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Fellow bloggers and I typically link to interesting articles we read during the week but sometimes there isn't enough time or space to link to all the articles we found interesting. In this thread, please post any article / column you find interesting in your web travels.
 

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Tom Bradley in the G&M:

'It will sell': A tipoff for bad investment products

I liken structured products to Viagra. The industry is hooked on them because they stimulate sales. They're a specialty product that should be used by few, but are sold to many. And the buyers get instant gratification, but pay for it in the long run.
 

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I don't know what the board's policy on live links. So here it is:

Code:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/26793903/the_big_takeover/1
I don't necessarily agree with the article, but it's an interesting read nonetheless.
 

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Is Your Investing Personality in Your DNA?
by Jason Zweig in The Wall Street Journal.

The contrast between the raw material of my genes and the final output of my behavior isn't unusual. Perhaps 20% of the variation in risk-taking among individuals is genetically determined; the rest comes from our upbringing, experience, education and training. So, while my genes bias my brain toward spooking easily and trying to make a quick buck, that isn't how I actually behave. I hold investments for years, even decades; I don't panic in bear markets, and bull markets make me uncomfortable.

Those habits, I now understand for the first time, don't come naturally to me. I have been fighting my genes for years, and the reflective parts of my brain have been struggling to rein in my emotions for a lifetime.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Not sure I agree entirely that a new method of calculating S&P earnings is needed when the current method works just fine as long as you understand the limitations.

How Cheap Is the Market?

The true valuation of the market is no where near as dismal as the aggregate earnings reported by Standard & Poor's suggest. When portfolios of stocks are weighted by market values, the market is cheap by historical standards. No one can say for sure whether March 9 will mark the bottom of this dismal bear market (I personally think it will), but I am sure that investors who hold a diversified portfolio of stocks today will be rewarded by above-average returns.
 

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Is Your Investing Personality in Your DNA?
by Jason Zweig in The Wall Street Journal.
Very interesting! I have often suspected as much!

When I speak about value investing I only get 2 reactions:
1. immediate understanding
2. are you speaking English?

I have never met somebody who was #2 who later 'learned' to become #1.

This is likely related to the saying that the very poor think day-to-day, the poor think week-to-week, the middle-class think month-to-month and the rich think year-to-year and the very rich think decade-to-decade
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hope, Greed and Fear: The Psychology behind the Financial Crisis

To explain the current economic crisis, the world of finance has a particular lexicon -- including, for example, credit default swaps, mark-to-market and securitized subprime mortgages. Psychologists, on the other hand, might use very different terms: hope, greed and fear.

The language of psychology helps to address the fact that behind every cut-and-dried statistic about falling home prices and other indicators of economic decline, lies an ever-shifting horde of homeowners, bankers, business owners, unwitting investors -- in short, people. And people often pay no heed to fine-tuned economic models by doing things that are not rational, are not in their best interest, and are justified not by numbers -- but by emotion.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Alternative Investments in stamps and comic books

Richard Morrison suggests stamps and comic books as investments:

Holy investment opportunity, Batman

Stamps give stocks a licking

It is silly to think of stamps or comic books as investments. My feelings were best summed up by this quote:

Hervé St-Louis, publisher of Comicbookbin.com, a Calgary-based Web site dedicated to comic book fans and collectors, said those who want to invest in comics should abandon the idea and put their money into stocks or real estate.

"Forget the money aspect of comic books," he says. "Only buy what you like and pass it on to your kids."
 

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Discussion Starter #12
There’s Hope in Those Dividends

Companies that have managed to increase their payouts in this tough economic climate may be a good target for a time-tested conservative investment strategy: buying shares of solid dividend-payers.

Over the long run, this approach has outperformed the stock market. Since the end of 1979, investing in dividend-paying stocks in the S.& P. 500 would have earned you 11.6 percent a year, on average, on a total return basis, versus 10.5 percent for the overall index. And the ability to sustain dividends is often regarded as a sign of a solid company, even in the current environment.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A Back-to-Basics Weekend With Warren Buffett

“If you have a 150 I.Q., sell 30 points to someone else. You need to be smart, but not a genius.”

So said Warren Buffett, the world’s most famous value investor, at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting here on Saturday, a regular pilgrimage for some 35,000 shareholders that many call Woodstock for capitalists. This year there wasn’t as much free-flowing love, given what a difficult year it’s been for capitalists, Mr. Buffett included.
 

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How the crisis is changing you

A new set of American values is emerging from the ashes of 600,000 layoffs a month, a lost decade in stocks, and the worst housing crash ever. These values may ring familiar to anyone who lived through the Great Depression. But for most of us it amounts to a large-scale makeover of the way we think about money and life.
0:00 /4:35'Bling is bad'

We're not just cutting our bills, we're rejecting materialism. We're placing safety and intrinsic rewards like relationships and personal growth ahead of profit. We're embracing family and community and asking how we can help others, not just ourselves.
 

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http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/7/11/752315/-DKos-Diary-Reverberates-Throughout-Wall-St.-(w-update)

I hope that link works. It is about the GS super computer program that was stolen/taken by a previous employee to a rival bank.

If GS feels that this program is potentially dangerous in the wrong hands....and capable of market manipulation...then why should the gov't let any company use such a program. It sounds pretty dangerous.

I heard Kevin O'Leary discussing on BNN a what if...the gov't instituted a capital gains tax based on how long an stock was held (the longer it is held the less taxed on gains) to defer banks from trading a billion shares in a second (buy and sell) to manipulate prices, profits. He figured the TSX would be cut in half in 1 day if these companies could not use such a program to trade large volumes on units in fractions of a second.

I can't remember what a % of the S&P trading was done by GS, but he said that 36% of the futures trading was GS.

Makes me wonder why the average guy even tries, if it isn't even a level playing field.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Does Stock-Market Data Really Go Back 200 Years?

What, then, are the odds that stocks will continue to lag behind bonds for the long run? The sad truth is that history can't tell us the answer. The 1802-to-1870 stock indexes are rotten with methodological flaws. So we have only the period since then, or four distinct and complete 30-year stretches of stock returns, to base our long-term investment decisions on.

Another emperor of the late bull market, it seems, has turned out to have no clothes.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Insurers drive up rates for motorists

Get ready to pay more – potentially much more – for auto insurance.

Ontario motorists face the biggest increases in insurance premiums since the province temporarily froze premiums in late 2003.

The latest round of increases approved by regulators has brought the average increase over 12 months to 7.8 per cent, with some insurers raising rates by twice as much.
 
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