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Showing posts from December, 2010

Finance Trends: The Best of 2010

We're wrapping up some of your favorite posts (and mine) for this Finance Trends "Best of 2010" features edition.

You'll find key interviews with leading businessmen and investors, along with the best of this year's posts emphasizing the strong trends and events that are shaping our country, our investment markets, and our world.

Without further ado, here are some key posts highlighting the big picture trends we've witnessed in 2010, some of which may continue to unfold in 2011 and beyond.

1. On a Return to Classical Education. Your educationally-deprived editor muses over the benefits of a Classical education, and how such a foundation in thinking might help us as investors and as citizens of the world.

2. Marc Faber: Final Crisis Yet to Come. Wonderful presentation by Marc at this year's Mises Circle in NYC, offering a crucial take on US monetary policy and the likely outcomes of the Fed's "quantitative easing" experiments. Video and presentat…

Trader Vic and Market Wizards on Scribd

I've recently updated the Finance Trends "Classic Trading Books" collection on Scribd to include two personal favorites from Victor "Trader Vic" Sperandeo and Jack Schwager.

You'll now find Sperandeo's, Trader Vic: Methods of a Wall Street Master, along with the first volume of Schwager's classic interview series, Market Wizards in the collection.

You'll also find a widget embed code included, so feel free to grab it and paste it onto your site or your Facebook page. The widget will be updated automatically to show all newly added titles in the Trading Books collection.

For those of you who'd like a hard copy or Kindle version of these classic texts, visit Amazon (see title links above) to order Sperandeo and Schwager's books. Enjoy!

Amazon's Jeff Bezos chats with Charlie Rose (2010)

Amazon.com chief, Jeff Bezos sits down to an interview with Charlie Rose from earlier this year. This is a very good discussion of the company's philosophy, its future plans, the growth of e-readers and user adoption of that technology.

It's also a great insight into the thinking of one of our generation's great entrepreneurs, Jeff Bezos.

As you'll see from the interview (watch it here), Bezos understands his customer base and what they want, and he trusts his instincts and Amazon's strengths (as an e-retailer and gadget manufacturer) enough to act on that understanding and not get swayed by suggestions and criticisms from outside voices.



Last week I was thinking about Amazon's decade-plus rise in online retailing. Back in the dot com bubble days, we knew Amazon was an emerging powerhouse in online book selling and later, CDs and music. What some of us didn't realize (myself included) was that Amazon.com would successfully expand into many other areas of retai…

Cotton, palladium, silver lead futures gainers YTD

Did some charting on Finviz yesterday and came across this relative performance chart of the year's top futures gainers (year-to-date).

As you can see from the chart, cotton, palladium, and silver lead the performance YTD. We all know gold's been having a headline-grabbing year (+25%), but silver futures have handily outpaced the yellow metal (+71.5%).

Interesting to note that lumber is up 40% YTD, second only to top-performing cotton (+93%) in the soft commodities group. Lumber futures had a very poor showing in '06 - '08 as the housing bubble collapsed and the homebuilders fell on hard times. However, we saw a pickup in '09 and the rebound seems to have gathered steam all through 2010.

Natural gas futures were a bottom-dweller this year, down (-)27% YTD. There were a few other poor performers, but for the most part we see green on this chart, reflecting a year of strong commodity demand and QE (money printing) operations in the US.

As Jim Rogers has pointed out many …

Charting the BP Gulf oil spill lawsuit

The US Department of Justice today announced its lawsuit against BP and eight other companies involved in the disastrous Gulf of Mexico spill.

We added some charts of BP and other firms involved to the Chart.ly and StockTwits streams today.

Here's how the big 4 oil names reacted to the official news of the suit in today's trading session. Note that Haliburton (HAL) was not named in the government's suit, but still moved notably to the downside.


There's a lot of talk about BP's being kept alive in order to bleed it nearly dry to fund government spending programs. I'll let the BP and legal/political experts weigh in on that, as I'm not as familiar with the company's assets vs. liabilities picture.

However, we do know that BP has been moving to sell off assets and reposition itself as a leaner company in order to survive. Will they succeed? That is the (current enterprise value) $164 billion dollar question.

Anthony Bolton defies China bears with new fund

Bloomberg Markets profiles Fidelity fund manager, Anthony Bolton, the British investing star who recently backed away from retirement and has now "staked his reputation on China".

More in Bloomberg's article, "Fidelity's Bolton defies China bears with 27% return":

"...In Britain, Bolton’s reputation as a stock-picking genius was analogous to that of Peter Lynch, the manager of Boston- based Fidelity Investments’ Fidelity Magellan Fund from 1977 to 1990. Fidelity Investment Managers, formerly known as Fidelity International, is an affiliate of Fidelity Investments. Now, at age 60, Bolton is in China partly to explain to clients why he has made a comeback to bet he can pick winners for the 625 million-pound Fidelity China Special Situations Fund that made its debut in April. Bolton says he’ll be able to find winning stocks that other fund managers have ignored. So far, that self-confidence has been justified. Anyone who bought into the closed-end fund when…

Jim Rogers at Reuters 2011 Outlook Summit

Jim Rogers said that the US government's inflation data was "a sham" and that interest rates would be heading "much, much higher" in the next few years while speaking at the Reuters 2011 Outlook Summit.

You'll find video of his chat w/ Chrystia Freeland at Investment Postcards or you can check the related video links in this Reuters article to see the full panel discussion.

As usual, Jim pulls no punches while discussing Ben Bernanke's foibles as Fed Chairman and the difficulties facing the US and European economies as inflation and runaway deficits take their toll.

He also points out some potential bright spots that could come about if the US government were to reduce its out of control spending and simplify (or do away with) the tax burdens on its citizens. Long term strength of the developing economies, commodities, and the rise of Asia are also highlighted.

Interview: James Grant & Co. talk gold with Charlie Rose

James Grant, John Hathaway, and Peter Munk sit down with Charlie Rose to discuss gold and the nature of our monetary system in this important roundtable discussion.

I was surprised and delighted to find that Grant and Co. would be Charlie's guests on Monday's program. The topic of discussion became even more newsworthy as the US dollar gold price hit a record high (in nominal terms) that same day.

But this is more than just a chat about a commodity hitting a new high. As you will see from James Grant's opening statements to Rose, gold is money and it has been for centuries. What we see in the rising gold price is a concurrent loss of faith in the viability of all paper currency systems worldwide.

This is the basic truth about gold and silver as real money and store of value that Rose and his audience need to hear.

Plus, John Hathaway, subject of one of our earliest posts, and James Grant provide some much needed counterbalance to the prevailing narrative of the 2007-2009 finan…

Monday links: The Bernank, Macro view, & more

Came across some worthwhile links from the blogosphere and Twitter today, and thought I'd point you to 'em.

We've got some videos and posts on The Ben Bernank, a macro view of the economy and markets, interviews with Bruce Berkowitz and David Einhorn, and more for you in today's links.

1. Bear Mountain Bull wraps up some recent interviews and links on The Ben Bernank.

2. Abnormal Returns brings us 3 non-Bernanke videos, including interviews with investors Bruce Berkowitz and David Einhorn.

3. Catching up on the Macro view with Gregor Macdonald and the health of the stock market with Joe Fahmy.

Peruse what you like, leave the rest. Remember, our ability to process and retain information is finite, so focus on what's most important to you in your pursuit of market education and limit your exposure to extraneous "noise".

Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

10 questions for Mark Cuban - Forbes interview

Thanks to Leroy Gardner and Get Rich Slowly for highlighting this Forbes interview with highly-visible entrepreneur and billionaire, Mark Cuban.

Here are a few lessons on "building and keeping a self-made fortune" from, "10 questions for Mark Cuban":

"...You have $100,000--where do you put it?
First I pay off all my credit card debt and evaluate paying off any other debt I have. What I have left I put in the bank.
Then I try to create as much transactional value as possible from that cash. I look at my annual budgets for everything and anything, and I look to see where I can save the most money on those items. Saving 30% to 50% buying in bulk--replenishable items from toothpaste to soup, or whatever I use a lot of--is the best guaranteed return on investment you can get anywhere. Then whatever I have left I keep in the bank and let it earn nothing. Why? Because then its available for when I get a good opportunity. Every five years or so there is a bubble …