‘Tis the season. Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution calls Tim Harford’s The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run or Ruin an Economy “entertaining and enlightening.”


Quote of the day

Joshua Brown, “At the end of the day, paying a high cost for stock-picking mutual funds is not worthwhile over the long-term for the majority of investors. And the American public has figured this out.”  (The Reformed Broker)

Chart of the day

PERM Total Return Price Chart

PERM Total Return Price data by YCharts

Is the ‘Permanent Portfolio‘ permanently broken?  (Random Roger)


Americans are not convinced stocks are all that great wealth creator.  (Gallup via @reformedbroker)

Behold the buyback rally.  (Crossing Wall Street)

BDCs have been outperforming REITS of late.  (Sober Look)

The bear case for gold.  (Focus on Funds also FT)


Profit margins are where the current valuation debate lies.  (Philosophical Economics)

Two arguments against stocks.  (Rekenthaler Report)

Five tips for rebalancing season.  (Morningstar)

Why dividends matter: incentive effects.  (Total Return Investor)


Apple ($AAPL) makes its much anticipated move into China (Mobile).  (Business Insider, AllThingsD, Quartz)

Remember Hulu? It had $1 billion in revenues in 2013.  (Bloomberg)

There is a plague facing online retailers: returned merchandise.  (WSJ)


The Volcker Rule exempts certain real estate transactions.  (WSJ)

MLPs are increasingly becoming popular vehicles.  (Dealbook)

Hedge funds

Why activist investors are getting so much play of late.  (FT)

Fund of fund managers are going long-only.  (Pensions & Investments)

Despite tepid performance money continues to flow into hedge funds.  (Reuters)

How hedge funds generate profits: short-term contrarian bets.  (Bloomberg via The Short Side of Long)


What could go right in Europe.  (The Reformed Broker)

Signs of stress in the China’s interbank market.  (WSJ, FT)


Making the case for inflation to make it back on people’s radar screens.  (Business Insider also Capital Spectator)

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose in November.  (Capital Spectator)

Real consumer spending is accelerating.  (Business Insider)

On the surge in US oil production.  (Econbrowser)

Eight ways robots are stealing our jobs.  (Wonkblog)

Why the 1960s were such a good time for the American middle class.  (Bonddad Blog)

Is Christmas efficient?  (Marginal Revolution)

Earlier on Abnormal Returns

The thinking about a strategic investment in commodities has made a round-trip. What next?  (Abnormal Returns)

What you may have missed in our Sunday linkfest.  (Abnormal Returns)

Mixed media

Why it’s better to keep founders involved in the business.  (A VC)

The case for SnapChat being the most important technology of 2013.  (Farhad Manjoo)

Ten ways Wall Street is just like Sesame Street.  (Joshua Brown)

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