Influential Reads – March 2023

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Influential Reads – March 2023

“If you’re going to panic, panic first.” – Old adage

Well, March was exciting.  Inflation and bank failures…a recipe for…the stock market to crush it?

In my first full month of semi (?) retirement, we had a bunch of house guests and made a short trek up to Ketchum, Idaho for some skiing at Sun Valley and skating at Galena Lodge .  

Here are my most influential reads for the month – in no particular order:

  1. Satyajit Das: SVB Collapse and Bank Turmoil – Latest Chapter in the Unwinding – “The assumption that raising rates and withdrawing monetary stimulus would result in a painless adjustment back to a new normal was naïve in the extreme.”  SMS here: It’s not just the change in magnitude, it’s the velocity.
  2. Dissecting Goldman’s gory $2.25bn SVB equity issue – “Second, the stock offering has to be underwritten. Hard-underwritten. Or already subscribed-for. Investors must assess the equity offering on the basis of a repaired balance sheet. They must know you don’t actually need them.”
  3. The Powell of Positive Thinking – “He clearly signaled (again) that once Fed overnight policy rates reach a peak, they would not be declining for a while. “
  4. Risk Capital and Markets: A Temporary Retreat or Long Term Pull Back? – “It behooves both investors and traders to therefore track movements in risk capital, since it is will determine when long term bets on value will pay off for the former, and the timing of entry into and exit from markets for the latter.”
  5. Highlights from Charlie Munger’s Conversation with Todd Combs (2022 Singleton Prize for CEO Excellence) – “It’s the nature of things that a bunch of democratically-elected politicians will eventually print too much money.”
  6. Free Money Turned Brains to Mush, Now Some Banks Fail – “And when I say “free money” with regards to banks, I mean it literally.  Since 2008, banks have been borrowing from depositors at 0% interest or near 0% interest. Even today, even as some banks are trying to attract more deposits by offering higher interest rates, even today when the Fed’s short-term rates are near 5%, the average interest rate on savings accounts is still only 0.4%. Even today, 0.4%.” SMS: This is nuts.
  7. Venture Catastrophists – “There are no libertarians in foxholes.”
  8. Is Inflation Mean-Reverting? – “What that means – and it is super important – is that inflation has momentum. Keep in mind that during most of the period shown here, the Federal Reserve was actively trying to make inflation mean-revert. And they didn’t succeed, at least on a one-year basis.”
  9. Banking Woes Hark Back to the S&L Crisis of the 1980s – “Former Fed Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker used high rates to squeeze inflation out of the economy four decades ago, and the savings & loan industry was among the unintended victims. “
  10. The easiest way to spot a market bubble – “New Metrics get invented while timeless investing principles become a thing of the past.”  See Cash EBITDA. SMS: During the sale of my business last year, the investment bankers wanted me to use “Cash EBITDA”, but they could not even provide a definition.

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.

Top clicks across the site last month:

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