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Introduction to QuantLib training with Luigi Ballabio

19-21 October, London

Musings on Markets's Blog

Equity Risk Premiums (ERP) and Stocks: Bullish or Bearish Indicator

May 19, 2013 Comments (0)

If you have been following my blog postings, you are probably aware that I have an obsession with equity risk premiums (ERP), and have done an annual survey paper on the topic  every year since 2008 (with the 2013 update here). I also post a monthly update for the ERP for the S&P 500 at the start of the month on my website. As a consequence, my attention was drawn to a post by Fernando Duarte and Carlo Rosa, economists at the Fed in New York, on the topic. They argue that...

Apple: News, Noise and Value

April 30, 2013 Comments (0)

As has been the case for much of the last two years, the Apple earnings report on April 24, 2013 was a media event, previewed endlessly on investment sites, covered heavily by the media and tweeted about by both Apple fans and foes. While I try to stay away from the hype around earnings reports, this is a good occasion to revisit my earlier posts on Apple, and especially the one I made at the start of this year on its valuation. The Signal amidst the Noise 0 0 1 255 1454 Stern School...

The Golden Rule? Thoughts on gold as an investment

April 20, 2013 Comments (0)

Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, gold is a "riddle, wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma", at least as far as I am concerned. I don't understand what moves the gold price and I have never held gold in my portfolio. That does not mean, however, that I am not fascinated by the price of gold and immune from its movements. That was brought home last week, when the price of gold dropped by 9% on April 15, 2013, the biggest one day drop in thirty years. Not only did the prices of other precious...

A Sweet Spot for US Equities: Opportunity and Dangers

March 28, 2013 Comments (0)

The US equity markets are on a roll. Today, the S&P 500 hit an all time high, just weeks after the Dow also broke its record. While it has been less than five years since the crisis of 2008 and the epic collapse of equities in the last quarter of that year, the returns earned by those who stayed the course, even relative to pre-crisis price levels, is a testimonial to the dangers of staying out of equity markets for extended periods.  As with every other market surge, this one has...

Marty Lipton: Shareholder Champion, Stakeholder Protector or Management Tool?

March 9, 2013 Comments (0)

I do not personally know Marty Lipton, nor have I met him. Based on what I have read about him and by him (he is a prolific writer), he strikes me as an extremely competent lawyer and he is certainly a good friend and champion of New York University (the institution that I teach at), chairing the board of the trustees for the university. I have never, though, thought of him as a champion of long term shareholders in publicly traded companies, which is the role he plays in a recent article by...

Hundred dollar bills are hard to come by!

February 13, 2013 Comments (0)

It looks like I just I cannot stay away from the Apple story, with Tim Cook making a splash (or a belly flop) with his speech in New York yesterday and David Einhorn's proposal coming in for scrutiny from investors and the press. This article in the New York Times DealBook does a pretty good job of summing up the proposal and its underlying thesis, and I was surprised to see my name mentioned, with Mr. Einhorn quoted as having said that my analysis "brings to memory the old joke about the...

Michael Dell's Conflicted Buyout

February 12, 2013 Comments (0)

Let’s say that you are interested in selling your house and hire a realtor, and that the realtor comes back with what she says is the “best” offer for the house, forgetting to mention that she is the buyer. I would assume that you would be screaming about conflict of interests from the rooftops, right? Now, let’s change the story a little bit. Assume that you are the CEO of a publicly traded company that has been targeted by a group, interested in buying the company. Your fiduciary...

Financial Alchemy: David Einhorn’s “value” play for Apple

February 8, 2013 Comments (0)

If you are an Apple stockholder, yesterday was an eventful day. First, you had David Einhorn becoming more “activist” with his Apple holdings, moving from being just bullish on the stock to pushing for change. Second, Einhorn also unveiled his plan for Apple: the company should give its stockholders preferred shares in the company, with a 4% dividend yield. In pushing for the change, he is quoted as saying that doing so will “unlock billions of dollars in value". There will be NO value...

Apple Redux: Thoughts on value, price and the confidence gap

February 7, 2013 Comments (0)

I know that you are probably sick and tired of reading about Apple, and I am getting close to that point too, but this post is really more about investing than it is about Apple. In my post on Apple on January 27, I also posted "my" distribution of value for Apple, concluding that there was a 90% chance that Apple was under valued. One of the responses I got was interesting and it questioned the courage of my convictions by asking why, if I believed that there was a 90% chance that the stock...

It's time: A new semester begins.. and you are welcome to join in...

February 1, 2013 Comments (0)

As those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know, I have been posting my valuation and corporate finance classes online. A year ago, at the start of my Spring 2012 class, I provided my rationale for doing so, which is that the modern university business model is broken and inefficient and that change is needed. At the start of the Fall 2012 valuation class, I pointed to the lessons that I had learned from the earlier semester and the tweaks I had made as a consequence. The...