SELL RUSSIA

I first suggested shares in the Templeton Russia Fund (TRF) in the fall of 1996 – so long ago the archives don’t even go back quite that far. Then I suggested taking our 140% profit in July, 1997 . . . and then maybe buying it again, and then maybe taking another profit, and round and round.

So for the record, someone way smarter than me on these things thinks this is a good time to get out of Russia (I won’t say his name – don’t want the czars putting dioxin in his pudding) and suggests putting that money into the Korea Fund (KF) instead.

So I did.

Apart from any geopolitical issues, there’s this simple fact: TRF is a closed-end fund selling at nearly a 5% premium to its net asset value (so you pay $1.05 for each $1 of assets it owns), while KF is selling at a more reasonable 9% discount (so you pay 91 cents for each $1 of assets).

Before you get too excited, closed-end funds generally should sell at a discount, for reasons I argued here.

Still, this guy knows his stuff. I’ll get back into TRF someday – Russia is not going away. But for now, my money, or a small portion of it anyway, is on Korea.

DIAMONDS!

Karen:This is WAY better than cubic zirconia in appearance; lasts longer; and is indistinguishable from diamond on the common tests. Plus, they grow the crystals right here in North Carolina.’

Remember, though, it will only really dazzle if you take the money you saved and use it to fund a Roth IRA.

CALLING CHINA, CHILE OR CHAD

So Charles is in China, and we gab and gab and gab for 10 cents a minute. It’s still in beta – and if you should get a bad echo or something, which occasionally happens, don’t write me for your dime back (full disclosure, we own part of this little start-up) – we’re not set up to refund your dime. And Chad actually costs 75 cents a minute. But Chile is less than a dime, and the Czech Republic is just a dime also. We are working to extend the service to countries that do not start with ‘CH.’

Caution: Don’t let your kids start playing with this and accidentally call East Timor. That’s $3.49 a minute – or $3.77 if they’re calling East Timor from Uzbekistan. (But what are your kids doing in Uzbekistan?) The most expensive route I could find is $5.40 a minute, Tuvalu to East Timor.

MOVIE OF THE WEEK

Guy calls to order a pizza and . . . well, see for yourself. It’s a short clip . . . a bit ahead of itself to be sure . . . somewhat alarmist . . . but it makes you think. Click here.

 

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