Ready to Blow? Italy's most famous volcano, Mt. Etna. Photo:

Translated by Andrew Vanburen from: 單靠宏觀分析 隨時捉錯用神 (中文翻譯, 請閱讀下面)

KEYHOLE INVESTORS -- those with a single-minded focus on a particular economic indicator like exchange rates, inflation or GDP, or an ill-advised allegiance to a favorite analyst’s advice -- are usually left behind in the dust heap by more resourceful and dynamic-thinking market players.

One favored strategy is to attentively follow each and every quarterly, interim and annual report a target company issues – preferably by attending such events in the flesh, or to bet the farm on the rise of fall of a particular currency.

But in this day and age of diversified retail portfolios, it is virtually impossible to give adequate attention to the leading listcos under scrutiny or pay requisite heed to any given greensheet or its more seasoned equivalents.

Let me throw out an anecdote backed by recent reality.

A colleague of mine recently attended an economic brainstorming session whose sole topic was how to determine the true and fair exchange rate of the euro – made even more scintillating these days by the chronic falling from grace of several members of the European Union (EU).
Shaky Column? Greece has been the EU economy closest to full default so far. Photo:

Speakers prepared quantitative analysis from the standpoints of full, long, medium and short-term positions, as well as comprehensive analyses, further categorized by the purchasing power of assets, country-specific economic growth, domestic inflation, respective debt crises – and finally got around to debating what the actual fair-value of the euro should be today.

The meat of the matter was finally broached after around an hour: the consensus was that due to the on the ground situation in Europe with several EU members facing default, the euro should by all rights be around 30% weaker versus the greenback than it currently is.

After all, with the "PIGS" (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) already sending jitters throughout the EU with their sovereign debt crises, recent news that Italy is on the brink of bankruptcy not only ruins the neat acronym, but also brings the EUs third biggest economy onto the danger list and strengthens the argument for a weaker currency.

Eloquent Inaction

Although rare in practice, economists and analysts can be of one mind on any range of issues affecting markets or regional economies.

But even if there is 100% consensus on any given issue, that does not mean governments – or companies – will actually act in accordance with the educated counsel and advice of the financial experts.

At the end of the day, governments (at least the democratic ones) usually need to collective nod of the majority – and listed firms require the approval of key shareholders -- to implement far-reaching changes, even if economists and analysts all insist that such measures are necessary for the very survival of the country or company.

Oftentimes a key stumbling block to action on the ground is that economist and analysts are often full of ideas on what needs to be done, but at the same time they provide scant solutions on how things can be accomplished.

In other words, they can point to a destination and say: “That’s where this country/economy/sector/company needs to be”... but they fail to provide a roadmap on how one might get there.

However, the dynamic at play here serves as a built in regulator which prevents a form of insider trading on a large scale.

Think of it...

Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index has finally crawled back over 20,000. But Alex Wong warns investors against putting all ones eggs in one basket, such as currency speculation.

If countries/governments/sectors/enterprises immediately put into practice the resolutions and recommendations of economic powwows and academic conferences, what would be the most obvious result?

I can tell you that if the European Central Bank were to have immediately adopted our conclusion that the euro was 30% overvalued against the US dollar, then I would be the first to wager dollars to donuts that everyone in the conference hall would rush out to the nearest bank or ATM and immediately convert all their cash to greenbacks.

And then, the next day, they would be able to buy 30% more euros with their holdings.

This obviously cannot be tolerated and we economic conference junkies need to find a way to be satisfied with being beacons for financial progress rather than the actual levers that direct it.

For these very same reasons, investors should not put all their eggs in any one basket.

Shareholders who bet the family silver on the expected rise and fall of a particular currency against another are more than likely to be dining with plastic forks sooner than later.

Best to leave such speculation to the pros.

That’s what God made short-sellers for, right?

See also:

Counting The Costs Of Living In SHENZHEN

ALEX WONG: Don’t Blame The Shorts



單靠宏觀分析 隨時捉錯用神




黃國英, 豐盛融資資產管理部董事


分析不能提供路線,主因是能影響一項資產的因素,實在太多,而且會不停推陳出新。至於各項因素反映的時序,沒有一定規律,數據甚至落後於資產價格走勢。財經專家費雪(Ken Fisher,股神二號師父Philip Fisher孻仔),在其著作《大揭穿》(Debunkery)中,就闡明以經濟數據,尤其是單一因素,對捕捉股市走勢,並無幫助。例如傳統智慧認為,失業率升不利股市,在二○○八年確是如此,但美國失業率升幅最勁的一年是二○○九,也是近年股市最亮麗一年。




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