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  Quotations - Invest  
[Quote No.34989] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Kicking the [debt] can down the road only works for so long. You kick it less distance each time. And then things become unstable." - El-Erian
PIMCO executive
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[Quote No.35005] Need Area: Money > Invest
"The problem with stocks that are loved by everyone is that there's no one left to buy them...It's hard to make money if you're in the consensus." - Paul Zemsky
New York-based head of asset allocation for ING Investment Management, which as of 2011 oversees $550 billion.
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[Quote No.35031] Need Area: Money > Invest
"I have seen many clever men, very clever men, who had not shoes to their feet. I never act with them! Their advice sounds very well, but they cannot get on themselves; and if they cannot do good to themselves, how can they do good to me?" - Mayer Amschel Rothschild
(1744-1812), Banker
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[Quote No.35043] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is?" - Frank Scully

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[Quote No.35046] Need Area: Money > Invest
"If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never plant anything and never harvest anything." - Bible

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[Quote No.35055] Need Area: Money > Invest
"An alternative lesson from the double dip the economy took in 1938 is that the GDP created by massive fiscal stimulus is artificial. So whenever it is eventually removed, there will be significant economic fall out." - David Einhorn
Greenlight Capital
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[Quote No.35065] Need Area: Money > Invest
"It is our relation to circumstances that determine their influence over us. The same wind that blows one ship into port may blow another off shore." - Christian Nevell Bovee

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[Quote No.35077] Need Area: Money > Invest
"I always say that people do not trade the markets; they trade their beliefs about the markets." - Van K. Tharp

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[Quote No.35080] Need Area: Money > Invest
"In 1972, Edward N. Lorenz gave a talk that turned out to be a landmark in the development of chaos theory. Its title was 'Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?' Dr. Lorenz said that even a tiny action — the flapping of a gossamer wing — could set off a train of events leading to a violent storm in another hemisphere. This is 'deterministic chaos,' the recognition that the world is so complex that certain outcomes cannot be accurately predicted. Dr. Lorenz was a meteorologist, but his insights are applicable in many fields — notably including finance, where obscure local events have periodically been transformed into major storms in distant markets. [This has also been used to argue for using technical investing momentum indicators rather than fundamental indicators. Fickle human emotions and economic complexity make interpreting economic consequences to the share market problematic and therefore just following price movements with momentum technical investing and risk and money management techniques can make sense.]" - Jeff Sommer
Published in the New York Times, February 5, 2011
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[Quote No.35089] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Most of the time common stocks are subject to irrational and excessive price fluctuations in both directions as the consequence of the ingrained tendency of most people to speculate or gamble ... to give way to hope, fear and greed." - Benjamin Graham

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[Quote No.35096] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Everything rises but to fall, and increases but to decay. [All that differs is the time-scale and size of the pulse.] " - Sallust

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[Quote No.35110] Need Area: Money > Invest
"The tendency of an event to occur varies inversely with one's preparation for it!" - David Searles

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[Quote No.35111] Need Area: Money > Invest
"The tendency of an event to occur varies inversely with one\'s preparation for it." - David Searles

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[Quote No.35113] Need Area: Money > Invest
"In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is King!" - Michael Apostolius

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[Quote No.35127] Need Area: Money > Invest
"iStockanalyst.com found some interesting analysis of how different asset classes performed during the high inflation 70s. A study done by the IMF found: Inflation Hedging over a One-Year Period: 'Commodities were the most effective hedge over the one-year period, with the CRB index, the GSCI total return index and the spot gold price posting economically and statistically significant outperformance. For each one-percent increase in inflation, those commodities increased between 3.8% and 10%. Nominal bonds performed poorly, losing up to 3% for every 1% increase in inflation. Equities were an ineffective hedge – U.S. large cap equities lost a statistically insignificant 0.03% for every percentage increase in inflation, and a diversified basket of international equities lost 3.5%.' Long-Term Hedging against Inflation: Stocks and bonds suffer from the initial inflation shock, but do recover over time. 'Gold tends do much better than other commodities. Other commodities vary depending on their unique supply-and-demand fundamentals, whereas gold has a more stable profile.' The report said, 'If you really want to hedge, use TIPS.' It continued, 'TIPS is it. Any other asset class exposes you to other types of risk.' " - istockanalyst.com

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[Quote No.35130] Need Area: Money > Invest
"IS A DOUBLING IN THE OIL PRICE A GAME-CHANGER? Well, there have been only five times in the past 70 years when this has happened within a two-year time frame: January 1974, November 1979, September 1990, June 2000, and August 2005. And now, December 2010. Each period had its own particular spark. The first three were supply shocks and the last two (before the latest round - 2011) reflected burgeoning demand growth, which ultimately acted as a break on the economy. It is worth noting that the oil price doubled this time around in December, before any turbulence in the Middle East or North Africa, and broadly reflected the physical demand/supply balance globally in crude. There was perhaps some impetus from QE2 as the oil price was around $75/bbl in August and closed the year closer to $90/bbl. Since that time, oil prices have jumped around 10% and that has occurred amidst the supply concerns emanating from the political turmoil overseas [in the Middle East and North Africa]. Either way, the longer the oil price stays elevated, the more lasting damage it will inflict on the global economy, primarily the countries that are large net importers of energy. Of the five instances cited above, all but one involved a recession for the U.S. economy and that was in 2005 during the height of the credit and housing boom, which acted as a huge offset. But oil prices did keep rising and managed to outlast the euphoria in credit and residential real estate, so the recession may have been delayed at the peak of the ‘growth rate’ in the oil price, but it was not derailed as history shows. Without resorting towards definitions of what constitutes a recession, what has happened 100% of the time in the past is that a year after the month in which the oil price doubles, the economy slows down [especially discretionary consumer spending] and does so precipitously [usually as these costs increase inflation - transport, fertiliser, food costs requiring cash interest rate rises that slows demand, wage inflation and eventually employment]. Using year-on-year real GDP growth as the yardstick, the economy slowed an average of 2.3 percentage points; the range was 0.9 to 4.4ppts; and a median of 2ppts. The starting point in Q4 of last year was +2.7% and so you can imagine what a 2-plus percentage point haircut would do to the economic and earnings landscape. Keep in mind that all it took was a moderation to 1.7% growth in the second quarter of last year [2010] to induce a near 20% correction in the U.S. stock market and some deeply rooted double-dip fears." - David A. Rosenberg
Chief Economist & Strategist, Gluskin Sheff, March 1, 2011.
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[Quote No.35139] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Every $10 rise in oil prices, if sustained, subtracts a one-half percentage point from [US] gross domestic product growth. Every 1% increase in GDP translates into about one million new jobs. " - The Wall Street Journal
from an article in 2011.
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[Quote No.35161] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Unquestionably, some people have become very rich through the use of borrowed money. However, that’s also been a way to get very poor. When leverage works, it magnifies your gains. Your spouse thinks you’re clever, and your neighbors get envious. But leverage is addictive. Once having profited from its wonders, very few people retreat to more conservative practices... Leverage, of course, can be lethal to businesses as well. Companies with large debts often assume that these obligations can be refinanced as they mature. That assumption is usually valid. Occasionally, though, either because of company-specific problems or a worldwide shortage of credit, maturities must actually be met by payment. For that, only cash will do the job. Borrowers then learn that credit is like oxygen. When either is abundant, its presence goes unnoticed. When either is missing, that’s all that is noticed. Even a short absence of credit can bring a company to its knees." - Warren Buffett
Highly successful investor and one of the richest men in the world.
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[Quote No.35168] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Then there was this from a trader friend at RBC [Royal Bank of Canada]... 'If the [US] Fed[eral Reserve Bank] truly is concerned with the employment backdrop [8.9% at present], they will most likely refrain from tightening policy until the unemployment rate enters a given sweet spot. In the past two post-recession tightening cycles, the Fed waited for the unemployment rate to get relatively close to the so-called natural rate before raising rates (within 1.13ppt in 1990s and 0.60ppt in 2000s). Several Fed officials have brought up the notion of a higher natural rate of unemployment (between 6.5-7.0%). Comparing this with our forecast of the unemployment rate suggests we will not be within this sweet spot until late 2012 to early 2013.' [The natural rate of unemployment is also called NAIRU - non-accelerating Inflation rate of unemployment - it is an economic concept that states that if the unemployment rate - i.e. the excess capacity in the labour market - falls below a certain level, inflation accelerates. Measuring it]...tells you to think about the speed at which the economy can grow and keep inflation low and stable, while getting the unemployment rate as low as possible...It also tells you once the unemployment rate goes below, it's hard to keep wage and inflation pressures intact. [Then Monetary Policy - in the form of interest rate rises - needs to be used to reduce the risk of runaway inflation often increasing unemployment. Then when the economy does slow, the unemployment rate often continues to rise for some time.]" - Chuck Butler
President, EverBank World Markets. 'The Daily Pfennig' forex newsletter, 8th, March, 2011.
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[Quote No.35171] Need Area: Money > Invest
"[Regarding share investing:] I enjoy doing it. It's sort of like a chess game. I find it fascinating ... " - Carl Icahn
Billionaire Icahn Capital hedge-fund manager. Icahn grew up in Queens, New York. He graduated with a degree in philosophy from Princeton University in New Jersey in 1957. He enrolled in medical school at New York University, but quit and went to work on Wall Street, where he opened his own investment firm in 1968. One of the most notorious corporate raiders in the 1980s, Icahn was involved in the takeover battles for RJR Nabisco, Texaco and Viacom among many others.
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[Quote No.35181] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Successful investors explore all possibilities." - Jim Rogers
Famous, highly successful share, forex and commodity investor.
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[Quote No.35183] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Myths And Facts About Gold Coins: Current Federal Reserve System chairman Ben Bernanke believes a simple recession was turned into the Great Depression by the Federal Reserve of the day not doing enough while the money supply contracted 31 percent between 1929 and 1933. This reduction in the money supply was caused by no less than three bank runs between late 1930 and March 1933. Bank deposits formed 92 percent of the money in circulation at the time and 10,000 banks failed with the loss of $2 billion in deposits. 'The Fed failed to inject enough money into the system to sustain the desired minimum level of monetary aggregates. Because it failed to do this, the public run on banks resulted in a contraction in the money supply, which caused the Great Depression.' - Milton Friedman Bernanke, a monetarist like Friedman, believes if the Fed had provided enough money to the large banks and bought US securities then these banks would never of fallen. Bernanke is, today, putting what he believes to be the fix for our current economic woes into practice: - giving money to the banks - cutting the prime interest rate the Fed charges commercial banks - buying treasuries The Federal Reserve is providing liquidity and increasing the money supply. So why didn’t the Feds of the time simply increase the money supply by turning on the printing presses much like Ben 'helicopter' Bernanke is doing today? Well, at that time the US was on the gold standard and the amount of credit the Federal Reserve could issue was limited by the Federal Reserve Act which required 40% gold backing of Federal Reserve Notes, paper money, issued. Back then if you had $10 in your pocket, you knew, that somewhere, there was $4 worth of gold backing that 'promise to pay' in your wallet. But the Fed’s back was up against the wall, they were running out of room to issue more notes. They had almost hit their issue limit on credit that could be backed by the gold in their possession – they needed more gold to issue more credit. Their need was made worse because during the bank runs Federal Reserve paper money had been exchanged for Federal Reserve gold. Since the Federal Reserve was already hitting its limit on allowable credit, any reduction in gold in its vaults had to be accompanied by a greater reduction in credit. Something had to be done. On April 5, 1933, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102 making the hoarding of gold certificates, coins and bullion illegal. This order, by confiscating Americans gold, increased the amount of Federal Reserve owned gold thereby making an increase in the availability of Federal Reserve Notes or credit possible. The reason gold was confiscated back then doesn’t exist today. Today no country is on the gold standard (the US cut the last ties to gold in 1971) and the US Federal Reserve’s ability, or any countries ability, to create credit, print money, is no longer tied to how many ounces of gold a country has [which is called a fiat currency]. The flip side of this unfettered creation of money is inflation - and this is of course exactly why someone might want to own gold and silver. But there is something potential gold buyers need to be aware of. The Scam: It's true gold was confiscated in 1933 – but now you know the why and you also know that the reason for confiscation back then doesn’t exist today. So the next time you read an article about how your [US] government is going to confiscate your gold – all of it except rare collector numismatic coins - track it back to its original source. Too many times you will find that it has, as its originator, a gold numismatics [coin] merchant. The patter is always the same – 'Your gold is going to be confiscated, buy rare collector coins because they won’t be confiscated.' Gold numismatics were not confiscated in 1933. Order 6102 specifically exempted 'customary use in industry, profession or art.' The same paragraph also exempted 'gold coins having recognized special value to collectors of rare and unusual coins.' The US Constitution's Eminent Domain Clause says - 'nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.' When gold bullion was confiscated compensation payment at the official gold price of US$20.67 an oz was considered just, after all, that was the price of an oz of gold. But the confiscation of rare gold coins, called numismatics, would have been stealing private property. Legally just compensation would have had to been paid but for that to happen each gold numismatic would have had to been individually graded and priced – a huge and expensive time consuming task the government was unwilling to take considering the small amount of gold that would have been recovered. So let’s revisit - 'Your gold is going to be confiscated, buy rare collector coins because they won’t be confiscated.' We know the reasons Americans gold bullion coins were confiscated but gold numismatics weren’t. For today’s gold buyers, who still fear confiscation, the problem is: are the coins some gold dealers want to sell you actually gold numismatics and for a gold bullion investor – versus a coin collector – are they worth buying? Unfortunately the answers are maybe not and no. Gold numismatics are rare collectors gold coins that trade at high premiums to their intrinsic gold content value. These coins are extremely rare, or one-of-a-kind, that collectors (there’s that qualification again) purchase for their historical and aesthetic qualities. Gold merchants can sell rare gold coins [numismastics] for a healthy markup, sometimes as much as 25 percent and more. The fierce competition in the gold bullion coin market [rather than rare gold coins - numismatics]often limits profit margins to maybe 3% over the spot price of gold. American Gold Eagles, the Canadian Maple Leaf and South Africa's Krugerrand are all examples of gold bullion coins. Their value is derived entirely from their gold content. They are universally recognized and the value of these coins is easily verifiable. The reality is that too many coins sold as 'numismatic' or 'collectible' are ordinary gold bullion coins sold at high mark-ups to make fear mongering dealers extra profits. If you want to own gold, the safest way is to buy one, or a mix, of the three gold bullion coins listed above, pay the 3% above spot [current gold price] and quit worrying about confiscation. Gold numismatics are not a store of value nor a better safe haven in a meltdown situation than gold bullion. Think about all the money you’ll save. Maybe you’ll buy some silver! Conclusion: Gold bullion coins are a better store of value then gold numismatics - if social order breaks down and a collector needs to trade one of his collectables he’s going to receive the exact same amount of goods that I would receive using gold bullion. That’s because the transaction will be valued based on gold content and purity, not historical and aesthetic qualities. Investors buy physical gold because it is a store of value - a way to protect your wealth from the relentless devaluation of fiat [not backed by gold] currencies – and a safe haven in times of turmoil. Your job as a retail investor, if you believe in gold and the ongoing devaluation of fiat currencies, is to buy as much potable, divisible gold with your dollars as you can. Buying gold numismatics is not the way to do this and buying gold numismatics that aren’t...well that’s being taken advantage of, to put it politely. Is this con game on your radar screen? If it isn’t, and you’re a gold buyer, it should be." - Richard (Rick) Mills
Rick runs www.aheadoftheherd.com. This article was published on FNArena.com - March 10, 2011.
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[Quote No.35193] Need Area: Money > Invest
"The High Cost Of Free Money: Perhaps the most famous economic law is the one that there is no such thing as a free lunch. By keeping US short rates at abnormally low levels beyond the financial crisis [2007-9] and as growth bounces back beyond the dreams of the wildest optimists, the Fed increasingly seems to be trying to ‘feed the US economy for nothing’. This is worrying for as we have reviewed before, extended periods of cheap money typically come back with a hefty price tag, namely higher unemployment, less efficient economic output, and stagnant financial markets (see Ricardian Growth, Schumpeterian Growth & the Cost of Capital). Of course, this begs the question of what ‘cheap money’ means? Given that the post-war average real growth rate of the US economy has been above +3.3% per annum and that the average real rate on a three-month T-bills has been 1.1%, we would propose that if the real rate on 3m T-bills is below 0.5% (i.e., 280 basis points below the average growth rate and 60bp below the average real rate on Tbills), this will constitute a ‘cheap money’ period. [Refer the non-discretionary Taylor Rule to set cash interest rates that avoids 'cheap money'] Apparently, two decades were dominated by ‘cheap money’, the 1970s and the 2000s; so we have at least two decently long data-sets to study the consequences of low real rates... It is commonly believed that low real rates lead to bull markets in equities with shareholders about as smart a Pavlov’s dogs, rushing to buy companies on the promise of a very low cost of capital [i.e. -low risk-free rates to discount future cash flow raising present value]. However, as Japan has amply shown, cheap capital can be a double-edged sword in preventing creative destruction and allowing zombie companies to continue undermining the margins of the healthier companies, thus dragging them down to their level. This might explain why, in the past, when the Fed has been excessively dovish, a defensive investment like German bonds has been a better investment than US equities... The most obvious consequence of a period of abnormally low rates is a weak US$. In 1970, the US$ trade-weighted index stood at 120; after ten years of abnormally low rates, it had collapsed to 80. Then, as we all know, the policy changed drastically. Subsequently, from 1980 to 2000, the Dollar index climbed from 80 to 120 (although some of this impressive rise was linked to the Plaza Accord). Then, when real rates slumped again in 2002, the Dollar index resumed its long slide towards the current 76. And why not? One of the three key functions of a currency is to be a store of value. If real rates are negative, savers shift allocations to better currencies... Unemployment fears are often the main rationale for keeping cheap money pumping through the economy. And one way that cheap money creates jobs is by decreasing the government’s debt load, which is turn allows for increased hiring of civil servants [and Keynesian aggregate demand stimulus spending]. Unfortunately over time, the result is that wealth-creation falters when the government crowds out the private sector. A bad monetary policy allows for bad budgetary [fiscal] policies, and this is always and everywhere bad news. In the US today [2011], for example, if interest rates were normalized, the President and the Congress would be forced to hammer out a real agreement that actually dealt with the key spending issues—the ballooning costs of entitlements such as Social Securities—rather than just chipping away at non-discretionary items here and there. But with the Fed buying 100% of the deficit, why bother to find real sustainable solutions? ...But the larger problem is that when the US$ no longer is a store of value, then the world’s savers desperately seek alternatives—including the usual suspects such as gold, silver, oil, real estate, modern or ancient art, agricultural land, etc. In other words, anything that can be defined as 'real' [especially if denominated in the devaluing US$ -i.e gold, oil]. In essence, investors buy 'real' stuff when they cannot get 'real' positive returns in short rates. The chart overleaf speaks for itself (gold, oil, silver, food prices, rebased at 100 in 2000)... A rise in oil prices is a tax increase, especially on the poor. So what we ultimately end up with is that a policy aimed at helping the struggling and unemployed achieve exactly the opposite results with the jobless finding their small disposable incomes eaten away by higher food and energy prices, leading to greater misery all around. Speaking of misery, Arthur Okun in the late 1970s devised something called the ‘misery index’, which is really a simple addition of the inflation rate and the unemployment rate. Since the Fed has a dual mandate (inflation and unemployment) it is a very good tool to monitor the Fed’ s historic performance... The results are terrible for the Fed from 1970 to 1980 and again for the past decade [2000-10]. Since the advent of the new policy of low real rates in 2002, the misery index has risen +60%. Alarmingly, inflation has not even started to accelerate in the US... if it did, the misery index would likely shoot up! Calling the Great [Economic] Thinkers to the Rescue: So far, our work has tried to show that cheap money ultimately leads to wealth destruction. So why do [government and central bank] policymakers insist on going down this route? Perhaps it may be useful to review the theoretical underpinnings of this paper’s findings in the works of Wicksell, Schumpeter, Rueff and others, in the hope of increasing our understanding of the underlying rationales of the various policies. A) Wicksell and the natural rate: Knut Wicksell, the leading economist of the Stockholm School in the early 20th Century, had one major, yet beautifully simple, lesson: any economy reacts to two different interest rates: 1) The 'natural rate,' which is the structural growth rate of the economy and thus the growth rate of corporate earnings (assuming that profits grow at the same rate as GDP). The natural growth rate is roughly the growth rate of the working age population + productivity gains. 2) The 'market rate', which is the cost of money in the economy, as determined by the supply and demand of money. If market rates are way below the natural rate, everybody borrows, which finances a booming economy but drives up the cost of money in the process. When we arrive at a point where market rates move above the natural rate, then, on average, the borrowers will start to lose money. After a while, with losses accumulating, everybody stops borrowing, market rates collapse, and we are off to a new cycle. As Wicksell saw it, what creates the cycle is thus the divergence between the market rate and the natural rate. The role of the central bank is to make sure that the market rate is always as close as possible to the natural rate. The bigger the spread between the two, the bigger the misallocations of capital [refer Austrian economics] — and the bigger the ensuing financial crisis and rise in social misery. Moreover, there is very little that the authorities can do to change the natural rate, which is a function of population growth and productivity. With this in mind, let us look at the US monetary policy since the end of the 1960s: • From 1966 to 1979, short rates (nominal) were on average 200 bps lower than the growth rate of the economy. The spread between the natural rate and the market rate was maintained artificially high—the results were abominable. • From 1980 to 2001, the market rates were exactly on par with the average growth rate of the economy (natural rate), and the spread between the two was maintained very low throughout this period. The spread was on average 1/3 of what it was in the 1960 and 1970s and again since 2002. Results? The great moderation, the longest period of expansion in the US history: falling inflation, rising employment, misery index at an all time low. • Since 2002, we are back to a huge spread and a huge volatility in financial markets. The misallocation of capital has been grotesque (houses in the California desert, boats in Florida...), unemployment is going through the roof, the US$ has collapsed, and the solution proposed? More of the same... B) Schumpeter and creative destruction: Joseph Schumpeter believed that wealth and growth is created as capital moves from weak hands to strong hands. This cannot happen if capital has no cost. We have seen this in Japan, where zombie companies can survive forever, thanks to cheap capital injections, and prevent the re-allocation of scarce resources (land, labor, capital...) to managers best able to maximize returns. In Schumpeter’s world, the willingness to let inventions/more efficient operators kill obsolete businesses is key to societal progress (in our research we have called this ‘The Dark Side of the Force’). However, once policy-makers decide that unemployment should be the only criteria for decision making, entire sectors that should disappear or be reformed get public support and government money (imagine, for instance, that the government decided that computers were a dangerous invention and that the typewriter industry has to be supported at all cost...). If the government interferes with the creative destruction process, the economy moves ex-growth and the law of unintended consequences ensures that the unemployment rate remains structurally high. C) Rueff and the notion of 'false prices': Jacques Rueff believed that market intervention from policymakers created false prices, which in turn ushered in damaging misallocations of capital [refer Austrian economics]. Today, the US Dollar is still the reserve currency of the world. The two most important prices are thus 1) US interest rates, which decide what should be consumed today and what should be saved for the future; and 2) the US Dollar exchange rate, which tells us how much should be produced in the US and how much abroad. The Fed has been massively manipulating the interest rate structure for the past decade, and as a result its exchange rate is way undervalued. But this means that the two most important prices on which the global pricing system is based are false prices. Investors have thus lost their compass and have predictably fallen back to easily movable (and hide-able) short-duration assets (gold, cooper, silver, modern art etc...), and few want to invest in longer-term, productivity enhancing projects (witness the dilapidation of infrastructure in the US, UK, etc.). D) Irving Fisher and the debt deflation: Ben Bernanke [Current Chairman of the US Federal Reserve] is a great scholar on the Great Depression. And the best theoretical article even written on the depression was penned by Fisher in 1934: 'The Debt Deflation Theory of Great Depressions'. Fisher made the point that if a large amount of debt was backed by assets instead of cash flows, and if the price of these assets started to go down, then we would enter into a deflationary spiral, which would take the banking system down, leading the velocity of money to collapse, leading to a collapse in prices and in volume... (remember MV=PQ, so if V collapses something drastic happens to either P or Q, or both...). Fisher argued that it was the central bank’s responsibility to pump up M if V was contracting to fast. So Bernanke, as a good student of debt deflation, has been desperately fighting to prevent M from going down in order to compensate for the death of the shadow banking system and the collapse in V. And up to nine months ago or so, he was doing a good job (though this still does not explain the Fed’s policies from 2002 to 2006). But now, with velocity rebounding, commercial bank lending and M2 starting to normalize, commodity prices on a roll and the Dollar weakening again, the risk of another asset deflation leading to an economic depression looks very remote indeed. The way we see it, we should waste no time and rapidly move from Fisherian monetary policy to a Wicksellian approach. After all, after three years of a very steep yield curve, one could make the assumption that the equity of the US banking system has been rebuilt (unless of course, Mr. Bernanke knows something about the US banking system that we do not know, or something about the assets that the US commercial banks have on their balance sheets... [Remember they changed accounting rules so real estate collateral banks use to meet capiat adequacy rules was no longer marked to market but rather to model/myth and banking stress tests were regarded not really stressful)." - GaveKal
GaveKal [www.gavekal.com] is a financial services firm that offers institutional investors and high net worth individuals fund management, independent research on global macro-economic trends and events, and independent advisory work on China and its impact on the global economy. Published by FNArena.com - March 11, 2011.
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[Quote No.35195] Need Area: Money > Invest
"[Value investors holding out against a market mania is a lot easier said than done. It literally hurts. Scientific research has found that you feel this 'social' pain] in the same part of your brain as physical pain... Being a contrarian is like having your arm broken, again and again. [But eventually being right and profiting is rewarding and worth it.] " - James Montier
Respected GMO value-based share analyst.
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[Quote No.35200] Need Area: Money > Invest
"[Be careful 'investing' in art. It is as specialist a field and just as subject to fads and the business cycle as share investing, without being as liquid should you wish to sell:] 'Gilt-edged art market deals blow to super investors': An ugly picture is emerging for those who buy collectables for self-managed superannuation funds. Art dealer and market analyst Michael Reid remembers the moment well. He had taken refuge in the gutter with sales staff from Sotheby's, and while sucking restorative cigarettes the group tried to fathom what was happening inside the auction room. 'It was so bad, and so chaotic,' he recalled of the prices paid for bad secondary market art in the early part of the 2000s. The frenzy was driven by people buying collectables for their self-managed super funds (SMSFs), before the arrival of new art dealerships, which grew to service the superannuation market. 'I have advocated for many years in front of Senate inquiries - there's accreditation for taxi drivers, dentists, electricians but no accreditation to be an art dealer. The failure of Sydney art gallery Smith & Hall is another great reason why art dealers should be accredited.' Five months after companies associated with the art dealership Smith & Hall were placed in administration, solicitor Simon Gallant says 980 artworks have been located, secured and stored; there are competing claims from investors and artists over title to works, and up to 80 works are still unaccounted for. The company's sole director was Cameron Hunter Hall and, despite approaches by BusinessDay to his solicitor, no comment was forthcoming. What Mr Reid saw that night at Sotheby's was the start of a wave of investors and newly minted dealers such as Smith & Hall into the art market. The do-it-yourself super sector has continued its galloping growth, accounting for more than $400 billion in assets. Last year it grew by a further 6.5 per cent. Unlike regulated superannuation funds, which are supervised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, the tax office supervises the SMSFs. According to a regular ATO report on the funds, as of December, $573 million was tied up in artwork, collectables, metal and jewels. Although a review into the super system chaired by Jeremy Cooper recommended stopping SMSFs investing in art and collectables, and for funds already holding such assets to divest themselves, the federal government has decided the market should continue, with some restrictions. Financial planner Louise Drolz is acutely aware of the rules surrounding super investment, and has been doing her own investigations as a member of the creditors committee. As trustee for her SMSF, she bought eight works, intending at some stage to hang some under the allowable 5 per cent rule at her office, but decided in the early years she would let Smith & Hall rent them out for a 6 per cent return. Six of the works have been located, but she has discovered two others - both Tim Storrier prints - were not consigned to Smith & Hall. 'I'm really annoyed because I dotted every 'i', and I still got screwed,' she says. 'I paid $40,000 and for that I expected three years of rent, and insurance - now I have a quarter of the rent and no insurance, and two of the works are gone.' Ms Drolz was one of the investors who refused to pay a levy put in place by the administrator, to fund the storage and his costs in securing the artworks, and a defendant in the recent judicial advice sought by the administrator in the Supreme Court. She is aggrieved at the judge's decision that a statutory lien has arisen over artworks in which Hall's company International Art Holdings had a leasehold agreement, in respect of the administrator's costs. 'It seems quite at odds with public policy that super fund assets, that are protected by law against creditors if you go personally bankrupt, and can't even be seized to pay off the debts of the SMSF itself [unless specifically used as collateral for a loan to purchase that one asset] can be seized by an administrator when someone else's company goes bankrupt, simply because your fund had the misfortune to rent its assets to the insolvent company.' Investor Moya Baldry, who with her husband paid $19,000 in January 2009 for an original artwork by Gloria Petyarre, is grateful to Ms Drolz who located the missing painting for her at the storage facility. Ms Baldry had seen Smith & Hall business featured on a television business show and, with her husband, decided to make what they saw as an ethical investment in the Australian art industry. While Hall has blamed the financial downturn for the failure of the business, she believes it was mismanaged. 'The fact that the insurance policy didn't cover us, and [that the Petyarre work] was never catalogued, proves that they never had an interest in protecting our artwork.' The chief executive of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, Pauline Vamos, said people running their own funds should have the time and ability to assess the risk of the assets they invested in. 'If a regulated fund is defrauded it can go to the regulator and the minister and claim compensation, and so that is a protection for members. That's not something that self-managed funds can do,' she says. 'People who go into SMSFs must do so not because someone tells them its a great idea, or that they will save on fees or tax, they have to understand the level of time and risk they are taking.' Mr Reid is scathing of dealerships driven by the super money, which 'match decorative paintings to a leather lounge'. 'I am a supporter of art in superannuation but in a very limited way. It has to be seriously done, and I haven't seen the market do it well.' Ironically, the government's recent draft legislation, which spells out that artworks cannot be held at a SMSF's trustee's home, is part of the problem, according to some in the art industry. 'The superannuation funds are excellent for the industry,' says Janet Storrier, wife of artist Tim Storrier. 'But the problem lies in the law, where they make you lock it up and not necessarily have access to it. It allows these businesses that rent out artworks to proliferate, and you lose control of it. Your artwork should be hanging on your wall and not someone else's. These people believed their artworks were safe.'" - Leonie Lamont
Printed in 'The Age' newspaper, in Australia, March 14, 2011.
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[Quote No.35204] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Inflation is like a tiger, once it is set free it is very difficult to put it back in its cage." - Wen Jiabao
Chinese Premier. Quote from the annual press conference held on the final day of the annual session of the National People’s Congress, 15th March, 2011.
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[Quote No.35206] Need Area: Money > Invest
"While everyone seems to intuitively understand the way banks make money [borrow short-term and the lend long-term for the yield difference - therefore the need to sell them when the yield curve inverts and short rates are higher than long rates] insurance companies are often considered a mystery. The following is a very simplified outline of their business model. Insurance companies have an obligation to have liquid funds for claims. Therefore they are big buyers of highly liquid government bonds. They get cash flow from the yields of these bonds and the excess of invested premiums over claims until the statistical claims experience occurs. These funds they hold are called their float. So when interest rates and yields [inflation] are low their earnings from their float invested in bonds are low and their pe's are correspondingly low. As interest rates rise so do their earnings and therefore their pe's, especially if assets needing to be insured are rising in price or the company is growing its market or market share. So when inflation and yields are expected to rise it is often a good time to buy them so long as their reinsurance cover for supernormal losses are good and their premiums reflect true statistical risks." - Seymour@imagi-natives.com

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[Quote No.35207] Need Area: Money > Invest
"What you get free [especially regarding investment advice] costs too much." - Jean Anouilh

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[Quote No.35213] Need Area: Money > Invest
"[When you and others are considering pe's and whether high or low historically don't forget to consider margins. Here's an article about this.] Profit margins are a tick away from all-time highs [March, 2011] and are creating the impression of cheap equity valuations. But that impression is a mirage, because today’s generous margins are destined to shrink. I first wrote about this in January 2008, and here is an update to that article... Margin Shrinkage – It Can Happen to You: Stocks are allegedly cheap now, at 15.7 times 2010 earnings. And they are cheap by historical standards. Only 10 years ago, their price/earnings [pe's] ratios were double today’s; they are even cheaper if you compare their forward (2011) earnings yield of 7.3% to the 10-year Treasury yield of 3.40%. They are cheap, cheap, cheap! Or so we’ve been told. Unfortunately, the cheapness argument falls on its face once we realize that pretax profit margins are hovering close to an all-time high of 13.3% (the all-time high was 13.9% in 2007), almost 58% above their average of 8.4% since 1980. Once profit margins revert to their historical mean, the 'E' in the P/E equation will decline. If the market made no price change in response, its P/E would rise from 15.7 to 24.9 times trailing earnings. Many disagree that profit-margin reversion will take place. Here are their most common arguments, and some food for thought on why this supposed common sense doesn’t translate to sensible logic. Who said that margins have to revert to a mean; why can’t they just remain high? 'Profit margins are probably the most mean-reverting series in finance, and if profit margins do not mean-revert, then something has gone badly wrong with capitalism. If high profits do not attract competition, there is something wrong with the system and it is not functioning properly.' – Jeremy Grantham Profit margins revert to the mean not because they pay tribute to mean-reversion gods, but because the free market works. As the economy expands, companies start earning above-average profits. The competition reacts to fat margins like bees sensing sugar water. They want some, so they fly in and start cutting into these above-average margins. What about the billions of dollars U.S. companies poured into technology – weren’t they supposed to make their operations more efficient and bring higher profit margins? Those billions of dollars did not go to waste; companies are more productive now than ever before. Efficiency gains stemming from productivity were a source of competitive advantage and higher margins when access to proprietary technology was a competitive advantage. For example, Wal-Mart’s rise in the retail industry was achieved through a very efficient inventory-management and distribution system that passed cost savings to consumers and drove less-efficient competitors out of business. Today, however, that same – or even better – technology is available off-the-shelf to retailers like Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, whose outlets are about the same size as a couple of Wal-Mart restrooms put together. Oracle or SAP will gladly sell state-of-the-art distribution/inventory software systems to any company able to spell its name correctly on a check. Increased productivity didn’t and won’t bring permanently higher margins to corporate America – the consumer is the primary beneficiary of lower prices. If profit margins didn’t respond as they do, Wal-Mart’s net margins would be 25% today, not 3.5%. Over the past 70 years, growth in corporate earnings and GDP haven’t differed significantly. On the other hand, there has been a permanent benefit from increased operating efficiency: It lets companies hold less inventory and adjust more quickly and precisely to changes in demand. This has led to less volatile GDP. Shouldn’t average profit margins be higher now, as the U.S. economy has transitioned from an industrial (low-margin) economy to a service (higher-margin) economy? It is not as much of a change as we might think. In 1980, services represented about 51.3% of GDP. After 30 years and a lot of changes like outsourcing, services have increased to 65.3% of GDP. If we assume that the service sector has double the margins of the industrial sector (a fairly conservative assumption), increases in the service sector should have boosted overall corporate margins by about 40 to 80 basis points above their 30-year average – to between 8.8% and 9.2%, but still far below today’s 13.3% margin. Thus, if we adjust corporate margins to reflect the transformation toward a service economy, corporate profit margins are still 45% above their long-term mean. Shouldn’t globalization allow U.S. companies to increase margins? A larger portion of U.S. companies’ profits is coming from overseas than ever before. However, globalization is a double-edged sword – U.S. companies are expanding and will continue to expand overseas and capitalize on new opportunities. But as the world flattens, they also face new competition at home and abroad. For example, Motorola – a company that used to represent American might in the telecommunications arena – has been marginalized in the U.S. and around the world by companies whose names we didn’t recognize 15 years ago – Finland’s Nokia and South Korea’s Samsung. (It’s very interesting how much the smartphone industry has changed in three years: Apple, a company I did not even mention in my 2008 article, has transformed the industry. Motorola, which was almost dead then, is coming back to life. Nokia is becoming irrelevant very quickly, and LG and HTC are important players.) Although Wal-Mart is rapidly expanding overseas, it will soon face a new breed of competition. U.K. retail giant Tesco recently entered the American market (Cisco Systems has been successful in Asia, but its home turf has been attacked by the Chinese company Huawei.) U.S. companies may get a larger portion of their earnings from overseas (the weak dollar will help), but they’ll have to fight to defend home turf. International expansion doesn’t guarantee fatter margins; quite the opposite: We are facing competition from countries such as Korea and China that may be more concerned with increasing market share, even at the expense of short-term profitability. Higher oil prices are here to stay, so maybe multiyear higher margins in the energy sector are here to stay as well. This would be the case if energy companies sold their products to customers in another galaxy where somebody else bore all the costs of high-energy prices. Petroleum products are consumed by corporations and individuals. The benefits of higher profit margins to the energy sector are achieved at the expense of lower margins for companies that consume their products – which is the rest of the corporate world, to varying degrees. Today’s stock valuations are a lot higher than it appears if you normalize earnings to lower profit margins. And while it’s hard to tell when earnings will embark on a fateful journey to their historic mean, competitive forces will make that happen sooner than later. Earnings will either decline or grow at much slower pace than GDP. Companies that don’t have a sustainable competitive advantage will not be able to keep their competition at bay, and will face margin compression, along with lower earnings growth or declining earnings. Look at your portfolio: Can the companies whose margins are hitting all-time highs sustain them? P.S. Robust (above-average) earnings growth from the depth of a recession creates a false appearance, usually reflected in forward earnings estimates, that earnings can and will grow at a faster rate than the economy for a long period of time – but they don’t. For earnings to grow at much higher rate than the economy (GDP) for a long time, profit margins have to keep expanding, and as I’ve discussed in the past, capitalism (i.e. competition) doesn’t allow that to happen. [Note interest rates on company debt are lower at the end of a recession and therefore margins greater if all else is held the same. This is further complicated by volume discounts as sales volumes increase with the recovery.]" - Vitaliy N. Katsenelson
CFA and Chief Investment Officer at Investment Management Associates in Denver, Colorado, USA. He is the author of 'The Little Book of Sideways Markets', Wiley, December 2010. Quote from an email to subscribers 16th March, 2011.
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[Quote No.35214] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Generally speaking, economists and money managers [brokers and investment advisors] are typically one-note bulls. They always give you a rosy forecast. But look how much you lost in your real estate investments, and how much you are still losing, thanks to them [US real estate has lost 30% on average over the last 5 years through the Great Financial Crisis 2007-9]. Look how much you have lost in your stocks since 1999, too. But did they ever tell you to sell? No, never. And they still won't say it. On the contrary, now that the market has doubled [since March, 2009 lows], they're telling you that it's safe to load the boat. That's what they said in 1999 and 2006, throwing you under the bus both times. Generally speaking, today's bears on the economy are bulls on commodities, currencies and foreign stocks. But in 2008 they never told you to get out - even when oil reached $147 and was about to crash to $33, or when Chinese and Japanese stocks started their bear markets. On the contrary, at the highs they told you even more forcefully to load the boat. [In fact near universal belief in the market has usually meant all those who are going to buy have. Therefore there is no-one left to drive demand and thereby higher prices, so the market has nowhere to go but down as a correction or a fully blown 20+% bear market fall!]" - Robert Folsom
Elliott Wave International, Tuesday, March 15, 2011.
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[Quote No.35215] Need Area: Money > Invest
"What are some of the best investors like? To answer that let's look at an example of the things they think about throughout a working day and often through their 'free' time... Occasionally in life a very unexpected set of events can occur - a 'black swan' event. [The term comes from the idea that until Western civilisation explored Western Australia, they had never seen or believed there could be black swans, which are abundant there.] This is one reason why people, businesses and even insurance companies often decide it's worth the cost of the regular premiums to insure against a catastrophic financial loss. [In the case of insurance companies they can offload some of their risks of catastrophic liability payments by reinsuring them with super-insurance companies, called reinsurance companies, like Munich Re.] All insurance companies, because they need to be able to get funds easily to pay claims, hold enormous quantities of government bonds, which are highly liquid even in emergencies. Now in March 2011, Japan had a 'black swan' event. It had a massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake, which was accompanied by a tsunami, volcanic eruption and multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns. In fact the loss of life, over ten thousand people, and the expected hundreds of billions of dollars of reinsurance losses were so huge the US government worried that the selling of US Treasuries the Japanese and other insurance companies owned, in order to pay for the claims, would be so large that they would flood the market and the prices of Treasuries would fall - and therefore their yields rise - so much that the government's and Federal Reserve's efforts, with quantitative easing, to reduce Treasury yields and thereby borrowing costs, to stimulate the US economy out of the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-9, would be rendered ineffective and cause a second dip recession. All that money being converted from US dollars to Japanese Yen would drive down the US dollar while all the buying of Japanese Yen would drive the Yen up. For a successful fund manager knowing and working out these kinds of inter-relationships within financial markets and acting on them more quickly than others, allows them to be ahead of the wave of demand or supply from less gifted investors, make the above average investment returns that they are paid so handsomely to achieve for mum and dad superannuation funds and be so respected and sought after for their opinions by the media, economists and governments. In some ways these highly successful fund managers are like three-dimensional, real-time, chess grandmasters or high-stakes professional poker players. Many of them also say that they find the activity so intellectually stimulating and financially rewarding that they were happy to disregard their previous careers and qualifications in disciplines such as nuclear physics, higher mathematics, engineering, medicine, diplomacy, military intelligence, etc. It is also a field where only results matter so that it is possible to find highly intelligent, hard working and curious people with no formal qualifications, so long as they are successful at investing, working next to economics professors and earning more than a brain surgeon, professional athlete, movie star or president of their country." - Seymour@imagi-natives.com

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[Quote No.35217] Need Area: Money > Invest
"...40 years of experience in financial markets has taught me that if you’re an investor, as long as markets never rest, neither can you. [If you snooze, you lose! It is a never-ending game of chess you need to respond to so long as you have money at risk in the market.] " - John Thomas
Hedge fund manager, former director of Swiss Bank Corp in charge of Japanese equity derivatives and Morgan Stanley analyst, where his clients included financial titans like Paul Tudor Jones and George Soros.
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[Quote No.35219] Need Area: Money > Invest
"What caused the global financial crisis [GFC between 2007-9] was an abject failure of government. Governments, by their action and inactions in a leadership sense, condone what happens. Monetary policy was run far too easy for too long (and) fiscal policy was far too loose for too long, so that the world found itself with an overleveraged government sector at the same time as easy money caused an overleveraged private sector. The consequences of running easy money [too low interest rates] for a long time is the labour market will be most attractive to financial institutions who intermediate the money and we finish up paying our bankers more than we pay our engineers. It's very strange for me to hear government agencies coming out and attacking the system which they were a part of and, frankly, they did not supervise. [Is that really strange? Don't governments always look to blame a scapegoat for any of their policy mis-steps so they can appear to be all knowing, and therefore worthy of government and in fact right in demanding still more power over their citizens' lives and finances/taxes? Although he did not spell it out, Mr Murray's comments appeared to be referring mainly to the US Federal Reserve which has been roundly criticised for having overseen a long period of easy monetary policy in the lead-up to the GFC. Mr Murray rejected suggestions greedy bankers may have played a part in the GFC. He said] I disagree with that. If you run the system that way, with loose monetary policy, assets are mispriced ... [just as Austrian economic theory warns and successful fundamental value investors were warning yearly before the crisis, contrary to recent government 'spin' that no-one foresaw the GFC.] commissions get earned more easily. That is a consequence of what governments did. [To be fair banks can set their own rates but it would have been any bank's suicide to unilaterally charge higher rates than their competitors so there was a MAD - Mutually Assured Destruction - pact equivalent to an arms race to the bottom which we now call the GFC, because the government and the citizens liked the appearance of the resulting success without understanding its dangerous unsustainability and eventual destructiveness.]" - David Murray
Former chief executive of the largest bank in Australia, the Commonwealth Bank. Published in 'The Australian' newspaper, March 17, 2011.
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[Quote No.35220] Need Area: Money > Invest
"[All citizens, but especially investors, should understand that not only do countries intervene in their own financial markets but they also work together to intervene in global markets, in open but also secret ways, contrary to Austrian economic theories about the freedom and transparency necessary to let markets - i.e. many people rather than a chosen few with political power - determine prices which then act as true signals to all participants so assets are allocated by the priority of their needs through their voting with their own limited money, effectively reaching the best sustainable result for all concerned and thereby not misallocating funds that eventually causes busts which governments then use to take more power and intervene further causing still more unintended consequences and so on ad infinitum. Refer too low interest rates causing the Global Financial Crisis 2007-9. Contrary to politicians' rationale the markets would still achieve much of the work governments want to do but in better ways.] G-7 Finance Chiefs to Discuss Measures to Help Japan: PARIS — France is arranging a discussion among finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 7 countries to assess the economic effects of the crisis in Japan and a possible response. The French economy minister, Christine Lagarde, said after a cabinet meeting Wednesday that she had convened the discussion to see 'how we can react on a financial level.' A French official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said the talks would cover measures to support Japan, improve liquidity if needed and calm financial markets. The official said the discussion was likely to take place by conference call Thursday or Friday, depending on the availability of hard-pressed Japanese officials. Given the level of Japan’s foreign exchange reserves and the wealth of the country, it is not envisaged at this stage that its partners would need to provide direct financial assistance. But officials in Paris believe they have tools of monetary policy and foreign-exchange coordination that could be used to improve the situation. The Japanese government is keen to avoid excessive appreciation of the yen as it deals with the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami and the ensuing nuclear power emergency. In particular, officials in Paris feel that the European Central Bank still has room to maneuver — certainly compared with the U.S. Federal Reserve — in terms of using monetary tools to bolster liquidity in markets. Still, global central bankers have plenty of options to choose from if the situation in Japan and global markets deteriorates. One initial plan could center around opening lines of credit among major central banks. Similar facilities were opened by some central banks after the terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001 and the financial market contagion in 2008 and 2009. In this case, the Bank of Japan would provide a steady stream of yen to the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, ensuring that private banks would have easy access to the Japanese currency. Demand for yen has been rising in recent days, as Japanese insurers and other financial firms sell their most liquid assets like stocks and commodities to generate cash to use at home for rebuilding efforts. This in effect is a reversal of past central bank measures, where the Federal Reserve provided dollars to foreign central banks to ensure that banks had an adequate supply of dollars. The discussions would also involve a broad look at the economic implications of the crisis, both for Japan and other countries, including its effects on growth and the supply of energy. Ministers from the G-7 countries are scheduled to talk formally next month at the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. France currently presides over both the Group of 8 of industrialized countries and the Group of 20 club of rich and developing countries. The G-8 has been a forum of foreign affairs, energy and security cooperation, while the G-7 has focused more on financial issues. Separately, President Nicolas Sarkozy told his cabinet on Wednesday that he would convene a meeting of energy and economy ministers from the G-20 in coming weeks 'to discuss the broad energy options for the world of tomorrow.' " - Matthew Saltmarsh
'The New York Times, March 16, 2011.
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[Quote No.35222] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Wisdom not only gets, but once got, retains." - Francis Quarles

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[Quote No.35224] Need Area: Money > Invest
"[Understanding geopolitics is vital to understanding global macroeconomics and the big asset allocation bets in investing. It is something international hedge funds are particularly famous for and one of the reasons they get outsized returns compared to other investment fund types. The following extract from an article by the private intelligence service Stratfor gives an idea of why it can be so helpful in deeply understanding investment markets and the potential moves of key market-moving players including governments.] Japan is the world’s third-largest economy, a bit behind China now. It is also the third-largest industrial economy, behind only the United States and China. Japan’s problem is that its enormous industrial plant is built in a country almost totally devoid of mineral resources. It must import virtually all of the metals and energy that it uses to manufacture industrial products. It maintains stockpiles, but should those stockpiles be depleted and no new imports arrive, Japan stops being an industrial power. The Geography of Oil: There are multiple sources for many of the metals Japan imports, so that if supplies stop flowing from one place it can get them from other places. The geography of oil is more limited. In order to access the amount of oil Japan needs, the only place to get it is the Persian Gulf. There are other places to get some of what Japan needs, but it cannot do without the Persian Gulf for its oil. This past week, we saw that this was a potentially vulnerable source. The unrest that swept the western littoral of the Arabian Peninsula and the ongoing tension between the Saudis and Iranians, as well as the tension between Iran and the United States, raised the possibility of disruptions. The geography of the Persian Gulf is extraordinary. It is a narrow body of water opening into a narrow channel through the Strait of Hormuz. Any diminution of the flow from any source in the region, let alone the complete closure of the Strait of Hormuz, would have profound implications for the global economy. For Japan it could mean more than higher prices. It could mean being unable to secure the amount of oil needed at any price. The movement of tankers, the limits on port facilities and long-term contracts that commit oil to other places could make it impossible for Japan to physically secure the oil it needs to run its industrial plant. On an extended basis, this would draw down reserves and constrain Japan’s economy dramatically. And, obviously, when the world’s third-largest industrial plant drastically slows, the impact on the global supply chain is both dramatic and complex. In 1973, the Arab countries imposed an oil embargo on the world. Japan, entirely dependent on imported oil, was hit not only by high prices but also by the fact that it could not obtain enough fuel to keep going. While the embargo lasted only five months, the oil shock, as the Japanese called it, threatened Japan’s industrial capability and shocked it into remembering its vulnerability. Japan relied on the United States to guarantee its oil supplies. The realization that the United States couldn’t guarantee those supplies created a political crisis parallel to the economic one. It is one reason the Japanese are hypersensitive to events in the Persian Gulf and to the security of the supply lines running out of the region. Regardless of other supplies, Japan will always import nearly 100 percent of its oil from other countries. If it cuts its consumption by 90 percent, it still imports nearly 100 percent of its oil. And to the extent that the Japanese economy requires oil — which it does — it is highly vulnerable to events in the Persian Gulf. It is to mitigate the risk of oil dependency — which cannot be eliminated altogether by any means — that Japan employs two alternative fuels: It is the world’s largest importer of seaborne coal, and it has become the third-largest producer of electricity from nuclear reactors, ranking after the United States and France in total amount produced. One-third of its electricity production comes from nuclear power plants. Nuclear power was critical to both Japan’s industrial and national security strategy. It did not make Japan self-sufficient, since it needed to import coal and nuclear fuel, but access to these resources made it dependent on countries like Australia, which does not have choke points like Hormuz. It is in this context that we need to understand the Japanese prime minister’s [recent] statement that Japan was facing its worst crisis since World War II. First, the earthquake and the resulting damage to several of Japan’s nuclear reactors created a long-term regional energy shortage in Japan that, along with the other damage caused by the earthquake, would certainly affect the economy. But the events in the Persian Gulf also raised the 1973 nightmare scenario for the Japanese. Depending how events evolved, the Japanese pipeline from the Persian Gulf could be threatened in a way that it had not been since 1973. Combined with the failure of several nuclear reactors, the Japanese economy is at risk. The comparison with World War II [in the Pacific] was apt since it also began, in a way, with an energy crisis. The Japanese had invaded China, and after the fall of the Netherlands (which controlled today’s Indonesia) and France (which controlled Indochina), Japan was concerned about agreements with France and the Netherlands continuing to be honored [as Germany needed the oil to continue their war efforts]. Indochina supplied Japan with tin and rubber, among other raw materials. The Netherlands East Indies supplied oil. When the Japanese invaded Indochina, the United States both cut off oil shipments from the United States and started buying up oil from the Netherlands East Indies to keep Japan from getting it. The Japanese were faced with the collapse of their economy or war with the United States. They chose Pearl Harbor. [This is something you don't hear about in most history books!] Today’s situation is in no way comparable to what happened in 1941 except for the core geopolitical reality. Japan is dependent on imports of raw materials and particularly oil. Anything that interferes with the flow of oil creates a crisis in Japan. Anything that risks a cutoff makes Japan uneasy. Add an earthquake destroying part of its energy-producing plant and you force Japan into a profound internal crisis. However, it is essential to understand what energy has meant to Japan historically — miscalculation about it led to national disaster and access to it remains Japan’s psychological as well as physical pivot." - George Friedman
Stratfor.com, 15th March, 2011.
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[Quote No.35235] Need Area: Money > Invest
"The most important tool in technical analysis is the ruler and the pencil." - Walter Murphy
Legendary technical [chart-based] share investing analyst.
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[Quote No.35236] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Investors can find investing to be a lot like a long running soap opera - only more important and real, of course! There are new characters that appear with new story-lines and possible dramatic consequences as well as the ongoing well-loved characters and the ne'er do wells. And just like any aficionado of a long-running show it becomes possible for some investors to improve their odds of guessing the limited number of plot-lines and likely surprises, including co-ordinated government fiscal and monetary interventions, and thereby place 'bets' with a higher than average success rate. In fact some super-investors become so good their story-line twists and turns and subsequent timed 'bets' seem to pre-empt even the writers' 'script meetings'!! Therefore being a student of economic history as well as continually staying current with these plots eventually improves any investor's understanding and forecasting performance. And just like any soap opera, different viewers will have been watching for different lengths of time, feel differently about the characters and make different guesses about the story outcomes. " - Seymour@imagi-natives.com

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[Quote No.35241] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Informally, we can think of a bubble as an advance in an asset's price to levels that are "detached from fundamentals" - essentially, the primary motive for investing ceases to be the expectation of future cash flows or consumption, and instead centers on the expectation of further increases in price. From this perspective, a bubble emerges at the point where a continual increase in the ratio of prices to fundamentals is required in order for investors to achieve satisfactory returns." - John P. Hussman, Ph.D.
President, Hussman Investment Trust
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[Quote No.35242] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Timing isn't important ... it's everything!" - Richard Pratt
(1934 – 2009), born Ryszard Przecicki, he was a prominent Australian businessman and chairman of the privately-owned company Visy Industries. In the year before his death Pratt was Australia's fourth-richest person, with a personal fortune valued at A$5.48 billion dollars
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[Quote No.35249] Need Area: Money > Invest
"In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule." - Friedrich Nietzsche
Famous philosopher
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[Quote No.35250] Need Area: Money > Invest
"A repo rate is the discount rate at which a government will agree to repurchase government securities from commercial banks. So these commercial banks can swap their securities at the central bank for cash, increasing liquidity in the markets. If the central bank wants to create more money in the system, they lower the repo rate (sometimes called the discount rate) and more banks bring their securities to the government to swap to cash. If the government wants to pull in liquidity, it raises the repo[session] rate making it more expensive for banks to swap their treasuries for cash. Repo rates act the same way as the fed funds rate, and is just another tool the central bank can use to adjust liquidity in the markets." - Daily Pfennig
Forex newsletter
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[Quote No.35253] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Trading overvalued shares near the top of a bull market can be compared to playing 'pass the parcel' with a hand grenade with the pin out!" - Seymour@imagi-natives.com

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[Quote No.35255] Need Area: Money > Invest
"Stocks usually rise in the third year of a [four year US] president’s term, as the president moves past more controversial initiatives and pulls out all the stops to boost the economy, to keep himself or his party in power. " - Jeremy Grantham
World respected equities strategist for GMO.
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[Quote No.35256] Need Area: Money > Invest
"What are the most common market indicators that banks and fund managers monitor for advance warning of stress points? Here is a small sample: -The overall level of lending in the economy, both as an absolute level and as a percentage of gross domestic product. A decline in this number suggests a slowing economy; -The rate of increase in retail lending, for example credit card and residential mortgage approvals, as well as the rate of increase in lower-credit-quality lending. Again, decreasing levels suggest an impending slowdown; -The rates of return on equity on bank capital, and whether this is running at above long-run averages. Perhaps a sign of an over-heating economy about to tip over the edge? -World and regional trade volumes, rate of growth month-on-month; -The Baltic Dry Index (bulk carrier shipping prices). Alternative Statistic: The crucial question is how many of these statistics are actually leading rather than lagging indicators? Most of them are unconvincing forecasting measures. Take the Baltic index: it reached an all-time high in May 2008, which was right at the start of the UK recession. Most indicators, rather than suggest an impending downturn, are more of a hindsight high-water or low-water mark of the business cycle. In a world of information overload, I suggest this statistic instead: the ECRI Leading Indicator index, more specifically the weekly index because of its timeliness. There are 10 components of this index [note they differ slightly from the 10 factors of the normal government Leading Economic Indicator]: 1-Vendor performance-Building permits 2-Manufacturers new orders for consumer goods and materials 3-Growth rate of M2 plus long-term Household Mutual Funds 4-JOC-ECRI Industrial Price Index, growth rate 5-Initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted scale) 6-Moody's seasoned corporate bonds, Baa rating (inverted scale) 7-NYSE Composite Stock Price Index 8-Spread between 10-year Treasury bonds 9-Baa corporate bonds 10-Mortgage applications. As we can see, this statistic is calculated for the US market but it would be relatively straightforward to construct it with the equivalent inputs for the UK or euro zone. It has a reasonable record as a leading indicator, although the indicator with the best record is of course the humble government bond yield curve. Traditionally, an inverted curve suggests an impending recession. But yield curves are positive sloping right now and yet risk aversion is growing. We need additional data. A weekly look at an ECRI-type metric might be worthwhile. Of course, almost by definition no statistic constructed out of historical recorded data can ever be a genuine crystal ball. We still need savvy judgement and a dash of luck." - Dr. Moorad Choudhry
Head of business treasury, global banking and markets at the Royal Bank of Scotland, and visiting professor at London Metropolitan University. Published Monday, 21 March, 2011 on CNBC.com
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[Quote No.35263] Need Area: Money > Invest
"[Analyzing stock market price and volume behaviour, as well as economic and company fundamentals is very useful to develop an holistic appreciation of the investing climate and potential future performance as the following article is a good example of.] 'Stocks stall as economy hits soft patch... The 3-day relief rebound hits a wall as the S&P 500 bonks its head on the 50-day moving average': After last week's dramatic sell-off -- with the S&P 500 losing 3.6%, culminating with a washout on Wednesday -- the bulls have managed to string together a nice relief rebound rally. Monday marked the third straight up day. So that's it, right? With Japan's nuclear disaster coming under control and Libya's airspace filled with Western fighter jets, are stocks ready for another big uptrend? Not quite. There are issues with the recent rebound. It came on light volume and disappointing breadth -- a sign that investors still aren't excited about stocks at these levels. And on all three days most of the gains came in the opening minutes of trading. The lack of intra-day follow through points to a lack of enthusiasm. Most importantly, key sector groups that have led the decline -- technology and semiconductors [listed on the NASDAQ] -- continue to lag badly. Various technical and momentum indicators suggest this was a temporary reprieve within a medium-term downtrend -- a downtrend that's being powered by indications economic growth is set to slow. To be sure, investors are selling heavily. According to UBS, its client flow data shows that U.S. clients were net sellers of both domestic and foreign equities for a fifth straight four-week average period. The heaviest selling is being seen in financial and technology stocks. Soft patch ahead? UBS economist Andrew Cates is worried. He finds that 'evidence has accumulated in recent weeks to suggest that global growth may disappoint in the period ahead' at a time when growth expectations are very high [very optimistic - irrational exuberrance]. Economic forecasts, keyed off of leading economic indicators which are now at levels 'that are not typically sustained' in Cates' words, will have to be revised downward. You can see this in the chart above [not shown here in this quote], which shows just how extended the UBS Global Growth Surprise Index is as recent data has beaten analyst expectations. This is not unlike the situation seen last April [2010] just ahead of the multi-month market swoon as unrealistic expectations were dialed back. The factors supporting a softer patch of growth includes fading industrial production as overstocked inventories adjust, slower momentum from China, higher oil and commodity prices, and tighter global monetary policy. Of all the factors, I believe inventories will be the most important in the months to come since industrial production has been a rare bright spot given still moribund consumer spending and job market gains. Levels of inventories for both corporations and countries (reflected through purchasing managers’ indices) have increased at robust rates since 2009. Inventory levels are a good leading indicator of overall economic activity, as they signify the aggregate amount of confidence in future market activity for firms and nations. Now, global inventories have swelled to extremely high levels [especially using the inventories to sales ratio]. However, given the focus on political revolutions happening in the Middle East and the rise in energy prices, along with the sudden halt in production by industry leaders such as Sony and Toyota, experts expect inventory levels to decrease, causing a pause in growth as factory activity slows. Until the clouds of uncertainty lift, stocks will continue to face selling pressure." - Anthony Mirhaydari
He is an analyst for the investment advisory newsletter service, 'The Edge'. Published on www.money.msn.com, Tue, Mar 22, 2011.
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[Quote No.35268] Need Area: Money > Invest
"The most important service rendered by the press and the magazines is that of educating people to approach printed matter with distrust!" - Samuel Butler

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[Quote No.35273] Need Area: Money > Invest
"[Don't trust companies that state EBITDA improvements:] We’ll never buy a company when the managers talk about EBITDA. There are more frauds talking about EBITDA. That term has never appeared in the annual reports of companies like Wal-Mart, General Electric, Microsoft. The fraudsters are trying to con you or they’re trying to con themselves. Interest and taxes are real expenses. Depreciation is the worst kind of expense: You buy an asset first and then pay a deduction, and you don’t get the tax benefit until you start making money. We have found that many of the crooks look like crooks. They are usually people that tell you things that are too good to be true. They have a smell about them." - Warren Buffett
Highly successful value share investor and one of the richest men in the world.
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[Quote No.35286] Need Area: Money > Invest
"[Some companies' finances are opaque. To quote the Britsh war-time Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, they are...] a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma." - Winston Churchill
Britsh Prime Minister during the Second World War.
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[Quote No.35287] Need Area: Money > Invest
"A bubble is defined by too much money chasing assets, greater production of those assets, then the need to find a greater fool to buy them. [A bubble in internet companies has the following characteristics:] 1. The arrival of a 'New Thing' that cannot be valued in the old way. Dumb-money companies start paying over the odds for New Thing acquisitions. 2. Smart people identify the start of a bubble; New Thing apostles make ever more glowing claims. 3. Start-ups with founders deemed to have 'pedigree' get funded at eye-watering valuations for next to no reason. 4. There is a flurry of new investment funds catering for start-ups. 5. Companies start getting funded purely on the basis of their PowerPoint presentations. 6. MBAs leave banks to start up firms. 7. The 'big flotation'' happens. 8. Banks make a market in the New Thing, investing pension money. 9. Taxi drivers become experts. 10. A New Thing darling buys an old-world company for stupid money. The end is nigh." - Alan Patrick
Co-founder of technology consultancy firm, Broadsight.
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