October 2011 Investment Strategy

The market was extremely volatile and down sharply during the past quarter as the debt situation in Europe increasingly occupied the headlines.  Although many now predict a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis and a sharp economic recession, we do not, and there are few comparisons and many major differences between 2008 and today.  The financial crisis and major economic recession in 2008 was caused by a collapsing credit-fueled housing bubble many years in the making.  The consequent breakdown of the financial markets led to a freeze on all discretionary business spending and hiring.  Today, housing and consumer spending are subdued, large companies are conservatively positioned with low debt and record cash balances, and U.S. banks are strongly capitalized and closely supervised.  Fears are widely advertised, but it is clear that global central banks will go to almost any length to prevent a repeat of the 2008 credit freeze. While uncertainty about the European debt situation is dampening economic growth, it is highly unlikely to spark a U.S. or global economic slowdown anything like 2008.

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