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Michael Nau  

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  • Why Using Gold And Silver As Legal Tender Is An Awful Idea [View article]
    Excellent article, I think in a decade or so we'll remember the temporary revival of goldbugism as a quirky cultural episode during a time of uncertainty and anxiety.

    Gold is psychologically comforting in the financial sphere in the same way as "small town America" is used to evoke a sense of community. But fact of the matter is that society has moved on since Thomas Jefferson's time. We have cities, complex organizations, computers, and air conditioning. Gold is way too clunky to work as currency in complex industrial societies. Is there anyone that would honestly rather live in 1790s U.S. than 2010s U.S.?
    May 13, 2013. 09:58 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 4 Scary Charts Warning Of The Next Financial Crisis [View article]
    Quoth the Raven, long VIX? How, VXX? Isn't its price chart pretty scary?

    Plan B, Japan controls its currency, it can always print more. So a default won't happen. What is "armageddon"? Higher inflation? That would be great for the Japanese economy, helps get rid of all that debt. I think you are confusing poor performance (due primarily to demographics) for crisis. Sure, Japan will have tepid growth, but its population is actually falling, so each citizen gets a bigger chunk of what growth there is.
    May 13, 2013. 07:53 AM | 23 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Things Are Looking Up For Nicholas Financial [View article]
    I like CACC too, will grab some if it pulls back below $95 again.
    May 12, 2013. 08:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Is Apple's Cash Really Worth? [View article]
    Excellent article, a balanced and rational look at different cash policy alternatives. Personally, I'm in the "bring home now" camp, because I think that in a period of government austerity, Bush-era tax holidays are much more politically difficult to enact.

    Except for diehard conservatives, which politician wants to be accused of giving AAPL a freebie while slashing grandma's Social Security and Medicare? Sounds like a loser in the court of public opinion to me, regardless of whether you think it is wise policy.

    So given that I expect no ways for AAPL to wiggle out of paying taxes on foreign cash, I'd just as soon have it all go to repurchases now because AAPL is a better investment than money market funds.

    Long AAPL
    May 12, 2013. 11:50 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sprott's John Embry: 'The Future For Retirees In America Is Grim' [View article]
    My understanding of Ghilarducci's policy proposal is a bit different than other posters. There's no asset seizure planned. Here's what it is:

    -eliminate IRA/401(k) deductions and special tax status. Make them taxable accounts.
    -introduce a defined contribution supplement to SS modeled after the thrift savings plan for federal employees, perhaps with a guaranteed return option.

    Sure, these are liberal policies, but they are not expropriation unless you believe that all tax is expropriation. Personally, I think something like this would work pretty well, even though I would be negatively affected because my IRA and perhaps 457 accounts would lose their tax benefits. Fact of the matter is that our retirement system is broken, nobody has saved enough. As developing countries get richer and increase services to citizens, none are clamoring for the American 401(k) model. It just doesn't work all that well.
    May 11, 2013. 09:57 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dramatic Improvement In Federal Finances [View article]
    I agree that the sky is not falling and that things are slowly getting better.
    May 10, 2013. 05:32 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: The Bottom Has Yet To Be Reached [View article]
    Return on equity is a bit misleading because the cash hoard has grown a lot and earns only a little, weighing ROE down. The underlying business is still earning an extremely high ROE on its very conservative balance sheet. Many other companies can only get 20%+ ROE with a rickety tower of debt.

    What I would have liked you to have said is that the ROE decline could have been almost totally reversed by an aggressive capital return plan. Personally, while the current plan is great, I'd like to see a lot more cash returned.
    May 10, 2013. 05:16 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Aspen Insurance Holdings: Discounted And Shareholder Friendly [View article]
    Thanks for the insight, I'll use a little extra caution and demand a higher margin of safety given the current industry environment. Maybe I'll wait for a pullback....
    May 9, 2013. 01:31 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Aspen Insurance Holdings: Discounted And Shareholder Friendly [View article]
    As always, very informative. Maybe when I read a few more of your and Brian Abbott's articles I'll have enough courage to take the plunge with reinsurance companies.

    Out of curiosity, do you have any insight into how aggressive a reinsurance company is with pricing? In a recent article, you pointed to revenue decline as a sign of conservatism, but I guess it could also be laziness. Likewise, does rapid revenue growth necessarily mean writing unprofitable policies? As outsiders, is there any way for us to know the guts of a company's risk management situation besides extrapolation from past performance?
    May 8, 2013. 11:53 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The End Of The Consumer? What The Long-Term Decline Of Consumption Means For Investors [View article]
    Great article, very thorough and informative. Keep up the good work!
    May 8, 2013. 11:38 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Medical Marijuana's Journey To $0: CannaVEST Payment Was Worthless [View article]
    Jeez, the scam appears so obvious. At least Enron had the creativity to pump its stock using complex off balance sheet vehicles and obscured by confusing footnotes. In this case, the truth is plain: a "business" that is losing money with no revenue or assets is worthless.
    May 8, 2013. 10:13 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: A Deep Dive Into Perhaps The Most Profitable Bond Issue Ever [View article]
    Good article, interesting to see how this will play out. Personally, I'd like a lot bigger portion of the unused cash going to buybacks- what's your thoughts on the $100B foreign cash pile? Issue $100B in debt? Hold on to most of it? At this point, AAPL is returning cash about as fast as it comes in, so the already existing cash pile won't be affected all that much.
    May 8, 2013. 08:30 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Volatility ETFs Could Face A Short Squeeze [View article]
    Arshok, I agree with you for the most part, but I think ETNs are structurally more fragile than the ETF vehicle. I don't think there will be a short squeeze, but I could easily see a liquidity squeeze or some other sort of event that gets the ETN out of whack in the next 3-5 years.

    So despite the tracking error, I'm sticking with ETFs: SVXY, UVXY, etc.
    May 8, 2013. 08:25 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Short Gold For The Long Haul [View article]
    I totally agree with the analysis, but am too much of a coward myself to short something so volatile. Good Luck!
    May 7, 2013. 09:24 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Platinum Underwriters: Conservatism At Its Best [View article]
    Excellent article, very informative!
    May 7, 2013. 08:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment