Events

“Events, dear boy, events.”Alleged response by the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, when asked by a journalist what is most likely to blow governments off course. “I’m shorting two stocks in the U.K., but I’ve got a screen of about 50, and I might short all 50 if I think Jeremy Corbyn is going to be prime minister.…

Fireworks

A common practice among financial advisers is to run through a risk questionnaire with new clients. These questionnaires tend to ask investors how they might respond to certain hypothetical market movements – a correction, say, of 20 percent or more. As Morgan Housel points out in this (excellent) interview, rather than extrapolate out from what will…

Risky business

“In 1961, at the height of the Cold War, a B-52 bomber carrying two Mark 39 thermonuclear bombs accidentally crashed in rural North Carolina. A low technology voltage switch was the only thing that prevented a 4-megaton nuclear bomb with 250 times the yield of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima from detonating on American soil. In addition to killing everyone…

Two strategies that actually work

First, here’s what doesn’t work. Trying to decode the big macro thesis doesn’t work, at least not for us. Stanley Druckenmiller may be able to, but as football supporters could doubtless tell us, there’s only one Stanley Druckenmiller. Expecting either the financial media in general, or higher profile investment gurus in particular, to help…

Watch bonds

John Carpenter’s 1982 classic The Thing is the last great hoorah for pre-CGI special effects in film, courtesy primarily of creature effects maestro Rob Bottin. Everything you see on screen is “real”, in a way that digitised extra-terrestrial gore will never quite manage to be – the same way some folk prefer vinyl over CD. The premise is straight…

Things that go bust in the night

The great festival of failed finance anniversaries continues. We’ve had the commemoration of the bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers and Long Term Capital Management (20 years in the case of the latter), so it was inevitable that a 10 year remembrance of the near-extinction of RBS would pop up just in time for Halloween.

The truth

‘When did advertising become so banal ?’ asks Dan Hitchens in The Spectator. Perhaps when it became ubiquitous, and when it also became impossible to separate legitimate journalism from emotion-driven virtue signalling. That is to say, before the rise of the smartphone and social media – trends coincident with the torturous death rattle of the…

Happy anniversary

Since everybody else in financial media has been indulging in an orgy of self-reflection, selective recollection and brazen virtue-signalling on the back of the 10 year anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy in September 2008, and in steadfast keeping with our principle of ‘no bandwagon left unridden’, we reproduce below, word for word, our…

Everything is awesome

There has been an amazing improvement in human living standards over the past 50 years. The average person on the planet is earning three times as much as they were 50 years ago. They’re living 30 percent longer. They’re burying 2/3rds fewer children – the greatest measure of misery anyone could think of. And on the whole, people are wealthier,…

On the wealth, and poverty, of nations

Every year at around this time, something rather magical happens to Edinburgh. The population of the Scottish capital swells by over 4 million people – and in a very good-natured way. Only the Olympic Games and the World Cup sell more tickets – and they only take place once every 4 years. As the comedian and writer Dominic Frisby puts it,If…