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Jason Merriam  

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  • The Future Of Seeking Alpha [View article]
    Robert,
    I appreciate the dialogue also. Ultimately, and as you point out, it does come down to our ideas on investment. I read the Beware Experts Bearing... and found it interesting. Reminds me of the old saw "economists were created to make weathermen look good" (it might be the other way around).

    In contrast, the SA platform is in concept by investors for investors. One can observe that the openness of the platform has been wildly successful (as a community).

    I agree with your thinking that speaking with strong convictions (should) generate more eyeballs. Yes, there are many top authors on SA who express their "calls" with ample conviction. These are also the authors who generally stick to their knitting and are consistent to their theme(s).

    However, there are many other top ranked authors who have carved out a niche by playing it safe with their "calls". By this I mean, they hedge their thesis with conditional outcomes. If "x" happens "y" might happen, then if "x" and "y" do happen, they come out and say, "see I told you so".

    The average investor may find this guilt free approach comforting, but at some point, the author needs to put his/her cards on the table. Fair and balanced is always welcome, but what side of the fence is the message being sent.

    Anyways, enjoy the rest of your Sunday and I've enjoyed our discussion.

    Mar 29, 2015. 01:35 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Bond Market Tells The Fed What To Do, Not Vice-Versa [View article]
    This article is a good wake-up call to those with short memories. When levered parties get caught with pants at ankles, many will surely get caught in the belly of some yield curve.
    Mar 29, 2015. 12:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Of Seeking Alpha [View article]
    Robert,
    I agree that too much conviction may be a sort of bias overwrought. To your point that authors who "realize" an actionable buy/sell idea yields "odds only slightly in the investors favor", I disagree.

    In a crowd-sourced environment such as SA, an actionable thesis can often be nothing more than a crafty hook disguised as investment/research...... in drag.

    What is the intended consequence of an "actionable" idea? An author who arbitrages "balance" to the point of a coin-toss may generate high volume of eyeballs, (and compensation via page views), but will not get me any closer to actionable.

    I'll be curious to see what research you find, but I'll take an author who is willing to walk the plank over the author who needs to stay in the cabin...any day of the week. SA's mission statement: read, decide, invest.
    Mar 29, 2015. 11:45 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Of Seeking Alpha [View article]
    First of all, congratulations Chris on your subscription endeavor. Much success to you going forward. I have always enjoyed reading your work and the new direction is a natural fit.

    To Eli Hoffman, kudos for the constant evolution and innovation of the SA platform. Change, especially positive change is a win-win proposition.

    To readers/contributors: this article has generated vibrant discussion. Many comments express support to SA's subscription initiatives, while many others take umbrage.

    For those in the latter camp, a contributor subscription model is an option not a mandate. There are many actionable authors here at SA, and people like Chris DeMuth stand tall among the crowd.

    There are also many other contributors here who strive for balance, are earnest, but fall way short of actionable thesis. Surprisingly, some of these authors also have large numbers of followers and in some cases high "ranking" topics.

    However, there is a big difference between popular and actionable. Some contributors produce volume (a result of SA's shift to compensation), but how effectively can any author cover a large universe of stocks or frequent recurring coverage of a few popular names without inflecting some sell-side ambiguity into the story?

    As an investor, I want to hear some conviction from the author/contributor. I have no problem with balance, but at least tilt the balance one way or another.

    At least with Chris DeMuth and some others, I know that his/her position (thesis) will be crystal clear. In that respect, his subscribers will likely benefit immensely.
    Mar 29, 2015. 02:00 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • AT&T: A Bird In Hand Is Worth 2 In The Bush [View article]
    I added to positions at the close of market Wed. Good article.
    Mar 26, 2015. 03:25 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Mexican Peso: An Oil Hedge Bought Some Stability But That Is Only Part Of The Story [View article]
    Hi mykie,

    I share with you Mexico's"Napoleonic" legal system. We have property there and have experienced a drawn out civil litigation which the defendant(s) were amparoed to the hilt. We were represented by Baker Hughes who did a wonderful job representing us, but our resolution took three years to manifest.

    Mex is a work in progress, but wheels of justice could use some serious lubrication. There were also some political influences in our case which were unfortunately adversarial. But, we ultimately prevailed.
    Mar 19, 2015. 08:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What Greek Officials Are Missing: The Link Between Sovereignty And Solvency [View article]
    Marc,
    Very good overview of the situation. Your title sums it up perfectly and the last paragraph nails it succinctly. It would be great for all parties concerned if Greece had an ace or two in its hand.

    Sadly, with Greece's sharp left turn (politically) and anti-austerity defiance, their Euro partners/creditors are apt to call Greece's bluff. The primary reason countries/states honor their debt is so they can keep borrowing.

    Unlike other sovereigns where punch-bowls have either run dry or been taken away, Greece failed to bring punch to the party.

    Fantastic article and perspective, thanks.


    Mar 19, 2015. 01:46 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Redacted Version Of The March 2015 FOMC Statement [View article]
    David,
    Always appreciate and enjoy the redacted versions.
    Mar 19, 2015. 02:44 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Greece's Real Problem [View article]
    What Greece won't say is that too little discipline is what put them in this mess.
    Mar 18, 2015. 12:37 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Mexican Peso: An Oil Hedge Bought Some Stability But That Is Only Part Of The Story [View article]
    Mexico has lots of problems (what country doesn't?), but it is in no way in the dire situation as expressed in this article. Pena Nieto and the PRI have made remarkable strides towards transparency in government and the political process.

    The author cites the "current state of expanding anarchy" as if it were gospel. The state of Guerrero is indeed a constant agitation to the rest of the country, but most of the problems there can be linked to PRD infidels.

    It is not so much an issue of a record low peso as it is a record high dollar. I can't speak for the oil "hedge" angle except to say that absent any improvement in oil prices, it won't necessarily play into the hands of "cartels". Speaking of which, there have been several very high profile busts in the Zetas, Knights Templar and other cartel ops in recent days. It should be pointed out that previous administration of Calderon (PAN) did nothing to rein in the cartel activity despite significant intel at their disposal.

    Comparing Mexico to Brazil, Columbia or Argentina is as uniquely unfair as it is overly biased. Dilma Rousseff is screwed and she knows it. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is a nationalist by default, but Mexico is light years closer to checks and balances than any others mentioned.

    Problem with the peso is that it does not reflect the economic fundamentals of mexico, which are improving. Yes, the oil card will be a headwind if prices remain low, but the peso has held up remarkably well compared to other currencies. I'll take the peso over the "loonie" any day and the 6% I collect from peso denominated bonds looks absolutely lush compared to Treasuries.




    Mar 16, 2015. 11:45 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 4 Popular Metrics That Are Often Misused [View article]
    Jae,

    This article should be an "Editor's Pick". You nailed it with two of the most important virtues for successful investing: an understanding of accounting and earnings quality.
    Mar 16, 2015. 01:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Greece's Real Problem [View article]
    Frances,
    Great article, tackles some difficult issues facing Greece. Fin. Min, Varoufakis states he does not try to be a liability, but he may not realize what's in a word. It is time for the Greeks to start acting like adults. The ECB says we loaned you money, you haven't paid us back...and this is your problem. The Greeks say nope, you loaned us the money...so it's your problem.
    Mar 16, 2015. 12:02 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Shocked And Surprised Is No Way To Manage Money [View article]
    George,
    Always enjoy your market thoughts.

    Re AXP: The Costco loss is certainly going to bite, as the co-branded card accounted for something like 8% of worldwide AMEX billings last year (according to Barrons). One analyst even suggested that you would want Amex to make this decision as "exclusivity" came with modest returns. That said, AXP will likely invest heavily to retain its Costco customers. This would suggest capital costs won't be cheap.

    Re INTC: I'm a nibbler at these levels and will look to re-build positions on meaningful pull-backs.
    Mar 15, 2015. 10:28 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Kinder Morgan: Don't Be Fooled By The Nattering Nabobs Of Negativism [View article]
    David,
    Enjoyed the article. Vancouver politics (and those of neighboring Burnaby) engage in "at-large" election systems. More often than not, municipal parties are not affiliated with federal or provincial parties and the flavor of "independence" has taken on a new color.
    Mar 7, 2015. 12:47 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Acquisition Boosts AbbVie's Long Term Prospects [View article]
    Agree completely. It was a pricey deal no doubt (primarily debt-equity financed), but gradual deleveraging should play out in the next few years. This deal may signal that pharma-biotech M&A activity going forward will carry rich multiples as the new normal.
    Mar 6, 2015. 03:29 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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