Monthly Archives: November 2015

is it time to buy low on fannie and freddie? (only if you’ve got money to burn, lots of lawyers, and questionable ethics)

On the plane ride back from the Booth Investment Management Conference in Chicago on Sunday, I read the great new book by veteran financial journalist Bethany McLean, Shaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the US Mortgage Giants. The book tells the story of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two massive GSEs (government sponsored enterprises) that buy, package, and sell pools of mortgage loans. It’s a fascinating, if distressing history. Unfortunately, because our government failed to do away with Fannie and Freddie during the 2008 financial crisis, that history is still unfolding.

Continue reading


dead sector walking: traditional retail is still an investing graveyard

After last year’s better-than-expected holiday season, I cautioned investors not to get too hopeful about the seemingly endless supply of retailers looking to rebound. With local stores starting to put up Christmas lights again, it seems like a good time to revisit that advice and check back on the sector. How has retail fared in 2015?

Pretty much the same as 2014, 2013, 2012, and just about every year for the last decade. That is to say: quite poorly.

Continue reading