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Looking For Mutal Fund Ideas?


Most used finance books on sale via Amazon.com (AMZN) go at a discount, a few for as little as a penny. However, our recent spot-check of some out-of-print editions prized by investors go for a princely sum. Take, for instance, A Course In Trading, which in 1934 grew out of a class in technical analysis offered by an advisory firm called Wetsel Market Bureau. A 1998 reprint with a cover price of $45 now goes for $98.95.

Or check out A History of Interest Rates, by the late Sidney Homer, founder of Salomon Brothers' fixed-income research unit. The latest edition (with co-author Richard Sylla) trades at a premium price of $85.63 over the 1996 cover price of $79. Paperbacks can be had for $40. By far the fattest markup we found came on Seth Klarman's Margin of Safety. A value investor, Klarman operates a low-profile Boston partnership known as Baupost Group. Four sellers offered his 1991 book at Amazon.com for prices ranging from $599 to $689. Have you dusted off your bookshelves lately?

The Queen's English no longer rules in many parts of the world. A growing number of foreign corporations and private language schools, especially in China and South Korea, want speakers who can teach North American-accented conversational English. This has opened up opportunities for new U.S. and Canadian college graduates, as well as people who have been laid off and are struggling to find work.

On ESLcafe.com, a Web site geared toward teachers of English as a second language from the U.S. and Canada, job listings have increased 30% in the past year to about 500 a month, with more than 300 in South Korea alone. Most employers want a bachelor's degree and a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate, available through universities and TEFL training centers. "There are more positions than there are people to fill them," says Dave Sperling, site founder.

Japan pays approximately $30,000 a year; China and South Korea offer half that amount but typically throw in housing and meals. The most generous packages? Companies in the United Arab Emirates pay up to $20,000 -- more for those with a Master's degree -- and provide housing, private school for teachers' children, and three months' vacation. When you click on a fund report at www.morningstar.com, a message now pops up that says: "Investors who viewed this fund also viewed," and then the Morningstar site lists four similar funds, with links to those portfolios. For example, investors who called up the popular Dodge & Cox Balanced Fund recently looked at Oakmark Equity & Income and T. Rowe Price Capital Appreciation. The site offers the same feature for exchange-traded funds and stocks. The data are based on the previous week's page views culled from Morningstar's database.


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