Jackson Lake Lodge

The first picture is from the walkway at the Jackson Lake Lodge similar to what you see in the interviews being done from there for the Fed Symposium hosted by the KC Fed. The second picture is a funky old bus that has obviously been beautifully...

Jackson Lake Lodge

The first picture is from the walkway at the Jackson Lake Lodge similar to what you see in the interviews being done from there for the Fed Symposium hosted by the KC Fed. The second picture is a funky old bus that has obviously been beautifully...

Malthusian Investing

A long time reader left the following question yesterday; Suppose that you have a history in farming, and you recognize that food supply will be a bigger and bigger issue in the future. Suppose you believe Jeremy Grantham is right that this will be a massive issue, but you can’t really execute his idea of buying land. Are there “types” of investments that could act as a proxy for agriculture beyond grain futures ETFs or agriculture equipment manufacturers? This is obviously as theme I have been writing about and investing in for a while. It is also one I have spent a lot of time exploring ways to invest in (do a search for Random Roger farmland and you should get quite a few results). We have always maintained at least a small exposure to the theme. Currently we own the PowerShares Water Portfolio (PHO) and the Global X Fertilizer ETF (SOIL) in “large” separate accounts and RRGR. As important as I believe thematic investing is I typically only allocate a small percentage to any theme. The Malthusian theme gets about 5% weight in our portfolios. What I think the reader is asking is whether or not things like PHO, SOIL or any other ETPs can be effective proxies for the theme. A little over four years ago I posted a list of farmland stocks from various countries and added a little bit of color to the names listed. The nature of the stocks has been to be very volatile, to trade at times like they are going out of business very soon to occasionally looking like Apple (AAPL). To...

Malthusian Investing

A long time reader left the following question yesterday; Suppose that you have a history in farming, and you recognize that food supply will be a bigger and bigger issue in the future. Suppose you believe Jeremy Grantham is right that this will be a massive issue, but you can’t really execute his idea of buying land.¬†Are there “types” of investments that could act as a proxy for agriculture beyond grain futures ETFs or agriculture equipment manufacturers? This is obviously as theme I have been writing about and investing in for a while. It is also one I have spent a lot of time exploring ways to invest in (do a search for Random Roger farmland and you should get quite a few results). We have always maintained at least a small exposure to the theme. Currently we own the PowerShares Water Portfolio (PHO) and the Global X Fertilizer ETF (SOIL) in “large” separate accounts and RRGR. As important as I believe thematic investing is I typically only allocate a small percentage to any theme. The Malthusian theme gets about 5% weight in our portfolios. What I think the reader is asking is whether or not things like PHO, SOIL or any other ETPs can be effective proxies for the theme. A little over four years ago I posted a list of farmland stocks from various countries and added a little bit of color to the names listed. The nature of the stocks has been to be very volatile, to trade at times like they are going out of business very soon to occasionally looking like Apple (AAPL). To...

We Reduced Our Apple Position

In my articles for theStreet.com I often talk about taking the time to keep tabs on any individual stocks with disproportionately large weightings in any ETFs owned. There are quite a few sector funds and single country funds that have 15-20%, even more, in just one stock or in the case some telecom ETFs there can be that much in a couple of stocks. So it is with most technology ETFs that have 20-25% in Apple (AAPL) including the ETFs we use for “large” separate account and RRGR which is the ETF we manage. The way the numbers work out our position in Apple, by virtue of its weighting in IYW and IXN was around 4% of the portfolio. I seem to remember Apple’s weight being 10-12% of tech ETFs a few years ago but of course the stock has done much better than most of the sector and has grown to now being 20-25%. In the last month the stock is up 15% which is far ahead of the sector. The recent lift is probably due at least in part to excitement about the next version of the iPhone, apparently iPhone 5, the iPad Mini and the prospects of what iTV might end up being. The recently initiated dividend hasn’t hurt either. In the last few years the products and the stock have both become ubiquitous. The stock has been the largest by market cap for a while now and it seems like there has been a contest among sell side analysts to come up with ever higher price targets. I have no great bear case for Apple...