Are smartphones the future?
There’s no question that smartphones have had a huge impact on our lives. From texting to email to social networks, iPhones and Androids and Lumias have changed the way we work, play, and connect. It’s just so much easier to find directions, get recipes, and check the weather from the digital assistant sitting in your pocket.
Continue reading Smartphone Intelligence
Will loyal investors swamp Bill Gross’s new venture?
On Friday Bill Gross rocked the investing world by leaving PIMCO, the two-trillion dollar asset management firm he founded, and going to work for a competitor. Gross is one of the best-known investors in the world. With his folksy charm and colorful commentary, Gross made investing in bonds cool, which is pretty tough. Bonds are inherently boring, or should be. If everything goes right, you get your money back; if something exciting happens, you might get pennies on the dollar.
Continue reading Bonds-a-Go-Go
“When everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” – George S. Patton
Last week I noted that the Fed’s dot-plot gives us a picture of where each Fed governor expects short-term interest rates to be one, two and three years from now. The chart is interesting because it’s fairly new. September’s dot-plot is only the fourth set of projections we’ve seen.
Continue reading Conforming to Expectations
“Where you stand depends on where you sit.”
Photo Credit: Hans Neleman
This observation can be applied to management, politics, or investments. I got into this business from the bond-side; I was a bond analyst and Treasury Note trader for a mid-sized bank before I became a portfolio manager. Bonds are math-y things: the maturity date, call date, coupon rate, yield to maturity, and settlement details all affect the price in different ways.
Continue reading Confessions of a Closet Quant
Could private roads really work?
Yesterday’s discussion of pot-holes and private roadways came amidst news of a big toll-road bankruptcy. The operator of the Indiana Toll Road filed to restructure its $6 billion in debt.
Continue reading A Bump In The Road (Part 2)
Why does everyone complain about government?
Take roads, for example. They’re either full of potholes or under repair. And the repairs always seem to come in late and over budget.
Continue reading A Bump In The Road
What good are sports stadiums?
I don’t mean to the teams. It’s obvious that teams need a place to play. And if they want to attract more fans, the bigger the venue, the better. No, I’m talking about whether stadiums are good for local communities. And there, the record is mixed.
Continue reading High Stakes Hold-Up
What is risk?
There’s a saying that volatility is not risk, that risk is a permanent loss of capital, and that price fluctuations are temporary until you sell and make them permanent. Well, maybe. If I bought Amazon at 400 late last year and sold it when it hit 300 this year, I lost out, right? Not if I put the money into Google—it would have recovered what Amazon lost.
Continue reading On Prices, Volatility, and Risk
Do you want to be important?
Psychologists tell us that everyone needs to be needed. Indeed, among our hierarchy of needs, belonging and significance come just after basic wants like food, shelter, and safety.
Continue reading The Search for Significance
When I was a kid I loved dot-to-dot books. Whenever our family would go on long trips, they’d get me a stash of dot-to-dots and I’d be all set. Maybe it was playing with numbers; maybe it was trying to recognize the picture as soon as possible—whatever it was, those books would keep me entertained for hours.
So maybe that’s why I find the Fed’s dot-plot so fascinating:
Source: Federal Reserve June 2014 Materials
Continue reading Dot-to-Dot