Last year, I wrote a piece on how to chart financial data with php. That was before I discovered the flexibility of google docs. A pure php / mysql solution with a web proxy and jquery is more flexible, but it requires server access and the ability to set up a remote database.
‘Efficient’ is the key word here. In the case below, I’m grabbing form 4 data from the SEC (insider trading disclosures) and saving them locally on my server.
Gnumeric is the best spreadsheet application on the market. LibreOffice and OpenOffice break every time I try to do something as simple as a vlookup, and Excel lacks the heavy statistical analysis tools of gnumeric (plus you have to pay for it). Don’t take my word for it: check out the editor and user reviews on CNET. Unfortunately, it’s not available as a Mac distribution (only Windows and Linux).
We can download WordPress straight from their website:
The next command will now download the zipped WordPress package straight to your user’s home directory:
tar -xzvf latest.tar.gz
I’ve been on an investing book kick lately, and I recently read Joel Greenblatt’s classic (from the 90s), You Can Be A Stock Market Genius. Michael Lewis mentioned the book more than once in The Big Short, indicating that it was the manual for the handful of financial whizzes who predicted the near-collapse of capitalism in 2008.
I found the book inspiring, and a little dangerous. The key takeaways were:
- Pay attention to spinoffs: they might make you rich
- Follow the incentives. If insiders are getting a piece of the action, you’ll want to be there.
- When institutional investors exit, prepare your entrance (sometimes)
For all the badgering that the Chicago School has taken in the months following the market collapse, the efficient market theorists got one thing right: markets react fast to new information. There’s a lovely scene in “Fun with Dick and Jane” that illustrates this perfectly:
The markets really do react this quickly! I remember an exercise in business school where we watched a CNBC reporter revealing new information about a company while, next to her, a stock chart tracked the company’s stock price in real time. She was the first anchor with positive information, and by the end of her five-minute report, the stock had climbed more than 10%.
The comedian Robert “Bobcat” Goldthwaite had a routine about bad ideas, like the day someone decided to cook with an open flame on the Hindenburg. Or, in all seriousness, someone decided that it was a good idea to board an airship attached to a giant ball of flammable gas. What drives humans to make such stupid mistakes? Economists think it has something to do with commonly held misconceptions about risk or, as Bobcat might put it, mass brain-damage.
This morning, Rutgers University released its Labor Scorecard, which confirmed the high unemployment figures published by the Labor Department earlier this week. Someone in the PR department at Rutgers caught this report on its way out the door and added a little spice to the press release, noting that “though unemployment has risen in 2009 to its highest rate in 26 years, all is not gloom and doom for America’s workers on Labor Day…average inflation-adjusted earnings have actually increased for those still collecting paychecks.”
Special thanks to Andrew, and to our Economics Editor for their contributions.
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In Warren Buffett and the Interpretation of Financial Statements, the price to book ratio is not presented as a particularly useful metric for investors. But studies show that stocks with low price to book values, when held for a long period of time, will outperform the market. Who is right, the academics, or the billionaires?