Monthly Archives: September 2014

Great, free alternative to Google Reader: The Old Reader

Needed to find a new RSS reader in the wake of Google’s recent decision to kill off Google Reader, which takes effect on July 1. I’m guessing some of you are still hunting for an ideal replacement too.

After some initial reading and experimentation, I’ve decided to go with The Old Reader, the best free alternative styled after, wait for it… the old Google Reader. You can see a screenshot of the reader (and my newly imported RSS subscriptions) below. 

The Old Reader RSS alternative Google Reader

Since the Old Reader development team (a small, volunteer crew) was caught off guard by Google’s announcement and the influx of new users, there was a queue for new users importing feeds into TOR (see: “How to export your Google Reader feeds“). 

If you want to import your feeds into The Old Reader, you’ll probably be placed in the queue but it shouldn’t take more than a week or so. In the meantime, you might want to try some of the other Google Reader alternatives for Mac, PC, and mobile users. 

Personally, I found patience to be a virtue here, even though I was just experimenting with the import of a small RSS list (I’m sure I could’ve just as easily added my RSS subscriptions manually). I really like the simple, clean layout and interface of The Old Reader – it’s my favorite of the lot.

Hope this RSS solution helps you out, and don’t forget to subscribe to our feed to keep up with the latest.

J.R. Nyquist: “Speaking Truth to Power”

Excellent commentary from J.R. Nyquist on the true crisis of our time, “the crisis of intellectual integrity”, in this Financial Sense article entitled, “Speaking Truth to Power”.

“Diogenes the cynic was a Greek philosopher of the fourth century B.C. who walked the streets of Athens carrying a lamp in broad daylight. People asked what he was doing. He said, “I am just looking for a human being.” After Plato offered Socrates’ definition of humanity as “featherless bipeds,” Diogenes brought a plucked chicken to Plato’s Academy, saying, “Behold! I have brought you a human being.”

When captured by pirates and sold into slavery his new master asked what his trade was. “Governing men,” he replied, adding that he wished to belong to someone who needed a master. One morning, when Diogenes was basking in the sun, Alexander the Great came to see him. Wishing to do the philosopher a kindness, Alexander asked if there was any favor he could bestow. “Yes,” replied Diogenes. “Stand out of my sunlight.”

The integrity of Diogenes has much to do with his independence. He was not interested in advancing his career, winning the favor of princes, or making money. He didn’t flatter his teachers or the public. When he spoke, there was no reason to distrust what he said. He had nothing to sell, so he had no motive to flatter or manipulate. In today’s world we have become very comfortable buying and selling things. It is also our habit to say what is pleasing to our superiors. More and more, our culture emphasizes the necessity of having a career, of promoting oneself, of making money and impressing other people.

To be wise, to love wisdom, requires a different emphasis than that of today’s culture. It requires an emphasis on truth and clarity. To be successful today, to advance your career, truth and clarity aren’t always appreciated…”

Please take a moment to read the full piece and absorb this lesson on the importance of truth as a real priority in our daily lives. I could not have said this better myself had I tried.

Given all that’s happening in our society today, it is vitally important for us to determine whether we will rediscover the value of truth over deception and false comforts, or continue on the same path which brought us where we are today.

These are a few of my favorite blogs…

OK, I won’t hum a few bars from Rodgers and Hammerstein, but I will get right into today’s post. 

In Monday’s wrap up of the AR blogger quiz, I mentioned that one of the desert island quiz questions asked us to name our favorite blog. The exact question was, “if you could only read one blog (not Abnormal Returns) which would it be?”

If you read that post, you know that I picked Kent Thune’s blog, The Financial Philosopher, as my desert island pick. What you may not have known is that I had a very hard time picking just one blog to read, and in fact named several blogs as favorites in my original response! 

So getting right to it, here are a few of my favorite, “must-read” blogs:

1. First off, if you haven’t read The Financial Philosopher, I highly recommend it. 

Not only will you find the more recent posts a joy to read, but I think you’ll also find that the archived material holds up very well and includes a great deal of original insight and wisdom not only on financial matters, but on life as well. I’ve learned a lot from Kent’s blog and it’s a great place to occasionally reflect and exchange ideas (in the comments section) with Kent and his readers.

2. You might have noticed some links to Joe Fahmy’s trading blog in recent months, here and on Twitter. 

While Joe doesn’t have as much time to update the blog as he used to, I still check in for his thoughts on the stock market and on trading. There are some great posts (and videos) on his stock selection methods and trading philosophy here. You’ll also find some key interviews with pro traders like Joe’s mentor, Mark Minervini.

3. The Tischendorf Letter is another great resource in the world of stock trading blogs. 

Not only does editor, Olivier Tischendorf combine technical analysis with macro and fundamental themes, he also serves up some great quotes and excerpts from his favorite trading books. Don’t overlook his public chart lists and key interview posts as well.  


4. Last, but not least, is the excellent Mises Institute blog

A font of information and insight on economics and liberty, the Mises blog is also a gateway to the vast library of resources (ebooks, audio, and video presentations) found on the main Mises.org site. Keep this one bookmarked; you will need it (trust me). 

And of course, as a student of the markets and of writing, I’m always checking quality blogs whenever I can to get the best available info from my chosen filters. Please visit our blogroll (“Blogs”) in the sidebar to find more of the excellent bloggers in our network. 

I learn something from all of these sources and I’m pleased to count some of them as my friends. Pay them a visit, read their posts, and if you like what they have to offer, subscribe and let them know!

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 stuff on the markets, trading, and the city we call home, Chicago.

Doug Casey – “Deflation is a good thing”

I was participating in Stocktwits’ MacroTwits discussion last night, when someone brought up the idea that inflationary policies by the Fed were a necessary “cure” for a looming deflation.

Although I’ve tuned out most of the mainstream discussion on “inflation vs. deflation” and related debates, I have heard and learned enough in the past to know that the fear of deflation is a widespread phenomenon in modern America (and probably throughout the developed world).

Considering the high amounts of debt carried at all levels of our society (personal, government, corporate), this fear is very understandable. Deflation, a decrease in the supply of money and credit, results in an increase in the value of money in circulation.

In a deflation, debtors must pay back loans to their creditors with money that is steadily increasing in purchasing power. The onus is on the debtor to pay back his loan with money that is more valuable than the principle he was originally lent.

Compare this scenario with one of an ongoing inflation, in which borrowers repay their loans with money whose value has steadily eroded over time. A fine deal for the borrower, but not so much for the lender.

Now that we know where our present sympathies lie, and why, let’s take a look at Doug Casey’s response to these persistent fears of deflation. Here is an excerpt from “Doug Casey: ‘Deflation is actually a good thing'”:

Q: Doug, according to a recent article called “The Greater of Two Evils,” The Economist recently stated that inflation is preferable to deflation. What is your take on that?

Doug: “…let me get into the article itself. The author points out that inflation is distant and containable while deflation is at hand and pernicious.

Look, in a free-market economy, without central banks and without fractional reserve banking, both inflation and deflation as chronic events are really not possible. In a completely free-market economy, money is just a medium of exchange and a store of value. It is not used as a political football where the supply is pumped up to make people feel that they are richer than they are. It is not created by fiat encouraging people to consume and live above their means. That’s why inflation feels good at first… it makes you feel richer than you really are.

Deflation is actually a good thing, because in a deflation prices drop and money becomes more valuable, so deflation encourages people to save money. Deflation rewards the prudent saver and punishes the profligate borrower. The way a society, like an individual, becomes wealthy is by producing more than it consumes. In other words, by saving, not borrowing. And during a deflation, when money becomes more valuable, everybody wants money. They want to save.

Whereas during an inflation, you want to get rid of the money. You want to consume. You want to spend. But you don’t become wealthy by spending and consuming; you become wealthy by producing and saving.

Inflation encourages people to borrow, because they expect to pay the debt off with cheaper dollars. It encourages people to mortgage their future.

The basic economic fallacy in this is that a high level of consumption is good. Well, consumption is neither good or bad. The problem is the emphasis on consumption financed by debt — which leads to the national bankruptcy we’re facing. It’s much healthier to have an emphasis on production, financed by savings…”

Be sure to read the full piece and pass it along to your friends and colleagues. If you’d like a more scholarly read on the Austrian economists’ view of deflation, please refer to the articles in our footnotes below.

Related articles and posts:

1. The Imaginary Evils of Deflation – Christopher Mayer at Mises.org.

2. The Anatomy of Deflation – George Reisman at Mises.org

Niall Ferguson: world tilts towards Asia

Niall Ferguson is out with a new opinion piece in the FT that discusses China, America, and “the decade the world tilted east”.

I am trying to remember now where it was, and when it was, that it hit me. Was it during my first walk along the Bund in Shanghai in 2005? Was it amid the smog and dust of Chonqing, listening to a local Communist party official describe a vast mound of rubble as the future financial centre of south-west China?

That was last year, and somehow it impressed me more than all the synchronised razzamatazz of the Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing. Or was it at Carnegie Hall only last month, as I sat mesmerised by the music of Angel Lam, the dazzlingly gifted young Chinese composer who personifies the Orientalisation of classical music?

I think maybe it was only then that I really got the point about this decade, just as it was drawing to a close: that we are living through the end of 500 years of western ascendancy.

Ferguson has been thinking and writing about the rise of China and the shaky state of the US’ undeclared empire quite a bit lately. He now points out, citing economic research from Goldman Sachs, that China could surpass the US economy in terms of GDP by 2027.

The long-term trends of rapid industrialization in developing nations and the gradual transfer of wealth and economic influence towards Asia are undeniable. However, one has to wonder if the current strength of the Chinese economy and the effectiveness of its stimulus efforts are as solid as Ferguson seems to believe. On these points, he and hedge fund manager, Jim Chanos may disagree.

Helping Haiti: private charity vs. govt. aid

Reuters update on the situation in post-earthquake Haiti.

If you would like to donate to an effective private charity that will help Haitians in the weeks and months ahead, please see trader Quint Tatro’s blog for info on how you can help send needed food and medical supplies through his charity mission to Haiti.

Any recommendations you might have for other reputable private charities (in which the vast majority of donated funds & supplies are directly sent to the people in need) are very welcome. Please post the organization info and links in the comments section.

If you’d like to get a further insight into the problems that have long plagued Haiti, and the effectiveness of private charity versus government “aid”, please the Mises blog post, “Helping Haiti”, and the articles in our related links section below. Thank you.

Related articles and posts:

1. Countries in contrast: one land, two fates – National Post.

2. Real economic reform for a hurting Haiti – Mises.org.

Finviz 1 month futures performance chart

Keeping it short and sweet. Here’s a chart snapped earlier today, showing the 1 month relative performance view for futures tracked by Finviz

Natural gas, silver, and live cattle lead the gainers column. Cocoa, Nikkei, and orange juice futures put in the worst performance over the past month. 

Looking over the full chart, it seems that livestock and energy (crude oil, nat. gas) had a pretty good month, while softs (orange juice, sugar, coffee), metals, and grains tended to be laggards in March. 

Who knows what April will bring? One thing’s certain, we’ll be watching.

Market Shrinkology: poker & trading


If you missed last night’s episode of Market Shrinkology (on Stocktwits TV) with Dr. Phil Pearlman, you missed a good one. That’s why I’m posting it here for your archived enjoyment.

I’ve been recommending Phil’s show lately to a few of my friends as I’m consistently impressed with the show’s (and the channel’s) no-frills, lo-fi, DIY approach. There are no fancy lights or makeup, no contrived set designs or teleprompters, just live web TV with a ton of interesting ideas and live feedback from the Stocktwits user stream.

As you’ll see in this episode, poker and trading were actually secondary themes in a discussion on Prospect Theory, “rational aggression”, and the relationship between fear and greed.

Still, there is some very interesting info here on position sizing and money management in poker and trading, with particular reference (from host and viewers) on the philosophies of poker player Doyle Brunson and trader Jesse Livermore. Plus, a few thoughts on the importance of keeping accurate and organzied trading records.

Enjoy the program, and check out Stocktwits TV for more shows done by traders, for traders.

Related articles and posts:

1. Poker investing: Jeff Yass of Susquehanna – Finance Trends.

2. Dasan on poker and investing – Finance Trends.

Find out more about Trade Finance and scope

Retailers and purchasers may become an exporter might be importers. Trade could be supplied by various intermediaries for example banks and banking institutions. Throughout the acquisition or purchase of products towards the seller or exporter or importer may request the customer to cover goods shipped ahead of time and also to lessen the risk the buyer can request the vendor to document the home that were sent by him. The task would be to document the products moved through the bank, supplying a variety of support, for example letters of credit or trade credit insurance. For instance, the financial institution importers can submit instructions of credit for that exporter or even the exporter’s bank obtain for them for payment upon delivery of documents for example bills of lading. Based on the export contract, the exporter’s bank could make financial loans to exporters. Although it’s a type of an elaborate process, however the letter of credit system is among the systems of financing typically the most popular trade. To be able to ensure customer orders, a lot of companies have to supply a credit duration of thirty days. Within this approach to financing, the importer’s bank offers to cover the imported with respect to the importer to exporter goods.

Frequently, awaiting stock to reach from abroad or the price of maintaining your population can decrease sales growth. Within the situation of installations trade finance enables retailers to gain access to their cash committed to borrowers or purchasers. This gives benefits later on. Installation is essential for those who need income of the business. By doing this they are able to pay their providers offshore and receive client funds in ways that’s extremely fast. Helps manage essential for worldwide trade, capital flows easily and effectively.