When we lived in France our children both belonged to the same scout troop, which enrolled both boys and girls. This is a centuries-old tradition in France for troops of children who are Protestant, Jewish, or left-wing. Late in the 19th century, when the national secular school system was set up, Catholic priests created scout troops for French boys to continue to influence their upbringing, and soon nuns were doing the same thing for French girls. The results was the the official Scouts de France became identified with Catholicism.
When we went apartment hunting the agent, a Protestant, went on for hours about how we should never enroll our children in "Les Scouts."
Jews, Protestants, and secularists had created a separate scouting movement, called Eclaireurs et Eclaireuses, also divided by religion--but not by sex or sexual orientation. In many French regions, there weren't enough Protestants or Jews to create separate troops for boys and girls. The solution: co-ed troups. This avoids the whole argie-bargie over gays although that was hardly the intention.
During the German occupation of France in the 1940s, the co-ed Jewish Eclaireurs and Eclaireuses became a contributor to the Resistance and the rescue of Jewish children, mainly because intrepid female ex-Scouts could more easily hide their religion than male ones.
More from Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, Colombia, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Finland, China, and Israel follows along with yet more mixed company reports which do not seem to afflict share prices these days. No blog Monday as it is Memorial Day and the market closes an hour earlier today.
The 7% Solution
My last email virus came from my cousin in Bangkok. I got rid of it with difficulty. Today a buddy who divides her time between Brooklyn and Seville sent me a warning that her email account had been hacked, probably from Spain. There are risks with global investing nobody warns you about.
Today we are suffering from the 7% solution, as Japanese stock indexes fell that fast on negative news on Chinese growth. At one point futures trading was halted because stocks fell too fast.
The HSBC "Flash" purchasing managers index for April came in below 50, an indicator of declining growth. So China growth targets have to be revised downward. The Shanghai stock exchange started the drop which quickly spread to European and now US markets. From Nomura in Hong Kong, Michael Kurtz describes the sell-off as "stomach-turning.) He expects that the Japanese and Pacific Rim markets will shortly resume their rise.
And despite the spread of the affliction, Mr. Kurtz insists that there has been a "global decline in equity correlations." The trick is to find new emerging markets and stocks selected for being ignored by the herd. Read on to know what this means for our portfolio.
Today we have a regular sell and a new type one, and news from Japan, Hong Kong, India, China, Israel, Ireland, Canada, and Jordan.
At reader request, here is the explanation for why we are again trying to buy a GDR in London, a reprint of an earlier article by Patti the Biotech Maven and me published last Nov. Since then the stock has become more liquid and visible in the US. Read more »
Another cheap common supplement in your medicine chest, vitamin C, turns out to be able to kill multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, at least in vitro, in a test tube, scientists have found. The discovery may herald a new way of trying to treat resistant TB, the study authors from Yeshiva University wrote in Nature Communications. About 650,000 people worldwide have multidrug-resistant TB.
Work is needed see if TB germs in a live mouse are also killed by vitamin C. Then it can be tested as a TB drug in humans. “While the findings of this study appear promising, further research to confirm the observations would be essential before Vitamin C can be used to supplement TB treatment” said Dr Ibrahim Abubakar, Head of TB at Public Health England to the BBC.
In the lab, vitamin C acted as a "reducing agent", triggering production of of reactive oxygen species called free radicals. The free radicals killed off the TB germs, even drug ones untreatable with conventional antibiotics like isoniazid. Lead investigator Dr William Jacobs, professor of microbiology and immunology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva U, said: "We have only been able to demonstrate this in a test tube, and we don't know if it will work in humans and in animals. "This would be a great study because we have strains of tuberculosis that we don't have drugs for, and I know that in the laboratory we can kill those strains with vitamin C. It also helps that we know vitamin C is inexpensive, widely available and very safe to use. At the very least, this work shows us a new mechanism that we can exploit to attack TB."
Vitamin C could be used alongside TB drugs. Alternatively, scientists could create new TB drugs that work by generating a big burst of free radicals. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, has many important functions in the body, including protecting cells and keeping them healthy. Good natural sources of the vitamin include oranges juice. Most people get all they need from their diet.
The news follows our report yesterday that in some cases, the advance of dementia and Alzheimer's disease can be controlled with vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid. These discoveries remind me of the miracle drug aspirin which reduces high blood pressure and platelet clotting, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
More today from Australia, Canada, Singapore, Britain, Ireland, Dubai, and Hollywood.
It's good Stanley A. Cohen can afford a chauffeured car to take him from his hedge fund HQ in Greenwich CT to the US DA office in New York where negotiations are taking place over a potential grand jury subpoena on insider trading. The Metro North railway is out of operation following a crash of two trains during the rush hour last Friday just north of Fairfield. The highway is, however, jammed with commuters who normally travel by rail.
Since late last year I have been warning of the financial transaction tax planned by 11 European Union countries. Now that the mainstream press has taken on the issue of what is called "the Robin Hood tax", The Financial Times reports today that "momentum has stalled amid fierce opposition" even from the major supporting countries, meaning France and Germany.
Put a ribbon around your finger to remember to take vitamins. Do not forget to take your pills.
A cheap regimen of ordinary vitamins already used by millions is now being heralded by scientists as a way to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, which high-priced new drugs have not helped. Drug companies like Bristol-Myers, Pfizer, and Eli Lilly have spent billions of dollars researching potential failed dementia therapies but failed to find an effective treatment or preventative. Yesterday a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows that vitamins B6 and B12 combined with folic acid slowed atrophy of gray matter in brain areas affected by Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia mostly hit oldsters. As people live longer, the number afflicted by dementia conditions grows. Delaying dementia with a cheap bunch of vitamins may cut the rise in cases, which the World Health Organization predicted would more than triple from 36 million worldwide in 2010 to 115 million in 2050. The cost was estimated to have already hit $604 bn in 2010 by Alzheimer’s Disease International.
PNAS researchers tracked 156 people aged 70 and older who had mild memory loss and high levels of a protein, homocysteine, previously linked to dementia. Among people with elevated levels of the protein, the study found that the amount of gray matter declined 5.2% in those taking a placebo, vs only 0.6% in those who took the vitamin mixture. Study volunteers were given either a placebo or 0.5 milligrams of vitamin B12, 20 milligrams of vitamin B6 and 0.8 milligrams of folic acid.
The supplements cost about 30 cents/day and are readily available OTC in drug and health food stores.
“It’s the first and only disease-modifying treatment that’s worked,” said A. David Smith, pharmacology professor emeritus at Britain's Oxford U, the senior author of the study. “We have proved the concept that you can modify the disease.”
How can we benefit with a stock pick? Our answer for paid subscribers follows along with news from Ireland, Sweden, India, Britain, Colombia, India, Finland, Brazil, and Japan.
Stock Picks from Canada, Japan, and Mexico
It is not only over deficit country banks that Germany is out of phase with the rest of the European Union. Under its lapsed physicist Chancellor, Angela Merkel, Germany shut in its nuclear power plants and created solar power subsidies to replace the lost electricity after the Japanese nuclear disaster.
Now, with the EU planning to follow the US in imposing countervailing duties on Chinese solar panels allegedly being sold at treaty-violating prices below manufacturing costs, Germany has taken the lead in opposing them. Anti-dumping duties planned at 47% of value would reduce the logic of the improbable German program of going solar. Some euros 21 bn of Chinese solar products a year head for Europe, with Germany a main target.
Making it even harder for Brussels to prevail over Berlin, Germany runs a trade surplus with China despite the inflow of photovoltaics, because its capital goods exports to China are steady and growing.
On Friday your editor boldly predicted that Mexico would fail to achieve its target growth rate of 4% in Q1. Here is what Eduardo Garcia wrote today in www.sentidocomun.co.mx about the figures which came out later:
"Mexico grew 0.5% in Q1, the 15th sequential quarter of growth, but at the lowest level in 3 years. Mexico maintained its economic expansion this year, symbol of strength in Latin America's second largest economy facing global economic problems, but also a signal that the country is not immune to international problems."
More from the German-speaking solar business from Max Deml in Vienna, a new stock from Chris Loew in Japan, and news from Israel, Britain, India, Brazil, Canada, Belgium, Mexico, Portugal, and the USA.
Performance Tables Posted
Contrary to appearances, I did not have any influence on the reporters from Barron's writing favorably about a half dozen of our buy-rated shares and a major holding of another and the pending acquirer of yet another pick. Nor did I have any idea that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway had opened a large position in one of those shares (after we bought it, although he is not one of my subscribers.)
The reason that Global Investing picks turn up whenever institutional investors and others are interviewed about global stocks is that they are looking at the same foreign universe as our intrepid reporting team examine. We are in the same market as everyone else except when we buy local shares in Asia markets (which we do sometimes.)
To view the tables you are allowed to see, visit www.global-investing.com which is our website. Anyone can see the closed positions but the current holdings are how we make money for our subscribers, and only they can see the funds, ETFs, stocks, and bonds we recommend now.