The Stingy News Weekly (09/26/2010)
Michael Eisner on Teamwork
"Eisner slips into the realm of the absurd when he proposes that more successful partnerships might be an antidote to the virus of executive greed that led, he boldly asserts, to the recent financial crisis.For anyone who remembers the hundreds of millions in stock options that Eisner garnered during his tenure at Disney, when he was one of the highest-paid executives in the world, this insight is the most hilarious punch line of all. Particularly, it so happens, as Eisner is said to be a candidate to take over the Tribune Co. If Wells were alive, let's hope he'd lean forward and suggest gently to Eisner that he's making a fool of himself. Though all evidence indicates that their beautiful partnership would never have survived if Wells did anything of the kind."
Earnings Assumptions and Century Bonds
"So in an environment like this, where interest rates are low, and surpluses could not be built up in the past, pension funds are hurting. The truth is, they are worse off than their stated deficits imply. For economic and political reasons, the likely outcome resembles the riddle of how one eats an elephant: one bite at a time.So we will see investment earnings assumptions and discount rates fall slowly, far too slowly to be the economic truth, but slowly recognizing funding gaps as corporations eat the loss one bite at a time, as they can afford to."
Hiding, Harboring, Hoarding at Harvard
"Until now, the conflicts of interest among academics who moonlight as well-paid corporate advisers haven't been page-one material. But 'Inside Job' breaks new ground by exposing the failure of universities to regulate the integrity of their biggest stars.Mr. Ferguson believes that the honor and independence of the economic discipline in academia has become so sullied that it poses 'systemic risk' by influencing policy."
Economic Consequences of Index Investing
"Trillions of dollars are invested through index funds, exchange-traded funds, and other index derivatives. The benefits of index-linked investing are well-known, but the possible broader economic consequences are unstudied. I review research which suggests that index-linked investing is distorting stock prices and risk-return tradeoffs, which in turn may be distorting corporate investment and financing decisions, investor portfolio allocation decisions, fund manager skill assessments, and other choices and measures. These effects may intensify as index-linked investing continues to grow in popularity."
How to tilt the investing odds in your favour
"From late 1993 through mid-2008, I estimate that Canadian mutual fund investors experienced returns of 5.6 per cent annually Ė about 1 per cent a year more than GICs. Fetching an extra 1 per cent a year is not chump change, but itís not up to scratch. Investing is inherently uncertain. Investing successfully, however, is about tilting the odds in your favour. These tips can help you do just that, regardless of your preferred investment vehicle."
The joy of spending
"If you have 2 million and canít force yourself to buy a coffee, thereís a problem."
Value and Momentum in Frontier Markets
"We document the presence of economically and statistically significant value and momentum effects in the new emerging equity markets in the world, the so-called frontier emerging markets. We are the first to investigate the characteristics of individual stocks in these markets. Our unique data set consists of more than 1,400 stocks over the period 1997 to 2008 and covers 24 of the most liquid frontier emerging markets. Our results serve as out-of-sample evidence for the existence of value and momentum effects that have previously been reported for developed and emerging markets. Further, we provide empirical evidence that value and momentum strategies within frontier markets are negatively correlated, and are uncorrelated with the same value and momentum strategies in developed and emerging markets. Our mean-variance spanning tests indicate that investors who expand their investment opportunity set with value and momentum investment strategies based on stocks from frontier markets can significantly improve the efficiency of their investment portfolio."
How GM made $30 Billion
"Consider this: How could it be that one of GM's most valuable assets, listed at $30.2 billion, is the intangible asset known as goodwill, when it's been only a little more than a year since the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection?"
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