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I love the business of Real Estate even as difficult as it is. For one, I like to triumph over the odds which my team and I do year in and year out, but that's not the primary reason why. I pride myself on doing the very best I can for each and every client as does everyone within the River to Shore Group team and it shows by increased sales each year the market is in decline. While it's certainly nice to receive the paycheck at the end of what sometimes is a long and protracted deal, it's even better when you receive a note of thanks, a gift, or other gestures that one might send our way to that shows their appreciation. It is truly rewarding and gratifying. 

This week we received certainly one of the most creative expressions of thanks from Mark and Nancy Tepping formerly of Rebecca Lane in Guilford. We met through an on-line connection and we hit it off from the start. We made our plans, executed the preparation punch list, got their home on the market and had it gone in 7 weeks. We negotiated an nice deal on a model home condo in Chester for them and got both places closed as they desired overcoming the normal bumps in the road you sometimes get in today's market. 

After they settled in they had a party celebrating all that those that assisted them in their big move. They had the Pizza truck onsite that provided marvelous fare, from appetizers to dessert, and all had a very nice time.  We met family, new neighbors, and even their sales person from the Old Saybrook Barn. No one was forgotten. It was certainly a first for us to experience a loving and genuine act of gratitude of this level. During the event, Nancy read aloud many limericks. She wrote one for each professional she hired to assist her in their move. It was flattering for sure and we all felt honored.

 I felt compelled to blog about this because of the level of vitriol we see between the daily discourse on the air and in print.  There's been a serious decline of civility in the world and a decline in simple politeness. There was a recent news article on NBC news that interview a waitress who's tip was "try losing a few pounds." instead of the 15% gratuity she had hoped she would get for her good service. People on the road are in a rush, will cut you off, or won't let you in when the traffic is stiff. It's sad. 

It's really simple: If you want love, give love. 

OK...so the real reason I love this business is because of all the great people I have met and made friends with along the way. I can say the only downside is that I certainly have more wonderful relationships today than I have free time to nurture so Facebook and blogging and the occasional personal note to many will have to suffice between those rare personal visits.

Mark and Nancy, thank you so much for being a great example of what true gratitude can be. We are honored, flattered, and appreciate your gestures beyond words. May you have the best of luck in your new home and have many happy healthy years there.

I respectfully submit to you, the reader, for your consideration that the next time you're at a restaurant to leave a larger tip than you normally would and write a note, if deserved, to let the server know how much you appreciated the good service. Thank the service rep at your auto dealer, the cashier, your massage therapist by sending them a card. I recently sent a card to the manager of the Old Saybrook spa telling her what a great experience I had with staff member Eleni. I had also sent a gourmet package of cookies that I asked the manager to give to Eleni as a token of my appreciation. The next time in I was even more appreciated. Hence...if you want love....give love. That is all.

A Letter to Investors from Andy Kramer

by Mick Marsden

I've placed my trust and confidence with my investment decisions with Andy, principal of Kramer Capital Management for many years. I can honestly say I've never been disappointed. Shu Feng Wu is Andy's secret weapon and has always been there for me for whatever I've needed. I just moved funds about to do a self-directed IRA and she was great in getting the job done for me in spite of J.P. Morgan's lackluster service and performance in my time of need. Shu was relentless in getting them to do what they were supposed to do. If you're an investor and want the best...call them yesterday. 

Below is Andy's 3rd Quarter newsletter on the market. I hope you find it as interesting and informative as I do:

October 3, 2011

 

 

 

Dear Investors:

 

The third quarter of 2011 saw the worst stock performance in 2 years, with global indices down precipitouslyDeclining markets caught many by surpriseWhen the third quarter began, investors were looking towards growing profits, excess cash on balance sheets, low interest rates and the presidential cycle, which all pointed to higher stock prices.  Perhaps these positives, which are still evident, will reassert priority in investors’ minds before year-end, an intriguing possibility.

 

When markets move from hope to worry, it is often violent.  The last three months were no exception. KCM portfolios had become more defensive throughout the first half of 2011; a consequence of the deteriorating macro picture that we discuss often in our blog posts.  We redeployed cash, raised from timely selling, into more concentrated precious metal mining stocks for reasons we have outlined in much previous correspondence. This move looked prescient, as most of our newly acquired positions appreciated throughout the first two thirds of the quarterIn the last month, however, gold and precious metal mining stocks finally succumbed to the pressure of the global liquidation.

 

Price volatility across asset class increased dramatically during the third quarter.  The S&P 500 had daily moves in excess of 1% on a record number of days for a three month period.  These were not trending moves, but often violent swings that went nowhere.  This added volatility can be problematic for position oriented money managers like us.  Our portfolios are concentrated in areas and situations we follow closely and believe in long-term.  As example, we want to own precious metal mining companies and oil and gas production not because of short-term stock price appreciation but because, if these businesses continue to generate free cash flows and that free cash flow grows, share prices should be considerably higher in years to come.

 

Obviously, if long term appreciation is anticipated, entry prices are paramountWe looked prescient in our recently re-established gold mining overweight, but their precipitous declines off September highs will impact monthly and quarterly portfolio results.  From a technicaperspective (Appendix A, B and C) we dont think anything importantly bearish is happening, except volatility is increasing.  This could work in our favor in the future, during possible runs higher. Fundamentally, recent global macro concerns that are causing the harsh markets only strengthen the long term case for gold.

 

During the last three months global concerns—European sovereign debt risk, emerging markets economic slowdown, and US political morass—contributed to the “risk-off tradeWe first witnessed “risk off in the 2007 -2009 bear market when all assets except the US dollar and US Treasuries declined.  Recent market behavior is eerily reminiscent of those dark days.  Why investors rotate en masse into US dollars and 10-year treasuries yielding 2% baffles us.  A strengthening US dollar seems the more absurd of these two, although not by much.

 

It is clear to us that a Federal Reserve led by Ben Bernanke will do everything it can (and maybe some things it cant) in an effort to create good” inflation.  He and his comrades, of whom there seems to be a dwindling number as evidenced from the three dissenters in the last two interest- rate policy meetings, continue to signal excessive monetary stimulus, even in the absence of any compelling data that proves its effectiveness. We continue to expect further quantitative easing

or other innovative policy in their unceasing quest to artificially create economic growth.

 

Future currency debasement is as close as we know to an economic certainty It continues to amaze us that, even though the fiat dollar is only 35 years old (in its present iteration), and the history of fiat money is over 2000 years old, that there are still so many who rest confident that this current group of global mandarins are somehow clever enough to successfully manage this overwhelmingly complex systemFiat money always depreciates.  That has been its unblemished record for over 2000 years and this time will be no different.

 

If one expects the dollar to depreciate, then a ten-year bond yielding 2% per annum paid in said depreciating currency hardly seems like an attractive investment—yet investors continue to buy them in record numbers.  Thesafe haven” status of both the US dollar and the Treasury markets are the presumed cause of demand.  We believe that is true during periodic “risk off episodes, but the underlying and constant demand for treasuries is more a part of the global currency racto the bottom. As the dollar depreciates against other currencies US consumers, still the straw that stirs the drink, buy fewer imports.  Global growth slows.

 

In order to stay competitive, foreign governments try to keep pace with dollar debasement which requires them to continue to purchase US government debtWhat was at one time a synchronistic positive interrelation now looks frayed and problematicWill the countries with net savings, like China and Brazil, continue to support this mercantile relationship As inflation and internal social conflict grows in these countries we believe it will become harder for those large buyers to justify using their savings to support our debt If demand weakens and thus interest rates, despite the Feds repeated ministrations, rise would others, fearing debilitating losses on their largest remaining asset, rush to sell We think that is a possibility In any caseas we indicated above, we see no reason to own a low-yielding obligation paid in a depreciating currency no matter what the present results show.

 

Looking out to year end and despite the bumpy ride, we continue to favor owning risk assets in commodity-related sectors and special situation ideas that should react independently of deteriorating economic fundamentals.  We suspect that markets are getting close to levels where buyers will emerge It is possible that if a rally can sustain for a number of weeks, a year endrally can gain momentumPlease continue to check our blog at kramercapitalmanagement.com for updates.

 

 

Andrew Kramer                   Shu Wu

      Portfolio Manager                 Associate 

 

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