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Showing posts from October, 2010

Companies & stakeholders: You better take care of the customer

Lest you doubt the importance of customer service in an age of web connectivity, social networking, and halfway-around-the-world call centers, take a look at Howard Lindzon's latest episode of "Momentum Mondays" on StockTwits TV.



Howard usually takes time on Mondays to talk about emerging trends in the stock market and the economy, while also offering his take on the private company market and entrepreneurial trends.

In Monday's episode (flip to the 7 minute mark), he discussed the power of customer service and why this secondary point of contact can make or break your relationship with customers. After all, as Richard Branson noted, for online customers, it's the second impression that counts.

Take it, Sir Richard:

"...In business, creating a favorable impression at the first point of customer contact is an absolute imperative. Though everyone knows this, many companies still only manage to do a mediocre job at best.

But what isn't widely understood is tha…

FSN interview w/ Adam Fergusson on the dangers of hyperinflation

Financial Sense Newshour recently interviewed When Money Dies author, Adam Fergusson to discuss the Weimar hyperinflation of the 1920s and the inflationary dangers facing us today.

There are so many key concepts on the nature of inflation and its societal impacts in this interview, that I won't attempt to repeat them all here. However, there is one comment Fergusson makes early on in the discussion that is highly relevant to our current situation, and it pertains to the high level of debt we see in the US and other developed nations. Here it is:

"Generally speaking, inflation is a hidden tax, and it is a way whereby a government repudiates its public debt".

Check out the full interview to hear why Fergusson's recently reprinted book is so relevant to the economic discussions of today. When you hear constant debate over the possible outcomes of quantitative easing (QE) and the problems of high unemployment and rising costs of living, you'll know it's a sound idea…

CME's big day: clearing interest rate swaps

That big spike you see on the chart above is, partly, a reaction to today's news that CME Group would begin clearing interest rate swaps.

As Reuters points out, a huge chunk of the $615 trillion derivatives market is being forced onto exchanges and into clearinghouses thanks to recent reform legislation. Contracts that used to trade over the counter (OTC) between two private parties are now being cleared through exchanges. CME will compete in this area with LCH Clearnet and the Nasdaq OMX-backed IDCC.

Jeff Carter at Points and Figures has a timely post on CME entitled, "CME Group: Buy It, Close Your Eyes". As you can tell, it's mostly a bull case, but Jeff adds a few caveats and some straight talk about the CME's competition (and there political forces at work here too). Full disclosure: I have family who are long-time CBOT members and current CME shareholders.

When you're done reading Jeff's post on the CME, take a look at his home page for more great stuf…

Shout outs to my fellow bloggers

Just wanted to take the opportunity this week to thank some of our friends in the financial blogosphere for their link love and support in recent weeks and months.

It's great to exchange ideas with, and attract a few new readers from, other fine blogs in your particular circle or niche. So thanks to some of our old and new friends for their comments, feedback, and links back to Finance Trends posts.

Thank you (in no particular order):

Bear Mountain Bull, The Kirk Report, Controlled Greed, Daily Crux, Dollar Collapse, Fintag;

The Financial Physician, Financial Philosopher, TraderWise, Vix and More, NextTrade, BHC Investment , Best Minds Inc.;

The Coming Depression, Financial Armageddon, Investment Performance Guy, The Vantage Point, Prudent Investor, Pension Pulse, Laurence Hunt;

Matisse Capital, MoneyScience, Market FollyAiki 14, Derek Hernquist;

Maoxian, Abnormal Returns, FT Alphaville, WSJ - The Source, Futures Mag, StockTwits U, everyone on Twitter and StockTwits, and to you, our rea…

Marketfolly's notes from Value Investing Congress

Jay at Marketfolly is currently at work providing notes from the Value Investing Congress in New York (Update: see also, notes from VIC - day 2).

Some of the well known speakers at this event include Kyle Bass, John Burbank, David Einhorn, Mohnish Pabrai, and Lee Ainslie, among others in the hedge fund and investment management world. These investing all-stars will be presenting their views on the markets and the global economy to the VIC audience, while sharing some of their current investing ideas.

You can check out Marketfolly's continually updated notes at the link above. In addition, Jay has posted some recent notes from the Ira Sohn West Conference, including some big picture thoughts from John Burbank of Passport Capital regarding the US and its current investment climate.

If you'd like to hear more from John Burbank on the theme of "US as an emerging market economy", please check out this excellent (and rare) interview with Burbank on Benzinga's radio podca…

LTCM and the lessons of failure

Earlier this week we heard the news that John Meriwether, he of the infamous Long Term Capital Management collapse and bailout, would be starting his third hedge fund

It turns out his JM Advisors Mgmt. will be launching two new global macro funds, a switch from Meriwether's tried and true (not really though) relative value arbitrage juiced on leverage approach. 

The idea of Meriwether launching yet another fund, while pursuing a new strategy in the now-hot global macro arena, led me to these thoughts: 

The news that J. Meriwether is starting his 3rd fund, a global macro fund, has me wondering if we're nearing a top for that strategy.
— David Shvartsman (@FinanceTrends) October 5, 2010 Which is not to say "global macro is over", but that mass acceptance of said fund strategy may be heralding a severe winnowing out process.
— David Shvartsman (@FinanceTrends) October 5, 2010More importantly, it led me to think back to the LTCM crisis and wonder how a once legendary Sal…

CNBC chats w/ Kyle Bass, Alan Fournier

CNBC took their porta-studio down to Texas to chat with Kyle Bass (Hayman Capital) and Alan Fournier (Pennant Capital) at the Barefoot Economic Summit earlier today.

Since I got a heads up on this interview from some folks in my Twitter stream, I thought I'd track down the interview clips from CNBC and post them here for all to see.

Kyle Bass is well known for his big picture macro views, and he's made some pointed remarks recently about the path the US is heading down given the Fed's quantitative easing efforts. You'll hear Bass compare the monetary situation in the US with the hyperinflationary episode of Weimar Germany, and the more recent case of Zimbabwe, in this discussion.

This interview also offers him a chance to elaborate a bit on his recent call to avoid stocks (in general) and instead look to real assets, such as commodities and gold, in an inflationary environment. Enjoy the discussion and the insights from Bass and Fournier in this 3 part interview.

CNBC talk…

Scribd collection of classic trading books

StockTwits U recently highlighted our collection of classic trading books on Scribd, with special reference to Jesse Livermore's 1940 primer, How To Trade In Stocks.

You can find free pdf and ebook versions of Livermore's text, plus WD Gann's Truth of the Stock Tape and Nicholas Darvas' How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market, at the post above, or by visiting our Scribd trading books collection page.




I'll be adding more classic trading texts to the collection as I find them. If you have any suggestions on authors or highly educational book files to add to the collection (preferably those already found on Scribd), please mention them here or drop me an email. We've already had some good suggestions from the StockTwits stream, and I'll try to upload or share any texts that are likely to remain up on the site.

Related articles and posts:

1. Jesse Livermore: How To Trade In Stocks - Finance Trends.

2. Wall Street Stories - Edwin Lefevre - Finance Trends.

Charlie Rose interviews Quentin Tarantino (1994)

Quentin Tarantino sits down with Charlie Rose for his first interview on the show back in 1994, hot on the heels of his breakthrough success with Pulp Fiction.

Decided to watch this the other night after I heard someone mention this interview (can't recall who or where) and was well pleased with some of the insights shared in this discussion.

What does this have to do with the markets and finance? Practically nothing. However, I think good ideas can be found anywhere, and this chat with Quentin is a fine example of that.

I especially enjoyed the early part of the interview, in which Tarantino shares his personal experiences on childhood, school, and the inate talents or interests that every child has. Pay close attention to this segment, as well as Tarantino's recollections of his "learn by doing" methods; there are some key insights for any creative person or self-starter here.

Related articles and posts:

1. Quentin Tarantino appearances on Charlie Rose - CharlieRose.co…

Global stock index gainers: India, Norway, Nasdaq

While playing around with the Market Macromaps feature on FT.com today, I decided to check up on the top 1 month global stock index gainers.

Here's a screenshot of that chart. You'll note that Norway's Oslo All-Share Index, Hong Kong's Hang Seng, India's S&P CNX Nifty Fifty, Indonesia's JSX, Chile's DJ-Chile, and US' Nasdaq are among the top index performers shown here.

After a ripping September performance for US equities, we're hearing some hopeful talk about a positive fourth quarter performance for US shares. However, if you're inclined to take a more cautious view, Mark Hulbert at MarketWatch has a piece up which notes that October's (and each month's) market performance may be independent of the preceeding month's performance.

So while mid-term elections are touted as a catalyst for next year's stock market performance (more on that here and here), don't go betting all your marbles on an October follow through from Sep…