Thursday, March 04, 2010

Quotes of the day

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.--Milton Friedman

Local Wampanoag and Massachusett Indians are trying to get the state to remove the Indian [figure from the state flag]. I say while we’re at it let’s remove the extraneous sword, shield, and Latin gobbledegook … “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem.” That translates as “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.” Have to stop and think about what that’s supposed to mean. Sounds like a committee wrote it, a snooty committee of Harvard grads, as opposed to New Hampshire’s charming and more convincing English-only ”Live Free or Die!”--Jules Crittenden

If you visit Seattle two summers in a row, and it’s sunny during both your stays, you may start to think that all the talk about constant rain is just a ploy by the locals to keep you from moving there. So the next time you go, you decide not take your umbrella because it never rains in Seattle. And you get wet. In statistics, this is called having a small sample size, and the information you get from such a small sample is often worthless. Even worse, that information can be dangerous.--Carl Richards

Reading the first edition of the Boy Scout handbook, an American classic that recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, I am struck by the appeal it has not only for adventuresome boys, but for grown men. "Do you wish to have all-round, well-developed muscles . . . ?" writes Chief Scout Ernest Thompson Seton. "Would you like to be an expert camper . . . ? Do you believe in loyalty, courage, and kindness? Would you like to form habits that will surely make your success in life?"--Tony Woodlief

This is not to argue that Asperger’s-like personality traits are necessary to investment success. The takeaway is that when you invest you are in a real sense competing with those individuals who do have obsessions (healthy or not) with the markets. The question you need to ask is whether your level of research, analysis and discipline can match theirs. If it can’t, you may want to re-think your investment plans.--Abnormal Returns

The world’s No. 1 investment bank in 2009 was JPMorgan Chase & Co., which took in $4.97 billion, a 16 percent increase over 2008, when it was also the leader. JPMorgan was also No. 1 in fees from equity and debt sales. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was No. 2 in total fees and No. 1 in mergers and acquisitions, having advised drugmaker Schering-Plough Corp. on its completed $47 billion sale to Merck & Co., among other transactions.--Yalman Onaran

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