Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Are UK Savings Interest Rates Finally Starting to Rise? Best Cash ISA 2017 - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Inflation Tsunami - Supermarkets, Retail Sector Crisis 2017, EU Suicide and Burning Stocks - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Big Moves in the World Stock Markets - Big Bases - Rambus_Chartology
4.The Next Financial Implosion Is Not Going To Be About The Banks! - Gordon_T_Long
5.Why EU BrExit Single Market Access Hard line is European Union Committing Suicide - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Trump Ramps Up US Military Debt Spending In Preparations for China War - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Watch What Happens When Silver Price Hits $26...  - MoneyMetals
8.Stock Market Fake Risk, Fake Return? Market Crash? - 2nd Mar 17 - Axel_Merk
9.Global Inflation Surges, Central Banks Losing Control and Triggered the Wage Price Spiral? - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Why Gold Will Boom In 2017 - James Burgess
Last 7 days
Political Week Presurres US Stock Market - 25th Mar 17
London Terror Attack Red Herring, Real Issue is Age of Reason vs Religion - 25th Mar 17
Will Washington Risk WW3 to Block an Emerging EU-Russia Superstate - 25th Mar 17
Unaccountable Military Industrial Complex Is Destroying America and the Rest Of The World Too - 25th Mar 17
Silver Mining Stock Fundamentals - 24th Mar 17
A Walk Down the Dark Road of Bad Government - 24th Mar 17
Is Stock Market Flash Crash Postponed Until Monday? - 24th Mar 17
Stock Market Bubble and Gold - 24th Mar 17
Maps Of Past Empires That Can Tell Us About The Future - 24th Mar 17
SNP Independent Scotland's Destiny With Economic Catastrophe, the English Subsidy - IndyRef2 - 24th Mar 17
Stock Market VIX Cycles Set To Explode March/April 2017 – Part II - 23rd Mar 17
Is Now a Good Time to Invest in the US Housing Market? - 23rd Mar 17
The Stock Market Is a Present-Day Version of Pavlov’s Dog - 23rd Mar 17
US Budget - There’s Almost Nothing Left To Cut - 23rd Mar 17
Stock Market Upward Reversal Or Just Quick Rebound Before Another Leg Down? - 23rd Mar 17
Trends to Look Out For as a Modern-day Landlord - 23rd Mar 17
Here’s Why Interstate Health Insurance Won’t Fix Obamacare / Trumpcare - 23rd Mar 17
China’s Biggest Limitations Determine the Future of East Asia - 23rd Mar 17
This is About So Much More Than Trump and Brexit - 23rd Mar 17
Trump Stock Market Rally Over? 20% Bear Drop By Mid Summer? - 22nd Mar 17
Trump Added $3 Trillion in Wealth to Stock Market Participants - 22nd Mar 17
What's Next for the US Dollar, Gold and Stocks? - 22nd Mar 17
MSM Bond Market Full Nonsense Mode as ‘Trump Trades’ Unwind on Schedule - 22nd Mar 17
Peak Gold – Biggest Gold Story Not Being Reported - 22nd Mar 17
Return of Sovereign France, Europe’s Changing Landscape - 22nd Mar 17
Trump Stocks Bull Market Rolling Over? You Were Warned! - 22nd Mar 17
Stock Market Charts That Scream “This Is It” - Here’s What to Do - 22nd Mar 17
Raising the Minimum Wage Is a Jobs Killing Move - 22nd Mar 17
Potential Bottoming Patterns in Gold and Silver Precious Metals Stocks Complex... - 22nd Mar 17
UK Stagflation, Soaring Inflation CPI 2.3%, RPI 3.2%, Real 4.4% - 21st Mar 17
The Demise of the Gold and Silver Bull Run is Greatly Exaggerated - 21st Mar 17
USD Decline Continues, Pull SPX Down as well? - 21st Mar 17
Trump Watershed Budget - 21st Mar 17
How do Client Acquisition Offers Affect Businesses? - 21st Mar 17
Physical Metals Demand Plus Manipulation Suits Will Break Paper Market - 20th Mar 17
Stock Market Uncertainty Following Interest Rate Increase - Will Uptrend Continue? - 20th Mar 17
Precious Metals : Who’s in Charge ? - 20th Mar 17
Stock Market Correction Continues - 20th Mar 17
Why The Status Quo Is Under Increasing Attack By 'Populist People Power' - 20th Mar 17
Why the SNP WILL Destroy Scotland, Exit UK Single Market for EU - IndyRef2 - 19th Mar 17
Crypto Craziness: Bitcoin Plunges on Fork Concerns, Steem Skyrockets and Dash Surges Above $100 - 19th Mar 17
What ‘Ice-Nine’ Means for Your Money - 19th Mar 17
Stock Market 4 Year Cycle - 18th Mar 17

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Elliott Wave Trading

Petrobras a Timeless Lesson on Investing With the Government

InvestorEducation / Learning to Invest Feb 11, 2013 - 05:46 PM GMT

By: GrowthStockWire

InvestorEducation

Brian Hunt writes: Sometime in the past decade, Americans who should know better embraced a horrible investment idea...

If you've ever bought a stock because an investment guru told you it was "state owned" and backed by the government, chances are good you fell for a common mistake... And chances are good you lost money on the deal.

In today's essay, I'll show you why this is the case... and why you should always be leery of investing with "state owned" companies.



To drive the point home, we'll look at a poster child of "state owned" investing – Brazil's oil firm, Petrobras. It's a popular stock among investment advisors and fund managers. If you watch a financial television program about "investing around the globe," you'll probably hear someone gushing about Petrobras and its "state owned" status. After all, how could you go wrong partnering up with the national government?

Answer: very easily.

Below is a two-year chart of Petrobras. It tracks shares from early 2010 through 2012. They've plummeted from $40 per share to $17 per share... a loss of 57%. This horrific performance was produced in a rising oil price environment. During the same period, other "Big Oil" companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron registered gains.



How could the "experts" be so wrong about Petrobras? How could investors in a big "state backed" company get killed while investors in regular oil companies did well? It's easy to explain. But we have to leave investment La La Land and remember how things work in the real world...

Remember how your average government agency works (or doesn't work). The bureaucrats running government agencies are not incentivized to produce profits. They are not incentivized to improve the long-term value of a business. Bureaucrats are incentivized to spend their entire budgets and grow larger. This allows them to acquire more power... and bigger budgets for next year... which allows them to acquire more power and bigger budgets for the year after that.

Compare this to an entrepreneur who has his own money on the line. He's going to do his best to keep costs down, instead of intentionally blowing his budget. He's going to do his best to hire only employees he needs... rather than hire as many people as possible. He's going to keep a close eye on his cash flow, or he'll go broke.

Most smart people know this is the difference between government and business. But when it comes to investment, even "small government" republicans and libertarians lose their minds and line up to buy shares in inefficiently managed, state-owned companies. It defies belief. They'd be better off partnering up with a crack addict.

As for Petrobras, the company has phenomenal assets. It controls some of the biggest untapped oil fields on the planet. But they are offshore oil fields. Developing them will cost enormous amounts of money. That's why the company has trumpeted its planned $200 billion-plus capital-spending plans. It's believed to be the biggest corporate-expenditure program in the world.

This absurdly large amount of spending will be overseen by bureaucrats. Take a guess on how that will turn out. While you're forming your guess, remember that if an entrepreneur opened a lemonade stand, he would work by himself and turn a profit. If a government opened a lemonade stand, it would have a dozen employees and go broke in three months.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying you should never buy shares in a state-owned company. They can work out as trades. Also, I'm not saying all government is bad. I'm not saying government employees are horrible people. Save your hate mail.

But just remember what happens with most every government agency or program. They are not run for a profit. They are not incentivized to keep costs down. They are incentivized to grow bloated and inefficient.

The next time you're considering "partnering up with a government" – and buying a state-owned company – remember how government works.

You'll probably do better with a lemonade stand.

Regards,

Brian Hunt

P.S. About 10 days ago, I attended the Orlando MoneyShow. It's a huge conference where financial services providers try to drum up new business. Petrobras was one of the few large public companies that sent a team of "representatives" to the conference. I'm sure the trip cost shareholders tens of thousands of dollars (maybe hundreds of thousands). There was no team from ExxonMobil or Chevron.

Regards,

Brian Hunt

http://www.growthstockwire.com

The Growth Stock Wire is a free daily e-letter that provides readers with a pre-market briefing on the most profitable opportunities in the global stock, currency, and commodity markets. Written by veteran trader Jeff Clark, and featuring expert guest commentaries, Growth Stock Wire is delivered to your inbox each weekday morning before the markets open.

Customer Service: 1-888-261-2693 – Copyright 2009 Stansberry & Associates Investment Research. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. This e-letter may only be used pursuant to the subscription agreement and any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Stansberry & Associates Investment Research, LLC. 1217 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore MD 21202

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Growth Stock Wire Archive

© 2005-2016 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife