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.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Get Down with ODP!

  • Get down with ODP! (Yeah, you know me!)  Office Depot delays results:   Office Depot said the delay "is due to an independent review by the audit committee of the company's vendor program funds. The review relates principally to the timing of the recognition of certain vendor program funds."  That translates into about a 17% haicut in the stock today, Bubba.
  • Barron's had a "Tech is Back" cover yesterday.  Contrarian alert? 
  • Gary Kaltbaum's radio show had some bearish warnings from Scott Bleier who compared today's market to 1999-2000 where fewer and fewer stocks were leading the market and eventually they rolled over, too.
  • This just hitting the wires:  Political markets see Clinton vs. Giuliani contest.  Oh, gee, really?  What was the first clue?   A ton of money is being spent by other candidates on this thing, and it's just good money after bad at this point.  Think of all the haircuts John Edwards could buy if he spent the campaign cash on his hair!
  • House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel's tax hikes are psycho!  Excerpts..  "Rangel's reform would be the biggest tax increase in history ...  the bill raises taxes by a whopping $3.5 trillion over the next 10 years ... that's about $2 trillion more than the 10-year cost of the Bush tax cuts enacted back in 2001 ... Adding it all up, and adjusting for the tax rate on Medicare, the Rangel bill would raise the federal marginal tax rate on incomes above $500,000 to close to 48 percent ... it would give the U.S. the fourth-highest combined top marginal tax rate in the OECD, behind only Denmark, Sweden and France. "  Obviously, this wouldn't get by Bush (or Giuliani in 2009), but Hillary 2009?  Yeah, I'd imagine she'd go for it.
  • A great quote of a quote on the Dennis Miller show relating to the Colorado Rockies losing to the Boston Red Sox.  At the time, the Rockies had won 22 of 23, had a week off, and then lost the first two to the Red Sox (followed by the next two as well).  "A week off is usually followed by an off week."  Indeed!  Rockies go out with a whimper. 

Sunday, October 28, 2007

International Contrarian Thoughts

  • I was listening to some radio show talk about the importance of diversing one's portfolio with international investments. This guy was saying "at least 30-40%," and that he said you could go up to 50%.  50%?  I normally thought that maybe 15% of one's portfolio should be allocated internationally.   But then I realized that the crowd mentality may be to blame. 
  • What sector of the market has been hot the last few years?  International stocks and funds.  But isn't some of the return to US investors based on the decline of the US dollar?  (Unless the International fund was hedged against currency fluctuations).  What would happen if the US dollar appreciated?  Wouldn't the international investments suffer when converting back to the US dollar?
  • Could this be a case where folks are chasing the investments that have been the "hottest" over the most recent investment period?  Historically, funds and sectors that have been hot over a 3-year period tend to not lead the pack in the subsequent 3-year period.  Yet, folks read the mutual fund ratings and send their money to what has worked best recently.
  • I suppose if we want to be contrarian, we reduce our international exposure and bring it home.  Just thinking out loud.
  • Uh, the Boston Red Sox are destroying the Colorado Rockies.  I'm not watching, but it looks like I'm not missing much. 
  • Why yes, it is a new blog template. 
  • Sunday's NFL games?   I don't know the spreads, but I can't think that Miami, San Francisco, or Oakland will be putting many points on the board.  If I were at the casino, that'd be my three-team parlay right there.  If the spreads suck, I'd tease them.
  • Giants and Dolphins in England.  LOL.  And it's nationally televised.  Double-LOL.  Thank goodness for DirecTV and the NFL ticket!
  • NBA starts this week!  The drama in Los Angeles over Kobe Bryant is annoying.  Kobe can't seem to hold himself together.  He's a wreck.  I think his best years are behind him.  He hasn't shown the ability to make others around him better.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Microsoft Powers Market

  • If you notice funkythings happening here, it's because I'm in the process of changing my blog template.  If I had some orange eCones to set out, I'd do it!  Change for the sake of change. 
  • Speaking of change, Microsoft hasn't moved this much since the 1990's!  It seems as if things are all going well for MSFT.  I don't own individual shares; however, all of us invested in the NDX or a weighted index are certainly a benefactor today.
  • Of course, we're approaching the end of October.  Generally a bullish time of the year.  Plus, we have the end of month strength on deck, as investors dollar cost average into their 401(k) plans.
  • The market sure seems volatile lately.   Large swings in both directions.  This is often something I look to as a sign of a change in the market trend.   So, am I concerned that we're facing a top in the market?  Not really.  One contrarian indicator in the market's favor is that market timers as a group are pretty bearish here.  The effect of this is easily seen among the short-term market timing newsletters I track, many of which have reacted to the market's volatility by throwing in the towel. They just can't take the wild ride.  So, could this volatility be "the bottom?"  The market has had a little correction, so maybe so.  I'm remaining 100% long here. 
  • Not watching the markets much today.  They have jumped up, and pretty much flatlined there. 
  • Fantasy NBA draft this weekend.  I have some research to do.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Carrie Ann Inaba Sells Timeshares!

I was listening to the local news station on the drive in to work today. A new ad hit the airwaves as Carrie Ann Inaba was pitching a "free" 2-nights and 3-days trip to Las Vegas to see a new night act. This "free" getaway is sponsored by Tahiti Village. I have a hunch there will be a very veracious attempt to sell visitors a timeshare on their visit. Why would anyone want a timeshare in Las Vegas? The hotels on the strip are inexpensive. Even less expensive if you're gambling and receive comps (for losing money in the casino).

My thoughts on timeshares? Expensive way to pay for a vacation. Folks who I know that one them, seem to feel generally ripped off by buying from a salesperson at the timeshare presentation. They tend to enjoy the first few trips, but then are always trying to exchange their timeshares or get coworkers/friends to rent a trip. They often enjoy their trips, but agree that it's not quite the money saver they thought it would be. Plus, it would mean that you're vacationing to the same destination every trip, unless you exchange.

See Timeshare User's Group for some fun and crazy stories about people and their timeshare presentations and experiences with being a timeshre owner. You'll see tales of buyers remorse, folks trying to sell, buy, and exchange, and reviews of various timeshare destinations.

The only way they'd get me to a timeshare presentation? If the "free" offer included 2-nights with Carrie Ann Inaba.

Monday, October 22, 2007

AAPL and Tila Tequila

  • Apple (AAPL) is up 741% after hours on their earnings. Just kidding, 7.41% (as I type).  More fun removing the decimal places, no?  Seems like there are these things out there called "iPods" and "iPhones."  I guess not everyone has twelve of them, yet.  Are folks are upgrading every few weeks to a smaller size or a newer color?  "15,000 songs and blue is so September 2007, Grandpa."
  • Looking for a "triple-buy" stock?  The Mad Money Machine podcast has your sure-thing, can't lose winner.  To qualify, a stock must be listed on the Magic Formual Investor website, be in the IBD 100, and have a buy recommendation from Jim Cramer.  Buy!  Buy!  Buy!  Kind of clever.  Kind of funny.  Give it a listen.
  • Easier than Tom Brady throwing touchdown passes against the Dolphins defense!
  • Ugh, my star Fantasy Football Running Back, Dolphins' Ronnie Brown, is out for the season with a torn ACL.  Good Lord.
  • Buzzworthy?  Tila Tequila search hits up wondering if she's bi curious.  LOL.  Oh, you want a link?  Formerly Tila Nguyen.  Not sure, but I think so.  The search for pictures and videos for the A Shot at Love girl are buzzing.

The Seasonal Investors

One of the stock market's strongest historical trends is to sell stocks in the Spring and buy stocks in the Fall. Two of the stock market gurus out in front of this are Jeff Hirsch and Sy Harding.  I'm a yearly buyer of the Stock Trader's Almanac by Jeff Hirsch, and I read the friday freebie from Sy Harding.  I don't know what Jeff is doing, but from Sy's freebie column on October 19th, The Market Remains in its Unfavorable Season.

The rule is that when October 16 arrives, if the MACD indicator is on a ‘buy signal’, that is showing that short-term market momentum is to the upside, the entry is to be made at that time. However, and this is the biggie, if the MACD indicator is on a ‘sell signal’, indicating that short-term market momentum is to the downside, the entry is delayed until MACD triggers its next ‘buy signal’. That has delayed the entry in some years to as late as late November.

In the spring, the best exit date on average is April 20. However the same MACD indicator is used to sometimes delay the exit. The rule is that if MACD in on a buy signal when April 20 arrives, the exit will be delayed until MACD triggers its next sell signal. In some years that has extended the ‘favorable season’ by as long as two months.

This year has been very interesting. The exit signal was triggered on May 15, which extended last year’s favorable season by about a month, and allowed for additional gains. During the unfavorable season this summer the S&P 500 experienced a 10% correction in July and August, while seasonal investors were safely on the sidelines adding to profits from interest on cash. It looked like the Seasonal Timing Strategy would surely re-enter in the fall with the market at a lower level than the May exit, and so would easily outperform the market for the year.

However, as you know, the market rallied back off the August low, reaching new highs, and the seasonal investor was behind by two or three percent even counting the interest being earned on cash.

More worrisome, MACD was recently still on a buy signal as October 16 approached, making it look like the seasonal investor might be re-entering near those high prices. That had me worried, given the many negatives that have been piling up for the economy.

Fortunately, or so it seems at this point anyway, the market lost enough momentum that as of the close a week ago Friday, MACD triggered a ‘sell signal’. And since it remained on that sell signal on Tuesday, October 16, the seasonal entry will not take place until it triggers its next buy signal.

So the market remains in its unfavorable season. And given what has happened this week I couldn’t be more pleased.

The funny thing is that I commented on October 11th:

...many have been hoping for a bit of a pullback to get a decent entry point instead of chasing things at new highs.  The seasonal investors would probably like to see that, too.  We're closing in on November, so a MACD crossover to the darkside followed by a crossover back up would trigger a buy for some of those folks at this time of year.

Looks like Sy got it.  And it sounds like he caught a break in that he didn't have to give out a seasonal buy signal with stocks at their all-time highs, eh?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Selling Fever, Small Caps, and Patriots at Dolphins

  • Selling fever hits the street. I *briefly* went looking for a Dance Fever picture of Denny Terrio.  Then stopped myself.  What was I thinking?  How about the Disco Duck instead?
  • October expiration week tends to be weak, followed by a strong post-options week.  I'm already 100% in, and had no allocation to small caps.  But I rotated some to small caps today.  I am still weighted heavily in the NDX.  But small caps tend to have a good rally in the last quarter.  Past performance is never a guarantee going forward, though.  Agreed?
  • I don't have a warm-fuzzy feeling on the banks just yet.  But keeping an eye on C and BAC.   The latter might be the buy of the bunch in the future.  When these things bottom (whenever that is), I think we're looking at a 50% rally.  If I only knew where the bottom was.
  • RSI(2) is 3.5 on the SPY. 
  • RSI(2) on QQQQ is 18. 
  • RSI(2) on IWM is 3.5.
  • The New England Patriots are a 16.5 point favorite over the Miami Dolphins.  It's like a college spread!  I realize that New England will score at will against Miami's "defense."   But Miami has been able to put points on the board, too.  If in Reno this weekend, I'd probably take the 16.5 or wait until game time to see if it got to 17.  And then hope Miami can score points every other posession. 
  • I think the Dolphins best strategy would to let New England score on every play in the first half.  Keep that Patriots defense on the field for 29 minutes.  Thus, the time of posession would favor Miami and the New England defense would tire out in the 2nd half.   Now THAT would be a unique game plan. 
  • Cam, if you're reading, I would be willing to take a job as an assistant coach.
  • RSI(2) on the Miami Dolphins is .10.
  • In retrospect, with the debut of the Fox Business Network (FBN) be the ultimate contrarian indicator?  In otherwords, was FBN's launch the sell signal heard 'round the world?
  • FBI raids David Copperfield and finds millions!  I'm trying to find a joke here.  There has to be a joke here about disappearing money, right?
  • Well, left-wing talk host Randi Rhoades gave an explanation for her "mugging."  And I'm linking to Lumberjack's blog because I like his comment about the thing.  Personally, she had me at, "I was watching football in an Irish pub..." 

Thursday, October 18, 2007

FBN: Immersion Day II!

  • Two days in a row of Fox Business Network immersion.  I think I could get use to this.  Liz Claman had a nice interview with Warren Buffett today.  Liz will be cohosting with David "The" Asman from 2-5pm Eastern.  FBN just has a different flavor than CNBC.  Different presentation.  And no Cramer.
  • The SCHIP hits the fan!  Override vote fails.
  • I blogged over at the Trading Goddess blog about Citigroup yesterday.  It tanked more today after Washington Mutual's debacle.  WM down over 7% today.  And Bank of America is doing their "our business sucks" confession this afternoon.  Good idea to keep an eye on the financials for a wash out.  Not buying yet; but they are 20% or so of the SP500.  LOL.
  • The Google up afterhours on their earnings surge.
  • Interesting interview with Jerry Springer on FBN by Cody and Rebecca during the Happy Hour show.  Although, Cody interrupting everyone is a bit annoying, eh?  Looks like Cody is trying to get in every segment here.  A little jab from Rebecca about that.  Interesting.
  • Remember the "good old days" when oil was $50 a barrel?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

FBN: Full On!

  • OK. I'm watching the Fox Business Network (FBN) today.  I'm struggling with it.
  • FBN does have the market index tickers at the bottom of the screen.  But the market coverage seems to mostly end there.  Well, a little here and there.
  • The market opened up on the Intel and Yahoo news, but it sold off.  The DOW and SP500 are both in the red as I type.  The mood this earning season seems to be skepticism and booking profits.  Something to keep in mind if a stock pops in the morning after an earnings report.  Looks like folks will be booking gains.
  • Alexis Glick (hoo) was yapping about something around the opening bell, but I had to flip over to CNBC to watch the first 30 minutes.  Sorry.  But Alexis looked fabulous again.  Oh, she was talking about the housing market and foreclosures.
  • Speaking of, the woman they've had on today talking about the housing market?  Shibani Joshi.   For some reason, Blogger isn't allowing pictures right now, so you're getting a Kelly Hu pic instead.
  • Tom Sullivan talked about wine tasting this morning.
  • Dagan McDowell had segments on TV show ratings and drug use at work.
  • Wait. Here is some market news.  I've been flipping back to CNBC so often that I think I've missed some.  Ah, it's the girl on the floor, Nicole Petallides.
  • Hey, why not add Kelly Hu to the FBN crew?  That last show she was on was horrible.
  • Okay, so when they're talking about the market they seem to move behind an anchor desk.  Chit chats seem to happen on sofas and chairs.
  • Tracy Byrnes (hoo) on now, talking about stocks.  EBAY.  Myspace and Skype.
  • Now drugs in the workplace.
  • So, FBN is kind of like CNBC meets The View meets Entertainment Tonight.  A little bit of stocks and a little bit of gossip.  Mostly business related I suppose.  It's okay.  I'm going to stick with it for awhile and see if it grows on me.
  • By the way, the 30 minutes I had CNBC on?  Yeah, Abby Joseph Cohen giving her price target of 1600 on the SP500 for year end.  She went on about how she predicted some of the woes hitting the economy with housing and such.  I don't remember that and Mark Haines questioned her a bit, but I guess we'll give her that.

In Edit: Added a picture of Shibani Joshi at top!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

FBN: Business News and Hot Legs

  • I'm not sure what I think of the new Fox Business Network (ch. 359 on DirecTV). I've only seen 30 minutes from 6:30-7:00 Pacific.  It has that "sit around and chat" feel in that time slot.  Kind of like The View meets Squawk Box.  But if Alexis Glick is going to show thigh-high legs in the morning, I'll keep watching. Say, maybe I should've used a different ZZ Top song.  LOL.
  • (Sorry, couldn't find a decent picture of Alexis to put up.  I'll have to grab a screen cap tomorrow.  LOL).
  • So much for the win streak of "Monday during October options expriation week."  She had been up 6 straight and 22 of 26.  Add another to the loss column, and the downside continues today.  Kind of "contrary" to what we were expecting, no?  The market has had a nice run from the August lows.  Five weeks in a row of positive returns.  Stocks never move up in a straight line without some profit taking.
  • Oil up briefly over $88.  Turkey's threats to pursue Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq and declining U.S. inventories built convincing support under crude prices at the lofty levels.  Hmm, somebody should check to see if a Sith Lord is behind all of this.
  • I remain 100% long with beta.  Call me crazy!
  • Went to Reno this last weekend.  On fire with the sports bets, capped off with an easy Giants cover last night. 
  • Henry Paulson out saying that the housing remains the biggest concern in the economy.
  • "I lost a quarter-million dollars in value. I'm screwed."  Cantrell bought his home a year ago for $670,000 (not including the $90,000 he paid to install a pool and miniature golf course). The winning bidder Saturday of an identical home five doors down the street paid $391,000 - 38 percent less than what he paid.  And the beat goes on.   Rememeber the days of offers competing for your house?  With buyers offering more than the asking price and stumbling over each other trying to win bids?  Now, low-ball offers are the norm and everyone wants a bargain.

In Edit: Ultimate News Babes is all over the Fox Business News crew. Check out the link for Jenna Lee!

In Edit: Fantasy Football news... Miami wide receiver Chris Chambers traded to San Diego for 2008 2nd round draft pick. Now, Chris Chambers was no Fantasy stud. Last weekend against Cleveland, Cleo Lemon threw to him many times and Chambers didn't make much of an effort to get the ball. The announcer said that Lemon either needed to lay the ball up so Chambers could run under it, or the Dolphins needed a faster receiver. Looks like they're going with plan B. I just picked up Ted Ginn on a lark. Not going to start him, but if Cleo keeps throwing deep, maybe Ginn can actually make a grab that Chambers seemed uninterested in!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Markets (and Al Gore!)

  • Friday bouncing so far after yesterday's reversal fest.  Kind of interesting to see that folks would be buying ahead of the weekend considering yesterday's selling.  But lets look at the Stock Traders Almanac:  Monday before October expiration, the DOW is up 22 of 26 and 6 straight.  Looks like folks may be setting their chips on the table for Monday's high-percentage shooter.
  • Speaking of Volatility, Adam Warner takes a look at BIDU with earnings on the horizon.  Oh, and don't miss Adam's Voldemort vs. Voldemort.
  • CBS Marketwatch says techs shine on Oracle offer.  (Oracle seems so 1990s to me...)
  • Top TV-related Halloween Costume searches.  Uh, no.  Not planning on dressing up as Hannah Montana on Oct 31.  You?
  • Al Gore (not pictured) wins the Nobel Peace Prize.  Since they gave that thing to Yasser Arafat, the Nobel thing has lost its luster.  Of course, Michelle Malkin has global warming and Al Gore links up the wazzoo.  My view is that global warming is happening, and that the Earth goes through cycles of heating and cooling.  I don't think man has much control over any of it.  From the late Augie Auer:

    ...the anthroprogenic sources of CO2 account for exactly 0.11 percent of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. In other words, 99.89 percent of the greenhouse effect has not a damn thing to do SUVs, jet travel, backyard barbecues or any other human activity.
  • Who is next for the Nobel Peace Prize, Jim Cramer?  Heck, he's underperformed the SP500.  Why not?  Boo-yah!
  • Lets not forget... It's friday!  Football picks?  I'm heading to Reno this weekend.  I haven't looked at the odds.   But I can't think that Atlanta, Carolina, Miami, or San Francisco are a threat to put many if any points on the board.  Might make a great 4-team teaser bet.  Of those four, Miami is playing Cleveland.  So if any team was to wreck the bet, it may be a Miss Cleo Lemon scrambling around in the backfield and finding receivers or Ronnie Brown in broken plays.

In Edit: I'm also posting over at The Trading Goddess. There are now many folks over there contributing their thoughts on stocks, the market, and other stuff. My entries are tagged with Muckdog.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Downside Reversal (and Michelle Rodriguez!)

  • Uh oh. Reversal to the downside.  Bleh.  Hate to see a market moving up and the whooosh down on heavy volume.  It's not uncommon to get one-day wonders to the downside in a bull run.  But we'll have to keep an eye on things to see if we get some confirmation that the party is over.  I'm remaining 100% long for now.
  • From Yahoo FinanceAfter all, the indices have made a remarkable, and unsustainable, run off their lows since August 16. To this point, at their highs today, the Nasdaq, Russell 2000, S&P 500 and Dow, were up 17%, 16%, 15% and 13% from their August 16 lows.  That's quite a run since the lows.
  • Of course, many have been hoping for a bit of a pullback to get a decent entry point instead of chasing things at new highs.  The seasonal investors would probably like to see that, too.  We're closing in on November, so a MACD crossover to the darkside followed by a crossover back up would trigger a buy for some of those folks at this time of year.
  • Speaking of downside reversals... In Drunken Girls Gone Wild news, former Lost actress Michelle Rodriguez (Ana Lucia) gets sentenced to 180 days in jail.  Even with an alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet on, Michelle couldn't stay away from the fire water.
  • From Star Gossips....  Michelle Rodriguez is a drinking machine. When it comes to alcohol, she makes Lindsay Lohan look like a nun. I guarantee Michelle will snap at least three guards’ necks, jump out a third story window and crash the prison laundry truck into a bar. Then she’ll guzzle her own weight in whiskey.  ....  So I met Michelle at a bar and when I failed to chug a bottle of rum in 30 seconds she threw a barstool at my nuts and questioned my sexuality. Is it wrong to be turned on by that?
  • I don't like to commit time to new TV shows that I suspect will be cancelled.  The Bionic Woman, Journeyman, Cane, Chuck, and Life have all been asked for additional scripts.  I've DVRed a few of those, but haven't watched any yet!
  • Vinny Testeverde signed yesterday, and may start this weekend for the Carolina Panthers as David Carr "throws gingerly" in practice.  I wouldn't be bidding on the Vin-man this weekend for your fantasy football team.  Unders look good.  Panthers probably won't score.  Poor WR Steve Smith.  Running all those routes for nuthin'...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Randoms (and Charlize!)

  • Interesting split tape in the market today. Nasdaq up a smidge, with the DOW down and the SP500 basically flat. I'm not reading anything into it.  Remaining 100% long.  Wary of earnings (as always).
  • Alcoa was up afterhours yesterday on their earnings, but fell today. 

  • Sexiest woman alive?  Charlize Theron.  The debate is over!
  • Following the flap over the Democrats using a 12-yr old boy as their response to the President's Saturday morning speech on the SCHIP program?  Michelle Malkin all over this one. Here and most recently here.  I agree with her.  I commented about it previously here.  I think we have to be wary of increasing the government's role in health care.  Especially when it looks like the parents of the 12-yr old could've made some other choices with their money. 
  • Oh, I did skip the GOP debate yesterday.  Rudy has a slight lead in the polls over Fred for the GOP, and on the other side Hillary in a landslide.  National polls have Hillary with an 8-pt lead over Rudy in a Presidential heat, and double-digits over Fred.  President Hillary, anyone? 
  • And here in the Empire, after Clinton serves her term(s) the rules say that we get another Bush.   It's sort of like a royalty thing where both sides have agreed to take turnsies. 
  • Speaking of empires, I DVRed the Star Wars III movie last weekend. 
  • About 10,000 homes in Sacramento are in some stage of foreclosure.  Hey, the town where I went to high school was smaller than that!
  • Dr. Jeff has a logic test up involving poker.  If you know the answer, send him an email!  Also an interesting column up called:  New Market Highs:  What's the Downside?
  • Wednesday...  This is where the stock market is supposed to get weird ahead of options week.  Really hasn't happened.  Lots of fear in the market despite the record highs.  Probably that is what keeps fueling the markets higher.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Kicking Around Some Thoughts

  • Earnings season! Alcoa tonight!  Woot!  Perhaps the NY Yankees wanted to be home for that!
  • Erin said this morning that the top 3 companies by market cap are Exxon-Mobil, GE and Microsoft.   Google comes in at #10!  Not bad for a nifty search engine!
  • Although did you see the search commercial for Ask last night during, uh... Monday Night Football? 
  • I still don't know who is clicking on internet ads or why they're valued so.  But some interesting things going on in the world of site hits and clicks.  Barry Ritholtz has more
  • Speaking of Monday Night Football....  HOO.   What a finish.  Bills fell apart there right at the end.  Although, Dallas did a good job of falling apart during most of the game.  It was one of those games where you knew if there was enough time on the clock, Dallas would eventually start scoring.  And if you were cheering on the Bills, you had to want that clock to keep moving and end the game; just get off the field with a win before Dallas woke up!  Well...  The kick is up, and the kick is good!
  • CNBC is touting their broadcasting of the Republican debate scheduled for tonight!  The only thing interesting about this is that Fred Thompson will be making his debate debut, and the focus of the debate will be on the economy.  The economy has been growing and the SP500 is at or near record highs.  I don't think a recession is on the near horizon.  So it'll be interesting because there are always segments of the population that are not faring well.  Michigan happens to have the highest unemployment rate in the union running at just over 7%.  So while it's tempting for most of us to be high-fiving each other over our economic good fortune in recent years, there is more despair in the air up there.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Market Thoughts (and Cheerleaders!)

  • Why not a cheerleader sandwich for this blog entry?  On top, we have the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.  On the bottom, we have the Buffalo Bills Cheerleaders.  Are you ready for some Monday Night Football?
  • It's pre-options week.  My first thought is that it'll be a little weak in the early part of the week, followed by a rally through the first part of the following week.  It doesn't always work out like that, of course.  I think if we do have a dramatic selling day, that'll be the point to add some beta.  We'll see if it plays out that way.  My guess is that buyers show up.  Plus, earnings season starts soon.
  • According to the Stock Trader's Almanac, October is the best month since 1998.  And, the monday before expiration?  The DOW is up 22 of the last 26, and 6 straight!
  • Well, the bell just sounded and the Nasdaq finished up over 7.  We'll ignore the rest of the index numbers because they may not be in the green.  And I'm not about the bring down on Columbus Day.
  • Maria Bararomo taking this Columbus Day off.  (No, she's not over here).
  • I did some more web searching for the "Magic Formula Investing" from The Little Book that Beats the Market.  More on that as the week goes on.  Seems like folks are having different experiences with it depending on when they started using the formula.  Kind of fun to follow along.  The key, according to the book, is to stick with it and not give up early.  It'll be interesting to see if that's what folks do...

Political Thoughts

  • The market still isn't doing anything.  Lets talk politics.
  • CNBC is touting the Republican debate tomorrow night.  What the heck for?  Is anyone going to say something that we don't already know?  "Keep the tax cuts" and "Stay in Iraq until the job is done."
  • I've skipped the last few Democrat debates.  There, it's just "Raise taxes" 24x7.  The answer to every issue is raising taxes.  Sorry, but not sure I'm in the camp of giving the government more money and assuming they have the wits about them to spend it wisely.  Once they have the money, it's just an exercise of paying back those who helped them get where they are.
  • The debates won't matter until we  have the final two candidates running for November 08.  Uh, that'll be Hillary vs. Rudy, by the way.  The rest of this is just for funsies. 
  • I've seen the graphs about how the stock market does with different parties running the country.  I'd like to see a comparison where gridlock is running the country versus when one party has 100% control.  Seems to me that the country functions best when we have a split government.  That is, one party controls the White House and the other party controls Congress.   If they can veto each other out, argue, yell, scream, and run out the clock on their terms, that's be the government I want.   This allows the country to run free of their interference.
  • The candidate who promises to propose no bills, but to oppose everything the other party is proposing, is the perfect candidate. 
  • "I promise to take a lot of time off if elected.  I'll show up to veto if I have to, but the rest of the time, I'll be managing my Fantasy Football line-up, sleeping with interns, and making speeches about how great America is."
  • Did I just describe Bill Clinton?  Can we get him back?  But only if the GOP gets Congress back. 

Fantasy Football Thoughts

  • Lets forget about the market for just this one entry.  It's not doing much anyways. 
  • I was shocked that the Bears offense was able to rise up and score points against the Packers in Green Bay.  The Packers imploded with turnovers, though. 
  • I think the NY Giants defense is a good fantasy defense for the next few weeks.  (Disclosure:  I just picked them up).  The Giants play Altanta, San Francisco, and Miami.  All teams are shuffling quarterbacks and struggling at offense.  Atlanta benched Joey Harrington and went to Brian Leftwich.  The 49ers lost Alex Smith and are starting Trent Dilfer.  The Dolphins lost Trent Green to a concussion and went with "Miss Cleo" Lemon, and may go with rookie John Beck.  Blitz, blitz and blitz some more.  Sacks, interceptions, hurries, turnovers... etc.
  • Likewise, any QB going up against the Detroit defense is a MUST start.  (I went with Jason Campbell this week.)
  • Fred Taylor is the number 1 RB in Jacksonville, but that offense is much more exciting with Maurice Jones Drew in, eh?
  • It's still early, but the biggest fantasy football bust this year has to be Saints' QB Drew Brees.  This has impacted every player on the Saints.  Brees was dumped in one of my leagues, and nobody has bothered to pick him up.  Also dumped:  Wide receivers Colston and Henderson.
  • Running Back Larry Johnson isn't doing anything, either. 
  • Suddenly, people are picking up players from the Arizona Cardinals as Kurt Warner takes over at QB and makes the offense look much better.
  • Going forward, it'll get interesting in Oakland.  That's an offense in transition.  Culpepper is the QB.  At running back, we have LaMont Jordan, but he has a gimpy back and Domminic Rhodes is coming off his four-game suspension.  Tough to say what will happen there, and it would be a shame (for fantasy football) if they go to running back by committee.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Rally Caps are Working!

  • Someone better call the fire department, because the market's on fire! Yesterday's malaise was blamed on today, but today also gets the credit for the rally.
  • Huh? 
  • Well, there was a lot of worrying yesterday about the jobs numbers to be released this morning.  What really happened?  The numbers came out better than expected and previous months' numbers were revised upwards.  The bears were thinking that the economy is sliding into a recession, but we've now had 49 consecutive months of jobs growth.  Slow and steady wins the race, Mr. Rabbit.  Yes, the GDP isn't on fire, but isn't that a good thing?  Bad things happen when growth is too strong.  The Fed tightens rates and removes the punch bowl from the economy.
  • The dollar is rallying and bonds are faultering a bit on the thought that maybe the Fed won't cut rates again this month.  But I think the jury is still out on that one.  Inflation is nowhere to be seen, and even with better than expected jobs numbers, we're still below the number required to absorb new workers into the economy.  I could see the Fed cutting .25 on Halloween.  You?
  • Anyone else have Denver Broncos' running back Travis Henry on their Fantasy Football team?  He's possibly facing a one-year suspension due to a failed drug test.  Of course, appeals are in the work so who knows what his status will be from week to week.  Tempted to dump him and pick up Selvin Young, if the Fantasy vultures haven't jumped on that one already!  Or pick up any running back going up against the Miami Dolphins. 
  • On the Dilbert blog, Scott Adams uses his knowledge of economics to help avoid speeding tickets.  

"When you have a working knowledge of economics, it’s like having a mild super power."

"If you plan to speed, it also pays to be a middle-aged male. For years I have been observing who the police pull over for speeding and who they don’t. A police officer (usually male) has lots of choices for who to ticket for speeding. If he is heterosexual, and stops a heterosexual male, he has no chance of getting sex, and a non-zero chance of getting killed. If he stops a female, he has some chance of being offered sex (or at least some flirting) to get out of the ticket, and not much risk of violence. Cops are rational and make the correct economic decision most of the time. Where I live, about 80% of all motorists who are stopped for speeding are women, and it has been that way since I can remember. Economics tells me it will stay that way, at least as long as the opportunity for getting head is more valuable than the opportunity of getting punched in the head. (If it’s different where you live, your cops are either gay or irrational.)

  • It's still early.  Market direction could change.  Looks great now, though.  EH!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Magic Stock Formula!

  • As I type, the market is very flat for the day as it seemingly waits for the payroll numbers tomorrow. My thoughts?  Even though the country is near full employment, the economy is growing slowly.  I'd imagine the new payrolls number will be weak and that total unemployment would be creeping up a smidge until the Fed's magic rate cuts get cheaper money working in the economy.  Remaining 100% long with beta.
  • The folks at CBS Marketwatch also are blaming today's market on tomorrowThe session could prove to be a quiet one, "as traders pull back commitments ahead of the potential market-moving monthly employment report tomorrow," said Elliot Spar, option/market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus & Co.
  • Have you read The Little Book that Beat the Market?  Another historical model that shows that it's oh-so-easy to spank the SP500 over the long term!  Not sure how it has done since printed, but there is a website called Magic Formula Investing that lists stocks meeting the criteria.  Interesting.  Not a recommendation, of course.
  • Of course, there is a blog that follows the Magic Formula...
  • All Financial Matters is also doing a porfolio based on the Magic Formula...
  • Citigroup stock (C) has been a roller coaster lately, eh?   This is one of my favorite stocks to trade in and out of, because the Black Box formula I use works really well with C.
  • That's the key for me, by the way.  I don't scan 7000 stocks a day.  I have a list of 20 that work well with my Black Box. 
  • You know, little talked about is how the slower economic growth and real estate recession will affect state and local tax revenues.  I live in CA where deficit spending has become the norm.  With housing prices in a recession, tax revenues from increasing property taxes and associated housing fees are falling off a cliff.  If the stock market doesn't have a gangbuster year, capital gains taxes will be lower, too.  This will affect how much money the government has to spend in 2008.

In Edit: Another blog that follows the Magic Formula is MFI Diary.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Phasers on Stun

  • The market pulling back a bit today. Nothing has changed in the Black Box, and I remain bullish on the market.  We've had a strong move up from the August lows.  Many seem to be expecting a correction and a retest of the lows.  I don't think we'll get that far.  But this pullback may create an opportunity for the seasonal investors who are looking for an "October low" to get in.  Imagine if the market pulls back a little, and then goes back up with an MACD cross.  That'd suck in the seasonal folks.
  • The MACD crossed over in August and has yet to cross down again.
  • Folks will start anticipating the next Fed move soon.  The gang meets again at the end of October in a Fed Costume Party.  I think they should dress up in costumes.
  • So, Zacahary Quinto who plays Sylar in Heroes is going to play Spock in the new Star Trek movie.  Good to know.  Throw that one out at this weekend's cocktail party, and you're sure to go home with the prettiest girl in the room.
  • Adam Warner, not yet chosen to be in the new Star Trek movie, takes a look at the question if October is a volatile month. 
  • I'd say October can be an emotionally volatile month if it catches one leaning the wrong way.  LOL.
  • Sulu (George Takei) had an asteroid named after him.
  • While Global Warming is "near" the top of everyone's greatest concerns going forward, imagine what would happen if the wrong actor is chosen to play Captain Kirk in the new Star Trek movie?  People would be hopping in their SUVs and driving to Hollywood!  We'd see protests like this nation hasn't seen since Paris Hilton went to jail!
  • Jordan Kahn thinks the market is looking for a lukewarm payroll report.
  • Will Karl Urban be in the new Star Trek movie as the villainous top Romulan?  I lost my link to the rumored plot line ...
  • The new Star Trek will be out.... Christmas 2008.  You'll need to take the Enterprise at warp speed around the Sun and slingshot your way and time travel to the future if you want to see it any sooner.

Monday, October 01, 2007

DOW Rockets Past 14,000!

  • Time to break out the Halloween decorations! Is it just me, or can you also hear a beckoning call to eat bite size Kit Kats? 
  • Market's up, Bubba.  Back over 14K on the DOW.  I remain 100% long with plenty of beta juicing the returns.  We're in the monthly strength period where retirement money is dollar-cost averaged into the market.  It'll be interesting to see if we get the October slide after the first few trading days.  Not sure if I'll reduce beta or raise cash shortly.  Have to take a look at my Black Box tonight.
  • Speaking of October, Mark Hulbert asks if there is a way to improve on the Halloween Indicator?  Nice mention of Jeffrey Hirsch and Sy Harding in this one.  I believe they both use techincal indicators to time their Fall entry.  (Maybe the MACD according to Hulbert).  I pay close attention to the seasonal flow.
  • On Bulls and Bears, Gary B. Smith seemed to like the idea of GM offloading their health care program and thinks the stock will move.  On Cashin' In, Trapper seemed to like the offloading thing, too.  The idea is that this is good for the company and can help them be more competitive with Toyota.   I heard Bob Brinker mention that total compensation for a GM worker averages $80 an hour, while for Toyota the average is $50 an hour.  Hard to compete when there is a dramatic difference in labor costs.  So if offloading health care to the union is good for GM, is it good for the union or the workers?  Hmm...
  • More from Sacramento Landing, where some folks are spending most all of their gross income on their mortgage payments!  As long as you don't have to eat, dress, or have any other spending needs, I suppose it could work.
  • I'm keeping the Halloween candies out of the house until the last minute.