Good morning

As always:

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The headlines:

  1. Gold bull run.

    Link: that’s what stimulus does.

    Makes sense – the dollar gets a supply boost, the contrarians panic and buy gold. People are saying that it’ll get as high as $2,000.

    I stand with Warren Buffett on this though. Why would you buy unproductive assets? Buy shares. Those too have prices that move with inflation…

  2. The iPhone 5 goes on sale today.


    There are videos of very excited Australians who are hopped up on caffeine after 17 hours in queues and are very very excited but a little inarticulate.

    Bitches be crazy. But really, unlike Harry Potter books, I’m not sure that the iPhone distribution will be as smooth. The empirical evidence is not on Apple’s side, I would say.

    Here’s the AAPL share price:

    My call is that the hype will drive the price up later today – and over the weekend, everyone will “discover” the glitches and the supply shortages, and we’ll have a small reversal next week.

    But maybe that’s just me.

  3. The US defense treaty with Japan covers disputed islands.

    Link: the ongoing Diaoyu/Senkaku saga.

    So, like, this would be a slightly awkward situation. Nothing like an island dispute between Japan and China causing an international incident for the US.

    When the islands under discussion are included in a defence pact with Japan. In the US’s own words, they want to:

    “focus more on issues associated with the maintenance of peace and stability and less on the particular details of this very complex and challenging matters”.

    Obviously. That’s the story I also use when I’ve been screwed by the small print. “Big picture, guys. Let’s focus on the big picture here”.

  4. South Africa’s Reserve Bank leaves key lending rate unchanged.

    Link: still at 5%, lower growth expectations.

    Well after months of much-lowering-in-mining-output, it’s not that surprising the SARB governor Gill Marcus is concerned about growth. Or inflation from higher petrol and food prices.

    That’s the kicker here. This decision was just as much a decision not to lower interest rates (to promote growth) as it was a decision not to raise interest rates (to fight inflation). Stalemate.

  5. US Senate criticises Microsoft’s tax avoidance.

    Link: oh really.

    There is much tsking at transactions with tax haven subsidiaries that resulted in tax savings.

    But criticise away – because tax avoidance, last I heard, wasn’t illegal. At the very worst, you can argue that it’s “unpatriotic”.

    But I, along with Mitt Romney, say: if the government is going to be spending much money on policies for people that do not pay tax, then that just feels unfair.

That’s all for now.

Have a good day.