"If money isn't loosened up, this sucker could go down" - George W. Bush warned in September 2008

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Really good links - Momentum and EMH - Greece - Bequests - Financial analysts and company guidance - Germany

Gavyn Davies - Efficient market hypothesis and the puzzling success of momentum strategies - "Andrew Haldane is an economist at the Bank of England who writes some of the most interesting stuff available on the (mis)behaviour of the financial sector, and I recommend his recent speech on Patience and Finance. This argues that patience (or long-sightedness) is an economic virtue, the exercise of which should lead to faster GDP growth, higher returns to fund managers, and a sounder financial system. However, the part of his speech which I found most fascinating seemed to contradict this conclusion. This is an assessment of investment strategies which are based on momentum in asset prices, rather than long term economic fundamentals. Momentum wins the race hands down."

Michael Lewis - Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds - "Greece--a nation of about 11 million people, or two million fewer than Greater Los Angeles...Add it all up and you got about $1.2 trillion, or more than a quarter-million dollars [in government debt] for every working Greek."

Adam Ozimek - How to fund existence - "The implication that Becker and Murphy draw from this is that parents who do not leave bequests have no mechanism to compensate themselves for having more children, and thus they are under-producing children. They therefore conclude that poor people have too few children, and rich people have just the right amount. Go ahead, read that last sentence again."

Tony Jackson - Financial analysts - "Companies emit a torrent of public information, and are formally constrained from saying anything else. The analyst is thus reduced to going cap in hand to the company for a few crumbs of enlightenment. Those crumbs are dispensed on agreed terms. If the analyst persists in deviating from the official line, he/she may be cut off. For why should the company waste time on the recalcitrant?
        This situation is not merely tolerated by regulators, but is in large part their creation. Anecdote has it that one London analyst recently had a call from the UK’s Financial Services Authority.
        Why, the FSA allegedly asked, was the analyst’s forecast so far from the consensus? Did that not imply inside information? What was going on? If true – and I cannot vouch for it – this strikes a note of real pathos for my old profession. Forecasts from the company are only as good as the company’s powers of clairvoyance. Attempting to do better – to think independently – ought to be the analyst’s job."

Lawrence White - Ludwig Erhard - "Germany's new Social Democratic Party wanted to continue the controls and rationing, and some American advisers agreed, particularly John Kenneth Galbraith. Galbraith, an official of the U.S. State Department overseeing economic policy for occupied Germany and Japan, had been the U.S. price-control czar from 1941-1943; he completely dismissed the idea of reviving the German economy through decontrol.
        Fortunately for ordinary Germans, Erhard—who became director of the economic administration for the U.K.-U.S. occupation Bizone in April 1948—thought otherwise."

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