Equity Advisory

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Thursday, 4 August 2022

Weekend Reading


Intelsense Insights
Quantamental Q30
Quantamental Q30
Quantamental Q30 has been around for more than 2 years and has seen the ups and downs of the Covid crash and rally, Ukraine-Russia war and the tech meltdown and recessionary fears in the US and its impact on the emerging markets. Yet, it has delivered a solid ~34% CAGR over this period. All it requires is 15 mins of time per month to execute.

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Creating a new history on Wikipedia
Posing as a scholar, a Chinese woman spent years writing alternative accounts of medieval Russian history on Chinese Wikipedia, conjuring imaginary states, battles, and aristocrats in one of the largest hoaxes on the open-source platform.
One of her longest articles was almost the length of “The Great Gatsby.” With the formal, authoritative tone of an encyclopedia, it detailed three Tartar uprisings in the 17th century that left a lasting impact on Russia, complete with a map she made.
One article she tampered heavily with was on the deportation of Chinese in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and ’30s. It was so well-written it was selected as a featured article and translated into other languages, including English, Arabic, and Russian, spreading the damage to other language editions of Wikipedia.
The hoax started with an innocuous intention. Unable to comprehend scholarly articles in their original language, she pieced sentences together with a translation tool and filled in the blanks with her own imagination. “As the saying goes, in order to defend a lie, you must tell more lies,” she wrote. Before long, they had accumulated into tens of thousands of characters, which she was reluctant to delete.
Many of the things that you believe right now are utterly wrong
At various times throughout the history of humankind, our most brilliant scientists and philosophers believed many things most eight-year-olds now know to be false: the earth was flat, the sun revolved around the earth, smoking cigarettes was good for digestion, humans were not related to apes, the planet was 75,000 years old, or left-handed people were unclean.
Around 100 years ago, doctors still thought bloodletting (that is, using leeches or a lancet to address infections) was useful in curing a patient. Women were still fighting for the right to vote, deemed too emotional and uneducated to participate in democracy, while people with darker skin were widely considered subhuman. The idea that the universe was bigger than the Milky Way was unfathomable, and the fact the earth had tectonic plates that moved beneath our feet was yet to be discovered.
It is challenging to accept the fact that much of what we believe right now will, in 20, 100, 500, or 1,000 years, seem as absurd as some of the ideas above. But it would take a great deal of arrogance to believe anything else.
The biggest lesson in investing
The biggest lesson is to stay the course and be focused on the long-term. And, when you might have an economic downturn or downturn in markets to think far enough ahead to see that as an opportunity and stay invested. Often the times when you feel most like getting out of the markets is the time when you shouldn’t.
And, when you look back on it, you can barely see Black Monday in terms of the long term chart of equity investment. It will have been many people on that day who decided that investing in equities wasn’t for them, and they will have lost out on a great deal.
So, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is not to panic in the short term. But, try to stay focused and invested and the moments when you feel really, really sick to your stomach, that is almost always the right time to be buying more and getting more exposure to equities in the long term.
On clear thinking by Danny Kahneman
What gets in the way of clear thinking is that we have intuitive views of almost everything. So as soon as you present a problem to me, I have some ready made answer. What gets in the way of clear thinking are those ready made answers, and we can’t help but have them.
We have beliefs because mostly we believe in some people, and we trust them. We adopt their beliefs. We don’t reach our beliefs by clear thinking, unless you’re a scientist or doing something like that. There’s a fair amount of emotion when you’re a scientist as well that gets in the way of clear thinking. Commitments to your previous views, being insulted that somebody thinks he’s smarter than you are. I mean lots of things get in the way, even when you’re a scientist. So I’d say there is less clear thinking than people like to think.
Very quickly you form an impression, and then you spend most of your time confirming it instead of collecting evidence.
First synthetic embryos created
Researchers have created the world’s first “synthetic embryos” in a groundbreaking feat that bypassed the need for sperm, eggs and fertilisation.
Scientists at the Weizmann Institute in Israel found that stem cells from mice could be made to self-assemble into early embryo-like structures with an intestinal tract, the beginnings of a brain, and a beating heart.
Known as synthetic embryos because they are created without fertilised eggs, the living structures are expected, in the near term, to drive deeper understanding of how organs and tissues form during the development of natural embryos.
But researchers believe the work could also reduce animal experimentation and ultimately pave the way for new sources of cells and tissues for human transplantation. For example, skin cells from a leukaemia patient could potentially be transformed into bone marrow stem cells to treat their condition.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Weekend Reading


Interested in investing in a concentrated portfolio of stocks that help you remain ahead of the curve? One which has outperformed even during the toughest of times?
Look no further than the Quiver smallcase from Intelsense.
Words of wisdom from Seth Klarman
“I think it’s good to step back from the moment-by-moment noise. Investors sometimes get caught up in the noise, but it’s really important to step back. Investors just should always want to be thinking about their own thinking…we all know we deal with enormous amounts of information we need to filter it down to the useful information.”
“After you buy something you paid for, it doesn’t matter. People cling to the idea that at least they should get their money back; maybe there is bad news, and you should sell before it goes lower; maybe put it into something else where you get your money back, but people prefer to make it back where they lost it. People anchor numbers in their heads, and they hold on to them.”
“A very significant part of my philosophy has to do with managing your psychology. Markets are about the psychology of others.”
“When you focus on return at the exclusion of risk, you try to take more risk to get the return; you get the risk but may or may not get the return. If you focus first on the risk and mitigate or avoid or reduce the risk, then you’ve protected the downside, and then maybe you get the return.”
Make friendship your first priority
Alongside your family, making, cultivating and keeping close friendships may be your life’s most important work.
Yeah, to help your career; building a network is more critical than ever. (I’m the LinkedIn guy, I’m not gonna tell you otherwise). But more than that, friends will be absolutely central to your sense of happiness, connection, and meaning.
Like you, I was able to get a great education, with brilliant faculty teaching enlightening classes. Yet right away it was clear that what would matter much more to me, were my fellow students.
When there’s something important you don’t know, real friends will tell you about it. They might even help you learn it. Your friends can help you see what you can’t see. They’ll help you, you’ll help them, you’ll all do better and go further.
You have a team. Some of your key teammates are your friends. And the ones you share your dreams, fears, and hopes with are the people most able to help you get where you should be going. Because, again: Friends will tell you not what you want to hear but what you need to hear.
Timber trading is soaked in blood of the impoverished
Illegal logging destroys habitats, contributes to erosion and the propagation of invasive species, hurts indigenous communities, and interferes with carbon sequestration and the production of fresh air. It’s also extremely lucrative. Timber trafficking generates $50 to $150 billion each year. Around 10 to 30 percent of the international trade in timber is estimated to be illegal; in the tropics, the figure is closer to 90 percent. The business is violent, often tied up with drug smuggling, game poaching, money laundering, and the persecution of indigenous leaders and environmentalists. As U.S. Customs and Border Protection puts it, “The illegal timber trade is soaked with blood.”
Although it is big business, tree poaching is deeply tied to poverty. The forest offers a last-ditch haven for those whom society has failed.
Master the basics
Everyone wants advanced knowledge. But it’s typically the basics that matter most.
Most math is arithmetic, not algebra. Running a business is largely a matter of keeping revenues above costs. Good writing is the product of clear ideas and clean sentences.
All skills break down into elemental components–coding has commands, painting has brushstrokes, comedy has jokes. Mastery of the performance results from mastery of the parts.
We ignore the basics, not because they’re hidden, but because they’re so obvious. Thoughtlessness saves effort but inhibits improvement. Bringing attention back to the basics doesn’t come automatically. We adjust our habits only when they fail to deliver results.
One more step towards reducing obesity medically
Wegovy, made by Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk, is the first in what is shaping up to be a new generation of obesity treatments, which use a hormone to regulate appetite.
Wegovy arrived on the market amid a global obesity crisis. Almost half of Americans are expected to be obese by 2030, a Harvard study found, and that could account for up to 18 per cent of healthcare spending on related conditions, ranging from heart disease and stroke to osteoarthritis. Worldwide obesity rates have tripled since 1975, with 650 million adults obese in 2016, according to the World Health Organization.
When we eat, cells in the small intestine secrete GLP-1, causing the release of insulin, which in turn tempers fluctuations in blood sugar levels. While experimenting with how to create a new hormone, GLP-1-based drug, in the 1990s, Novo Nordisk lab scientists noticed their mice and rats began to lose weight. The hormone’s effect on the brain, they discovered, is to reduce appetite and create a feeling of fullness.

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Weekend Reading


Interested in investing in a concentrated portfolio of stocks that help you remain ahead of the curve? One which has outperformed even during the toughest of times?
Look no further than the Quiver smallcase from Intelsense.
Quiver Smallcase
Quiver Smallcase
Taxes in the ancient world
The first record of organized taxation comes from Egypt around 3000 B.C., and is mentioned in numerous historical sources including the Bible. Chapter 47, verse 33 of the Book of Genesis describes the tax collection practices of the Egyptian kingdom, explaining that the Pharaoh would send commissioners to take one- fifth of all grain harvests as a tax.
Tax practice continued to develop as Greek civilization overtook much of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East in the centuries leading up to the Common Era. The Rosetta Stone, a clay tablet discovered in 1799, was a document of new tax laws decreed by the Ptolemaic Dynasty in 196 B.C.
From the Roman age and through medieval European history, new taxes on inheritance, property and consumer goods were levied, and often played a role in war, either by funding them or provoking them.
Other cradles of civilization, such as ancient China, also levied taxes under the authority of a strong centralized government. The Chinese T’ang and Song Dynasties employed a methodical census record to track their populace and impose the proper taxes on them. These funds and materials were then used to support armies and construct canals for transportation and irrigation, among other projects. The Mongol Empire that took control of much of Asia around 1200 instituted tax policy designed to influence large-scale production of certain goods like cotton.
Are we ready for solar waste?
India does not have a solar waste management policy, but it does have ambitious solar power installation targets.
Solar waste — the electronic waste generated by discarded solar panels — is sold as scrap in the country. It can increase by at least four-five-fold by the next decade.
Solar panels have a life of 20-25 years, so the problem of waste seems distant. It is likely that India will be faced with solar waste problems by the end of this decade, and solar waste will end up being the most prevalent form of waste in landfills soon.
The large cost gap between recycling and discarding panels in landfills points to an unpleasant truth: The process generates roughly $3 in revenue from the recovery of certain materials.
Recycling a solar panel cost between $20 and $30, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; sending it to a landfill costs $1-2.
Choose process over goals
Inventing the future is another way of saying “setting goals.” Success, especially in the West, then becomes about achieving those goals. We accumulate accomplishments and call it success. Success is about building a set of daily practices, it is about growth without goals. Continuous, habitual practice(s) trumps achievement-based success.
I think “accomplishments” are traps. Accomplishments, by their very definition, exist only in the past or future—which are not even real things. Pride is the worst of the seven sins and it is closely related to past and future accomplishments.
Incentives matter
There are few forces in the world as powerful and ubiquitous as incentives. They govern everything from our daily interactions and decisions to our broader organizations and societies.
Charlie Munger, true to his reputation for pithy one-liners, said it best: “Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.”
Incentives appear to be uniquely binary:
  • Thoughtfully-designed incentives are likely to create wonderful outcomes.
  • Poorly-designed incentives are likely to create terrible outcomes.
Surprisingly, despite their importance, incentives are rarely studied in schools, business programs, or organizations.
As a result, humans remain astonishingly bad at establishing appropriate incentives. We consistently create systems that invite manipulation and open the door to unintended consequences. More often than not, we fall into the poorly-designed camp and find ourselves scrambling for answers and quick fix solutions.
The process is the destination
We live in a world obsessed with results. We have a tendency to put so much emphasis on whether or not the arrow hits the target. If, however, we put that intensity and focus and sincerity into the process—where we place our feet, how we hold the bow, how we breathe during the release of the arrow—then hitting the bullseye is simply a side effect.
The point is not to worry about hitting the target. The point is to fall in love with the boredom of doing the work and embrace each piece of the process. The point is to take that moment of zanshin, that moment of complete awareness and focus, and carry it with you everywhere in life.
It is not the target that matters. It is not the finish line that matters. It is the way we approach the goal that matters. Everything is aiming.

Monday, 18 July 2022

Views on Select Stocks and Sectors - ET NOW


The whole of last week I was unwell. After keeping Covid at bay for 2 yrs, it finally caught up with me :-)
Today's interaction on ET NOW
Views on Select Stocks and Sectors
Views on Select Stocks and Sectors

Thursday, 14 July 2022

Weekend Reading


PMS Fund Performance - 2 Months
PMS Fund Performance - 2 Months
Time to store your poop!!
The thought of transplanting another person’s poop into your colon may sound unpleasant, and understandably so. Faeces are a smelly mixture of water, undigested food, dead and living bacteria, and other cells and substances. However, the live bacteria in faeces have proven their worth in treating diseases and ailments of the digestive tract. This is why doctors have been transferring faeces from healthy donors to sick patients for years—usually by colonoscopy, enema, or pill—to restore gut health.
There’s just the small matter of finding the right poop, though. Most willing donors are excluded after filling out questionnaires and having their stool, blood, and saliva tested in the lab. Lifestyle, diet, medical history—including the use of antibiotics, which can kill off gut bacteria—and how someone was born can all rule people out.
Emerging research and clinical trial data suggest that all of these concerns could be avoided by patients providing their own samples. “We don’t know a lot about why this works, to be truthful, but it does appear that using your own stool is better and safer than using a random donor,” says Scott Weiss, a professor of medicine at Harvard.
The Chinese market is silently changing the Hollywood movie
When the studios started to realize how much money was to be made in the Chinese market, not only did they avoid storylines that would be politically problematic, but they also thought to themselves, “How can we maximize revenue or our interests there?”
One thing that they started doing was casting Chinese actors and actresses in these films. The threat of censorship has also exerted pressure, kind of, on plot points and other elements of the moviemaking process too, right? It’s easier to change a film for the censors before you make the film, even if you haven’t talked to the censors yet.
The movies have become a proxy for the broader rivalry forming between the US and China. I think it ultimately becomes a story of values, and what values are shipped around the world. For a hundred years, Hollywood’s movies have been considered the default global entertainment; someone once said that the movies helped turn America into “an empire by invitation,” a gravitational pull toward the country and its way of life. I think China, which sees its turn at dominating a century, wants to copy that playbook.
So there will be major implications beyond the cinema, when it comes to which heroes are elevated, what stories are told, what stories aren’t told, and ultimately how moviegoers around the world see themselves and see the people in charge.
There is no substitute for hard work
There are three ingredients in great work: natural ability, practice, and effort. You can do pretty well with just two, but to do the best work you need all three: you need great natural ability and to have practiced a lot and to be trying very hard.
There are three ingredients in great work: natural ability, practice, and effort. You can do pretty well with just two, but to do the best work you need all three: you need great natural ability and to have practiced a lot and to be trying very hard.
As well as learning the shape of real work, you need to figure out which kind you’re suited for. And that doesn’t just mean figuring out which kind your natural abilities match the best; it doesn’t mean that if you’re 7 feet tall, you have to play basketball. What you’re suited for depends not just on your talents but perhaps even more on your interests. A deep interest in a topic makes people work harder than any amount of discipline can.
It can be harder to discover your interests than your talents. There are fewer types of talent than interest, and they start to be judged early in childhood, whereas interest in a topic is a subtle thing that may not mature till your twenties, or even later.
Do the work
Do the work. That’s all the productivity advice you need, and the only useful productivity advice you’re ever going to get. You can direct your attention to a million optimizations— email, meetings, notes, calendar, time tracking, goals, todo lists, time estimates, prioritization frameworks, quantified self sensors, analytics, apps, documents, journaling. But don’t. Ignore all this, and do the work. When you do the work, everything else optimizes itself.
Work means sitting down, getting through that calculus chapter, and doing the exercises. No amount of productivity hacking will make that easier. You don’t need pomodoro alarms, bullet journals, time tracking apps, animated explainer videos, or different color highlighters. Everyone doesn’t learn differently. Everyone learns calculus in the same way— by doing the work. You need Rudin’s book, a pen, paper, and time. More tools give you negative utility. They won’t make the work go faster. But they will consume as much time as you are willing to waste.
Now edit your genes to lower your cholesterol
It’s been 10 years since scientists developed CRISPR, a technology for making targeted changes to the DNA in cells, but until now the method has been tried only on people suffering from rare diseases like sickle-cell anemia, and only as part of exploratory trials.
A volunteer in New Zealand has become the first person to undergo DNA editing in order to lower their blood cholesterol, a step that may foreshadow wide use of the technology to prevent heart attacks.
The experiment, part of a clinical trial by the US biotechnology company Verve Therapeutics, involved injecting a version of the gene-editing tool CRISPR in order to modify a single letter of DNA in the patient’s liver cells.
According to the company, that tiny edit should be enough to permanently lower a person’s levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, the fatty molecule that causes arteries to clog and harden with time.