Articles you may find interesting

Some articles I either read or am planning to read in the near future...

  • (Highly Recommended) "A Dirty Business" (The New Yorker): In this excellent article, George Packer gives us a detailed look at the prosecution of the hedge fund manager, Raj Rajaratnam, who ran a large hedge fund called Galleon. If appeals aren't successful, this case will likely go down as the biggest insider trading conviction of a fund manager in American stock market history.
  • Conversations with Charlie Munger - the final edition (Ben Claremon for GuruFocus): This is likely one of the very last detailed conversations with Charlie Munger. He is ending the annual Wesco conversations now that the company was taken private and is too old. Nothing earth-shattering in the material covered in during this meeting.
  • (Recommended for contrarians) Howard Marks & distressed debt investing (Bloomberg Markets magazine): The article chronicles Howard Marks' journey in the distressed investing world.
  • (Recommended) Is content still king? The Netflix story (The Atlantic): Pretty good article questioning the traditional notion that 'content is king.' The case under examination is Netflix. It's too early to say if we are seeing a paradigm shift but short-sellers betting against Netflix have been burnt badly in the last two years.
  • Barron's looks at Syngenta (Barron's): I don't subscribe to Barron's—I think they are too short-term-oriented—but do read their free articles once in a while. If you are interested in GMO (gentically modified organism) companies, this article gives a basic overview of Syngenta. One of the theories in investing is that sin stocks—alcohol, gambling, sex, weapons, tobacco—outperform the market slightly in the long run. I think one can add companies that produce GMO products, such as genetically-modified seeds, to this list. One of my friends thinks these companies are almost evil but I'm ok with them. Syngenta (NYSE: SYT) and Monsanto (NYSE: MON) are two of the most-hated companies in the world and although they have looked expensive for years, it's worth keeping an eye on them.
  • (Highly Recommended) Thoughts on managing funds and avoiding frauds (Bronte Capital): John Hempton, who has sort of made a name for himself in the last year, specializing on frauds and investigative investing, gives his thoughts on John Paulson's handling of Sino-forest. Even if you have no interest in the Sino-forest saga, or will never be a fund manager, Hempton brings up some issues that are worth pondering.
  • Property rights in China, or lack there of (The Economist): Brief article touching on the risk of investing in Chinese companies through the VIE (variable interest entity) scheme (article suggests that half of US-listed Chinese firms use the VIE structure). It remains to be seen how the Chinese government will rule on many of these vague rules pertaining to property rights. Yahoo! shareholders have been feeling the pain after the company, apparently, shifted the ownership of some key assets to a Chinese national due to threats from the government and it remains to be seen if others will be impacted in the future.
  • Does it make sense to invest in commodities? (Financial Post magazine): A basic overview of the reasons for, and against, investing in commodities.
  • (Recommended for macro investors) Beyond BRIC (Financial Post magazine): You heard of the BRICs, but who stands beyond them? Here is a look at 11 other emerging markets.
  • Can the forestry industry recover? (Financial Post magazine): Some of the Canadian forestry companies are recovering but is that a short-term boost?
  • (Recommended if you are into entrepreneurship) "Stumptown's Duane Sorenson, the Coffee Connoisseur" (Entrepreneur): A good look at an entrepreneur who started a coffee speciality business.
  • (Recommended) "Sheila Bair’s Bank Shot" (The New York Times magazine; h/t The Big Picture): From the article by Joe Nocera: "‘They should have let Bear Stearns fail,” Sheila Bair said. ... She and the F.D.I.C. managed a number of huge failing institutions during the crisis, including IndyMac, Wachovia and Washington Mutual. She was a key player in shaping the Dodd-Frank reform law, especially the part that seeks to forestall future bailouts. Since the law passed, she has made an immense effort to convince Wall Street and the country that the nation’s giant banks — the same ones that required bailouts in 2008 and became known as “too big to fail” institutions — will never again be bailed out, thanks in part to new powers at the F.D.I.C. Just a few months ago, she went so far as to send a letter to Standard & Poor’s, the credit-ratings agency, suggesting that its ratings of the big banks were too high because they reflected an expectation of government support. If a too-big-to-fail bank got into trouble, she wrote, the F.D.I.C. would wind it down, not bail it out."
  • (non-investing) "The Day the Movies Died" (GQ): Movies, like any art form, go through phases. The way I look at movies, they are a mix of 'entertainment' and 'art.' There is a difference between the patrons that favour one or the other. At times, they lean towards the artsy side; right now, they seem mostly to produce entertainment. However, is the industry shifting towards a permanent state where the art itself dissapears?
  • (non-investing) Book excerpt - SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy Seal Sniper by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin (Vanity Fair): Excerpt from an upcoming book on Navy SEALs. I'm not a military guy but if you want to know the sort of training the elite SEALs go through, this excerpt provides an inside look.
  • (Recommended) (non-investing) "The Blind Man Who Taught Himself To See" (Men's Journal): Pretty amazing story of how one blind individual survives without vision. Inspirational for anyone that has battled health problems, or seen their family members go through it.

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1 Response to Articles you may find interesting

July 13, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Great links Sivaram. Very useful one on commodities which is the sector I've been working on throughout the whole year so far.

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