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The Bottom Line


Cut to the chase, my brother, speak on it!


The take on news, commentary and opinion from around the world:

  • The New York Times on Sunday took a look at the declining equity risk premium, and asked, " Why do stocks pay so much more than bonds?" Is it simply ridiculously easy to raise money for bonds, or are investor expectations for stock returns irrationally low? Money quote: "Professor John C. Heaton (Univ. of Chicago) said that with the coming of age of American financial markets, many types of investors have found it easier to diversify their assets."
    Bottom Line: I'm diversified. But my soybean futures behave the same as my real estate which behaves the same as my Russell 2000 Index fund which behaves the same as my copper call options!

  • China's reserves are on track to reach $1 trillion by the end of the year. But this is nothing new; it has happened before notes Keith Bradsher in the New York Times. Nearly 2,000 years ago, Pliny complained about the eastward flow of Roman gold along the Silk Road in exchange for Chinese silk. And By 1700, Europe was paying with silver for as much as four-fifths of its imports from China.
    Bottom Line: Woohoo! We could be as good as the Roman Empire! I'm bidding on the movie rights!

  • President Bush is set to travel to India this week, his first trip to India and only the second visit by a U.S. president in more than two decades, but all in the shadow of nuclear talks. According to the Financial Times, although American trade with India remains small at $25 bln a year, the success of the visit will help determine the ability of US companies such as Wal-Mart to open up one of the last great emerging markets.
    Bottom Line: Do Presidential visits to emerging markets locations kick off bull markets? Or conclude them?

  • Olympics ratings will likely be a broadcasting disaster. Why? Dave Zirin writes in The Nation that "America has never been a more dynamic, multicultural society and the world has never been more of a global village, but NBC still treats the games as if it were 1980 and the United States were taking on the Eastern Bloc."
    Bottom Line: I showed this article to to my contact in programming at NBC. "This Zicam fella has a point," he said. "And I believe that point is, he's a communist! "

  • U.S. students lag behind their peers in other modern nations - and the gap widens dramatically as their grade levels rise. According to Chester Finn and Diane Ravitch, senior fellows at Stanford's Hoover Institution, writing in the Wall Street Journal: "Our high school pupils (and graduates) are miles from where they need to be to assure our country a secure future in the highly competitive global economy. Which is why recent attempts by federal and state governments to sugarcoat the performance of students is so alarming.
    Bottom Line: American students ain't cipherin' as good these days. But they is singin' and dancin' better.

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