This has been a busy week for me, as far as my non-blogging life goes (which has been the case for about a year now). And I spent all day today (Friday) in a workshop/seminar. So I have no idea what the "big news" is out there, if anything is. But I still have five items for your consideration if you want to do some reading over the next couple of days.
- John Makin's article in Commentary (HT: RealClearMarkets.com) called, The Keynes Bubble, is something I confess to having not read. So I don't know if I agree with all the particulars, but I certainly agree we're seeing a Keynes Bubble in the American media. Keynes was a great investor. Yet that means nothing, IMO, about whether he was the great economist or the greatest economist of the 20th century. And let's face it, Keynes is known for his work as an economist, with not enough attention paid to his undeniably impressive track record managing investment portfolios.
- Portfolio holding Fairfax Financial has reported third quarter results. From Reuters: "The first option is to always keep our financial conditions strong, so we won't do anything at the expense of our financial condition and that also means keeping capital available for a hard market, whenever it comes," Chief Executive Prem Watsa told analysts during a conference call. "But after that we can buy stock, buy stock back, we can make some acquisitions as and when they come -- we have no plans to make any but we could -- and, of course, we could continue to hold significant amount of cash if we decide to pay some dividends out, continue to build our cash in the holding company," Watsa added. I've sold enough of FFH over time so that all my original investment has been gotten out. Yet it is still a large portfolio position, accounting for more than 7% of assets at the end of September.
- John Dizard writes in the Financial Times of the real reasons for the decline in bank lending: The policy people, in the White House, Capitol Hill, or the regulatory agencies can’t have it both ways. Less risky institutions mean tighter lending standards, which means there will be less credit-fuelled growth and more unemployed constituents.
- Are you a homeowner who is thinking about refinancing? Bloomberg's John Wasik recommends doing it now: It’s not time to play chicken. Lock in the best deal now. Mortgage rates have climbed over the last two weeks, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac of McLean, Virginia. At a 1960s- like national average of 5 percent, the 30-year rate isn’t far from its historic low of 4.78 percent, reached in April. As the economy heats up, it’s far more likely that rates will climb.
- With all the talk about the flu, I'm reminded of the 12-hour flu cure by Jeffrey Tucker of the Mises Institute. I'm not a doctor and I can't vouch for this. I will say that I've taken cod liver oil daily for several years. And on those rare occasions when I feel like I might be coming down with something, I'll take three spoonfuls a day. If you decide to explore this, do your due diligence. My only advice is, if you decide to take cod liver oil, make sure you buy the varieties with plenty of vitamin D.