Friday, June 29, 2012

Austin and San Antonio Business Journal

Austin Business Journal

Find local Austin business information news in this journal: new businesses, expansion, openings and closings, and interviews with local entrepreneurs.

Plus job openings and business seminars and events are listed too. Oh yeah, and bankruptcies, liens, building permits and commercial real estate transactions.

Austin Business Journal on the web.

We also have it in library in dead trees, all the way back to 2001.

San Antonio Business Journal

The San Antonio Business Journal has great articles about current events in San Antonio. Both small and large businesses are covered. Read about partnerships, expansions and success stories. Plus there's interviews with local business people and job listings.

There's also information about tax liens, bankruptcies and commercial real estate transactions.

See what businesses are starting or succeeding and why that is.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Research Tip: Read The Owners' Manuals to Your Theories

It's important to deconstruct the concepts and measurement tools used in your field. By reading Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, Keynes, Milton Friedman, Baumol and more you'll understand where journal articles and concepts are really coming from. Never take an idea, concept, measurement for granted! Find out who thought it up and what it measures and equally, what it ignores!

Saves time and illuminates problems better.

Heck, I'll let the avatars explain it. (link to the book referenced in the video here)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Doing Business in Different Countries

Here's a great website: Doing Business from The World Bank

Choose your country, region or topic. Be sure to scroll down and download the PDF document.

The reports break down regulations and laws governing business in that country. They also have some economics statistics (like income) as well as estimations on topics like getting electricity, corruption, ease of doing business, registering property and more. 

Covers major and smaller countries.

In addition, please check out my International Business libguide for more resources organized by topic. We have databases on financial statistics, industry reports, important books, and more.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Milton Friedman and the Famous Helicopter Money Drop

The next time we have a depression, we should print a lot of money to stabilize prices and prevent deflation. Fiscal stimulus - in which the FDR New Deal famously hired people to build dams and schools, etc... -  actually prolonged the depression.

At least that's what University of Chicago professor Milton Friedman theorized.

This is his book-length retort to Keynesian/New Deal fiscal stimulus: Monetary History of the United States. 

All Milton Friedman books here.

Published in 1963, Friedman's economics eventually carried the day in academe. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke explicitly makes this clear and later quoted Friedman's own words about throwing money out of a helicopter to stimulate growth.

It is important to point out that Friedman wrote after the Great Depression and that his theories were never actually tried during the Depression. In addition, the modern world's electronic money, the expansion of credit, and derivatives may mean that theory and reality are once again, two different animals.  

So understand the difference between fiscal and monetary stimulus.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Researching Banks' Balance Sheets

Here's how to research a bank's, credit union's, or other financial institution's deposits, loans, credit card loans, home loans and more. You'll see several years' worth of data and get to compare it to other factors like equity, book value of loans and more. 

The best database for this is Mergent - at least for large public financial corporations like Bank of America or Capital One. You can see detailed breakdowns of their financial assets.

American Financial Directory is also good. Less detail, and it's in print, but it does have some numbers on loans, liabilities and assets. Particularly good for smaller banks, privately-held banks, and credit unions.

Now, this one is pretty amazing indeed: Federal website where you can check your local bank's deposits, loans, mortgage, etc... figures

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Research Industry Clusters

Here's an interesting site: Harvard Competitive Data for researching clusters of industry by state or metro area.

For example, you can find out where the automotive industry is clustered, average wages, patents per employee, and employment growth, among other variables. 

Much of the data is from publicly available sources, but it is combined in interesting ways here.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Understand Bonds, Treasuries and Credit Risk

Frank Fabozzi's Bond Markets, Analysis and Strategies is probably the best advanced introduction to bonds and other securities around.  You get both expert introductions to complex topics (like valuing convertible bonds) and very detailed mathematical formulas.

Covers municipals, treasuries, international public and private bonds, mortgage securities and more.

If you're a Bloomberg Terminal User, this book is great because it has Bloomberg screenshoots.

Here's the actual chapters:

Pricing of bonds -- Measuring yield -- Bond price volatility -- Factors affecting bond yields and the term structure of interest rates -- Treasury and federal agency securities -- Corporate debt instruments -- Municipal securities -- International bonds -- Residential mortgage loans -- Agency mortgage pass-through securities -- Agency collateralized mortgage obligations and stripped mortgage-backed securities -- Nonagency residential mortgage-backed securities -- Commercial mortgage loans and commercial mortgage-backed securities -- Asset-backed securities -- Interest-rate models -- Analysis of bonds with embedded options -- Analysis of residential mortgage-backed securities -- Analysis of convertible bonds -- Corporate bond credit analysis -- Credit risk modeling -- Bond portfolio management strategies -- Bond portfolio construction -- Liability-driven strategies -- Bond performance measurement and evaluation -- Interest-rate futures contracts -- Interest-rate options -- Interest-rate swaps, caps, and floors -- Credit default swaps.

Of course, the math formulas do presume a bit of perfect knowledge.

Still, a great book.

Book Cover