Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Live entertainment

Today we received in the mail what at first glance appeared to be an invitation to the open house of a new school. When we looked a bit closer, we decided it's for an upcoming Halloween party.

It's neither. To find out where all this fun is taking place, you also may need to take a closer look (e.g., click on the invitation, see address at the bottom).

Seeking guidance from Investopedia, we immediately unearthed defunct company, graveyard market (the investors can't get out of it, and the investors who aren't in it don't want to be — likely not even at the visitation centre), tombstone (which provides investors with bare bones information on a security), zombies (also known as the living dead), ghosting (a rather illegal practice), and witching hour (the heavy trading of the last hour — once in a while, happy hour in our experience). There are more...

Anyhoo... We are dead sure business must be good. If you're alive and fancy a defunct company, drop by.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Markets at dusk?

In his book The Great Depression Ahead (Simon & Schuster, January 2009) Harry S. Dent, Jr. predicts the following:

The economy appears to recover from the subprime crisis and minor recession by mid-2009 — "the calm before the real storm."

Stock prices start to crash again between mid- and late 2009 into late 2010, and likely finally bottom around mid-2012 — between Dow 3,800 and 7,200.

This points to a sr. dent in the markets right ahead of us, or a jr. dent in soothsaying right behind us...

Image: Boston at dusk, view from the 13th floor. Photo by il.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Animal spirits, the movie

At the end of the day, someone gets the money. Or the girl.

The remarkable writer and Financial Times journalist Gillian Tett, who also knows how to milk a goat (it is wise to have something to fall back on), introduced us to social anthropology through her research in a Tajik village. The action depicted in this post, presented to you courtesy of our friend Hannes Kruger from Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve, was captured in South Africa's Kruger National Park. Not on Wall Street, in spite of the similarities. There, at the closing bell the action is far from over...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tears gas

We already knew of real gas, ideal gas, perfect gas, and Boyle's Law. Noble gases. And a few others. Stomach gas too. We learned a lot recently, on a less fortuitous note, about natural gas (natgas in the lingo of experts burned by it).

Extra-strength gas reliefIn physics, a gas is a state of matter that consists of a collection of particles, without a definite shape or volume, that are in more or less random motion. So too in investments, it seems.

This week finally provided some relief, and the opportunity to dump some HNU, which when held in the wrong trend, at the wrong time, or for too long vaporizes through fissures such as daily rebalancing, contango, and the rollover of futures contacts.

HNU.TO July-Sept 2009No laughing gas this one. Not particularly natural either. We understand so much better now why that rotting cabbage smell...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Under-the-covers Economist

Interesting developments are always taking place in the field of economics. After Bhutan, Costa Rica, and a recent French report, it's becoming inevitable:

Man does not live by GDP alone. A new report urges statisticians to capture what people do live by. [..]

In recent years economists have therefore been looking at other measures of well-being — even "happiness", a notion that it once seemed absurd to quantify.
We are scratching our heads trying to determine what would the stimulus package be in case the economy goes into a recession once the new GDH economic indicator is in effect. We speculate it would have something to do with either latex products, Viagra, or both. Which leads to our next dilemma.

Now, we here at financial tactics do not have the means to keep an undercover economist on staff. Not even a fictitious economist, of any sort. (Nor a more prolific writer, for that matter. Hence our low post count.) We therefore address our quandary to the real expert in the field. Virtually, of course.

Dear Economist,

We have a question, which has puzzled us for a while now, for the Undercover Economist in your employ.

Considering that sperm cell counts have fallen by 50 per cent worldwide since 1940, or so according to a Danish study, apparently due to an increase in pollutants such as petroleum by-products and polychlorinated biphenyls (though we strongly suspect this has more to do with the stressful overtime activity that the employed male of the species is forced to undertake), how would you advise (purely from an economic point of view) to handle a prophylactic full of LNG (Liquefied Nomadic Gametes): Carefully drop it into the recycle bin? Relegate it to the compost bin (towards the generation of somewhat fertile soil)?! Dispose of it in the rubbish bin (though what we have over here are mere garbage cans)?

financial tactics, Toronto

Milky Way? Astral plane? Knighting of the ghosts?

As a matter of fact, none of the above. It's one of ft's editorial offices at night. More specifically, the lights of the modem, router, power suply, phone (unlike others, over here we do know how to access the phone mail), mouse, and keyboard.

How can someone make money out of this? It's a legitimate question. Let's see. Sell the office furniture and invest the proceeds in natural-gas futures?

As always, history may offer a better solution.

Professor Thomas F. X. Noble blends cultural, political, and economic topics in his course The Foundations of Western Civilization.
The period from 900 to 1300 was one of the longest eras of sustained growth in world history. Political Europe expanded physically as new states emerged, the European population grew as never before, the European economy achieved unprecedented levels of prosperity, while new technologies were introduced.
The correct answer, then. Do not sell the office furniture. Money is bound to follow. Eventually...


The pigs are pumping ship corrosion-free

Some light is being shed on the copper quandary:

Pig farmers and other speculators may have amassed more than 50,000 metric tons [of copper], Jeremy Goldwyn, who oversees business development in Asia for London-based Sucden, wrote in an e-mailed report after a visit to China. That's about half the level of inventories tallied by the Shanghai Futures Exchange, which stood last week at a two-year high of 97,396 tons.
See China’s Pig Farmers Amass Copper, Nickel, Sucden Says.

Well, now we are wondering who bought all that sugar...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

And no one knows why the wine is flowing...

Good grief, time flies. Who would have thought!? A friend of mine became, just like that, a grandma. (A very young one, it should be noted, just to be on the safe side.) It all happened overnight. Yesterday worried about the upcoming geometry test, today grandma. QED... Hi there, baby. Howdy, grandma!

Iceberg, Greenland
And Welcome, welcome cries a voice,
Let all my guests come in.

Sunset, Greenland
All this business of time flies babies et al. makes one ponder even deeper and wider. So, here it is. We should do our better best, so that the new babies of today and their babies of tomorrows will enjoy this planet as much as we still do. We are all party guests of these majestic green lands, and should pay our respects to the generous host. Time is running out. Let's not throw scraps beyond the garden wall...

Images: Greenland, photos by fs.