Monthly Archives: April 2015

Joe Fahmy interviews Market Wizard, Mark Minervini

Wanted to share this excellent video chat on trading and the stock market with you. Joe Fahmy interviews his trading mentor, Mark Minervini of Stock Market Wizards fame.

Mark and Joe both maintain a presence on Twitter and StockTwits, so it’s been rather interesting to get a closer look at some of their thoughts on markets and trading through their real-time updates.

In this interview, Joe talks with Mark Minervini about his trading philosophy and the importance of blocking out meaningless distractions when focusing on one’s trading strategy. This is a great discussion, and it serves as a very good learning opportunity for stock traders.

Check it out, and when you’re done, take advantage of some of the other archived posts and trading videos on Joe Fahmy’s excellent site.

Jared Diamond has Lunch with the FT

From the weekend edition of the Financial Times, evolutionary biologist & “guru of collapse” Jared Diamond has, “Lunch with the FT”.

Here is a preview of that article:

Jared Diamond is the guru of collapse. Collapse is the title of one of the books that have made him a world-famous academic. It is a theme that captures the Zeitgeist: markets have collapsed, banks have collapsed and confidence, even in the capitalist system itself, has collapsed.

Diamond’s celebrated book – which added to the reputation he earned through Guns, Germs andSteel, a Pulitzer prize-winner about why some societies triumph over others – sought to discover what makes civilisations, many at their apparent zenith, crumble overnight. The Maya of Central America, the stone-carving civilisation of Easter Island, and the Soviet Union – all suddenly shattered.

The question lurking in Diamond’s work is: could we be next? Could the great skyscrapers of Manhattan one day become deserted canyons of a bygone civilisation, a modern version of Ozymandias’s trunkless legs of stone?…”

Reading through the Diamond’s comments on the rise and fall of civilizations and the cultural or geographic advantages that some societies have over others, I couldn’t help but think back to Charlie Munger (Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway), an admirer of Diamond’s work.

Munger has listed Jared Diamond’s books as recommended reading material, and I think Diamond’s interdisciplanary thinking and style must play a large part in Munger’s appreciation for these books.

As noted in his 2008 talk at Caltech, Munger is a proponent of the multi-disciplinary approach, urging listeners to become familiar with the main ideas of many disciplines so that they may integrate their findings and better understand their world. Have a look at the video and notes of Munger’s talk (see above link) for more on this theme.

Hello world

Hello world

Jim Simons of RenTec speaks at MIT

 
Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies gives a talk at MIT about his background in mathematics, how he got his start in business, and the “secret sauce” of running a hedge fund with a quantitative bent.

As Paul Kedrosky notes on his blog, it’s not often that you get to hear from Simons, so have a look at this video and hear what he has to say about his work, the importance of getting young people involved in math and science, and following your entrepreneurial drive.

Steve Jobs – Billion Dollar Hippy (BBC documentary)

Steve Jobs’ brilliant life and entrepreneurial career are profiled in this BBC documentary, “Steve Jobs – Billion Dollar Hippy“. 

Today is a big media day for Apple, given the hype surrounding the release of the new iPhone 5. A fine time to look back on the Silicon Valley landscape of the 1970s and the counterculture and tech hobbyist environments which inspired Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to start their own little computer company (now valued at over $600 billion dollars, market cap). 

This is a great overview of Jobs’ rise and fall at Apple, his entries into the realms of interpersonal computing and filmmaking at NeXT and Pixar, and his triumphant return to Apple that kickstarted its reinvention as a design-focused electronics company. 

Enjoy the video, and check out our related items below for more on Steve Jobs and the tech revolution.

Related posts

1. Steve Jobs PBS interview from 1990, rarely seen.

2. Interview: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at D5.

Parsing the recent housing data

John Authers examines the recent US housing data in today’s FT.com “Short View” video clip (click text or chart link to play the video) and finds that an artificial slowdown in foreclosures may explain the “green shoots” that appear in recent data.

Meanwhile, Barry Ritholtz takes a look at, “The Elusive Housing ‘Fair Value'”, and argues that US housing prices will not only revert down to their historic mean, but will continue straight down through the mean price on the way to becoming undervalued. Click the link to see Barry’s full post and his arguments for why this is so.

You may also be interested to read The Economist’s take on why, “It still looks early for a housing rebound”, which compares American and British housing price data. Hat tip to Abnormal Returns for the two links above.

Related articles and posts:

1. House prices finally approaching fair value – Clusterstock.

2. New home sales: 356 thousand SAAR in March – Calculated Risk.

Warnings on Euro hedge fund regulation

Highlighted this Financial Times article on Twitter yesterday; certainly wanted to mention it here as well.

This story on proposed European regulations of the hedge fund and private equity industries and its likely effects may also reverberate here in the US. Here is an excerpt from, “ECB warns Brussels on hedge fund rules”:

Europe’s controversial plans to regulate hedge and private equity funds were dealt a fresh blow on Thursday when the European Central Bank warned the proposals would put the industry at a significant competitive disadvantage.

The opposition voiced by the Frankfurt-based ECB, which feared a go-it-alone approach in Europe would backfire, is likely to be seized upon by the alternative investment fund sector – and influence the extensive re-writing of the proposals that is already under way.

Hedge funds have warned that business could be driven out of Europe as a result of the plans to regulate the sector for the first time on a pan-continent basis.

As we read on, the article seems to convey the notion that the problem lies not with this new layer of burdensome industry regulation, but the possibility that other regions may not move quickly enough to join Europe in adopting similar rules and restrictions.

You can see where this is going: the now commonly-cited fear of “regulatory arbitrage” rears its head once again. In other words, Europe doesn’t want to be the only one to pass potentially restrictive industry legislation; they want to make sure the USA and other nations will institute similar rules (“harmonize”) so that affected hedge funds and LBO firms have fewer places to relocate.

“In a legal opinion published on its website, the ECB warned that funds could simply shop around to find a country where the policing of the sector was less stringent. “An internationally co-ordinated response is necessary given the highly international nature of the industry and the consequent risks of regulatory arbitrage and evasion,” it said.

We also see this trend towards incremental global regulation unfolding in a number of areas outside of finance, but our focus today is the current and future regulatory environment for hedge funds and private equity.

What is likely to happen in this area in the year ahead? Your thoughts and insights on this issue are certainly welcome here, readers.

Rare color photos of the Depression and WW II-era America


You might have seen this Huffington Post slideshow of 25 rare color photos from the Great Depression and World War II era.

If you haven’t already, check them out and then head on over to the Library of Congress’ slideshow where you’ll find more than 1600 images from their full collection of Depression and WW II-era color photos (Hat tip: Campaign for Liberty).

Seeing these images of late 1930s and early 1940s America in color seems to bring this period to life a bit more for modern viewers. The color images capture fragments of daily life across the USA, and the posed photos of farmers and homesteaders in this later period seem less bleak and dramatic than the stark black and white images of Depression era hardship that we’re most familiar with.

How do these newly released images shape your view of WW II-era (and late/post-Depression) America?

How-to Write an Essay the Easy Way

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Keep talking, Ben: US Dollar update

Listening to the Flamin’ Groovies as the dollar burns. $USDXThu Apr 28 14:06:14 via web

This is what’s going down. Here’s the weekly chart on the dollar index:

Wouldn’t be surprised to see a new low on the index shortly, followed by a consolidation period and a months-long rally in the USDX. That seems to be the pattern, anyway, over the last several years. We’ll be watching.