Friday, April 18, 2014

Horizon Kinetics: Q1 2014 Commentary

Jamie Dimon's Letter to Shareholders

The Fed’s balance sheet has gone from $1 trillion in 2007 to an estimated $4.5 trillion by the end of this year. Some feel the Fed’s QE policies have been too aggressive and ultimately will be inflationary. Additionally, there is a fear that ending QE will be risky and complex, particularly since QE has little precedence.

We cannot predict the future, and it is rational to have a healthy fear of new and untested policies. However, we think it will be helpful to put some of these issues in perspective, too.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

British Pathé Puts Over 85,000 Historical Films on YouTube

British Pathé was one of the leading producers of newsreels and documentaries during the 20th Century. This week, the company, now an archive, is turning over its entire collection — over 85,000 historical films – to YouTube. 
The archive — which spans from 1896 to 1976 – is a goldmine of footage, containing movies of some of the most important moments of the last 100 years. It’s a treasure trove for film buffs, culture nerds and history mavens everywhere.
 The videos are available to watch HERE.

Excerpt from Warren Buffett’s 1957 Partnership Letter

An excerpt from Warren Buffett’s 1957 letter that may be useful to think about in regards to current stock market levels:
In last year's letter to partners, I said the following: 
My view of the general market level is that it is priced above intrinsic value. This view relates to blue-chip securities. This view, if accurate, carries with it the possibility of a substantial decline in all stock prices, both undervalued and otherwise. In any event I think the probability is very slight that current market levels will be thought of as cheap five years from now. Even a full-scale bear market, however, should not hurt the market value of our work-outs substantially. 
If the general market were to return to an undervalued status our capital might be employed exclusively in general issues and perhaps some borrowed money would be used in this operation at that time. Conversely, if the market should go considerably higher our policy will be to reduce our general issues as profits present themselves and increase the work-out portfolio.   
All of the above is not intended to imply that market analysis is foremost in my mind. Primary attention is given at all times to the detection of substantially undervalued securities. 
The past year witnessed a moderate decline in stock prices. I stress the word "moderate" since casual reading of the press or conversing with those who have had only recent experience with stocks would tend to create an impression of a much greater decline. Actually, it appears to me that the decline in stock prices has been considerably less than the decline in corporate earning power under present business conditions. This means that the public is still very bullish on blue chip stocks and the general economic picture. I make no attempt to forecast either business or the stock market; the above is simply intended to dispel any notions that stocks have suffered any drastic decline or that the general market, is at a low level. I still consider the general market to be priced on the high side based on long term investment value.

Professor Woo Wing Thye on Malaysia's economic performance since 1970

What has Malaysia’s economic and political trajectory been since its formation? Was the May 13th incident and the suspension of Parliament a derailment of the positive trajectory that we were on? Professor Woo, President of the newly established Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia, talks about the watershed moment in the country’s recent economic history and argues for a bi-partisan consensus around “an inclusive national development” plan as the only way forward.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Howard Schultz on Charlie Rose

Link to interview: Howard Schultz on Charlie Rose

Free Kindle book...

The author's (Meb Faber) description:
Our newest book is free on Amazon for the next five days, so download a copy now and let us know what you think! 
If you don't have a Kindle or iPad you can download the Kindle software to your computer.  It looks best on a device that allows color since there are over 35 charts and tables.
You can also find more information on our new ETF, the Cambria Global Value (GVAL) on our website here:

UPDATE: His book from last year is free on Kindle as well, HERE.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still (Episode 6)


Quote this episode brought to by mind:

“I, a universe of atoms, an atom in the universe.” ―Richard P. Feynman

Marcus Aurelius quote

“Say to yourself first thing in the morning: today I might meet with people who are meddling, ungrateful, aggressive, treacherous, malicious and unsocial. All this has afflicted them through their ignorance of true good and evil. But I have seen that the nature of good is what is right, and the nature of evil what is wrong; and I have reflected that the nature of the offender himself is akin to my own - not a kinship of blood or seed, but a sharing in the same mind, the same fragment of divinity. Therefore I cannot be harmed by any of them, as none will infect me with their wrong. Not can I be angry with my fellow human being or hate him. We were born for cooperation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of upper and lower teeth. So to work in opposition to one another is against nature: and anger or rejection is opposition.” -Marcus Aurelius

How Complex Systems Fail – by Richard I. Cook

This paper was mentioned in the book Flash Boys.

Link to paper: How Complex Systems Fail