Sunday links: bond blog blues

The case against emerging markets.  (The Psy-Fi Blog, The Reformed Broker)

The surprising state of the high yield bond market.  (IDD via TheStreet)

Just because a closed-end fund has a high yield does not mean it is a good deal.  (WSJ)

A new ETF to track the closed-end fund universe.  (InvestmentNews)

Equity sentiment at week-end.  (Trader’s Narrative, The Technical Take)

Hedge funds hate the Euro.  (market folly)

The Harvard endowment loves iShares.  (IndexUniverse)

Brett Steenbarger, “Of the factors contributing to trading success, creativity is one of the least appreciated.”  (TraderFeed)

Barry Ritholtz, “The lesson to be learned is that billionaires invest differently than you and I. They have very different goals and objectives. They are not concerned with saving for retirement. One should consider that before chasing their most recent buys.”  (Big Picture)

They say casinos never lose.  Well they did in 2009.  (Calculated Risk)

Should the Fed stay in the bank regulation business?  (macroblog)

How should we interpret the Fed’s decision to raise the discount rate?  (Econbrowser)

Long-term unemployment is the story of this recession.  (NYTimes)

Loan modifications just put off the inevitable.  (Calculated Risk)

Ugh.  The New York Times plans to put their blogs behind a paywall.  (Felix Salmon)

Why is so hard to maintain a good bond blog?  (Aleph Blog)

How the Apple iPad will help transform the financial industry.  (Howard Lindzon)

Measuring traffic on the Web is no easy matter.  (WSJ)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Friday links: a tightening cycle

Ian Salisbury, “In 2009, ETFs missed their targets by an average of 1.25 percentage points, a gap more than twice as wide as the 0.52-percentage-point average they posted in 2008..”  (WSJ)

On the benefits of fundamentally weighted bond indices.  (IndexUniverse)

Do hedge funds thrive in periods of market chaos?  (All About Alpha)

Equity sentiment has shifted back to neutral.  (The Pragmatic Capitalist)

Everybody talks their book, everybody.  (Abnormal Returns)

Why were Goldman Sachs (GS) executives dumping stock in 2008?  (Opinionator)

What happens to the stock market when the Fed commences tightening?  (Trader’s Narrative)

Bank profits may come under pressure as the Fed begins raising rates.  (NYTimes)

The Federal Reserve raises the discount rate.  Did the news leak?  (MarketBeat, Clusterstock, EconomPic Data, Calculated Risk, FT Alphaville)

The US trails Asia in terms of the tightening cycle.  (NYTimes)

Core consumer inflation drops for the first time since 1982.  (WSJ, Calculated Risk, DJ Market Talk)

Why the US can’t inflate away its debts.  (Economix)

If you look at Wal-Mart (WMT) results there is little prospect for inflation.   (Breakingviews)

Still no rebound in rail traffic.  (DJ Market Talk)

Where the LEI goes the economy usually follows.  (EconomPic Data also Big Picture)

Short sales (of homes) are rising.  Expect even more.  (Calculated Risk)

Is a jobs tax credit the next step to create “jobs, jobs, jobs”?  (WashingtonPost)

Will the deficit commission actually accomplish anything?  (Economist, A Dash of Insight)

Turkey catches a sovereign upgrade while most of Europe trembles.  (24/7 Wall St.)

Countries hold the Olympics at the risk of their debt rating.  (Clusterstock)

Google (GOOG) gets into the electricity business.  (24/7 Wall St., earth2tech)

On the parallels between judging a dog show and picking stocks.  (the research puzzle)

The journey Michelle Leder traveled to the ultimate sale of footnoted.org.  (Poynter also Investor’s Consigliere)

The beta release of StockTwits garners some reviews.  (TechCrunch, The Reformed Broker)

The curator’s dilemma.  (Jeremy Stein)

Data visualization using Twitter data.  (HBR)

Interesting discussion with Julio DiPietro on his new film set in the world of finance “The Good Guy.”  (FINS also Bloomberg)

Ryan Sager, “When we shell out on a bottle of wine, in other words, the bullshit is what we’re buying.”  (SmartMoney)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Everybody talks their book, everybody.

Everybody talks their book, everybody.

And no I am not talking about the “Talk Your Book” show on StockTwits TV.

It is one thing to know that everybody talks their book.  It is another thing altogether to know what to do about it.

First off, what exactly is “talking your book” mean?  Talking your book is a phrase used to describe what portfolio managers are doing when they discuss their portfolio holdings.

It is generally assumed that this discussion is to create interest (and buyers) of these securities.   This will ultimately benefit the price of the security and the manager’s portfolio.  The more cynical out there might see any sort of stock rise as an opportunity to exit a position as well.

Even that might be too simple an explanation.  A manager might take the opposite tack an bad mouth a position hoping for a drop in price to allow further accumulation.  Some are speculating that is exactly what happened when George Soros decried a growing gold bubble despite having increased his positions in the shiny metal.

As you can see there are no shortage of motivations involved here.  A portfolio manager might also be giving interviews as a form of marketing for his or her business.  For example, does Bruce Berkowitz, Morningstar Domestic Stock Fund Manager of the Year (2009), really need to spend his time speaking with Kiplinger’s?  He might very well like talking to reporters, but he also might also view this as an opportunity to market his fund.

The bottom line is that is difficult to take fund manager’s public security selections at face value.  There are simply too many cross-currents at work to put much weight on their public pronouncements.  Now government filings are another thing altogether.

Thankfully there are other resources one can use to track what various managers, especially hedge fund managers are up to.  Many of them focus on the 13-F filings managers are required to file with SEC in regards to their holdings.

Paid resources like AlphaClone allow the user to build and track portfolios based on the holdings of hundreds of hedge funds.  Blogs like market folly do yeoman’s work in tracking down the letters to investors of various funds and culling fund data from within.  Morningstar does the same type of service on the mutual fund side compiling stocks from their “Ultimate Stock Pickers.”

Not that this data is perfect either.  It is filed with a lag so by the time the data comes out a manager may could very well have eliminated a position by the time you learn about it.  In addition, outsiders don’t necessarily see a portfolio’s overall positioning.  For example unreported short positions may be offsetting some of the risk of reported holdings, etc.

Some of the best investors in the world cull investment ideas from other investors.  Whitney Tilson and Glenn Tongue writing at Kiplinger’s (via World Beta) note:

For some savvy practitioners, a fertile source of investing ideas is to look at what other smart investors are doing.

This of course presupposes you can identify “smart” investors in the first place.  In addition, even smart investors make mistakes as well.  However for fundamental managers this type of approach can help leverage their research.

Portfolio managers talk their book.  They talk their book for any number of reasons:  some benign, some less so.  But they are still talking their book.  Thankfully there are some resources we can use to check what they say publicly against what they are actually doing, albeit with a lag.


Thursday links: affect hypothesis

Defensive sectors have underperformed during the most recent rally.  (Bespoke)

A summary of where we stand from a technical standpoint.  (The Pragmatic Capitalist)

Why the 200 day moving average matters.  (Trader’s Narrative)

Hedge funds down in January but best major asset classes.  (DealBook)

Paolo Pelligrini is short America and long commodities.  (market folly)

Do you want to get a piece of John Paulson’s hedge fund?  (Clusterstock)

Individual investors are warming to ETFs and the brokers have noticed.  (WSJ)

Novel ETF structures generate new tax issues.  (Morningstar)

To short or not to short?  Two different views.  (Finance Trends Matter)

Ten things I learned from trader Brian Shannon.  (SMB Training)

Can you improve on good old fashioned price momentum in a sector rotation strategy?  (CXO Advisory Group)

What is the “affect hypothesis” and how does it mislead investors in glamour companies?  (SSRN)

An extended piece on the risk and rewards of high-frequency trading.  (FT also Zero Hedge)

Social networks that used to inform individual financial behavior have broken down.  (The Psy-Fi Blog)

How greater use of exchange-traded “vanilla options” could transform the derivatives business.  (Rortybomb)

David Rosenberg is looking for a better entry point for commodities. (Fortune)

Is the big for General Growth Properties a sign that retail has bottomed?  (Economist)

Matt Taibbi, “The bottom line is that banks like Goldman have learned absolutely nothing from the global economic meltdown.” (Rolling Stone also Big Picture, Crossing Wall Street)

“Intentional or not, however, Goldman’s current PR strategy is truly dangerous. It does not take into account that Goldman is simply too big, too interconnected, and, yes, too successful to behave like an arrogant Big Swinging Dick toward everybody.”  (Epicurean Dealmaker)

Wasn’t AIG supposed to be broken up and sold off to help repay the Feds?  (naked capitalism)

Remove the Fed from bank supervision at your own risk.  (Dealbreaker)

Stunning graph of the ratio of cash assets to business loans at US commercial banks.  (Free exchange)

Mike Konczal, “..the fact that [the GSEs] it might have been ready to go as a garbage bag for the private sector’s bad bets, a bag taxpayers have to eat out of, has been the most surprising, and terrible, thing about it in this crisis.”  (Rortybomb)

Apparently everyone in Euroland is cheating on their debt levels.  (The Money Game)

The collective inability of governments to manage their budgets or reform their financial systems is predictable (and depressing).  (DJ Market Talk)

Did the stimulus help?  (Baseline Scenario, Slate, Econbrowser)

A Pew Study fails eight states on their underfunding of retiree benefits.  (Pew, NYTimes, Mish)

More cities are weighing bankruptcy protection.  (WSJ)

Nathan Myhrvold, “I believe that invention is set to become the next software: a high-value asset that will serve as the foundation for new business models, liquid markets, and investment strategies.”  (HBR, NYTimes)

A new modular technology allows for the wider use of nuclear power.  (WSJ)

Does the extraction of oil actually change the spinning of the planet itself? (Infectious Greed)

StockTwits is all new.  What should you do on your first visit?  (StockTwits Blog, Howard Lindzon)

Do you want to feel happier?  Schedule a vacation.  (Science Blog)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Wednesday links: shaky prospects

Doug Kass makes the macro case for a continued underweighting of equities due to the “shaky” prospects for global growth.  (TheStreet)

Is it time to go nuclear now that the Obama Administration has weighed in?  (The Money Game also WashingtonPost, Atlantic Wire)

Mark Hulbert, “So it’s comforting to know that the insiders have not been aggressively selling the market’s recent correction”  (Marketwatch)

According to the expectations ratio the profits picture still looks good.  (The Pragmatic Capitalist)

What Warren Buffett sold to buy Burlington Northern.  (Bloomberg)

Some consolidation in the ETF management business.  (IndexUniverse)

Big hedge funds love the stocks of the too big to fail banks.  (FINalternatives)

Do as I do, not as I say.  George Soros has been buying gold while warning of a bubble.  (MarketBeat also The Reformed Broker)

David Einhorn loves Boston Scientific (BSX). (market folly)

Why can’t James Simons’ Renaissance Technology turn performance at its Institutional Equities Fund around?  (FINalternatives)

Calculating the real costs of holding a crude oil or natural gas ETF.  (IndexUniverse)

The Simon Group (SPG) offer for General Growth Properties is a one-off, not a sign of a change in commercial real estate.  (The Deal also DealBook, WSJ, The Money Game)

Michelle Leder, “If you thought that Google (GOOG)was immune to the sluggish economy in 2009, think again.”   (footnoted)

Brett Steenbarger, “A good part of what we call luck may involve intuitive access to information that unlucky people lack.”  (TraderFeed)

Old guys on Wall Street think there needs to be tigher regulation.  (NYTimes also DJ Market Talk)

Has China started selling US Treasurys?  If so, what does it mean?  (EconomPic Data, Minyanville, FT Alphaville)

Is sovereign debt the second wave of the credit crisis?  (Big Picture)

European banks would be looking good, if it weren’t for that whole PIIGS problem.  (Economist, WSJ)

Did Goldman Sachs (GS) go too far in helping Greece fudge its debt figures?  (naked capitalism)

Greece should leave the Euro behind, but it can’t.  (Crossing Wall Street)

Barry Ritholtz, “One of the oddest things to come out of the entire credit crisis, recession and muddling recovery has been the sudden re-emergence of deficit hawks.”  (Big Picture)

Is there a case for a VAT?  (Marginal Revolution)

Tentative turns in a couple economic indicators.  (Calculated Risk, EconomPic Data)

Colorado is experiencing a transition into a “power-sector state.”  (Gregor Macdonald)

What does it mean when big companies like Wal-Mart (WMT) can’t get their 401k plans right.  (Baseline Scenario)

Do we need broader fiduciary duties to help “build better brokers“?  (Curious Capitalist, Atlantic Business)

“Anthropomorphizing” market moves is decidedly unhelpful.  (Felix Salmon)

An introduction to value investing.  (ValueHuntr via Simoleon Sense)

A master class in behavioral economics.  (Farnam Street)

An interview with Howard Lindzon on the future of StockTwits.  (peHUB)

Community will power the curated web.  (Jeremy Stein)

Five sensible yet entertaining investment blogs.  (Globe Investor)

It’s cool when our understanding of the world changes so radically.  (NYTimes via kottke)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Tuesday links: austerity outlook

Matthew Lynn, “There are several good reasons for expecting currency trading to be the focus for financial markets this decade.”  (Bloomberg)

Rising risk premiums and the state of the corporate bond market(s).  (Distressed Debt Investing)

Is there any place to hide in the bond markets?  (EconomPic Data)

The TIPS market is telling us inflation is less of a problem.  (The Money Game)

The S&P 500 is trading at 13.7x estimated 2010 earnings.  (Crossing Wall Street)

Newsletter writer bullishness evaporated during this market correction.  (Marketwatch)

Five dirty little secrets about some popular ETFs.  (ETF Database)

Why lumber prices are up 32% this year.  (WSJ)

Why did hedge fund of funds underperform underlying hedge funds in 2009?  (All About Alpha)

Andrew Hall of Phibro fame has launched a hedge fund to give investors a chance to invest like the commodity firm.  (DealBook, FINalternatives, Clusterstock)

A review of A Trader’s First Book on Commodities by Carly Garner.  (CXO Advisory Group)

What traders can learn from Olympians.  (CSS Analytics)

Why is it that low volatility stocks have outperformed high volatility stocks?  (SSRN)

Global capital markets should be on notice that China is tightening monetary conditions.  (Minyanville)

Interesting presentation on what overinvestment may have wrought in China.  (market folly contra FinancialNews)

Is Bangladesh the next new hot emerging stock market?  (FT Alphaville)

Is a Simon Group (SPG) takeover the end to the General Growth Properties bankruptcy?  (WSJ, Deal Journal)

Joshua M. Brown, “The new buzzword out there is Austerity.  It is the new global zeitgeist.”  (The Reformed Broker)

Do we need a higher inflation target?  (Free exchange)

Will foreign buyers fill the void left by the Fed when it stops buy MBSs?  (WashingtonPost)

More foreclosures are coming and we shouldn’t fight it.  (Big Picture)

Don’t look now but retail sales are improving year-over-year.  (VIX and More)

For those willing to bottom fish in Greece, three candidates from James Altucher.  (DailyFinance)

Greece may not be in the predicament it’s in if people actually paid their taxes.  (Bloomberg)

Is the Greek crisis going to pull Europe together or pull it apart?  (Project Syndicate, ibid)

Is the UK at risk of coming under a sovereign credit attack?  (Telegraph UK)

Americans trust in government seems to be related to the strength of the economy.  (Daniel Drezner)

Facebook has surpassed Google (GOOG) as a traffic generator for some sites.  (GigaOM)

Google vs. Facebook is “the ultimate battle for the control of the internet.”  (Telegraph UK)

HBO and Netflix have converging business models.  (Atlantic Business)

Where Toyota (TM) went wrong.  They tried to be both a “high fidelity” and “high convenience” company.  (DailyFinance)

The guys behind the technology in Minority Report are planning to revolutionize the way we interact with a computer.  (Bits, TechCrunch)

Steve Jobs is reportedly working on a biography with Walter Isaacson.  (NYTimes, Atlantic Wire, The Big Money)

Art prices were down last year, but a recovery in the financial sector provides some hope for 2010.  (DealBook)

Better ideas trump faux followers on the social web.  (Seth Godin)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Monday links: mirrored models

A reversal of the risk trade as investors sell junk bonds.  (naked capitalism also FT Alphaville)

2009 was a banner year for hedge funds as assets under management rebound to $1.6 trillion as 2000 funds close up shop.  (Fortune)

“Credit crisis” hedge funds are closing up shop.  (Crain’s NY via Dealbreaker)

UK fund managers don’t trust private equity (and their IPOs).  (FinancialNews)

Eddy Elfenbein, “The Fed is moving away from its basic function of being a central bank.”  (Crossing Wall Street)

On the benefits of following using a “mirroring” investment model.  (New Rules of Investing)

The efficient markets hypothesis needs a new more descriptive name.  (Rajiv Sethi via Economist’s View)

A “financial expertise arms race” may have led to an overinvestment in financial technology.  (SSRN)

A great deal of chatter about how the “era of high joblessness” is going to transform America?  (The Atlantic also Baseline Scenario)

What happens when the Federal government stops supporting the housing market?  (NYTimes)

State budgets have been a persistent drag on output, offsetting much of the discretionary boost from stimulus.”  (Free exchange)

How good is retail sales at forecasting GDP?  (Big Picture)

Why Germans will not dip into their pockets to bail out Greece.  (FT Alphaville, NYTimes also The Money Game)

Is Goldman Sachs (GS) at risk in Euroland due to its dealings with Greece?  (Baseline Scenario)

Paul Vigna, “The Greeks have spent a decade trying to live as part of the Eurozone, but they squandered the benefits it brought and now the masquerade’s about over.”  (DJ Market Talk)

Is China poised to revalue the renminbi by up to 5%?  (FT Alphaville)

Steve Randy Waldman, “Both globally and within most nations, the patterns of consumption required to sustain existing social arrangements are inconsistent with the distribution of the fruits of production”  (Interfluidity)

Hank Paulson doesn’t think the Volcker Rule will work.  (Telegraph UK)

There is plenty of outrage to go around when looking at corporate boards of directors.  (Fortune)

Very funny.  Match the headline with the blog.  (The Reformed Broker)

The growing gap between college enrollment rates and graduation rates.  (Economix)

How many of your Facebook “friends” do you count amongst your “real life social circle of support”?  (The Frontal Cortex)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Sunday links: round numbers

Historical analysis of what the stock market does after President’s Day.  (Bespoke)

Futures speculators have given up on the Euro.  (Sentiment’s Edge)

Risk aversion is appearing once again in the bond market.  (TraderFeed)

Investment grade corporate bonds are no longer cheap.  (WSJ)

Investor sentiment at week-end.  (Trader’s Narrative, The Technical Take)

More evidence that companies manipulate earnings results.  (WSJ, Big Picture, DJ Market Talk)

Acts of omission and data mining.  (EconomPic Data)

To what degree do portfolio managers copy off each other?  (World Beta)

Mutual fund investors were poor market timers this past decade.  (Morningstar)

John Bogle sees no real alternative to indexing.  (DailyFinance)

Jason Zweig, “For individual and professional investors alike, more trading doesn’t ensure higher returns.”  (WSJ)

Options market makers may lose a coveted tax break.  (Barron’s)

On financial reform, “..after decades of getting exactly what they want, I just can’t believe that the banking lobby is now going to end up getting exactly what they don’t want.”  (Felix Salmon)

Wall Street did not create Europe’s debt problem. But bankers enabled Greece and others to borrow beyond their means, in deals that were perfectly legal.”  (NYTimes)

Homeowners are finding it difficult to refinance their mortgages.  (Calculated Risk)

The Federal government may have to consider a VAT to plug the long-term hole in the budget.  (NYTimes)

The Federal government can’t do much about jobs growth in the short term.  (Curious Capitalist)

Why round numbers loom large in our decision making.  (WSJ, Big Picture)

“Why would an iPhone Verizon be so important?”  (Ultimi Barbarorum)

Ten issues facing Apple (AAPL).  (Apple 2.0)

More thoughts on what Google Buzz and the backlash against it.  (A VC, Howard Lindzon, Silicon Alley Insider)

What Morningstar (MORN) hopes to accomplish with its acquisition of footnoted.org.  (Benzinga)

Would newspaper sites do better if they put the reader first and looked more like Craiglist?  (WSJ)

Content vs. Aggregators vs. Curators:  a debate.  (Abnormal Returns also The Reformed Broker, Leigh Drogen)

On the economics of happiness.  (Qn via Freakonomics)

El Bulli to close permanently.  (Diner’s Journal also Marginal Revolution)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Content vs. Aggregation vs. Curation

The discussion surrounding the merits of so-called web aggregators went to another level this week as some Internet heavies weighed in on the debate  We first discussed the nature of content curation in piece entitled:  Creating order out of aggregation.  This provides some useful background on this debate.

The pressures on the mainstream media are acute.  When a site like the Huffington Post, according to Mediaite, passes the likes of the WSJ and Washington Post in the number of readers it is inevitable there will be some sort of backlash.  The pressure to perform is not limited to these mainstream media.  Paul Tate at Gawker (via The Wire) reports on the acute pressure journalists at the financial newswires are to generate “breaking news.”

Since the debate over content vs. aggregation usually resides in the mainstream media the breakdown of players is typically pretty simplistic:

  • Content creators=good;
  • Aggregrators=bad;
  • Curators=somewhere in between.

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at the issues involved, the debate is much more complex than that.  Let’s take a look at what some people heavily involved in the business of content and aggregation have to say on the topic.  (We recommend clicking through to the underlying articles to get a fuller take on the debate.)

Steve Rosenbaum at Silicon Alley Insider talked with Gideon Gartner on the topic of aggregation and curation.  We especially like this definition of curation:

The word curation may seem to be a synonym for aggregation, but in fact it’s a double for “intelligent aggregation”. Museum curators do not, I hope, assemble as much art as possible for an exhibition; rather they apply judgment in selecting what they deem to be appropriate.

With the amount content being created exploding, see this Nicholas Carr article at NYTimes on content farm Demand Media, there is simply no substitute for some sort of curator.  The big question is the degree to which this is a business. From the Rosenbaum post:

So, is curation a business or a hobby? Gartner says that both technology and paid professionals will play a significant role in the future of the curated web, as the number of firms which apply effective curation as part of a formal quality selection process, will inevitably grow.

Mark Cuban at blog maverick notes how the complexity of the connections between various Internet business models, including some he is invested in, is growing and evolving.  The question for content businesses is whether they can adequately monetize the traffic they receive from an aggregator.  Cuban writes:

My rule for ANY site receiving traffic from an aggregator of ANY kind is: If you believe you can create more value from the traffic you receive than potential negative branding implications plus the cost of supporting a potential competitor, then continue with the aggregator. If not, block the aggregator.

It might be interesting to note that in the entire time (some 4+ years) we have been writing this blog no content provider has ever asked to excluded from our linkfests.  On the other hand we receive daily requests to be included.  Draw your own conclusions.

Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine comes at the topic from a journalistic side of things and cautions the media and advertisers to “stop trying to sell scarcity.”  In large part because in the Internet age is no such thing as scarcity.  Jarvis writes:

The real story in nonphysical goods is one of deflation. Value in once-scarce — well, once-controlled — commodities like news, information, and advertising decline as the internet explodes creation and competition…So stop selling scarcity. Scarcity has no value. Results and efficiency do.

The question of efficiency is an important one, because that is the selling point of aggregators:  “We bring you the stuff you want to read, how you want to read it.”  Jarvis also notes that one possible refuge for content providers is quality.  Quality is one of the few ways of profiting in age of increasingly watered down content.

A point echoed by Seth Godin in another interview by Steve Rosebaum at Silicon Alley Insider.  Godin notes that as “power shifts from content creators to content curators” the only defense is to be “extraordinary.”  You (and your service) need to be something people “can’t live without.”  As Rosenbaum notes:

From Godin’s point of view, we need a middleman, a curator, to help us find what’s important. That’s where the value lies. And he says that person is a linchpin.

Leigh Drogen at Surfview Capital looks at the economics of content creation and specifically weighs in on the matter of content quality.  His point is that no aggregator can extract value from your content if isn’t any good in the first place.  In short, aggregated worthless content is still worthless content.  Drogen writes:

..If your content isn’t specific, insightful, awesome, original, scarce, it’s worth nothing.  In this case, either do it for fun or pack up your bags and go home.  If your content does posses these traits, you should love the intelligent aggregators, they drive traffic to you, where you can charge for it with advertising or a pay wall.

The cat, that is curation, was let out its bag a long time ago.  As we wrote back in November the need to curate content is ancient one that tries to make our complex world a little bit more comprehensible.

In the Internet age curation has become both easier technically, but has also become a more vital as the amount of content has exploded.  Despite the rearguard efforts of the incumbent media the world has changed for the content business.  The only seeming defense seems to be generating quality content that people are willing to pay to read, either explicitly or implicitly.

This by no means the last word on this debate.  Since we first wrote on the topic it has only become more intense and complex.  We leave you with our closing thoughts from a few months ago:

Aggregators, investment or otherwise, are not the cause of the downfall of traditional news gatherers like newspapers.  They are simply a sign that people are hungry for information and analysis presented in an efficient manner.  For better or worse, that instinct to seek out order in an increasingly complex world is here to stay.


Friday links: debt levels matter

David Merkel, “Ignore anyone who tells you that debt levels don’t matter.”  (Aleph Blog)

Rydex market timers have abandoned precious metals.  (Trader’s Narrative)

Corporate stock buybacks have ticked up.  Beware. (Marketwatch, Minyanville)

Why is a defensive sector like the utilities down so much YTD?  (Afraid to Trade)

Jeff Miller’s own set of sentiment indicators show fear.  (A Dash of Insight)

Can a simple trading strategy like the 4×2 system beat the hedge funds at their own game?  (Financial Adviser)

The fund fee debate just heated up.  (WSJ)

Hell freezes over.  Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) enters the S&P 500.  (WSJ)

“Simply put, Paulson & Co is betting on the devaluation of the US dollar. They see inflation in the cards for the future and are positioning themselves accordingly.”  (market folly, ibid)

What happens to oil prices when the Fed is increasing interest rates?  (UpsideTrader)

The pitfalls (and potential benefits) of breaking your own trading rules.  (Kirk Report)

How long is the long term?  (Morningstar)

How Apple (AAPL) could add $5 in earnings.  (Tech Trader Daily)

Unfavorable demographics” could lead to a doubling in long-term government bond yields in the US and UK.  (FT Alphaville)

Beware fund marketers pushing the relationship between economic growth and equity market returns.  (FT Alphaville)

Of course Goldman Sachs (GS) and other investment banks front-run their clients.  (Clusterstock also Deal Journal)

Yves Smith, “But why in God’s name does Goldman want or need to be a bank?”  (naked capitalism)

Keep an eye on the Claymore/AlphaShares China Real Estate ETF (TAO).  (VIX and More)

China is trying to cool its economy.  (Bloomberg also Atlantic Business)

On Greece, the EU is “all words and no action.”  (Mean Street also WashingtonPost, Baseline Scenario, Telegraph)

Sovereign risk is out of the bottle. There is no easy way of putting it back in.”  (Economist)

On the parallels between Greece and Bear Stearns.  (DealBook)

Why is European economic growth so slow:  “consumers within the euro zone are not spending enough and the strong currency is making it hard to tap demand in the rest of the world.”  (Economist)

Retail sales expand based on easy comparisons.  (Calculated Risk, EconomPic Data, DJ Market Talk)

How often should we expect a financial crisis?  (Big Picture)

Great graph of how the entire financial sector got too big for the overall economy.  (Economix)

Is “uncertainty” hurting bank lending or is it something more than that?  (peHUB)

How is Toyota like Citigroup and Goldman Sachs?   (Big Picture)

A talk with Scott Patterson author of “The Quants.”  (Tech Ticker, ibid)

Brett Arends, “Even before looking at all the transaction costs, diamonds have proven an absolutely disastrous investment for decades.”  (ROI)

Aggregators can’t extract value from your content if it is ordinary, because it is already worthless.  (Leigh Drogen)

Om Malik, “When I look at the iPad, I see a clean slate to reinvent pretty much how we think of media, information and in fact the whole user experience.”  (GigaOM)

Umair Haque, ” I think Google Buzz is actually really, really cool — it’s just not yet a meaningful service.”  (HBR)

The myth of efficiency and how purveyors of technology like Blackberry have profited.  (Baseline Scenario)

Do e-readers cause eye strain?  (Bits)

Spray-on liquid glass sounds cool.  (kottke)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Thursday links: jobs, jobs, jobs

Bullish sentiment has turned tail in this correction.  (Bespoke)

Keep an eye on volatility to help determine trading size and profit targets.  (OptionsZone)

Why the copper/gold ratio might help forecast equity prices.  (Trader’s Narrative)

Long-short hedge funds have “de-risked” to a large degree.  (market folly)

Hedge fund returns in January were a mixed bag.  (EconomPic Data, FINalternatives)

Jeff Miller, “As interest rates move higher, it is a sign of strength.  It will signal P/E multiple expansion.”  (A Dash of Insight)

Higher economic growth does not equal higher equity market returns.  (FT Alphaville)

Some evidence that the mutual fund liquidity ratio does have some merit.  (CXO Advisory Group)

Is excess cash on corporate balance sheets going to draw unwanted populist criticism?  (Bloomberg)

The importance of indices is highlighted as the Dow Jones index business is sold to CME Group (CME).  (Reuters, WSJ)

In case you didn’t have access to enough leverage, ProShares launches eight new triple-leveraged ETFs.  (VIX and More)

Why shorting stocks is not for me.  (Joe Fahmy)

Ten reasons traders lose their discipline.  (TraderFeed)

Megan McArdle, “I don’t think I need to convince many people that high-risk, high-return investments are a bad way for public pensions to try to deal with their massive unfunded liabilities.”  (Atlantic Business)

Crisis derivatives are a really, really bad idea.  (Clusterstock, Big Picture)

Bernanke on how the Fed will tighten, just not the when.  (Calculated Risk, Mark Thoma, WashingtonPost, Bloomberg, DJ Market Talk)

Widespread indifference to the Greek “bailout” plan.  (FT Alphaville, Mish)

The US is still the world’s “best debtor”, for now.  (Clusterstock)

How Australia largely sidestepped the economic crisis.  (EconomPic Data)

Just how easy will it be to lengthen the average maturity of US government debt?  (Credit Bubble Stocks)

Strategic non-foreclosure has become official policy.  (Big Picture)

It is not always the big names on Wall Street that take home the biggest paychecks.  (DealBook)

The focus of the economy is:  jobs, jobs, jobs.  (Felix Salmon also Curious Capitalist)

Add diesel fuel to the list of economic indicators showing a punk economy.  (USA Today also Calculated Risk)

The Burlington Northern acquisition could be a home run if the Chicago chokehold could be solved.  (Bloomberg)

Blackstone Group (BX) is having problems bringing its portfolio companies public again.  (WSJ)

Just how important Jeffrey Grundlach was to TCW Group.  (BusinessWeek, Money & Co.)

Why is Google (GOOG) getting into the high-speed broadband business?  (MarketBeat, ars technica, NYTimes, Minyanville, GigaOM)

MySpace, RIP.  (GigaOM)

Seriously, you don’t want to take investment advice from journalists.  (Felix Salmon)

Behavioral finance is built on experiments.  Should we be skeptical of the results?  (The Psy-Fi Blog)

Sports statistics show how our subjective feelings of risk interfere with decision making.  (The Frontal Cortex)

Say goodbye to one of the few good bond blogs.  (Accrued Interest)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Wednesday links: shifting landscapes

The market can’t fall much farther if you want to continue calling it a bull market.  (Trader’s Narrative)

John Roque on why this market needs to go lower to become truly oversold.  (Tech Ticker)

John Paulson has only raised $90 million of outside capital for his gold-focused hedge fund.  (WSJ)

There is a rally in truly distressed debt out there.  (Clusterstock)

Bond ETFs had a stellar 2009.  Will that continue in 2010?  (Morningstar)

Fundamental indexing comes to the bond market.  (WSJ)

A history of the PEG ratio and why it is widely misunderstood.  (the research puzzle)

Are CTAs an asset class?  (Morningstar)

Is it worth the time and effort to try and identify actively managed funds even in so-called inefficient markets?  (Capital Spectator)

The latest ETF Death Watch is shrinking.  (greenfaucet)

You can’t keep Lenny down!  (Daily Options Report)

David Merkel, “Liquidity derivatives are not a reasonable product.”  (Aleph Blog)

On the fundamental nature of risk and the too big to fail problem. (voxEU via EconLog)

Does breaking valuation ratios into short and long-term components add value?  (CXO Advisory Group)

Private equity seems to have a beneficial effect on the industries in which it invests.  (SSRN)

A handy sovereign risk table.  (FT Alphaville)

As monetary policy begins to shift and fiscal policy remains imprudent the landscape is shifting.”  (The Pragmatic Capitalist)

How the Fed might use interest on excess reserves to manage the transition from monetary easing.  (DealBook)

It is time for Goldman Sachs (GS) to revamp its board.  (Felix Salmon)

It is hard to blame “market efficiency” for the crisis when almost no one believes in it.  (SSRN)

Who is going to buy all those MBS the Fed is planning to sell?  (Atlantic Business)

Use National Bank of Greece (NBG) as a proxy for the situation in Greece.  (VIX and More)

Germany could bail out Greece, but should it?  (The Reformed Broker, 24/7 Wall St., money supply, WSJ)

Rail traffic is still not demonstrating any strength.  (Calculated Risk)

Will the demand for (or supply of) consumer credit affect future economic growth?  (macroblog)

Cap rates for commercial real estate jumped in Q4 2009.  (Calculated Risk)

Will John Thain be able to keep his hands off his new “hideous” office at CIT Group (CIT)?  (Dealbreaker)

Will Google Buzz gain any traction against Twitter and Facebook?  (The Big Money, Silicon Alley Insider)

Will the tablet computers like the iPad give magazines one more “bite of the apple”?  (Fortune)

Why implementing a pay wall after having charged nothing before is so difficult.  (Predictably Irrational)

Times are tough when the WSJ has a column up touting the financial benefits of clipping coupons.  (WSJ)

What the footnoted acquisition says about the state of blogonomics.  (Felix Salmon, Big Picture, Reuters)

The good news about the beneficial effects of beer on bone density.  (DailyFinance)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Tuesday links: broken equity culture

Rydex market timers are getting bearish.  (The Technical Take)

The stock market is as oversold as it was back in March 2009.  (Bespoke)

What is mutual fund cash telling us about the market?  (Marketwatch)

Is America’s “broken equity culture” ultimately going to lead to lower returns down the road?  (Barron’s)

Distressed debt and arbitrage strategies had positive returns in January.  (FINalternatives)

Marking the top in the high yield bond market.  (Distressed Debt Investing)

Are investors piling into the BlackRock iShares TIPS ETF (TIP) going to be disappointed?  (IndexUniverse, ibid)

Does Pimco have a better way of weighting a global bond index?  (Morningstar)

Investors are pulling back from the emerging markets.  (The Money Game)

Five themes that play off of the divergence between industrialized and emerging economies.  (market folly)

Exotic ETFs do not have the tax efficiency of plain vanilla index ETFs.  (DailyFinance)

Institutional money managers trade more than they tell clients they will.  (WSJ)

Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) is entering the S&P 500 on Friday.  What to expect?  (Barron’s)

Don’t overlook the benefits of portfolio rebalancing.  (Capital Spectator)

In defense of the management of the United States Oil Fund (USO).  (FT Alphaville)

Apparently the coast is clear for private equity dividends again.  (NYTimes)

Goldman Sachs (GS) responds to its critics, blog-style.  (Huffington Post, Felix Salmon, Gapper Blog, Deal Journal)

The US dollar is going down, on an inflation-adjusted basis, whether Bloomberg says it is or not.  (Finance Trends Matter)

Howard Simons, “Just because the value of paper money is declining doesn’t mean the value of a static asset has to be increasing at an equal and opposite rate.”  (Minyanville)

Is the Fed making it too easy to borrow short and lend long?  (The Money Game)

The good news coming from the temporary job market.  (Atlantic Business)

How the Federal Reserve plans to mop up the excess liquidity sloshing around the financial system.  (WashingtonPost also Fox Business)

Elizabeth Warren takes Wall Street to task for throwing away their customer’s trust.  (WSJ also Baseline Scenario)

Are the wise old men back in charge of fiscal policy?  (Guardian)

Given its relative size why are we so worried about Greece?  (Free exchange)

Venture capital went from “cottage industry” to “asset class.”  What now?  (Institutional Investor)

On the relationship between fear and loss aversion.  (Reuters also Scientific American, TraderFeed)

How is neuroeconomics changing economics?  (The Psy-Fi Blog)

Morningstar (MORN) acquires the excellent footnoted.org blog.  (footnoted)

What induces people to e-mail a New York Times story?  (NYTimes)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Monday links: global margin call

“(A)ny timer of the U.S. stock market who did not beat the market during 2000-2009 has some explaining to do.”  (CXO Advisory Group)

“It may be hard to believe, but 35% of the S&P 500’s gains since the start of 2009 have now been erased over a span of less than 14 trading days.”  (Bespoke)

Is the secular bull market in bonds coming to an end?  (Big Picture)

Why haven’t higher sovereign CDS rates been reflected in bond yields?  (FT Alphaville)

PIMCO favors emerging market (and German) bonds.  (WSJ)

Peaks in leading economic indicators are not great for market returns.  (The Money Game also FT Alphaville)

Why is lumber continuing to power higher?  (The Pragmatic Capitalist)

Listening Nouriel Roubini would have been a mistake last year.  (Telegraph UK)

The volatility of the VIX has surged.   (Daily Options Report also WSJ)

ETFs have joined the rest of the mutual fund complex in a battle of branding.  (New Rules of Investing)

Some Bogleheads are anxious that Vanguard is getting into alternative investments.  (FT)

Roger Nusbaum, “Investment products aren’t greed-causing or speculative in and of themselves. They may create the means with which to express those behaviors.”  (TheStreet)

“For all the concern over the $1.6 trillion U.S. budget deficit and record debt load, the dollar is as valuable now as 35 years ago.”  (Bloomberg)

Where will the Euro bottom?  (VIX and More)

Simon Johnson, “The euro depreciates, the dollar strengthens, and our path to recovery starts to run more uphill.”  (Baseline Scenario)

Is Greece the first step in a “global margin call“?  (naked capitalism)

John Thain takes over CIT Group (CIT).  (NYTimes, naked capitalism, FT Alphaville)

Felix Salmon, “It’s crucial, in financial markets, that investors walk into risky asset classes with their eyes open, rather than kidding themselves that they can simply hedge those risks away by buying a fancy financial product from Citigroup.”  (Reuters also Risk)

Bryan Caplan, “None of this means that mood is the whole story.   Mood, market conditions, and policy all interact.”  (EconLog)

Deflation is back on the table.  (Econbrowser)

Males aged 25-54 are increasingly not employed.  (Brad DeLong)

Is a value-added tax or VAT the inevitable fix to the budget deficit?  (CNNMoney)

Economic populism is a function of the poor economy.  (New Yorker)

Is Canada facing its own housing bubble?  (WSJ)

“I take issue with Krugman’s “partisanization” of economics – if I could coin a new word”  (Kid Dynamite)

“Despite all my jurisprudential research, I have been unable to locate a statutory basis for the right to cheap insurance.”  (finem respice)

How winning streaks end:  “Winners become sinners when confidence turns into complacency and arrogance.”  (HBR)

Jeff Jarvis, “If you are selling a scarcity — an inventory — of any nonphysical goods today, stop, turn around, and start selling value — outcomes — instead. Or you’re screwed.”  (Buzz Machine)

Ten reasons Sherlock Holmes is the ideal VC.  (peHUB)

Check out who made this “all star team of online finance.”  (New Rules of Investing)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Sunday links: symbiotic investments

Joshua Brown, “China and Brazil are quite possibly the most symbiotic investment story going right now.”  (The Reformed Broker)

More oversold readings.  (Bespoke)

Investment sentiment at week-end.  (Trader’s Narrative, The Technical Take)

Doug Kass thinks it might be time to start getting greedy again.  (TheStreet)

Nobody’s perfect. Paulson’s gold-focused hedge fund reportedly lost 14% in January.  (BusinessWeek also Clusterstock)

David Merkel, “(Y)ou can’t take illiquid assets and make them liquid.”  (Aleph Blog)

More iShares country ETFs are coming.  (ETF Trends)

Is this the beginning of a wave of fund conversions into actively managed ETFs?  (WSJ)

Where Burton Malkiel puts his own money.  (DealBook also Random Roger)

Why your time frame matters.  (A Dash of Insight)

Fund companies now realize their target date funds were a tad too aggressive.  (WSJ)

How can faith be restored in Wall Street?  (WSJ)

An awesome idea.  Pay bankers with subordinated debt.  (Clusterstock)

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein only earns a $9 million bonus in 2009.  (FT, Deal Journal, Felix Salmon)

“It’s a hell of a lot harder to build a new set of railway tracks than it is to set up a new website.”  (Psy-Fi Blog)

Short-selling bans, at best, had a neutral effect on stock prices.  (voxEU)

Five ways to improve your trading including;  “Improving risk-adjusted returns is as important for a long-term career as improving absolute returns.”  (TraderFeed)

The US dollar is still king, for now.  (Real Time Economics)

The three (not so great) ways out of the PIIGS problem.  (Rolfe Winkler also The Money Game)

Can the US stand by while Europe deals with its own fiscal problems?  (Baseline Scenario, ibid)

Can there be investment banks without conflicts of interest?  (Justin Fox)

Oh, the irony.  (DJ Market Talk)

Floyd Norris, “A global recovery in manufacturing appears to be accelerating.”  (NYTimes)

An unprecedented contraction in consumer credit continues apace.  (Calculated Risk)

David Altig, “What are we to make of the productivity gains in the United States relative to other countries?”  (macroblog)

Five myths of job creation.  (WashingtonPost)

What David Wessel (and Daniel Gross) learned from Hank Paulson’s book.  (Real Time Economics also Washington Post)

Gregor Macdonald, “21st century energy prices overlaid on a 20th century economy? That’s no fun at all.”  (Gregor)

The returns to writing a book, aka Bookonomics, are pretty dismal.  (Big Picture)

The economics of supermarkets prior to a blizzard.  (EconLog, Marginal Revolution)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Friday links: shadow banking

The percentage of stocks trading above their respective moving averages are getting close to solidly oversold levels.  (Trader Mike, Bespoke also Quantifiable Edges)

Bearish sentiment is on the rise.  (The Pragmatic Capitalist)

Pullback or new bear market?  (VIX and More)

Adam Warner, “Well, you don’t need a chart to tell you volatility is percolating.”  (Daily Options Report, ibid)

Post BGI, Blackrock (BLK) is now the largest money manager in the world.  (Morningstar)

Some interesting discussion about how multi-strategy was the best hedge fund structure to take advantage of alpha opportunities.  (market folly)

Which Nassim Taleb “investment advice” should we listen to?  (Felix Salmon)

Just what the MAVINS all about? (Wall St. Cheat Sheet)

Ten investment trends including:  “Diversification will remain key.”  (Capital Spectator)

The Burlington Northern acquisition costs Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) its AAA rating. (24/7 Wall St.)

Jeff Matthews on how the Burlington Northern deal will transform Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A).  (Tech Ticker)

Kraft (KFT) had no problem raising funds via debt to close the Cadbury acquisition.  (Breakingviews)

Commission-free trading of ETFs IS a great deal for smaller investors.  (IndexUniverse)

Can Microsoft (MSFT) become a “very different company”?  (GigaOm)

Does GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have the right formula for improving research productivity?  (Gapper Blog)

A new paper argues that high frequency traders need to have controls in place to avoid high-speed errors.  (Real Time Economics)

Neat graphics on the shadow banking system and what the Volcker Rule might cover.  (Rortybomb)

Goldman Sachs (GS) continues to claim it did not need government assistance.  (Atlantic Business)

Tim Duy, “In this environment, I don’t see how the Fed is interested in substantially tightening policy – but I can see how some policymakers could perceive that their hand was forced if they see a string of upside surprises in growth indicators..”  (Economist’s View)

Anal_yst, “We must accept the fact that the crisis wasn’t caused just by bad actors on Wall Street, but by Main Street, as well.”  (Atlantic Business)

Carmen Reinhart, “..historically, following a wave of financial crises especially in financial centers, you get a wave of defaults. You go from financial crises to sovereign debt crises. I think we’re in for a period where that kind of scenario is very likely.”  (Real Time Economics)

No wonder the US CDS prices have risen so much.  (Fund My Mutual Fund, Bespoke)

Drop in unemployment rate aside, this has been the worst post-War employment recession.  (Calculated Risk also The Reformed Broker, The Pragmatic Capitalist, EconomPic Data, Economix, Big Picture)

Will 5%+ mortgage rates scare off potential home buyers?  (24/7 Wall St.)

Brett Steenbarger, “Market technician Joe Granville famously asserted that if it’s obvious, it’s obviously wrong.  That’s the salience principle, and it’s why impulsive trades so often are losers.”  (TraderFeed)

On the difference between process and outcome.  (Farnam Street)

Bonuses affect activity, not necessarily performance.  (Wired UK)

A review of James Picerno’s new book “Dynamic Asset Allocation: Modern Portfolio Theory Updated for the Smart Investor.”  (CFA Institute)

This season what NFL teams generated the most “alpha”?  (Analytic Investors via InvestmentNews)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Thursday links: performance persistence

Investor sentiment took a hit during the market correction.  (Bespoke)

What the timber market is telling us about the housing economy.  (Minyanville)

Mutual fund investors are still positioned quite conservatively.  (The Pragmatic Capitalist)

Altman says bond default rates could fall but 2011 could be trouble if the economy doesn’t turn.  (DealBook)

Can you base an investment strategy on the turn-of-the-month effect?  (Crossing Wall Street)

Should investors take a more active approach to commodity investing?  (IndexUniverse)

Adam Warner, “But pick virtually any timeframe and you will come to the same conclusion. VXX is a terrible portfolio hedge.” (Daily Options Report)

Market volatility, as measured by 1% days, is on the rise.  (Bespoke)

Investors don’t spend enough time thinking as opposed to doing.   (the research puzzle earlier Abnormal Returns)

John Bogle’s simple investing message has remained consistent over time.  (Morningstar)

Lower (or free) commissions make higher turnover strategies more attractive.  (VIX and More)

Mutual fund performance persistence is scarce except for bottom quartile losers.  (SSRN)

The active vs. passive debate reaches Norway’s “petroleum fund.” (Economist)

Using interest rates to help explain currency returns.  (SSRN)

Apparently short-sellers know what they are doing.  (CXO Advisory Group)

Felix Salmon, “The point is that it’s pretty much impossible to have a bubble in something which doesn’t have a liquid asset class supporting it. “  (Reuters)

Simon Johnson, “The Fed is apparently, at last, moving the right direction on the issue of “too big to fail”.  But how long will it take to get there?”  (Baseline Scenario)

Andy Kessler, “Increased [bank] reserves may be the best financial reform we can hope for without politicians mucking it up. “  (WSJ)

The FHA is kidding itself about default ratings.  (Clusterstock)

There is no wage inflation on the horizon.  (EconomPic Data)

Growing financial woes beset municipalities.  (Clusterstock, ibid)

Floyd Norris, “Can the world economic recovery continue with a stumbling Europe?”  (NYTimes)

Why the world remains so dependent on coal as an energy source.  (Free exchange)

Large pharma needs new business, scientific and organizational models.  (Knowledge@Wharton)

Just what is Prozac and other SSRIs actually good for?  (The Frontal Cortex)

Why Microsoft (MSFT) ceased innovating.  (Farnam Street)

An interesting interview with value investor Mariusz Skonieczny. (Simoleon Sense)

A profile of StockTwits CEO Howard Lindzon.  (Globe and Mail)

Why Twitter is a “vital part of the information economy..”  (Bits)

Copycat companies are everywhere.  Execution is what matters.  (Andy Swan)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Wednesday links: low yield conundrum

Why are government bond yields so low?  (Mandel on Innovation and Growth also Trader’s Narrative)

Would a stock split move Apple (AAPL) stock higher?  (A Dash of Insight)

Commodities had had a rough start to the year.  (StockCharts Blog)

Another oversold metric.  (VIX and More)

A very long run view of the stock market.  (Crossing Wall Street)

What you exclude from an index may be just as important as what you include.  (Random Roger)

Japan is ripe with stocks trading below liquidation value.  (The Source)

A sector momentum strategy is less reliable than previously believed.  (CXO Advisory Group)

Can you guard your personal finances against the costs of higher deficits?  (ROI)

Why a buy and hold investment strategy may be the least worst option.  (The Psy-Fi Blog earlier Abnormal Returns)

What Dow Chemical (DOW) is telling us about the global economy.  (Value Plays)

Beware Russians bearing IPOs.  (DealBook)

Some REITs now have the problem of having too much cash.  (WSJ)

The chances of homeowners walking away from their mortgages increases as negative equity rises.  (Calculated Risk, naked capitalism)

Disentangling the many causes of the mortgage/financial crisis.  (Big Picture also DJ Market Talk)

Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) will be able to evade the Volcker Rule.  (naked capitalism, Felix Salmon)

Round 2 of the AIG bonus controversy.  (WashingtonPost, DealBook)

The Fed quietly ends some of the lending facilities launched in the midst of the crisis.  (Real Time Economics)

A scary chart depicting subprime mortgage loss severity.  (Alea)

Core inflation measures are falling even though few believe it.  (Economist’s View)

Jim Chanos on the “malinvestment” problems in China.  (Credit Writedowns, designing better futures)

Michael Pettis, “The idea that massive levels of reserves are a guarantor of economic stability is, in other words, based on a profound misunderstanding both of history and of the nature of reserves.”  (China Financial Markets)

Findings from the inaugural ‘Economic Outlook: A Quarterly Survey of Top Economics Bloggers.’  (Kauffman Foundation)

An interview with Ed Thorpe.  (Infectious Greed, The Pragmatic Capitalist)

More on the online brokerage price wars.  (WSJ, 24/7 Wall St., Bucks)

Free ETF trading is not a boon to investors.  (IndexUniverse earlier Abnormal Returns)

Some resources for those of you interested in “piggyback investing.”  (New Rules of Investing)

A spreadsheet analyzing the profitability of the Oscar nominees.  (WSJ)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Tuesday links: missing micro-caps

Richard Ferri, “What is the problem with micro-cap index funds and ETFs? The problem is that there are no true micro-cap index funds or ETFs. They don’t exist.”  (Forbes)

Fidelity’s lower commissions and commission-free trades in 25 iShares ETFs advances the online broker price war.  (Marketwatch, ETF Trends, Morningstar)

What is the “third generation ETF platform“?  (FT Alphaville)

Another oversold reading for the stock market.  (Bespoke)

Hedge funds had a quiet January.  (FINalternatives)

Ten largest hedge funds of 2009.  (HedgeCo.Net)

Mixed results from a couple of economic bellwethers.  (MarketBeat, DealZone)

Is Norway risking an asset bubble?  (Money Supply)

Has China switched from bull to bear?  (The Pragmatic Capitalist)

Australia decides to hold rates steady.  (FT Alphaville also Mish)

“Can one devise a way of spotting those countries which are most at risk from a debt crisis?”  (Buttonwood)

Investor misreaction to crises, not economic fundamentals, appear to drive stock return predictability.” (CXO Advisory Group)

Ten year venture capital returns continue to slide.  (TechCrunch, techblog)

Roy Smith, “We need to do something about firms that are too big to fail. These firms have become loss transmitters and accelerators to the rest of the system.”  (Time)

The FHA has got itself a bit of a delinquency problem.  (WashingtonPost)

Home ownership rates are down to levels last seen in 2000.  (Calculated Risk)

Comparing US and EU unemployment rates.  (EconomPic Data)

Large pharmaceutical companies can shrink only so much.  They now need new financial and scientific models.  (Atlantic Business)

The madness behind the Tesla IPO. (The Big Money)

How are we going to charge of these new electric vehicles?  (Economist)

What is “cognitive fluency“?  (Street Capitalist)

An online finance wishlist.  (New Rules of Investing)

Good reason to wait for iPad version 2.0.  (TechCrunch)

Hedge funds got crushed by the problems at MGM.  (Gawker)

Oscar nominations announced.  How Oscar campaigns work.  (IMDB, WashingtonPost)

Talk about a lost decade.  The music industry saw its sales get cut in half in the past ten years.  (CNNMoney)

The debate over multi-tasking, attention, laptops and the classroom.  (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Giant squid=lower calamari prices.  (The Reformed Broker)

Your coffee sucks.  (DailyFinance)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.


Monday links: nuanced returns

Where’s the bubble:  bonds or equities?  (Big Picture)

The junk phase of the rally is over.  What next?  (The Reformed Broker)

2010 will be a year of “nuance” in asset class returns.  (Capital Spectator also Investment Postcards, EconomPic Data)

How much stock should we put into the small cap effect?  (MarketSci Blog also New Rules of Investing)

The bulls are nominally still in charge in the US equity market.  (Investment Postcards)

By this measure the correction has more to go.  (Big Picture)

February has not been that a great a month for the Dow historically.  (Bespoke)

Does sector performance have anything to do with happens in January?  (Kirk Report)

The market’s mood turned in January.  Is that an opportunity?  (Mean Street)

One year of the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX).  (VIX and More)

Why the CME Group (CME) should buy the Dow Jones index business.  (MarketBeat)

Check the spreads on an ETF before trading.  (WSJ)

What implied volatility tells us about future returns.  (CXO Advisory Group)

On the link between preparation and performance.  (TraderFeed)

Disentangling the effects of a CFA or MBA on investment performance.  (SSRN)

Finally some one found a bull on the economy and markets.  (Clusterstock)

Will merger arb hedge funds benefit from a pick up in MA& activity?  (All About Alpha)

UK and US natural gas prices diverge.  (FT Alphaville)

Will Goldman Sachs (GS) thumb its nose at the government by paying Lloyd Blankenfein $100 million?  (naked capitalism, Deal Journal, Felix Salmon, Dealbreaker)

Is private equity consolidation coming?  (WSJ)

Traders are fleeing the Euro.  (The Money Game)

Are Greek bonds the new subprime?  (MarketBeat)

Obama plans a $3.8 trillion budget. (WashingtonPost)

Confusion reigns as the deficit continues to balloon.  (24/7 Wall St., Atlantic Business, Rolfe Winkler)

“The financing backbone of the American mortgage market has effectively been transferred from the banks to the government.”  (FT Alphaville)

“The British screwed us,” Henry Paulson stated in regards to the British stance on a Lehman Brothers rescue.  (WSJ also Clusterstock, DealBook)

CIA agents are moonlighting for major financial institutions.  (Politico also Farnham Street)

Katie Fehrenbacher, “If investors actually respond positively to Tesla’s public offering, to me, it will mean that in this media-saturated day and age, branding is truly everything.”  (earth2tech)

A new monthly options magazine from the blogosphere’s best options bloggers.  (Expiring Monthly)

Take journalist’s stock picks with a big grain of salt.  (The Big Money)

The “disposition effect” shows up in NFL betting markets.  (SSRN)

The e-book business is getting all shook up.  (NYTimes, GigaOM, Tech Trader Daily)

Abnormal Returns Now is the real-time component of this site.  Check it out.