Home country bias

“A group of Leave supporters standing in the shadow of Westminster Abbey insisted that God was opposed to the EU. A man on a stepladder preached that the Bible – specifically Deuteronomy Chapter 28 verses 1 to 14 – expressed the almighty’s distaste for governance units larger than the nation state.”Robert Wright, ‘Parliamentary divisions…

Would you have sold ?

Here is a thought experiment. It is 1971. You hear great things about the management of a particular company, so you invest $10,000 in its shares. You also keep an eye on the broader market. Here is how you fare..

What lies beneath

Surveying the wreckage of markets in 2018, it is human and therefore tempting to put the more optimistic (contrarian ?) case for the year ahead. But our job for the medium term is to protect and grow our investors’ capital, not to be optimistic simply for optimism’s sake. 2018 was an annus horribilis not just on account of the severity of certain…

The hike before Christmas

‘Twas the hike before Christmas, and all over the shop Short end traders were waiting for prices to drop. Bloomberg and Reuters, the FT all there To capture the moment – if Powell would dare.

Identity crisis

“A large part of the political class, and seemingly a sizeable proportion of the country’s educated elite, have distanced themselves from the majority of the country. Never in modern times has there been such an overt and even contemptuous attempt to deny the legitimacy of a popular vote. Edmund Burke in the 1790s gave credit for our freedoms to…

Under the influence

It started with Cluetrain in early 1999. Roughly five hundred years after Martin Luther allegedly nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg, a new polemic was posted online, at www.cluetrain.com. This correspondent stumbled upon a reference to it within a research note from Merrill Lynch’s (now discredited) internet analyst,…

A real eye-opener

Something of a diversion, this week – but a helpful one, we hope. It turns out that ancient wisdom can sometimes be surprisingly up to date. That old Roman saw, mens sana in corpore sano – a healthy mind in a healthy body – is getting a vindication from modern science that points to a linkage that works in both directions. Shakespeare, too, was…

Yuck

It was nice of the EU to coordinate the release of the UK’s draft withdrawal agreement with the centenary of the World War I Armistice. The continental powers missed a trick by not forcing Theresa May to sign the agreement in the Compiègne Wagon in which the 1918 Armistice was signed, and which Hitler deployed to similar effect in June 1940, this…

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…