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Weekly Ramblings of an Australian Stock Trader - incorporating
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Category — Finance

Buyer Beware: Japanese Government Bonds are Moving.

Buyer Beware: Japanese Government Bonds are Moving

Last week I gave a clear warning that Japan was at the epicentre of market moves world-wide. I gave that warning before the large fall in their stock market.

Of course I had no idea that on the very day I wrote my article we would see huge gyrations in their stock market. But I have followed the immense moves occurring in Japanese government bonds (JGB’s) and knew we weren’t far away from some fireworks.

And it seems to me the worst is far from over…

The falling bond market is a completely sensible reaction by investors to the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) threat of seeking 2% inflation. Most are of course sceptical that the BoJ can achieve a 2% inflation rate. But it’s hard to see anyone buying bonds at a 0.5% yield when the central bank is doing all in its power to ensure investors ultimately receive a negative real yield.

Kuroda, the BoJ governor, has even met with large holders of JGB’s begging them not to sell out. That course of action won’t work. The first man out the door is better off. Who wants to be left holding the bag if Japanese government bond’s collapse further?

Even though the Bank of Japan is soaking up 70% of all new issuance, Japanese government bonds are still selling off. I’m sure they still have tricks up their sleeves (they always do), but I think we are still in the early stages of a large exodus out of Japanese bonds. [Read more →]

May 30, 2013   Comments Off

Why Bank Stocks have Outperformed Resource Stocks…

Why Bank Stocks have Outperformed Resource Stocks…

It’s not often we agree with US Federal Reserve chairman, Dr Ben S Bernanke.

But over the weekend, Dr Bernanke claimed, ‘Both humanity’s capacity to innovate and the incentives to innovate are greater today than at any other time in history.

We couldn’t agree more. It’s why we’ve hired a specialist analyst – Sam Volkering – to help us launch a new technology investment service. While others preach doom and gloom, and fear modern technology, we look forward to it. Why? Because we believe technology improves the quality of life.

We’ll reveal more on this new service in the coming weeks.

Of course, we’re not about to give Dr Bernanke a free kick on his running of US (and indirectly, global) monetary policy. It has been a total disaster. Despite that, it has opened up a lot of opportunities for investors to make money, and that’s set to continue… [Read more →]

May 21, 2013   Comments Off

What The Latest Interest Rate Cut Could Mean For You.

Can you feel that?

Sure you can, right between the shoulder blades.

That’s the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) lowering interest rates to a record low. And if the banks cut savings rates by the same amount as the RBA rate cut, it could mean a big cut to your savings income.

A word of warning: don’t relax yet. The odds are the RBA will keep hold of that knife and give it a twist within the next couple of months as it sends interest rates even lower.

So, this is bad news right? It is. But it’s also an opportunity. I’ll explain more below…

Central bank interest rates don’t just impact savings rates. It impacts mortgage rates and dividend yields too.

In fact for many people the impact on mortgage rates is more important than the impact on savings rates.

Even though Australia supposedly has a positive private savings rate (I don’t entirely trust the official numbers; even the RBA says the savings rate isn’t accurate), about a third of the population has a mortgage and many more have investment property loans. [Read more →]

May 13, 2013   Comments Off

The Next Wall Street Financial Scandal Has Arrived.

The Next Wall Street Financial Scandal Has Arrived

Well, it looks like the major financial institutions can’t learn a lesson. They’re neck deep in yet another financial scandal of global proportions.

U.S. and international securities regulators investigating manipulation of LIBOR, the world’s most important set of benchmark interest rates, have uncovered another price-rigging scheme, this one in the $379 trillion market for interest rate swaps.

$379 Trillion, not Billion. Trillion.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has already issued subpoenas to Wall Street’s biggest banks and is interviewing a dozen former and current brokers from the Jersey City, NJ, offices of ICAP Plc.

For investors in the big banks, new revelations may put an end to the upward push to the groups’ stock prices, whose earnings of late have been helped by reductions in reserves meant as a cushion against future asset hits and litigation expenses. [Read more →]

May 6, 2013   Comments Off

Is The Australian Economy The New Switzerland?

Is The Australian Economy The New Switzerland?

Switzerland is the place that has traditionally stood above all the rest in its reputation for financial stability.

Why? Because the currency was well-managed, the banking system was sound, and the country had a long tradition of treating capital well.

Over the last few years, however, these advantages have collapsed.

Switzerland has voluntarily surrendered banking privacy, and the many Swiss banks are now haemorrhaging cash.

Even worse, the Swiss government destroyed its reputation for respecting capital when they pegged the Swiss franc to the euro in 2011 to arrest the franc’s rapid rise.

The country’s top central banker at the time, Philipp Hildebrand, claimed that he would buy foreign currencies in ‘unlimited quantities’ to defend the peg.

This is not something a responsible steward of currency should ever say. The currency peg was nothing more than a form of capital controls…and it effectively screwed anyone that had trusted the Swiss system with their savings.

Since then, the market’s need to find a financial safe haven has only become more desperate. One only needs to look at Cyprus to see why.

Yet just a small handful of countries inspire confidence in the marketplace. And the most popular seems to be Australia.  [Read more →]

April 21, 2013   Comments Off

Bitcoin For Beginners, Part II.

In March, I was at a conference in New Hampshire when a few Bitcoin businessmen sat me down to lunch. It seems like the last thing one wants, a long lunch at which one is hammered by unrelenting geek-speak about the glories of some crazy software thing.

It turned out very differently. A developer suggested that I download a smartphone application called Blockchain. I did this. He then took at an image of my QR code — that funny square design that looks like a 3-D bar code. It looks like this:

Within a few seconds, I was the proud owner of my first Bitcoin. I felt the rush. Ownership changes everything.

My wallet lived on my smartphone. Only three years ago, some wonderful applications had already developed around the currency unit. Although I’m a bit of a ‘techy’, I’m not a rocket scientist, and I’m quite certain that I would have been out of my league.

But this is how digital institutions develop to become ever more user-friendly. At the same event at which I became a Bitcoin owner, I also used a Bitcoin ATM. I put in the green stuff, held my digital wallet up to the scanner, and then felt the buzz on my smartphone. Physical became digital. Beautiful. [Read more →]

April 13, 2013   Comments Off

Currency Anarchism.

This article is contributed by One of the TOP sites for up to date information on the Canadian and US Stock Markets. For more information subscribe to their free newsletter.

Aaron Hoddinott's picture
Written by Aaron Hoddinott

Dear member,

The story of Bitcoin, the world’s largest decentralized,peer-to-peer fiat currency, which today outranks many sovereign currencies in liquidity (and also overall market value), is indeed a fascinating one in both investment trends and distrust in government. The only reason thisdigital currency even exists is because of broad frustration in the global monetary system.
What was once a currency traded amongst your neighborhood anarchists online, Bitcoin is now blowing up in popularity. So called ‘Bitcoin Millionaires‘ are starting to pop up.

The early adopters of this currency, which started back around Halloween 2008 (near the climax of the subprime meltdown), have seen their holdings in Bitcoin skyrocket in value over the last few years.

image source:
In just the last few months, Bitcoin’s value has increased roughly 500%. It is completely unrelated and untied to any government or the unpredictable bearish market that has left many currencies and assets gasping for life. [Read more →]

April 12, 2013   Comments Off

Bitcoin For Beginners, Part One.

Understanding Bitcoin requires that we understand the limits of our ability to imagine the future that the market can create for us. That is exactly what is happening with Bitcoin right now.

As I type, the price is exploding, the main exchanges are overloaded, and people around the world can’t convert from government currency into this digital gold fast enough.

Absolutely no one imagined such a thing five years ago. Why are we surprised? We should get used to surprises in this digital age. Thirty years ago, for example, if someone had said that electronic text — digits flying through the air and landing in personalized inboxes owned by us all that we check at will, any time of the day or night — would eventually displace first-class mail, you might have said this is impossible.

After all, not even The Jetsons cartoon imagined email. Elroy brought notes home from his teacher on pieces of paper. Still, email has largely displaced first-class mail, just as texting and social network private messages and even Voice over Internet Protocol are replacing the traditional telephone.

It turns out that the future is really hard to imagine, especially when entrepreneurs specialize in surprising us with innovations. The markets are always outsmarting even the most wild-eyed dreamers, and it is certainly smarter than the intellectual who keeps saying such and such cannot happen.

It’s the same today. What if I suggested that digital money could eventually come to replace government paper money? Heaven knows we need a replacement. [Read more →]

April 9, 2013   Comments Off

Why Crime Pays for ‘Too-Big-to-Fail’ Banks.

Why Crime Pays for ‘Too-Big-to-Fail’ Banks

You need to know the truth about banks.

Why? Because they rob you.

Why? Because they can.

It’s the Willie Sutton bank robber quote in reverse. Willie was asked, ‘Why do you rob banks?’

He famously answered, while in handcuffs, ‘Because that’s where the money is.’

But, banks can’t keep robbing the public if they keep shooting themselves in their feet. That’s where central banks come in.

They are the real kingpins keeping their robber minions in pinstripes — instead of prison stripes.

Estimates now are that US banks — the too big to fail ones — will end up paying more than $100 billion in fines, settlement costs, to buy back bad mortgages, to right some of the past wrongs related to the mortgage crisis they caused. [Read more →]

April 7, 2013   Comments Off

Why The Federal Reserve and Central Banks Should Be Abolished.

Why The Federal Reserve and Central Banks Should Be Abolished

Last week I spent two days speaking to senior government officials and business leaders in Bermuda, which is one of the world’s leading international insurance and reinsurance hubs. The men and women in the room are responsible for hundreds of millions in assets worldwide.

I spoke for over an hour on the implications and opportunities of the financial crisis.

As I was finishing up, I received one of the most provocative questions I’ve gotten in a long time from the darkness beyond the stage lights: ‘Does any nation really need a ‘Fed’?’ asked one of the directors.

The answer is, unequivocally, no. Especially if it’s modelled after the United States Federal Reserve.

The individual depositors who were the protected class when the Fed was originally formed are little more than cannon fodder today. Instead, the banks the Federal Reserve supports have become the protected few.

To be honest, I didn’t always think this way. For much of my career, I took the Federal Reserve for granted, believing like millions of Americans that it was acting in our country’s best interest.

Then I sat down with legendary investor Jim Rogers in Singapore a few years back at the onset of the current financial crisis. During our discussion, he pointed out several things that really made me think about the Fed and its role in not only creating this crisis, but making it worse. [Read more →]

March 30, 2013   Comments Off