Christopher P Casey

Christopher P Casey

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 04:54

Solving Healthcare's Crushing Costs

Business owners are well aware of the skyrocketing healthcare premiums impacting their businesses.  Former President Bill Clinton recently described the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) as the “craziest thing in the world.”

But even before Americans experienced its negative side effects, the healthcare industry has long been plagued by unknown prices, inaccessibility, and crushing costs.

Some doctors seek to reverse this trend by offering services at a fraction of typical costs while displaying full price transparency. WindRock interviews Drs. Keith Smith and Steven Lantier, founders of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma (“SCO”) which offers a unique solution for patients.

They discuss: how they came to embrace price transparency and establish themselves as a cost-effective solution; what patients can do to dramatically lower surgery costs even if they do not utilize SCO; which interventions by government drive up healthcare costs; and why other healthcare providers have not embraced price transparency.  February 2017.

Thursday, 29 December 2016 20:10

Brett Rentmeester Named 2016 Award Recipient

Thursday, 15 December 2016 18:30

Uranium: Time to Invest?

In today’s markets, across all asset classes (stocks, bonds, etc.), and across all geographic areas, it is difficult to find value.  Everything appears high relative to historical valuations.

In contrast, the price of uranium is at a 12-year low due to the aftershocks of Fukushima, the rise of the U.S. dollar, and competition from low-cost fossil fuels (e.g., coal and natural gas).  But there are reasons to think uranium will soon see a significant price increase.

WindRock interviews Amir Adnani, CEO and founder of Uranium Energy Corp. about these reasons, which include: diminishing supply as the price of uranium has dropped well below the costs of production; declining hostility to American nuclear energy production with the new administration; and skyrocketing demand from power plants under construction, planned, or proposed.  December 2016.

Thursday, 15 December 2016 18:29

Is Trump the Next Reagan?

December, 2016

Since the election, a newfound optimism about the economy has propelled the U.S. stock market higher.  This optimism has led many to compare Trump with Reagan and conclude with similar expectations about economic growth.  On the surface, the comparison appears reasonable: both were political outsiders promising to shake up the status quo and both were largely products of worldwide (albeit different) political movements.  However, any comparative analysis soon leads to more differences than similarities.

First, Reagan possessed far greater political power and flexibility.  The 1980 election was a landslide in his favor: 489 electoral votes to Carter’s 49, 51% of the popular vote to Carter’s 41%.  The election would have been even more lopsided absent the participation of the independent John Anderson who captured almost 7% of the popular vote. Reagan possessed the classic political definition of a mandate, whereas Trump had 2.5 million less votes than Clinton.

It is true that, unlike Reagan, Trump will be working with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, but it is questionable how beneficial this situation will prove to be.  While Reagan represented the conservative wing of the Republican party, Trump is largely an outsider within his own party.  Already, congressional Republicans are seeking to mitigate Trump’s legislative ambitions.  And while Reagan drew the support of many congressional Democrats, Trump is unlikely to gain political defectors in advancing his agenda.

Second, and perhaps far worse than the political situation, the current levels of interest rates and debt inhibit Trump’s economic and budgetary flexibility:

While Reagan inherited a crisis, Trump inherits a crisis in waiting.  Until such a crisis manifests itself, we believe Trump will encounter difficulty in enacting any sweeping policies.

For this reason, while the current stock market rally is significant and sharp, it is also coming off of near-record valuations.  When Reagan took office, U.S. stocks were unloved and trading at single digit price-to-earnings multiples of 9X versus today’s 27X valuation.  Under Reagan, stocks were priced for expected economic misery, but falling interest rates and economic growth lead to rising stock valuations.  Under Trump, stocks are already priced for perfection despite the likely headwind of increasing interest rates.

Trump may or may not be the next Reagan as it relates to disruptive policies.  Either way, investor returns over the next four years are more likely to be impacted by interest rates and valuations, both of which are near extremes.

Sources:  Robert Shiller, St. Louis Federal Reserve.

Notes:  PE ratios represent cyclically adjusted price earnings ratios (CAPEs); interest rates represent the 10-year treasury yield; Debt is gross federal debt with the most recent data point as of January 1, 2015, Reagan era data as of January, 1981.

Friday, 18 November 2016 18:34

Adding Austrian Economics to Your Portfolio

WindRock interviews Adrian Day, British-born writer and money manager.  In addition to acting as president of Adrian Day Asset Management, Mr. Day manages EuroPac Gold Fund, the top-performing gold fund in first half of 2016.

As an expert in precious metals and gold stocks, Mr. Day discusses the following: why investors should consider a gold allocation in their investment portfolio; what investors should consider before investing in gold; what has driven gold's substantial appreciation in 2016; which factors cause gold stocks to outperform physical gold when the gold price increases; and what economic and financial events and trends suggest gold should continue to appreciate.. 
July 2016.

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