Insights on markets, emergent trends, history, innovation, risk management, global economics, strategy, policy, and other topics that catch our attention. Inspired by ongoing research, conversations and events. Written and edited by Osbon Capital Management and published every Thursday morning.

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2024 will bring more positive novel surprises. New years always do. In 2023, it was the dramatic acceleration in AI, which touches nearly every industry, and the early stages of an answer to the obesity epidemic with GLP-1s. Here is a list of what’s on our minds going into 2024.

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What’s Wrong with Emerging Markets?

While the US markets are up nicely since the beginning of the year, emerging markets are down. What’s going on?  After all, China, Brazil, and other developing economies have the enviable trade surpluses, high growth rates, and excess reserves that the US doesn’t. Are the new “bankers to the world” who have been funding our growth by buying US Treasuries…

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Qaddafi Duck

All eyes are on Libya and its infamous dictator, Colonel Qaddafi. Beyond his support of international terrorism and his murderous assault on his own people, Qaddafi is truly an odd duck. Whether he threatens martyrdom while wearing earmuffs on national TV, insists he can’t resign because he “holds no position,” or is accompanied by young gun-toting female bodyguards, his actions…

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Check ETF ingredients before choosing flavors

With nearly a thousand flavors now available at the ETF buffet, where do you even begin to fill your plate? Start with the major food groups. A sound investing plan begins with intentional, reasoned allocations to distinct asset classes. While it is easy to become enamored with specific stocks or ETFs, determining how to spread investments across asset classes, based…

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WWPD – What Would Paulson Do?

Certain investors and investments take on a mystical aura from time to time. That’s certainly the case today with John Paulson and gold. Paulson is currently the largest holder of gold in ETF form, possessing more than $4 billion of the popular gold SPDR (symbol GLD) through his various hedge funds, and it has brought him great riches.

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Hu’s number one? Well, it depends who you ask.

Quick, what’s the largest emerging market in the world?  Most people would say China, and measured by gross domestic product that’s clearly the case, by a wide margin. But for investors Brazil is a rising power with a bigger than expected presence in emerging market index funds.

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Where’s the greed?

Tales of Wall Street greed and grifting are as old as the Buttonwood Tree itself. Outrage continues to flare over reckless borrowing, insider trading, and elaborate Ponzi schemes, not to mention stupendous pay packages for executives who created investment products that nearly destroyed our financial systems. But here’s one tale of greed that never was, the story of an investing powerhouse…

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Would you lend money to the governor?

When you buy a Massachusetts general obligation municipal bond, that’s what you’re doing – lending money to Governor Deval Patrick and our other elected officials. Of course they promise to pay you back, with regular interest payments along the way. But will they, or those who follow them in office, be able to?

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What does an 800-pound gorilla say?

Whatever it wants.  When the gorilla is Vanguard, the world’s largest mutual fund manager with $1.6 trillion in assets and the fund company that attracted more new assets in 2010 than any other, the gorilla is worth listening to.

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Winning Without Predicting

Byron R. Wien, Vice Chairman, Blackstone Advisory Services, has one of the best prediction records in the business.  Over the last 25 years he has released his “10 Surprises” each January. Statistically, he has been right more than wrong.  The bonus is that is he humble and open-minded, so he is definitely worth reading to test one’s own investment assumptions…

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