Monday, June 09, 2008

Monday's notes

Some recent stories and business features of note for your Monday reading:

1. Lehman Brothers reports its first loss as a public company and outlines its plan to raise up to $6 billion in common and preferred stock.

2. As prices surge, Argentines cry foul over the official figures - FT.

"As food and fuel costs rise relentlessly, popular and official perceptions of inflation are diverging in many countries. But economists believe Argentines may have more reason than most to doubt the accuracy of their government's calculations. This could spell trouble for a country with a history of economic crises - especially at a time when a three-month-long conflict with farmers is shaking consumer and investor confidence.

When Mr Fernández acknowledged recently that Indec, the statistics agency, "wasn't measuring consumers' reality", many Argentines could not have agreed more. Yet while the government has been reporting what many economists and consumers feel are suspiciously low inflation figures for nearly a year and a half, the cabinet chief has announced changes that he says will result in a figure that is lower still."

This is a storyline familiar to those of us in the US and elsewhere, thanks to rampant money printing and rising inflation worldwide.

3. "The Reverse Wealth Effect". Chris Ciovacco looks at America's financial condition and notes that Americans are now saddled with more debt than ever as real estate and financial asset prices decline.

4. "How the FT is Losing the Financial Opinion Wars" - Felix Salmon.

5. Marc Faber speaks to Bloomberg TV and says stocks, commodities, and real estate are inflated and overvalued.

``I don't see any compelling value in equities, real estate or commodities,'' Faber said from Zurich. ``Contrary to the last 25 years, we are in a period of de-leveraging. Corporate profits in particular are still far too high for 2009 and have to be adjusted downwards, and valuations become less compelling.''

Faber thinks that investors should now focus on what to sell (or avoid), rather than focusing on what to buy.

He also notes that central bankers can increase the quantity of money at will, but they cannot increase the quantity of gold and commodities at the same rate. Therefore, money loses its purchasing power against commodities, the supplies of which are limited. Still, Marc feels the big upside may be gone for commodities, and investors should not buy them blindly.

As you can see, monetary inflation and its effects are a big theme in today's news. Enjoy the articles and remember to connect the dots and look for the related themes within.