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  • China shares plunge on margin-trading ban [View news story]
    I don't use margin accounts so I don't mind admitting that I'm not sure what the following means: "the three brokerages had rolled over margin-trading contracts for a large number of clients, in violation of existing rules."
    Does this mean that the brokerage firms were not making margin calls? Any explanation/clarification would be appreciated.
    Jan 19, 2015. 10:15 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Carlos Slim exercises NY Times warrants to become largest shareholder [View news story]
    Slim may be the largest shareholder of the Class A shares; however control of the company lies with the Class B shareholders.
    Jan 14, 2015. 07:15 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dour outlook for regional malls [View news story]
    Here in Northern Virginia, I believe a few malls that fell on hard times have been or are being turned into multi-use complexes with a mix of retail and residential.
    Jan 12, 2015. 12:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Retailers on the mend (a few surprises) [View news story]
    My impression of recent drugstore earnings is that revenue growth came from pharmacy. One would have to think that some or all of that was due to ACA, which resulted in more people seeking medical care and more prescriptions being written. Such strong YOY pharmacy growth will be hard to replicate next year. Customer traffic in the front part of the store was actually down for at least two of the three drugstore companies. If anyone has a different perspective or more information would welcome their observations.
    Jan 11, 2015. 03:25 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Bakken producers need $55 oil to keep production steady, regulator says [View news story]
    Yesterday SA ran an item saying that Bakken producers were receiving far less than the quoted WTI price. So is the $55 per barrel referred to above referring to the WTI price, or to the price that the Bakken producers actually receive? Presumably the latter.
    Jan 9, 2015. 03:55 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • European equities sink on oil, Greek worries [View news story]
    I thought lower oil prices were good for European economies and, in general, European stocks.
    Dec 30, 2014. 10:50 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Patient" replaces "considerable time" in FOMC statement [View news story]
    The take away for me is that not all disinflation/deflation is bad. That, just like with inflation, one has to drill down and see what the nature of the deflation is. That in turn would also inform us whether the Fed has any useful role in the particular situation. By contrast the current orthodoxy seems to be that any deflation is bad; and that zero interest rates are the appropriate tool for any problem or situation.
    Dec 18, 2014. 10:29 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Patient" replaces "considerable time" in FOMC statement [View news story]
    The BIS, which is presumably more knowledgeable about this than most of us, has looked at the historical record and concluded the following in their most recent annual report: “…the record is replete with examples of "good", or at least "benign", deflations in the sense that they coincided with output either rising along trend or undergoing only a modest and temporary setback…. it is asset price deflations rather than general deflations that have consistently and significantly harmed macroeconomic performance….the chain of causality runs primarily from asset price deflation to real economic downturn, and then to deflation, rather than from general deflation to economic activity….recent deflation episodes have often gone hand in hand with rising asset prices, credit expansion and strong output performance. Examples include episodes in the 1990s and 2000s in countries as distinct as China and Norway. There is a risk that easy monetary policy in response to good deflations, aiming to bring inflation closer to target, could inadvertently accommodate the build-up of financial imbalances. Such resistance to "good" deflations can, over time, lead to "bad" deflations if the imbalances eventually unwind in a disruptive manner.” I thought the statutory mandate of the Fed is "stable prices," not stable prices plus 200 basis points.
    Dec 17, 2014. 11:47 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Big bounce in junk, BDCs [View news story]
    I don’t know about “stupid,” but insulting people who have to turn out written items on very short notice is unnecessarily rude. The fact is that junk bonds and BDC’s can be influenced by the same factors and so including them in the same news item is not a stretch.
    Dec 17, 2014. 04:14 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Patient" replaces "considerable time" in FOMC statement [View news story]
    Interesting then that the dollar index is up about one percent today. Especially at the same time that riskier assets such as small-cap's, emerging market stocks and junk bonds, are all outperforming.
    Dec 17, 2014. 03:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Patient" replaces "considerable time" in FOMC statement [View news story]
    Where is the evidence that deflation is a terrible thing and bad for economic growth? I recommend that everyone read the comments on this subject on pg. 98 and 99 [Section V, Box V. D] of the Bank for International Settlements recent annual report.
    Dec 17, 2014. 02:54 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • California Senate leader wants to force Calpers to divest coal holdings [View news story]
    Those nature loving californians wouldn't be the same ones draining the aquifers, would they? ;-)
    Dec 15, 2014. 07:57 PM | 13 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BHP iron ore chief says prices not likely to rise above $100/ton again [View news story]
    Per WSJ, as of October: "...BHP Billion and Rio Tinto Ltd. in Australia, and Vale SA in Brazil, which produce more than 60% of iron-ore exports globally and continue to push production. The big three control massive mines, ports, and railroads, allowing them to produce iron ore at costs of $50 a ton and below."
    Dec 13, 2014. 04:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • DealBook: When activist investors aim at strong companies, America loses [View news story]
    Regarding Enterprising Value Investor's question; I can't speak to the validity of the study or of the current situation so I offer the following without comment: " According to an extensive study conducted by Pitcairn Financial Group in the 1980s, the stocks of family-owned firms within the S&P 500 Index annually returned approximately 135 basis points more than the broad market over a 20-year period."
    Nov 22, 2014. 12:47 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • DealBook: When activist investors aim at strong companies, America loses [View news story]
    And as I read the news piece [I haven't read George's article itself] his complaint is against the "shifting" of activist attention to perhaps well-run companies. I think anyone would agree that at times, there may be quite a few poorly run companies. What should be noted is that the "activist" strategy has been very active now for several years and, as several news stories have noted, more and more funds profess to be activists and they have more and more billions of dollars under management. While the obvious poorly-run companies may have been plentiful in the earlier years of the strategy, one could conclude that the expulsion of lousy management might have left fewer obvious targets today. Do you think that all those activist hedge fund managers are just going to give up those lucrative fees and return their investors' money? For the most part, probably not. Instead they will simply sharpen their pencils and go after any company where the activist manager can insist the target company is worth more, in the short-term, broken up, than it is kept together. And you might note that the activist strategy, as measured by the 13-D mutual fund or by Icahn Enterprises, hasn't outperformed the broader market over the past 12 months.
    Nov 22, 2014. 12:34 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment