Posts filed under “Mathematics”

The Cruel Basic Mathethematics of Losses

An odd article in the today’s WSJ laments The Cruel Math of Big Losses.

What a terrible misonomer: This article should have been called “The Basic Mathematics of the Stock Market.”

Not understanding the simple percentages of losses and gains is a goodly part of the reason so many investors buy into the myth of Buy & Hold.

Consider:

“If an investment declines 10%, it takes about an 11% gain to break even (assuming you don’t pump in additional dollars). If the drop is 20%, you need a 25% gain to recover. A fall of one-third requires a rebound of 50%. And if your investment falls by half, “you need a double,” or a 100% return, says Mr. Wiener, the New York-based editor of the Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors. The recovery percentages grow exponentially because you have so few dollars working for you after a big loss.

Last year, the average diversified U.S.-stock fund was down 37.5%—requiring a 60% advance to break even—and plenty of funds were down 50% or more.”

If you understand how this simple math works, then you are in a better situation to appreciate the importance of capital preservation.

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Source:
The Cruel Math of Big Losses
KAREN DAMATO
WSJ, NOVEMBER 2, 2009

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703399204574505713099802976.html

Category: Markets, Mathematics

Bailout Costs Shrink to $11.6 Trillion

I stand before you chastened, a humble man who is must admit the errors of my ways. You see, I thought the bailouts were going to be terribly expensive. Adding up all of the direct cash injections, loans, assumptions of debt, commitments, guarantees, and other obligations, I reached the unimaginable sum total of $14 trillion…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Mathematics

09/09/09 9:09:09

> Right now, its the 9th second of the 9th minute of the 9th hour of the 9th day of the 9th month of the 9th year of the century. You may now return to your prior activities . . . >

Category: Mathematics

Bailout Profits? Don’t Make Me Laugh!

“The government has taken profits of about $1.4 billion on its investment in Goldman Sachs, $1.3 billion on Morgan Stanley and $414 million on American Express. The five other banks that repaid the government — Northern Trust, Bank of New York Mellon, State Street, U.S. Bancorp and BB&T — each brought in $100 million to…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Mathematics

BiModality of Markets: Why Mean-Variance Doesn’t Work

Via Bob Bronson, we get this very interesting way to think about the potential universe of market returns: In addition to the almost universally improper use of the correlation function that we have presented before (our Correlation Puzzle is available on request), Alpha-Beta, Efficient Frontier, Black Scholes, VaR, stochastic modeling, and exotic derivatives from Modern…Read More

Category: Mathematics, Think Tank

Quote of the Day: Better Earnings

Stephanie Pomboy of MacroMavens observes: “Judging by the giddy delight investors have taken in ‘better’ earnings news over the last two weeks, we expect they will positively wet themselves when they get a load of the new saving stats.  I mean the prospect that dis-saving was never as bad… and that current saving is even…Read More

Category: Earnings, Mathematics

GDP Worse, Not Better,Than Expected

Bill King notes in the Think Tank that GDP was actually worse than consensus expected. How is a minus 1% worse than a minus 1.5% ?  He looks at the first half of 2009, and blames the Q1 revisions: “We will again utilize basic math to illustrate the scam. If Q4 08 GDP was 100…Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Mathematics

King Report: GDP Follies

> The GDP report last Friday evinces the folly of US government economic statistics and Wall Street consensus analysis. Most of the Street heralded the 1% decline in Q2 GDP because it was 0.5 better than consensus – even though the US government admitted in the release that its GDP estimates over the past several…Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Mathematics, Think Tank

Challenge to Jim Cramer: Let’s Talk About Banks!

I notice that Jim Cramer is yowling on TheStreet.com today, pounding the table on US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) and Webster Savings Bank (NYSE:WBS).  Jim, how much you want to buy?  These institutions are going to be shoveling money into the furnace for another 3-4 quarters.  We’ll have a post up on TBP tomorrow on our view…Read More

Category: Investing, Mathematics

FASB Discovers Own Cojones

Make that belatedly. America’s previously neutered accountants — traditionally, green-visored chickenshit-cowards who have rolled over for their belly rubs from America’s CEOs and CFOs, giving them all of the bullshit they asked for over the past 2 decades — seem to be developing a spine of sorts. Recall that in the midst of the credit…Read More

Category: Earnings, Mathematics, Regulation