“You supply the prose-poems, I’ll supply the war.”
Source: Film School Rejects
That’s what Charles Foster Kane says to one of his reporters in Orson Wells’ masterpiece, “Citizen Kane.” The quote is similar to one attributed to William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper publisher on whose life the movie was modeled. It speaks to the power and responsibility of a free press, and it’s what I thought of when I heard about Rolling Stone’s account of a horrific rape at a University of Virginia fraternity. The report prompted the University to suspend all fraternity social events on campus.
Continue reading Newspaper Wars
Whatever happened to the “Masters of the Universe?”
Source: Business Insider
I’m not talking about comic book characters. In the early ‘80s, interest rates spiked, following inflation. Long-term bonds yielded 15%. Bond traders reigned supreme. The hubris of the bond market’ culture was immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities. Massive trading floors at big investment houses buzzed with phone conversations, shouted orders, and thousands of small rotating electric fans continually dissipating waste heat from endless rows of computer terminals.
Continue reading The Twilight of the Masters
What can investors learn from “March Madness?”
The past week, productivity has hit the skids as millions of Americans have focused on 94 by 50 foot hard courts around the country. What can investors learn from our annual basketball mania?
Continue reading Investment Madness
Is deflation over?
Around the world markets have been worried about deflation. And the latest CPI release seems to validate these worries. Year-over-year, inflation is flat. And it was flat last month as well. Are we about to turn Japanese, struggling with deflation, where folks stop buying because things just get cheaper every month?
Continue reading Inflating the Future?
Lee Kuan Yew died yesterday. What is his legacy?
Lee Kuan Yew was Singapore’s leader, then senior advisor, for five decades. He’s called Singapore’s founding father. For many, modern Singapore and Lee are synonymous. He oversaw the city-state’s transformation from an underdeveloped British backwater with almost no natural resources to a modern Asian Tiger.
Continue reading The Passing of a Giant
What’s wrong with the market?
So far this year, the market has been struggling. Up 300 one day, down 300 the next, it can’t seem to get its sea-legs. If you watch too closely, the volatility will make you sick. What’s wrong?
Continue reading Choppy Seas
What’s a FICO score?
Source: St. Louis Fed
A FICO score is a way for lenders to find out how creditworthy someone is. It was designed by a couple of engineers to measure a consumer’s risk of default. It weighs your payment history, credit capacity, the length of your credit history, and a couple other factors to come up with a score between 350 and 850.
Continue reading Scoring Credit Scores
Do you have to be brain-damaged to win at investing?
Sometimes it seems that way. A researcher wanted to study the effect emotions on investors. So he gave a group of normal and brain-damaged participants each $20 and asked them to choose whether or not to bet on a coin toss 20 successive times. If they lost, they lost a dollar; if they won, they won $2.50.
Continue reading The Emotional Investor (Part 4)
Why does the Fed talk so much?
Source: Wordsmithing Ink
Today the Fed statement will tell us that they don’t need to be patient anymore. Then Janet Yellen will give us a press conference where she’ll tell us she can be patient. We’ve gotten to the point where Fed members are telegraphing the deletion of a two-syllable adjective in their 529-word statement. What’s next: literary analysis and source-criticism? I can see it now: “Governor Brainard assented to the policy—her experience of economic stagnation in communist Poland as a young child makes her skeptical of central planning. President Evans agreed as well ….”
Continue reading Patiently Impatient
What does a strong dollar mean for the rest of the world?
Source: Digital Juice
Over the past six months the trade-weighted dollar has risen 25%. A strengthening labor market here, monetary stimulus by the Bank of Japan, Q€ in Europe, falling oil prices in Canada, and a slowdown in China have depressed those currencies relative to ours.
Continue reading Rising Dollar, Rising Markets?