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Mark Bern, CFA  

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  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    Maya - I agree with you on oil prices. Before the fracking movement got up a head of steam I thought that the Saudis would hold prices above $70. Now I don't think they will be able to sustain the price above $80 for any length of time for many years to come. And the only reason I can see for $80 oil in the future is a significant supply disruption which would be temporary as other producers will have the ability to ramp up production to meet demand.
    Mar 5, 2015. 10:10 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    LT - You are obviously reading the wrong headlines! LOL
    Jobs are still being created, albeit at a slower pace, but weather probably had something to do with it. And never mind that the majority of the jobs being create are either part-time or low wage service jobs, the official unemployment rate is still trending lower and that is all that counts. (sarcasm intended)
    Mar 4, 2015. 05:05 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    LT - I completely agree with you. I was just pointing out that the unfortunate reality is that our gov't does not agree with us.
    Mar 2, 2015. 10:27 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    SHB - How true. GPS in cell phones was first promoted as a way to track your kids; then as a convenience for mapping and travel. Once adopted by the majority it was mandated. It is the natural path to "1984." LOL
    Mar 2, 2015. 03:52 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    I read somewhere that the spread is expected to widen further until US production actually falls significantly. But the recent rise has kept wells flowing and slowed the drop in rig count. I suspect it will be several months before the glut begins to dissipate. Thus, the spread actually could widen some more if the bottom has not yet been reached (which I doubt very much).
    Mar 2, 2015. 12:22 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    I found it very peculiar that the two articles linked below were only separated by one other headline. The first begins, "U.S. consumer spending fell for a second straight month in January..."

    The second starts with, " US consumer spending and incomes rose in January..."

    Both cannot be accurate accounts of reality, can they? Welcome to the Internet where headlines are reality and content is...well, not so important as the spin!

    http://yhoo.it/1DKCpqq

    http://yhoo.it/1DKCs5p

    Actually, one uses the "unadjusted" rate of change while the other emphasizes the rate of change after "adjustment" for inflation.
    Mar 2, 2015. 12:13 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    "Governments Around the World Gain Access to Tracking Devices Issued by Employers."

    Now Big Brother knows where we are at all times and can track our every move. Inject-able RFID chips to be required at birth and citizenship. Congress considering legislation requiring all visitors to receive removable implants while in the U.S.

    I made that all up, of course, but that is what I would call a downside. Everyone would be sold on the idea of the convenience at first and companies would buy into the concept. Once enough folks were "tagged" the gov't could easily extend the "coverage" to those unable to obtain a chip through an employer to provide universal access to the poor.

    Of course, those who we really need to have tagged would not get the implants, required or not. So, the gov't would know where all their law-abiding citizens are at all times and could use that info however it desired. I realize that this sounds like conspiracy theory garbage, but I, for one, do not trust the government and especially not most elected officials. They have too much power and information access already. Just saying...
    Mar 2, 2015. 12:09 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    D-Inv, These are just opinions, whether mine, yours or El-Erian's; and the more we look at the different possibilities the better informed we all are. I hope my comment was taken as merely another side of the story and not really meant to be a correction. Cheers!
    Mar 2, 2015. 11:56 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    D-Inv,

    Regarding item 6 of El-Erian article; the result of negative bank rates may be as you conclude or it also may provide an incentive, as many here have said before, to buy US$ denominated Treasury debt. They would get a higher yield, potential for significant FX gains, a defined risk/return if held to maturity, and the potential for appreciation if US rates fall to become more in line with yields in Europe.

    We could see more money flowing into US Treasuries, as Kessler points out, which should put additional downward pressure on yields. Adding in the safety perception of the US$ and this investment should look very good to many across the pond.
    Mar 1, 2015. 12:48 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    Cute little story sent to me but has nothing to do with investing:

    A SPANISH Teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.
    'House' for instance, is feminine: 'la Casa.'
    'Pencil,' however, is masculine: 'el lapiz.'
    A student asked, 'What gender is 'computer'?'
    Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether computer' should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

    The men's group decided that 'computer' should definitely be of the feminine gender ('la computadora'), because:
    1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
    2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
    3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
    4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

    The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine ('el computador'), because:
    1.. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
    2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
    3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and
    4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

    The women won. But I don't understand why.
    Feb 28, 2015. 01:11 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    MJ - I must have missed the Kessler link the first time around. Thanks for reposting it. Very much worth the time to watch/listen.
    Feb 28, 2015. 01:01 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    As I recall, Sheldon (Big Bang Theory) has some of Nimoy's DNA from a napkin. He intends to recreate his very own Spock.
    Feb 27, 2015. 05:39 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    Good one, DG!
    Feb 27, 2015. 05:35 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    Buffett buying in Germany; likes the market reach of German companies, productivity German people, legal a regulatory climate for business and the cheaper Euro. He's buying for the very long term so he I don't think he is worried about being a little early.

    http://yhoo.it/1LDYRmH
    Feb 25, 2015. 01:42 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    It does seem like the CBs are taking turns trying their best to create inflation in order reduce future costs of debt repayment. They (CBs) seem to believe that coordinating efforts will allow each to do less harm while battling deflation. But I can't help but believe the whole bunch will be taught a major lesson in the end and it won't be pretty.
    Feb 25, 2015. 01:15 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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