This will be a point/counterpoint analysis. Kaiser, unbeknownst to him until now and fresh off a trip to Germany, will supply the counterpoint.
A common investing theme is that Russia is the place to put your money. Why?
Burgeoning middle class!!
Heavily educated human capital base from which to draw!!
More oil than T. Boone Pickens!!
Business friendly, and otherwise unfriendly, Dictator Tsar General-Secretary President Putin!!
Tradition of outlining and executing 3-5 year plans!!
Tradition of strongly protected property rights, economic openness and political stability!!
Literature with greats like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn!!
And for the kids…GULAGS!!
Well sorry to be the turd in the blinchiki but Russia is jockeying to try and do the only thing they know to try and do: nuke the USA and rule the world. They don’t care about economic openness. They don’t care about working hard and they don’t believe in capitalism. They want three things, in no specific order.
To do evil.
It is an entire nation which channels the ethos of lazy ammoral kleptocracy. When I was there 11 years ago, my main takeaway is that if there is one redeeming quality about Russia it is the null set. When I have studied Russia, it has seemed like a good place to be unhappy, or to be purged, or to be evil, or to die from nuclear fallout, or to have your loans defaulted on and your money swindled.
And Russia is not a place to invest money for these very same reasons. They don’t have ethics. They refuse to live without corruption which would make a Chinese Judge blush. They are both willing and able to expropriate any foreign direct investment. And don’t think they aren’t still cooking up ways to drop Cuban paratroopes into small unsuspecting Coloradan towns.
Russia is a place to FEAR. Avoid buying stocks, bonds, derivatives and any other security or financial interest which are dependent upon Russian assets….Unless you look forward to waking up a year or two for now and opening your personal portfolio account and wondering “Hey where did my Gazprom go!” as you look at a ‘Thank you Comrade’ note signed “Sincerely, V Putin.”
Recommendation: Ask your financial advisor about low cost index funds which track the Moscow Stock exchange. Then, “do not buy” them.
Piracy used to be an important industry providing raping and pillaging services for emerging market economies and sovereign states. Fine countries such as Trinidad and Tobago were built on the pirate economy. Can you imagine England if pirates hadn’t been around? It would now be the United Kingdom of Mexico and London would be New Seville, had it not been for an enterprising fleet of bucaneers.
Over the past couple decades, shipping companies, luxury cruiselines and international boating have all seen large increases in net profits. However, there has not been a commensurate rise in piratery.
Piratery provides a compelling ROI for the entrepeneurial seaman. For an investment of $20-30k in a boat, some deckhands and rental cutlasses, a pirate captain can realize a 50-60% ROI in one year. Of course, this only holds true given the proper locale. For example, the coast of Somalia is a competitive, if fragmented, market. Investing there is a bad risk reward proposition for a variety of reasons. See Somali Pirates Out of Control or Somali Pirates Free Ship After Month of Captivity or Pirates Attack Cruisership or the free daily paper’s headline from yesterday simply titled “ARGH!” for more details.
But setting up a lair in a place like Isla Margarita, located off the northern coast of Venenzuela, would be an environment with relatively low piratery penetration but proximity to major cruiseline and OPEC oil routes. An added bonus, Isla Margarita is where non-pirate berserker Lope de Aguirre reached his crescendo.
You need to strike while the iron is hot and not be heedin any naysayers or scallywags. Piratery is your path to financial freedom. You’ll be flying the skull & crossbones over a Jupiter, FL mansion in no time.
Recommendation: Depending on your investing horizon, commence pirate raids on commercial trading routes immediately or ask your financial advisor about low cost index funds which track the piratery index. Swig a few shots of Mount Gay, if need be.
Long or Short Capital has completed extensive fundmental analysis of the pillow market. After surveys, studies, and focus groups a few conclusions have become obvious:
Some of these conclusions are surprising given the current state of the pillow market. For instance, in the US, FPEs per Human Head are running at almost 3.4x vs. the 1.0x optimal level. Note that this estimate includes almost 6 decorative pillows per household (or 1.2 FPEs). Meanwhile, FPEs per Human Head are approximately 0.1x in developing economies such as Malaysia and Zimbabwe and around 0.6x in China, the world’s most populous country.
We feel strongly that these trends will converge in the long term with the US (and Europe, to a lesser extent) reducing their consumption of frilly, non-functional pillows and developing countries upgrading from rocks to pillows for head support. Our surveys of starving third world citizens find that pillows run fifth on desired items following only clean water, freedom, blond hair and Pampers for the kids. This presents an attractive investment opportunity.
We are recommending a pair trade: Go long pillow makers with emerging market focus and short domestic pillow makers.
People who decry the fact that businesses are in business “just to make money” seldom understand the implications of what they are saying. You make money by doing what other people want, not what you want.
This is Thomas Sowell’s succinct and accurate rebuttal to all those who decry the manifold splendor of capitalism and stuff. Amazing.
But this statement is equally true about monkeys throwing feces. Especially when I change the words.
People who decry the fact that monkeys who throw feces are throwing feces “just to throw feces” seldom understand the implications of what they are saying. Monkeys who throw feces throw feces by doing what other monkeys want, not what they want.
In the middle of a European trip I have discovered that Germans are trying to take over the world, again. The combination of their industrious efficiency and unquestionable respect for authority caused the first two world wars and it’s only a matter of time before it happens again.
Signs Germans will take over the world:
1. I can choose the exact temperature of the water in my shower here
2. They all open and start their cars with fingerprints instead of keys
3. The most popular station at the spa is the ice cold bath (it’s really f-ckin cold, only people plotting world domination would wait in line to be that cold)
4. The women are slightly attractive, but the whole talking in German thing kind of ruins it, thus the ugliness of the language will prevent the men from becoming distracted.
5. The floor of the mini-fridge is a scale, when I pick up a bottle, the fridge knows how much each product weighs and shows me the price on a screen. If I pick up two items at the same time, it says “Only touch one item at a time”
I would tell you to brush up on your German in preparation for their rise to power, but don’t bother they all already speak English anyway.
Recommendation: Long the German military industrial complex.
This post could have been titled “We tried to sell-out but Google wouldn’t let us.” Why wouldn’t they let us? Because Google’s Firefox referral is a complete abject failure — we didn’t get paid for any of our referred downloads. Live and learn. Bye Google referral, we’d rather invest our money in lime futures than waste sidebar space with your link.
This week we have better sell out. Adverts in our RSS feed. Yahoo finally has them and we’re going to stick them in, and report the results one week from today. And you’re going to love them because who doesn’t love ads???
I’ve often heard that you can spot tourists in NYC or San Fran because they are the ones staring up at the buildings. But I realized today that if you follow that advice, you always end up mistaking architecture students for tourists.
Quarter-to-date performance has been excellent and revenue is growing in the low triple digits. The subscriber base has been growing at a modest rate, so Longorshort has exhibited significant dividend growth leverage. Via my model, the implied current market capitalization of Longorshort is $12,545 and each subscriberstake is worth $193. To be fair, my model wasn’t designed to analyze this kind of investment, but it is otherwise incredible in its brilliance and accuracy.
Cash flow. We all know what it is. Everybody wants some. In light of our new Long or Short Capital dividend policy, we need it. But how do we get it?
Simple. Sell out as much as possible. Each Saturday we will try and take it down a notch and whore ourselves in new and shameless ways. As part of the deal, the following Saturday we’ll let you know how successful our greed was.
This week’s sellout: Download the limited edition Firefox through the button on the top left of the sidebar. This only applies to people who don’t have Firefox installed already.
You can put cash money in our pockets and make us rich beyond your wildest dreams. Don’t know what the Firefox browser is and why it is good to use? Well we don’t know either, but rumor has it that it turns html into gold and sends it directly into your bank account. Either that or it makes you 4 inches taller and 3x as smart.
Each time you download Firefox and install it, use it, and love it, Google issues us a single share in their company. Or gives us a dollar. We’re unsure about that part.
Download it now before Google runs out of Firefoxes and has to make more.
Update: This will no longer work, since we removed the button.
This Marketwatch headline just caught my attention.
Game over for Chinese Internet game operators?
I have no opinion as to the veracity of that statement, but it got me thinking: why do these silly little journalists even bother hiding the fact that they don’t actually do any sort of journalistic research? Instead they just take the subject matter for an article, figure out a pun title and and have a team of monkeys* fill the rest.
Do newspaper firms even do old-school style journalism anymore? Why not shift the paradigm overtly and stop paying lip service to research? Just report the world based on low hanging puns. Think of the brave new world we could create! Everything reported would be thin slice reactions based not on events but the visceral vocabularic responses which they inspire.
You wake up, put on your mumu and go straight to marketwatch.com to see the latest news:
RIMM results are Berry Good
Revlon Attempts to put a Good Face on Results
Caterpillar Demolishes Estimates
P&G Numbers Need a Swiffer Picker-Upper
SC Johnson Results Go Down the Drano
Analysts Examine ConAgra 3Q05 Net Income and Wonder: Where’s the Beef?
Ipod Competition Seeks to Take a Bite Out of Apple
Investors are Stone Cold as WWE Wrestles With Declining Ratings
Rob Glaser Rhapsodizes on Real’s Future
Lack of Toy Sales Spell ‘Dr Doom’ for Marvel
When I buy a newspaper company, or, more likely am handed one for free as I walk up from the subway, it’s going to be amazing. Investors will thank me, ladies will love me. Truth is much harder to produce and less marketable than superficial entertainment.
Recommendation: A savvy private equity firm should pick-up some newspapers on the cheap and apply the Game Over Paradigm; it would be Game Over for the competition.
Mr Juggles advised on this article
* People know monkeys for their proclivity for eating bananas and flinging their feces, but few know of the unparallelled productivity which a properly incented monkey is capable of. A few bananas go a long way
Combining the web, real estate speculation and networking effects, the milliondollarhomepage.com is a tribute to abstract brilliance. That is precisely the kind of thinking that leads to oversized wealth or companies built direct marketing and affilliate relationships like Cendant. Creating value from thin air. Awesome.
For people thinking about buying a 10 pixel square for $100, think about 1) the value of an inbound link from a Google Page Rank 7 site and 2) how many clicks over the 5 year holding period which you would need to come out money good. 5 clicks a day for 5 years brings you at capital cost of $0.01 per click.
Recommendation: Long the milliondollarhomepage, buy buy buy
In a throwaway article about drug trafficking (link) on ESPN.com, I noticed something that I found to be amazing.
GBL, or gamma butyrolactone, is sold under the counter at retailers and gyms with claims to build muscle, improve physical performance, enhance sex..
Seems consistent, nothing interesting…but then we continue..
..reduce stress and induce sleep.
These things seems to be in opposition. How can something enhance sex/improve physical performance AND induce sleep? But, wait, there’s more…
When taken orally, GBL is converted to the “date-rape” drug GHB, or gamma hydroxybutyrate.
It’s also a Forget-Me-Now pill! What’s a Forget-Me-Now? According to Gob from Arrested Development:
pills that create a sort of temporary forgettingness. So if somebody finds out how you do a trick, you just give ‘em one of these, and they forget the whole thing. It’s a mainstay of the magician’s toolkit, like how clowns always have a rag soaked in ether.
These pills are the right mouse button of pharmaceuticals, capable of anything depending on the context. GBL — the one stop drug for a man who wants to enhance his sexual performance to perform date rape via the “Forget Me” method, and then still be able to sleep anxiety free later on.
Recommendation: Pending FDA approval, which we assume will come any day now for a pharmaceutical product with so many important uses, our massive stockpile of GBH will become liquid gold.