Weil on Finance: How Not to Earn 900 Percent

Jonathan Weil joined Bloomberg News as a columnist in 2007, and his columns on finance and accounting won Best in the Business awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2009 and 2010.
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Hello, View fans! Here's what I've reading this morning.

How to spot red flags in an investment pitch.

For example, if an elusive tycoon says he can get you a quick 900 percent return by investing in North Korean mineral rights, you probably should be just a bit suspicious. Good piece here by Simon Goodley of the Guardian about a businessman named Kevin Leech who used to be one of Britain's richest people and has a thing for pitching deals that look too good to be true.

If you're going to form instant-message groups to rig currency markets , here are some nicknames to avoid.

Let's see here, all of these would be bad: "The Cartel," "The Bandits' Club," "One Team, One Dream" and (goodness, gracious) "The Mafia." Aside from those, you should be OK. This Bloomberg article is about how currency traders talked to Bank of England officials about some of their fixing practices back in 2012 before all the hardcore investigations began, although presumably no one bragged about the goofy nicknames. The second link takes to you a roundup at the D&O Diary with everything you ever wanted to know about the global foreign-exchange investigations.

Who is running Yahoo next week while Marissa Mayer is in Davos?

The company's chief operating officer, Henrique de Castro, is leaving after 14 months. Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's chief executive officer, told employees she made the decision about his departure. Next week Mayer is off to Davos where she will be a co-chairman of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting. Questions: Why would she want to be co-chair at Davos? Vikram Pandit of Citigroup was at Davos two years ago in the same role. Does she want to end up like him?

Allan Sloan knows how to have fun with number s.

Don't be a slave to history, the Fortune columnist writes: "A single year in which stocks soared and bonds tanked can throw the long-term numbers way out of whack." For instance: "Let's start with a key number, the five-year return for stocks. For the five years that ended in 2012, the Standard & Poor's 500 produced a return, including reinvested dividends, of a crummy 1.66 percent annually. That's not exactly the kind of record that would encourage you to buy stocks, is it? But 2013 turned out to be a great year for stocks. As a result, the S&P's five-year annual return through the end of last year jumped almost 1,000 percent -- no, that's not a typo -- to 17.94 percent."

I'm not a cat person , but this is really good.

The headline: "Couple Creates `Game of Thrones' Armor for Cats." Why? Because every feline deserves its own set of battle armor, don't you think? The slide show is something else.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Weil at jweil16@bloomberg.net