8 Fascinating Reads

Happy Friday! There are more good news articles, commentaries, and analyst reports on the Web every week than anyone could read in a month. Here are eight fascinating ones I read this week.

Who still remembers dial-up?!
Business Insider writes about the potential capability of Samsung's latest mobile data speeds:

Samsung Electronics said Monday it had successfully tested super-fast fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology that would eventually allow users to download an entire movie in one second.

The South Korean giant said the test had witnessed data transmission of more than one gigabyte per second over a distance of two kilometres.

The new technology, which will not be ready for the commercial market before 2020 at the earliest, would offer transmitting speeds "up to several hundred times faster" than existing 4G networks, it said in a statement.

The next boom
Bloomberg cites a report by the International Energy Agency on the impacts of America's energy boom:

North America will provide 40 percent of new supplies to 2018 through the development of light, tight oil and oil sands, while the contribution from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will slip to 30 percent, according to the International Energy Agency. The IEA trimmed global fuel demand estimates for the next four years, and predicted that consumption in emerging economies may overtake developed nations this year.

"The supply shock created by a surge in North American oil production will be as transformative to the market over the next five years as was the rise of Chinese demand over the last 15," the Paris-based advisor to 28 oil-consuming nations said in its medium-term market report today.

Innovation 
Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) CEO Larry Page talks about the company's dreams. From The Verge: 

There are many exciting things you could do that are illegal or not allowed by regulation," Page said. "And that's good, we don't want to change the world. But maybe we can set aside a part of the world." He likened this potential free-experimentation zone to Burning Man and said that we need "some safe places where we can try things and not have to deploy to the entire world." Google is already well-known for coming up with some pretty interesting ideas -- the idea of seeing what Page could come up with in this lawless beta-test country is simultaneously exciting and a bit terrifying.

On the way out
Bloomberg writes about George Soros' gold investments:

Billionaire investor George Soros joined Northern Trust Corp. and BlackRock in cutting holdings of exchange-traded products backed by gold before a bear market in prices last month, while John Paulson maintained a stake that lost about $165 million in the first quarter.

Soros Fund Management LLC lowered its investment in the SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest such fund, by 12 percent to 530,900 shares as of March 31, compared with three months earlier, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing showed yesterday. Funds run by Northern Trust and BlackRock showed reductions of more than half, according to earlier filings. Paulson & Co., the largest investor in SPDR, held 21.8 million shares, while Schroder Investment Management Group bought 2.1 million.

On second thought
John Authers of The Financial Times writes about why junk bond yields are so low:

These bonds pay a higher yield to compensate for greater risk; but these yields are now lower than the dividend yields paid out by some large and well-established companies on their stocks.

That sounds crazy. But bear in mind that the only risk with a high-yield bond, if the investor carries it until it matures, is that the company defaults. And that risk has never been lower. The results of this year's Deutsche Bank Historical Defaults Study, carried out annually for the last 15 years, show high-yield defaults dropping to historic lows.

Give and take
Henry Ford created the modern middle-class worker by offering double the going wage to Ford employees early last century. But as The Wall Street Journal points out, it was a two-way deal:

Ford company workers discovered that achieving their five-dollar day came with some rigid stipulations. To qualify for his doubled salary, the worker had to be thrifty and continent. He had to keep his home neat and his children healthy, and, if he were below the age of twenty-two, to be married.

Winner and losers
Jason Zweig cites a study on stock analysts with some unsavory findings:

  • Asked who was their most important group of clients, 81.5% of analysts picked "hedge funds." Only 13.3% chose "retail brokerage clients."
  • Fewer than a quarter of the analysts said that the "accuracy and timeliness" of their earnings forecasts were very important to their compensation. Only 35% said that the profitability of their stock recommendations was crucial in determining how much they earned. Their "standing in analyst rankings or broker votes," however -- essentially how they score in media surveys, "broker votes" and other annual popularity contests among clients -- was very important in shaping compensation for 67% of the analysts.

Two legends 
Bill Gates talks about his relationship with Steve Jobs, the differences between Microsoft  (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) and Apple  (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) , and Jobs' passing in a great interview. Watch it here.

Enjoy your weekend. 


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  • Report this Comment On May 19, 2013, at 2:40 PM, Darwood11 wrote:

    As for Soros, the bigger question is where did he plow the money he took from selling gold. As is the case when things lose there shine, the money to be made is not by simply by selling, but by buying.

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