The Stingy News Weekly (10/10/2010)
A closer look at BetaPro's HXT
"In a recent blog post, I provided an overview of the new Horizons BetaPro SP/TSX 60 Index ETF (HXT/TSX). HXTís synthetic exposure left us with two questions, both of which are addressed below."
Share buybacks put a shine on Danier
"The market, in other words, appears to be assigning scant value to Danierís ongoing business Ė and thatís hard to understand. In the year to June Ė certainly no boom time for the Canadian economy Ė it produced 7.2-million in earnings, or about 1.58 for each of the shares remaining at the end of the most recent quarter. If the market were willing to pay even 12 times those earnings, Danier would be a 19 stock."
How Fake Money Saved Brazil
"This is a story about how an economist and his buddies tricked the people of Brazil into saving the country from rampant inflation. They had a crazy, unlikely plan, and it worked."
The Non-Economist's Economist
"Now comes the test of whether his popular writings will endure longer than the memory of his celebrity and the pleasure of his prose. 'The Great Crash' has a fighting chance, because of its very lack of analytical pretense. 'History that reads like a poem,' raved Mark Van Doren in his review of the 1929 book. Or, he might have judged, that eats like whipped cream.But the other books in this volume seem destined for only that kind of immortality conferred on amusing period pieces. When, for example, Galbraith complains in 'The Affluent Society' that governments can't borrow enough, or that the Federal Reserve is powerless to resist inflation, you wonder what country he was writing about, or even what planet he was living on."
Individual Investors Duped by Derivatives
"Leona Miller, an 84-year-old retired beautician, says she was seeking safe and steady income from bonds two years ago when she bought securities recommended by her Wachovia (WFC) broker, Robert Baldacci, paying 9 percent interest. Within six months, Miller lost about 30 percent of her 20,000 investment, and the bonds were converted into shares of Merck (MRK) in a falling stock market."
A Greek Bankruptcy Is Unavoidable
"Sitting in his bare office at Harvard University with the shades drawn, Rogoff says, coolly and soberly: 'A Greek bankruptcy is unavoidable. There is a 95 percent chance that Spain will go bankrupt. Hungary is on the brink. Things will get much worse in Eastern Europe. We will have a certain number of countries that will go bankrupt. We will have a number of euro zone countries that would be well advised to take a sabbatical from the euro for a year. The situation in the United States is very worrisome. The markets will refuse to tolerate this level of debt.' The worst of it is that it sounds as if he were expressing unavoidable facts."
"A few years ago, Dan Ariely, a psychologist at M.I.T., did a fascinating experiment examining one of the most basic external tools for dealing with procrastination: deadlines. Students in a class were assigned three papers for the semester, and they were given a choice: they could set separate deadlines for when they had to hand in each of the papers or they could hand them all in together at the end of the semester. There was no benefit to handing the papers in early, since they were all going to be graded at semesterís end, and there was a potential cost to setting the deadlines, since if you missed a deadline your grade would be docked. So the rational thing to do was to hand in all the papers at the end of the semester that way youíd be free to write the papers sooner but not at risk of a penalty if you didnít get around to it. Yet most of the students chose to set separate deadlines for each paper, precisely because they knew that they were otherwise unlikely to get around to working on the papers early, which meant they ran the risk of not finishing all three by the end of the semester. This is the essence of the extended will: instead of trusting themselves, the students relied on an outside tool to make themselves do what they actually wanted to do."
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