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Kyle Spencer

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  • Marathon Oil: 75% Upside In 2013 [View article]
    I like them too. After reading so many 10Qs and 14DEFAs and watching so many presentations, one begins to get a feeling - my ears literally "perk up" a half inch or so - about the health of the company simply by assessing the word-choices they use and in what order. The accuracy of this method improves if you read one quarterly after the other over time and note the variances.
    If it was the COO, that needs to be investigated; but the red flag for me is the CFO. If the CFO is out, I'm out. But I don't mind stating for the record that I believe MRO is going to do some very great things in the next 5 years. Thanks for writing. :
    Dec 11 07:18 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Marathon Oil: 75% Upside In 2013 [View article]
    I think oil will hang in there until 2015, when shale production really begins to flood the market. If not an E&P, try investing in a dividend-focused MLP. It's the same kind of company, but with huge tax advantages built in.
    Dec 11 07:13 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. Taxes: Who Makes And Who Pays - More Than The Rich Will Have To Pay More [View article]
    Brilliant Article! And not a scrap of politics in sight; just tell us about the money. That's why we're all here.
    Dec 9 10:08 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Prepare To Short Gold [View article]
    Self-fulfilling prophecies have a way of collapsing just when it hurts the most.
    Dec 6 08:45 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Keynesian Depression [View article]
    Keep ignoring the fact that half of those entitlements go to vets and senior citizens.

    As for examples of a "funded war", sure:

    Funded War #1: During World War II, federal revenues roughly tripled as a share of the gross domestic GDP and the number of people paying income taxes expanded tenfold, from 3% of the population in 1939 to 30% by 1943. In 1940, a family of four needed close to $80,000 of income in today's dollars before it paid any federal income taxes at all. By the war's end, it saw its effective tax rate rise from 1.5% to 15.1%.

    The "Victory Tax" of 1942 sharply raised income tax rates and allowed taxes to be withheld directly from paychecks for the first time in U.S. history. The marginal tax rate for top 2% for Married, Filing Jointly in 1943 was 55%. The tax rate on income > $200,000 (inflation adjusted: $2,593,984+) was 88%.

    Non-defense spending was cut almost in half, from 8.1% of GDP in 1940 to 4.4% in 1945.

    Americans also purchased approximately $186 billion in war bonds, accounting for nearly three quarters of total federal spending from 1941-1945.

    Funded War #2: Korea. In 1950 and 1951 Congress increased taxes by close to 4% of GDP to pay for the Korean War, even though the high World War II tax rates were still largely in effect.

    Funded War #3: Vietnam. Funded by a 10% surtax enacted in 1968 under Johnson, which raised revenue by about 1% of GDP.
    Dec 5 01:35 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Seductive Warren Buffett [View article]
    First, the author declares that (a) Mr. Buffett's strategy is to "hold forever."
    Then the author notes that (b) Mr. Buffett hasn't beaten the S&P in "one year, two years, three years, five years."
    If you admit (a), then (b) isn't a valid critique.

    The author suggests that ALL strategies, even "buy and hold" fail over the long term. I fail to see how this anti-strategy theory can possibly be correct, since it would...

    (a) have to draw a line somewhere ("one years, two years, three years, five years") in order to gauge results, knowing that
    (b) said empirical results could always be overturned in the next trading day [all theories are falsifiable], and
    (c) after Strategy ABC is incorporated, it would lead to diminishing returns, hence decreasing its strategic utility (hence, no one would use it; hence Strategy ABC would suddenly work again below a certain critical participation threshold),
    (d) A growing number of quant trading desks are being closed due to diminishing returns, invalidating the "the quants are coming for you!" objection,
    (f) appears to be the only exception to the rule that there are no exceptions to the rule (internally inconsistent, non-recursive)

    I get the feeling that the author is attempting to call a bottom on Mr. Buffett. He would only be the 10,000th analyst or so that's tried, although someone may hit the jackpot sooner or later simply by luck of the draw.

    Mr. Buffett IS quite old, after all, so I suppose the author has a 1 in 6 chance of striking pundit paydirt.
    Dec 4 08:21 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Keynesian Depression [View article]
    It takes takes some brass to rewrite history this brazenly. Hats off to the author for that. Here we thought it was a combination of tax breaks, unfunded wars, deregulation and financialization that blew a multi-trillion $ hole in our national balance sheet. Had we but known that villain Keynes was responsible for all this mayhem, we would have declared war on Oxford and Cambridge immediately.
    Dec 4 06:44 PM | 14 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Fiscal Baby Steps Aren't Worth The Angst [View article]
    Because grandma votes in mid-term elections.
    Dec 4 10:36 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Does It Mean For Fiscal Policy To Be 'Sustainable'? MMT And Other Perspectives [View article]
    "Mathematically, such a person would eventually “explode,” yet we have never seen an exploding person. Something else always happens first."

    Typically war or social upheaval. The two also function as a perverse feedback loop.
    Nov 28 08:42 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Hewlett-Packard: After The Autonomy Debacle, Is There Value Left In The Stock? [View article]
    It's easy to infer incompetency on the part of HP due to past debacles, but from what I understand of the sale, Autonomy was selling low margin products in bulk and writing the revenue down as high margin sales. If I sold you hardware at just above cost, then reported those low margin hardware sales as high margin software sales, then choked off tech support for the hardware I just sold in order to increase my lousy profit margins, then flipped the "booming" software segment off to some unsuspecting purchaser, that would be fraud.
    Nov 21 02:18 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can We Buy Hewlett-Packard Yet? [View article]
    I'm a big proponent of investing in companies that are on the operating table, but Hewlett-Packard is like a deranged mental asylum escapee that repeatedly stabs themselves with a pair of scissors because they have a surgical addiction.
    Nov 21 01:54 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Basel III And Gold [View article]
    The problem with this schema would be if European or Chinese banks were to accumulate gold reserves at a significantly faster rate than their counterparts in the U.S., or vice-versa, which would result in a shortage of available Tier 1 capital precisely when derivatives traders require more of it to operate due to Dodd-Frank.

    The banks would naturally step in (for a hefty fee) by offering capital transformation services. While that's great for the for the bank's top line growth in the short term, it puts the rest of us on the hook for Lehman Redux the moment all that "transformed" garbage capital goes belly up.
    Nov 18 02:09 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How The Fiscal Cliff Will Impact U.S. Industry [View article]

    "Likely" is still on our side: Intrade puts the odds of the U.S. falling into Recession in 2013 at a mere 23.9%.
    Nov 15 09:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Peter Schiff: Dollar Collapse Before Obama's Out [View article]
    Schiff is logical? Ideological, you mean.
    Perhaps we have different ideas about logicians. Wittgenstein is logical. Hume is logical. Popper is logical. Spock is logical, and he's fictional...but Schiff? He's quoting Bill O'Reilly, for God's sake. You put your *money* in these bumper sticker political catch-alls?
    Nov 15 11:56 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Stock Market Rebound Is Coming [View article]
    Great article, Kevin. My sentiments exactly. I suppose I'm one of those ghost buyers that isn't showing up on the radar.

    It's remarkable how many otherwise seasoned investors are willing to put their money where their ideology is: as if being right and making money were the same thing. I'd rather be wrong and make money hand over fist any day.

    But if they're willing to sell me AAPL for under $500, hey. Keep it coming. ;-)
    Nov 15 11:45 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment