Getting (Un)Emotional

By |2018-02-28T05:09:10+00:00February 28th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Can we keep our emotions in check while investing? Passionflower, useful in anger management. Photo: PumpkinSky. Source: Wikimedia In the short-run stocks are driven by our emotions. A company’s stock may be up 4% one day and down 7% the next, based on a of couple analysts’ comments. But has the fundamental value changed that much in 48 hours? Probably not. John Maynard Keynes once noted that the market can be a beauty contest, where judges don’t choose who they think is the best-looking [...]

Staying Comfortable

By |2018-02-22T07:36:36+00:00February 22nd, 2018|Global Market Update|

How do you stay calm when the market is crazy?     Drawing of Valkyries. Illustration: Johannes Gehrts. Source: Wikimedia Birgit Nilsson was a great dramatic soprano. One day an interviewer asked what was the key to successfully performing in demanding roles like Brunhilde and Isolde. Her answer was immediate and a little surprising: comfortable shoes. Some of the operas required Nilsson to stand in place – on her feet, singing – for hours at a time. If her feet started to hurt, it [...]

Taxing Energy in Context

By |2018-02-21T06:58:51+00:00February 21st, 2018|Global Market Update|

How high are our energy taxes? Source: Energy Information Administration The US is a low-tax country. We were founded because of a tax-rebellion, and tax protests ripple through our nation from time to time. The latest round of corporate tax reform was in part a reaction to high corporate tax rates – and they were high, compared with the rest of the world. That’s why so many US corporations had been changing their official domicile to an overseas location. US companies like Medtronic (Minneapolis) [...]

Public Goods, Private Uses?

By |2018-02-20T08:04:08+00:00February 20th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is a public good? Photo: Ed Yourdon. Source: Wikimedia Economics is at the heart of financial capitalism. After all, companies can’t pay their debts and grow if they can’t make sustainable, economic profits. Financial engineering may redirect where their cash goes, but without economic growth, we won’t see financial growth or improvement in market values. As a result, it’s crucial that we understand some economic principles in order to understand today’s market. And one key element in economics today is the notion of [...]

Avoiding the Sting

By |2018-02-16T06:43:17+00:00February 16th, 2018|Global Market Update|

How do we avoid getting stung by an investment scam? Photo: Csaba Szily. Source: Wikimedia Investment scams are everywhere. From Ponzi schemes to obscure bank instruments to fraudulent crypto-operations, today’s financial landscape seems designed to encourage crooks and criminals to try to bilk us out of our savings. What are some of the signs that someone is trying to swindle you? First, check the pitch. To what are they appealing? Is it fear? Greed? Envy? Scam artists usually play to our lowest impulses. Get-rich-quick [...]

Cyprus on the Beach

By |2018-02-15T09:36:59+00:00February 15th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Whatever happened to Cyprus? Source: Wikimedia Cyprus is a large island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, with a population of 1.2 million – about equal to that of New Hampshire – and an area half that of New Hampshire. It’s divided between North and South Cyprus because of an invasion by Turkey in 1974. Cyprus joined the Euro-zone ten years ago, and had a banking crisis about five years later in the aftermath of the Greek debt crisis. The IMF and European Central Bank [...]

Getting Swapped Out

By |2018-02-14T07:00:03+00:00February 14th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is “swapping”? Photo: Ryan McGuire. Source: Gratisography When I was growing up, swapping was a term of art that the big kids used when they cheated the little kids out of their stuff. I remember going to birthday parties where we swapped pieces of cake. Somehow, my big brother always ended up with the biggest slice. In banking, swaps are a way for the big broker-dealer banks to “help” smaller institutions manage their interest rate risk, currency risk, credit risk, and almost everything [...]

TMI!!

By |2018-02-13T07:09:22+00:00February 13th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Are we giving ourselves a data-overload? Photo: Intel Free Press. Source: Wikimedia Information comes at us from all sides. We have smart phones, smart cars, a smart electric grid, and I can check the weather in McMurdo Station, Antarctica on my smart watch any time I want. What do we do with all this data? The easy answer is to ignore it. Or at least to ignore the parts that we don’t need. If we don’t want live tweets of the air traffic of [...]

Bigger and Better?

By |2018-02-12T07:10:13+00:00February 12th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Which companies are the biggest in the world? World’s tallest buildings. Illustration: Ali Zifan. Source: Wikimedia People are obsessed with lists of the tallest and the largest: the tallest buildings, the largest human-made structures, the highest mountains, even the biggest pumpkins. When something is big, it’s supposed to be important. When it comes to the market, that does make some sense. Big companies, by market capitalization, have higher sales, are faster growing, employ more people, and often indicate a change in the way the [...]

Online Medical Leadership

By |2018-02-09T07:45:57+00:00February 9th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Can we learn something from Chinese innovation? Shenzhen Skyline. Photo: Wishva Da Silva. Source: Wikimedia Tencent is a Chinese internet company based in Shenzhen, which owns WeChat, QQ, and most of China’s online music services. With a market cap of $500 billion, it’s the fifth most valuable company in the world, behind Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. They own most of an online healthcare services firm called We Doctor that will soon go public in Hong Kong. We Doctor provides a host of medical [...]