Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve

  • Six bowl games today. I hope you have plenty of beer on ice.
  • When all the stock pundits are predicting that 2008 will be the year of tech, does that have you worried?  Doesn't that mean that everyone may already be invested in tech, and that they're trying to show you how smart they are and convince you to join them in a FREE CASH GIVEAWAY?
  • And nobody likes financials, eh?  Just thinking out loud here, but maybe since everyone is Zigging with tech, the Zag play may be... Financials!
  • The market ending 2007 with a whimper.  We had 3 pullbacks of 10% this year, plenty of chances to do intermediate-term market timing for those interested. 
  • Stupid Colorado.  Horrible start last night.  I have Air Force in the early game against Cal.
  • But I did win the Fantasy football league by the skin of Dominic Rhodes' teeth.  It was tough having the championship game in week 17 this year, with so many teams playing lame-duck line-ups. 
  • I hope everyone has a wonderful 2008.  Any New Year's resolutions? 

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Football Weekend!

  • Regressing to the mean in my bowl picks. 8-6.  But tonight?  Got the Colorado Buffaloes and the points against Alabama!  Sounds crazy again.  I think 'Bama would win.  Hopefully by 3 or less...  But takin' the dog again. 
  • In the Fantasy Super Bowl this weekend.  Had to scramble to put together a line-up with so many teams resting players.  Sheez.  We'll see.  I'm not sure it's looking so great here mid-way through the afternoon.
  • How disappointing are the New Orlean Saints?  I thought they'd have a great year.
  • Nice game by the Patriots last night.  Just when you think they're vulnerable for a loss...  They pull it out.
  • I think the stock market should have a decent day tomorrow.  Taking the day off from the Fun Factory, so I'll be watching bowl games.

Friday, December 28, 2007

TGIFrance!

  • Well, the market was up a little bit ago. What happened?  Did a tiger escape from a foreclosed property in Pakistan?  (See what I did there?  Three current events, with a hint of wall of worry stuff, blended into a stock-selling reason du jour.  Yeah.... Ugh.  But it's friday.   Cut me some slack!  And it probably makes as much sense as anything else...)
  • I had one tax-loss sell this year, but did that back in November and rotated into something same-same.  I believe the SP500 is going to new highs in 2008, Cheech.  The big question today is a matter of positioning.  I'm in a high-beta portfolio now.  So I did some Black Box searching last night and identified a few interesting names that I may rotate into.  Hard to say if I'll do that or not just yet.  I'd like to see us move higher before I start that.
  • Miss France, Valerie Begue, keeps crown after photo controversyBut her reign threatened to be short-lived after a magazine published a risque series of photographs in which she was seen lying in a crucifixion-like pose while wearing a bikini or licking condensed milk in a suggestive manner.
  • Milk builds strong bones.  Just sayin'...
  • Anyways. 
  • Three underdogs today, baby!  The first game starts at 2pm CA time, so I need to find an excuse to leaf early.  Comprenez, Valerie?
  • (I don't know if  "Comprenez" is correct French; I just Babelfished "understand."  Spanish would be "Comprende" so it must be close!!!).
  • What are the odds of oil taking out $100 in 2008?  We're almost there.  Great headline for those running for President, though.  $100 oil will be a psychological thing.  Local news cameras will be out on the street for that.  So where is gasoline headed?  $4-5 a gallon in 2008?  Seems like a no brainer at this point.  But maybe folks will do something radical like.... DRIVE LESS!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Charles Barkley on the Boston Celtics

  • Sorry to wake you up for this, but it's important: "If they (Boston Celtics) win 72 games this year, I'll walk from here to Phoenix. In a Speedo." - Charles Barkley.
  • The Nasdaq was up 6 days in a row before today. Then, today happened. The RSI(2) was at nosebleed levels on the NDX. Anyways. No trading for me. Just long here.
  • I had Texas -2 tonight. A favorite? Yeah.
  • Three bowl games tomorrow, and I have all dogs. Houston, Maryland, and Michigan State. Yeah, the latter bet was made prior to the ineligible list came out. I must be crazy. (Just cover, please!)
  • Hey, that Iowa caucus thing is next week! Seems like it's about time to thin the herd a bit, eh? Seems like they've been campaigning for 13 years and have had 5000 debates.
  • Web site to carry new bin Laden tape on Iraq. Tape? Who uses "tape" anymore? Must be dated!!
  • The Nikkei was down 11.1% in 2007. Really.
  • If you're like me, when you go out for Chinese food you read the place mat that has the birth years and what year it is. Year of the Dog or Bear or whatever. Next year(2008)? Year of the Bankruptcy. Bad year to be born. I hope the fortune cookie has a more optimistic message.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After

  • I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Welcome to the day after.  I imagine there are tons of folks out shopping for the day after bargains.  Not me!   Although, I don't know why anyone pays full price for Hallmark ornaments when you can get them this week at 50% off.
  • The stock market seems to have a holiday hangover as well.  Not doing too much here.  We're now approaching the month-end and year-end.  I imagine most of the year-end stuf is done.  But the 401(k) contributions will be rolling in and should lend some support to the averages as cash gets dollar-cost averaged into mutual funds.
  • I have Central Michigan and the points in tonight's bowl game against Purdue.  The first time the teams met, Purdue hot-waxed 'em.  So did North Dakota State.  Geez, why did I take Central Michigan?  Hmm.
  • For whatever it's worth, the Black Box generated a buy signal on Citigroup.  I think the financials might be a good 2008 play (via XLF).
  • As 2008 unfolds with major politics, I think we'll be constantly told how bad the economy is and how "change" is needed to fix things.  But the reality will differ from the campaign speeches.  Continued slow growth and no recession.
  • Is 2008 is the last year of the 15% capital gains tax rates?  That could lead to some interesting positioning later in the year if folks want to adjust their cost basis higher.  Of course, one would have to incur a tax hit to do so. 

Monday, December 24, 2007

Stocking Stuffer

  • Stock market closed 3 hours early, but looks as if Santa stuffed the stockings with more of the Santa Claus rally. I believe the market is headed to new highs, so I'm remaining 100% long and strong.  The economy continues to grow at a below trend rate, and we're not in a recession.  The Fed is cutting rates.  Inflation remains low.  The bull market should continue.
  • 4-2 in bowl games so far!  But a few close calls...  I had UCLA and So. Miss!  Also, ECU last night.  We're bowl-free until wednesday.
  • So I made my Fantasy Football championship game next week.  And many of my players will be rested for the playoffs.  Geez.   So I'm on the waiver wire picking up 2nd string running backs...
  • Actress Michelle Rodriguez began a 180-day jail term in Los Angeles on Sunday for probation violation.  (From sentence back in October).
  • Christmas Eve.  Wow.  Time flies.
  • After tomorrow, we'll be flooded with the Best Of 2007 lists.  And 2008 predictions!  Of course, I'll play along this year, too.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Rally Mode: On

The market rallying sharply today. And the reasons? 

  1. Navy covered the spread last night (yeah!).
  2. RIMM.  Crackberry high!
  3. Core PCE up .2%.   That's the Fed's favorite indicator of inflation.
  4. Strong consumer spending.

Those waiting for a recession are going to have to keep on waiting.

I have Memphis plus the points in tonight's New Orleans Bowl. 

Thursday, December 20, 2007

RIMM Shot!

  • The market caught a bit of a bid, mostly in the Nasdaq. And RIMM up about 10% afterhours on earnings.  Nice stocking stuffer, Santa!
  • The "Save Journeyman" campaign sending boxes of Rice-a-Roni to NBC.  Join in!  (If you like the show, that is.  Otherwise, more "Battle of the Choirs" or whatever that was for you!)
  • Contrary Conary on RAD and Jimmy.  Ye-ouch!
  • Yeah.  Nice job, RIMM, from the Trading Goddess.  Just go for the pic, k? 
  • The constant blaring of the recession siren has hit the Yahoo Buzz index the search for "recession" doubled the past week.
  • I missed Sy Harding's call on the dollarWe've been on a buy signal for the U.S. dollar, with a 10% position in an etf that tracks with it. The first time we've taken a position in a currency. The dollar's recent strength has been getting some attention lately.
  • This year is ending nothing like last year for me.  I was trading and flipping small caps last year; while this year I'm long large caps and not doing much trading at all.  Funny, that.  Didn't plan that ahead of time, just worked out that way.  I believe the market is headed to new highs despite the very loud, blaring siren calls for recession.

Bowl Season Kick-off

  • Bowl season begins tonight.  I have Navy and the points.  (I like taking the dogs in bowl season...)
  • So, the market...  Um.  Hmm.  It seems like it's biding time for something.  It is options week and year end is next week.  One would *think* that we'd have a positive bias to end the year.  At least that's my thought.
  • It's been a strange year on Wall Street.  As if the market is distracted.  Is Jessica Simpson on site?
  • I missed the Journeyman finale.  Thank goodness for DVRs. 
  • Oh, and... Save Journeyman!
  • Navy, Navy, rah-rah-rah!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Back from Las Vegas

  • Back after a few days in Las Vegas.  Didn't fare too well at the tables or slots, but did well on the sports bets.
  • All I hear and read about is "recession."  A bit of overkill on the pessimism.  It's Christmas.  The eggnog cup should be half full!
  • I haven't started Christmas shopping yet.
  • After just a few days away I feel a bit disconnected from the stock market.   It's getting late in the year to stage any impressive rally to all-time new highs.  I'd expect options week to have a positive influence on stocks, but maybe everyone is in Holiday mode at this point.  Volume will probably be pretty light through the end of the year.  I'm remaining 100% long at this point.
  • Interesting comment in Barron's over the weekend about how the average gain in the DOW is 18% the year after 3 consecutive rate cuts from the Fed.  Of course, now that we know that... ahem.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Save Journeyman

  • Save Journeyman.
  • CPI came in hot. Even ex food and energy.
  • The market faultering as I type. Options week rally ahead?
  • TV writers strike really going to muck up the second half of the TV season. Maybe a good time to Netfix some showsI missed in the past...
  • Funny how Obama and Huckabee have closed in on Hillary and Rudy, eh?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Juiced


The big news in December? Steroids in baseball. Big list of players here. Hat tip to Adam Warner, who has so many questions.

Still a little under the weather, but dragging myself into the office. The play book says that the week before options week is weak and often times presents a buying point or launching pad into options expiration. I'm still all in and bullish. The economic numbers coming out today did seem to indicate that the economy is stronger than what folks expected. And also stronger than what we're reading in the paper and watching on the news.

PPI came in a little high...

Barry Ritholtz takes a look at today's data. I don't always or often agree with BR, but I always read his stuff.

More later. I'm tired. But Rosenfels just hit Johnson for a Texans TD, and that lifts my fantasy spirits....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's Raining Money!

I woke up this morning, and it was raining money! The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it was coordinating with other central banks to deal with the global credit crunch. Wall Street rallied after the surprise announcement. In a statement timed to occur before the start of trading in New York, the Fed said it planned to offer $40 billion in emergency funds to banks next week through an auction process.

Amazing. Yesterday's rate cut gets sold because it's not enough. The volume on the sell-off was a bit light, and it smacked of a one-day wonder. The same kind we had in the opposite direction during the correction. But the news being thrown at us from the media from day to day is extremely gloomy, even as the economy slowly advances month after month. So it is easy to give in and buy into the gloom.

We'll have to see how this kind of aggressive action is reacted to after this open.

Maybe I should have just used another Helicopter Ben picture!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fed Parsing Day

This is what today is all about. We all know the drill, right?

Will the Fed cut .25 or .5? What will the Fed say in their text?

Will the market ramp up or down at 2:15.01? Will the initial market reaction be faded?

ETC...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Get the Led Out

  • As I mentioned last week, I'm remaining 100% long the market here.  I believe we're going to new highs.  In the short term, I'd expect it won't be a straight ride up.  But trying to get too cute often leads to underperformance, second guessing, etc.  No need to do it here.
  • But... If I had to make a guess in the short term?  Would it be surprising to see a sell the news reaction after the Fed announcement tomorrow?
  • The Led Zeppelin concert begins in a few minutes.  Looking for a song by song blog?
  • I'm still a little under the weather.  This cold seems to be dragging on and on.

Friday, December 07, 2007

TGIF - December 7th

  • I remain long this market.  I think investors are realizing that the headlines about how horrible the economy is have been a bit overdone and ... WRONG!  We have rallied quite a bit off the lows, and at some point we're going to see the advance stall out.  I'm not going to try to game any short-term swings.  I believe the market is heading to new highs, and once there I'll look at reallocating. 
  • We can't forget December 7th.  It doesn't seem to make the headlines much anymore, and those who served this country back in World War II are passing away. 
  • Today's headlines include the real estate "fix" by President Bush.  Watching some CNBC and Fox Business News, I tend to agree with those who say that folks who can't afford homes shouldn't be in homes.  Why is the government bailing out those who don't have much to lose?  Remember that some of those last to buy a house in the bubble went in with no money down and had low teaser rates that are now adjusting.  How much are they losing?  Do they have any home equity?
  • I realize that an election year is coming up and there will be some government intervention.  But not sure if this will help or just prolong the housing crisis.  After all, those who cannot afford the mortgage payment reset now will probably be unlikely to afford it in a few years, either.
  • I went in to work yesterday, and probably should've stayed home.  Today, I'm back at home.  Felt pretty miserable this morning, but better later today. 
  • Today's tech-geek thing I did (while bored) is to fix my MP3 player.  At work, I use an old 20 gig Nomad Jukebox 3.  For the past few years, I've been unable to add new songs to it or pull songs from it.  So after searching The Google, I found a firmware upgrade and a software upgrade.  It works! 

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

No Recession Here, Mister!

  • Watched the Sacramento Kings play Utah yesterday night (on TV), and noticed that the halftime show was go cart racing with the Kings, and sideline reporter Angela Tsai.  So you know.
  • What recessionThe dollar was higher against major counterparts Wednesday, after upbeat U.S. economic data calmed fears of a looming recession and led many investors to believe the U.S. Federal Reserve won't decide on the 50-basis point interest rate cut next week that some had begun expecting. Private-sector hiring expanded at a faster pace than expected in November, nonfarm business productivity was revised higher and unit labor costs data revealed milder inflation than previously thought.
  • So there you go.  And the stock market may have reacted to this today, up big across the board. 
  • Oh wait. Lets see if Yahoo Finance came up with something original today:  "Stocks rally on strong economic data."  Gee, yesterday's decline was all about economic worries and real estate concerns.  Flip-floppers!
  • President Bush to propose five-year interest rate freeze on home loans.  More details to come tomorrow, but it looks like loans taken out from January 2005 until this past July will be eligible.  Senator Hillary proposes a five-year freeze on ARMs and also a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures.
  • Didn't trade today.  Remaining 100% long.
  • Stayed home sick today.   Slept in.  But did accomplish something.  I upgraded the ROM on my cellphone from Windows Mobile 5 (WM5) to WM6.  Feels like a new phone!  Extremely easy.  No problems.  But I did have to re-install some of the applications and such that I wanted.  The issue there was finding registration codes for various things.  And WM6 came with a different set of ring tones. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Achoo

  • Home sick today.  It's 6pm PST, and I've been sleeping most of the day!  A head cold it seems.
  • The market was down because of... Broker downgrades?  Well, okay.  Oh, and Yahoo Finance is down to generalities... Economic Concerns.
  • Yesterday I blogged briefly about watching for some government intervention the housing and foreclosures situation.  Keeping an eye on some agreement there.  I think that's the most interesting thing going on.
  • Mark Hulbert:  How do you play a Santa Claus rally? 
  • Just my thoughts... I'm not sure about this whole Santa Claus rally or January Effect thing.  I haven't been able to make much sense of what's supposed to happen and why. 
  • John blogs over at The Trading Goddess, Cast Your Nets to the Asian Financial Sector.  Singapore ETF!
  • Interesting blog entry up at the Wall Street Journal about jobs and the economy.  But he sees few signs of an impending recession. Business orders aren’t dropping. Overtime hours for temp workers haven’t dropped substantially. Warehouses aren’t filling up with inventories, which would be a sign of falling sales. And customers’ needs in distribution centers and call centers haven’t fallen off. “The forward demands are not shrinking,” Mr. Camden says. “They’re not drawing them in like they did in the last recession.”
  • Of course, you'll have to temper some of that with a dose of Barry Ritholtz:  Retail Fading.
  • Again, I do agree with the WSJ entry more than Barry.  I do think the economy is slower than we'd like due to energy and real estate, but I don't see a recession.  But then, I have the benefit of not having a PhD in economics, so I tend to see things more clearly.
  • Where do the Presidential candidates stand on Social Security?
  • I've had a couple of liters of diet-7up today.  Fizzy!  Why does 7up seem to hit the spot when you're not feeling well?  And wouldn't that 7up be even better with a few shots of Seagrams Seven in there?  Too lazy to go get some, I am.
  • President Bush admits our intelligence departments are a bundle of suck.  And Michelle breaks it down with links and HOT AND STEAMY NEO CON COMMENTARY! 
  • And even if Iran doesn't have a nuke program, but is developing nuke materials that would allow it to create a bomb two years out or so?  Well, two years is a very long time away.  Right?  Isn't it like not making chocolate chip cookies, but having flour, eggs, sugar, Crisco, baking soda, salt, vanilla, and choc chips in the pantry?

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Government Real Estate Bail Out


Michelle Malkin writes that "Hillary and Bush agree; Government should bail out homeowners." And of course, she's against the whole nanny-state thing.

My thought is that if they're both talking about it, something is going to happen. Right or wrong? Who knows. The bigger question to me is what does this mean? What does it mean to financial stocks, the home builders, REITs, etc?

Something to keep an eye on...

Save Journeyman, Save the World

  • I  check Yahoo Finance daily.  I like how they bundle up the market action in just one sentence.  Sometimes it makes sense.  Sometimes it leaves one scratching their head.  Today?  "Wall Street fell Monday, led by financial services stocks, on concerns that the U.S. economy's expansion will erode amid troubles in the mortgage industry."
  • Thanks for the insight, fellas.  Not that one can generally determine why the market does what it does on any given day.  Here's one on me for the future, "After last weeks advance in the financial markets, investors were cautious ahead of this week's economic data."  
  • Or, "Investors sold off stocks today, depressed that NBC was not airing rookie show Journeyman monday night."
  • Save Journeyman.
  • I remain 100% long, and didn't do much of anything today.  We're still in the monthly strength period, and I remain optimistic about the economy despite the constant roar of gloom and doom from the major media outlets and financial pundits.
  • Finished Christmas shopping?  Started?  Avoiding? 
  • Me?  The latter!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sunday Morning Quarterback

  • Moon A little "live blogging" while watching the NFL Red Zone channel.  No commercials on the Red Zone, either.  Noice!
  • The market had a nice 3% or so rally last week.  We are in the monthly strength period as 401(k) money gets dollar-cost averaged into the market, providing some buy pressure.   I like the idea of a year-end rally, especially into the headwinds of the wall of worry negativism we read about and listen to on a daily basis.  Yes, the economy is growing slowly.  But it's not a recession.  Energy and real estate are a drag on growth, but we do have growth.
  • I remain 100% long here. 
  • If you're a fan of NBC's Journeyman, good news!  NBC will be airing the remaining episodes.  I think this is one of the better shows on TV, and hope NBC keeps going with it.  You can go to NBC.com and send them an email.  I did. 
  • And yes, that is another picture of Journeyman co-star Moon Bloodgood from her Maxim shoot.  Ahem.
  • Buy signal still on at Jason's.
  • The Lies that (Some) Financial Advisors Tell.
  • More on Charles Rangel's "guaranteed" Middle Class Tax Hike.
  • Is Alan Abelson ever happy about anything?  Excerpts from this week's Barron's:

Better Sold Than Bought

HALLELUJAH. LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!

That may not aptly describe the mood of the country at large -- which is of the overwhelming opinion that the economy is rattling along on the wrong track and in the wrong direction -- but after a smashing stock-market rally last week, the glad cry began to enjoy some muted resonance in Wall Street, where hope and optimism are never in short supply.

(blah blah blah blah)

For none of the horrors that sent the market reeling -- the demolition of housing, the collapse of credit, the increasing pain inflicted on the mass of consumers caught in the vise between all-but-stagnant income and the remorseless rise in the cost of essentials -- show much inclination to vanish. Just the opposite: Especially in credit and housing, the big chill grows ever meaner, and we expect this week's employment numbers to furnish another icy blast.

  • We certainly are being told day in and day out about how horrible things are.  But look at the latest BLS numbers on inflation, unemployment and wages.  So Abelson says to sell the rally, eh?  Think he'll be right?  Is he ever right?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Criss Cross Applesauce!

  • We have a MACD crossover on the SP500, Sy. Seasonal buy signal for ya?
  • I remain 100% long.  Nothing to do here.  We're in the monthly strength period, and I think the overall gloomy economic consensus is wrong. 
  • Bonddad gives the market a 20% chance of going up from here, a 40% chance of sideways, and a 40% of the market going down.
  • Day Shark says all the good news is known.
  • Roger is skeptical of the rally.
  • The Lauriston Letter says Once the end-of-month shenanigans are over, there may not be much to hang your hat on this rally.
  • Jason had a buy signal last night.
  • The 0-11 Miami Dolphins are favored to win this weekend against the NY Jets.  “It means that everybody out there ain’t as dumb as they look,” linebacker Joey Porter said. “Some people still believe.”  Uh huh.

America's Next President Reality TV Show

I watched the opening minutes of the Republican YouTube debate last night. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?  Shouldn't the Presidential debates be a bit more serious?  Aren't there real issues out there?  Or is this just one big game show?

That's it.   Why not run our Presidential elections like Dancing with the Stars or American Idol?  What better way to increase voter participation? Lets gather all Democrats and Republicans running for the office of President and house them in a mansion for 12 weeks and televise the thing for an hour every week on Monday nights, with the results show on Tuesday nights. 

Each week, candidates would be shown holding meetings, conducting their business, answering questions, and making statements.  They'd also be interacting with other candidates and American citizens.  America would be asked to vote for their favorite, and the candidate receiving the least number of votes would be eliminated from the contest.

Messages would be texted in via cell phone at $1 per message, thus raising revenue to pay down the budget deficit.  There would also be an ad-sponsered website where Americans could vote for free.  Television revenue would also be transferred to the general fund.

The results night show would be star-studded gala.  Celine Dion would sing songs.  Frank Caliendo would do John Madden impressions.  It'd be fantastic.  At the end of each results show, America would find out who was eliminated this week. 

Twelve weeks into the show, America would be left with only two choices for President.  The Monday night show would take the camera crew to the hometown of each candidate, and show America friends and family.  We'd see the baby pictures and meet the beer-drinking buddies.

Then we'd be down to the final results show...

"Congratulations, you are now the President of the United States!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Two Days in a Row!

  • There's a saying in sports that you shouldn't get too high after a win or too low after a loss.  I think this also applies to the stock market.  But... Wow.  What a day.
  • Barry Ritholtz chimes in on the back-to-back market wins, and adds "The wild swings in the markets, +/- 2%, with violent up 200 or 300 point days  don't typically come in healthy Bull markets -- these spasms are symbolic of  Bear markets." 
  • Ah, the one-day wonder.  And to keep a level head, we saw one of those about 10 days ago or so.  Remember?  Things went south after that.
  • Yeah, but...  We sometimes see wild swings in both directions at inflection points in the market.  That is, when the market is about to change direction.  Monday's close was also 1 point above the closing low in August.  So a big rally off of a "retest" is also bullish. 
  • I think you can paint it however you like and find examples in history to support your cause.  So I suppose I should amend the ending of the previous paragraph to say that it's "sometimes bullish."  LOL.
  • I remain bullish and 100% long here.  I think that the consensus of us being in a recession or one imminently on the horizon is extremely loud at this point.  The bad news on TV and the news media is overwhelming.  So this means that we already know about it.  We know housing is in a recession.  We know there are bad loans out there.  We know financial companies aren't going to collect on some of these.  But that's why C has ALREADY dropped from the $50's to $30. 
  • Today was fun if you're a bull.  If one was a bear and rushed in to shorts on Monday, then things aren't going well so far.  These bears are stuck holding and hoping that their shorts make money.  Or maybe they'll be happy just to get out at break-even.  But the bears may be feeling a bit trapped right now. 
  • And then you have the folks on the sidelines who never know what to do.  When the SP500 was at 1560, they're looking for a dip so that they can buy the leaders.  When the dip comes, then they're waiting for a rally so they can go short the weak stocks.  Then a rally comes and lather, rinse, repeat.  Well, at least money markets are paying a steady 4% or so to these always-waiting bystanders.
  • Oh, and one Seasonal Investor still hasn't given a buy signal to let folks know that the favorable season has begun.  (Sy Harding is still waiting (as of his 11/22 blog entry).  The MACD is close on the SP500, Sy!
  • Helio?  Sheeez.  Mel B (Scarey Spice) was better. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

One Day in a Row!

  • Today was an up day, but can the market manage more than "one day in a row" of up? All win streaks begin with the first day, eh coach?
  • I know there are a lot of bearish overtones in the market, especially looking at yesterday's action.  When the market starts up and then closes on a very sour note, that's bearish action. 
  • Opening up the playbook, dust and all, we see that we're closing in on month-end.  So 401(k) money should be dollar-cost averaged in.  (But the reason the playbook is dusty is because it hasn't worked very well lately...)
  • I was out and about today, so didn't make any trades.  Remaining 100% long.  Warp speed, Mr. Scott.
  • Dancing with the Stars?  I have to go with Scarey Spice as the winner. (Mel?)  We'll see how it goes.  Marie Osmond can't win.  That was just pathetic last night.  But who knows how many people in the USA are related to the Osmonds.  The phone banks could've been swamped.  I can't think Helio would win.  I dunno.  I didn't vote, though. 
  • Dolphins-Steelers?  LOL.  3-0.  I watched the first half and am amazed Cameron didn't try to kick the field goal after the penalty (and the missed field goal).  Why not kick it?  How many times are you going to get anywhere near the end zone?  Also amazed Steelers couldn't score... until the end.   Figured they had enough heft to punch it in just running it.  But that field was HORRIBLE.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Market Thoughts

  • That market close was fugly. Pretty much the opposite of what bulls (like myself) want to see. 
  • One of the stocks I've been watching (but not doing anything in) is Citigroup.  In past weeks, it made a new low and then rallied up quite sharply.  Many were worried that they had "missed the bottom," but I thought it more likely to retest the previous low and I was planning on seeing how it reacted once down there a second time.  Down over 3% today.  Now it's at a new low, and the process begins anew. 
  • Others are watching C, too:  Citigroup must be broken up to create value.  My thought is that when we see articles like this, we're near capitulation time on the stock.  But have to keep watching it.
  • The SP500 is 1 point above it's closing low in August!  (You remember August...  Back then, you passed on drafting Tom Brady and Randy Moss in your Fantasy Football league, and instead went with Larry Johnson or Frank Gore.  Oopsie!)
  • So, if we're retesting the August lows, it ought to bounce from here.  Sure doesn't feel like it wants to, eh?  Or maybe we get the capitulation day.  You know, before us on the West Coast have finished our Corn Flakes, the DOW is down 500.  One of those days that sees a massive reversal after the panic.
  • Then there's the Fed.  They meet on December 11th.  The odds are probably 217% in favor of a rate cut. 

Cyber Monday

  • Welcome to Cyber Monday. Why are you reading this blog instead of rackin' up credit card points on Amazon? 
  • Isn't that the big selling point these days for credit cards?  We're all obsessed over accumulating "points."  Did you get any points with that?  How many points do you have?  Only a few more charges until you make the next level in points!
  • The points eventually translate into rebates of some kind, on things like air fare, gasoline, or whatever.  Assuming we all cash in our points.  And I suppose the credit companies are hoping we don't!
  • Shopping stats from over the weekend....  The combined total for Friday and Saturday, $16.3 billion, outpaced last year’s $15.2 billion by 7.2 percent.  Even in the so-called "Worst.  Economy.  Ever."
  • The stock market appeared to be happy with this news early, but then slipped into malaise as worries grew in the financial sector.  Citigroup planning massive layoffs?  Etc.   You know the story with the financials.  Someday, they'll be tremendous buys, but the news headlines on them are sure ugly right now.  Now, the market is basically flatlining.  I remain long here, and contemplating getting more aggressive.  I believe the bull market is alive and well, and we're just seeing wall of worry stuff that typically comes along now and then.  The reasons may be different each pullback, but the underlying fundamentals of the bull market remain intact.  IMHO, anyways.
  • All in all, I was pretty lazy over the weekend.  I never go shopping over Thanksgiving.  No way.  I did get out in the yard some, but mostly watched football everyday, and caught up on TV shows.  I'm a fan of Sci-Fi, so caught up on the Bionic Woman and Journeyman.  Regarding the Bionic Woman, I like Michelle Ryan, but the shows with Katee Sackoff were a bit slow for me.  It's better without her.  I know the folks at AfterEllen love her; but, I'll pass!  (I think her character on Battlestar Galactica is horrible, too). 
  • Journeyman is a good show.  I always fall for a time travel storyline that includes hot chicks.  I'm worried it'll be cancelled, due to the Moon Bloodgood (pictured!!!) curse.  If she's in a show (Day Break), it gets cancelled.  She's an amazing looker.  Your shows aren't being cancelled because of me, Moon.
  • And until I looked up Moon on IMDB, I thought her character's name was Olivia.  It's just Livia!!!
  • You still have time to rack up some points before days end.  Get to it!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Christmas Gloom and Doom

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. This is my favorite holiday of the year.  We have a long weekend.  There are football games on every single day.  And, there are lots of leftovers at the ready.

It seems as if every year we're bombarded by media predictions of how bad this Christmas will be.  This year is no exception, as folks are predicting that this will be the worst Christmas ever.

Even the reality of crowded stores is presented as if the consumer is bucking the horrible economic headwinds.

Of course, we'll have to wait and see if this is the Worst. Christmas. Ever. 

So far?  Retailers cheer initial holiday sales.

The nation's retailers had a robust start to the holiday shopping season, according to results announced Saturday by a national research group that tracks sales at retail outlets across the country.

According to ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which tracks sales at more than 50,000 retail outlets, total sales rose 8.3 percent to about $10.3 billion on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, compared with $9.5 billion on the same day a year ago. ShopperTrak had expected an increase of no more than 4 percent to 5 percent.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Thanksgiving Rally that Wasn't

Who dat say?

There wasn't a Thanksgiving rally in 2000, either.  Uh oh...? 

I remain bullish, but with a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach.  One strategy to close the year out is to rotate from a losing stock position into something similar, to lock in the loss and offset gains from earlier this year for tax planning purposes.  Debating on doing some of that, although there are somethings I want to own here and also know that it's unwise to let your investment strategy be guided by tax planning.  But sometimes it makes sense if there is a stock or ETF similar enough out there.

Ballad of Nick Saban

  • Ballad of Nick Saban. Couldn't pass on that one.
  • Dow Theory sell signal!
  • As I type, the market is down about 17 million points.  Or so it seems after week after week after week of poor action. 
  • It's like the market was just unprepared for a tough ULM Warhawks ballclub...
  • Off to meetings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Abby Joseph Cohen: Year-end Rally!

  • Abby Joseph Cohen (not pictured) sees year-end rally. Goldman Sachs strategists say the Standard & Poor's 500 Index will climb 9.7 percent from its Nov. 16 close to 1,600 in the final six weeks of 2007, the steepest gain since 1971.  Cohen, known for her bullish predictions during the 1990s, said in an investment outlook this month that losses for companies hurt in the housing market will be offset by increased earnings at corporations that sell technology and industrial equipment outside the U.S. The 55-year-old strategist says a recession is unlikely.
  • But... Remember Abby Joseph Cohen's 2000 predictions?
  • Jessica Biel is the "front-runner and fan favorite" for the role of Wonder Woman.  "However, from what we can tell, the shapely starlet has pulled a Howard Dean by bowing out of the race."  Don't worry; it's not like they'll be picking Abby Joseph Cohen (still not pictured) for the role.
  • The world is approaching a practical limit to the number of barrels of crude oil that can be pumped every day.  Yeah, especially if we keep the bans on drilling up, eh?  Say, wouldn't it have been nice to have started the process to get ANWR up 10 years ago?  Up to one million barrels a day there.  I'm not suggesting that oil is the future; but it is the present.  Until the next thing comes along, we need to drill more.  And isn't it a national security issue?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stock Market Salmonella

Well. Yeesh.  This is supposed to be a strong period of the year.  It's a short week.  The turkey is thawing in the 'fridge.  You've rearranged your schedule to pick relatives up at the airport.  But the market is totally unaware of our happy annual ritual. Looks like the stock market has not reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees, and we have us a case of Stock Market Salmonella.

I remain long.  I remain bullish.  I rotated into higher beta holdings on friday, and will continue to look for areas that I think will outperform when the bull market resumes.  The Black Box is flashing buy signals on most everything right now.

Lets begin Turkey Week with a look at the gloom, doom and curious goings ons.  People are selling for a reason.  

  • Bill Fleckenstein has his weekend MSN freebie up in No Shelter From the Housing StormFor any folks out there still branding our credit problems "contained," Mr. Money Market has one word for them: not.
  • Todd Harrison at Minyanville looks at the "3-D Dilemna":  You may remember us talking about the 3-D dilemma (dollar, debt, derivatives) for a long time.  This is playing out now, unwinding some of the cumulative excesses that have built through the years.  While there is tremendous risk left in this complicated concoction, the question is quite simple if only anyone knew the answer: containment or contagion.  The simple truth, however, no matter what anyone tells you, is that nobody—not Hank Paulson, not Ben Bernanke, not LLOYD! Blankfein, not any television prognosticator and certainly not I—can possibly forecast the depth, velocity or timing of such an intricate mix.  (But we will try, right Toddo?)
  • CalculatedRisk notes that the Mortgage fall out has more to go.
  • The Bob Brinker Fan Club notes that there is something curious going on with Brinker's audio on demand service.  The hourly MP3 downloads for hours 1 and 2 for Moneytalk on 11/10/07 only have about 28 minutes of audio each, as opposed to the typical 38.5 minutes. Bob's program opening monologue is completely missing from hour 1 (though it is referenced by a caller at minute 10), and instead it starts abruptly with a call to the show.  (Did you see the movie "Dick" where Michelle Williams is recording a 18-and-a-half-minute declaration of love on Nixon's tape recorder?  WHAT'S ON THE MISSING 10.5 MINUTES, BOB?)
  • Greg Mankiw notes that there is income inequality everywhere you look, even the NFL!  (Hat tip to Adam Warner for the link). 
  • Bill Cara's daily commentary, traders can no longer ignore the economic condition of the US.   The primary economic drivers, being consumer spending and business and residential investment, are trending down in the US. There are new reports that the economic slowdown is beginning to affect the commercial real estate sector. Moreover, the US Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) reported on Thursday that year-on-year, the overall Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) jumped from +2.8 pct in September to +3.5 pct in October, but the current yield on the two-year Treasury Notes is now down to +3.33 pct and falling.  What this means is that inflation in the US is destroying wealth today, the implications of which are very serious.
  • From Barry Ritholtz, if the US has a recession, who is to blame?  (We're just trying to put it off until 2009, BR, so we can blame Hillary!)
  • When looking at gloom, I'd be remiss if I didn't include a link to FinancialSense.  From Talking Turkey with  PhD Peter Navarro, While retail sales were up slightly, the increase was due to higher expenditures on gasoline. In other words, we are not buying more stuff but merely paying more for our oil based products.  More broadly, this is shaping up to be the worst holiday season in years. Consumers are caught in the vice of rising gas prices and falling home equity as home prices sank back to 2005 levels.  I'm sure some talking heads on the tube will be able to tease out of a declining dollar, rising oil prices, and a flagging consumer some bullish buying opportunity. I ain't going to be one of them. Risk reward continues to favor the short side. For the risk-averse, cash is king

There you have it.  Gloomy enough to make you crawl inside a turkey carcass and wait it out.  As long as you don't mind having giblets as a neighbor...

Friday, November 16, 2007

The 800-Calorie Cup of Coffee in the Room

  • Added more beta to the portfolio this morning.
  • So I'm reading around the web yesterday (blogs) and listening to some financial talk on the radio (via Gary Kaltbaum), and all I'm getting is "BEAR BEAR BEAR BEAR BEAR BEAR BEAR BEAR BEAR."  And yes, I'm using caps because it does seem like they're all yelling at me.  But the good timers are bullish, the bad timers are bearish.  So... Well...  Er... Uh... 
  • Starbucks has shed nearly half its value the past year:

As we saw in yesterday's results, Starbucks has overexpanded and is scaling back store openings. The company cut numbers for the current quarter and all of 2008. They've seen profits eaten up by a rise in costs like milk, while the price rise passed along to customers helped them hit some numbers but also sent people fleeing the stores and is a measure that obviously can't be duplicated without further consequences.

Same-store sales came in at the low end, a rarity for Starbucks. Meanwhile, these two little outfits called McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts have been competing with coffee you don't have to buy on layaway, including fancy-pants concoctions.

  • Barry Ritholtz notes the inflation connection with SBUX (of course he does).  I would also imagine that this year's hike in minimum wages could be affecting some retailers as their forced to raise prices or eat it in their profit margin.  But note in the piece from TheStreet above, that competition is coming in with lower-priced coffee.  So, cash-strapped consumers are not giving up coffee, but realizing that there are more affordable options out there.  In addition, a common one-liner out there is "I need to give up these 800-calorie cups of coffee."  So there could be a competition and calories factor when it comes to SBUX.
  • I hear Kaltbaum (and others) say "Ignore the major indexes!" and that there's a "bear market in stocks."  But if one has a diversified portfolio by holding an index, rather than having a big holding in an SBUX (for example), then the portfolio isn't in a bear market.  Specific stock risk...
  • Adam Warner with some Barry Bonds inspired randoms today...
  • Dolphins welcome back Ricky Williams.  He'll be on the practice field next week, and could play on November 26th.  "I don't know if I had a daughter if I'd want her to date him," linebacker Channing Crowder said, "but as a football player, as a teammate, I love him."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Wayback Machine

  • The SP500 is now at levels not seen since Monday, November 12th, 2007.  Seems like forever ago.  Back then, the Miami Dolphins were winless, Alex Rodriguez was shopping for a baseball team that could afford his salary, television writers were on strike, and President George Bush had low approval numbers.
  • The market plunked lower today on.... (insert gloom here).  Well, the folks at Yahoo Finance blame Concern about Consumers.  JC Penney's came out and... Wait.  There are still JC Penney's?  Anyways, they reported and nobody liked what they had to say.  "The J.C. Penney comments in terms of their guidance have sort of put another nail in retail. The assumption is the consumer has given up," said Charlie Smith, chief investment officer at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh. "Three-dollar to $3.20 a gallon gas and house prices falling at 5 percent a year is really a double-whammy the consumer can't overcome."
  • Well, Charlie, it's keeping a lid on GDP, but not creating a recession.  Employment is still strong, and we'll have continued slow growth, low inflation, and potential Fed rate cuts ahead.  I think the market's a buy, Charlie.  Read on!!!
  • Best long-term market timers believe we're in a bull market. from Mark Hulbert (emphasis mine):
The bottom line? None of these nine top timers is bearish. The average equity allocation among all nine is 83%. This is down only slightly from where this average stood in recent months.
 
This 83% average is good news for the stock market in its own right, of course. But it's particularly bullish relative to the average forecast of the ten stock market timing newsletters with the very worst risk-adjusted performances over the last decade. The average recommended equity exposure among these worst performers right now is just 9%.
In other words, the worst market timers are quite bearish right now, while the best timers are quite bullish. Rarely are we presented with a contrast this stark.
 
There are no guarantees. But to bet on a new bear market right now, you have to bet against the timers with the best long-term records and with those whose records have been awful.
  • Two Led Zeppelin tickets fetch $170,000 in charity sale.  A man from Glasgow, Scotland, paid 83,000 pounds ($170,000) for a pair of tickets to a one-off Led Zeppelin reunion gig in London on December 10, according to the BBC which organized the charity auction.
  • Core inflation contines to be tame, as the CPI numbers were released this morning.  Overall consumer prices rose 0.3 pct last month, in line with expectations and the same increase seen in September.  Core prices rose 0.2 pct in October, also in line with expectations and the fifth straight month core prices have increased by 0.2 pct. That leaves the three months through August at a 2.1 pct seasonally adjusted annualized rate for core inflation.
  • Hey, does the BLS include Led Zeppelin tickets in the CPI "market basket" of goods and services?  I expect Barry Ritholtz to chime in on this oversite soon!  (Just teasin' BR.  Saw the Led Zep "Mothership" column on your blog earlier...) 
  • "Hey, hey, mama, love the way you move.  Gonna make you sweat.  Gonna make you grove."  (If you're not doing an air guitar right about now...)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ricky (and the Markets)

  • BREAKING NEWS: Ricky Williams reinstated!  Ricky can't play until week 12, FWIW.  Adjust your Fantasy Football rosters accordingly.  And guard your weed. 
  • Miami Dolphins also naming TV talk host Glenn Beck as their starting QB this weekend in Philadelphia.  Wait, I think it's really rookie John Beck out of BYU.  But either way, I'd pick up the Philly defense in your Fantasy leagues, if available. 
  • OK, the stock market.  Blech.  Everything looked okay until the trading day was close to the finish line.  What happened?  Even Yahoo Finance could not rationalize the late day selling, stating, "There was not a specific news item to account for the plunge."  Ah, "Heck if we know."
  • The rally rules (per IBD) are such that we now look for a follow-through day somewhere from the 4th to 10th trading day.  Of course, if the market plunges before that, it won't matter.  I'm still 100% long.  I wouldn't rule out a retest of the previous lows in this thing.  So if we get there then it could mean that I really do rotate into some of the names mentioned in the previous entry.  We.  Shall. See.
  • I'd have liked to see a little more sideways action today, though.
  • Miami writer Armando Salguero:  The John Beck Era Has Arrived.
  • The Future Has Arrived from Phin Phanatic.
  • Poor John Beck.  The weight of Marino's shoulders are on him.  Fortunately, Dan's shoulders are a little lighter since the whole Nutri-systems weight loss thing.  But, Miami fans have big expectations here....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bunch-o-Folks Buyin'

  • The market is surging on news that.... uh, well. Isn't it the same bunch of news we've had the past few weeks?  The market has sold off quite dramatically to lows last seen in August.  The usual scapegoats get the nod for the selloff:  dollar, subprimes, decline of the consumer, real estate recession, energy, etc.  But today, Yahoo Finance can't find a reason du jour, just that "The major indices are trading at or near their best levels of the session following an increase in buying interest..."
  • Today's rally created by a bunch-o-folks interested in buying.  Er, okay.  And, let me guess, a lack-o-folks interested in selling, eh?  Well, we shall see if it holds into the clothes.
  • I remain 100% long this thing.  I mentioned an idea last week about rotating into some of the higher beta names and market leaders to take advantage of the market weakness and buying opportunity.  I didn't do it, but look at 'em.
  • Is PANIC In Your Plan, from Bill Rempel. 
  • Barry Ritholtz notes Barron's Best of Financial Bloggery.  BR gets a nice  mention in the piece.  Barry left out a few blogs mentioned in the article that are worth checking out, including the Trading Goddess blog.  One of my favs.
  • Oil dropping here.  Back down to $91ish.   We all know $100 is coming sooner or later, right?
  • The TV writers go on strike, and who suffers?  The People!  24 cancelled.  Jay Leno in reruns.  I mean, c'mon.  If this goes into the 2008 election year, people are going to take their frustration out at the polls!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Recession-Risk Denial Friday

  • The market is visiting the dominatrix again today and being punished and tortured. Thank you, Mistress.  The reason du jour from Yahoo's market update?  "Recession-risk denial."  Reuters reports that Lehman Brothers'  Chief Global Bond Strategist sees the "deepest correction" ever in structured finance and the current market is in "recession-risk denial". The Chief Bond Strategist also expressed the opinion that the U.S. credit crisis is now worse than the one caused by Long-Term Capital Management.
  • Barry Ritholtz notes the dramatic decline in consumer sentiment.  And who can blame folks for being so gloomy?  With the writer's strike, Fox has announced the cancellation of this season's 24.  I'm a little melancholy myself.
  • Yesterday's early selling was countered with some dramatic buying late in the day.  Friday's tend to move opposite of the weekly trend as traders book profits ahead of the weekend.  My guess is that a lot of shorts may want to cover and book their gains before they go home.  Lets watch the last hour again today to see if the bears can push it down and keep it down, or whether the market bounces back.
  • Doomsayers Dead Wrong About the Dollar's Decline.  An interesting opinion from Mark Dow.  It isn't all bad; there is some upside.  Excerpt:

This kind of market action has encouraged familiar warnings from those "bunker monkeys" who link the dollar's decline to dark visions of a disorderly global collapse.

But the U.S. dollar has been depreciating for about five years in pretty much linear fashion and is primarily a structural phenomenon, not a cyclical one. Moreover, even though the U.S. economy is clearly facing headwinds that are, if anything, likely to intensify, the greenback's decline, in and of itself, is not a symptom of U.S. weakness.

Instead, it reflects other countries finding confidence in their own currencies, and weaning themselves of excessive dependence on the dollar as the only international currency for their savings and transactions. In short, across the globe, individuals, companies, central banks and investors are de-dollarizing.

  • "Bunker monkeys!" LOL.
  • Dr. Jeff also has a blog entry up on Understanding the Dollar.  You are reading Dr. Jeff daily, aren't you?

Is China Bottom-Ticking the US Dollar?

You remember some of the signs of a market bottom or top, right? One often mentioned is magazine covers citing how wonderful or poor the market is.  Maybe a major news release citing that investors are doing one thing en masse.  Because when the crowd all agrees on something, that's usually when people feel safe with the underlying opinion.  But that's often the time that whatever the trend has been, is about to change.

I bring this up because of the new Chinese policy towards the US dollar.  China said they'd diversify away from the US dollar to "stronger currencies."

Isn't this selling low and buying high?  Isn't this what investors do all the time?  I hear and read stories about folks selling their stocks in October 2002 or March 2003 because they don't want to lose anymore and they want to invest in something better.  Same thing in early 2000, when it was a new paradigm in the stock market and folks leveraged up to buy equities.

Is China selling the dollar low?  Have they bottom-ticked the falling dollar?

Just thinking out loud!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Stock Market Armageddon

It's Armageddon in the stock market as I type. Especially the Nasdaq.  Anxious to see how this thing wraps in the final hour.  I'm still 100% long, and don't believe we're entering a bear market or recession.  But there is fear on the streets.  I'd love to buy fear, if I had some cash!  Might reallocate to higher beta holdings here and some of the market leaders that led from the August bottom.

Call me a crazy fool, but this looks like a buying opportunity to me.


Cross posted at the Trading Goddess.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Prince Slams Markets!

  • The market sold off early on the news that the musician currently known as Prince moved to sue fan web sites. Fan sites dedicated to Prince say they have been served legal notice to remove all images of the singer, his lyrics and "anything linked to Prince's likeness." Smooth! Maybe the next time he does the Super Bowl halftime show, he can ask all in attendance to leave for 15 minutes so he can perform alone.
  • No image posted with this entry as a silent protest to the artice currently known asPrince. And to avoid receiving legal notice.
  • Well, in the real world, stocks are visiting the dominatrix today and taking a beating. Maybe some pre-options weekstuff setting up a fantastic entry point in this market. Just thinking out loud. SP500 1490 looks like support, and we're right about there as I write.
  • Oil is volatile, heading over $98 before sliding to $95ish here.
  • "Prince performing at the ampitheater on November 27th. No tickets will be sold. All fans showing up will be asked to leave."
  • From Adam Warner (and others), can you tell the difference between Fox Business Network anchors and porn stars?

  • Wait! What am I thinking?  Was I really going to put up a picture of the musician currently known as Prince anyways?  Of course not!  Instead, I give you the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders.  Miami is 0-8 and in a battle with the St. Louis Rams for the #1 NFL draft pick in 2008. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Worst Economy of Our Lifetime

  • Those of you who had "Nasdaq up 30 even" in today's stock market pool win! New lows exceeded new highs, despite Drew Carey's plea for legalization of medical marijuana. 
  • Lets face it, the bears are winning the propaganda war right here.  We have the real estate recession, banks imploding, Pakistan, Iraq, waterboarding, the US dollar nosediving to $0, global warming, health care crisis, budget deficits, rampant inflation, and Bush/Cheney still haven't been impeached.  The Bonddad says this is The Worst Economy of Our Lifetime!
  • And while watching the NFL ticket "red zone" channel on my big screen HD TV on Sunday, eating Round Table Gourmet Veggie pizza, and sucking down Coronas, I realized that Bonddad is right.  We do have it worse than any generation since the 1930's.  I remember my grandfather telling me about the days of not knowing where your next meal was coming.  And as I sprinkled crushed red pepper flakes on another slice of pizza, I thought, "That's just like today.  I don't know where I'm going to get my next meal.  Maybe Chinese.  Maybe Japanese.  Maybe Mexican.  Who knows?"
  • But just as I was entering a new level of melancholy, my buddy shouted out "Hey, backup the DVR, you missed a good shot of the cheerleaders."  Cheerleaders in HD has a way of making one forget, at least temporarily, how bad we have it here under Bushitler.
  • Oil was briefly over $97 a barrel.  Enough of this flirting with $100.  Lets just do it so we can get on to the next milestone.  I say everyone get in their Escalades tonight and burn a few tanks of gas.  At 13 mpg city and 17 mpg  highway, lets keep it to the surface streets.  We can do it, folks.  Fill those tanks up early and often.  Focus!
  • Fantasy football note:  No reason to pick up Dolphins' rookie QB John Beck.  Cleo Lemon has been named the starter.  At 0-8, why would the Dolphins risk messing with the mojo?  Now THAT may be the worst franchise of our lifetime!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Monday Night Snoozeball

  • The Baltimare Ravens look pretty hapless out there. This is an ugly Monday Night Football game.  
  • Market thoughts?  I remain bullish here.  I think we're going higher.
  • All Citigroup all the time.  This is a Google blogsearch for everything Citigroup.  Just in case you weren't overwhelmed by the media coverage today and wanted more.  What's an $11 billion write-down among friends?
  • At some point, and this is a familiar tune, Citigroup is going to be a great buy.  As are the financials going down in sympathy with C.  Not yet.  Let those who want to sell down here sell.  We have tax planning stuff to go through and folks may be selling losers.  And banks are quite the losers.
  • Ravens look bad.  Have I said that already?
  • Greg Mankiw writes about the health care crisis:  Don't be fooled with statistics.
  • Well, except for this Monday Night Football game.  Right, Greg?  Statistics here are not lying.  It's 28-0 in the 2nd quarter.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sunday Night Live

  • Jim Cramer was at the Cowboys vs. Eagles game tonight. Looks like the Eagles were a "sell, sell, sell" Jimmy.
  • More recession knuckleheads over at Financial Sense.  Now these folks are pretty much always doom and gloom.  Broken clocks they are.  Always an interesting read.  Here's their quote from Friday:  "Thus, when one stops long enough to actually look at the facts, it is clear that the Fed wants you to believe that they can control the equity markets by cutting interest rates. This is simply not true. The greatest tool the Fed has in this regard is the perception that they have created."
  • I think bearishness always sounds more intelligent than bullishness, but remember that the market does go up about 2/3rds of the time.  Being perpetually bearish will make it difficult to outperform the SP500 over a long period of time. 
  • I think the bears are an interesting read.  Especially now.  I'm willing to be convinced, but the arguments they have seem a bit tired.  If we saw the Fed really tightening the money supply or the government coming at us with a major tax hike, then I'd be worried about economic growth.
  • Greg Mankiw goes behind the numbers of the US Health Care Crisis
  • Lots of folks are eager to predit a bottom in the real estate recession.  Sacramento Landing notes that many dates have come and gone, but they're followed up with new dates.  I think we'll have to see declining inventory on the market before the prices rebound.  That'll be the sign.
  • The Confusing Economics of Free Content
  • My fantasy football team visited the dominatrix today.  My team was spanked, whipped and tortured.  

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Early Linkages

  • First and most importantly, before the links, I think the Patriots are going to spank the Colts. It's a revenge game after last year's playoffs.  The Patriots have upgraded their offense tremendously.  Belichick would like to score about 200 points in this game.  Unless the Colts can match the Pats score for score, ie no punting whatsoever, the Pats are going to cruise.
  • (Contrarian alert on that game?  Patriots seem like an obvious consensus.  Who is taking Indianapolis???)
  • Dr. Brett is cranking out some quality posts.  Recent ones include So You Want to Trade for a Living.  His first bullet is "Make sure you're adequately capitalized."  And I thought of the old one-liner, "What's the quickest way to make $1 million dollars?  Start out with $10 million dollars."
  • Another recession knucklehead over at SCSU Scholars.  As their number-one bullet they mention consumer sentiment.  Sheez.  Talk about the weak sister of indicators.  Then they say, "Some think the recession might occur this quarter, but I think the majority view is that, should one come, it's more likely to be in the first quarter next year."  Well, two quarters of negative GDP required, right?  So that would mean it starts in this quarter or next quarter for them to be right.  Good luck with that prediction. 
  • A slow economy does not a recession make.   A slow economy is a slow economy.  Energy and real estate are dampening growth, but not stopping it.  Sure seems sustainable, though.  Low unemployment and low inflation (uninflation!), and the Fed is cutting rates.
  • Kevin Stecyk continues to blog about the market, and take pictures of hot chicks.  Nice gig, KS.
  • Bernie writes that gold and crude soar on strong economy and weak dollar.  Lots of people complain about the low dollar, but do they realize how that helps our exports? 
  • Cross posted at the Trading Goddess blog, where everybody knows your name.  And you're always glad you came.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Recession Knuckleheads

  • The recession knuckleheads are WRONG! What is it about low inflation, low interest rates, and low unemployment that have them so bearish?
  • It Hurts So Good, folks!   (In Edit: The John Cougar Mellencamp  video from YouTube disabled for embedding.  Click here to watch/listen.  I guess I'll use the bull picture instead!)
  • Recession probability down.
  • Barry Ritholtz tries to show some inflation pressures on the economy.  I just wonder if Barry has taken a look at core CPI year over year?  And what about the PCE year over year, Barry?  That's the Fed's favorite, right?  Under 2% year over year.  So, Barry cites all these anticipated price hikes, but they haven't happened yet and we'll see if companies have the pricing power to implement price hikes beyond the average of 2-3%.
  • Higher energy prices are helping to keep inflation low and the economy from overheating. 
  • Love the John Cougar Mellencamp?  LOL.
  • Ben Bernanke action figure!  I'm nickin' the pic for future use.
  • 50th consecutive month of job growth, by the way.
  • Is the economy as bad as YRCW says?
  • BREAKING NEWS:  Looks like Gary Kaltbaum is growing his mustache back.  (Watching Fox Business Network).  LOL.
  • So on TNT's NBA games last night, Dirk Nowitzki was asked about Mark Cuban's Dancing with the Stars stint.  TNT kept showing the dancing clips and having some fun at Cuban's expense.  Pretty funny.  I think I'll just set the DVR to record the NBA on TNT, and skip through the games to listen to Charles Barkley et. al. before, in between, and after the games. You know?  That's good TV!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Free Candy Hangover

  • Lets ignore the market selloff today for just a second or two.
  • I'm reading Barrons online right now, and one coumn says to look for a rate cut at the December 11th Fed meeting, and the column next to it says that future rate cuts aren't likely.  A little Point-Counterpoint, Jane?  (You ignorant slut!)
  • So the slide is being blamed on earnings, financials, and perception that the Fed is done.  Just to counterpoint that (Jane!) inflation is still tame and with energy prices rising it means that consumers will have less money to spend at the malls.  Yes, foeclosures are hurting the banks.  But lower interet rates will help.  Earnings seem to be mostly okay.
  • What, me worry?  Not here!
  • Not too many trick or treaters last night in my hood.
  • I keep forgetting the NBA season has started...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Low-Carb Halloween Treat

  • Why not make it a low-carb Halloween? Hand out 1oz. slices of pork to the kids tonight!  Pork: It's the other Halloween treat!
  • Speaking of low-carb treats, Fed Head Ben Bernanke gave the treat of a rate cut today.   "The decision by the central bank's Federal Open Market Committee to lower the overnight federal funds rate by a quarter-percentage point to 4.5 percent was widely expected in financial markets." 
  • While stocks rallied, the Fed jawboned about inflation threats that so far really haven't existed.  This may cause a pause in future rate cuts, although the Fed seems to have been jawboning about inflation for the past year.  We'll have to see how folks parse that news going foward.
  • The official "favorable season" starts November 1 for the market.  And for those who try to game the begin and end of the favorable cycle, it looks as if the MACD is closing in on crossing over to the upside.  I know you hoped this would happen from lower levels, but it still looks like you'll be buying in near the highs of the bull market.  Sorry Sy.  Sorry Jeff.
  • And, Fantasy Footballers, looks like Ryan Grant gets the #1 job in the "running back by committee" Green Bay Packers offense.  Of course, the committee is getting smaller, as Deshawn Wynn is out for the year.  I picked him up in one league.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ahead of the Fed

  • The market meandering around ahead of the Fed. Despite all the hullaballoo a couple of weeks ago when the market fell and folks were worried about a bear market, here we are again just a couple percent below the previous highs for this bull market.
  • How does one position oneself prior to a Fed meeting?  I'm thinking we're going to get a rate cut here.  My thought is that .25% is the number.  Is it priced in?  Will folks sell the news or buy the news?  Hard to tell.  And what if the Fed does more than .25%?  The economy is still below trend growth and inflation is tame.  There is room to cut rates.  And the parsing of the Fed comments will make for a fun afternoon tomorrow!
  • I remain 100% long.  Haven't done much trading.  Just riding the bull.  I think the trend is up and short-term timing here just risks underperformance.  My intermediate indicators (aka The Black Box) are fine.  I'm watchin' them, though.
  • Michelle with the Mother of All Tax Hikes Halloween video!  Charlie and the gang proposing what amounds to a $3.5 trillion tax hike.  The amazing thing about the Democrats' tax hike proposal?  It raises taxes on the poor.    In 2001, the Republican-led Congress and the president enacted a sweeping tax cut plan that lowered taxes for every American.  The Pelosi-Rangel plan would eliminate those tax cuts, raising taxes for every single tax bracket and eliminating the new 10 percent rate Congress established specifically to reduce the tax burden on low- and middle-income working families
  • Brett Favre killed me last night in Fantasy Football.  Everything I needed not to happen, happened in the last 2 minutes of that game and overtime.  Stupid Broncos.
  • 77-yr old carded when buying beer.