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  • First vaccine doses to hit Britain this week?

    I just celebrated the quietest Thanksgiving of my life here in Baltimore, Maryland, where I’ve been waiting for England to emerge from lockdown. “Celebrate” might not be the right word for such a subdued day. But it was a good day. I’m staying at the house of a friend I’ve known for 23 years. We
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  • Covid-19 update: which markets could benefit most from a recovery next year?

    It’s been a wild month for markets. A closer than expected result in the US election kept markets on edge, not helped by Donald Trump’s refusal to formally concede. A flurry of announcements over a number of vaccines nearing approval soon followed. And then we were brought back to reality, as much of US and
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  • Lessons from a millionaire janitor

    He used safety pins to hold his old coats together, and cut his own firewood well into his 90s. He drove a second-hand Toyota Yaris, and resisted new purchases. His only real indulgence may have been an English muffin and a cup of coffee at the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital every morning, where a friend remembered
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  • It’s called “the Power Hour”

    When I first heard this man’s story, I knew I had to bring it to your attention. Decades ago, he was a fruit vendor in Croydon. But he went on to rise from a filing clerk in a brokerage firm – starting in a back office, the “lowest of the low” – before rising to
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  • Billionaires proclaim rise of the REITs

    Billionaires around the world are increasingly warming to a special kind of investment as progress on the vaccine front pushes firms to prepare for a post-Covid-19 world. And last week, billionaire investor Bruce Flatt (known as “Canada’s Warren Buffett for the more than $500 billion he’s managed successfully at Brookfield (BAM) for decades) told Bloomberg
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  • The rise of the robots

    Last night, I rewatched The Big Short for what might be the tenth or eleventh time. “He’s betting against the US housing market?!” says one character, baffled that Michael Burry, the founder of Scion Capital, sees a crisis on the horizon. The investors in his hedge fund were losing their heads. Until Burry was proved
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  • A vaccine could be bad news for the dollar

    Emerging markets have had a rough year. They hate uncertainty. It makes investors lose their cool, pull money out of developing economies and stick it in safe haven assets – gold and US dollars. And you don’t need me to tell you that 2020 has brought uncertainty by the bucketload. But news of a vaccine
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  • What if Trump refuses to concede?

    Fifteen days after Election Night 2020, the vote counting is almost over. About a million and a half votes remain to be counted in deep-blue states like California and New York, but their totals won’t affect the all-important Electoral College tally. As things stand, Joe Biden is ahead by a comfortable 306-232 electoral vote margin,
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  • Buffett pares down Apple shares, pours $5.5 billion into biotech

    Last Wednesday we covered Berkshire Hathaway’s likely $4 billion sale of its Apple position, while noting it was still speculation until the 13-F filing due in five days. Today, the anticipated 13-F filing confirms the widely expected sale of Apple shares – some 36 million shares, or about $4 billion. It may sound like a
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  • Why Covid-19 may take its biggest bite from markets yet

    Looking back on the headlines, it should have been obvious last February what was about to happen. China – not a nation known to let much stand in the way of its economic growth – had just put 56 million citizens under lockdown, after weeks of denial. The World Health Organisation, which had declined to
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