No curmudgeons at this end of the stick….

Tuesday, 19th December 2017

No curmudgeons at this end of the stick….

Readers occasionally crank-up the old email machine and write in to ask when I’m planning on feeling positive about something….

The honest answer is that you’re most likely to find me at my most positive when everybody else is feeling distinctly negative….

And there is no way of knowing when those times might come to pass. We simply sit tight and wait patiently for them to come along….

  • Contrarian instincts….

It’s not that I’m a gloomy old curmudgeon who takes pleasure in being stubborn or recalcitrant. It isn’t that I like to cast myself as a harbinger of doom….

My current sentiments – about the stock market and about bitcoin, for example – have more to do with the fact that my instincts are distinctly contrarian in nature….

When the consensus view is one of unbridled exuberance, my enthusiasm naturally dims. When the market is depressed, my natural inclination is to look around and identify reasons to be cheerful.

When the majority feels fearful, I am on the hunt for opportunity. When the market is calm and complacent and feeling like nothing can possibly go wrong, that’s when I start to worry and feel scared.… Click here to read more

No news is bad news….

Tuesday, 12th December 2017

No news is bad news….

‘Parabolic’ is my new favourite word….

This last fortnight, it’s followed me around the Internet like a lost dog….

I’m not sure exactly what it means. It’s all a bit mathematical for this layman’s simple mind….

It has something to do with the curve formed by the set of points in a plane that are all equally distant from both a given line and a given point that is not on the line.

I don’t get it. Donald Trump makes more sense. But swathes of commentators use the word to describe the latest rises on bitcoin’s price chart.

I understand better Stephen Roach’s assessment. The Yale economist says this:

‘I’ve never seen a chart of a security where the price really has a vertical pattern to it. And bitcoin is the most vertical of any pattern I’ve ever seen in my career.’

  • A wild ride….

But progress hasn’t been straightforward. The price remains volatile. Huge gains are frequently followed by significant losses….

Last week bitcoin breached the $17,000 ceiling before dropping to $15,610. Then it was up to $16,126 before falling back below $15,000. On Sunday the price dropped as low as $13,159.… Click here to read more

A veiled warning from a ‘paranoid’ Bank official….

Tuesday, 5th December 2017

A veiled warning from a ‘paranoid’ Bank official….

An interesting and illuminating comment last week from a Senior Bank of England official. It certainly raised my eyebrow….

Richard Sharp, a member of the BoE’s Financial Policy Committee, highlighted that the British government has already borrowed a whopping £1 trillion since the 2008 banking crisis….

And he went on to say that additional borrowing risks triggering a financial collapse comparable to the one still being played out in Venezuela….

Read that again. It’s not a misprint….

According to Richard Sharp, there is a real and present risk that further rises in the levels of public borrowing could turn Britain into a European version of Venezuela….

  • A state of desperation….

This is no small observation. You will know that to be true if you take even a cursory interest in world events.

The Venezuelan economy is in a desperate state right now….

Unemployment is off the charts. Food shortages are commonplace. People are standing in line for staple items – often for hours and frequently in vain….

Medicines and other essentials are difficult if not impossible to come by….

It’s been this way for a couple of years.… Click here to read more