A Wiki World (Part Four)

By |2014-09-12T10:52:00+00:00December 14th, 2010|Global Market Update|

Among the fallout from the Wikileaks document dump is one clear loser: anyone who travels in conspiracy theories. Here are hundreds of thousands of secret memoranda and there's not one mention of the Trilateral Commission, no meetings upon a Grassy Knoll, no Elder Protocols. Those who think that the U.S. is managed by an elite cabal of overlords will have to explain why their pet theories came up empty. Of course absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. You can't prove a negative, [...]

Down on the Farm

By |2014-01-08T15:57:55+00:00December 13th, 2010|Global Market Update|

We’re still in a weak recovery. But consumers are buying pickup trucks on credit. What’s going on? It sure helps Detroit. Strong sales of pickup trucks have helped the sector rebound. Car makers have much bigger profit margins on trucks than they do on compact and mid-sized cars. But the strong pickup sales have puzzled many. Usually it’s the construction trades that buy pickups: carpenters, plumbers, electricians. The pickup bed makes a great place to store tools and carry supplies. But with the housing [...]

Breaking News From 1790

By |2017-07-17T12:35:17+00:00December 10th, 2010|Global Market Update|

Breaking News From 1790 The individual countries have widely different cultures. Labor mobility is limited. The larger states don't want to be on the hook for their profligate smaller cousins. Does this describe the dilemma facing the modern European Union? No, it's the situation that Alexander Hamilton grappled with while running the Treasury of the newly formed United States. Then, as now, the union was facing credit issues, debt issues, and a lot of skepticism as to whether it could hold together. Then, as [...]

Eight Days A Week

By |2017-07-17T12:35:17+00:00December 9th, 2010|Global Market Update|

Thirty years ago John Lennon was shot. The singer-songwriter who led The Beatles revolutionized the popular music scene, and the group is synonymous with rock and roll. But the Beatles' success didn't just happen. It was planned and executed as any good business should be. An upcoming book reviews their business acumen and how they became such icons. Their fame was no accident. They set out to become big--bigger than Elvis--and they succeeded. How did they do it? One simple answer is that they [...]

Flying on Instruments

By |2014-01-08T15:25:34+00:00December 8th, 2010|Global Market Update|

Flying on Instruments When I was in high school, I had the great good fortune to learn how to fly. Late in my training, after soloing and practicing seemingly endless touch-and-go landings, I received some elementary instrument instruction. While only qualified to fly using Visual Flight Rules--three miles visibility and a 1000 foot cloud ceiling--the FAA curriculum required that I be able to perform level flight and elementary maneuvers using basic flight instruments. It makes sense. After all, there's always a chance that you [...]

Wiki World (Part 2)

By |2017-07-17T12:35:18+00:00December 5th, 2010|Global Market Update|

If Wikileaks is here to stay, what does it mean for the markets? If there are no secrets anymore, what does that imply for investments? For one thing, the price of security just went up. Let's face it: there are thousands of legitimate reasons for confidentiality. So the demand for technical solutions to the Wikileaks problem is going to increase. That means anyone producing encryption software or secure data vaults or providing "privacy consulting" should see a boost in demand. But most leaks don't [...]

A Wiki World

By |2014-09-09T09:12:22+00:00December 3rd, 2010|Global Market Update|

What are the investment implications of Wikileaks? To some Julian Assange is a hero, but to most of the world he seems an annoying pest. He’s like that brilliant but obnoxious kid in school who knew everyone’s secrets. While outwardly people were friendly, for the most part he was avoided or even shunned. But there was an implication: you had to always watch what you said and what you did. Because you could never be sure what might come out as general knowledge the [...]

Watch That Basket!

By |2014-01-08T15:26:56+00:00December 2nd, 2010|Global Market Update|

Is concentration the road to riches or to ruin? It’s been said that diversification is the oldest rule in investing. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” the old saw goes. I’ve written before how spreading out your money among different types of investments, different parts of the world, different industries, and even different advisors makes sense. That way, if disaster strikes, you have other assets to fall back upon. Well not everyone agrees. Mark Twain put it most succinctly: “Put all your [...]

Early Retirement

By |2014-09-05T17:32:49+00:00December 1st, 2010|Global Market Update|

Government money seems to bring out the worst in people. State pensions are an example. Double-dipping is rampant. That’s where a retiree begins to collect a pension but holds onto the original job. Back-ending or padding is another strategy, where a worker’s final salary is so high that it skews the average. Before he resigned Rod Blagojevich appointed a legislator pal to a $120 thousand-a-year post that his buddy held for only 19 days. But because of the formula, the pension was boosted by [...]