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David Jackson  

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  • Is Inverse ETF Activity a Contrarian Indicator? [View article]
    Scott -- welcome to Seeking Alpha! It's great to have you as a contributor.
    Mar 11, 2007. 10:43 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Which Safe Havens Survived the Selloff? [View article]
    We wanted to inform Seeking Alpha's readers that this article has been changed from the original as follows. Mr MacDonald originally wrote: "The tremors rippling through stock markets this week may have exposed a few frauds in the hedging and defensive categories." Sabrient, the index provider for the Claymore Sabrient Defender Index, rightfully objected to the word "frauds", which means "intentional deception resulting in injury", so we changed the opening sentence to "The tremors rippling through stock markets this week may have exposed a few misnomers, in particular that some instruments are good enough hedges or sufficiently "defensive" to insulate investors from market downturns."

    R. Guy Kraines, President and COO of Sabrient, wrote to Mr MacDonald objecting to the use of the word "frauds". His letter also stated:
    <blockquote>On the market front, I'm sure you recognize that essentially every 100% long equity position (which describes all equity ETFs) got clobbered on February 27th, whatever sector they were in, whatever selection technique they used or wherever in the world they were invested Even commodity-based gold and oil stocks got hammered.

    The better performing investments you note in the article (bonds and the Swiss franc) don't represent stock market investments. Your point in noting this is obvious, but it should in no way cause you to start your column by denigrating a particular equity investment.

    Further, we'd like you to reconsider the performance of DEF overall. You fail to note that, since it's inception on December 21, 2006 through February 26 th, it outperformed the S&amp;P 500, increasing 5.23% vs. 2.58% for the S&amp;P. One might have thought that, having ratcheted higher faster than the S&amp;P, it might have been exposed to risk of a greater correction. From inception through March 8th, it increased 1.61%, versus a loss of 0.74% for the S&amp;P 500, a broader performance gap.</blockquote>...

    According to Matt Hougan's article, Did Specialty ETFs Provide a Cushion From the Fall?, DEF fell 4.98% from its close February 26th to close March 5th, versus a decline of 5.39% for the S&P 500 ETF, SPY.
    Mar 10, 2007. 05:22 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Emerging Markets ETFs: Predictable and Consistent [View article]
    Herb is making a substantive point: that emerging market ETFs are more volatile than is appropriate for many portfolios, and are at the late stage in their performance cycle. Those are points that you should dispute directly, not in the form of questioning his motivation, integrity or intelligence. (You did that again in your reply to my comment, so I've had to cut that sentence out!).

    The level of discussion on Seeking Alpha is outstanding because we're careful to avoid the mud-slinging that plagues many large message boards, destroying their usefulness. Please be extremely careful about this in future -- we hate removing readers' right to comment.
    Mar 2, 2007. 05:54 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Emerging Markets ETFs: Predictable and Consistent [View article]
    ETF Wanderer, I've edited your comment to remove the inflammatory (and unnecessary) language. Please remember the ground rules for commenting on Seeking Alpha: you can criticise articles and ideas, but may not attack or in any way insult individuals.
    Feb 28, 2007. 06:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GOOG Starts to Monetize Google Apps, "Brutal" Timing for Microsoft [View article]
    One further thought: $50 per year per firm won’t generate much money for Google now, but what’s the chance that Google raises the price as users become locked in, and raises it further by moving to per seat pricing?
    Feb 22, 2007. 08:49 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GOOG Starts to Monetize Google Apps, "Brutal" Timing for Microsoft [View article]
    A single data point to illustrate what's going on in this market: We at Seeking Alpha starting using Google Docs and have become totally addicted to them. We never expected this, but they’ve revolutionized our business:

    - we’re moving all our employees to web based aps to cut our IT requirements. Our main publishing system (financial content) is web based, so everyone needs to be online all the time anyway. We now don’t need to purchase MS Office for most employees, and that saves us a ton of money.

    - The collaboration of Google Docs has massively raised our efficiency. We just uploaded our phone directory as a Google spreadsheet, and everyone updates their own info themselves. We just worked collaboratively in a Google doc on a press release announcing our China coverage, and it saved us hours.

    - Integration with Gmail is key. We get articles submitted to us via email, and instead of having to download an attachment and then open it, gmail plus Google docs allows our editors to open it immediately.

    - We’re even sharing docs with customers (people who sponsor our free conference call transcripts). We put together a pricing spreadsheet containing various customized purchase options, and they can play with it.

    We’ve also noticed many drawbacks (see Top Ten Things That Suck About Google Docs), and we’d like to see them fixed. But even now, Google apps are providing a huge productivity boost and cost saving to us.
    Feb 22, 2007. 08:40 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NY Investment Bank Salaries = Vietnam's GDP [View article]
    Mark Faber actually made a different point: he said that he thought the income disparity in developed countries was a problem, not the disparity between developed and developing countries.

    I agree with your point though. All of us who have grown up with the amazing opportunities offered by the US or European countries have a lot to be grateful for. As Warren Buffett frequently says, his stock picking abilities would have been useless if he'd been born elsewhere.
    Feb 18, 2007. 03:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Closed-End Funds Premium Value Not A Precedent [View article]
    Great point, and data. The emphasis of the Barron's article was on the lack of bargains among CEFs; my headline (I was the SA editor in this case) probably overemphasized the importance of Randall Forsyth's comment that this is happening for the “first time in my memory”.
    Feb 13, 2007. 03:41 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Real Estate Stocks Are Done - Really?!? [View article]
    <em>Take a look at the chart for the Real Estate iShares ETF (IYR). How many times has the front page of a magazine or newspaper exclaimed that housing is dead and the real estate market is in a massive bubble, etc etc. ?</em>

    You've conflated commercial REITs with housing, but they're totally different animals. It's really important to differentiate between different types of "real estate stocks". There are homebuilders, realtor-related stocks, office REITs, mall REITs, and housing REITs. All display totally different characteristics.

    The example you chose, IYR, is a broad-based REIT ETF dominated by commercial REITs, which have been on a tear due to the strength of the economy, rising office rents, low bond yields, and acquisitions in the office REIT sector (particularly the Blackstone buyout of Equity Office).

    But even some people think they're topping out now, because their yields are at all-time lows. Look at the chart here:

    Asset Class Yield Historical Comparisons 1/94-12/06

    Full disclosure: I'm short some housing REITs.
    Feb 12, 2007. 03:51 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • HSBC, Mortgage REITs, New Century and Novastar [View article]
    I love the way you "join the dots", Roger. And you were right! Look at this article today:

    Rise in Sub-Prime Defaults Leave Investors Asking Who's Next
    Feb 9, 2007. 08:33 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Merrill Lynch to Buy First Republic for $1.8 Billion [View article]
    I thought this headline meant that Merrill Lynch, being an incredibly wealthy investment bank, was about to buy its first republic, ie. sovereign state. Not so crazy having read this:


    Jan 30, 2007. 08:38 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Equity REITs Won Big in 2006: Will They Revert to Mean? [View article]
    Surely the implication is: short IYR. The expense ratio matters a lot of you're buying these ETFs for yield, as the expense ratio directly reduces the dividend. I'm already short some residential equity REITs and I was short IYR; I'm now reconsidering shorting IYR again.
    Jan 30, 2007. 08:19 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Barron's 2007 Analyst Roundtable, Part II [View article]
    Even if Bill Gross is right on the dollar, his ETF pick doesn't make sense, as EFA is a large cap ETF dominated by multinationals, many of which have a significant proportion of their revenues from the US and would therefore be hit by a weaker dollar (or at least not gain one-for-one with a falling dollar).

    Surely a much better choice for him would have been the WisdomTree International SmallCap Dividend ETF (DLS) or the WisdomTree Europe SmallCap Dividend ETF (DFE). More info in the Q&amp;A with the WisdomTree product manager.
    Jan 24, 2007. 12:11 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Advanced Micro Devices: Stock Downgraded After Earnings Warning [View article]
    Excellent. Thank you.
    Jan 17, 2007. 03:27 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NY Investment Bank Salaries = Vietnam's GDP [View article]
    Thanks for your comment, Dempse.
    Jan 14, 2007. 05:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment