Apple : first greatest biggest etc.

Wednesday, 28 January, Year 7 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

The pressi is full of "Apple Just Had The Most Profitable Quarter Of Any Company Ever", because it posted something like 16 bn dollars for Q1. There are a coupla observations I wish to make on this score :

I. Apple is keeping up with inflation. At market cap of 700bn that means the Q1 USD inflation was something like 2.28%, which seems a little low but who am I to argueii. What this means is that.. well... every single other US company you may be holding stock in underperformed. Apple didn't make anyone any money : everyone else lost the owners some money. Some, like Chevron, managed to lose quite a lot, others, like Walmart, lost merely a bunch. All in all, each and every one of the ~2bn worth of Dow Jones or the ~8 trillion worth of NASDAQ lost you money. Not that much, a few cents to the dollar, but still - if you're in the business of investing this simply won't do.

Yes, yes, I know, inflation is difficult to grasp intuitively, your hundred dollar bill is just as good as it was before and all that jazz. At some point you will have to decide whether you wish to interact with reality or your own personal fictitious world, and should you decide for the latter note that there's absolutely no need to go to all these lengths with stock exchanges and stuff like that. Just write something down on a piece of paper and think really hard about that, it'll be just as good.

II. The USG spent about 1 trillion to do that. Yes, that's right, it spends grossly 4 trillion per year to make things like Apple possible. Things like Apple ? What's that mean, what other things ? Well... basically... Apple. A few tiny similar items, but by and large, the bubble pretty much converged, which is what bubbles doiii. Seems a pretty atrocious efficiency, spend 1 trn to get 0.016 trn, but then again in terms of government policy it definitely isn't the worst, nor are there many better examples of judicious use of public funds. Certainly not recently.

Ever heard that quip about how "it's easy to have positive results in an economic sector, all you have to do is wreck the larger economy" ? Well... it's your country, after all. Not in the sense that you built it, of course, as you didn't, nor in the sense that you could build another just like it if you felt so inclined, as you can't. But nevertheless, have fun, the world doesn't particularly mind. Or care.

III. No, you still can't buy Russia. Sorry about that.

Anyway, I'm looking to short AAPL, provided that a) the deal is fully Bitcoin based and b) you won't either expect me to pay any sort of "tax" to the USG, or pretend like you're paying for me as part of the deal. Ideally I'd prefer a traditional short mildly leveraged over any sort of option. Thanks!

  1. Not even the trade press, of any particular trade. Just, generally, anything and everything. The atmosphere is generally reminiscent of the All-Union Victory of Socialism of the 70s, but I won't bore you with that. []
  2. If you prefer the book metric, on a book value of 111.39 that means more like 14.54% for Q1, or 72% annualized, which is probably a little high, especially if you consider Apple is leveraged about 5:1. For which reason a 2.9ish% figure is probably more accurate - and roughly what US Q1 inflation actually was.

    Yes, yes, I know : derps like that Souflakis videogame character (the Greek "Minister of Finance" NPC) think they can " distinguish deflation from prices reductions due to increasing returns and falling average costs of production. Etc. etc." Good for them, some people can distinguish good phases of the moon from bad, and good days to plant crops or initiate travel from bad. You'd think their time is soundly gone by a few centuries, but I guess Greece sticks to tradition. []

  3. For very good reasons, bubbles behave in finance exactly like bubbles in a liquid : they join together until the largest possible one is formed which then pops.

    Bubbles are, in fact, attempts at monetization of a good without monetary value, and in this sense an unsupported political ploy. Which is why the inflating as well as the bursting of bubbles are political activities, and why the "victims" of the failed attempt to take over political power go begging to political power to resolve their "problems" (and why the wisest course is that taken by the Dutch authorities post tulip-crisis : STFU ; ESAD). []

Category: Actiuni si Optiuni
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22 Responses

  1. Can you point to historic instances of sane monetary policy for countries/states etc., if you know of them?

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Wednesday, 25 January 2017

    The problem is complicated by the poverty of records ; but the Dutch built the world's most notable empire in one short century through nothing but proper monetary policy and "not being empaths". Notably enough, when "de beoble" complained about their leftover worthless tulips at the end of the bubble, the Dutch state told them to get fucked, remorselessly. And properly.

    The Portuguese, similarly, and a bevvy of small trading states throughout the Mediteranean.

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