Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Gold Price Crash Through Key Support, Crude Oil in Freefall - Clive_Maund
2.Marc Faber Warns Japan's Bond-Buying Program is a Ponzi Scheme - Bloomberg
3.Silver Price and Powerful Forces - DeviantInvestor
4.Stocks Bear Market Catastrophe as Stocks Flash Crash to New All Time Highs - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Marc Faber Warns Not to Hold Any Gold in the U.S. - GoldCore
6.U.S. Housing Market San Francisco at Critical Mass - Harry_Dent
7.Global Scramble For Silver - Coins “Hard To Get,” “Premiums Likely To Jump” - GoldCore
8.Major World Stock Market Indices Analysis: SPY, QQQ, DAX, FTSE, CAC, HSI - Michael_Noonan
9.Japan's kaput?! - Axel_Merk
10.Tesco Empire Strikes Back, £5 off £40 Discount Voucher Spend Explained, Exclusions Warning! - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 5 days
Manipulated Stock Market Short Squeezes to Another All Time High - The China Syndrome - 23rd Nov 14
Gold Price 2015 - 22nd Nov 14
Stock Market Medium Term Top? - 22nd Nov 14
Is the Gold And Silver Golden Rule Broken? - 22nd Nov 14
Malaysia's Subsidy and Budget Deficit Conundrum - 22nd Nov 14
Investors Hated Gold at Precisely the Wrong Time: What About Now? - 22nd Nov 14
Gold and GLD ETF Selloff - 22nd Nov 14
Currency Wars, the Ruble and Keynes - 21st Nov 14
Stock Market Investor Sentiment in The Balance - 21st Nov 14
Two Biotech Stocks Set to Double on One Powerful Catalyst - 21st Nov 14
Swiss Gold Poll Likely Tighter Than Polls Suggest - 21st Nov 14
Gold's Volatility and Other Things to Watch - 21st Nov 14
Australia Stock Market and AUD Dollar Analysis (ASX200 and AUDUSD) - 21st Nov 14
New Algae Research May Have Uncovered an “Energy Forest” Under the Sea - 21st Nov 14
The Cultural and Political Consequences of Fiat Money - 20th Nov 14
United States Social Crisis - No One Told You When to Run, You Missed the Starting Gun! - 20th Nov 14
Euro-Zone Tooth Fairy Economics, Spain Needs to leave the Euro - 20th Nov 14
Ebola Threat Remains a Risk - New Deaths in Nebraska and New York - 20th Nov 14
Stock Market and the Jaws of Life or Death? - 20th Nov 14
Putin’s World: Why Russia’s Showdown with the West Will Worsen - 20th Nov 14
Making Money While The World Burns - 20th Nov 14
Why This "Quiet Zone" Is Now Tech Stocks Biggest Profit Sector - 20th Nov 14
My Favorite Stock McDonalds Just Got Kicked Off My “Buy” List - 19th Nov 14
European Economies in Perpetual State of Shock, What's Scarier Than Deflation? - 19th Nov 14
Breakfast with a Lord of War and Nuclear Weapons - 19th Nov 14
The U.S. Economy’s Ebb and Flow - 19th Nov 14
What You Need to Know Before Investing in Alibaba - 19th Nov 14
Forget About Crude Oil Price Testing 2009 Low - 19th Nov 14
What Blows Up First? Part 5: Shale Oil Junk Bonds - 19th Nov 14
Bitcoin Price Did We Just See an Important Slump? - 18th Nov 14
How to Profit From Oversold Crude Oil Price - 18th Nov 14
Stock Valuations Outrunning Profits Growth - And the Band Played On - 18th Nov 14
ECB Buy Gold Bullion? Japan's Monetary Policy Dubbed "Ponzi Scheme" - 18th Nov 14
Gold, Silver, Crude and S&P Ending Wedge Patterns - 18th Nov 14
How High Could USD/JPY Go? - 18th Nov 14
On Obama and the Nature of Failed Presidencies - 18th Nov 14
Globalism Free Trade Immigration Connection - 18th Nov 14
An Epiphany From Hell - Buy Gold and Silver - 18th Nov 14
Too Difficult to Get a U.S. Home Loan - 18th Nov 14
Has the Gold Bear Trap Been Set - 18th Nov 14
Gold Price and Miners Soar on Huge Volume - 17th Nov 14
Cameron Says Second Global Economic Crash is Loomin, Japan in Recession - 17th Nov 14
How to Play the Stock Market 2014 Year-End Rally - 17th Nov 14
What The Fed Has Wrought, Who Needs Wage Earners Anyway? - 17th Nov 14
Stock Market Indexes Fluctuate Along Record Levels - Will Uptrend Continue? - 17th Nov 14
Stock Market Trend Deceleration Tends To Precede Corrections - 17th Nov 14
Stocks Bull Market Set to Continue After Consolidation - 17th Nov 14
The World Is Run By Fools, And We Let Them - 17th Nov 14
Gold Price Golden Bottom? - 17th Nov 14

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Gold Report 2015

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

© 2005-2014 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

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014