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Old 01-30-2009, 06:28 PM  
eazyb81 eazyb81 is offline
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WSJ: Right Forecast by Schiff, Wrong Plan?


I found this article fascinating, as Schiff is hailed as a quasi-messiah by many people, including posters on here, because of his economic predictions, but when it comes time to put your money where your mouth is, he whiffs.

I've said it before, but the really impressive people are guys like John Paulson, Philip Falcone, etc. They didn't display the arrogance that Schiff did during all of his TV interviews over the last two years, but they crushed it when it came to betting large on their ideas of what was happening to the global economy.

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Right Forecast by Schiff, Wrong Plan?


By SCOTT PATTERSON, JOANNA SLATER and CRAIG KARMIN

Peter Schiff predicted a collapse of the U.S. financial system. The bust-up he didn't foresee was the one that made mincemeat of investors who took his advice in 2008.

Mr. Schiff's Darien, Conn., broker-dealer firm, Euro Pacific Capital Inc., advised its clients to bet that the dollar would weaken significantly and that foreign stocks would outpace their U.S. peers. Instead, the dollar advanced against most currencies, magnifying the losses from foreign stocks Mr. Schiff steered his investors into.

Investors open accounts at Euro Pacific to take advantage of Mr. Schiff's investment advice, which generally involves shunning investments in dollars. Individual returns can vary. Some investors may like gold-mining stocks, while others prefer energy-focused stocks.

Most had one thing in common last year: heavy losses. A number of investors said their Euro Pacific portfolios lost 50% or more in 2008, worse than the 38% drop in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index last year. People familiar with the firm say that hardly any securities recommended by Euro Pacific brokers gained ground in 2008.

Investment adviser and author Peter Schiff, still riding high on his prescient call on the collapse of the U.S. housing market, is the subject of more than 3,000 YouTube videos, including one called "Peter Schiff Was Right."




Such losses came as something of a surprise. Mr. Schiff's prescient call for the collapse of the U.S. housing market and the weakening of the financial system helped him gain fame as an economic guru and savvy investor who promised shelter from the financial storm.

In his 2007 book, "Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse," he recommends that investors pile into gold, commodities and overseas stocks that spit out steady dividends.

When global markets were soaring, many Euro Pacific investors' accounts experienced strong performance. For several years, investors saw returns in excess of 20% a year as foreign stocks and commodities surged, according to people familiar with the firm.

In 2008, investors nervous about the state of the U.S. economy who were impressed by Mr. Schiff's track record poured money into Euro Pacific, nearly doubling the number of accounts to 16,000. But many did so at the worst time possible, much like investors who piled into Internet stocks as the dot-com bubble peaked.

Mr. Schiff, 45 years old, says the downturn in his strategy is a short-term setback. He argues that it is only a matter of time before the dollar collapses, pressured by massive government bailouts, triggering outsize returns for his investors.

"I think the dollar is going to get destroyed," he says. Investors with the staying power to wait out what he sees as a temporary phase of irrational confidence in the dollar will reap huge rewards, he argues.

Mr. Schiff is still riding high on his housing-market call. This week, he spoke at a global competitiveness conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, alongside former heads of state, prime ministers and American gold-medal swimmer Michael Phelps. He is the subject of more than 3,000 YouTube videos, including one called "Peter Schiff Was Right."

His admirers even created Web sites supporting a possible run for the U.S. Senate in 2010. Mr. Schiff, who was economic adviser to independent presidential candidate Ron Paul in 2008, says he has no plans to run for the Senate but "anything's possible."

Critics say Mr. Schiff's strategy is much riskier and more aggressive than many investors realize. David Yeske, managing director of Yeske Buie, a Vienna, Va., money manager, says Mr. Schiff's investment strategy was a focused bet on a single outcome, rather than risk management for investors looking to protect assets from an economic collapse. "He's a speculator; he thinks he can see the future," says Mr. Yeske, former chairman of the Financial Planning Association. "That's not really risk control."

One of Mr. Schiff's biggest forecasts was that many overseas economies would "decouple" from the U.S., gaining strength even as the American economy struggled. Instead, overseas stock markets plunged as much or more than U.S. stocks in 2008 as the global economy skidded. Prices for commodities also tanked, torpedoing another favorite investment theme of Mr. Schiff's. After last year's losses, his firm has about $845 million in assets.

Early last year, Richard De Gennaro, a retired Harvard University librarian, put $100,000, about 15% of his assets, into a Euro Pacific account that included Canadian Oil Sands Trust, which focuses on crude-oil projects in Canada, and the India Capital Growth Fund, which holds investments in companies that do business in India.

Both investments took big hits in 2008, compounded by the fact that the Canadian dollar and the Indian rupee fell 18% and 19%, respectively, against the U.S. dollar. The 83-year-old retiree's account is now worth about $37,000, a 63% plunge. Mr. Schiff "goes around saying that he was right," says Mr. De Gennaro. "He was right about one thing and wrong about everything else."

Among investors who turned to Mr. Schiff's firm just as his strategy began to falter, Brian Kullberg, a design engineer in Portland, Ore., says he started to worry about the state of the U.S. economy in early 2008. He put $70,000 into a Euro Pacific account, hoping it would benefit as the U.S. economy and the dollar weakened. By late January 2009, his investment had shrunk to about $25,000.

"It's curious," says one longtime client of Mr. Schiff's who works in finance. "His thesis of how things are going to collapse and crumble and fall apart isn't effectively executed in [my] account." The account, which is largely invested in gold, mining and infrastructure stocks from Canada to Australia, was down roughly 35% last year, the client estimates. The Australian dollar weakened 19% against the U.S. dollar in 2008.

Mr. Schiff says one year's poor performance doesn't prove he was wrong. He has admitted in notes to clients that his investment thesis hasn't performed as expected, particularly with respect to the U.S. dollar. But he holds fast to his convictions and has been telling investors to scoop up a number of depressed stocks.

Some clients are inclined to agree. "The decoupling he talked about has not happened," says Barbara Hearst, a clothing entrepreneur who splits her time between Charleston, S.C., and Bridgehampton, N.Y., and has invested with Mr. Schiff since 2000. But "longer term or medium term, I don't discount what Peter says."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123327685671031439.html

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Old 01-30-2009, 09:59 PM   #2
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Old 01-31-2009, 02:33 AM   #3
Taco John Taco John is offline
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Right now, the walls are still falling down around us - just as Schiff had been saying - and this writer is trying to say Schiff is wrong because the whole thing hasn't crumbled yet?

This article is plenty presumptuous.

"The dollar hasn't collapsed yet, thus there's nothing to see here."

I hope to hell Schiff is wrong, but given the amount of money we're talking about printing up, I have a hard time believing that at some point the works get gummed up due to massive inflation.

One thing that I don't recall Schiff ever doing is giving a prediction such as "it's going to happen by X date." For all the author of this article knows, a collapse could happen early next year (let's hope not). There's still a lot of uncertainty out there. I think that it's way too early to do a victory lap that Schiff got it wrong.
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Old 01-31-2009, 11:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
Right now, the walls are still falling down around us - just as Schiff had been saying - and this writer is trying to say Schiff is wrong because the whole thing hasn't crumbled yet?

This article is plenty presumptuous.

"The dollar hasn't collapsed yet, thus there's nothing to see here."

I hope to hell Schiff is wrong, but given the amount of money we're talking about printing up, I have a hard time believing that at some point the works get gummed up due to massive inflation.

One thing that I don't recall Schiff ever doing is giving a prediction such as "it's going to happen by X date." For all the author of this article knows, a collapse could happen early next year (let's hope not). There's still a lot of uncertainty out there. I think that it's way too early to do a victory lap that Schiff got it wrong.
Did you read the article about how his investment advice has dramatically underperformed the S&P over the past year or so? He may not have explicitly said, "it's going to happen by X date," but when you are advising your investment clients and you don't let them know that they could take an unnecessary bath before they get showered with positive returns it's implicitly there. He had them investing like it was going to happen on X date.
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:46 PM   #5
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Peter Schiff Responds:

See the video here:
http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker...PY,DIA,SHV,UDN



Peter Schiff: Why I'm Right and My Critics Are All Wrong
Posted Feb 06, 2009

After gaining notoriety and YouTube fame for his prescient calls on the housing bubble and U.S. stocks, Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital has recently come under fire.
First blogger Michael Shedlock and then The Wall Street Journal noted how Schiff's investment thesis - centered on shorting the dollar and buying foreign currencies, commodities and related stocks - had run aground in 2008.

A "number of" Euro Pacific Capital clients lost 50% or more in 2008, when the S&P 500 fell 38%, The Journal reported.

Schiff does not deny some clients of his broker/dealer firm (he's not a fund manager or registered investment adviser) suffered big losses last year; they were hurt as the dollar experienced what Schiff calls a "phony" rally that hit commodities and subjected many foreign holdings to a "double whammy."

But in typically direct fashion (and less emotional than his initial response), the author and strategist address the critics head on in the accompanying video, making the following points:

It's unfair to tarnish him for one bad year after seven-plus years where his strategy had great success.
The "game" is only over if the clock stops on 12/31/08 and clients are forced to sell positions for a loss, which isn't the case. In fact, he says clients are taking advantage of the dollar's temporary strength to continue their "exit strategy" from dollar-based assets and into foreign currencies and stocks at depressed levels.
He's not a market timer and is positioning clients for a "major collapse" of the dollar - which he very much still believes will occur, as detailed in part 1 of our interview.
I admire Schiff for sticking to his convictions now and in years past, when he was laughed at by other pundits (literally, in some cases). Some, like Ben Stein, have since apologized but others are surely taking glee in this tarnishing of his reputation.

But a more important issue is he does appear to "make no allowances for being wrong and [has] no exit strategy whatsoever," as Shedlock claims.

It was edited out of the video, but Schiff essentially said "there's no chance I'm wrong" when I asked what the risk is to his scenario of a collapsing dollar, which entered Friday at a four-week high vs. the yen and has been rallying vs. the euro even as (or because) the ECB held
steady on rates at its policy meeting this week.

With the bailout tally rising and Treasury potentially borrowing $3-$4 trillion in the next 18 months alone, it's hard to argue with Schiff's dire view of the dollar's fundamentals. But hubris is the deadliest sin and the biggest risk Schiff faces is the market staying irrational longer than he (and clients) can stay solvent.
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:54 PM   #6
petegz28 petegz28 is offline
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There is no such thing as a "phony rally". Things go up or down or sideways. To call things "phony" is just a piss-poor way to admit that you were wrong.
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petegz28 View Post
There is no such thing as a "phony rally".
The hell there isn't.
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:16 PM   #8
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One thing no one can predict is what the Plunge Protection Team is doing.
Considering Schiffs overall record, and spot on observations for America in general...I'd say he's still spot-on.
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Old 02-06-2009, 06:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
One thing no one can predict is what the Plunge Protection Team is doing.
Considering Schiffs overall record, and spot on observations for America in general...I'd say he's still spot-on.
Which is why savvy investors would stay out of what they didn't completely understand, instead of basically putting all their eggs in the dollar basket.

Every investor has had to deal with Invisible Hand version 2.0, but not many have been crushed as bad as Schiff has. Guys like John Paulson and Philip Falcone saw the housing collapse just like Schiff did, but they did fantastic in 08.
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Old 02-06-2009, 06:37 PM   #10
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The hell there isn't.
Dude you are talking out of your ass. There is no such thing as a phony rally. If a stock goes up a $1 it goes up a $1. There is nothing "phony" about it.

People who call rally's or selloff's phony are just makig excuses for being on the wrong side of the trade.
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eazyb81 View Post
Which is why savvy investors would stay out of what they didn't completely understand, instead of basically putting all their eggs in the dollar basket.

Every investor has had to deal with Invisible Hand version 2.0, but not many have been crushed as bad as Schiff has. Guys like John Paulson and Philip Falcone saw the housing collapse just like Schiff did, but they did fantastic in 08.
Do you know any investment advisors with perfect records?
Besides, that's a bit different than watching the govt and Fed to predict what may happen in our economy in general. Seems easier if you ask me.
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Old 02-06-2009, 08:09 PM   #12
eazyb81 eazyb81 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
Do you know any investment advisors with perfect records?
Besides, that's a bit different than watching the govt and Fed to predict what may happen in our economy in general. Seems easier if you ask me.
There are many with pristine records of success, yet are not arrogant (or naive...your choice) enough to go on TV constantly to tell everyone that they're right and everyone else is wrong.

People wouldn't be making a big deal about this if it weren't for Schiff's know-it-all attitude over the last 12-24 months.
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Old 02-06-2009, 08:22 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by eazyb81 View Post
There are many with pristine records of success, yet are not arrogant (or naive...your choice) enough to go on TV constantly to tell everyone that they're right and everyone else is wrong.
'Er he was invited on. And why not, the Keynesians get on all the time hawing their snake oil.

Quote:
People wouldn't be making a big deal about this if it weren't for Schiff's know-it-all attitude over the last 12-24 months.
In this case, he has a right to be arrogant. I showed the video clip of some arrogant advisors in this BB boasting how we weren't in a recession and blah blah blah and saying Schiff was wrong. The guys calling Schiff arrogant just resent looking bad and/or hate that he's against the stimulus aka more of the same that gave us the problem. He's essentially calling them out and they don't like it. Especially when he's passionate about what he says. No one likes be exposed as frauds.
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Old 02-06-2009, 08:38 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by petegz28 View Post
Dude you are talking out of your ass. There is no such thing as a phony rally. If a stock goes up a $1 it goes up a $1. There is nothing "phony" about it.

People who call rally's or selloff's phony are just makig excuses for being on the wrong side of the trade.

Whatever you say. A rally that can't sustain itself is a phony rally. You're arguing semantics. It's really a pointless discussion.
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Old 02-06-2009, 08:40 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by eazyb81 View Post
There are many with pristine records of success, yet are not arrogant (or naive...your choice) enough to go on TV constantly to tell everyone that they're right and everyone else is wrong.

You're not a very fair individual. Schiff went on TV because he was called out by the WSJ. He got called out by the WSJ because for the last five years he's been predicting this situation in the face of laughter - and now they're looking for a way to humilate him by only painting part of the picture.
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