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by Alan Hargreaves



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Monday
Jul292019

Shopping for change

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Three simple questions

My first home was the flat above my father’s store in a  modest working class suburb. What was good about it? Everyone knew everyone; the railway station was across the road; if you wanted to buy something, it was around the corner. In short, community, connectivity and convenience.

Not much happens there now. Online shopping has eroded retail. People connect more on the net than in person. If you want to shop, the nearest mall is a better option. 

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Wednesday
Jun262019

Playing to strengths

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Buy low; sell high 

Two things, very simple; makes sense. In 40 years in finance I rarely found people who were consistently good at both. The industry has a natural bent to invest rather than divest. In early years as an analyst, people asked me what to buy; few asked what to sell. 

Some were better at shorting, ie selling, but not always good at covering the short, ie buying. When natural buyers or natural sellers had to do the opposite of their strength, it was often too early or too late.

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Thursday
May232019

Recessions Revisited

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What should you care about?

Recessions are back in the news. Some say we are overdue for one. Should we worry? 

In the US, there have been 10 recessions since WWII — one every seven or so years. The last one ended in 2009 — about 10 years ago. So there’s a bit of a worry.

There’s no sign of remarkable new economic strategies to offset one. Geopolitics appear unstable. Politicians seem more erratic. There’s no sign of any statesmen coming to the rescue. In fact there’s no sign of any statesmen. 

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Tuesday
Apr092019

Ode to the disrupted

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Hard yards for incumbents and startups

General Electric (GE) was dropped from the Dow Jones last year. After more than a century, the oldest member finally left. It was replaced by a drugstore chain.

Many incumbents have a similar profile to GE. They have long histories. Many are profitable, household names that remain viable. Their balance sheets are strong and their reach is deep. 

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Tuesday
Feb262019

Horses for Courses

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The Principles of Outsourcing

I once considered early retirement. We’d sold our core business. Children were approaching school’s end. My head was saying do something different. 

Horses were already part of my family. My wife was a riding instructor; one daughter was an equine nurse; another would shortly become a full-time equestrian. Yes, breeding sport horses seemed like a good idea.

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