Central Bank News

Wed, 2009/12/16 - 3:48pm | Your editor

     Norway<’s central bank (CB) again raised rates to 1.75% but the assumption now is that another rate hike will not occur until March 2010. The main reason was concern over housing inflation producing a bubble.

     Meanwhile over in China, a central bank survey early in this quarter found that 67% of respondents who live in China think property has become too expensive. And 47% of them complain that consumer prices have become too high.

     Comments an observer with long-term investing experience there: “the guys that run the place are highly motivated that wealth trickle down to the 800 mn Chinese who do not live near the coast.” Read more »

China Report Comments

Tue, 2009/12/15 - 4:26pm | Your editor

Comments on my China report from the pros:

From Paul Renaud, editor of www.Thaistocks.com in Thailand, a contributor:

Here's where I diverge.

Chinese stocks are very volatile and rather expensive with p/e ratios often double those of Thailand. They pay little in cash dividends and their rise will be masked and full of investor traps. Read more »

Chanukkah and Poland

Mon, 2009/12/14 - 3:08pm | Your editor

    In college, before course and grade inflation became the norm, I took Ec 1 (not Ec 10) and studied from Paul Samuelson's Economics text, still on my bookshelf today (in a newer edition.) It was first published in 1948 by McGraw-Hill and has been used by students worldwide ever since. Paul Samuelson, an emeritus MIT professor, has died at age 93.

    Abu Dhabi this morning decided to provide its fellow emirate with a $10 bn loan and the stock market fireworks have gone off.

    Less noticed is another piece of good news. Our neighbor to the south, Mexico, is in recovery. Over 106,000 new jobs were created in Nov. Read more »

Chanukkah Wishes and Three Apologies

Fri, 2009/12/11 - 3:20pm | Your editor

Hot off the wires: France like Britain will tax financial companies paying non-contractual (voluntary) megabuck bonuses this year. And Goldman Sachs (and German banks which listen to Angela Merkel) will pay bonuses in stock recipients must hold for 5 years.

Our Sutton Place apartment, already zapped by the fact that two Galleon insider traders live on our street, has just lost another chunk of its resale value. I am trying to figure out how to continue to receive the Financial Times without “How to Spent It” and The Wall Street Journal without the weekend conspicuous consumption sections and The New York Times without all those inserted ad flyers.

Two apologies today as your Chanukkah gifts. First, we rent lists to ADVFN, a British financial website which sometimes advertises here. Read more »

Red Diaper Baby

Thu, 2009/12/10 - 10:21pm | Your editor

Pres. Obama delivered a smashing speech in accepting the Nobel Prize. Here is an extract:

Read more »

News from the Non-Evil Empire

Wed, 2009/12/09 - 3:20pm | Your editor

Apologies for running that anti-American imperialism tirade from our now-former Russia contributor on Monday. He quit because although I did not put his name on his rant, some might have guessed who he was. Moreover, he was annoyed at my editorial corrections and because I did not give him a chance to clean up his own copy, which he called “typical American perfidy”. We are looking for a new Russian contributor.

Since I read Russian we can use work from a native speaker which I would edit for English. Short-term I am not too anxious to take Russky positions.
Read more »

Unyielding Yield Investing

Tue, 2009/12/08 - 7:10pm | Your editor

PIMCO has hired Neel Kashkari, who until May had headed the U.S. Treasury’s TARP bank-rescue program after making his career at Goldman Sachs, to help with new investment initiatives with actively managed equity funds. Until now, PIMCO has been a bond house. It also lured in two former analysts from Franklin Resources, Anne Gudefin and Charles Lahr, to be its global equity portfolio managers, Bloomberg News reported. Read more »

Rant from Russia

Mon, 2009/12/07 - 5:32pm | Your editor

I am publishing the following rant from a sometime contributor in Russia not because I agree with it, but to encourage U.S. readers engaged in global investing to think about the political baggage we bring with us. He writes: 

Americans have subverted some 50-odd governments since World War II. Quite a record.

Think Iran. Wonder why they love you so much? A bit of bad luck and they will get the chance to roast you (and lots of other innocent bystanders). Any chance the roots of this distaste go back to 1953? And decades under the Shah? Read more »

Riba Bad News

Fri, 2009/12/04 - 3:42pm | Your editor

    Financial advisors seem to think that Moslems have special rules for loans. According to Wikepedia, "The generation of money on top of money, interest payments or 'Riba', is strictly forbidden by Shariah law."

In fact similar strictures against interest exist in Christianity and Judaism too. St. Thomas Aquinas thundered against charging interest, which he called 'filthy lucre'. In Medieval Europe, the wealthy were viewed as having sold their souls to the Devil. To escape Hell, they donated what they had accumulated to fund monasteries and Masses for their souls. Filthy lucre accrued to the Church. Read more »

William Jennings Bryan

Thu, 2009/12/03 - 3:19pm | Your editor

There were many political upheavals in American history between the Boston Tea Party in the 18th century and the ones being backed by the far right today.

Stimulated by the recent TV bio of Woody Guthrie and the death of folklorist Bess Lomax Hawes, both once part of the left-leaning Almanack Singers, I recalled one of their well-known folksongs, dating back to the very late 19th century.

It got sung first during an earlier economic crisis after William Jennings Bryan delivered his powerful words, "You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold," in 1896 at the Chicago Democratic National Convention.Of course we now have the Fed to create money. Read more »