How Depressing!

Thu, 2009/08/27 - 6:04pm | Your editor

      Nuveen has announced that it will launch next month a new free Internet service covering closed-end funds. It will be comprehensive and unbiased, the research and wealth-management firm claims. When it comes out I will comment on whether the new product will help retail investors evaluate CEFs.

      Nasdaq and the Bovespa (Brazilian exchanges) are negotiating a partnership which may make it possible to cross-trade between the exchanges. A deal will require techical and comemrcial agreement on order-routing.


      To get really depressed, I visit the Seeking Alpha site where my work is sometimes posted and read the reader commentary. Read more »

Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh

Wed, 2009/08/26 - 2:54pm | Your editor

    From Cambridge MA fund flow trackers EPFR Global report: China’s resilient growth has been a key driver of flows into emerging markets equity funds in recent months. During the third week of August, however, doubts about the quality of the loans doled out at breakneck speed by Chinese banks during 1H09 prompted investors to book profits and take some of their recent gains off the table. Read more »

The Elephant and the Gnat

Tue, 2009/08/25 - 2:51pm | Your editor

     This is an issue about an elephant and a gnat. So I am starting with the elephant, based on a report by Michael Kurtz of Macquarie, the Australian brokerage house, on China.

   He writes: “a robust US recovery might pose the principal risk to liquidity-fuelled Chinese domestic asset upside, as a China where exports are humming again would not need to lean so heavily on domestic growth. Hypothetically, this would enable Chinese monetary policy to tighten more aggressively.” Read more »

Precious Metals

Mon, 2009/08/24 - 4:01pm | Your editor

      Analyzing data from the World Gold Council, Canadian brokers Desjardins help explain why the gold price has stalled below $1000 per ounce, despite recent economic upheaval. One would have expected investors to flee into the precious metal in a crisis. Gold after all is an alternative to paper money which is being created ad lib by central banks and governments around the world.


      But instead, gold just sits there. The failure of their predictions has led the community of gold bugs into warnings of evil conspiracies by nefarious cabals. But it may be that the failure of gold to take off is linked to its use as an industrial metal or a combination of store of value and mark of conspicuous consumption. Read more »

Down Nostalgia Way

Fri, 2009/08/21 - 3:26pm | Your editor

*Like your editor an ex-journalist, Canadian fund manager Michael Smedley is always fun to read. He wrote the following for Investor's Digest of Canada:
What I have bought personally this week are a few shares in the faded alternative-energy company that most readers will have forgatting and that is the former $120 gorilla, Ballard Power Systems Inc. (BLD-Toronto). I speculate on its resurrection from the $2 level on a modestly encouraging move into real fuel-cell business. The dream Ballard had about cars has gone and contracts have been announced recently for back-up units in power stations across India and with Motorola in Denmark. Ballard is not debt-affliected, appears to have systems that work realistically, and could see a couple of quarters with profits next year.” Read more »

Closed-End Fund Data

Thu, 2009/08/20 - 7:59pm | Your editor

As noted last week, you cannot get the full Monty Barron's outside the U.S., although some columns are on-line. The now-Murdoch weekly no longer will cover stock prices on the American Stock Exchange, or the Nasdaq (small-cap) Capital Market Listings. It will drop foreign stock-exchange data.


However, Barron's continues to cover closed-end funds (CEFs), with an unfortunate twist. The data will come out on Saturday not for the week that just closed, but for the prior one. It is now collated by fund guru Thomas Herzfeld Advisors from what fund managers send to the Investment Company Institute, the mutual fund industry, with a week's delay. A week is a long time on Wall Street. Read more »

Leaving London

Tue, 2009/08/18 - 8:03pm | Your editor

This is a double issue because we will not be publishing tomorrow.

I would rather be a lender than a borrower in today's market especially if I can get double-digit yields. We tell our paid subscribers how to achieve this below.


Meanwhile credit cards are dangerous. One big risk is that identity thieves can do a lot with your data. A Florida-Russia trio of hackers managed to steal the credit card details of about 130 mn people. Although the leakage was in the U.S., 10% of the victims were British and about as many others from other foreign countries. That's one danger.

  Read more »

The Afghan Fund and The Iraq ETF

Mon, 2009/08/17 - 9:28pm | Your editor

     In 40 years it will be the turn of Afghanistan and Iraq to become hot investment destinations for Americans. And there will be a closed end fund investing in Venezuela. But now the push is to Vietnam. The French after Dienbienphu had absolutely no interest in getting back into the Saigon bourse. They confined their interest in 'Nam to a consortium drilling for offshore oil into which Total invested.


     But G.I. Joe always likes to return to his messes with money with hopes to make out well despite the shambolic departure the last time roung.

  Read more »

Kurtz on China

Fri, 2009/08/14 - 9:40pm | Your editor

Michael Kurtz of Macquarie, the Australian brokerage, sent us a summary of his text from his opinion piece in today's Wall Street Journal Asia published as ‘Beijing Bubblenomics'. He wrote:

“Chinese policy makers have spooked markets into thinking they might soon take away the monetary punch bowl fuelling the local asset recovery. Fears of premature Chinese monetary tightening have also been stoked by recent improvements in the American economy: a China where exports are humming again wouldn't need to rely so much on its own housing market for growth, and thus could afford to reel in liquidity faster. Read more »

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Thu, 2009/08/13 - 2:35am | Your editor

           Different strokes for different folks.

           Today, on grandchildren orders, we walked by the River Lee and the canals of Bow to check on the construction of the Olympic facilities for 2012, when London will host the games. There is plenty of bustle but the structures are much less interesting than the Beijing Bird Cage stadium. But then, the British police will not be arresting their stadium architects to stop them from testifying in a court case against shabbily built schools as occurred in China.

            In fact, the Brits are protecting more than schoolchildren; they're saving the environment and protecting rosebushes and crab-apple trees along the towpaths and bike lanes around the new stadiums. We saw ducks and a heron amidst the metal cranes and dump trucks. Read more »