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Doug Kass on the Market: A Life on TheStreet



"Dougie Kass tells it like it is as he navigates the capital markets during one of the most volatile periods in history. The ultimate contrarian, Dougie made the call heard 'round the investment world when he predicted 'A Generation Market Bottom' on The Kudlow Report during the first week of March in 2009—amazingly within 24 hours of the U.S. stock market's actual low."
—Lawrence Kudlow, CNBC senior contributor and radio host of The Larry Kudlow Show

"A must-read for any serious stock market investor. Doug gives the reader invaluable insights garnered over a 40-plus-year investment career. You will be a better investor after learning from Doug's experiences."
—Leon G. Cooperman, Founder and CEO, Omega Advisors, Inc.

"Doug Kass demonstrates profound awareness of financial history, cycles and their extremes, and the need for a value-conscious, unemotional, contrarian approach. These are essential elements in investment success. By reflecting them, Doug helps his readers negotiate the extremes of euphoria and depression—and overvaluation and undervaluation—that victimize so many investors."
—Howard Marks, Chairman, Oaktree Capital Management

"From longs to shorts to Buffett to Ben Stein and, of course, poker, Doug Kass shares decades of common-sense wisdom on the markets, investing, and life. It is a real treat to read this selection of writings from one of the most levelheaded practitioners of a generation."
—David Einhorn, Founder and President, Greenlight Capital

"Doug Kass has been a serious student of the financial markets and popular culture for decades. He has combined this passion with his exceptional intelligence and common sense to write daily commentaries which I read carefully. Some of his best work is in this book. Over the years he has helped me become a better investor."
—Byron R. Wien, Vice Chairman, Blackstone Advisory Partners LP

"Doug provides both a theoretical and, more importantly, a practical approach to the unfolding dynamics of the U.S. capital market—with emphasis on understanding equities and investigating behavior. He provides a good motion picture of what has occurred in the world in the last two decades."
—Mario J. Gabelli, Founder and Chairman of GAMCO Investors

DOUG KASS is the president of Seabreeze Partners Management Inc. From 1994 to 1996, he was a senior portfolio manager at Omega Advisors, a $10 billion investment partnership. Formerly, he was executive senior vice president and director of institutional equities of First Albany Corporation and JW Charles/CSG. He was a General Partner of Glickenhaus & Co., and held various positions with Putnam Management and Kidder, Peabody. Doug is the coauthor of Citibank: The Ralph Nader Report with Nader and the Center for the Study of Responsive Law, and since 2003 he has been a guest host on CNBC's Squawk Box. He has an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Foreword xiii
James J. Cramer

Preface xvii

Where It Began 1

Introduction 1

The Contrarian 2

A Longtime Bear Turns Bull 5

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been 9

Short-Selling 13

Introduction 13

The Case for Short-Selling 14

Short-Sellers under Fire 18

How to Short 21

Lehman Can’t Blame Shorts 23

Stop Pointing Fingers at Short-Sellers 25

Blame Game Is Dishonest 27

11 Ways to Fix the Short Ban 29

Leave the Short-Sellers Alone 32

In Defense of Short-Selling 39

Lessons Learned 43

Introduction 43

Sniffing Out Bad Stocks 44

Laugh at Your Own Expense 45

When the Bond Market Talks, Listen 46

Poker Is Flush with Insight for Traders 48

My Tenets of Investing 50

12 Investment Principles for the Abyss 54

My Recession Checklist 55

Kill the Quants, Punish the ProBears 57

Chase Value, Not Price 60

Six Ways to Right Your Wrongs 62

Four Stages of Market Turning Points 63

Moving On 65

Adapting to Mr. Market 67

In Bernanke We Trust? 68

America’s Pastime Applies to Markets 72

Let the Trading Day Commence 76

A Delicate Balance 85

The Lion’s Share 86

What to Do When You’re Wrong 91

Beware the Stock Market Trading Jones 92

Addressing the Fiscal Cliff 97

One Shining Moment 102

Time Frames and Exposures 105

Such a Long Time to Be Gone and a Short Time to Be Here 108

10 Laws of Stock Market Bubbles 112

My Stock Market Super Bowl Indicator 116

The Great Decession: Subprime and Credit/Debt Crisis 119

Introduction 119

Trouble Looms for the Homebuilders 120

Stretched Consumer Nears Tipping Point 123

When the Walls Come Tumbling Down 127

When the Walls Come Tumbling Down (Part Deux) 129

Housing Headed to the Woodshed 132

Housing’s Softness Has Long Reach 134

Subpar Subprime a Growing Problem 136

Ratings Are Subprime’s Dirty Secret 138

Subprime Fungus Will Spread 139

Subprime’s Siren Call 141

Four to Blame for the Subprime Mess 147

Fed Is No Savior in Subprime Slide 151

The Simple Math of Subprime’s Slide 152

Housing Red Ink Could Spell Recession 155

Hedge Funds’ Dirty Little Debt Secret 157

Loaded Up on Leverage 159

Don’t Underestimate How Bad Things Are 162

No Quick and Easy Fix for This Market 164

Brokers’ Profits Riskier 167

Shaking Off the Credit Nightmare 169

Blinded by the Derivatives Boom 170

A Market on the Brink 176

Two Solutions to What Ails the Market 179

Ready for the Bear Stearns Challenge? 183

Investors Have Lost Their Innocence 189

Wall Street Has Sold Out America 191

Welcome to Dystopia 193

Harder than the Average Bear 198

Recovery 201

Introduction 201

The Parable of the Mustard Seed 202

On the Road to Recovery 204

Fear and Loathing on Wall Street 207

Bottoms Up, Mr. Market 215

Bottom Call (Part Deux) 217

Printing an Important Market Bottom 219

It Ain’t Heavy, It’s a Bottom 220

The Little Market that Could 223

Against the Grain 227

Introduction 227

Experts Agree, Recession Is Over 228

Market Has Likely Topped 229

Bearish Arguments Are Roaring 232

Top 20 Signs How Bad the Economy Is 238

More Nuance Is in Store 239

We Are the World 243

The Decade of the Temporary Worker 246

The Scale Tips to the Bullish Side 249

The Lost Decade Has Passed Us 253

Equities Edge toward a Top 255

More on Screwflation 259

A Contagion of Black Swans 261

Apocalypse Soon 263

10 Reasons to Buy American 269

The Case for Shorting U.S. Bonds 271

Residential Real Estate Is Ready to Recover 274

The Bear Case for Apple 276

A House Divided against Itself 280

Beware the Interest Rate Cliff 284

Housing Faces a Credit Event 286

QE’s Growing Impotence 290

Flawed Case for a Bull Market 292

Everybody in the Pool 296

Expect the Unexpected in 2014 298

Climbing a Wall of Complacency 301

Turn, Turn, Turn 305

Wall Street Personalities 309

Introduction 309

A Soros Story 310

The Bearded Prophet of the Apocalypse 312

On Being Jim Cramer 315

Defending Cramer 316

Defending Cramer (Part Deux) 319

Leon Cooperman and James Brown: The Godfathers of Hard Work 322

Ben Stein Whistles Past Mortgage Mess 324

Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ben Stein 326

Ben Stein Blames You 328

Eat My Shorts, Ben Stein 335

My Q&A with Nouriel Roubini 337

The Orchid Indicator 339

The Most Important Book 342

The Gospel According to Barton Biggs 347

Walt’s Wit 350

Alan Abelson and Me 354

An Open Letter to Sir Larry Kudlow 358

More Remarkable Tales of Boca Biff 360

Buffett Watch 373

Introduction 373

11 Reasons to Short Berkshire 374

Buffett Veers Off His Investment Path 379

Warren Buffett Has Lost His Groove 381

Buffett Brought Down to Earth 383

Is This the End of Warren Buffett? 384

One of the Worst Beatings Ever 386

Buy American? I’m Damned! 390

Burlington Bet Could Derail Berkshire 395

Omaha, Here I Come! 396

My Pilgrimage to Warren Buffett’s Omaha 398

Warren and Me 401

Little-Known Facts about Warren Buffett 404

Conversing with the Oracle 406

My Berkshire Q&A Recap 413

The Rabbi and the Oracle 421

Lessons Never Learned 424

Surprises 427

Introduction 427

25 Surprises for 2003 430

Surprises in Store for 2004 431

Some Surprises in Store for 2005 434

Surprises for 2006 438

25 Surprises for 2007 444

20 Surprises for 2008 450

20 Surprises for 2009 454

20 Surprises for 2010 461

15 Surprises for 2011 466

15 Surprises for 2012 479

Five More Surprises for 2012 488

15 Surprises for 2013 489

15 Surprises for 2014 505

Epilogue 517