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MarkTwain's  Instablog

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I am a long time follower of the market with an interest in the theory and history of financial markets. Historically I've put most of my efforts into my career as a private equity investor, both in companies and now in funds. However, the recent market turmoil has led me to take a much more... More
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  • Rips Me Off

    In spite of the jovial and user friendly tone of the author of these research pieces, the MacroTrader either has extremely poor customer service or has ripped me off.

    When my original 12 month subscription expired, I received no notice of renewal from MacroTrader; instead my Paypal account was charged right away. When I saw the charge on my bank statement, I sent, not one, not two, but three emails to them to ask them to cancel and refund my subscription.

    I received no response whereupon I disputed the charge through Paypal. Apparently at this point the vendor was willing to exert himself and persuaded Paypal not to refund my money.

    I am canceling Paypal and will continue to blog about the lack of integrity of this service. If you can't trust someone on the little things, how do you trust them on the big ones, like macro investing?

    May 29 11:02 PM | Link | Comment!
  • "Playing with Fire" Jeremy Grantham, GMO 
    you'll need to register with GMO (free) to access the link but it's well worth it as the commentary is truly excellent.

    A long-time market strategist and head of GMO in Boston warns that we are close to reaching the historical danger zone of valuation for US equities (apart from "quality" stocks which are roughly speaking franchise businesses with high RONA and reasonable valuations).  Grantham has a strong record of forecasting and called both the overvaluation prior to the credit crisis and the low in March.

    I take his warnings seriously.  As he is the first to admit, speculation can continue for an indefinite period of time but sooner or later the balloon pops.  I think a major lesson learned over the past 20 years is that one needs to maintain absolute mental clarity about when your investing is investing and when it's speculation.  We are starting to enter the speculation zone where most US assets are priced for perfection (including bonds).  This is a natural consequence of excessive liquidity.

    My theory is that this time the Fed will prick the bubble once it sees the recovery firmly established.  It has already warned financial institutions to be ready for at least a 2% jump in interest rates and I believe is running stress tests on this basis.  

    Disclosure: None
    Apr 27 8:58 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Useful comparison of low cost index funds by Altruist Financial Advisors
    Without endorsing Altruist in any way, I wanted to note what I find a very useful comparison of a wide variety of low cost index funds classified by investment segment, geography and style:

    The comparison is based largely on cost ratio but also occasionally on informed comments about how closely an index or a fund/ETF tracks the desired exposure.


    Disclosure: None
    Apr 25 7:05 PM | Link | Comment!
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    May 29, 2014
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