This weeks’ entry is fairly miscellaneous, a consequence both of the amount and variety of news coming out of China and my own hectic schedule, which prevents me from dealing with all of these issues in a more unified way. Between lots of investor meetings and finishing up a number of writing commitments, I am preparing next week to go to New York and Washington for ten days.
As an aside, the timing of my trip was determined by an East Coast tour, centered on New York, which my music label, Maybe Mars, is arranging for some of the best Beijing musicians, including the surreal folk singer Xiao He, one of the most astonishing and creative musicians I have ever worked with. For those of my regular readers based in or near New York who may be interested in checking out the Beijing new-music scene, I strongly recommend that you keep an eye out for the shows, beginning November 5 and running through the end of the month. These guys are really good and I expect a great reaction from the New York music community.
But back to more mundane stuff. Last week’s excellent economic numbers once again reinforced everyone’s existing prejudices. I discussed why in a September 11 entry in response to similar numbers last month. Those who believe that the stimulus package has essentially resolved China’s plight and eliminated its vulnerability to export demand saw the 8.9% year-on-year GDP growth rate (at the lower end of a narrow range of expectations) as proof that Chinese growth has solidly recovered. Andy Rothman at CLSA in a research report released the following day had this interpretation:
Other than GDP coming in just under 9%, no surprises, and we agree with the NBS spokesman, who this morning said ‘the overall situation of the national economy was good.’ We maintain our forecast of about 8% GDP growth for this year, and 8-9% for 2010 (closer to 9% if you expect a US/EU recovery to generate a bit of a net exports boost for China).
He then went on to say something that puzzled me:
The fact that China’s GDP grew by 7.7% in the first nine months of the year while exports were still extremely…
Correspondent David C. summarized the Medicare-like trend in higher-education costs-- double the growth of inflation--and questioned the value of all those "must-have" degrees. David recommended this thought-provoking article: M.I.T. Calls Academia’s Bluff (Gary North) and added these comments:
According to this web site, Financial Aid.com, "A good rule of thumb is that tuition rates will increase at about twice the general inflation rate." I went to Dunwoody College of Technology, AKA private votech, for about $4,000 a year in the early 90s and now it costs about $16,000 a year! After all in our culture, parents are expected to pay the full cost of college. As if one must get a higher education or they’re screwed to a lifetime of crappy lowpaying jobs. Then there’s the snobbish view if you don’t have a college education you’re a moron. Academia pushes the "lifelong learning" dogma as if the only place you can properly learn is in school, they do this of course to increase their customer… I mean students.
I’ve always wondered why the cost to get a "higher" education goes up so much. Is it a conspiracy by the elites/rich to keep poor people ignorant? Or maybe to keep the middle class in debt servitude? Or maybe greedy teacher salaries? Or maybe too much bureaucracy? Or maybe schools that think they need state of the art facilities in order to provide a quality education.
Whatever the reason the increasing costs are going to make a "higher" education from academia impossible for more people. Maybe that’s a blessing in disguise, what is the real value of a college degree these days?
With the average student $20,000 in debt it seems to me
Note: This commentary has been updated to include this morning's release of the March data for Real Personal Income Less Transfer Receipts.
Official recession calls are the responsibility of the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee, which is understandably vague about the specific indicators on which they base their decisions. This committee statement is about as close as they get to identifying their method.
There is, however, a general belief that there are four big indicators that the committee weighs heavily in their cycle identification process. They are:
While there is no doubt that patience is a virtue for investors, exercising prudence is equally important. In our prior article “Limiting Losses”, we examined how taking prudent measures, at certain times, can enhance your ability to create wea...
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Remember this? It was Monday. PRGO is down from around $130 to under $100 since I started following it LAST WEEK. That's down almost 25% in a week, and almost 50% in the last year. So I wrote,
"Perrigo CEO Joseph Papa leaves Perrigo (PRGO) to lead Valeant (VRX) while PRGO issues a warning about missing earnings expectations. Not surprisingly, PRGO stock plummeted today.
Robert Ingram, Chairman of the [Valeant] Board, stated, "The Board has conducted a thorough search process and believes that Joe is the ideal leader for Valeant at this time. He has a strong shareholder orientation,...
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Back on September 2, 2015 when bitcoin was trading at $230, we laid out the simplest and most fundamental reason why, irrelevant of one's ideological persuasion with "alternative" or digital currency - bitcoin would soar.
it was earlier this summer when the digital currency, which can bypass capital controls and national borders with the click of a button, surged on Grexit concerns and fears a Drachma return would crush the savings of an entire nation. Since then, BTC has dropped (in no small part as a result of the ...
Although we try to stay focused on finding and managing promising trade ideas, the comments in the comment section sometimes take a political turn (for access, try PSW — click here!). So today, Jean Luc writes,
The GOP debate last night was just unreal – are these people running to be president of the US or to lead a college fraternity! Comparing tool size? The only guy that looks semi-sane is Kasich. The other guys are just like 3 jackals right now.
And something else – if Trump is the candidate, that little Romney speech yesterday is probably already being made into a commercial. And all these little snippets from the debate will also make some nice ads! If you are a conservative, you have to be scared now.
Phil writes back,
I was expecting them to start throwing poop at each other &n...
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Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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