Thursday, January 21, 2010

Donate to Haiti earthquake victims today

Please donate what you can to provide immediate and urgent assistance to the victims of the earthquakes in Haiti.

Some reputable organizations which are already working on the ground, are the following:

American Red Cross:

(you can also receive frequent flyer miles on some airlines for your donation; for example:

Doctors without Borders:


(through Facebook Causes:

World Food Programme:

(through Facebook Causes: )

Give a loved one a Gift donation:

UN Foundation

Other options:

Find a charity with a proven track record of success in providing disaster relief and one that has worked in Haiti; avoid possible scams. Start with the list of charities on this list:

Detailed information about the emergency response available at:

Please donate what you can today!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ten money-making ideas (and comments)

In general, I like Marketwatch's "Ten money-making ideas for 2010", by Jonathan Burton.

A few comments:

1. Some asset classes are clearly entering into a bubble, as highlighted by The Economist in this week's cover story. This would include Chinese, Argentine and Brazilian stock markets, among other emerging markets.

2. I agree that some pharmaceutical stocks are undervalued, including Pfizer.

3. In contrast, some tech stocks are clearly overvalued, including Amazon, Apple and Google. I do like Microsoft, IBM and Oracle, as Mr. Burton does.

4. I always recommend "plain vanilla" index funds, such as those tracking the S&P 500.

5. Although oil prices have been rising in response to the cold front in most of the Northern hemisphere, this is probably not sustainable. Other indicators suggest that - the current freezing temperatures notwithstanding - 2010 should be the hottest year on record.

6. I do have to disagree with the "bullish sentiments" on the U.S. dollar. The sky-high deficits do not bode well for the greenback, and already it has fallen back compared to the euro and the yen.

7. I completely disagree with the advise on emerging market index funds (such as iShares MSCI Emerging Markets, EEM). This encapsulates the bubble in emerging market stocks, and will clearly collapse in the coming months. Currently, EEM is trading near its 52-week high of 43.47, and it should come down to at least 35 within the next 6 months.

The main problem with the note is that it does not factor in a very likely rise in inflation and interest rates (except in the recommendation to avoid long-term government bonds). Alternative investments, as mentioned before on this blog, are gold and other commodity ETFs, as well as TIPS (Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities), and some staple goods ETFs.

Happy New Decade!