Hey, folks. Here's the first cut of a presentation I'm slated to give tomorrow internally on some of the bigger themes that emerged from this year's China trip. Hit me below with comments or questions. If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you will have seen some of these photos and heard some of these views before. [more]
I've been somewhat bemused these last few months of writing on this blog by the folks who claim that China is a sham and that America is light years ahead. I even have some co-workers who share that opinion. And while I won't hold China up as any sort of beacon for ethics or accounting, I do think it's important to note that at the end of the day, on a case by case basis, it's not all that worse than things that happen here in the USA. Today's exhibit? A recap of The Final Days of Merrill Lynch (at The Atlantic). [more]
Stepping outside my bounds a little bit here, but I though this month's cover story in The Atlantic by David Goldhill on health care is worth a read: How American Health Care Killed My Father. [more]
Bankrupt Lenny Dykstra Reduced To Sleeping In His Car
If this guy is such a master trader, why doesn't he flip a few options and get right back on top. Oh. Right.
So I just want to ask how this one has turned out: Citron Research Reports on New Oriental Education and Technology (NYSE:EDU)
EDU price on April 16: $50.45
EDU price on August 27: $72.00 [more]
Back in the saddle with another CAPS Champion of the World contest idea. Remember, to be eligible to win the contest, you need to rate at least 1 per quarter of these ideas that we present here on the blog. But you don't even have to agree with us. You can look at the facts and disagree, so long as you enter an opinion in the contest on the stock in question. And if you're not entered, do it now. Just click on this link to get started. [more]
An interesting editorial from the VA senator in today's NY Times: We Can’t Afford to Ignore Myanmar. He seems legitimately afraid of China building an axis of power in SE Asia. See here: [more]
Some crack reporting from China Daily here. Keep up the good work, guys.
When China is the popular kid in Asia? Thought this was an interesting article from Newsweek.
There's a growing, reluctant consensus that Japan will have to find a new role. From the Meiji Restoration—the great flowering of Japanese innovation and reform in the 1860s—until recently, Japan "had basically one goal: catch up with the West and be accepted as a great power. They achieved that in the '80s, but they've never figured out what to do for an encore," says Columbia professor and Japan expert Gerald Curtis. "Japan today is a tired country." The old model—work hard and save to finance exports to the West—is clearly broken. (The other top developed export power, Germany, has also been particularly hard hit by the global recession, as all the rich consuming nations of the West enter what looks to be a long period of slow growth and weak demand.) With Asia emerging as "the center of the global economy, its new growth engine, Japan now has to figure out how to put itself at the center of that center," says Curtis.
And then Japan earns the dreaded comparison with Canada. Oh my! [more]
Look, I think the value of the US dollar is going to decline and that we're going to see inflation as a result of current government spending. There's my bias out of the way from the get-go. NY Times persona Paul Krugman somewhat agrees with this stance, but he tried to rationalize a $9 trillion deficit on his blog yesterday, writing:
"What you have to bear in mind is that the economy — and hence the federal tax base — is enormous, too. Right now GDP is around $14 trillion. If economic growth averages 2.5% a year, which has been the norm, and inflation is 2% a year, which is the target (and which the bond market seems to believe), GDP will be around $22 trillion a decade from now. So we’re talking about adding debt that’s equal to around 40% of GDP."
Now, 2.5% annual GDP growth over the next 10 years with just 2% inflation would be a spectacular accomplishment. That's a very optimistic scenario, in my mind. Yet Krugman, just the day before, wrote this on his blog: [more]
My mom is very proud today. Why you ask? Well, because don't look now, but I think I'm among this elite group. That's right...the "certain higher-traffic bloggers and financial commentators who were plug-dumb enough to buy into the "economic miracle" bunkum and lies spread by Peru's government and central bank lackeys" or one of the "dumb***** in suits who fell for this crap for month after month up in gringoworld started seeing reason" and also maybe specifically " 1) too stupid to work it out for themselves or 2) too lazy to bother checking the figures themselves before spreading the BS on. Yeah, that means you, "T"**."
Could I be "T**"?
Well, on second thought, alas maybe not. After a review of the facts, this blog ain't that high traffic (seriously, you should see the numbers) and we actually keep a pretty casual dress code here at the office (heck, one can't skateboard to the office in a suit). And what's my involvement with the Peruvian hype machine? I recommended Credicorp (BAP) in Global Gains a few months back...a pretty well run Peruvian bank that actually put up pretty decent numbers last quarter. Is it getting a little ahead of a great price now? Yeah, but I still think it's solid.
Anyway, all kidding aside, the provocatauthor over at the link actually puts up some interesting numbers and views if you can get past the foul language and mischaracterizations of perceived enemies. But that's cuz he's keepin' it legit. Holla back, Otto kid. [more]
I know, I know...the Shanghai market is up more than 50% year-to-date. How can it be a bear market? Well, as this interesting post from our friends at Pinnacle Advisory Group shows, that market was down more than 20% from 8/4 to 8/19 -- technically indicating a dreaded bear market. [more]
I thought this was a fascinating article from World Politics Review. Here's your relevant paragraph:
"Although the practice of buying up tracts of arable land in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe is not a new phenomenon, the food crisis of the last few years and growing water scarcity has accelerated the trend. Countries like South Korea, Saudi Arabia, India, and China are now buying or leasing hundreds of thousands of hectares in Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria and elsewhere to meet food demand back home."
This obviously has many serious implications and will likely hamper further sustainable development in Africa.
When the news that Starbucks (SBUX) is raising drink prices warrants the special red breaking news band genreally reserved for things like mass death or interest rate cuts? Not that I don't care about your pain, you double caramel macchiato drinker, you.
Thanks to government susbsidies Which, if you subscribe to GG, you knew already and have profited handsomely from. Here's the slide from Deere's quarterly presentation that really shows the scale: [more]
We're into Q2 of our CAPS Champion of the World Contest and remember that if you want to win, you need to rate at least one of our official ideas. This is one of those ideas, so go ahead and go long or short it in you CAPS contest profile, and you'll be eligible to win. [more]
That's the only logical conclusion if "Unchecked greenback emissions will certainly cause the purchasing power of currency to melt. The dollar’s destiny lies with Congress." [more]
If you're intrigued by North Korea, I heartily recommend Pyongyang by Guy Delisle. It's a graphic novel, so it reads quickly, but it's got some fabulous, fabulous stuff in it...insights, laugh out loud funnies, etc. Can't recommend it enough.
It's been 3 months since we launched our CAPS Champion of the World Contest, which means we finally have our first quarter winner (who will win a 1-year membership to Global Gains). But before we get to just who that is, I want to thank the 400 of you who have entered thus far and encourage to to get others to sign up. [more]
There are just eight days left until we’ll have the first-quarter winner of our CAPS Champion of the World Contest. With a strong finish many players are still within striking distance of the prize, so this thing is far from settled. But even if you haven’t entered yet, or have some catching up to do, we still have nine months until we award the grand prize, so sign up here, if you haven’t already. And now, this week's idea from GG co-advisor Nathan Parmelee... [more]
In case anyone missed me. Northern California is lovely this time of year and a welcome respite from the NoVA heat. (Also out of pocket next week in South Carolina, but blog will resume in force after that...unless you want me to blog about my pathetic golf game). [more]