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No Free Cake

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  • Is Inflation Returning? Inflation Expectations Are Rising [View article]
    Marc, would you be so kind to explain what she means in sentence 1? I think she meant to say she needs to see increases in wages or prices to get confident inflation is moving up to 2 percent. But, the language seems to imply the opposite. Thanks.
    Mar 28, 2015. 01:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Of Seeking Alpha [View article]
    Rather than *ignoring* a commenter I'd rather *highlight* the name in color. Hiding a comment from an ignored commenter in the middle of a stream can result in a confusing dialog. But, if I saw the name in a yellow background I would remember to ignore it while still making sense of the subsequent comments.

    Perhaps put the *highlight* button right next to the *taser* button?
    Mar 25, 2015. 05:53 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Of Seeking Alpha [View article]
    I agree James but at the same time I don't know which authors produce quality work without an opportunity to read some of their articles and perhaps see how they respond to good questions.

    I can only hope that authors will keep a representative body of work free so I can evaluate them before subscribing. Not just free marketing fluff pieces either - actual stuff.

    What might work nice is if SA allowed free access to a small number of articles from each premium author per quarter. If I find myself wanting to read that author more frequently then I'd be willing to pay up for a subscription. SA could even let each author decide how many free to allow and over what period (month, quarter, year).

    And, hopefully SA provides a simple way to manage all my individual subscriptions so I can easily weed out authors that I lose interest in. If the management becomes annoying it's even a bigger hurdle to want to subscribe.
    Mar 25, 2015. 01:54 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Of Seeking Alpha [View article]
    I agree the pricing for PRO isn't clear but from the FAQ it appears to be quite expensive. Here is part of the FAQ:

    "Can I purchase one article?

    We don’t have an offering to access articles individually. We do have a subscription for $1,750, which gives you 3 months of access to our entire research library, including your article of interest..."

    PRO FAQ page here:
    Mar 25, 2015. 01:33 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Kinder Morgan: A Smart Move [View article]
    I don't own KMI because I think Kinder is a great forex speculator. I own them to run pipelines.

    If they plan to use the Euro debt to buy up some Euro based businesses - great. But to fund USD operations - no. It just creates unnecessary balance sheet gyrations as the debt gets revalued as the exchange rate moves.
    Mar 12, 2015. 12:22 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Divergence Theme Continues To Shape Investment Climate [View article]
    "... continue to wrestle with the implications of negative interest rates, something that seemed nearly impossible (outside of an administered rate) a year ago."

    What's that old saying? Something like: the market will do whatever makes fools of the most people?
    Mar 8, 2015. 12:22 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This Hidden High Dividend Stock Just Reported 35% EPS Growth And Goes Ex-Dividend Soon [View article]
    You might have mentioned that it is very thinly traded. Looking at the past 5 days it often goes several hours with no activity. Careful with "market orders".
    Mar 7, 2015. 05:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Fastenal: A Wide-Moat High-Growth Play With A Dividend Approaching 3% [View article]
    Alexander, thanks for the thoughtful response.
    Feb 20, 2015. 04:53 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Fastenal: A Wide-Moat High-Growth Play With A Dividend Approaching 3% [View article]
    earthtodan, yes, I should have said "brick and mortar *storefronts*" rather than "brick and mortar *retail*" but the gist of my comment still stands. Amazon Supply is b2b and is what I was asking about.

    FAST mentions no revenue from online sources in their annual report. In fact, they specifically speak to their physical stores and vending machines as being a competitive advantage. See page 8 of the 2013 annual report.

    WayLate: Thanks for the real-world report.
    Feb 20, 2015. 02:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Fastenal: A Wide-Moat High-Growth Play With A Dividend Approaching 3% [View article]
    Alexander, given you are looking at 10 years forward what are your thoughts about the impact of Amazon Supply on FAST?

    Personally, I see likely margin reduction coming as FAST fends off e-commerce. I think this is as good an explanation as any for the lower PE trend we've been seeing as well. Although, it may just be coincidence that PE's have trended lower since Amazon opened Supply in early 2012.

    I really like FAST and agree with your article. I just can't get myself to invest in brick and mortar retailers. I won't claim that's rational. It's just as much fear from seeing so many carcasses laying around.
    Feb 20, 2015. 12:10 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Greek financing talks break down [View news story]
    Syriza thinks the 25% drop in GDP from "austerity" has been too harsh.

    Well, will they get a 1:1 exchange rate for drachmas to euros?

    Uh ... Not Bloody Likely.

    If they think the social suffering has been too high wait until they try to buy stuff with drachmas.
    Feb 16, 2015. 11:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Negative Interest Rates: Capital's Reproduction Problem [View article]
    Marc, I understood your article was trying to be informative rather than promotional. That said, explaining the pricing of a particular kind of asset doesn’t require a grandiose theory. If your definition of excess capital really existed then why aren’t we seeing inflated prices for a wide variety of assets, goods, and services?

    Excessive optimism regularly drives up equity prices. Excessive pessimism drives up prices for safer investments. Both of these can be overdone and persist longer than seems reasonable. A more complicated answer than this isn’t required.
    Feb 10, 2015. 12:31 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Negative Interest Rates: Capital's Reproduction Problem [View article]
    I may be reaching here but this article reminds me of the creative explanations we hear during equity bubbles. You know - the ones that try to explain why "this time its different". A simple explanation in this case is just overdone trend following. And, it's exacerbated in that several determined buyers of size (JCB, ECB, Fed) are holding some of the float.

    Sure there are some reasonable reasons which started the buying but isn't all that "kindling" the same kind of thing we see stoking any other bubble?
    Feb 7, 2015. 11:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The New Greek Debt Plan Makes Sense [View article]
    SU: "Nobody really knows what will happen in the case of Grexit."

    True enough but no one knows what will happen if Greece is given any further material concessions. Would there be any benefits and who would they accrue to (beyond short term)? What precedent would that set for the other weakling eurozone members? No one knows any of that either.

    Fear of one unknown among many isn't a strong argument in favor of anything.
    Feb 4, 2015. 04:16 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Deflationary Forces Strengthen [View article]
    Fair point but have you estimated the costs of this at all?

    You said earlier that 1B Euros would fill one semi but they have a 500 denomination so it would be 5 trucks for $1B. And that is only for 1B. Seems to me a new industry would have to be developed for storage and transportation. I'd think security needs (and costs) would be substantial for such a high value target not to mention the higher risk at branches holding larger currency volumes. Perhaps new insurance would be needed? Auditing and transactional costs all increase.

    How low would negative rates have to get to offset this?

    For small retail customers it is an easy option. Commercial size is another matter.
    Feb 3, 2015. 01:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment