At Controlled Greed, we're calling it a year. In fact, we're declaring a long weekend and will be back in the saddle on or about Monday. Here are five items you can check out when not popping corks or indulging in various festivities.
- The BBC interviews 103-year-old value investor Irving Kahn, who still goes to the office every day looking for undervalued stocks, about the current financial mess. Kahn was working on Wall Street in 1929 and cautions comparisons. The nature of the trouble in the credit markets is, as he sees it, far more concentrated: "It's a very narrow crisis because it involves people who borrowed too much money," he says. You might visit the Kahn Brothers website.
- Rumors swirl about mergers in the Japanese insurance industry. How this may or may not impact Tokio Marine Holdings (TKOMY/OTC) remains to be seen. But I tend to like it when these things happen, as long as shareholders' best interests are upheld by managements. On a sidenote, I'd love to see merger activity among Japanese consumer lenders. Yet I'm so underwater with my two holdings that it probably wouldn't make a difference.
- Jerry Flint's latest Forbes piece focuses on the dire situation faced by the Detroit automakers. Touching on my beloved General Motors, he writes: December and January U.S. sales will give us an idea of the damage in our market. It is a shame too, because all the good work GM has done in the last few years, with good cars such as the Cadillac CTS, the Chevy Malibu, the entire Saturn lineup, the new pickups and the big crossover sport utility vehicles, as well as the enormously improved interiors and quality. Flint feels things will get worse before they get better.
- Breakingviews.com wonders which currency is the safest bet for 2009 -- the dollar, pound, euro or yen?
- Now for some fun. Mark Steyn does two things exceptionally well. Writing about old songs and writing obits. He combines those talents in this article, where he considers the song, "Santa Baby," and remembers the late Eartha Kitt, who died on Christmas Day. Rest in peace, Miss Kitt.
Happy New Year to readers everywhere. See you in 2009.