Sunday, 14 June 2015

Stories we should be thinking about

A few finance and related stories we need to be thinking about before Monday morning:


Macro matters:

What do you mean you have not heard about Bilderberg?  Better read these pieces then...

'The Bilderberg summit gets state security, but there’s no quid pro quo. No state-run press centre. Media organisations, or at least the few that aren’t owned by the people inside the conference, need to start making a fuss'




 The Greek situation continuing to brew up (paywall). Haircuts for reform is still my simple view...

'Greek negotiators walked out of the European Commission’s Brussels headquarters only 45 minutes after the talks began. According to an EU official who has seen the much-anticipated Athens counterproposal, long sought by negotiators representing Greece’s creditors, it fell well short of expectations and was not adequate for a compromise deal'.

Of course it is all in the detail. I note this from @paulmasonnews:

My snap take on Brussels talks breakdown. Greeks did offer to do 2% of fiscal austerity, which they had not done before. EU wants 0.6% more.

As for the Ukraine...not much better with the IMF noting a need for 'support' from creditors.  Sounds like a haircut requirement to me...

'For completion of the first program review, and in general for the program to go forward, IMF policies require, among other things, an assessment that the program is fully financed and public debt is sustainable with high probability. Achieving this depends critically on financial support from Ukraine’s private creditors'.  Link here.  



Amazing how Eastern holdings of gold have pushed up over recent years. Link here.  

The AAII sentiment numbers really have moved in an extreme way recently...


...which inspired a very interesting post from Horan Capital Advisers:


A cautious view on M&A (which I would agree with).  Link here.

In many cases, companies are pursuing takeovers not because they are excited about a growing economy, but because their own growth prospects have waned.

US retail sales were good, weren't they?  Ex autos maybe not...


Striking fixed income graph:


Robert Main shares some difficulties in trading the Japanese yen currently in his latest weekly: 


Sydney house prices...then and now: 


Company-related observations:

'Carnival, with a larger fleet (100 ships versus Royal's 42), is better positioned to China's growth because its maturity and cash on hand will allow it flexibility in expansion in the region'.  Link here.

Yes, I can see what they mean:


From this week's Barrons"Time for a big bet on the financial sector? Goldman Sachs (top) strategist David Kostin thinks so. The reason: Looming Fed rate hikes will boost discount brokers like E Trade Financial and trust banks like Sun Trust.....Insurance like Hartford....Some REIT's could underperform......earnings outlook brightens......boosting rating on financials to Overweight from Underweight."  My view: be selective.  The sector is exhibiting some EPS momentum BUT I still feel simplification is a more compelling trend within the space...

We do always learn more from the losers. From this perspective the write-up here on Serco (a company who I also have lost money on investing into) was both fascinating and familiar.  Good article John.

Useful interview here with the still newish creative director at Coach in whose hands surely the broad fate/direction of the company's shares rest.

This is a great insight into Amazon Dash which threatens to disrupt food retail as we know it. 

And finally...

Diagnosing a fake watch - fantastic infographic here.

What a great list of summer books to read from Bill Gates.  Here is the one I thought sounded the most interesting:

How to Lie With Statistics, by Darrell Huff.
I picked up this short, easy-to-read book after seeing it on a Wall Street Journal list of good books for investors. I enjoyed it so much that it was one of a handful of books I recommended to everyone at TED this year. It was first published in 1954, but aside from a few anachronistic examples (it has been a long time since bread cost 5 cents a loaf in the United States), it doesn’t feel dated. One chapter shows you how visuals can be used to exaggerate trends and give distorted comparisons—a timely reminder, given how often infographics show up in your Facebook and Twitter feeds these days. A useful introduction to the use of statistics, and a helpful refresher for anyone who is already well versed in it. 
Have a good week

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