Saturday, November 5, 2011

Review of Barron's, Dated 7 November

On Saturdays, I have a little string of errands that I run each time.  7-11 to get coffee and decide if I want to buy Barron's, then drop off and/or pick up mail from my office, then get a sandwich at Subway, then perhaps get money out of the bank (today I pulled another $500) and finally pick up my wife from her grocery shopping.  So, as I pulled into 7-11, I again wondered what Barron's would offer us today.

The Cover Story is about Brazil.  I suppose because it is such a big country that Barron's decided it merited its own Special Section.  But, I was a little disappointed with the fairly skimpy section with just two real articles.  Christopher C. Williams writes an overview of Brazil and writes of opinions he received about the country.  Things appear to be going well in Brazil and are likely to into the future, unless..., China has a "hard landing".  Brazil has an economy that is growing relatively fast, and the social-mobility is getting more favorable (fewer poor and more middle class).

New President Dilma Rousseff has been cautious about implementing the socialist program she campaigned on (as was previous President "Lula"), but she has been meddling a bit in Petrobras and Vale (oil and mining, respectively).  Hands off Petrobras, Madame President, as I have 100 shares...

Page 5 is an ad by Itau, the big Brazilian bank.  Why would a Junior Blogger mention that?  Because of the NICE LOOKING Brazilian woman is why...

The other article is an interview with three investment guys who know Brazil well.  Yawn.  One of them likes Brazilian corporate bonds, another likes hotel operators and the other likes Brazilian malls.

[personal note:  Brazilian manufactured products are all over the place in Peru: VW trucks, Chevrolet Brazil cars, Brahma beer (not good, sorry), mid-market industrial equipment and even Brazilian construction companies building buildings and infrstaructure there]


Randall W. Forsyth handle's week's duty at "Up and Down Wall Street" (Alan Abelson's column).  The first word in the article is:


^--- What is unusual about that word?

Anyway he goes on to say that things don't look so euphoric now in Europe, even with the sort-of deal they cut last week.  It looks like the "Crunch" may be near: Greece needs the Euro 8 billion that the EU is withholding, and if Greece doesn't get the money by the December 11 bond maturity, then they will default. And that would be a "credit event".  Forsyth then goes on to look at Italy, where the picture is not pretty either, although not as dire as Greece.  At the end of his Italy remarks he writes:

"All of which suggests that the euphoria was fleeting.  Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted."

Forsyth finishes with some information on MF Global that I have/had not seen at ZH (did not go there yet today).  The NY Times had a story that said customers' money was used in "repo" machinations with European bonds, which CFTC head Gary Gensler objected to.  Corzine pushed back, turns out Gensler once worked under Corzine there at Goldman Sachs.  Corzine got his way...  And then destroyed MF Global.


Page 17 has a fun little article on 11/11/11.  Here's a tidbit: add the last two digits of your birth year and your age.  What do you get?  111.  Try it!


Andrew Bary discusses Cablevision (CVC), in particular as a takeover candidate by one or the other of the cable giants.


Carl B. Weinberg writes a convincing article that Greece will default very soon.  I guess that default is now a "DONE DEAL", and we should get ready...


Jack Willoughby writes an article on Equifax (EFX), suggesting that it may be a buy.


"CEO Spotlight" is a column I am going to have to look at each week now.  Two interesting ones in a row.  This week is Sam Zell's story, it's good!


Tiernan Ray writes in this weekend's "Technology Week" that First Solar (FSLR, and all the others in the solar space as well) are getting beaten up because the subsidies are being eliminated.  I guess that pertty much tells us that solar is not ready for primetime yet.  Also he looks at RIM (RIMM), it ain't pretty either.

Mark Veverka's "Plugged In" sums up his whole column nicely with the title alone: Groupon is no Amazon.


Recently I noted an ad of interest in Barron's (small) classified section.  This week a company called Assay on Wheels "is the only patent pending mobile precious metal refiner in the world."  They are looking for money.  When I finish this, I will go and take a look.  Here's the link:


Uber Capitalist editor Thomas Donlan goes after the Class Warriors.  Pastes them good!  Attaway Mr. Donlan!

Thomas Donlan:  1
Robert Scheer:    0


In the Market Week section of Barron's is the always worth looking at "Commodities Corner".  Tatyana Shumway writes about how the cost of mining platinum is going up!  She writes: "Platinum mines are the deepest and most dangerous in the world."

Leading producer South Africa is having problems just keeping the electricity going...  Russia is not mentioned, perhaps she made a slight oversight on that.  But, demand looks to be going up as the world's auto sales are going up as well.

So, it looks like platinum is going up!  Hurray!  Up, up and away!


"Current Yield" author Bradley Davis writes that Treasuries have surged on news of the Greek mess.  Well, yes, but any ZH-er with more than 2 and 1/2 working neurons already knows that!


My weekly wrap-up on money matters:

1) Total Fed Holdings: down 0.5%
2) Monetary Base: down 1.9%
3) M2 Money Supply: down 0.4%

What does all the above mean?  "FIIK"!

The Peruvian Sol declined a tiny amount vs. the US$.  In fact, the dollar gained on EVERY currency listed there (at Market Laboratory - Indicators) except the Indian Rupee and the Pakistani Rupee.  ???

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