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John Mangun

935 posts
E-mail me at mangun@gmail.com. Visit my website at www.mangunonmarkets.com. Follow me on Twitter at @mangunonmarkets. PSE stock-market information and technical analysis tools provided by the COL Financial Group Inc.
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Marx and the swinging pendulum

By all accounts, “philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist, critic of political economy, and socialist revolutionary” Karl Marx would perfectly fit into 2022 Western society.

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You are forewarned again

Start at SM City Bicutan going to Festival Supermall Alabang, with a side trip to SM City BF Parañaque and Alabang Town Center, and you will have fairly well covered the consumer-spending sector of Metro Manila. Certainly, you need to drop in at Shopwise Sucat, now owned by Robinson’s, and Talipapa sa Sucat to see the full picture. And it is not pretty.

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The FTX failure

IT started with Mt. Gox in 2010 when Bitcoin was trading at $0.09. By late 2013 MtG was handling over 70 percent of all BTC transactions worldwide and the price was $1,000. On February 24, 2014, Mt. Gox suspended all trading, closed its website, and its exchange service, with its website returning a blank page. Withdrawal requests were also met with a “blank page.”

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Energy and agriculture: Get serious

Our local economic forecasters are reasonably accurate—some more than others, of course—when the numbers stay within an established trend. Most do a terrible job at predicting—as they did with the latest inflation numbers—when there is major shift out of the trend.

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Zombie investing

All zombie movies have one thing in common. The zombies are relentless. Virtually all zombie movies have another common factor. The zombies win.

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The cascading effect

You have undoubtedly experienced a traffic gridlock where “lines of vehicles block a network of intersecting streets, bringing traffic in all directions to a standstill.”

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How to read the ‘tea leaves’

Making reasonably accurate predictions—or projections —about the future is relatively easy if we use the necessary tools and know what to look for. Tarot cards and tea leaves have a somewhat mystical quality, but we do not need even a whiff of the supernatural to see beyond tomorrow.

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Turn down the volume

Several weeks ago I shared on social media something from a psychologist who answered the question of what a child should do with a parent with dementia who talks about the past as if it were the present.

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Inflation and oil

IN September 2009 Typhoon Ketsana, known in the Philippines as Tropical Storm Ondoy, crawled through Metro Manila at a snail’s pace and as a result, brought historic rainfall. The Quezon City Science Garden recorded 18 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, an amount expected to occur only once per century.

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No confidence

The world is in a mess right now, and make no mistake, for want of a better term, we are in “World War Three.” Europe has shown that their civilization probably peaked during the Ancient Roman Empire when Rome conquered all but the rather barbaric Germanic and Slavic tribes.

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Fools and sleepers

Eighteenth-century English poet, classical scholar, and Cambridge professor Thomas Gray wrote “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College,” recounting his long-past student days. It tells of the university journey from innocence to maturity and ends with these famous lines of English literature: “Where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise.”

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Negroni cocktail time

Sociopathy is another term for Anti-Social Personality Disorder. “It’s a mental health condition where somebody persistently has difficulty engaging appropriately with social norms.” The science says that “they often break rules or laws and can behave aggressively or impulsively.”

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The peso: Hard choices

The newspaper headlines have been steady with “Peso Hits Record Low” for the past week or two. A little over a month ago—August 8, 2022—Bloomberg ran this story. “Bulls Bet Philippine Peso Will Extend Rebound From Record Low: Currency to reach 54 to dollar by year-end, Maybank, ING says as remittances poised to increase because of year-end holidays. The Philippine peso’s rebound from a record low is set to gain momentum amid expectations of higher remittances and as lower oil prices curb import costs.”

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Get better informed

OF course I take it too seriously. But it is disappointing to see the lack of knowledge by people who should know better about the world beyond the 7,000+ Philippine islands. The 21st century has given us not only a rush to judgment, but also the chance to swallow distorted and incomplete information not seen on a scale since 16th-century witches were burned at the stake.

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The IPO market

One of the most annoying words in the English language for me is “anything.” “What would you like for dinner?” “Anything.” “What movie would you like to watch?” “Anything.” “Would you prefer I beat you over the head with a stick or a bigger stick?” “Anything is fine.”

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Hate working? Be an economist

“The Iceman” mummy lived around 5,000 years ago on the Austrian–Italian border. Among his possessions was a complex fire-lighting kit that included tinder fungus, flint, and pyrite for creating sparks. All our ancestors had to know how to make fire. It was not until much later that there was a licensed “fire-maker” for the whole village.

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Faulty thinking

While I am sure you think that it is merely the ramblings of a “pre-pre-dementia” Boomer, I cannot over emphasize the idea that you cannot genuinely understand anything without a historical perspective. And this lack of a historical perspective is only one of the human intellectual deficiencies.

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Laugh or cry

There is a Chinese idiom, in Pinyin kūxiàobùdé, that describes the confusing feeling of not knowing whether to laugh or cry, to be frustrated and amused at the same time. In fact, that phrase shows up in many languages, but unlike in Mandarin, it usually means the hypocrisy of “wanting to laugh but feeling obligated to cry” at another’s misfortune.

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I can’t believe you

Maybe it is a characteristic of my generation, but I am naïve or dumb enough to give the benefit of the doubt to experts and people in authority to tell the truth. People have been lying since the Garden of Eden. But it has been my experience that people lie to serve their own self-interests. Only people with mythomania tell lies ‘just because’ and it is rare.

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Crypto crazy

Having a discussion about cryptocurrencies with some investors is like discussing polygamy with some followers of Islam or homosexuality with some Christians. It is a place that you do not want to go, especially if you are talking with a “religious fanatic.” And cryptocurrency is a religion for some.

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It’s a horse race

Humans are a strange species. Soon after we stopped dragging our knuckles and started walking upright, we have found pleasure jumping on the back of some other animal and racing to victory. From elephants to ostriches, if the beast was large enough to carry a human, we used it for sport racing and gambling.

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How the world has changed

Running one of those programs designed to catch plagiarism, I ran an analysis of my own writings over the last 25 years. One idea appears more frequently than I would have first thought. It is embodied in a phrase I used in an editorial yesterday: “Just as you think you have it all figured out, everything changes.”

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Time for belt-tightening?

“Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop in the region of Lycia in Turkey. Nicholas was known for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes.”

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The best leading indicator

Maybe it comes with advancing age and simultaneously increasing crankiness, but this election seems different to me than all the previous cycles. Perhaps it is also because of the pandemic but the campaign season looks to be bringing out the worst of the “democratic process.” This includes supporters and candidates, and now government officials.

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Covid lessons learned?

The Covid-19 pandemic taught us many lessons, probably least of which is in health care. When a candidate says, “I will personally manage the day to day Covid-19 response,” you know you are seeing a lack of seriousness. In the US, you could say that Covid “czar” Anthony Fauci was the person put into that position, and 75 million cases later, it was not a success.

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What ‘democracy’ is

Winston Churchill said in 1947 that “many forms of government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

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Stagflation strategies

There are three major components to an economy. These are “economic growth” or the amount of increase or decrease in output and production/consumption. The second is “inflation” or the amount of change in the prices of goods and services,
again higher or lower. Finally, the amount of “employment/unemployment” as the number of workers that create the economic growth.

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Dalio and Roubini

My grandmother was seven years old when New York City had a population of 100,000 horses producing around 2.5 million pounds (1.1 million kilograms) of manure each day. She lived to see the first man walk on the moon and the original Macintosh all-in-one personal computer.

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Better be worth it

The Philippine Stock Exchange Composite Index ended 2021 virtually unchanged, down 17 points from the 2020 close. The year turned out to be a roller coaster ride. In another sense, we started the New Year 2021 with the hope that the worst of the pandemic was behind us when in fact 2021 became the year of “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

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You can’t fool the market

AN iconic television commercial from the 1970s shows Mother Nature in a gown of white, adorned with a crown of daisies, sitting in a flowered forest surrounded by birds and woodland animals. She samples a spread saying, “Oh, that is my delicious butter straight from nature, so creamy and sweet.” The narrator informs her: “That’s Chiffon Margarine, not butter.” “Impossible,” says Mother Nature. The narrator responds that the margarine is indeed so close to real butter that it could fool even Mother Nature.

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Stock market snowflakes

Medilines Distributors Inc. (MEDIC) listed its shares on the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The offering of 825,000,000 common shares came at a price of P2.30 as the company raised approximately P1.265 billion. The “Sole Issue Manager, Lead Underwriter and Sole Bookrunner” was PNB Capital.