Archive for March, 2012

World’s 30 Largest Public Companies By Market-Cap

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

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These data are as of March 23, 2012.  As of March 30, PetroChina eclipsed Exxon as the largest oil company in the world.

Global Water Availability and Stress Maps

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Water is increasingly being viewed as the next “oil” from an economic perspective.  The amount of water on earth is fixed, the population is rising, and in some locations consuming more water than is replenished by nature.  In fact, in some areas geologically locked water (does not replenish) is being extracted with drilled wells – when it’s gone, it’s gone from the location.  The relative “water wealth” of countries is likely to redistribute economic wealth over the long-term in a way similar to the way the relative “oil wealth” has done.

Farming is the most inefficient use of water, industrial next and household least.

One source in The Futurist magazine said farming accounts for over 70% of all water use.    Efficiency improvements in agricultural use of water could extend the horizon for water problems.  For example, instead of spraying water into the air with sprinklers, drip systems result in less evaporation.

Grains as final foods require less water than meats which are grown on grains.  Developing economies tend to move from high grain / low meat diets to more meat consumption, which increases local water requirements.

Biofuels use more water in their creation than fossil fuels.  Some forms of fossil fuel extraction are more water intensive than others.

There will be substantial investment implications relating to water over the next 10 or more years.  However, it is very difficult to invest directly in water, but there are ways to invest indirectly.

Agricultural land investment in water rich, crop exporting countries may be one viable investment path.  There are a limited number of such investment opportunities, but they are expanding and are likely to do so further.

Global Water Availability Per Capita
(chart from


Global Water Stress Locations
(chart from


Water Efficiency By Crop for Key Countries
(chart from The Economist)


U.S Single Family Housing Starts from 1980

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

This chart was provided to Congress today by Fed Chairman Bernanke as part of a larger post-crash analysis.

Credit Scores on Newly Originated Mortgages from 1996

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Fed Chairman Bernanke included this chart in his submission to Congress today. It showed an improvement in the credit quality of mortgage borrowers (90th to 10th percentile).  That means 10% were below the bottom of the indicated range.  Could that still be enough to be a future problem?  Too bad, he did not provide the extremes, or the 95th and 5th percentiles — something to give a bit more comfort.

S&P 500 With and Without Dividends — 30 Years From 1981

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Dividends seem small year-by-year, particularly when markets rise strongly. However, over the long-term, they make a big difference in total return.

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U.S. Corporate Liquid Assets vs. Corporate Tangible Assets From 1949

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Corporate liquidity as a percentage of tangible assets (assets less goodwill) is at the highest level since the data began to be accumulated in 1949.

We built these charts using data provided by the Federal Reserve of St. Louis from the “Flow Of Funds” report (detail described below the charts).

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Tangible assets is a single data element in the Flow of Funds. We compiled the liquidity components as the sum of separate elements: checking and currency, time deposits, money market funds, commercial paper, Treasuries, foreign deposits, mutual fund shares.