Weekend Reads for Global Investors: Thanksgiving Jokes and a Holiday Book List
It’s that time of the year again and you can feel the holiday spirit in the air.
The best presents of the season so far came from central bankers in China and Europe. Last Friday, People’s Bank of China announced its first rate cut since 2012. European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi also hinted strongly at continued quantitative easing. Investors globally responded with a holiday cheer and promptly sent markets to new highs.
Of course we all know markets and the economy do not necessarily move in the same direction. Will rate cuts in China do anything to stimulate the slowing economy? There seem to be plenty of doubters. Why would it not work? Well, because commercial banks do not want to lend, according to Wei Yao of Societe Generale. More importantly, I think it is probably because there is no good reason for people to borrow. (Watch a video where Richard Koo explained why people do not want to borrow post-recession at the CFA Institute Japan Investment Conference last summer.) Although China’s problems are far different from those of Europe, lack of demand is a common theme in both cases. And if you believe in the Keynesian liquidity trap story, monetary easing in any form is probably not what you’ll count on to get you out of trouble.
Books are always popular among holiday gifts. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal‘s Jason Zweig provided a list of investment books, just in time for the holidays. In addition to classics such as Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor: A Book of Practical Counsel, he also included some of the new classics such as Peter L. Bernstein’s Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk. I think readers may have the most fun with some of the lesser-known but not any less powerful books on his list. An example would be Darrell Huff’s How to Lie with Statistics. It is a lighter reading but just as thought-provoking, if not more so.
Last but not least on our reading list for you this week is “Twenty-Five Thanksgiving Jokes That Will Get You Through Dinner with Your Family.” With that, we wish our readers around the world a happy start to the holiday season!
More Monetary Easing: China and Europe
- “Central Banks in New Push to Prime Pump” (Wall Street Journal)
- “Economists React: Will China’s Interest-Rate Cut Make a Difference?” (Wall Street Journal)
- “Signal vs. Noise from the PBoC” (Financial Times)
- If you missed this article a few weeks back, here you go again. It’s worth repeating as it seems the message is not getting through: A veteran economist from Reuters gave his take on why QE did not work in the United States. “The Takeaway from Six Years of Economic Troubles? Keynes Was Right” (Reuters)
- This one too: Here’s a more detailed treatment of the subject matter covering a longer time span and more countries. It’s a delicious read: “John Maynard Keynes Is the Economist the World Needs Now” (BusinessWeek)
- “States’ Finances Are Now on Solid Ground” (Barron’s)
- “How to Win Any Argument about the Markets?” All it takes could be simply changing the time frame in question. (A Wealth of Common Sense)
- You probably have heard that chasing returns is bad for investors’ financial health. Tadas Viskanta of Abnormal Returns describes a recent case in “A Perfect Example of the Behavior Gap at Work.” (Abnormal Returns)
- Bonds are not the only securities that respond to interest rate changes. GMO’s Ben Inker, CFA, shares the duration, or interest rate sensitivity, of various asset classes in the firm’s latest quarterly letter. “Is This Purgatory, Or Is It Hell” (GMO)
- “How Do People Get New Ideas?” Find out what Isaac Asimov had to say on the subject. (Farnam Street)
- This is an older post on what Einstein and Steve Jobs had to say on the subject. “Einstein on the Essential Feature of Productive Thought” (Farnam Street)
- “Air pollution from Europe’s largest industrial facilities cost society at least €59 billion, and possibly as much as €189 billion in 2012,” according to a report released this week. (European Environment Agency)
- “In Beijing, Weather and Pollution Are a Deadly Combo” (Futurity)
- “China’s Clean Air Challenge: The Health Impacts of Transport Emissions” (SustainableCitiesCollective)
- “How to Improve Your Business Writing” (Harvard Business Review)
- “Zuckerberg’s Grasp of Mandarin Has a Big Lesson for Businesses” (Entrepreneur)
- “The Hard Data on Being a Nice Boss” (Harvard Business Review)
And Now for Some Truly Weekend Reading . . .
- “Twenty-Five Thanksgiving Jokes That Will Get You Through Dinner with Your Family” (Huffington Post)
- Read this, if you had too much to eat over the holidays. “How the World Could Better Fight Obesity” (McKinsey)
- And this, if you need some extra incentive to shed the extra pounds. “Does Exercise Really Make Us Smarter?” (The New York Times)
- “Turkey Traffic: Five Charts Behind the Thanksgiving Travel Rush” (Forbes)
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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.
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