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The Best of What They Said and I Read Week Ending 12/10/17

Short excerpts from articles I found interesting.I may not agree with the author and the following material is not intended as investment advice.

Bloomberg Businessweek – December 4, 2017 – In Brief

  • “Freight trains in Norway killed more than 110 reindeer during a four-day period.  The animal’s owners, who herd them to grazing areas every winter are calling for speed limits and better fencing.”

Barron’s – December 9, 2017 – Enjoy This Market While It Lasts – by Ben Levison

  • “… It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so the song goes. And while those who hate the snow might disagree, for the stock market, December really can be wonderful…The Standard & Poor’s 500 index started the week where it had left off the previous one—with a small decline—and just kept on dipping. By Wednesday, it had dropped four days in a row. But as Nomura Instinet technical analyst Frank Cappelleri noted, the benchmark hadn’t dropped for five or more days in a row since November 2016, and it wasn’t about to suffer one now. The market rallied for the rest of the week.  All told, the S&P 500 advanced 0.4% to 2651.50 last week, an all-time high, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 97.57 points, or 0.4%, to 24,329.16, also a record. The Nasdaq Composite finished down, but only just: It declined 0.1%, to 6840.08.”

U.S. Global Investors – December 8, 2017 – Investor Alert – by Frank Holmes

• “…Writing about blockchain and bitcoin right now is a little like buying a new computer in the 1990s. The tech was advancing so fast in those days that as soon as you brought the thing home, it was sorely outdated. Similarly, the cryptocurrency world is changing so rapidly at the moment that even before “the ink dries” on one of my posts, some important new development has already surfaced.”

•“…Bitcoin, of course, is just the largest fish in the entire universe of cryptocurrencies, which now number somewhere in the vicinity of 1,330, according to CoinMarketCap. If we combine the total market cap of all “altcoins” Friday morning, the amount exceeded $400 billion. That’s larger than the economies of Thailand, Nigeria and Austria. As of my writing this, as many as 15 coins had market caps over $2 billion.”

•“Contributing to Coinbase’s attractiveness is the ease with which someone can join. Whereas it can take up to two weeks to create a Schwab account, a Coinbase account can be opened in mere minutes, and as effortlessly as a Tinder account. This is one of the many reasons why both the popular online trading platform and dating service appeal to millennials.”

•“…This assessment dovetails perfectly into a November report from Deutsche Bank strategists Jim Reid and Craig Nicol, who reflect on what they see as the end of traditional fiat money within the coming decades. Because fiat currencies are “inherently unstable and prone to high inflation,” Reid and Nicol write, “We may need to find an alternative.” Among other solutions, the two suggest cryptocurrencies, which “are as much about blockchain as anything else.”

•“And finally, both the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) are setting the table to offer bitcoin futures contracts for the first time ever this month—the CBOE this Sunday, the CME a few days later. This will give investors a new way to participate in bitcoin and, in many skeptics’ minds, help “legitimize” the currency as a serious asset.”

•“There are other ways to participate without actually owning bitcoin. In a recent Bloomberg story, Tom Lee of market research firm Fundstrat lists several companies and funds with exposure to the digital currency. Among his favorites is HIVE Blockchain Technologies, a blockchain infrastructure company involved in the mining of fresh new coins, never before traded. The first company of its kind to sell shares to the public, HIVE began trading on the TSX Venture Exchange on September 18.”

•“…The next “Big Short” is coming as hedge funds prepare to bet against bitcoin. The introduction of bitcoin futures contracts at major hedge funds will make it easier to bet on a decline in the popular digital currency. And as bitcoin surges, nobody cares that about $90 million was hacked from coins Tether and NiceHash. Meanwhile, validating a transaction can cost as much as $20, and the market is currently illiquid with more buyers than sellers.”

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