Saturday, January 30, 2016

Financial Sarcasm Roundup for 01/30/16

Saturday is supposed to be a slow news day, but it's never too slow for sarcasm.

The US economy probably slowed down in Q4 2015. Business surveys from the private sector are probably more reliable than government figures. Federal agencies have been monkeying around with their methodologies for too long under political pressure to report rosy results. Voters get fed up with ruling elites when official results don't square with daily life. The next administration can do a lot to restore Americans' confidence in government just by reporting honest numbers.

The Zika virus is boosting a few life science stocks. Curing disease is a good reason to invest in drug makers. Day trading a stock with the expectation that disasters will pump a quick profit is immoral, not to mention just plain stupid. There is no assurance that the UN WHO or any other powerful body will hand these companies a contract. Greed and wishful thinking drive dumb investor reactions to headline dangers. There is no drug to cure stupidity.

Hedge funds misjudged the yen. The BOJ invalidated a whole bunch of investment philosophies overnight. I've said before that currency positions are useful mainly as hedges for cash reserves, not pure-play bets. Hedge funds are running out of ideas if they think betting big on a currency is innovative. George Soros made a big currency bet once against the British pound and it worked once. There is no law that says it must keep working. People running hedge funds can work as janitors after the yen bankrupts them.

Xerox is splitting itself. Carl Icahn wins again. I've always admired the guy because he forces companies to do right by their shareholders. He would probably make an excellent US Treasury secretary if Donald Trump wins the presidential election. I would like to see some corporate raiders and deal-makers break up some of the US government's less efficient agencies. Privatizing Social Security and Medicare could work like an insurance company spin-off. I wouldn't buy those split stocks because I've read the Bowles-Simpson reports on those entities' eventual insolvency, but some mutual fund manager is dumb enough to go for it.

Most writers would sign off by saying they hope everyone else's Saturday is going well. I'm not like most writers. I don't care about how your Saturday is going. My Saturdays are the definition of awesome.