Book Value

Three Key Lessons From Recent Travels Around The World

Amid the cozy world of X-Factor, American Idol, and Dance Moms, we can often be lulled into the belief that all is well in the world. But once the cocoon of mind-numbing media is shrugged off, the realities of the world are all too 'Matrix-like' exposed. Simon Black's travels have exposed these three things...

Frontrunning: May 8

  • Pentagon Plans for the Worst in Syria (WSJ)
  • Russia and US agree to Syria conference after Moscow talks (FT)
  • Hedge Funds Rush Into Debt Trading With $108 Billion (BBG)
  • Detroit is the new "deep value" - Hedge funds in search of distress take a look at Detroit (Reuters)
  • Commodities hedge funds suffer weak first quarter (FT)
  • But... but... Abenomics - Toshiba posts 62% decline in Q1 net profit (WSJ)
  • Americans Are Borrowing Again but Still Less Than Before Freeze (WSJ)
  • Man Utd announce Alex Ferguson to retire (FT)
  • Asmussen Says ECB Discussed ABS Purchases to Spur SME Lending (BBG)
  • Benghazi Attack Set for New Review (WSJ)
  • Belgium Says 31 People Arrested Over $50 Million Diamond Theft (BBG)
  • Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevêdo wins WTO leadership battle (FT)
  • Bangladesh Garment Factory Building Collapse Toll Reaches 782 (BBG)

Frontrunning: April 24

  • The Inland Empire bubble is back: BMW to Amazon Space Demand Spurs Rush to Inland Empire (BBG)
  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev was on classified government watch lists (Reuters)
  • Brothers in Boston Bombing Case Said Drawn to Radicalism (BBG)
  • Germany Spurns Calls to Loosen Austerity Stance (WSJ)
  • Spain poised to ease austerity push (FT)
  • What ever happened to France's voice in Europe? (Reuters)
  • U.S., South Korea Reach Nuclear Deal (WSJ)
  • U.S. Sees No Hard Evidence of Syrian Chemical Weapons Use (BBG)
  • RBA Set to Invest Foreign Currency Reserves in China, Lowe Says (BBG)
  • FedEx Wins $10.5 Billion Postal Contract as UPS Shut Out (BBG)

This Time Is Different

The 2008 crash resulted from the bursting of the biggest bubble in financial history, a ‘credit super-cycle’ that spanned more than three decades. How did this happen? Some might draw comfort from the observation that bubbles are a long established aberration, arguing that the boom-and-bust cycle of recent years is nothing abnormal. Any such comfort would be misplaced, for two main reasons. First, the excesses of recent years have reached a scale which exceeds anything that has been experienced before. Second, and more disturbing still, the developments which led to the financial crisis of 2008 amounted to a process of sequential bubbles, a process in which the bursting of each bubble was followed by the immediate creation of another. Though the sequential nature of the pre-2008 process marks this as something that really is different, in order to put the 'credit cuper-cycle' in context, we must understand the vast folly of globalization, the undermining of official economic and fiscal data, and the fundamental misunderstanding of the dynamic which really drives the economy.

Berkshire Seeks To Avoid 2013 Tax Hike, Buys Back BRK Shares

Define irony: when the most vocal supporter of a dramatic change to the existing tax policy takes advantage of the last few days of the old one...

  • BERKSHIRE HAS PURCHASED 9,200 OF CLASS A SHRS AT $131,000-SHR
  • BERKSHIRE RAISED PRICE LIMIT FOR BUYBACKS TO 120% BOOK VALUE
  • BERKSHIRE MAY BUY ADDED SHRS AT NO MORE THAN 120% BOOK VALUE
  • BERKSHIRE BOOSTS BUYBACK PRICE LIMIT TO 120% BOOK VALUE VS 110%

A total $1.2 billion spent to avoid a few hundred million in new taxes. And now back to the hypocrticy of the "Buffett tax", and "Patriotic Millionaires for America." In other news, total donations to pay down the debt in Fiscal 2013 (starting October 1): $290,195.03.