Nick O’Connor – Capital and Conflict (Great Britain) –
And there you have it! Just days after I spoke to you about the increasing cyber-conflict that I think could mark the next US president’s reign… the current president came out and confirmed what I’d been saying.
A word of warning. Several people wrote to me last week alerting me to the fact that just because the US says Russia is hacking its institutions, doesn’t mean that it’s true. What is said and what is happening may be two different things. I’m with you. We need to take what’s said by the state with a pinch of salt, and judge it with the same rigor we would if it involved monetary or fiscal policy.
Nevertheless, the narrative from the US government on this conflict is important. It may or may not be true. But you can be sure it’ll shape how and where money will be spent. And that’s our number one goal here, remember: to understand what’s happening in the world and turn that understanding into successful investments.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what President Barack Obama had to say at the back end of last week, with added emphasis from me:
There are three points worth underlining about what Obama said. I think they’re illuminating for a number of reasons.
Put simply, a lot of the coming cyber-conflict is going to be non-public; it’s going to operate at the intersection between public and private entities; and it’s going to involve all sides moving onto the attack, as well as preparing their defenses.
I’m not going to try and predict precisely how that will play out just yet. Why? Because I’d rather let the experts show you. I’ve been involved in a project behind the scenes here at Southbank Investment Research, which has involved bringing a series of genuine cyber experts in to answer that question. We’ll be publishing that material in the new year. So look out for it.
Beyond that, we’ve been preparing an investigation into the best cyber stocks to buy in 2017. Eoin Treacy has been heading that project up. His suggestion? Look at firms with offensive capabilities. For instance, last year the US government granted six private firms the rights (and the funding) to perform pre-emptive cyber strikes. That’s exactly what Obama was referring to in the quote above, in my opinion. This is just the start. There’s opportunity here. Eoin will share his picks with you in 2017!
Why Chinese buying is sending bitcoin soaring
Bitcoin is on a tear. In late August one coin was worth $209. Now it’s nearly four times higher at $788. Why? Eoin Treacy explains:
Thanks Eoin. And here’s my question to you at home: do you want to know more about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies? I find bitcoin interesting, if only as a barometer for people’s lack of faith in fiat currency and as a showcase for what technology can achieve. But would you like more coverage from us here at Capital & Conflict? If so, write in and let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is the pound the most undervalued currency in the world?
It hasn’t been a good year for the pound. Political uncertainty – bordering at times on political turmoil – has seen it drop from $1.50 to $1.24 today (with a brief spell below even that during the autumn).
But perhaps that creates the conditions for a strong 2017. According to a research note from Aurelija Augulyte at Nordea AG, the pound is “one of the most undervalued among the G-10” currencies. You could argue there are good reasons for that, the uncertainty around Brexit chief among them.
But the pound has already seen a major fall. If it is undervalued compared to other key currencies, that could make it a prime candidate to rise off the back of uncertainty elsewhere. If Donald Trump’s presidency gets mired in anti-China/trade war rhetoric, for instance, or if the EU starts to disintegrate after anti-establishment votes in France or Germany, that could lead to money leaving the US or Europe and looking for a home. If the pound offers good value it could be an attractive choice. That could push it higher. Watch this space.