The Stingy News Weekly (01/22/2012)
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Asset Mixer Update
We've updated our Asset Mixer to include data for 2011.
Periodic Table Update
We've updated our periodic table of annual returns for Canadians to include data for 2011.
Keep it simple
"Unlike many in the banking industry, Petrou is not ideologically opposed to regulation. For instance, she was a critic of the lack of regulation that allowed so many sleazy subprime mortgage originators to emerge from the precrisis ooze. Yet, now, she’s worried about something different: that the hundreds of new mandates required by the Dodd-Frank law are creating a new kind of risk. She calls it “complexity risk.” As she put it in a speech she delivered last week in New York: “If we don’t understand the cross-cutting effects and inherent contradictions in all of the stringent standards now being written into final form, we risk doing real damage to the sound, stable and — yes — profitable financial industry regulators say they support and the economies sorely need.”"
"As regulators and environmentalists study whether hydraulic fracturing can damage the environment, industry scientists are studying ways to create longer, deeper cracks in the earth to release more oil and natural gas."
Lower prices via new tech
"Due to the record levels of natural gas production and the unseasonably warm weather this winter, prices keep falling. The price for U.S. natural gas futures contracts dropped to a ten-year low of $2.47 per million BTUs in trading on the NYMEX yesterday"
"Many of the webs most important and integral websites are protesting seriously flawed legislation called SOPA. It would greatly damage the linking structure of the internet, allowing companies to close down websites on flimsiest of premises. It would criminalize even pointing to any site that itself points to a site where there is a Copyright violation. Over the years, the copyright cartel — this includes Disney and other major content companies — have bought themselves a Congress. They prevented works that were scheduled to enter the public domain, as envisioned in the US Constitution, from doing so. SOPA is the latest attempt to censor the public’s access to independent information and manipulate copyright laws. The new law works to their own benefit and the public’s detriment."
How sneaky governments steal your money
"Many nations in the developed world are in deep do-do with their debt levels. On one hand they need growth to earn their way out of their problems, while on the other they’re being forced into anti-growth austerity measures by markets, concerned about their spiralling interest obligations. It’s a grim position for those of us brought up to expect an unrelentingly rosy economic outlook. This isn’t a new situation, though. We’ve been here many, many times before and governments have, by design and evolutionary accident, developed many, many ways of dealing with these problems. The cunning thing is that many of these involve stealthily thieving from their own citizens, but done so surreptitiously that, if we’re not careful, we won’t even notice it."
The rally that wouldn't die
"Last year's surge came in the 30th year of a historic rally. Since 1981, long-term Treasury bonds have returned 11.03% annually, 0.05 percentage point better than the Standard and Poor's 500-stock index."
Mutual funds vs ETFs
"The market share lost by mutual funds is not surprisingly shifting to ETFs. ETF fees tend to be lower, yet they provide better liquidity and the ability to time the market, including intraday trading. That makes ETFs appealing not just to retail investors, but to institutions as well."
This relatively inegalitarian isle
"Of course, it’s important to put charts like this in perspective, which is why we should also consult Miles Corak, the University of Ottawa professor whose work has been used here by Krueger (and Krugman). Here’s Corak’s unabridged Great Gatsby Curve. ... A rather different picture, innit?"
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