Post-Fed
Follow-Up

A quick post-Fed follow-up to “Tell My Horse”, the best-received Epsilon Theory note to date (thank you!). I’ll jump right into what I’ve got to say, without the usual 20 pages of movie quotes and the like. Well, I’ve got one quote above, because I can’t help myself. They’re the lyrics to the best break-up song ever, and they’re what Janet Yellen was singing to the market on Wednesday.

Read more

Essence of Decision

Here’s the thing. The Fed is now revealing its one True Love — its own reputation and its own political standing — and that’s going to be a bombshell revelation to investors who think that the Fed loves them.

Read more

Crisis Actors and a Reichstag Fire

Man in Bar: Tomorrow, I’m gonna be a hero. Gideon: I’m sorry?  Man in Bar: You may just be a patsy, but you’re an important one. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met a bigger crisis actor than you before. … This is for our country! [Man in Bar shoots Gideon in neck, killing …

Read moreCrisis Actors and a Reichstag Fire

When Narratives Go Bad

How many things served us yesterday as articles of faith, which today are fables for us? – Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays (1580) That same night, I wrote my first short story. It took me thirty minutes. It was a dark little tale about a man who found a magic cup and learned that …

Read moreWhen Narratives Go Bad

Waiting for Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men Couldn’t put Humpty together again. Brexit is a Bear Stearns moment, not a Lehman moment. That’s not to diminish what’s happening (markets felt like death in March, 2008), but this isn’t the event to …

Read moreWaiting for Humpty Dumpty

Cat’s Cradle

“No wonder kids grow up crazy. A cat’s cradle is nothing but a bunch of X’s between somebody’s hands, and little kids look and look and look at all those X’s . . .”“And?”“No damn cat, and no damn cradle.” The Fourteenth Book is entitled, “What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, …

Read moreCat’s Cradle

Who’s Being Naïve, Kay?

The Mysterious Stranger is a liar, to be sure, but he’s a proper villain, as the Brits would say, and he’s quite upfront about his goals and his use of clever words to accomplish those goals.

Your goal? Survive the encounter.

Read more

Optical Illusion / Optical Truth

Portion of original dot map by Dr. John Snow, the founding father of epidemiology, showing the clusters of cholera cases in the London epidemic of 1854. The visual representation of Snow’s data analysis convinced local authorities to shut down the contaminated public well at ground zero of the cholera outbreak, although it would be another …

Read moreOptical Illusion / Optical Truth

The Placebo Effect

BOTOX® is the only FDA-approved, preventive treatment that is injected by a doctor every 12 weeks for adults with Chronic Migraine (15 or more headache days a month, each lasting 4 hours or more). BOTOX® prevents up to 9 headache days a month (vs up to 7 for placebo). BOTOX® therapy is not approved for …

Read moreThe Placebo Effect

My Passion is Puppetry

Campaign Company Launch Date “Flo” Progressive Insurance 2008 “Rhetorical Question” “Happier Than A … ” “Did You Know?” “It’s What You Do” GEICO 2009 2012 2013 2014 “Mayhem” Allstate 2010 “University of Farmers” Farmers Insurance 2010 “Magic Jingle” State Farm 2011 2011 “That’s Not How It Works” Esurance 2014 “Chicken Parm You Taste So Good” …

Read moreMy Passion is Puppetry

Rewardless Risk

Faramir: Then farewell! But if I should return, think better of me. Denethor: That depends on the manner of your return. – J.R.R. Tolkien “The Lord of the Rings” (1954) I’m going full-nerd with the “Lord of the Rings” introduction to today’s Epsilon Theory note, but I think this scene — where Denethor, the mad …

Read moreRewardless Risk

Storm Warning

Unfortunately for mariners, the total amount of wave energy in a storm does not rise linearly with wind speed, but to its fourth power. The seas generated by a forty-knot wind aren’t twice as violent as those from a twenty-knot wind, they are seventeen times as violent. A ship’s crew watching the anemometer climb even …

Read moreStorm Warning

“Suddenly, Last Summer”

A quick Epsilon Theory email and a quick announcement. Announcement first. I’ll be giving a 1-hour webcast on Risk Premia strategies next Tuesday, August 4th, along with Salient President Jeremy Radcliffe and Salient Portfolio Manager Rob Croce, who knows more about the guts of these strategies than anyone should. The webcast qualifies for CE credit …

Read more“Suddenly, Last Summer”

Why Take a Chance?

Vinny Forlano: He won’t talk. Stone is a good kid. Stand-up guy, just like his old man. That’s the way I see it. Vincent Borelli: I agree. He’s solid. An effin’ Marine. Americo Capelli: He’s okay. He always was. Remo, what do you think? Remo Gaggi: Look… why take a chance? At least, that’s the …

Read moreWhy Take a Chance?

Catch – 22

Four times during the first six days they were assembled and briefed and then sent back. Once, they took off and were flying in formation when the control tower summoned them down. The more it rained, the worse they suffered. The worse they suffered, the more they prayed that it would continue raining. All through …

Read moreCatch – 22

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Hilsenrath Analysis: Friday’s Jobs Report Assures Global Central Banks Going in Two Directions ― Wall Street Journal, December 5th, 9:59a ET Earlier today I tweeted that “I should write a note on Draghi today, but after 2.5 yrs of reviewing the same song and dance I’d rather put out my eye with a rusty spoon.” I feel the …

Read moreWe Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming