Swissness

Thu, 2013/03/07 - 12:26pm | Your editor
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Today the Swatch Group provocatively published its 2012 report in Schwitzerditsch, the German dialect used in Switzerland. The title page reads: "Gschäftsbricht". Since CEO Nicholas Hayek is of Lebanese extraction, his play on Swissness is a brilliant PR ploy. One of my friends from Paris, an American of Chinese extraction married to a Swiss, had to pass a test in Schwitzerditchs in order to get Swiss nationality. Now she likes to cause confusion among the locals by fluently chatting away in the dialect. The Swiss even have a shibboleth to find out if people speak their version of German. You have to say "kitchen cabinet."

After Mexico's Pres. Peña Neto took on the head of the teachers' union, who was arrested for stealing union funds for a luxury life-style, observers are trying to figure out who his next target will be. My opinion is that after one swing against the left, El Presidente will now try to improve matters by boosting competition in Mexico's overpriced telecoms and media sector. Among the potential targets would be Carles Slim Helu, who remains the richest man in the world, owner of the America Movil telecom empire, and the Salinas Pliego family which contols Mexican TV. Others expect him to take on the powerful Pemex union, which almost certainly also is corrupt, but I expect he will try for a left-and-right balance in where he aims his reforms.

Oops. In my commentary after Maurice's note on UK stamp duty, I said Brits use contracts for accounting to avoid paying the fees. In fact they use contracts for difference.

Yesterday we published a bullish note from Argus on one of our share picks; today we publish one from Morningstar about another, which is even more bullish. Our team aim to find these great stocks before the mainsteam analysts discover them. We have it easier, with a short hierarchy, less regulation (we are covered by Freedom of the Press and are paid by our readers and no one else), and smarts. We also aim to beat index-tracking exchange-traded funds, which are loaded down with big kahunas which may be too big to grow.

We have news today from Canada, Britain, Finland, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Ireland, and Mexico.

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