Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Overheard at Barron's Roundtable 2009

For those who haven't seen it, part 1 of Barron's Roundtable 2009 is out on newstands this week and online at Barron's web site.

Since most Barron's readers have probably already bought this week's issue, I see no harm in reviewing the online version of this year's Roundtable.

Although, given the performance of last year's Roundtable picks, I can see why the assembled crew might not want to dwell on 2008! Felix Zulauf seemed to fare best, replicating his strong performance in last year's Roundtable.

For 2009, the gang seems pretty downbeat, acknowledging the problems associated with this bear market and the recent period of delevaraging.

In fact, most of the participants (Bill Gross, Oscar Schafer, Mario Gabelli, Felix Zulauf, et al) spoke of things like rising unemployment, lower corporate profits, and the perceived need for government stimulus programs. Not exactly the stuff that economic dreams are made of.

Still, I think most were hesitant to come off as bearish as Fred Hickey and Marc Faber, who seemed very sympatico in their view of the US stock market (both see potential for further gains on this rally, with reality setting in soon afterwards), the economy, and the risk of high future inflation.

We'll see who's right in the end, but personally I wouldn't bet against Hickey or Faber too strongly, especially as they are usually (together with Zulauf) alone in seeing things as they are, rather than as they'd like them to be.

Stay tuned for our follow up post on the 2009 Barron's Roundtable, which will be added here after the final installment is available on Barron's website. Look for that in the next couple of weeks.

Related articles and posts:

1. 2008 Barron's Roundtable Review - Finance Trends Matter.

2. Felix Zulauf - Barron's Interview - Finance Trends Matter.

3. Marc Faber on Investments, Economy - Finance Trends Matter.