貿易戰與歐盟負利率


5月18日才寫了篇「未來二年增加現金持有比例會較佳(It’s better to have more cash in your investment pile in the future two years.)https://wp.me/p9ffS3-BL」

文中我擔憂美國與世界多國搞貿易戰,無論是打真打假,前者會自傷美國經濟租值,後者則會徒增人們對未來收入預期的資訊費用,二者均是弊大於利。尤其難能可貴地才剛剛成功減稅與de-regulation,怕被貿易戰給抹平了好處。

才勸讀者轉持現金為上,就碰上股市回檔。

以6月11日道瓊指數最高點25322.31到昨日收盤24461.7,短短時間下跌3.4%;S&P500 6月12日最高2786.85與昨日2749.76 下跌1.33%。貿易戰情況仍為晦暗不明,我認為未來收入預期的費用增加造成股市回檔的機率高一些。

中國股市上海指數5月24日以來下跌7.77%,我認為也是一樣狀況 — 未來收入預期費用飛漲。只是顯然市場認為美國比中國更禁得起貿易戰,這點我採保留態度。

說過了,貿易戰自古都是傷敵三百,自損一千的蠢活兒。偏偏美國並非單單針對中國,而是連許多其他國家都要一塊打。戰線太廣,並非好事,也絕非易事。

當然,短期上川普拿明明不是問題的「貿易逆差」當問題撻伐,肯定與選舉有關;長期上川普也看出WTO架構對美國並不利,跳脫這種群架架構,轉為一對一的貿易談判將對美國更有利。但動輒揚言貿易戰,講過頭,可能擦槍走火,假打變真打則賠了夫人又折兵;反之,光說不練又會被他國看破手腳。我認為川普目前就是在這種騎虎難下的兩面困境中。

而我想要補充「增加現金持有」一文的點還有:

我們必須小心歐盟國家的長期負利率政策,會在景氣與資本市場反轉時,歐盟完全無貨幣政策武器可反應。

而偏偏歐盟國家中,諸多過度保護勞工、過度管制市場的法規,在08’以來的表現顯然改弦易轍成本很高。這將使得歐盟在下一波景氣反轉時幾乎無太多彈性去面對經濟災難。我們談過,當法規環境給予市場彈性過小,景氣不佳時將以unemployment呈現 — 於物是滯銷、於人是失業、於錢則是濫頭寸。

事實上歐盟、日本的負利率,也正是因為其法規(laws and customs)環境過度僵化才導致。偏偏我們又看到歐盟不思悔改地推出極為嚴苛的個資保護法案,所謂狗改不了吃屎吧。

因此可以確定的是,歐豬債務危機類似事件必將在歐洲再度發生。此外,下一波景氣反轉何時到來我們不清楚(但我認為目前看來發生機率有攀升趨勢),但清楚的是歐洲災情將會因體制無彈性而擴大。歐盟與歐元可能會分別消失,只是可能需要相當長時間。

目前這世道,我依然傾向持有較高比例現金,靜待好機會。

巴菲特與李嘉誠共同之處

“在投資上,他們兩者擁有許多相似的觀點。巴菲特強調 「安全邊際」的投資概念,李嘉誠則警告投資首先要考慮「失敗的風險」。巴菲特提出以「經濟護城河(一間公司所具備的兢爭優勢)」作為擇股指標;與此相應,李嘉誠投資則重視一間公司可預見的「經常性收入」。
雖然他們皆警告投資者要避免債務;然而他們也都意識到財務槓桿的價值,並且皆曾運用此工具直接或間接地增加額外收益。”

未來二年增加現金持有比例會較佳(It’s better to have more cash in your investment pile in the future two years.)

The cut to the corporate tax and deregulatory process are giving businesses more certainty and money to spend on capital investments.

However, the severer trade wars between China and America will definitely wound the economy of the both sides, particularly worse on the US . It means the benefits from tax cut and deregulation could be wiped out by the wrong tariffs. These are the macro-constraints of the U.S.

Meanwhile, according to Credit Suisse, the capital expenditures of the S&P500 have risen to $166 billion in the first quarter of 2018, up 24% from a year earlier. Is it a good news? Well, it depends on each isolated case. The capital expenditure of companies may or may not lead to good returns, which means the more capital investing activities do not promise higher profits in the future. Wastes or mis-location of resources can happen in this the-more-the-better investing phenomenon, especially when a company has some bad KPI requirements. It’s due to “Money Illusion” to a certain degree. Bad incentive systems influence the managers’ decisions as well. And I believe these two factors are the source of the business cycle.

I haven’t expected the turning point coming so fast. Nevertheless, I could smell something going wrong recently. I’ve increased the cash share of my investment pile more than fifty percentage and guess by doing so would be safer in the next two years. Of course, if there is a good objective at an attractive price, I will buy it anyway without considering the macro-economy. Such good deals can always overcome the whole investing environment.

傻傻地長期持有,投資報酬率可能更好

買下體質不錯的公司股票,伴隨國家整體經濟向上成長這個侷限條件,傻呆呆地長期持有,報酬率遠勝過多數號稱很會選股的基金經理人。

這位大陸老先生持有24年,股價上漲185倍,年化複合報酬率約24.29%!

德國投資大師柯斯多蘭尼說得沒錯:「買下股票,順便買下15年份的安眠藥,睡個15年後就會有好報酬。」

投資最忌諱被市場短期的漲跌影響信心,這就是為什麼巴菲特幾乎不看即時股價。我自己也是走完全不看盤路線。

此外,線圖派是註定錯誤的冤枉路,已在他處詳加說明,這裡就不贅言。

https://udn.com/news/story/7335/3148739

無根財富倉庫的恐怖(Horrifying fiat wealth vault)

比特幣一文我談過財富倉庫分為有根、無根二種。

有根者,倉庫標的本身有可預測收入流;無根者,則無。

前者因為有預期收入拘束,所以漲跌有其合理範疇,當超出範疇時在健全市場中,自然會有做多與放空者快速跳入修正價格。

反之,無根者因為沒有預期收入拘束,所以無論做多或放空,其實都不知道邊界在哪。因此在比特幣該文中我就奉勸讀者,不要以「無根財富倉庫」為主要投資標的。如果可以,少碰為上。

比特幣在我看來是一種無根財富倉庫,而許多金融性衍生商品其實也都算,比方:VIX。

VIX是一個觀測市場波動的指數,不管漲跌,只管波動。假設VIX = 15,代表該指數預期未來30日內的年化波動性是15%。也就是說,數字越大,代表該指數預期的市場波動性越大;反之則越小。

而過去2017年的美國股票市場只漲不跌,其波動性也變得極低(見VIX走勢圖):

這也使得許多人,包含大型金融機構,都一起來放空VIX。其中一種方式是投資反指標XIV,我們也看到2017年整年下來XIV表現極為優秀,一整年報酬率高達187%!可「市場波動性」本就難以預料,牽涉的侷限條件太多,但可以知道當市場強烈反轉時,波動性放大,VIX會獲利,但XIV可就賠慘。而這個萬一就在這兩天成真!

S&P500在2018年2月2日大跌2.15%,緊接著下個交易日2月5日又跌4.06%,2月6日漲回1.77%。

如果你是壓寶XIV的主兒,恭喜老爺賀喜夫人,短短三天內虧損94.32%!有位悲慘的交易員就這樣把辛苦三年賺來的400萬美元一夜輸光在XIV上(參見XIV走勢圖)。

過去三年,這位交易員用5萬美元本金快樂地放空VIX(也就是買入XIV)累積財富到400萬美元,妄想 (也是常見的投資錯誤心理–將一時的好運當作是自己的實力而誤判可以永遠如此)買房、買車,現在美夢成泡。

不過要死也有墊背,天塌下來還有高個兒擋著。XIV的發明者也是最大持有者瑞士信貸自己都玩不下去,宣布下市這項商品,代表投資者投資$104元只剩$4.22。

再奉勸一次,無根財富倉庫別亂碰為上。

PS 2008年金融風暴,價值投資法奉行者的獨眼醫師Michael Burry雖然也購買大量衍生性金融商品CSD(Credit Swap Default),但卻是有根財富倉庫的投資,因為他透過大量且精細的閱讀看出房貸包裹的債券其實藏汙納垢、問題叢生,真實價值遠不如所宣稱。因此Michael Burry的衍生性金融商品放空,依然是標準的價值投資法無誤。其所得獲利,就是來自於資訊成本/租值。

快速看出投資市場的黑心假貨?一個簡單範例–JustWater (How to tell a lying and immoral company? A simple demo — JustWater)

JustWater這種騙假文青真無知的商品看得我笑意滿滿 XD

1. 利樂包是包上很多層塑膠(LDPE)與鋁箔的紙材,一點也不環保,而且比起傳統HDPE塑膠瓶來說,塑化劑甚至更容易溶出。

好笑的是,HDPE塑膠瓶非常容易回收,只要清洗乾淨、打碎、烘乾,幾乎就可直接進吹出成形機製作新塑膠產品。做過塑膠工廠就知道,市面上很容易買到這種回收塑料。

利樂包回收呢?多材質複合回收哪這麼容易呀!成本也高多了。

此外利樂包壓扁的體積,依然比打碎成顆粒的塑膠瓶大,說節省運輸空間根本是騙外行。

講白話就是:換成利樂包更不環保,也更不健康。只是騙對工業材料極端無知的蠢文青的行銷噱頭。

繼續閱讀 “快速看出投資市場的黑心假貨?一個簡單範例–JustWater (How to tell a lying and immoral company? A simple demo — JustWater)”

我對近日美股看法 (My thoughts on recent US stock markets.)

I would like to talk about three events that have been in progress for couple years.

1. The dark cloud on the immediate horizon is the Exchange-trade funds, which have grown exponentially in size in the past five years, but never been crucially examined by panicked selling. If the market turns around and the ETF investors decide to abandon their shares out of fear, ETFs would be forced to dump stocks and such behaviors could begin a vicious circle and drag the stock prices into a deeper valley.

And I believe the algorithmic or AI trading could deteriorate such situation.

2. The S&P 500 has reached 19 times of P/E ratio, higher than the historical average of about 15.

Readers might read my article on P/E ratio first— “談本益比觀念的對與錯 ”

I think the 19 times of P/E ratio is not the problem itself. It simply reflects the reality of extremely low interest rates for almost a decade. The artificial manipulation of interest rates can mislead the prices of time of the markets, distort the anticipates of incomes, and increase the information costs. Therefore, the interest rates are the causes and the high P/E ratio is nothing but the unavoidable effect. “Action and reaction,” as they said. 

You shall not explain facts by facts.


3. The low interest rates also have encouraged a lot of corporate-share-buyback plans by borrowing, which has been one of the factors boosted the stock prices in the past five years. And I wouldn’t say it is a healthy phenomenon, despite Warren Buffett’s preference.

All these factors imply that the intrinsic economic progress might be left behind the raising prices of the capital markets. The diversion of these two, the reality and the artificial finance system, is the major cause of most financial crises.

As I said in the last article, “榮景或低成長的十字路口 (We are at the crossroads of prosperity or low progress) ,” the monetary policy of Fed and the uncertain success of the economic reforms by President Donald Trump are two key factors in my prediction of the US economy and the performance of its stock markets. Once either one went wrong, the bear could show up all of a sudden.

PS.

1. There can be high settlement or bankruptcy risks for small or over-diversified ETFs in the bear markets. Although the investors can get back their shares of the real assets, it could be worthless after all. And such fear could induce investors and the ETF managers, who by doing so is breaking the contracts, to dump their holdings for money.

2. There can be even higher risks for leverage, inverse, or complex-designed derivative ETFs in a down turn. And I guess the bankruptcy administrators assigned by the courts would probably choose to sell the stocks or bonds and to cancel or abolish the complex derivative financial contracts for cash as soon as possible, which could cause the vicious circle as I mentioned in the article.

At present the ETFs go too far from the original purpose. For me, many of them are more like derivative goods rather than pure investing vehicles. It’s kind of new fashion for people of means. But we have no idea what would really happen when the tide is out. We can wait and see.

論比特幣(on Bitcoin)

比特幣(Bitcoin)是一種數位加密貨幣與支付系統,使用的關鍵技術/理論稱為「區塊鏈(blockchain)」,也是一種P2P支付系統,毋須經過任何中央管理者(如銀行、政府)即可完成交易。

根據發明人中本聰的演算法設計,全部的比特幣發行量會有個天然上限 — 約2100萬單位,目前已被挖出的量大概在1600多萬單位。

關於區塊鏈技術詳細內容,網路上很多文章都講解得很清楚,我就不贅言。

直接進入經濟分析:

首先我們要問比特幣到底是不是貨幣?還是如黃金一般,只是一種財富倉庫(wealth vault)?

如果比特幣是個貨幣,則以下幾個問題我們無法迴避:

1. 現今真實接受比特幣的交易行為佔總體交易行為來說,近乎微乎其微,比例非常低。
2. 即便放到非法交易,根據我讀到的資料,在類似絲路的網路毒品交易上,真正使用比特幣乃至於其他數位貨幣的比例依然不高;就算有人用,多半也在交易之後很快地換成美元、歐元等實體貨幣。

以上二點若以貨幣觀之,則比特幣沒什麼交易者接受的現況,此對其貨幣之定位十分不利。

再進一步看,如果比特幣是貨幣,那值得現在這麼高的匯率價位嗎?(目前最新匯價為1比特幣可兌換3939美元)

這讓我們回到經濟學的Fisher定律:

PQ = MV

物價 x 交易量 = 貨幣總發行量 x 貨幣週轉數

針對比特幣,4個變數其中3個我們可以確定:

貨幣總發行量我們已知,而貨幣實際週轉數相對主流實體貨幣不高,也是已知;承上所述,真實世界使用比特幣交易的交易量相對主流實體貨幣非常小,因此比特幣制度下的物價不可能高到哪去。

換言之,從Fisher公式我們可以斷言,目前比特幣的高匯價並非來自於貨幣本身的好處,而是來自於持有者把它當作是財富倉庫。

這就進入第二命題:比特幣適合當財富倉庫嗎?
繼續閱讀 “論比特幣(on Bitcoin)”

關於Amazon.com

在Amazon.com這個超級電商競爭之下,許多租值本就不高的傳統零售通路自然會大受影響。

但反過來,股票市場的過度反應,也讓很多租值其實很高的retails被過份低估。這就是價值投資的大好機會。

幾個點提供給大夥兒參考:

1. 根據經濟學邊際產量遞減定律,Amazon不可能橫掃所有零售業;事實上電商模式也不可能橫掃所有傳統零售業。這部份許多分析師的看法都違背了經濟學定律。

2. Amazon Go或阿里巴巴的無人商店從經濟分析角度上看,不會是一個成功的商業模式。甚至可以說是註定失敗的模式。

3. 經濟學也告訴我們,壟斷租值不可能透過在不考慮侷限條件下任意地透過垂直整合方式向上或下去延伸。

因此在我看來,Amazon買下Whole Food也是敗率高於勝率,特別是當Amazon宣布降低Whole Food產品售價時,我認為他們走錯方向了。

總而言之,一個累積財富的機會已然降臨,就看個人有無慧根與造化,這部份我就不說透了。

榮景或低成長的十字路口 (We are at the crossroads of prosperity or low progress)

In this article, I am trying to demonstrate how to use only the price theory, but not the traditional macro-economics, to forecast the future economy progress of the United States.

Here are three interesting numbers we should pay attention to:

1. The total credit-card balances grow $20B in the second quarter to $784B, highest record since the late 2009.

2. Overall debts — including mortgages, auto loans, and students loans– hit a record $12.8T.

3. Personal saving rate fell to 3.8% in Junes, down from a recent peak of 6.3% in Oct. 2015.

The raising of personal debts and reduction of savings means American are more eager to spend, which implies three possibilities:

A. the anticipated inflation rate increases, or;
B. the anticipated income grows, or;
C. the information cost of the future progress decreases.

The problem here is which factor weighs more over the others? If the factor A stands out, then, according to I. Fisher’s theory of the interest, the total wealth of the American will decrease. In a lucky situation, the Fed may sense it about six months later and stop raising the Fed Fund Rate to save the economy as it had done before. In a bad situation as the Fed blindly continuing raising the interest rate, we can predict a bear market coming for a while until the Fed realize the real situation. No matter which one happened, the recent economic expansion would not last for long.

If the factor B or C weighs more than the factor A, the total wealth will increase and the prosperity could be foreseen. There are two major causes to make it happen: one is the growth of productivity and the other is the decrease of transaction costs, including but not limited to the more friendly laws to businesses, over-haul lower tax burdens, and lower immigrant limits (including illegal Mexican immigrants).

Right now, I am confident in that the later two factors playing more important roles in the formation of the massively optimistic anticipation. But as long as the real improvement does not catch it up in time, the positive mood could dissipate quickly. It could cost a lot of energy and time to recall it back again. What a shame, president Trump!

Therefore, I believe that we are at the crossroads of the U.S. economy progress. In only couple months, we will figure out which path do we take.