Ativo Capital

Rigorous Thinking


Financial and economic commentary reflecting Ativo’s world view:

Sustainability a Fad?

Monday, December 5, 2011

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A book review in today’s Wall Street Journal had an “interesting” reference to corporate Sustainability efforts: “For all the talk of a “triple bottom line”—targeting people, planet and profits—few companies, in the U.S. at least, have truly taken their eyes off their stock price and quarterly profit.” The author’s implicit assumption is highly problematic. Of course companies are interested in making money! Far from being mutually exclusive, sustainability, when done right, can and does actually enhance shareholder value. Both the sustainability advocate and the corporate executive should realize that their efforts need not be at odds. In fact, a management focus on shareholder value is highly consistent with…

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Corporate Moneyball: Why the Right Metrics Do Matter

Sunday, November 6, 2011

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Guest Post by Clyde Rettig, Director, CharterMast Partners LLC The popular movie, Moneyball, based on Michael Lewis’s equally popular 2003 book of the same name, tells the true story of how the 2002 Oakland Athletics nearly made it to the World Series after applying nontraditional criteria to select new players. GM Billy Beane was trying to rebuild a team that had been decimated by departures of its best players to richer, big-market teams. The criteria the Athletics used, which can be characterized as actual performance metrics, were based on statistical analyses of target players’ historical on-base and run-scoring results…

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Time to limit the free riding in Asia

Friday, October 14, 2011

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Time to limit the free riding in Asia By Robert Z. Aliber, Professor emeritus, University of Chicago September 25, 2011 The single most important explanation for the U.S. unemployment rate of 9 to 11 percent is that Americans spend $600 billion more a year for imported goods than foreigners spend on U.S. products. Most U.S. imports are of manufactured goods — autos, electronics, apparel, many of which are or were made in America. If foreigners were to spend $1 million more a year on U.S. goods, American employers would hire more workers. Each employee in U.S. manufacturing on average produces…

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Fascinating Times

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

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A fascinating last several months. The parallel between the problems in Athens and those in Washington centers on the arithmetic of government debt and the ratio of government debt to GDP. Greece surrendered its ability to manage the competitiveness of its economy when it decided to join the European Monetary System, while the United States long ago surrendered its ability to maintain its competitiveness when it implicitly did not contest the policies of currency undervaluation of Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and China. Greece won’t be able to get out of its fiscal bind as long as it adheres to the…

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A Real Return on Sustainability Webinar

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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Click to view the webinar: A Real Return on Sustainability Is your company missing a Billion dollar opportunity or ignoring a Billion dollar risk? CharterMast, Ativo Research, one of the nation’s top ranked equity research firms, report on an innovative study that shows how sustainability performance has Billion dollar impacts on shareholder value. Are you looking to: Craft and integrate comprehensive sustainability strategies? Understand investment and market implications of sustainability? De-risk your business from regulation and market shifts? Make the business case and sell sustainability initiatives?   Numerous companies have realized that sustainability strategies have financial implications far beyond…

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Manias, Panics, and Crashes

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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To be published in paperback 5th August 2011 Aliber has succeeded again, producing the eagerly anticipated next edition of this definitive guide to the financial crisis; highly respected by economists and academics across the globe. The sixth edition of this bestselling classic on the history of financial crises over the last two centuries, explores the most recent events leading up to the financial crisis including the four waves of credit bubbles over the last thirty years. With polish and style, it analyzes the reasons behind each of these credit bubbles and why ultimately all of them have led to…

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U.S. Economic Developments and General Update

Monday, June 6, 2011

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On Saturday, June 4, Bob Aliber presented the following remarks at the University of Chicago. His talk summarized his recent publishing and research activities, as well as providing an overview of U.S. Economic Developments, The Dollar, and Dysfunctional International Monetary Arrangements. In addition to being Professional Emeritus of International Economics at Chicago Booth School of Business, Bob is also a member of Ativo’s Advisory Board.  Dear Members of the XP Class of 1986 Many thanks—you honor me with this invitation to speak to you at this reunion. I hope that you will invite me to your second twenty fifth….

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Energy, Housing, China, Competitiveness – Bob Aliber’s Latest Economic Update

Saturday, March 26, 2011

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Two major energy related shocks in the last month, first the political turmoil in Tunisia, then Egypt and their neighbors, and then the earthquake, the tsunami, and the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. “Going nuclear” had seemed one way to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. It is almost as if the chance pairing of these events had been staged by the proponents of renewable energy sources, although the surges in the prices of corn, grains, and foods suggests the limits on the reliance on corn-based ethanol. The oil price has surged by twenty five percent, even though…

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Warren Buffett: Always Know What YOUR Company Is Worth

Monday, January 31, 2011

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We can’t say it any better than Warren Buffett says it here: I have been in dozens of board meetings in which acquisitions have been deliberated, often with the directors being instructed by high-priced investment bankers (are there any other kind?). Invariably, the bankers give the board a detailed assessment of the value of the company being purchased, with emphasis on why it is worth far more than its market price. In more than fifty years of board memberships, however, never have I heard the investment bankers (or management!) discuss the true value of what is being given. When…

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Sunny Economic Forecast

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Click here for a summary of Bob Aliber’s current forecast.

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