Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jeremy Grantham's Letter for January 2011

Once again, Mr. Grantham has issued his letter to clients. I really enjoy his writings. Mr. Grantham's advice for the current market is that we are likely to reach 1500 SP500 and to be careful in October. Most of his analysis assumes that the third year in the Presidential cycle is the best year to be in the market. Nonetheless, be aware, or beware, that Mr. Grantham's valuation of the market is approximately 900 SP500.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How to Get Investment Ideas from the Pros

Here is a good way to get an idea of what the well-known investors are holding in their portfolios and funds. By searching 13F filings on this site, one can get some insights into industries and companies that investors like Mr. Paulson, Mr. Klarman, or Mr. Soros are holding. Periodic searches also allow one to see where they are reducing their positions. Hope this is helpful.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen R. Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, first published this bestseller in 1990. Here is a nice summary of the ideas in this book. The seven habits concern personal change and how one can become more effective. One of the parts I find interesting is the “win/win” situation. One should seek agreements, situations, and relationships where there is win/win. This is what we are creating at TradingXYZ. The second is that we see things not as they are, but as we are conditioned to seeing them. This principle is helpful to remember when we look at the market and try to make sense of it. Viktor Frankl’s attitude towards a horrific situation is a great lesson for all people. Humans have the freedom to choose. Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, is another that I have on my list of things to read in the near future.

Friday, January 21, 2011


In the quest for information on stocks one will scour the web for hours. Lately I came across what I believe is the best stock screener out there. It is the FINVIZ stock screener. This stock screener allows easy downloading to Excel and a variety of variables that can be used to screen stocks. Hope it is helpful to you all.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Battle that Changed Western Civilization

I like to read, especially during the winter, when it is difficult to do things outside. Recently I have been reading the book, Marathon: How One Battle Changed Western Civilization, by Mr. Richard A. Billows. This book makes a compelling and convincing case that the course of world history was indeed changed by the Greeks defeating the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. I found the book to be exciting, informative, and fun to read.

Mr. Billows is a professor at Columbia University specializing in Greek and Roman history. He specifically discusses the role of democracy, which he states began with the Kleisthenes in Athens, as one of the primary reasons leading to the Athenian resistance. The defeat of the Persians in Greece halted the westward expansion of the Persian empire. This eventually led to the decline of the Persian empire and to the rise of the Greek empire. As the Greek empire expanded it influenced western culture with its arts, architecture, philosophy, history, and theatrical drama and comedies.

The movie 300 popularized Leonidas and the Spartans who held off the Persians in a different battle, the Battle of Thermopylai. But it was really the Athenians, led by Miltiades, that changed the western world and made popular what we today take for granted.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Correlations and Comparative Statistics - Stocks

There are many stock screening websites that may be useful, for example MSN Money and Google Finance, but I also like these two. The first is Wolfram, which allows the user to input a variety of stocks and make comparisons in different ways. The second is the Select SPDR site which calculates correlations. Although these things can be done in Excel, sometimes it is helpful to get quick information. I hope you find them useful.