When All You Have is a Hammer, Everything’s a Nail

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The administration is currently in the process of approving a $52 billion dollar infusion into the computer chip industry, in order, they would have us believe, to address the current shortage of chips.   It is generally accepted that it takes about two years to add significant chip capacity.  The worldwide industry is currently making … Continued

“I’ve Got the World on a String”

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And the well-known Frank Sinatra song continues, “sitting on a rainbow got the string around my finger.”  If Mr. Putin sings in the shower, this might be his favorite melody, as he watches the West dangling at the end of his string (gas pipeline). If you’re looking for a solution here, you can stop reading … Continued

Bullying Big Banks and Big Oil

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There has been a noticeable increase in efforts to bully big oil into reducing fossil fuel assets and to apply similar pressure on big banks to not finance fossil fuel projects.  We discussed this issue in our blog of June 2, 2021 “Fossil Fuels: Big Companies Divest, Small Companies Invest.” Now we have an article … Continued

Beijing is Pursuing the Solomon Islands

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Over the last several years we have posted a number of blogs, most recently on September 22, 2021, “Sea Power”, relating to the importance of freedom of the seas, particularly with regard to the risks surrounding the critical Malacca Strait and the increasing adventurism of China in the South China Sea.  Apparently the Chinese have … Continued

Fake It ‘till You Can Make It

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Investors are continuously subject to extravagant projections by those who are seeking to attract financing.  These can range between borderline, or even outright fraud, think Theranos, or relatively minor, and often unintentional estimate shortfalls, such as a slippage of time lines.  Think the ever shifting timeline for the start of production for Tesla’s cyber truck … Continued

Retirement and the Labor Shortage

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It is generally accepted that, over the last two years, a significant number of Americans have left the workforce for a wide variety of reasons. As a result, workforce participation has seen a material decline. Among those who have left, it appears that a number chose early retirement, perhaps over health concerns or because a … Continued

Pricing Power and Inflation

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Investors typically seek to build portfolios that focus on companies with pricing power.  Without that, as costs increase, margins can be squeezed.  Currently, we seem to be in a period of rising costs, particularly for labor and certain commodities.  Companies are likely to look first to productivity gains and raw material substitution, but, sooner or … Continued

Cynicism

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Wikipedia defines cynicism as an attitude characterized by a general distrust of other’s motives.  Investors would be well served by maintaining a healthy level of skepticism regarding other’s motives when evaluating projections and other factors surrounding an investment decision.  Think Theranos. Consider the recurring attacks on the safety of cruising.  Now the CDC says don’t … Continued

Natural Gas and Inflation

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Natural gas is an important raw material in a wide range of economic activities, including heating, electric power generation, plastics, manufacturing processes and agriculture.  For example, fertilizer prices, responding to significant cost increases for key chemical ingredients such as natural gas, have more than doubled over the last year.  This can have a two pronged … Continued

Shooting Yourself in the Foot

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This idiom is often associated with damaging or impeding one’s own plans, progress, actions or best interests through foolish actions or words.  Germany may be exhibit A.  It would seem that a major developed country facing a generational energy crunch would be trying everything possible to expand supply while doing as little environmental damage as … Continued

All the News That’s Fit To Print

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Years ago the print media was proud of its record of providing a thorough and accurate portrayal of current events.  Agitators with an agenda were referred to as “yellow journalists”.  Today we have a highly polarized electorate, catered to by an equally polarized media, which no longer believes in “all the news that’s fit to … Continued

Supply Chain Peril

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Supply chain problems have been well publicized and attributed to a variety of causes.  One of the key problems, congestion at West coast docks, could get a lot worse this summer.  The more optimistic among us have suggested that some relief could begin by next spring.  Let’s hope. Investors should recognize that the private companies … Continued