September 2004

Understand the big picture

By John Mauldin
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In a book that's drawn the attention of many investment pros, John Mauldin delivers a masterful synthesis of mountains of data, making his case for where financial markets are heading. Bull's Eye Investing: Targeting Real Returns in a Smoke and Mirrors Market draws on the author's passion for number patterns, as well as reams of research that illuminate historical trends and show troubling indications of a secular (decade-long) bear market slow economic growth coupled with a falling dollar and rising interest rates. The first 15 chapters focus on the trends, demographics and cycles that are shaping the future. No gloom-and-doomer, Mauldin outlines strategies for investing to achieve what he calls absolute returns noting, Secular Bear Markets are a time to be conservative. In the current Muddle Through Economy, he advises investors to seek value as they control risks, work with the trends and avoid common mistakes, like holding onto losers. He explains the appeal and inner workings of hedge funds (where the wealthy are putting their money), and outlines the possibilities for a fund of hedge funds. Emphasizing that investors should do their homework and understand the big picture for themselves, Mauldin provides the resources (including a comprehensive due diligence questionnaire) to do so. Bobbye Middendorf writes from Chicago.

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