REAL News not FAKE News; Podcasts

Excellent Podcasts on Investing

http://www.boyarvaluegroup.com/world-according-boyar-podcast/

Buy-Backs

This is when you want companies to buy back their stock: Industry hated, operations improving, multi-year lows. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/goldcorp-announces-commencement-normal-course-103000479.html

Investing is HARD

Excellent video from the http://www.microcapclub.com

Also, http://www.intelligentfanatics.com

Hedge Fund Test: Are YOU Smarter than a Chimp?

Test on your knowledge about the world

Please put a check mark by the letter you choose or write it down next to the number of the question.

You will be compared to a Chimp who—on each question—will be thrown bananas labeled A, B, or C.

The Chimp will answer correctly about 33% of the questions.

GOOD LUCK!

  1. In all low-income countries across the world today, how many girls finish primary school?
    A. 20 percent
    B. 40 percent
    C. 60 percent
  2. Where does the majority of the world population live?
    A. low-income countries
    B. middle-income countries
    C. high-income countries
  3. In the last 20 years, the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has….
    A. Almost doubled
    B. Remained more or less the same
    C. Almost halved
  4. What is the life expectancy of the world today?
    A. 50 years
    B. 60 years
    C. 70 years
  5. There are 2 billion children in the world today, aged 0 to 15 years old. How many children will there be in the year 2100, according to the United Nations?
    A. 4 billion
    B. 3 billion
    C. 2 billion
  6. The UN predicts that by 2100 the world population will have increased by another 4 billion. What is the main reason?
    A. There will be more children age below 15
    B. There will be more adults age 15 to 74
    C. There will be more very old people aged 75 and older.
  7. How did the number of deaths per year from natural disasters change over the last hundred years?
    A. More than doubled
    B. Remained about the same
    C. Decreased to less than half
  8. How many of the world’s 1-year-old children today have been vaccinated against some disease?

A. 20 percent

B. 50 percent
C. 80 percent

9 World-wide, 30-year-old men have spent 10 years in school, on average, how many years have women of the same age spent in school?

A. 9 years
B. 6 years
C. 3 years

10 In 1996, tigers, giant pandas, and black rhinos were all listed as endangered. How many of these three species are more critically endangered today?

A. Two of them
B. One of them
C. None of them

11. How many people in the world have some access to electricity?

A. 20 percent
B. 50 percent
C. 80 percent

Global climate experts believe that, over the next 100 years, the average temperature will……

A. Get warmer
B. Remain the same
C. Get colder

Email: Aldridge56@aol.com     with the subject heading:   CHIMPS and I will email you the answers.   Did you beat the chimps?

A reader shares his investment conference in Cyprus

I wonder if this crowd could beat the chimps?  Bets?

There is one asset class that is cheap RELATIVELY speaking

Blockchain Future; Create Your Own Case Studies

Create your Own Case Studies

Look at the date of the report like Coach, Inc. (“COH”).  Do not read the

report.   Then download the 10K close to the date of the report and try to

do your own analysis BEFORE you read the author’s thesis.   Yes, it is work, but

you will learn more than reading the report and then looking at the financials.  Most will simply skim the report.

Excellent Article: The Psychology of Money

Two Investors

If you only read one post on this blog, then let it be this one. John Chew

Let me tell you the story of two investors, neither of whom knew each other, but
whose paths crossed in an interesting way.

Grace Groner was orphaned at age 12. She never married. She never had kids. She never drove a car. She lived most of her life alone in a one-bedroom house and worked her whole career as a secretary. She was, by all accounts, a lovely lady. But she lived a humble life. That made the $7 million she left to charity after her death in 2010 at age 100 all the more confusing. People who knew her asked: Where did Grace get all that money?

But there was no secret. There was no inheritance. Grace took humble savings
from a meager salary and enjoyed eighty years of hands-off compounding
in the stock market. That was it.

Weeks after Grace died, an unrelated investing story hit the news. Richard Fuscone, former vice chairman of Merrill Lynch’s Latin America division,
declared personal bankruptcy, fighting off foreclosure on two homes, one of which was nearly 20,000 square feet and had a $66,000 a month mortgage.
Fuscone was the opposite of Grace Groner; educated at Harvard and
University of Chicago, he became so successful in the investment industry
that he retired in his 40s to “pursue personal and charitable interests.” But
heavy borrowing and illiquid investments did him in. The same year Grace
Goner left a veritable fortune to charity, Richard stood before a bankruptcy
judge and declared: “I have been devastated by the financial crisis … The
only source of liquidity is whatever my wife is able to sell in terms of personal
furnishings.”

The purpose of these stories is not to say you should be like Grace and avoid
being like Richard. It’s to point out that there is no other field where these
stories are even possible.

In what other field does someone with no education, no relevant experience,
no resources, and no connections vastly outperform someone with the best
education, the most relevant experiences, the best resources and the best
connections? There will never be a story of a Grace Groner performing heart
surgery better than a Harvard-trained cardiologist. Or building a faster chip
than Apple’s engineers. Unthinkable.

But these stories happen in investing.

That’s because investing is not the study of finance. It’s the study of how people behave with money. And behavior is hard to teach, even to really smart people. You can’t sum up behavior with formulas to memorize or spreadsheet models to follow. Behavior is inborn, varies by person, is hard to measure, changes over time, and people are prone to deny its existence, especially when describing themselves.

Grace and Richard show that managing money isn’t necessarily about what
you know; it’s how you behave. But that’s not how finance is typically taught
or discussed. The finance industry talks too much about what to do, and not
enough about what happens in your head when you try to do it.

This report describes 20 flaws, biases, and causes of bad behavior I’ve seen
pop up often when people deal with money.

The Psychology of Money-9dbc86

The above article confirms my bias that all the MBAs, CFAs, CPAs, and study won’t help you unless you understand yourself.   Tough.   For example, I can see the speck in your eye but not the mud in mine.

Have a good weekend!

Fraud, Lies, Social Proof, and the Will to Believe: Theranos

So what do you think? Are you enthused, impressed, and a believer?   Read

Here is an early interview of Eliz. Holmes: Could this finger prick blood test be the next “Game-Changer? Imagine if this company can change the cost and inconvenience of diagnostic care? Wow!

Why study this case of Theranos?

Whenever you study an investment, you should make notes on your thoughts at the time to go back and check your thinking and biases.  How else can you improve as an analyst?

Now, unless you have been living in a cave, you know what happened.   However, pretend that you didn’t know the outcome and you were reading the articles above for the first time and seeing the video.   What RED FLAGS jump out at you.  Or what would you need to prove in order to invest?  And if you could not find the answer easily to the main question of the investment, what else would you scrutinize carefully?    Think hard before reading on………..


Fortune Article Author Follow up with how he was misled by Theranos

Notes on Bad Blood

I highly recommend the above book as a great read.  You will also learn about investor manipulation, the will to believe and how it shuts off our critical thinking abilities, incompetent governance, employee abuse, EXTREMELY bad management, criminal actions, and a female sociopath.  I could not put the book down–read it in a day.

Next, a few years later, when Theranos, a private company with an estimated $9 billion value (!), faced a barrage of critics over the lack of transparency and no verification of the technology (“The Edison”), Cramer gives her a chance to rebut her critics.

Cramer asks Holmes about her Technology. What do you think of the answers? If you were an investor, what would be the first area to investigate?) Did Cramer ever follow-up specifically? No.

By the way, did you notice her deep (affected?) voice and her black uniform. Creepy.

As a former employee said Theranos product was like building a bus while driving down the highway with passengers.   The problem is that people could get killed.   This fraud hit home since I have amyloidosis.  Not only did she and her accomplices hurt employees, investors, and–most importantly–PATIENTS! She and her CEO deserve a minimum 25-year sentence.

Note how SOCIAL PROOF euthanized investors critical thinking.   Look  at the prestigious board: George Schultz, General , etc.   But note the lack of specific product/industry expertise to vet Holmes’ claims.    She brilliantly piggybacked on the prestige of others.   Any investor could have visited the Walgreen stores to check on the accuracy and completeness of the tests. Red flags would fly.

The employee turnover and secretiveness would have been other flags.  What relevant experience to this field did she have?  I am not knocking outsiders, but she and her CEO lacked any background in biochemistry.   That isn’t enough to suspect problems, but it would place more urgency on verifying the efficacy of the technology.

Great American Rhetoric–Learn How to Convince

Whether you are seeking to convince your neighbors and friends or asking an investor to act, throw out your TV and listen/read the great speeches in the last link below. Learn about persuasive rhetoric.  How do you reach and convince people who DISAGREE with you.

http://rhetoric.byu.edu/    The History of rhetoric

Rhetoric_index   An Overview


 

The best 100 speeches in American History

https://www.americanrhetoric.com/top100speechesall.html

Case Study on Managing A Company

View the Town Hall Meeting At Barrick Gold

https://www.barrick.com/news/news-details/2018/town-hall-with-john-thornton/default.aspx

Q218-Town-Hall-Presentation

Q218-Town-Hall-Transcript

A very interesting presentation of how Barrick is planning its future.

CORRECTION

I have often mention gold as a “Store of Value.”   I never defined my terms.

I apologize.  A better explanation by Keith Weiner of www.monetary-metals.com

Store of Value Fallacy
And this leads us to make one final, if tangential point. We often hear people talk about gold as a “store of value”. If you have a tank, that is a store of water. A grain silo is a store of wheat. In both cases, what is being stored is a quantity of a commodity. In this sense, a vault is a store of gold.

However, economic value—as we see above—is whatever the bidder is willing to pay. Gold’s moneyness does not come from it commanding the same amount of wheat today as it did last year or 2000 years ago. In fact, its purchasing power of wheat is not fixed. Over the last ten years, pricedingold.com shows that wheat has ranged from about 0.9 grams gold per bushel to 3.6g. The highest price during this time is 4X the lowest.

One reason for gold’s moneyness is that we value the next ounce of gold—the marginal ounce—the same as the last one. Proof of this extraordinary claim is observed in the extraordinary fact that virtually all gold ever mined in 5,000 years of human history is still in human hands. Gold is not produced to be consumed, but to be held. And we keep on producing, regardless of how much has already been produced.

In other words, we measure the value of gold like we measure the value of all other things in the economy—in gold. Gold does not have constant purchasing power (perhaps we should use scare quotes “purchasing power”). It has a constant price. The price of gold is always 1. This is not expressing a tautology. It is expressing that gold has constant marginal utility.

Gold is the steel meter stick of measuring economic values. Even if we climb in elevation (quantity) the meter (ounce) does not shrink.

Free Course on America’s Great Depression

One way to become a better investor and informed citizen is to study history.   an old pro gives advice:

“Learn history!” Joe Rosenberg (JR), Investment Officer at Loews 2017 L_Letter-to-Shareholders shouts.

My favorite book to recommend is The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer.  CSInvesting seconds this recommendation. 

Review:

The book provides a concise and astute portrait of the personality type that is drawn to authoritarian institutions, whether political or religious. Hoffer makes an excellent case that the mass movements – the fascists, the communists, and the various brands of religious fundamentalists, that have caused so much death, suffering, and chaos throughout history in their attempts to impose their values and belief systems on others, have all depended on people of basically similar character to fill their ranks.

The true believer, as Hoffer portrays him/her, is someone who yearns for certainty and fears ambiguity; who sees the world in dualistic terms, black and white with no gray areas; who prefers to simply follow orders, letting others make the hard ethical decisions; who revels in belonging to an exclusive group and looking down on outsiders, particularly if they belong to a group the leaders have chosen as scapegoats.

Every voter should read this book and then look at the world today – the politics of fear and division, the growth of fundamentalist religion, the strident bigots on talk radio and TV – and then start working to reduce the danger they all pose to the freedoms in our Constitution, to the separation of church and state, and to our standing in the world.

—  Back to Mr. Rosenberg…………

There is no discussion about investing in the book, but in my opinion, it is extremely helpful in understanding markets. It conveys the nature of human behavior in mass–how people act as a group. One of his great examples is explaining why people riot. There is no reason and no logic. People just get caught up in it. Riots don’t end all at once, they end person-by-person—that is markets. People panic in a group, but they come back to their sense one by one. That is why stock move incrementally the way the do.

CSIMA (Columbia Student Investment Management Association): How should they think about investment and time horizon?

JR: Young people today in business are much more macro-oriented than micro-oriented. They spend much more time on what is going on in Europe or Federal Reserve policies. They don’t focus much on company specifics. Even when they do they have a very low level of confidence in what they are doing. It’s very unfortunate. I hate that they don’t teach financial history in business schools. If it was up to me, I would make financial history and all history a number one requirement for business schools. Understanding how a spreadsheet works can be learned on the job easily but understanding the continuum of history requires certain intellect. I cannot for the life of me under-stand why business schools are not teaching financial history.

My advice to young people, if they really want to be successful in this business, is to learn financial history. Learn history in general and then dig deeper into financial history and you will not be in such awe of everything that’s going on. I see the same problem in my office. People just don’t know any financial history and they think that everything that is happening is unusual. Everything else can be learned on the job.

The Course on The Economics of the Great Depression

In this five-lecture course, Dr. Robert Murphy reviews the causes of the Great Depression, the response of the Hoover administration, and the New Deal. The focus is more on economic analysis rather than historical narratives, contrasting the Keynesian interpretation of various events versus the Austrian explanation in particular. Topics include the operation of the gold standard and the allegation that it inhibited policymakers from implementing the “stimulus,” Herbert Hoover’s supposed austerity program, the Friedman-Schwartz theory that the Fed’s unwillingness to inflate led to the severe downturn in the early 1930s, recent academic research showing the cartelization effects of the New Deal, and the myth of wartime prosperity. Dr. Murphy’s book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal, would be very helpful for students, but it is not required for the course. All necessary reading materials are provided.

Sign up for free: https://mises.org/mises-academy/economics-great-depression

How to Get Rich

 

Value Investors Struggle–What Happened?

IWY “Value” shares (Brown line) vs. IWF “Growth” shares

What is going on? https://www.threepartadvisors.com/audio

Active Managers Horizon Kinetics  Worth a careful read.  Note the underperformance of several famous investors.   Did they ALL become stupid at the SAME TIME?

Indexation-The-Jury-is-Almost-In

Perspective Jesse Felder Chartbook July 31 2018 (1)

Perhaps a way to beat the ETF driven overvaluation is to search for companies that are in few indexes such as TPL or CVEO, for example.  And search for owner-operated companies. Owner_Op_Paper  With founder or owner-operated companies, there is less float so fewer of these companies end up in ETFs.   When you see that Blackrock is a majority owner in a stock that you own but the stock represents only .003% of their five trillion dollar portfolio, you have a festering problem.   Look for those founder led companies that treat shareholders fairly:

https://youtu.be/WDWQXaqsyr8  Berkowitz of Fairholme speaks to students.  My gosh, the interviewer is irritating.