Articles to peruse on a Thrusday
Mostly macro stuff...
- Seth Klarman Interview at Harvard Business School (HBS): Thanks to gurufocus.com for bringing this interview to my attention. Some people put Seth Klarman a step below Warren Buffett when it comes to value investing but I have no idea. It's really hard to say how good, or bad, any of these guys are when they run opaque funds and all we know is some quoted return. For instance, I'm still uncertain of Edward Lampert's skills. Anyway, Seth Klarman is one of the few value investors who actually seems to follow Benjamin Graham's principles fairly closely.
- Oil keeps sliding (MarketWatch): Near-term futures contracts breached the $37 mark and analysts are lowering their estimates. From a long-term contrarian point of view, analysts cutting estimates is good.
- Semiconductors seeking bailouts (BusinessWeek): It's not only the auto industry that is seeking bailouts. The semiconductor industry, particularly in Taiwan and Korea, are seeking bailouts as well. On top of potentially starting a trade war, bailouts will simply continue the overcapacity and prolong the slump for the whole industry. As I alluded to in a prior post, semiconductors are like railroads in the 1800's: extremely benefitial to society, changed humanity, but terrible investments with most railroads going bankrupt. Commodity businesses are really tough--one reason Buffett doesn't generally invest in them.
- Free trade likely to take a backseat in the future (The Economist): World trade is going to become less freer in the medium term. Already there are talks for bailouts, strategic devaluation of currencies, and so on.
- Solar industry starting to suffer (BusinessWeek): The ironic thing about alternative energy is that it really needs the oil industry to do well. Or another way to say it is that the alternative energy industry needs high oil prices. This is certainly the case with the solar industry, which has never been economic (in contrast, wind power is economic if carbon or heavy pollution were taxed.)
- 2008 Japan Good Design awards (BusinessWeek): fun...won't help you with investing ;)
- Top counterfeit items (BusinessWeek): fun...might make you a criminal ;)
- Playboy of the Eastern World? (The Economist): hmm...not quite as erotic as the title would make it out to be ;)