Monday, July 10, 2006

Looking around, catching up

The more tired I am, the harder I find it to concetrate, so there will be no academic journal articles today. Hopefully tomorrow. But in the mean time, we can catch up on several "news" items that have crossed my monitor today:

*I hated to hear last week that Ken Lay died. I was disappointed. Not (as I heard a person on the radio say) because he did not get to serve time or even be sentenced, but because he was a human being who died. Sure, he made mistakes, but that does not mean we can not be upset that he died.

BTW Being out of communication for much of the week, I had no idea of some of the apparent controversy which I find even more troubling that there are people out there who believe such things. (but thank you for sending the article to me. Just wish I knew who anonymousstudent was ;) In my mind, you are laughing at the article as well :)

*Richard Grasso wants to make a comeback. From the NY Times Sunday Magazine:
"Grasso is intent on proving to his critics...those NYSE board members who voted for his ouster after the pay package was first revealed and the chorus of detractors who have emerged since—that they were wrong to throw him out of office, wrong to suggest that he wasn’t worth the money, wrong to imply there was anything sneaky in the way he amassed it. “Being chairman of the stock exchange was the best job I ever had and the only job I ever wanted,” he says. “But having the experience of being thrown out the door the way I was means I have to come back...."
I have no doubt that he has the ability, but getting a second chance is often a large part public perception, so I would not hold my breath.

* Jimmy Rogers predicts $100 oil in the next 15 years. Ok, I can live with that. Indeed, I will agree with him. Over the next 15 years that would only be about a 2% annual increase. So the real question is how much over $100 it will get and when. From Reuters:
"Oil prices will soar to well over $100 a barrel and stay high as part of a sustained commodities bull run that has another 15 years to run, billionaire U.S. investor Jim Rogers told Reuters in an interview.

One factor that could bring down the price would be a bird flu epidemic, which would send all asset classes plummeting, he said, although oil would probably fall less than other markets."

* Ben Stein posted some interesting (and largely correct) recommendations over at Finance.Yahoo. While I did not check his numbers, if true they are horrifying.
For instance:
"...if you liquidated every farm, factory, home, office building, oil well, port, warehouse, apartment building, and every other darned thing in this country and put the value into one huge bond, it would not be enough to pay off our future Medicare liabilities. And that's not factoring in the drug benefit."
After painting this very gloomy picture, he gives the great advice of:
  1. "We're on our own. So go to your financial advisor and make a serious plan to save until it hurts. If it doesn't hurt, you're not saving enough."
  2. "...give very serious thought to the stocks of emerging market nations like Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, India, China, and even the tricky Russia. These nations are growing like gangbusters"
I saw one of his books in the airport yesterday. Maybe I should have picked it up.

* PBS has a three part show on Warren Buffett that airs this week. Don't miss it!
"PBS' Charlie Rose begins a three-part series about the legendary financier that looks at all aspects of one of the world's wealthiest men
Tonight: The Man. What is Warren Buffet really like — and what are his interests beyond finance and philanthropy?

Tuesday: The Business. Buffett discusses his keys for successful investing — but does not make specific investment recommendations.

Wednesday: The Gift. A closer look at his friendship with Bill Gates, which led to the recent combining of much of their vast fortunes for charitable ends.

"This is Warren Buffett in his own words," says Rose, who interviewed Buffett on-and-off for this series since 2004. Rose also is working on a documentary about Buffett. "He's a friend," Rose says. "This is not an analysis of his investment record. It's his story."
* Speaking of Warren Buffett, would someone please explain to me why people are upset that he is giving away his fortune? I have tired to understand it, and can't. It is his money. If he wants to give it away, he can. If he wants to burn it up, he can. I totally stand by my original position that he is helping a great many people and deserves to be lauded, not criticized. For instance from Yahoo and Tedd Rall:
"Consider a burglar who boosts your TV and then, thinking better of it, donates it to an orphanage. His act of generosity beats the alternative--keeping it for himself. But you'd probably prefer that he'd returned it to you, or better yet, never stolen it at all."
Silly. Just silly.

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