Monday, April 27, 2009 0 comments ++[ CLICK TO COMMENT ]++

Articles to Peruse

Some articles to increase your knowledge... maybe :) ...

  • (Recommended) The case for deflation (Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt; via Mish's Global Econommic Trend Analysis): The link to the original article doesn't seem to work consistently :( but do read the original article mentioned by Mike Shedlock, along with his response. Since you will see very few deflationists, you may want to read this article, even if you are an inflationist or a neutral, to see why the deflationists believe what they do.
  • Profile of several workers laid off (Report On Business magazine by The Globe & Mail): Some depressing stories of people in wide spectrum of industries and positions losing their jobs. One of the sad things about losing a job, and capitalism in general, is that the layoffs can be indiscriminate. Some like to think that the worst workers or the overpaid or those willing to leave are the ones to go, but reality is that almost anyone's job can be lost.
  • Tampa Bay Lightning and the difficulty faced by sports teams (Report On Business magazine by The Globe & Mail): Sports teams are glamour investments that rarely ever work out. This article illustrates the problems for NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, which seems to have gone from a mild success story to a distressed team. If one of you happen to be a multi-millionaire and thinking of buying a team, consider the downside first ;)
  • Portfolio magazine dies a quick death (Portfolio): Portfolio magazine, which some may recognize as the former home of blogger Felix Salmon, shut down today. I never followed the magazine nor subscribed to it—I did read a bunch of my brother's magazines—but it did have a few spectacular articles on the financial meltdown. Perhaps the most memorable for me was Michael Lewis article on the end of modern Wall Street. I think one of the flaws with Portfolio was that it was a high-end magazine, targetted at executives, investment bankers, and other, what an average person would consider as, jet-setting crowd. That is a market that is probably tough to crack. Given their targetting of high income citizens and corporate workers, they probably should have charged a lot more money or somehow generated more revenue from those readers. (The positioning issue also reminds me of the business section of The Globe & Mail newspaper in Canada. The business section in G&M targets upper-middle-class or higher. Many ads, for instance, are high end jewellery stores, high end cars, and so forth. Perhaps it makes some sense because some who work in the financial industry have high incomes. Nevertheless, I can see it going bust really quickly, not that all newspapers aren't struggling, because it will continuously struggle to attract the mainstream investors, casual readers, and the like.)
  • Avner Mandleman predicts the first electric car to be from China (The Globe & Mail): Avner Mandleman is quite contrarian and often presents unusual, pie-in-the-sky, ideas. In this article, he predicts that China will build the first revolutionary electric car, perhaps by BYD or some company like that. He presents a bunch of reasons why that is likely to be the case. I don't think some of his reasons are significant but I do feel that electric cars will have a tough time in the developed world. The main reason—Mandelman also mentions a similar reason—is because Big Oil and Big Auto will crush any attempts. Imagine the impact on ExxonMobil if a viable electric car was produced; or imagine what would happen to GM or the huge parts supplier base. Having said this, there is negative reason, not mentioned by Avner Mandleman, why China will have difficulties. And that has to do with its electric power-producing capability. China has serious problems as is, with normal electricity usage, and with countless coal and nuclear power plans being built. It will not be easy to build enough power plants to handle the massive needs of electric cars.
  • Newbie overview of the bank liquidity vs insolvency problem - Part I - Part II (Calculated Risk): I mentioned a primer by Bronte Capital Blog during the weekend, and now Calculated Risk has a basic overview of the situation.
  • China & its cheap mobile phone knockoffs (New York Times): Chinese fake goods is an issue that has been discussed countless times; but this time it has to do with mobile phones. The technology is so good and the costs are so low; that a fake counterfeiter can produce a mobile phone better than Apple with more features for a lower cost. It remains to be seen whether counterfeiters win (and hence patents, intellectual property rights, etc) weaken; or if the governments wil crack down on these companies.
  • (Recommended) Brief summary of John Paulson interviews (various original sources; mention by GuruFocus): Very brief but covers his investing strategy and portfolio allocation style... and it has some comments about risk arbitrage as well.

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