me:…

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These Three Iconic Japanese Brand Names Are On My "Short List"

[Kyoto, Japan] – Many investors have piled into Japan lately reasoning that somehow this will be “the year” Japan turns around and there will be lots of money to be made. I don’t disagree – only the big profits are on the short side, especially when it comes to these three iconic Japanese tech brands. As I quipped earlier in the year, it’s more likely that Godzilla will walk out of Tokyo Bay again than it is that Japan will suddenly rebound. I am well aware that’s not a…

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The Fiscal Cliff Is Set To Clobber The Middle Class With Nearly 50% Tax Rates

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think there’s a small but growing group of people in Washington who think it would actually be good if we temporarily went over the fiscal cliff. I say that because I am seeing a smattering of articles recently suggesting that somehow going over the cliff “won’t be all that bad” or that we’re “really just talking about cuts that need to happen in the first place.” President Obama seems to think the same way judging by the fact that he’s dug in his h…

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Is America Having Enough Babies…Or is it Another Sign We’re Turning Japanese?

A new study by The Pew Research Center shows that the birth rate in the United States has dropped to the lowest level since 1920, when reliable statistics were first made available. The birth rate dropped precipitously last year to only 63.2 per 1,000 women of childbearing age (which is defined as 15 to 44 years of age). That is half of what it was in 1957 at its peak. Most people aren’t troubled by this — but they should be. Here’s why. Our low birth rate has tremendous imp…

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What Raising Taxes on the Rich Really Does for the U.S. Economy

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Five Ways to Turn the Fiscal Cliff Into an Outstanding Investment Opportunity

Many investors believe that a fiscal cliff “dive” is inevitable. Even with the prospect of a deal lifting the markets yesterday, I can’t say I disagree. The blame game has already started and it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see anything other than more foolishness out of Washington. And so far all they have done is kick the can down the road to date. So what can you do about it? Believe it or not, crises like these can be an ideal time to buy stocks. And gold. And oil. And certa…

Keep on reading: Five Ways to Turn the Fiscal Cliff Into an Outstanding Investment Opportunity