Sunday, 22 March 2009

How to slow down for the big run


“You are a strange man, Ludovico,” complained Alessandra Benucci. “You say that you love me, but you care as little for me as you do for your career.” Ludovico Ariosto looked out of the window and did not reply immediately.

His new job as governor of Lucca was difficult and his salary meagre, but the beauty of Tuscany never ceased to astonish him whenever he looked outside. “Sometimes, you have to slow down to prepare yourself for a long run,” answered Ludovico, shrugging his shoulders. “Anyway, at this moment, this was the only job I could get.”

“But you promised that we would get married soon,” went on Alessandra, walking up to him and setting her hand on his shoulder. It was June of 1516 and, in three months, Ludovico would be 42 years old. He turned around to face Alessandra and saw his promises reflected in her eyes.

“I am just asking you to have a little patience, my love,” he said, taking in a deep breath. “We will be married as soon as I have saved enough money to lead a proper life.” How often had he tried to explain that to her? A hundred or a thousand times, it didn't matter.

Ludovico had changed jobs often, always moving forward, working endless days only to be able to devote his nights to his passion. After years of efforts, he had just completed his poem “Orlando Furioso,” although he was still planning to make some revisions.

“You should just let it go as it is now, Ludovico,” exhorted Alessandra. “Your poem is more than good, it is even more than wonderful! It is high time for you to forget about it and work on something else. Why don't you write a Venetian comedy to please the Bishop? Or a song dedicated to the Duke?”

During the following eight years, Ludovico saved as much money as he could from his small salary. Shortly after his 50th birthday, he fulfilled his promise and married Alessandra. The couple purchased a small farm near Ferrara and retired to live there.

When Ludovico Ariosto's poem “Orlando Furioso” was published, only eighty six copies were printed. During his retirement in the farm, his revisions of the poem never ceased. It is believed that he rewrote parts of it at least two hundred times.

Little by little, the reputation of “Orlando Furioso” began to grow. By the time Ludovico was 57 years old, his poem had been already reprinted many times and was already considered the work of a genius. Ludovico, nevertheless, continued to make new revisions one after the other. After his death, Alessandra Benucci published the final version. It was absolutely perfect.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Jule_Berlin under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

How to slow down for the big run


“You are a strange man, Ludovico,” complained Alessandra Benucci. “You say that you love me, but you care as little for me as you do for your career.” Ludovico Ariosto looked out of the window and did not reply immediately.

His new job as governor of Lucca was difficult and his salary meagre, but the beauty of Tuscany never ceased to astonish him whenever he looked outside. “Sometimes, you have to slow down to prepare yourself for a long run,” answered Ludovico, shrugging his shoulders. “Anyway, at this moment, this was the only job I could get.”

“But you promised that we would get married soon,” went on Alessandra, walking up to him and setting her hand on his shoulder. It was June of 1516 and, in three months, Ludovico would be 42 years old. He turned around to face Alessandra and saw his promises reflected in her eyes.

“I am just asking you to have a little patience, my love,” he said, taking in a deep breath. “We will be married as soon as I have saved enough money to lead a proper life.” How often had he tried to explain that to her? A hundred or a thousand times, it didn't matter.

Ludovico had changed jobs often, always moving forward, working endless days only to be able to devote his nights to his passion. After years of efforts, he had just completed his poem “Orlando Furioso,” although he was still planning to make some revisions.

“You should just let it go as it is now, Ludovico,” exhorted Alessandra. “Your poem is more than good, it is even more than wonderful! It is high time for you to forget about it and work on something else. Why don't you write a Venetian comedy to please the Bishop? Or a song dedicated to the Duke?”

During the following eight years, Ludovico saved as much money as he could from his small salary. Shortly after his 50th birthday, he fulfilled his promise and married Alessandra. The couple purchased a small farm near Ferrara and retired to live there.

When Ludovico Ariosto's poem “Orlando Furioso” was published, only eighty six copies were printed. During his retirement in the farm, his revisions of the poem never ceased. It is believed that he rewrote parts of it at least two hundred times.

Little by little, the reputation of “Orlando Furioso” began to grow. By the time Ludovico was 57 years old, his poem had been already reprinted many times and was already considered the work of a genius. Ludovico, nevertheless, continued to make new revisions one after the other. After his death, Alessandra Benucci published the final version. It was absolutely perfect.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Jule_Berlin under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

My five defensive investments against the upcoming inflation

All signs tell us that inflation is around the corner. Today March 21, 2009, nobody knows exactly how steep price increases are going to be. Should we expect a rise between 5% and 15% per year during the next thirty six months? To which extent should we fear a much higher inflation?

Whatever the answer to this question, I am already adopting for my own investment portfolio a defensive strategy against inflation. Since I am too much of a dividend lover and I know little about precious metals, I am not going to purchase gold.

In my view, there are two alternatives that should lead to results that are roughly similar to purchasing gold:
  • Investing in oil companies, since sooner or later, inflation will propel oil prices to a higher plateau.
  • Buying shares of companies that operate in countries with short-term prospects of economic growth.
At this moment, I am considering the following five companies for possible purchases for my own investment portfolio:

1.- MARATHON OIL (NYSE:MRO). The current low price of oil has driven down these shares more than 40% during the last year. Their price/earning ratio today is about 5 and they are yielding around 3.5%. The profits of this company should rise if oil prices go back to the level of a few months ago.

2.- CHEVRON (NYSE: CVX). The low price of oil these days has pushed these shares more than 20% downwards during the last year. The current price/earning ratio is about 5.5 and the yield around 3.8%. This is another company that should benefit from a rebound of oil prices.

3.- CHINA MOBILE (NYSE: CHL). Their number of cell phone subscribers continues to increase and their profits should go up or, at least, remain stable. If the Chinese currency gains value, this will result in extra profits for international investors holding these shares. The current yield lies around 3.5% and the price/earnings ratio is about 10.

4.- TELKOM INDONESIA (NYSE:TLK). With a current yield about 8% and a price/earning ratio of 11, these shares allow an easy way to invest in the Indonesian economy. The company provides fixed line and cellular communications and serves more than 63 million customers.

5.- AMERICA MOVIL (NYSE:AMX). The price/earnings ratio is about 11 and the yield is around 1.5%. This company operates cellular phone networks in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and other South American countries. They provide services to around 150 million customers.

These five large companies should offer no great operational surprises. I am risk-shy and this is the kind of investments I favour in my own portfolio. Can anyone guarantee a rise in the shares of oil companies and international telephone providers? No, nobody can offer such guarantee.

For my own investments, I try to rely on reasonable assumptions and these five companies seem reasonably well positioned to maintain their value in case of high inflation. What do you think?

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by twoblueday under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

My five defensive investments against the upcoming inflation

All signs tell us that inflation is around the corner. Today March 21, 2009, nobody knows exactly how steep price increases are going to be. Should we expect a rise between 5% and 15% per year during the next thirty six months? To which extent should we fear a much higher inflation?

Whatever the answer to this question, I am already adopting for my own investment portfolio a defensive strategy against inflation. Since I am too much of a dividend lover and I know little about precious metals, I am not going to purchase gold.

In my view, there are two alternatives that should lead to results that are roughly similar to purchasing gold:
  • Investing in oil companies, since sooner or later, inflation will propel oil prices to a higher plateau.
  • Buying shares of companies that operate in countries with short-term prospects of economic growth.
At this moment, I am considering the following five companies for possible purchases for my own investment portfolio:

1.- MARATHON OIL (NYSE:MRO). The current low price of oil has driven down these shares more than 40% during the last year. Their price/earning ratio today is about 5 and they are yielding around 3.5%. The profits of this company should rise if oil prices go back to the level of a few months ago.

2.- CHEVRON (NYSE: CVX). The low price of oil these days has pushed these shares more than 20% downwards during the last year. The current price/earning ratio is about 5.5 and the yield around 3.8%. This is another company that should benefit from a rebound of oil prices.

3.- CHINA MOBILE (NYSE: CHL). Their number of cell phone subscribers continues to increase and their profits should go up or, at least, remain stable. If the Chinese currency gains value, this will result in extra profits for international investors holding these shares. The current yield lies around 3.5% and the price/earnings ratio is about 10.

4.- TELKOM INDONESIA (NYSE:TLK). With a current yield about 8% and a price/earning ratio of 11, these shares allow an easy way to invest in the Indonesian economy. The company provides fixed line and cellular communications and serves more than 63 million customers.

5.- AMERICA MOVIL (NYSE:AMX). The price/earnings ratio is about 11 and the yield is around 1.5%. This company operates cellular phone networks in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and other South American countries. They provide services to around 150 million customers.

These five large companies should offer no great operational surprises. I am risk-shy and this is the kind of investments I favour in my own portfolio. Can anyone guarantee a rise in the shares of oil companies and international telephone providers? No, nobody can offer such guarantee.

For my own investments, I try to rely on reasonable assumptions and these five companies seem reasonably well positioned to maintain their value in case of high inflation. What do you think?

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by twoblueday under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]