Friday, February 26, 2010

Haiku - Credit Default Swap

I need insurance.
Your bonds have more default risk -
should buy CDS.

links of the day 02-26-10

10 lessons from trading with Victor Niederhoffer (WSJ)

How safe are dollars? (Project Syndicate)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Haiku - Ron Paul

Ron Paul hates the Fed
"Tear it down, abolish it!"
populism's chief.


links of the day 02-25-10

The stocks most held by hedge funds (marketfolly)

In defense of financial speculation (WSJ)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Haiku - Thain & Wentworth

John Thain, Designer,
redid Stan the Man's office:
1 point 2 million.

This next one needs some preface to contextualize it. There is a company, J.G. Wentworth, that pays off annuities, structured settlements, etc. in cash. I'm sure what they do is to calculate the present value and give you a discount to that for the liquidity. Instant cash. I'm not sure if it is regional where I grew up (Kentucky) or not. They have really catchy jingles that my brother and I learned by heart. "It's your cash. Use it when you need it. Call J. G. Wentworth 8-7-7 CASH NOW." I'll post a video clip if I remember when I go home. But here is the haiku:

I don't want to wait
for my stock options to vest,
call J. G. Wentworth??

links of the day 02-24-10

Interesting satirical article by Charlie Munger (Slate)

Ken Rogoff sees more sovereign defaults in the near term (naked capitalism)
-This would put enormous downward pressure on US markets. Remember what happened when the little principate of Dubai started talking default?

The psychology of a winning trader (TraderFeed)

Activist investors, even on a small scale, get good news from Mary Shapiro (TRB)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Haiku - inappropriate

to name a fund company
Plunging Investments.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Haiku - Greenspan Put

OK, to get in the right frame of mind, imagine yourself back in 1999...

Don't fear a decline
the Fed will rescue us all
It's the "Greenspan put".

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

links of the day 02-16-10

Goldman's Jim O'Neill, coiner of the term "BRICs", thinks a yen re-evaluation could occur at anytime (FT)

Alan Blinder on the status of financial reform (WSJ)
- I've always thought, and agree with Blinder, that systemic risk would fall to the Fed if it weren't explicitly deemed the realm of another authority.

On college students and graduation rates (Economix)
-Stunning, in 2000-01, only 60% of first-time, full-time students completed their degrees within 6 years!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

200th post - Haiku - Bull Strategy

I guess I've been stuck in a theme lately - mixing a little advice with a little financial poetry.
The fifth installment in Dan's guide to life through the media of haiku:
Cast away your bonds
constant anger weighs you down
breathe, relax, smile.

Bullish on a stock?
Buy a call or write a put.
Up-swing? Rake profits.

links of the day 02-12-10

Higher GDP growth does not equal higher equity market returns (FT Alphaville)

10 reasons why traders lose discipline (TraderFeed)

Which central banker makes the most? (Cheap Seats)
- I would never have guessed

Driving sign language (Slate)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Haiku - bonds

Another one of Dan's guide to living, #4:
Get off life's highway
Don't drive it with cruise control:
speed up then slow down.

And a financially motivated haiku:
Bonds work inversely
Prices move opposite rates
They're quantitative.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Haiku - Dan's Lesson #3

Dan's lessons for life, through the medium of haiku, number 3 (local edition):

Moving to D.C.?
drive your U-haul by Congress
lose an afternoon.

links of the day 02-04-10

A quick, long run view of the stock market (Crossing Wall Street)

More reasons to lift the sugar tariffs (Carpe Diem)

Microsoft's inner creative destruction (NYT)

What really motivates employees? (Harvard Business Review)

On being, and writing, funny (Ben Casnocha)
-I really agree with Ben that I don't like to be around people that aren't funny (read: smart)

Never have your lunch stolen out of the office fridge again (MR)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Haiku - Buy-write

Own a hundred shares?
sell a call to earn more cash
it's called a buy-write.

links of the day 02-03-10

Can you trust census data? (Freakonomics)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Haiku - Game Theory Edition

Both make the best choice,

that's Nash equilibrium,

a dilemma solved.


Investment advisors should not have bedside manner

My beautiful girlfriend and I have just gotten into the intriguingly interesting show Lost. This weekend we were watching an episode where the doctor, Jack, was explaining the risks of a procedure to a patient on the island. Another character, Hurley, says, "what's that thing where doctors can make you better just by talking to you?" When Jack responds, "bedside manner," Hurley quickly retorts, "yea, yours sucks." Lost has a way of mixing backstory with the action on the island, and the back story playing during this time revolved around Jack saving awoman who had a severe spinal cord injury. His father tells him to give her hope, because that alone can have miraculous effects on patients.

After the episode, I sat thinking about the connection between bedside manner for doctors and the investment advisory profession. There should not be any correlation. In fact, I believe the relationship should be exactly opposite. If the aim of doctors is to instill hope about a good procedural outcome by placing a positive spin on small odds then investment advisors should do the opposite - by stressing the small odds of a large drop in value. Investment advisors who ignore the small, but significant negative tail risks are doing their clients a disservice, because they are reinforcing their client's pre-existing dreams of "castles in the sky." [Advisors who shamefully boast their past results or have grand predictions for the future do so to lure in money so they can earn their management fee, or worse steal it, are irresponsible and should be avoided]. This case is different from the medical purpose of bedside manner which is to shed the patient's (again, pre-existing) stress of their medical maladies in order to positively impact their health. The difference between the two lies in the client/patient's mindset - patients are likely to dwell on the negative and investors on the positive - which is what the advisors/doctors have to countervail for them in order to achieve the best possible outcome: a happy customer.

links of the day 02-02-10

Check the spreads of ETFs before investing (WSJ)

Great blog post on the cost of foreclosure (RortyBomb)

Andrew Ross Sorkin on what bankers in Davos are thinking about Volcker rule (Dealbook)

Yale economist Robert Shiller thinks the US economy will drift sideways in the coming years (NYT)

Deficit balloons into a national security threat (WSJ)
- I think the most interesting idea in here is that large amounts of debt threatens our country's independence. It makes me wonder what the founding fathers would have thought about the situation. I'm sure they would not be OK with a one-party communist regime holding such a large percentage of our debt, giving them the power to dictate to us on policy.

Volcker's interesting (albeit long) op-ed from the weekend (NYT)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dilbert on investment banks

Man, it is amazing how Scott Adams can sum up society's feelings in 3 panes.

links of the day 02-01-10

Stock market volume picked up with a rise in volatility (TraderFeed)

Which markets are ripe for a burst? (Focus)

ECONOMICS acrostic (Greg Mankiw)

5 myths about credit cards (Washington Post)

"A carefully guarded secret of the industry is that about a quarter of cardholders have accounted for almost two-thirds of interest and penalty-fee revenues. Nearly half of all credit card accounts do not generate finance and fee revenues."