Weekend reading

Good reads from around the Web.

I feel like we’re more than halfway through the financial meltdown. But unfortunately, someone far smarter than me and with a track record in far-sightedness disagrees.

Michael Burry led the tiny band of hedge fund managers who identified the US sub-prime housing disaster before it happened, and made a fortune. In Michael Lewis’ book The Big Short, Burry comes across as someone who gets his edge by thinking the unthinkable, and investing accordingly.

Well, Burry recently said the unspeakable, too, when he returned to his Alma Matter at UCLA to deliver a commencement speech to its keen young graduates.

Such speeches are meant to be rousing and optimistic affairs (Steve Jobs’ is a particularly brilliant example).

But ever the contrarian, Burry warns in his speech that UCLA’s graduates face a grim future, with at least two recessions baked in. And it’s not even their fault:

The speech is a couple of months old, but I’d never seen it before. It was so powerful and unusual to hear the bearish line coming from someone I respect that I had to share.

Michael Burry no longer manages other people’s money, after his investors turned against him when his big bet on against housing stalled before it finally paid off.

So we don’t really know what he’s up to right now.

As of 2010, however, he was buying farmland, gold, and real estate:

Many readers – and most financial bloggers – are much more bearish than me, so perhaps Burry’s continuing fears won’t rattle your cage.

I’m not going to change how I invest on the back of it, either. Like Burry, I try to think for myself.

But I am going to keep it in mind should valuations start to run away.

In particular, where can I buy me a farm?

From the blogs

Making good use of the things that we find…

Passive investing

Active investing

Other articles

Mainstream media money

Highlights from the wall of noise…

Passive investing

  • Does Europe finally look good value [Includes ETF table]FT
  • Swedroe: Active funds are too risky for most investors – CBS

Book of the week: Talking of Michael Burry, if you’ve not read The Big Short, you should. (You could start by reading The Accumulator’s review).

Active investing

  • Junk bonds lose their attractions – FT
  • Going soft on the commodities super-cycle – FT
  • Investment lessons from a mystery tech company – CBS News
  • High-frequency traders screwing the natural gas market – WSJ (& more)

Other stuff worth reading

  • 1987: The year computers began wrecking the market – NY Times
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad’s bankrupt company – CBS
  • Where next for miners? [Podcast]Motley Fool
  • ‘Real’ assets versus inflation [Academic PDF]SSRN
  • iTunes versus Blinkbox: Which streams better? – The Guardian
  • … though beware – watching TV reduces your life span – NY Times

Product of the week: Tesco has launched a table-topping 1.99% two-year fixed rate mortgage. The Telegraph has reviewed it.

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Further reading:

  1. Weekend reading: Avoid a car crash
  2. Weekend reading: Black Swan blues
  3. Weekend reading: All abroad


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