Media Worth Consuming – December 2018

Jonathan Rochford

Narrow Road Capital

After six weeks of heavy outflows from leveraged loan funds, US loans are having a minor pullback with margins and upfront discounts spiking higher. Global debt has hit $184 trillion. US bond managers track themselves against with an index with a AA+ average rating when they have a BBB average rating. AQR is changing the name of its flagship fund after solid redemptions and poor returns this year. New Zealand’s Chandler brothers might be the greatest investors you have never heard of. Poorly performing hedge fund managers are more likely to make donations. As Deutsche Bank’s share price continues to set record lows, its chairman claims it is well positioned for a crisis. Europe’s QE has been a failure, unless you count overpriced financial assets as a success.

China is cracking down on small banks lending outside of their home market. To the surprise of no one who can do basic maths, China’s numerous bike sharing start-ups are going broke. China is set to take over Kenya’s largest port after unaffordable debt repayments haven’t been met. China’s peer to peer lending crackdown is hitting car sales.

Politics & Culture

Matt Taibbi: Trump is right to infuriate the warmongers and pull troops out of the Middle East. Some US states are legislating to stop businesses from refusing cash payments. California’s introduction of background checks for gun buyers had no impact on gun deaths. Michigan repossessed a man’s house for $8.41 in unpaid taxes. A Princeton/Yale study finds that Democrats patronise minorities whilst Republicans treat them equally. The EU is a bully but the people are now fighting back. Government is a poor substitute for God.

A US school has been busted for falsifying records to get its students admitted to Ivy League colleges. The University of Montana’s code of conduct allows for expulsion of students that make mean facial expressions and gestures. Academics lean left due to their idealistic and unrealistic visions of a better society designed by themselves. Thomas Piketty wants to take money from the rich and give it to his fellow academics.

A list of 20 fake news stories published by American mainstream media outlets in 2018. Der Spiegel was busted for seven years of fabricated reporting. If you want to be against fascists, don’t act like one. As seen on the Arc de Triomphe after a yellow vest protest “we’ve chopped off heads for less than this”. The Clinton’s speaking tour is bombing so badly they are selling tickets on Groupon. PETA says you can’t eat eggs and be a feminist.

7 signs to watch for when men are abusing women. 10 characteristics of women who emotionally abuse men. American women can now be drafted for military service. Three things men shouldn’t do on a first date and three things women shouldn’t do on a first date. From someone who has suffered abuse: “words aren’t violence”. 4 women on why women aren’t victims. The ongoing decline of the American male. There’s a tricky balance between me-too lawsuit risks and sex discrimination risks. Sweden likes to believe it is a feminist’s paradise but it has a terrible record for investigating rape and sexual assaults.

China has sentenced a man to four years imprisonment for retweeting “subversive” material. Is China stealing Chinese art? How China uses foreign journalists to spread its propaganda. McKinsey is keeping bad company with authoritarian governments.

Economics & Work

Class warfare taxes have substantial negative multipliers. Significant minimum wage increases decrease employment, but modest increases are neutral. The US government has spent $13.6 million to hire two employees. Companies are having to train young workers on how to shake hands and make small talk. Japan is set to post a natural population decline of 448,000 in 2018.


A prominent tech CEO confirms that user counts are fake. Your phone is listening to you and will change the ads you see based on what you say. There are problems that blockchain could solve, but no evidence that it is solving them. A 3 month old Tesla spontaneously combusted twice in a day and another Tesla drove 7 miles after its drunk driver fell asleep. Mercedes Benz tops the list for car recall notices at 33 for 2018. Why do environmentalists insist on punishing the poor? Virginia is paying 26 times the normal price for unreliable offshore wind power. Japan is using steel slag to regenerate the ocean floor.

Forget Santa’s naughty and nice list, Iceland has the Yule Cat that eats bad children at Christmas. More than 250 runners were caught cheating in a Chinese half marathon. Miami officials lock a woman up in a men’s jail because she was taking hormones for menopause. A woman in Wales was misdiagnosed as pregnant when she had a massive cyst.

Jonathan Rochford
Portfolio Manager
Narrow Road Capital

Narrow Road Capital is a credit manager with a track record of higher returns and lower fees on Australian credit investments. Clients include institutions, not for profits and family offices.

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