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Friday, 28 August 2020

Weekend Reading

Reading across disciplines is one of the best ways to improve our investment acumen. Here is a summary of some of the best articles I read this week.

I especially try to not post Corona related articles as that is all one gets to read in all traditional media.


If you like the collection this consider forwarding it to someone who you think will appreciate.

The Rise of the Antivitamin

Though many of us have never heard of antivitamins, scientists have known about them since Sir Edward Mellanby identified the first one — though he called it a "toxamin" — in the late 1930s. These substances do what their name implies: They stop vitamins from functioning. As we near the end of the antibiotic era due to the rapid pace at which bacteria are developing resistance to the wonder drugs, researchers are taking a closer look at antivitamins as the basis of a new class of drugs that may potentially replace antibiotics for treating bacterial infections.



Education that Works (something which I think is really needed in India)

Google recently made a huge announcement that could change the future of work and higher education: It's launching a selection of professional courses that teach candidates how to perform in-demand jobs. These courses, which the company is calling Google Career Certificates, teach foundational skills that can help job-seekers immediately find employment. However, instead of taking years to finish like a traditional university degree, these courses are designed to be completed in about six months.

Walker then revealed the following on Twitter:

"In our own hiring, we will now treat these new career certificates as the equivalent of a four-year degree for related roles."



Investors make the same mistakes over centuries (are we all making one now??)

Forgetfulness is only one of the reasons bubbles happen again and again. Yet past experience offers little reason to trust the wisdom and rationality of financiers or investors. Newton’s contemporaries viewed him as the smartest man alive. If he could go so wrong—risking something like half his wealth in a reckless fashion—so could anyone. Research published last year by the mathematician Andrew Odlyzko into Newton’s actions during the South Sea bubble illuminates not just the great thinker’s long-ago mistakes, but also a pattern of human folly that recurs over and over again. When financial markets offer the temptation of ever-rising values, not even the smartest people can resist.

What gnawed at Newton for years, and what still seems strange, is that his capacity for dispassionate analysis failed him when he needed it most. Here was a man who had calculated logarithms to 50 places. But in the thrill of the moment, he failed to do the math.



Returns are a mounting problem in online shopping

Shoppers love the kind of liberal return policy that makes it easy for them to buy whatever they want in store or online with the confidence that a retailer will take products back without hassle. But retailers are starting to rethink this strategy as they are confronted with rising financial losses from returned merchandise and the headaches that come with figuring out what to do with all that stuff. A recent study found that roughly 10% of purchases are returned, adding up to billions of dollars a year, with online returns higher than in-store.



US interest rate will remain low for years to come

The Fed’s new monetary policy strategy promises to aim for 2% inflation on average, so that periods of too-low inflation would likely be followed by an effort to lift inflation “moderately above 2% for some time.”

The change suggests the U.S. central bank’s key overnight interest rate, already near zero, will stay there for potentially years to come as policymakers woo higher inflation.

“It’s no news that (Fed Chair Jerome) Powell doesn’t want to raise interest rates,” said Vincent Reinhart, chief economist at Mellon. What is news, Reinhart said, is that the Fed has now enshrined a degree of tolerance for inflation in its guiding document.



Disclaimer: Abhishek Basumallick is the Head of the equity advisory www.intelsense.in for long term wealth creation and a pure quant focused newsletter at www.quantamental.in. The blog posts should not be construed as investment advice. Please do your own due diligence before investing.

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