Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Round up of some of the financial goodness that has piqued my interest this week

Firstly, Munch's masterpiece, The Scream is going up for auction. One of four versions of the painting, this one was produced in pastel, comes with the original poem he created to explain the work and is the most vibrant of the four. The only one also available in private hands. If I had the money, this is what I would spend it on. There is nothing better in the world than this. It makes me marvel every time I see it. Amazing.

If you want to buy it for me (it's going to be about $80M), I'll be forever grateful. I'll buy you a beer too, plus you'll get visiting rights to see it twice a year.

The UK's public finance borrowing tipped past £93Bn for the tax year to date. Surprisingly this is apparently good news. About £16Bn less than last year and on track to meet the overall target of £129Bn. God the sums are astronomical aren't they? Where does it all go?

From the same paper, Why are deficit-cutters so afraid to talk about tax? A reasonably well written argument on the need to increase tax as well as cut spending. Apparently the UK pays some of the lowest tax in Europe. However, coming from NZ, the tax here feels huge compared to home. Still, it would be difficult to ask the wealthy to pay more tax. The top 10% of earners already contribute 50% of the tax take.

‘Superinvestor’ Walter Schloss Dies at 95. 16% return a year for over 50 years. That's clever stuff. Still you can't spend it in heaven. Hope he had a good life.

Just like the UK, Germany have realised that all those wonderful green energy investments don't really work and have cut the subsidies to their solar power schemes. Pity it has taken them this long, they've spent £130bn so far. And as a consequence have the second highest electricity costs in the world, second only to Denmark, the world's leading wind farm people.

Real-time data now available in Google Finance in the UK. If you use this service to track your profile or just pick up prices, it just got a whole lot more timely and accurate today. Good news. It still has its problems (inconsistent fund data, dividend pricing, lack of PE and yield information on most shares, no screener or filter) but is heading in the right direction.

and Lastly, what about this as an investment for the future? If you like collectibles, here's something a bit novel. To celebrate 500 episodes of the Simpsons, here's Kid Robots collectible 6" Matt Groening figure. Bound to be worth a fortune in years to come. Especially if he dies early!