by phil - October 26th, 2010 8:10 am
This was an interesting event!
On May 17th 1792, twenty-four stock brokers met under a buttonwood tree outside 68 Wall Street and agreed to set up the New York Stock and Exchange board. The tree was a symbol of Wall Street, but also, it was where people originally met to trade, to discuss and to argue.
The Economist has done an excellent job of keeping the tradition alive by bringing together top global financial executives, policymakers, global regulators and opinion leaders to discuss and debate proposed guidelines for the financial community, seeking to bridge fundamental financial issues with macroeconomic and geopolitical viewpoints.
As I mentioned yesterday, I usually don’t like conferences but not only did I find myself sitting between BOE Governor Mervyn King and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz but we got to watch my favorite economics rap video together and even met the guys who created it from EconStories, who have lots of good videos on their site (of a more serious nature).
The conference itself does not take itself too seriously. Even Nassim Taleb was able to make a few jokes while explaining to us why the financial system is irrevocably screwed up unless we give it a major overhaul. Taleb’s main points were:
- People are inherently greedy.
- The Financial Crisis was caused by and increase of hidden risks that was encouraged by the rules set forth in Basel II
- Multiple exposure to low-probability, high-risk events accumulate to high probability of bad outcome (Taleb’s "Black Swan").
- Bonus packages and compensation encourage very bad risky behavior. Stock options that offer potential upside and no downside encourage the maxing of risk-taking by potential beneficiaries.
- This leads to a banking system where all the traders get rich and all the investors become poor.
- There is a general,.chronic underestimation of risk and business schools reinforce this bad behavior.
- Regulation gives investors a false sense of security.
- Capitalism must be symmetrical – bonus without penalties (clawbacks, etc.) must be eliminated.
When I am at one of these conferences, I like to watch the audience reaction to what is being said. Here we have a gathering of the World’s movers and shakers and sometimes the reaction to what is being said is more important than the thing that is said. For instance, my note on Taleb’s comment that regulations give investors a false sense of security is that…
by ilene - July 26th, 2010 3:37 pm
How do we explain our shift towards Long/Short balance when the economic news appears so discouraging? There’s an interesting article in TIME discussing why multinational companies may be doing well their worldly operations, even though our U.S. economic appears terminally ill. As Zachary Karabell writes in "With Stocks, It’s Not the Economy:
Stocks are no longer mirrors of national economies; they are not — as is so commonly said — magical forecasting mechanisms. They are small slices of ownership in specific companies, and today, those companies have less connection to any one national economy than ever before.
As a result, stocks are not proxies for the U.S. economy, or that of the European Union or China, and markets are deeply unreliable gauges of anything but the underlying strength of the companies they represent and the schizophrenic mind-set of the traders who buy and sell the shares. There has always been a question about just how much of a forecasting mechanism markets are. Hence the saying that stocks have correctly predicted 15 of the past nine recessions. At times, stocks soar as the economy sours (in 1975, for instance) or sour when the economy soars (as with China’s stock market, the Shanghai stock exchange, in the past year).
Decoupling, of course is a matter of degree. In the long run, the world economy is affected by the economies of all the nations that make up the world, and businesses do not conduct themselves in a vacuum. Some special cases may thrive in the worst of conditions, but most companies probably will not, and eventually the world’s economies will have some impact on the multinational corporations. Thus, we have not changed our tepid view of the U.S. economy and the stock market’s prospects for the longer term. As David Rosenberg writes in his market thoughts earlier today, at Zero Hedge, "Ever Wondered How You Know You Are In A Depression?":
Everyone seems to be basing their view on the economic outlook from what the stock market is telling them – so one week it is a return to recession, and now that the market is surging, we must be in some sort of boom. Coincident indicators out of Europe has everyone convinced that the
by ilene - July 18th, 2010 1:39 pm
Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN
America must decide what type of country it wishes to be, and then conform public and foreign policy to those ends, and not the other way around. Politicians have no right to subjugate the constitutional process of government to any foreign organization.
Secrecy, except in very select military matters, is repugnant to the health of a democratic government, and is almost always a means to conceal a fraud. Corporations are not people, and do not have the rights of individuals as such.
Banks are utilities for the rational allocation of capital created by savings, and as utilities deserve special protections. All else is speculation and gambling. In banking, simpler and more stable is better. Low cost rules, as excessive financialisation is a pernicious tax on the real economy.
Financial speculation, as opposed to entrepreneurial investment, creates little value, serving largely to transfer wealth from the many to the few, often by exploiting the weak, and corrupting the law. It does serve to identify and correct market inefficiencies, but this benefit is vastly overrated, because those are quickly eliminated. As such it should be allowed, but tightly regulated and highly taxed as a form of gambling.
When the oligarchy’s enablers, hired help is the politer word, and assorted useful idiots ask, "But how then will we do this or that?" ask them back, "How did we do it twenty years ago?" Before the financial revolution and the descent into a bubble economy and a secretive and largely corrupted government with a GDP whose primary product is fraud.
Other nations, such as China, are surely acting for their own interests, and in many cases the interests of their people, much more diligently and effectively than the kleptocrats who are in power in Washington and New York these days. How then could we possibly subvert the Constitution and the welfare of the people to unelected foreign organizations? If this requires a greater reliance on self-sufficiency, then so be it. America is large enough to see to its own, as the others see to theirs.
by ilene - March 19th, 2010 5:14 pm
This should be a fun and educational interview – mark your calendar for Sunday evening, 8 pm ET. – Ilene
Courtesy of Larry Doyle
I am thrilled to have Phil Davis join me this coming Sunday evening from 8-9 pm ET on No Quarter Radio’s Sense on Cents with Larry Doyle. Phil is one of the most widely followed financial market strategists today; he operates the highly visited website, Phil’s Stock World. In addition, Phil is a fellow contributing author at the popular financial website, Seeking Alpha. From Seeking Alpha, we learn more about Phil and why thousands follow his writing and insights:
Philip R. Davis is a founder of Phil’s Stock World (www.philstockworld.com), a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders. Mr. Davis is a serial entrepreneur, having founded software company Accu-Title, a real estate title insurance software solution, and is also the President of the Delphi Consulting Corp., an M&A consulting firm that helps large and small companies obtain funding and close deals. He was also the founder of Accu-Search, a property data corporation that was sold to DataTrace in 2004 and Personality Plus, a precursor to eHarmony.com. Phil was a former editor of a UMass/Amherst humor magazine and it shows in his writing — which is filled with colorful commentary along with very specific ideas on stock option purchases (Phil rarely holds actual stocks).
Please join me and Phil Davis this Sunday evening for what will assuredly be not only an education, but a riveting and engaging conversation as well. Do a friend a favor and share this with them. They will thank you.
by ilene - November 11th, 2009 12:47 pm
$2.5 Trillion – That’s the size of of the global oil scam.
It’s a number so large that, to put it in perspective, we will now begin measuring the damage done to the global economy in "Madoff Units" ($50Bn rip-offs). That’s right – $2.5Tn is 50 TIMES the amount of money that Bernie Madoff scammed from investors in his lifetime, yet it is also LESS than the MONTHLY EXCESS price the global population is being manipulated into paying for a barrel of oil.
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, BP, TOT, Shell, DB and Societe General founded the Intercontinental Exchange in 2000. ICE is an online commodities and futures marketplace. It is outside the US and operates free from the constraints of US laws. The exchange was set up to facilitate "dark pool" trading in the commodities markets. Billions of dollars are being placed on oil futures contracts at the ICE and the beauty of this scam is that they NEVER take delivery, per se. They just ratchet up the price with leveraged speculation using your TARP money. This year alone they ratcheted up the global cost of oil from $40 to $80 per barrel.
A Congressional investigation into energy trading in 2003 discovered that ICE was being used to facilitate "round-trip" trades. Round-trip” trades occur when one firm sells energy to another and then the second firm simultaneously sells the same amount of energy back to the first company at exactly the same price. No commodity ever changes hands. But when done on an exchange, these transactions send a price signal to the market and they artificially boost revenue for the company. This is nothing more than a massive fraud, pure and simple.
"Traders of the the ICE core membership (GS, MS, BP, DB, RDS.A, GLE & TOT) wouldn’t really have to put much money at risk by their standards in order to move or support the global market price via the BFOE market. Indeed the evolution of the Brent market has been a response to declining production and the fact that traders could not resist manipulating the market by buying up contracts and “squeezing” those who had sold oil they did not have. The fewer cargoes produced, the easier the underlying market is to manipulate." – Chris Cook, Former Director of the International Petroleum Exchange, which was bought by ICE.