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Archive for January 19th, 2013

Book Review: Benjamin Graham: The Memoirs of the Dean of Wall Street

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

I enjoyed this book, but it is not a book on investing.  Here is my rough breakdown of the book:

  • 40% Ben Graham’s childhood
  • 30% Early work experience up until the Great Depression
  • 10% His personal life with family and others.
  • 10% His late-Depression successes in investing up to 1940.
  • 10% His efforts as a playwright and as an amateur economist.

So, here’s my biggest gripe about the book: in many ways, Ben Graham’s biggest days as an investor — his greatest times of success in the 1940s & 1950s don’t get mentioned at all.  I learned more of what he was like in that era from reading Alice Schroeder’s The Snowball.

Should this surprise us?  No.  Ben Graham wanted to live the good life in modern terms.  From his time as a youth, he was hard-working, growing up amid poverty, and he never wanted to be poor as an adult.

He was a very bright guy on many topics.  He was not only studied in the humanities (which he loved more), he was exceptionally good at math.  The book does not describe him in these words, but he was the first hedge fund manager, and the first quantitative investor.

What made Graham a lot of money was realizing that convertible bonds and preferred stocks carried a valuable option that was often undervalued, and so he would buy the convertible security and short common against it.  Strategies like this, plus activist investing, where he uncovered information advantages on undervalued stocks allowed him to become wealthy.

And that was enough for him.  Unlike his more focused protege, Warren Buffett, once the game got too tough, and a pleasant retirement was attractive, he trotted into the sunset, with modest contact with his former friends in investing.

The book does not describe his time teaching at Columbia, nor any of the great investors that he influenced.  Ben Graham was interested in investing, but he was more interested in the humanities, and generally having a happy time.  Thus, if you read this book, realize that it is about a slice of the life of Ben Graham.  The first half of his life comes in great detail.  The last half of his life comes almost not at all.

But this is not an autobiography, it is a memoir.  As such, Graham tells us what he wants to tell us, and leaves the rest unsaid.  He tells us a little about his thoughts on marital infidelity, but does not tell us how his ending companion ended up being his deceased son’s wife.

All that said, we get what Graham wanted to reveal to us.  Janet Lowe’s book on his life is more comprehensive on his later days… even Alice Schroeder gives us more on his later life by accident of covering Buffett.

In summary: this isn’t primarily a book on investing.  It is a book on the thinking of one very bright man who invested and did well, and used the freedom that money brought for his own ends, both for good and for bad.

Quibbles

Already expressed.

Who would benefit from this book:  If you want to know the early life of Ben Graham, this is a great book.  Beyond that, you will be disappointed.  If you want to, you can buy it here: Benjamin Graham: The Memoirs of the Dean of Wall Street.

Full disclosure: I borrowed it from the local library.

If you enter Amazon through my site, and you buy anything, I get a small commission.  This is my main source of blog revenue.  I prefer this to a “tip jar” because I want you to get something you want, rather than merely giving me a tip.  Book reviews take time, particularly with the reading, which most book reviewers don’t do in full, and I typically do. (When I don’t, I mention that I scanned the book.  Also, I never use the data that the PR flacks send out.)

Most people buying at Amazon do not enter via a referring website.  Thus Amazon builds an extra 1-3% into the prices to all buyers to compensate for the commissions given to the minority that come through referring sites.  Whether you buy at Amazon directly or enter via my site, your prices don’t change.

Expensive High Yield – II

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Near this time in 2012, I wrote a piece called “Expensive High Yield.”  In it I argued that higher quality high yield bonds were overvalued, but that CCCs might still have some play.

Here was my conclusion:

Whether I look at the Merrill High Yield Master 2, BBs, or Bs, junk bonds look expensive.  CCCs look a little cheap.  The yields on the High Yield Master 2 look about 0.8% expensive in terms of yield (that’s the residual in the above graph).  I will be lightening credit bond/loan positions in the near term.  Of course this is just my opinion, so do your own due diligence.

And, please realize that movements in the stock market may swamp my observations.  If the stock market runs, high yield can run further… but there will be an eventual snap-back.   The bond market is bigger than the stock market, eventually the stock market reacts to bond market realities.

So what happened?  The stock market ran, and all corporate bonds tightened, Investment Grade and Junk.  Yield seeking continued, as people look for ways to earn 4% without undue risk.

But tonight I want to take a slightly different approach than last year, daisy-chaining the overvaluations in the corporate bond market.  I’m using the same data as last time — the indexes are the Merrill Lynch Corporate Yield Indexes as published at FRED of the St. Louis Fed.

The baseline for corporates are the few large AAA issuers.  The first check is whether AAAs are overvalued versus history.  Here are my regression results:

Okay, what this shows is that the concept of spread over Treasuries even at the AAA level is not valid.  The odds that the true coefficient versus the 5-year Treasury is one is minuscule.

This says that spreads on AAA bonds should widen when Treasury rates are low.  It also indicates that the simple model expects AAA yields to be 0.30% higher than they are now.

Perhaps that stems from the actions of the Fed, which they are now perhaps beginning to regret.  There are real costs when you force people to take more risk to get income.

My next step is to consider BBB bond yields as a function of five-year Treasury yields, and the Merrill Lynch AAA bond index yield.

The current environment shows a great deal of desire for yield.  BBB bonds are 0.87% lower than they should be relative to history.  If I used what the earlier model said the AAA yield would be  this would look worse by maybe 0.50%.

Perhaps that reflects the effects of QE as well, but with more vigor, as higher yields get competed down more.

That brings me to the next link in the chain, where I compare Merrill High-Yield Master II versus their BBB index.

Now, relative to where BBB bonds are currently priced, junk bonds are fairly priced versus history.

I would still argue the BBBs are too tight versus history, which means the same for the High-Yield Master.

That brings me to look at the yields on the CCCs.  I played this on two ways.  First, like the way with the high yield master:

In this case, it looks like CCC bonds are still relatively cheap to BBBs.  Let’s try a slightly different specification, because CCC bonds have equity-like aspects far more than BBB bonds.

So why not add in the high yield master?

It doesn’t have much effect on the ultimate result.  CCC bonds still look relatively cheap.  Do I trust this result?  No.

All that said, all of this points to a kind of exponential effect with respect to yields on various bonds with credit ratings.  Bond categories are highly correlated to those that are near them, but often negatively correlated to those a step or two beyond, when regressors are considered as a group.

Summary

All of the corporate bond market is expensive relative to history, perhaps excluding CCC bonds.  That doesn’t mean it can’t get more expensive, particularly if stocks continue to move upward.   But this won’t last for more than two years; the signs of speculation are here, and that should make us cautious.

As a result, I am investing my bond strategy cautiously now.  What little yield I get comes from emerging market sovereigns.  Credit risk from corporates is small.

Sorted Weekly Tweets

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Central Banking

 

  • Records Show Fed Wavering in 2007 http://on.wsj.com/SgLPoG 4 all of their vaunted intelligence, the Fed was worried, but clueless in 2007 $$
  • Three Stages of Fed Grief: Key Quotes From 2007 http://t.co/X4ygwdqU Slowly realized the economy they overlevered was getting worse $$ Jan 18, 2013
  • Fed Concerned About Overheated Markets Amid Record Bond-Buying http://t.co/wDckfD77 The sourcerer’s apprentices note there is a problem $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • Paul Moreno: Gold, Greenbacks and Inflation: A History and a Warning http://t.co/75M1jNRo Ppl forget the degree the Fed has debased $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • Once you turn base money into short-term debt, can you go back? http://t.co/pG3gxBwA @interfluidity ideas getting deserved attention $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • First Shots Are Fired in Global ‘Currency War’ http://t.co/y6GJi0V5 Japan leads “race 2 the bottom.” Who will b first 2 stop sterilizing? $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Currency Moves… & Central Bank Bravado http://t.co/zt7BI1As Posit that the yen is falling due to war risks & Japan biz risks in China $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Abe Rocket-Start Lowers Sony Risk With Market Fuel http://t.co/J4cLgQKJ Loose monetary has spillover benefits 2 indebted corporations $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • I’ll grant this: the government always has some role in money, even commodity money like a gold standard… http://t.co/QtVI3oeC Jan 12, 2013

 

Rest of the World

 

  • Pressure Rises on China to Scrap One-Child Policy http://t.co/iDfZ0Ssl No better way 2 have a demographic crisis; change long overdue $$ Jan 18, 2013
  • Default Alarm Rings as Trust Loans Jump Sevenfold http://t.co/2tr1vFnq China is so messed up that it makes the Eurozone look good $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • Singapore Curbs Industrial Property Sales to Avert Bubble http://t.co/vZQhsdya Increases bid-ask spread; can’t fight fundamentals $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • Mongolia’s Erdenes TT Halts Coal Exports to Biggest Buyer China http://t.co/hoTHAxxZ Probably either gross malfeasance or bribery $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • European Dividends Tumble to Four-Year Low as CEOs Hoard http://t.co/D6YdzVqD Favor European Exporters over their Domestic companies $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • Euro at 10-Month High Poses Economic Threat, Juncker Says http://t.co/bk0FsVEE The #currencywars continue. Rule: Beggar thy neighbor $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • Russia Says World Is Nearing Currency War as Europe Joins http://t.co/OvVu0ZMH Accept export slowdown? Monetize debt? Stupid QE-like stuf? Jan 17, 2013
  • Rio Tinto CEO Steps Down http://t.co/lqWyRPES Every CEO should have etched on his wall: “Paying up 4 scale acquisitions is dumb” $$ $RIO Jan 17, 2013
  • China Capital Flow: Foreign Direct Dis-Investment http://t.co/V8erkuxL Foreign inv’t inflows falling, domestic inv’t outflows rising $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • China Starts Losing Edge as World’s Factory Floor http://t.co/pG7uOFqX SE Asia benefits as China becomes more expensive 2 operate in $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Norway Sees Deeper European Job Pain as Default Fears Recede http://t.co/ztbfvp0H Rising NOK makes exports less competitive &fewer jobs $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Often when FX vols spike it means something might break, like the SNB not able continue its EUR peg. But if… http://t.co/fydAlRSX Jan 16, 2013
  • HSBC needs 2 end its Ping An silence with simple answers http://t.co/8xVAWiHD much alleged insider deal information has been circulating $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • Mainland alchemists turn damaged zinc into solid gold http://t.co/W4zu69k7 An example of how Chinese banking system papers over bad debts $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • Rumor: large backlog of Chinese companies want to IPO, but having hard time slowing the required 2 years of rising earnings $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • Neighbors Grow More Wary of China http://t.co/aYMUvLs2 Ex-pat Chinese moving in, looking a little graspy w/respect to resources, etc $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • Mineworker Debt Mounts as South African Lending Booms http://t.co/hTkXyCTc There are few places in the world without debt overages $$ Jan 14, 2013

 

Market Impact

 

  • Deutsche Bank Derivative Helped Monte Paschi Mask Losses http://t.co/PeqTdPBT Bad investing led to losses 2 hide. Enter Deutsche Bank $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • reaching for yield http://t.co/zFaWCA7h @researchpuzzler notes tight junk spreads, but + Ed Meigs & Dan Fuss r  naysayers on junk credit $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • Short-term Debt and Financial Crises: What we can learn from US Treasury Supply http://t.co/UG1RvuHm Qty issue ST fin’l sector debt->crisis Jan 17, 2013
  • 22 Insights From The Most Successful Investors In History http://t.co/4u3QVRJL Very nice assemblage of quotes from the best investors $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • [Will] the Bond Bubble Finally Burst? http://t.co/1c7hOX4W Synthesis of a variety of views: Yes, but not in the short-run… $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • FINRA to brokers: know your high-yield securities http://t.co/DJHC5NvT Intelligent words from FINRA; b able2show clients all possibilities Jan 16, 2013
  • The High Yield Market is “Completely Out of Control.” http://t.co/GBUfGOa9 Watch risky debt buyers; c if they need things 2go right2survive Jan 16, 2013
  • Gold Forecasters Splitting on Peak for Bull Market http://t.co/EIEgk2Al Most-accurate gold forecasters>price will probably peak in 2013 $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Whatever Happened 2 Good, Old-Fashioned Accountants? http://t.co/aFofQ4Mv @retheauditors explains y basic blocking&tackling go a long way $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • Yale May Buy More Hedge Fund Assets After Favoring Cash http://t.co/D0cP9LDV Timing feels wrong here w/credit spreads tight & vol low $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Baupost Group Sitting On 116% Return From Madoff Claims http://t.co/u4MYuhJI Bankruptcy judge said “seller’s remorse,” denied his effort $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Leeway on Repo Rules Is Cut Back http://t.co/B16EXZfR “…we’re basically saying all repos should be accounted for as borrowings,” $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Inside the Self-Driving Index Funds That Finish First http://t.co/XPEfHyE4 @jasonzweigwsj $BLK low fees, shares sec lending revenue $$ Jan 15, 2013
  • How2use Twitter & Facebook 2 make $$ from shares http://t.co/lXXw321E Just watch: this causes the next ‘flash crash’ h/t: @abnormalreturns Jan 14, 2013
  • KRS Spin Machine Is Smearing The Truth Again http://t.co/VGGSkxHX Kentucky Retirement Systems does not use RFPs -> “pay to play” @ KRS $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • US Not So High Yield Bonds : “It’s Starting To Feel A Lot Like 2007″ http://t.co/QUGhAMqC Will supply grow, or will misfinancing start? $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • SP500 Revisited – Testing 1484/1500 zone and reversal after? http://t.co/8TMktTjD Argues for a correction in stocks in the near term $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • Hedge-Fund Leverage Rises to Most Since 2004 in New Year http://t.co/rwFVhRmz H0: flexible $$ overallocated to stocks now> correction due Jan 14, 2013
  • 39% of Fund Managers Beat the S&P in 2012 http://t.co/xRx3Juik It was a growth year & not a value year. 48% would b the 10-yr average $$ Jan 13, 2013

 

Billionaires

 

  • I suppose Bloomberg could write a book about hidden billionaires, and call it “The Billionaire Next Door.” http://bloom.bg/WN9Jo8  #yeah $$
  • Erie Billionaire Hagen Revealed as Car Premiums Surge http://t.co/BsMEp8gu $ERIE interesting company w/a unique asset-lite biz model $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • Hidden Billionaire Milking Saudi Dairy Fortune in Desert http://t.co/XAoRKBRp Bloomberg likes ‘outing’ obscure billionaires like this $$ Jan 14, 2013

 

Personal Finance

 

  • Why you can’t avoid dumb 401(k) mistakes http://t.co/fffPsn0k Plan sponsors chase hot managers & avoid passive options $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Behind the indexed annuity curtain http://t.co/Qo7RdSX9 Avoid. Surrender charges r long & high 2pay commission; opaque int crediting $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • One in four savers has 401(k) ‘leakage’ http://t.co/TRBsFfwx Retirement seems far away, but $$ needs r near, so ppl tap their 401(k)s Jan 16, 2013
  • Seven Resolutions to Get Your Nest Egg in Shape http://t.co/cqNqpxJF Good basic advice 4 ordinary people taking care of the nest egg $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • E-Filing and the Explosion in Tax-Return Fraud http://t.co/9SAE6oPL Identity theft; 1 reason y I do it myself & file on paper $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • Housing Problems: Where To Get Help http://t.co/3hrCyQFy @retheauditors gives advice to those having issues with foreclosures $$ #goodstuff Jan 13, 2013

 

Banks and Investment Banks

 

  • More Ideological Excuse Making for Bad Banks http://t.co/0wjkQq3n It takes two to tango; it takes two to make a loan. Both deserve blame $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • A tempest in a spreadsheet http://t.co/W2mwYeHO A reason y having robust “smell tests” r needed when mathematical models get complex $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • Mortgage Nanny Added to Lender Job Description http://t.co/nRRonPBL Caveat Emptor:May make probs worse by creating illusion of safety $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • Wells Fargo to Start Jet-Leasing Venture http://t.co/a0FwgcNn FD: + $WFC | I like the fact that theyr starting small #organicgrowth $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • Jefferies Sets Table in Pay Clash http://t.co/s6utAuEy Or, they could jump 2 $JEF soon 2b $LUK. $$ motivates better, but conflicts occur Jan 16, 2013
  • Bankers Get IOUs Instead of Bonus Cash http://t.co/fKrpWXZL Will tie employees more tightly, unless they jump to related industries $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Report of $JPM Management Task Force Regarding 2012 CIO Losses http://t.co/i7x0Ifi4 [132pp PDF] If interested in $JPM, summary in 17 pgs $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Municipalities Should Ditch Wall Street Derivatives Deals http://t.co/Jqmgjllk If Wall St is on other side of table, watch your wallet $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Banks say new agency’s oversight is slow, costly http://t.co/aHIGFRUh Banks pine away over the regulatory laxity they had 6-10 years ago $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Goldman’s ‘Secret’ Team Shows Volcker’s Folly http://t.co/fovIyDRf Difficult to stop prop trading, better 2 remake I-banks partnerships $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • Bank Deal Ends Flawed Reviews of Foreclosures http://t.co/7DoTN8yA absurd, $$ will b distributed w/little regard 2 who was actually harmed Jan 13, 2013

 

Economic Policy

 

  • Portfolio Manager Creates Dazzlingly Deep Presentation On What’s Really Going On With The US Economy http://t.co/vcRHWwEe Long but good $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • Obama Finds Path to Congress Deals Goes Through McConnell http://t.co/B763HV1u Give him his due; has a nose that can sniff out deals $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • The Next Tax Increase http://t.co/7beI2QUO What the US Govt has belongs 2 the US Govt. What belongs 2u is subject 2 negotiation $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Swap the Debt Ceiling for a Rule That Makes Sense http://t.co/NVYjvTD8 Maybe limit total liabilities of US Gov’t to 2x GDP? Way past that Jan 16, 2013
  • Why U.S. might be ‘a nation of deadbeats’ http://t.co/UuOHrKlt Consumers have been paying down debt, but walking away from more $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • A Credit Downgrade Warning Both Sides Should Listen To http://t.co/TbB3Gbdn Rating agencies r more honest than US Govt. Fitch may d/g US $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Treasury Bill Rate Curve Inverts Amid Debt-Ceiling Showdown http://t.co/0KOQqC7A Bill curve showing some inversion due 2 debt ceiling $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Money-Printing Will Lead to an Inflation in Another Guise http://t.co/erqP71P7 Debt overload & slack capacity short circuit credit growth $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Two Warning Signs for Treasuries http://t.co/BdAcNkHE “yield curve btw 2&10 years is starting to steepen” Resistance 2 neg real rates up $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • TIPS Implied Inflation 4 2018-22 rose over 2012; flat now http://t.co/R28O77bX 2014 Inflation rising http://t.co/VCfupYLT $$ Fed target 2.5% Jan 16, 2013
  • US states flirt with major tax changes http://t.co/EnZmtggx Red states moving toward sales & away from personal/corporate income taxes $$ Jan 14, 2013

 

States & Municipalities

 

  • California, Unsaved, Speeds Toward a Wall of Debt http://t.co/pyrObgbr Constants in life that r not comforting: gimmicks in CA budget $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • California Could Be the Next Shale Boom State http://t.co/r0QChYDh Energy could flow from the Land of Squandered Advantages $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Pension Funding Gap Widens for Big Cities http://t.co/a76JAJT0 Expect 2c many fights where bens cut 4 new, active & retired employees $$ Jan 16, 2013

 

Companies

 

  • Suitors Interested in H-P’s Autonomy, EDS Units http://t.co/AXdvxjei Wouldn’t put 2 much into this; $HPQ won’t get good prices $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Genworth Shares Soar Amid Plan for Mortgage Insurer http://t.co/Jqmgjllk $GNW moves deck chairs on the Titanic; rewarded for now $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Chevron Signs Deal for More Oil Exploration Acres Off China http://t.co/Yqb7yY7g FD: + $CVX smiles as it rides the tiger $$ #risks Jan 16, 2013
  • My Favorite Tobacco Stock Is Intel? http://t.co/Wupvh1qk @CharlesSizemore explains y it should deliver returns, amid hatred $$ FD: + $INTC Jan 16, 2013
  • TNT Left at Altar Gets No Immediate FedEx Deal http://t.co/QSdDHarC “FedEx in a good position to wait this out & let TNT come to them.” $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Latest IPOs Arrive In The Form of New MLPs http://t.co/cq7XuIKv All of the new MLPs r energy-related $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • ARM CEO East Says Phooey to the ‘Transistor Cliff’ http://t.co/wfiIeQau Cost, speed, & power use r the key factors 4 logic chips $$ Jan 14, 2013

 

Miscellaneous

 

  • Davos Pitch for Dynamism Rams Into End-of-Growth Debate http://t.co/1bNvkwD7 I don’t think growth is ended, but bad finances interfere $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • Global Piracy @ 5-Yr Low http://t.co/YgJlRQSh 2012: Pirates boarded 174 ships globally v 439 in 2011, people taken hostage 585<-802 $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • NRA Labels Obama Hypocrite on Guns for Child Protection http://t.co/DqIsubsA Administration doesn’t like the argument; hits close 2home $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Kidnap insurers eye sales as euro crisis bites http://t.co/w5CfiwOe Stable rates: More competition, & armed guards 4 sea transport $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Mathematicians coming of age to become the most sought after professionals http://t.co/thXJdgsS Nerds of the world unite! Big data 2analyze! Jan 16, 2013
  • The Margin Debate http://t.co/zE6p5oO1 Labor share of US GDP has fallen because growth in the global capitalist labor force, wages fall $$ Jan 13, 2013

 

Financial Blogging

 

  • Your guide 2the financial blogosphere http://t.co/9mkoln2n Comprehensive list of finance bloggers. I’m listed under “Trading & Investing” $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • What are the 100 Top (Anglo-Saxon) Finance Blogs? A Pseudo-Scientific Study http://t.co/I9UU32zP I ranked higher than I expected :) $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • The purpose of this site http://t.co/Bp4sqw5o @reformedbroker ‘s excellent piece on how his blogging helps him think & invest better $$ Jan 14, 2013

 

Painting Kate Middleton

 

  • @judehere Perhaps this then? http://t.co/hstcUqPq Jan 16, 2013
  • @judehere That’s okay. You say he painted the Queen? That’s interesting. Is there an image of that out on the web? Jan 16, 2013
  • ‘ @judehere She seems to be a nice lady, so I wouldn’t be a fan of that. But Freud died in 2011, so the possibility is not there. Jan 16, 2013
  • But this portrait of Kate Middleton is worse in my opinion http://t.co/LBMKplpo No wonder only 19% like it. (2/2) $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • Learning to draw, I copied a photo of a friend w/pencil. Another friend said “You took a very pretty girl, & turned her in2 pretty girl” 1/2 Jan 16, 2013

 

 

Michael Pettis

 

  • Pettis: What I will watch in 2013: 10 things: hard commodity prices, trade numbers, Spanish Bonds, Target 2, & Japan (2/2) $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • Pettis: What I will watch in 2013: 10 things: China growth, Debt trajectory, financial scandals, bank activities, inflation (1/2) $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • Pettis: Imbalances can continue for many years, I argue, but at some point they become unsustainable & the world must adjust by reversing $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • Pettis: Policymakers do this by shortening their time horizons &managing from crisis2crisis, rather than sorting out the underlying problems Jan 14, 2013
  • Pettis: policymakers… taking steps that protect them from the consequences of the crisis but that also make the crisis worse. $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • Pettis: It is interesting that policymakers are so pleased by an end (temporarily, I assume) to the financing crisis. $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • Pettis:We ended 2012 in a burst of optimism for Europe, w/everyone cheering Mario Draghi 4having “saved” the euro, but I am deeply skeptical Jan 14, 2013

 

Wrong

 

  • Wrong: How to Find a Fund Manager Who Can Beat the Market http://t.co/2Nq1Z9b2 Doesn’t understand difference btw correlation & beta $$ Jan 15, 2013
  • Wrong: US Budget : Federal finances continue to improve http://t.co/HKzv6pLK It is a *spending* problem that started w/Bush 43, not revenue Jan 15, 2013
  • Wrong: Municipal Bonds May Not Be Safe From Income Taxes http://t.co/MnIQIdor Would be a big shift, hit blue states hard. Won’t happen $$ Jan 14, 2013
  • Wrong: Chris Hayes’ Brilliant Explanation Of Money Is One Of The Best Things We’ve Ever Seen On TV http://t.co/e0kxN5oZ #goldstandard $$ Jan 13, 2013

 

Comments and Retweets

 

  • Good night. Blessings to all. Jan 18, 2013
  • @cogent_rambling Think of judges in a court. No one will forgive a man for doing wrong in one area, because he has done good in others Jan 18, 2013
  • @cogent_rambling It’s not a question of weakness but wrong. Divorce your wife for no good reason, cheat at your craft, all amounts 2 wrong Jan 18, 2013
  • @cogent_rambling Good question. God created Lance with a weakness. If Lance had trusted God, he could have overcome it, but he didn’t. Jan 18, 2013
  • @cogent_rambling Not those that are God-given. Mt 5:48: “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Jan 18, 2013
  • @cogent_rambling One last point: in the view of Jesus is there is no balancing. The least amount of evil poisons any good. Jan 18, 2013
  • @cogent_rambling Read some of the writings of Kahneman & Tversky. Bad things have 3 times the force of good things. Good doesn’t erase bad Jan 18, 2013
  • @cogent_rambling Okay, I get it. But doing good things does not erase bad things. Doing things that are notably bad tarnishes anything good. Jan 18, 2013
  • @cogent_rambling I have heard the word as a part of popular culture, but have no idea what it is beyond a phrase. Jan 18, 2013
  • @cogent_rambling Okay, I’ll bite. His charitable endeavors, but what else? Jan 18, 2013
  • @sallyeastman1 Well said Jan 18, 2013
  • My view: Lance Armstrong is best ignored. Close the browser window, change the channel on the TV, he will go away. I don’t care about him $$ Jan 18, 2013
  • @AboveAvgOdds Off to meet w/u & Chris Mayer in downtown Baltimore Jan 17, 2013
  • Endorse. I have read over half of these $$ RT @TheStalwart: The 22 books that Dylan Grice says you must read. http://t.co/QSOWvuBc Jan 17, 2013
  • @graemehein good point, but most simple models have obv intuition. Complex models have more potential 4 error b/c of 2nd+ order effects $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • @cate_long Others that did the same in 1994: Piper Jaffray’s Institutional Gov’t Income & FPA’s Fundamental US Gov’t Strategic Income funds Jan 17, 2013
  • @cate_long Combined w/levering them, and not having the mathematical savvy to price them right http://t.co/5vkUxgO6 Story near the bottom Jan 17, 2013
  • @cate_long Cate, you’re right, I’m wrong. At the time, David Askin & those like him were notable. W/Citron it was mostly structured notes Jan 17, 2013
  • @kirstensalyer Sorry, that honor belongs to the first quantitative hedge fund manager, Ben Graham, who was doing that in the 1920s Jan 17, 2013
  • @cate_long Also used complex RMBS. There was kind of a contest 2c how much negative convexity one could absorb in exchange 4 yield Jan 17, 2013
  • RT @maxrudolph: #unintendedconsequences when pension regs set up EA designation cut off practitioners from ALM development. Still catchi … Jan 17, 2013
  • Well done $$ RT @LaurenLaCapra: Jim Chanos talks to @Reuters about Herbalife & whether Ackman or Loeb will win out: http://t.co/sV7B604o Jan 17, 2013
  • @finsovet @prieur @vitaliyk Honored 2b included in such a group Jan 17, 2013
  • Think this analysis is correct, but uncertain $$ RT @mickwe: 3D printing is a lot of hype and it’ll never go mainstream http://t.co/8wkr5oxp Jan 17, 2013
  • I just left a comment in “7 gut checks before the stock market’s opening bell” http://t.co/MrSqVXZF Jan 17, 2013
  • @niubi If so, good for him. He revolutionized my economic thinking with his last book. Looking forward to the next one. Review copy coming Jan 17, 2013
  • +1 RT @dpinsen: Paging @TomFriedman: comment on How a ‘model’ employee got away with outsourcing his work to China http://t.co/wukYAV8T $$ Jan 17, 2013
  • +2, scrap IFRS RT @Alea_: +1 Britain should scrap IFRS accounting standards, MPs told http://t.co/woWmyC2v Jan 16, 2013
  • @oddballstocks very different mindsets; marketing and operations r different from finance, which is still different from investing Jan 16, 2013
  • @oddballstocks I did that as well from 1992-1998. Tried very hard to select non-name-brand mgrs w/durable competitive advantages Jan 16, 2013
  • ‘ @ClayNickel It depends on how equitylike the bonds r, & the financing composition of the holders. If the bonds r financed w/sig debt.. $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • RT @Matthew_C_Klein: The big deal about the German gold story isn’t that they’re taking some of it out of NY but that they’re moving *al … Jan 16, 2013
  • RT @Matthew_C_Klein: @izakaminska has a thoughtful take on the base money debate between @interfluidity and @NYTimeskrugman http://t.co/ … Jan 16, 2013
  • ‘ @joshuademasi Good point. After all, most nations would love to swap for Norway’s economic situation. $$ Jan 16, 2013
  • @earwulf Good insights both. We live in “interesting times” in the full meaning of the Chinese curse Jan 16, 2013
  • @ReformedBroker Rieder is a bright guy, as is my friend Ed Meigs at First Eagle; HY is okay for the short run, but 2 years out… $$ #Boom! Jan 16, 2013
  • @earwulf Yes Jan 16, 2013
  • @earwulf No, I don’t really find them persuasive. I do think that some Central Bank will stop sterilizing asset purchases, start new phase Jan 16, 2013
  • @JacPatterson I thought about that too, & think he really meant “English Language” Finance Blogs Jan 15, 2013
  • “But that also means you have to keep more $$ around if the puts get exercised, which Buffett had & many don’t.” http://t.co/uEIRn5i3 Jan 15, 2013
  • @joelight @spbaines the paragraph that starts ‘To screen out such “closet indexers,”‘ is factually wrong, does not understand statistics Jan 15, 2013
  • @joelight @spbaines I’m not arguing w/R2 as a proxy for active share, though there r better measures; article says correlation, means beta Jan 15, 2013
  • +10 Mmmmm… RT @dpinsen: Bresaola, lemon, olive oil, Parmesan, and basil joining forces for a great sandwich. http://t.co/pMMVmoI5 Jan 14, 2013
  • @abnormalreturns I’ve run into a *lot* of people trying to do this. Some are cleverer; not sure how it will work out… Jan 14, 2013
  • @JayLeonard but gold does control inflation and limits the government’s ability to use monetary policy for its own ends Jan 13, 2013
  • @JayLeonard Much of the difficulty is not gold vs not gold, but how banks were regulated — short liabs carrying long assets Jan 13, 2013
  • @GuldbergPeter Thanks, though I have heard that Canada *may* have issues. Jan 12, 2013
  • RT @GuldbergPeter: “@AlephBlog: Is there anyplace in the world that hasn’t overlent on real estate? Sweden, Canada and actually to some … Jan 12, 2013

 

FWIW

 

  • My week on twitter: 40 retweets received, 1 new listings, 67 new followers, 65 mentions. Via: http://t.co/SPrAWil0 Jan 17, 2013

Disclaimer


David Merkel is an investment professional, and like every investment professional, he makes mistakes. David encourages you to do your own independent "due diligence" on any idea that he talks about, because he could be wrong. Nothing written here, at RealMoney, Wall Street All-Stars, or anywhere else David may write is an invitation to buy or sell any particular security; at most, David is handing out educated guesses as to what the markets may do. David is fond of saying, "The markets always find a new way to make a fool out of you," and so he encourages caution in investing. Risk control wins the game in the long run, not bold moves. Even the best strategies of the past fail, sometimes spectacularly, when you least expect it. David is not immune to that, so please understand that any past success of his will be probably be followed by failures.


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