“Jon Quigley says he probably should have known something big was coming -- even if his risk models didn’t. Just a day after the Great Lakes Advisors manager watched CBS’s ‘60 Minutes’ about America’s unprecedented efforts to deploy a vaccine when it comes, Pfizer Inc. revealed significant progress on its pandemic cure. That revelation spurred the biggest moves ever in Quigley’s $3.9 billion portfolio. While stock benchmarks cheered the news, Wall Street’s most popular styles of quant trading got hit by a historic storm. ‘Events happened that statistically never could happen,’ said the chief investment officer of disciplined equities.. Quigley spelled out the odds to clients in a note. As he computed it, the crash in the momentum factor was so rare that writing out the chances of occurrence on any given day required a 16-digit number -- followed by 63 zeroes.” - Bloomberg (Justina Lee), 13th November 2020.
“Every hour, from every corner of the globe, there are new reports of outraged crowds demanding action. A bankrupt world seems to be teetering on the very edge of anarchy.. There is a need for unity of purpose and resolve unequalled since the end of World War II.. At this time of crisis, there has been a turning to the past as well as the future. Words spoken by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the depths of the Depression were quoted in the Senate today. ‘This is pre-eminently the time to speak the truth frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. We face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Each age is a dream that is dying, for one that is coming to birth.’”
“Something extremely bogus is going on. Was tested for covid four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse. Rapid antigen test from BD.”
Its codeword was ‘Kolibri’ (the German for Hummingbird) – the instruction given to the death squads on the day of the purge. The ‘Night of the Long Knives’ was actually nights plural, taking place between 30th June and 2nd July 1934. At least 85 political opponents to Adolf Hitler were liquidated; some estimates run as high as 1,000. The purge established Hitler as the pre-eminent and unchallenged administrator of the German state. The rest is dark history.
It now feels like the end of an era. On Friday 13th November, the polarising Brexit hero and special adviser Dominic Cummings left Number 10 Downing Street for the last time. (Under a Boris Johnson administration, at any rate.) How did this come about ? Nick Cohen for The Spectator:
..the cause of the Downing Street breakdown is shockingly frivolous. It began with Lee Cain, a man no one outside Westminster had heard of because the secrecy of lobby briefings prevented reporters from telling their readers and viewers he was one of those ‘Number 10 sources’ they quote with such promiscuity. The status of Downing Street’s head of communications was threatened because Johnson wanted to appoint Allegra Stratton as his press secretary. She would front daily briefings, and her prominent role would give her access to Johnson. Cummings was Cain’s patron. Their influence would be diminished by Stratton’s rise, and they demanded that Cain’s nose be put back in joint.
To soothe Cain’s offended dignity, Johnson must elevate him to Downing Street’s chief of staff in compensation, they demanded. Johnson with characteristic prevarication first offered Cain the job and then said he could not have it. Carrie Symonds, Johnson’s partner, put her foot down. In Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Queen Margaret rages about her feeble husband’s dependence on the Duke of Gloucester.
Is this the fashions in the court of England?
Is this the government of Britain’s isle
And this the royalty of Albion’s king?
What shall King Henry be a pupil still
Under the surly Gloucester’s governance?
Symonds felt much the same about her feeble husband’s dependence on surly Cummings. She blocked Cain’s appointment. He was forced out. Cummings was forced out. This morning’s papers add to the feeling that we are stuck in the stricken realm of a failing king. They report ‘sources’ – anonymous, naturally – claiming that Johnson was given text messages showing that Cain and Cummings were briefing against him and Symonds. Cain and Cummings deny it. Those ‘sources’ add that Johnson ‘was particularly riled by newspaper reports of Ms Symonds being referred to by nicknames including ‘Princess Nut Nuts’ by Cummings loyalists’ – an insult that barely makes sense*.
* According to the Telegraph: ‘A source said she was labelled a ‘princess’ for allegedly being high maintenance and acting regally. The first ‘nut’, according to the source, alluded to her being ‘crazy’ – there is no evidence for that – while the second ‘nuts’ reference comes from a belief among the ‘Brexit Boys’ clique that she bears some facial similarity to a squirrel.’ Just think, these people are running the country.
Or not, as the case may be.
Things are moving quickly now. The over-arching story at a global level remains, of course, the supposed coronavirus pandemic. The reality, as seems increasingly clear, is that much of the world has fallen victim to a colossal hoax, in the guise of a PCR Test Pandemic. Dr Reiner Fuellmich makes his case here (apologies if YouTube’s goon squad have removed the file in question by the time you read this, as they certainly have form in this regard).
For some years now, we have been recording regular podcasts with interesting people in finance and media with the title The State of the Markets. For perhaps obvious reasons, in more recent interviews we have deliberately pivoted to focus on coverage of the PCR Test Pandemic. We recommend in particular this interview with Nick Hudson of Pandata19.org, and this interview with fund manager Barry Norris of Argonaut Capital, which suggests that a little ‘expectations management’ with regard to the likely efficacy of the new vaccine is probably warranted.
As and when Dr Fuellmich’s class action lawsuit against the W.H.O. and sundry bad actors – and the others that will inevitably follow – start to reap results, one hopes that unwarranted lockdown measures can be swiftly rescinded, and the various economies of the world can start to heal from the injuries inflicted, not by coronavirus, but by inept government bungling egged on by a horribly compliant media. But we suspect that the inflationary (stagflationary ?) genie conjured into being by welfare payments associated with a generalised lockdown is unlikely to be spirited back into his bottle any time soon. Monetary experimentation shows no sign of slowing either. So we continue to favour inflation hedges in the form of the monetary metals, gold and silver, as well as claims on the productive economy such as highly cash-generative but not indebted listed companies run by principled, shareholder-friendly managers who are themselves excellent allocators of capital.
There were apparently over 40 assassination attempts on the life of Adolf Hitler by his own side, including the celebrated von Stauffenberg plot, depicted in Bryan Singer’s excellent film Valkyrie. One hopes that Bill Gates’ personal security is better than that of his software.
Tim Price is co-manager of the VT Price Value Portfolio and author of ‘Investing through the Looking Glass: a rational guide to irrational financial markets’. You can access a full archive of these weekly investment commentaries here. You can listen to our regular ‘State of the Markets’ podcasts, with Paul Rodriguez of ThinkTrading.com, here. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Price Value Partners manage investment portfolios for private clients. We also manage the VT Price Value Portfolio, an unconstrained global fund investing in Benjamin Graham-style value stocks and specialist managed funds.
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