E Volatile Markets

Today US markets are volatile over hopes and fears for the stimulus deal. It will not happen if Mitch McConnell decides not to support it.

Let's be more holy than the Pope. Today Pope Francis, long tolerant of homosexuality, broke with the Catholic Church he heads by supporting civil unions for same-sex couples. This came in a documentary the Pontiff made, shown for the first time in Rome today. What will Justice Amy Coney do?

I have been criticized for our ownership of Chinese shares, and for the record, we only own those which provide standard acceptable accounts. I am not an enforcer of civil rights for Uighars or Thais or Turks or Russians or Saudis. I only worry about repression in countries where it is not an accepted part of the system, like the USA or Israel, or France. I have two close relatives who are remittance men (living off their families in Britain) with Thai wives. I, therefore, leave it to them to decide whether or not they will stay there as the crackdown gets going. But I am not accepting contributions from a resident non-Thai expert on Thai stock markets until the dust clears, and we have no positions there.

As for China, we no longer directly own Tencent, and we only own shares listed outside the People's Republic and avoid any internet stocks linked to repression there. We own TCEHY via Naspers NPSNY and Prosus PROSY conglomerates of South Africa and The Netherlands. Our China stocks are ones that now trade in Hong Kong, or the NYSE or Nasdaq, report normally, and are not linked to repressive businesses.

With the Yuan at a new high against the US dollar (which also fell against the Canadian loony and the Pound Sterling), I cannot simply ignore giant China because I disapprove of the Chairman. It is a compromise. More on what this means below:


*Today Nasdaq-listed drug company BeiGene Ltd BGNE, incorporated in the Cayman Islands, sent a proxy form for voting on an increase in the shares owned by US drug-maker Amgen to keep its stake in the company at 20.6% by purchasing more shares after any further capital increase or incentive share grants to key BGNE executives. Only Amgen, which supplies drugs for BeiGene to distribute in China is affect by this proposal. Other major shareholders in BGNE include those which helped found BeiGene: Baker Brothers AdvisorsGaoling-Hillhouse PartnersCapital Group, and the Johnson family which controls Fidelity Funds. Two key execs who have founder rights plus incentive ones will also not be able to add to their holdings under the proposal: John V. Oyler and Dr. Wang Xiaodong.

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William K. 4 weeks ago Member's comment

An interesting introduction indeed. I do not judge and pass sentence on what others do, although I certainly may have opinions. And if the Government in China asks for my advice I will provide it, if not, then not. That goes for the Pope as well. I respect a much higher authority than either of those.

And certainly the markets are being a bit volatile, which is because of the emotions of those fearful folks involved. Those who are chained to fears will be led by them, that is how it works.