Saturday, April 23, 2016

Zerohedge no longer accepting $20s

WSJ RTE - US Treasury to replace slaveowner Andrew Jackson with escaped slave Harriet Tubman on $20 bill. Quote:

Tubman was born a slave around 1822 on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and became a leading abolitionist and suffragette.

Tubman had scars throughout her life from being whipped as a young child. As a child, she was forced to wade into icy water in the winter to set muskrat traps, causing frequent illnesses, according to Harriet Tubman scholar Kate Clifford Larson. During Jackson’s second term as president, she was nearly killed when an overseer threw an iron weight and struck her in the head.

And in direct comparison:

Jackson became a successful lawyer in Tennessee and purchased a 1,000-acre plantation. He bought more slaves throughout his career, and owned about 150 people by the time of his death in 1845.

Tubman escaped from slavery in 1849 but spent the next decade repeatedly returning to Maryland to help free her friends and family through the Underground Railroad, a network of people and places that helped slaves safely escape to the north. Ultimately, Tubman is believed to have personally saved about 70 other people from slavery during 13 rescue missions, according to Larson.

And you know they only kicked Jackson off the $20 for Tubman at the behest of that Kenyan muslim usurper, right?

I can just imagine Zerohedge has gone livid over this.

Oh wait, they have:

Zerohedge - US Treasury replaces America's greatest campaigner against the banksters with a nappy-head. The comments section is pure gold.

Zerohedge - not enough Nazi on our page today, let's ask Pat Buchanan for his opinion. Answer: affirmative action!

Of course, we shouldn't be surprised that a Bulgarian son of a Soviet client state secret agent, taking money from Putin and the FSB to run anti-American propaganda on his website, is also a Nazi who hates black people.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday videos: German Shepherds

One of the strangest bands of all time with one of the most extreme backstories, and now someone made a video to one of their songs:

Eat your heart out, Coil.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Quick note on markets

What's been strong the past few months is:

- Royal Bank (RY). Seems people want to own the Canadian economy again, especially at a 3.8% dividend yield.

- Peru (EPU). Seems people want to own resource producing economies again.

For obvious reasons, those two should be strongly positively correlated with GDX.

As long as that strong positive correlation holds and all are going up, it makes perfect sense to own gold miners.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Some Monday news

Did the macro exam today, no clue how I did.

Here's news:

The Krugginator - robber baron recessions. Seems someone's been reading that stuff in my blog about how increasing monopoly power causes stagnation:
The argument begins with a seeming paradox about overall corporate behavior. You see, profits are at near-record highs, thanks to a substantial decline in the percentage of G.D.P. going to workers. You might think that these high profits imply high rates of return to investment. But corporations themselves clearly don’t see it that way: their investment in plant, equipment, and technology (as opposed to mergers and acquisitions) hasn’t taken off, even though they can raise money, whether by issuing bonds or by selling stocks, more cheaply than ever before.

How can this paradox be resolved? Well, suppose that those high corporate profits don’t represent returns on investment, but instead mainly reflect growing monopoly power. In that case many corporations would be in the position I just described: able to milk their businesses for cash, but with little reason to spend money on expanding capacity or improving service. The result would be what we see: an economy with high profits but low investment, even in the face of very low interest rates and high stock prices.

And such an economy wouldn’t just be one in which workers don’t share the benefits of rising productivity; it would also tend to have trouble achieving or sustaining full employment. Why? Because when investment is weak despite low interest rates, the Federal Reserve will too often find its efforts to fight recessions coming up short. So lack of competition can contribute to “secular stagnation” — that awkwardly-named but serious condition in which an economy tends to be depressed much or even most of the time, feeling prosperous only when spending is boosted by unsustainable asset or credit bubbles. If that sounds to you like the story of the U.S. economy since the 1990s, join the club.

There are, then, good reasons to believe that reduced competition and increased monopoly power are very bad for the economy. But do we have direct evidence that such a decline in competition has actually happened? Yes, say a number of recent studies, including one just released by the White House. For example, in many industries the combined market share of the top four firms, a traditional measure used in many antitrust studies, has gone up over time.

The obvious next question is why competition has declined. The answer can be summed up in two words: Ronald Reagan.

For Reagan didn’t just cut taxes and deregulate banks; his administration also turned sharply away from the longstanding U.S. tradition of reining in companies that become too dominant in their industries. A new doctrine, emphasizing the supposed efficiency gains from corporate consolidation, led to what those who have studied the issue often describe as the virtual end of antitrust enforcement.
Have fun in the new dark age, everyone!

Polemics Pains - Doha mwaha. Old news from before the trading day, all out of date given the final sentence:
However, imagine the horror if global markets actually end up closing higher on Monday.
Because it turns out they did, and the move in XIV suggests a lot of short options throwing in the towel. Oh well, I'm sure we'll get a fun market when the UK votes to leave the EU. When's that coming again?

Bespoke - R2K closes above 200DMA. Tell me about that coming market crash again, Gary Wordsalad! Are markets still in "bounce" mode? Is sentiment still over bullish by "dumb money"?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Brilliant quote about economics

I'm studying for exams, so I will be posting very little for the next week or so. I need at least 2 A+ out of 4 classes to get a $1500 scholarship, and an A+ requires some level of effort.

In the meantime, here's a brilliant quote about economics:

"If you want to learn about an airplane, the cheapest way to do it is with a model airplane. Maybe you go out and get a build-n-paint f-16 from your local hobby shop. It’s a great way to get details about the appearance and dimensions of a real jet fighter. Or maybe you go out and get a little balsa-wood glider, which is a great way to get an intuition for basic aerodynamics.

But every kid understands implicitly that F-16s are not built by snapping plastic chunks out of molded frames and gluing them together, just as every kid understands that you don’t go to the airport and get strapped onto a giant balsa wood trojan glider and hurled off of a bridge.

As you learn about mainstream economics you will be continuously urged by your textbook to apply the models you are learning to the real world, and you will be faced with constant reminders of the predictive power of these models. But the reason I’m standing here talking to you is to remind you, just as constantly, that every single morning, in offices from Wall Street to the IMF, economists are strapping entire populations to wooden planes and launching them off of bridges, throwing up their hands in helpless befuddlement at the inevitable grisly results, cashing their checks, and heading out for the golf course by 2pm.”

Spoken by a professor, actually. No, not one of mine, unfortunately.