Shock Exchange?

Mon, 2017/10/30 - 12:43pm | Your editor
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Over the weekend I used an Amazon gift card to buy a book she wanted for our daughter. This proved to be a very complicated matter requiring lots of data to use a different delivery address than the one of my credit card, necessary because there was a ~$5 shortfall on the gift card. I found the whole experience frustating and moreover the amount of possible state and local taxes and postage was not available when I placed my order. I think the hoopla about how internet commerce will wipe out standard shops is overdone. It doesn't help that there no longer is a bookstore within walking distance of my midtown Manhattan home, surely the fault of Amazonian competition. While of course I am very 20th century grumpy shopper and “don't get it” I also think a lot of the people talking up e-commerce haven't actually done much on-line shopping.

Amazon's inefficiency has been a factor in my view of the company since it began. We held a baby shower here for our daughter-in-law and her friends before her first baby was born, where she selected gifts they could order on-line, like boppy pillows for breast-feeding. In the end despite the list, no fewer than 4 were delivered here for her. The economies of scale seem to have fallen by the wayside in pursuit of volume. Wiping out traditional commerce seems to be more important than satisfying customers, to say nothing of making profits.

Amazon is up 2% today on news that its Amazon Web services cloud serviceds will be expanded in cooperation with AT&T, one of my legacy US holdings. However I am not joing the Agora Inc Daily Reckoing in calling for “the death of Amazon” because it will hit anti-trust speedbumps.

 

Asia-Pacific markets are up but European ones are lower despite some progress over Catalonia. It is either fear of tapering or fear of what Paul Manafort and Prof. George Papadopouloscan tell the court about the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Latin American bolsas are also lower. The dollar is also down so the impact on our portfolio, which was hurt last week, is more or less flat.

 

Along with a middle-class tax cut which will be nothing of the sort, the Administration has also stopped the Labor Department proceeding to impose a “fiduciary rule” requiring retirment and pension saving advisors to place the interest of their clients foremost. The rule will now have to be evaluated by the Labor Dept., the SEC, and state regulators and of course it will never be imposed. It is of a piece with the limits being imposted on 401k pension accounts by the Republican Congress and the allegedly populist President.

More for paid subscribers follows from Australia, Bermuda, Britain, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Dutch Antilles, France, India, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and the USA.

 

As is often the case Monday news is dominated by erratic and ill-considered changes in analyst forecasts for companies we cover. Sometimes I figure the only purpose of this stuff is to get people to trade more, but contributors and readers may have a different take on the spate of rating changes by the investment analysts covering the shock exchange rather than the real one.

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