A look at developments in the financial markets over the last week or so.

Know what you own, and know why you own it.
– Peter Lynch

Featured Article

2014 Markel Shareholder Letter
A must read from this mini-Berkshire.

Companies

Inside the Mad, Mad World of TripAdvisor
Did you know it was listed?
Research almost any travel destination and you’ll probably wind up on travel-industry Goliath, where passionate people praise and denounce everything from romantic getaways to cockroach-infested hotel rooms. But who can you trust?

AmEx launches customer loyalty network; may offset loss of Costco deal
AmEx launched a loyalty network with the aim of retaining its Costco customers as that deal comes to an end. Costco AmEx cards account for about 8% of Amex’s billed business, so it needs to do something.
Plenti, as the venture is known, already has enlisted companies that include AT&T Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp., Macy’s Inc., Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. and Rite Aid Corp., AmEx said Wednesday.

Inside Popcorn Time, the Piracy Party Hollywood Can’t Stop
Popcorn-Time.se, Pochoclin says, has millions of users and is growing at the mind-bending rate of 100,000 downloads per day. He or she also hinted that a forthcoming switch to a peer-to-peer architecture will make the service far harder for copyright cops to attack.

Marcato Capital’s Presentation on Bank of New York Mellon
Mick McGuire’s hedge fund firm, Marcato Capital Management, has released a letter and presentation to shareholders of Bank of New York Mellon (BK) outlining their thoughts on the company and why they feel a leadership change is in order.
Link to presentation.

Zillow makes formal pledge not to be a brokerage, MLS
A trade-off.
Deal to secure listings from nation’s largest MLS reinforces Zillow’s public stance.

Market

Craft brewers gulped a record share of the US beer market in 2014
Beer, food, fashion… the artisanal economy is booming.
The numbers, from the Colorado-based Brewers Association trade group, dovetail with other signs that craft beer, fashionably canned or otherwise, is enjoying a renaissance in the US. The number of American craft brewers grew by 19% in 2014, according to the trade group that represents them.

Letter From Berlin: Why Are the Germans So Hellbent on Austerity?
Berlin—Weimar-era hyperinflation, Prussian thrift, the staggering cost of German unification: These explanations, among others, are regularly trotted out (by outsiders) to explain Germany’s unflinching tight-money policies—at a time when Europe is staring deflation in the eye.

American companies are running out of places to stash their insane pile of cash
American companies have a very good problem. They’ve got nowhere to put all their money.
Consider that US nonfinancial corporations had just shy of $2 trillion in cash socked away at the end of the fourth quarter.

Investing

2014 Markel Shareholder Letter
A must read from this mini-Berkshire.

Related

The Brooklyn Investor: Markel 2014 Annual Report

How Emotional Intelligence Can Make You a Better Investor
The higher my EQ with regard to a particular company, the more likely that my IQ will not degrade when things go wrong (or even when they go right). There is a good reason why doctors don’t treat their own children: Their ability to be rational (properly weighing probabilities) may be severely compromised by their emotions.

Long Reads

The Power of ‘Good Enough’
How settling can make people happier and more satisfied than gunning for “the best.

How Emotional Intelligence Can Make You a Better Investor
The higher my EQ with regard to a particular company, the more likely that my IQ will not degrade when things go wrong (or even when they go right). There is a good reason why doctors don’t treat their own children: Their ability to be rational (properly weighing probabilities) may be severely compromised by their emotions.

Graph of the week

Disrupting FedEx: The Startups Unbundling FedEx, UPS and the Logistics Industry

disaggregation-of-fedex-viz-v2-cropped

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s