Business Diary: The perfect asset during a crisis?

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The Independent Online

Looking for an alternative safe haven in these difficult times? After all, gold is beginning to look toppy and as for US Treasuries, let's not even go there.

What about stamps? It got rather lost in the storm yesterday, but Stanley Gibbons, the collectibles company that is particularly focused on stamps, published its latest results and very good they were too. Sales were up by a quarter to £15m – and yes, the company does indeed think stamps are worth considering as an asset that holds its value even in difficult times.

Gross loses his sense of humour

Some disappointing news from Bill Gross, the boss of Pimco, the world's largest investor in bonds. Gross's monthly newsletters are full of incisive analysis, but also widely followed for their entertainment value, the fund manager being something of a wit. Sadly, Gross's latest missive informs us he's so sickened by the US debt ceiling debacle of the past few weeks he has lost his sense of humour. "I echo the sentiments of Davy Crockett," he says. "There'll be no jokes from Bill Gross today, nor across this land for years to come I suspect."

Johnson teaches us by example

Luke Johnson, the entrepreneur, practises what he preaches. He has a book to promote just now, Start it Up, all about how to start your own business, just as its author has done so often. Part of the trick, of course, is some decent marketing – and in the very same postbag as a review copy of Luke Johnson's book arrives the latest edition of CA, the magazine published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants. It has a cover story starring none other than Luke Johnson – the perfect chance to plug the new tome.

Edinburgh to miss musical talent

Disappointing news for the delegates attending the Edinburgh International Television Festival later this month – the entertainment won't be quite so good. Last year, one of the festival hits was the performance by No Expectations, a band whose members include Peter Fincham, ITV's director of television, and Tim Hincks, chief executive of Endemol UK. They obviously couldn't cope with the groupies, since they've ducked out of reprising the show this year.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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