Fortune 500 Annual List is out for 2008. It is FUGLY:

▪ 2008 was the worst year in the history of the Fortune 500 for America’s largest companies;

▪ Profits fell from $645 billion in profits in 2007, to just $98.9 billion – an 84.7% decline;

▪ Eleven of the top 25 largest corporate losses in list history took place last year;

▪ Insurance giant AIG posted a $99.3 billion loss — the biggest corporate loss of all time;

▪ Thirty-eight companies disappeared from the list altogether;

▪ Newcomers to the Fortune 500 list: Polo Ralph Lauren, Visa and Mastercar;

▪ 15 women ran Fortune 500 companies in 2008 — an all-time high;

▪ One out of every six working Americans — 25.6 million people — work for the nation’s largest companies;

Pretty wild stuff . . .

>

Source:
2008 “Worst Year” In Fortune 500 History
CBS.com, April 19, 2009

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/19/sunday/main4954725.shtml

Category: Corporate Management, Earnings, Economy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

76 Responses to “Worst Year in Fortune 500 History”

  1. DL says:

    Back in 2007, the “Kudlowites” kept saying over and over that U.S. corporations had record profits, and that therefore there could be no recession or bear market.

  2. Super-Anon says:

    Back in 2007, the “Kudlowites” kept saying over and over that U.S. corporations had record profits, and that therefore there could be no recession or bear market.

    The fact that profits are down this much only shows how close we already are to the bottom.

  3. dead hobo says:

    So what very special technical level does Technical Analysis (aka astrology) say the markets will fall to by the close? What about tomorrow? My very special propeller beanie says tomorrow won’t be much better. Like a good analyst, let’s see if my expectations are exceeded and it declines, but less than expected.

  4. TripleSigma says:

    “15 women ran Fortune 500 companies in 2008 — an all-time high” — “Worst Year in Fortune 500 History, 84.7% Profit Decline”

    Coincidence??

    I kid.

  5. leftback says:

    dh: Not sure why you rag on TA incessantly. On Friday AT said sell 875 and I said if TA means anything the rally will stop HERE. Which it did. Since you asked, there is support at SPX 815 but we will probably not see that level today. Note that SPX 845 did not hold although that may hold up today as a closing level. No buyers today.

  6. cjcpa says:

    I am curious to see if buyers show up for end of day rally….
    to jump in on Mannwich’s typical observation.

  7. DL says:

    Super-Anon @ 1:43

    I doubt anyone is predicting another 85% decline in profits.

    But the question would be, to what extent does SPX 840 represent an excessively optimistic earnings forecast?

  8. Here’s some really technical analysis for you…stocks dropped about 50% from their highs in October of 2007 ’til their recent lows in March of 2009. But the profits that owning those shares of stock represent dropped by nearly 85%. Technically speaking, I’d say the bottom is not yet in. Seems to me the value of the stock market should closely parallel the level of its profits. But, silly me, I forget how queered up the accounting now is, what with 2 trillion freshly minted dollars representing nothing of value, and insolvent banks taking as income the drop in value of their LIABILITIES as the liklihood that they’d ever be able to pay them goes down (Rule 159). $1.2 billion of BofA’s reported profits were actually write-downs of the present value of their liabilities. And that doesn’t even get to the losses that were mitigated by treating assets in just the opposite manner–by marking to fantasy.

    Here’s the most technical thing I’ve ever said: I think we might just see Leftback’s bottom again, but on the way past it, traveling down.

  9. DL says:

    leftback @ 1:54

    Critics of TA are almost never willing to offer an alternative strategy.

  10. dead hobo says:

    leftback,

    I apologize. I will be more specific in the future when I rag on TA. To me, anything that takes immediate and short term information, reasonably quantifies a behavioral relationship, and is capable of generating a graph that allows one to compare the line with the behavior of large numbers of people, I’m fine with that. Just as statistical process control will tell an interested party using a manufacturing process if the process is in control and when it goes out of control, TA CAN BE much the same. As I said before, I’m a sucker for the slow stochastic if it covers a 6 month period and documents a process in control.

    Where I go a little crazy is when some nutso claims a complicated numerical relationship can fortell future events because history repeats itself. Or a graph of 50 years ago that looks a little like one today will provide clues about tomorrow. Or when some Elliot nut looks at a chart, finagles a lightning bolt pattern and blathers about the inevitable.

    The technical levels you mention only have validity, I assume, if programmed trading is going on and someone has programmed their computer to do something at a special level that was significant in the past. Thus, you’re just guessing what like minded computer programmers will do at known historical levels. There’s nothing mystical about those numbers, otherwise.

  11. Mannwich says:

    @cjcpa: I’m going to go out on a limb and say not today. PPT (=Goldman) is selling today, so no PPT. Maybe tomorrow though.

  12. dead hobo says:

    DL Says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    leftback @ 1:54

    Critics of TA are almost never willing to offer an alternative strategy.

    reply:
    ————
    How about economics, accounting, finance, psychology, current events, a little law, and being able to draw a reasonable picture from them. Or, we can just use magic numbers.

  13. zot23 says:

    When I find myself alone in the nighttime woods without food, water, or weapon and being circled by hungry wolves, I like to run a quick technical analysis to confirm that I am incredibly f*^&ed.

    TA is brilliant for calm waters, not for use in the middle of a tsunami. In 2009, invest at your peril.

  14. dead hobo says:

    DL Says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    leftback @ 1:54

    Critics of TA are almost never willing to offer an alternative strategy.

    reply:
    ———–
    Or you can see what the TV experts say, or read the financial agony columns at Marketwatch or Barrons. Or you can just assume smart people with money are usually right and imitate what they tell you they are doing. Or you can chase a rising market, since it wouldn’t be going up unless experts were somehow involved.

  15. DL says:

    DH @ 2:15

    “Where I go a little crazy is when some nutso claims a complicated numerical relationship can fortell future events because history repeats itself”.

    In a sense, that is the basis of both technical analysis, and fundamental analysis.

    ……………

    dead hobo @ 2:21

    “How about economics, accounting, finance…”.

    How is “economics” an investing strategy…?

  16. Mannwich says:

    This one is for jdamon33. You can’t say I didn’t warn you when this happens……

    http://zerohedge.blogspot.com/2009/04/deteriorating-housing-backdrop-and-why.html

  17. dead hobo says:

    DL Says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    How is “economics” an investing strategy…?

    reply:
    ————
    Duh? Let’s see. Using magic numbers for prognostication and guidance. Or being able to understand the world around me? Which do I prefer?

  18. DL says:

    dead hobo’s investing strategy: “understanding the world around me”.

    That’s really informative.

  19. Jdamon33 says:

    Mannwich,

    Actually, I flubbed the WFC “trade” by selling my call options to early. I still made a decent return, but not what I had hoped for. Now however, since I am out of them, I don’t have nearly as much concern about today’s action. I still hold a little WFC I picked up at $8 and change. Since I am still playing with House money, I will hold for a while longer. Everytime the bears want to go on a raid they float the nationalization rumor and it pulls all the bank stocks down. Whoever (GS) controls the information is making a KILLING buying and selling these bank stocks. Wonder why the SEC doesn’t look into those types of big block trades???

  20. dead hobo says:

    DL Says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    dead hobo’s investing strategy: “understanding the world around me”.

    That’s really informative.

    reply:
    ————–
    Yes, grasshopper.

  21. Whammer says:

    @Mannwich, I think jdamon33 is going to say he made money on WFC, so neener neener to you.

    For some reason, that reminds me of the guy, who should have known much better (engineering degree), who told me of his roulette strategy. See, you watched the roulette wheel, and when it hit black three times in a row, you bet red, because the odds of it going black four times in a row were really low.

    I argued with him for a while, until he trumped me with the “well, I did it and I made money, so I must be right” argument………

  22. Mannwich says:

    We shall see in about 15 – 45 minutes if the PPT is going to be called to duty today.

    @jdamon33: I hear. Why hasn’t the SEC done anything remotely close to its supposed job in recent years? Answer: Because laws don’t matter anymore in a banana republic.

  23. drollere says:

    > Note that SPX 845 did not hold although that may hold up today as a closing level.

    the best you can say about tech analysis is that it always gives you plenty of numbers to pick and choose from — up, down, sideways, there’s always a number or three you can justify. the worst you can say about tech analysis is that it always has plenty to say — retrospectively. as pappy used to say … it’s not where you choose to point the gun, it’s when you choose to pull the trigger.

    all i have ever heard from tech analysts can be boiled down to two statements: (1) “if the market index (stock) doesn’t go (stay) here, it will go somewhere else” and (2) “well, this shows something else is gonna happen!”

    there are two problems with tech analysis, objective and subjective. the objective problem is that tech analysis is aggregating the behavior different investment agents — quants and value, marketbots and people, individuals and institutions. as these agents often work against each other, the net result of adding opposing signals is — noise. the subjective problem is that investors make investment decisions both to implement tech analysis and to recover from tech analysis errors. since the same behavior covers opposite purposes, the investors lose track of how much reliable guidance tech analysis is actually giving them.

    my tech analyst challenge: for the next four weeks, let’s have the BP tech analysts post just two numbers every monday morning: that week’s friday close (pick your index), and the market range (low and high, or just the difference). that will let the rest of us marvel at the prescience of the method.

    it should be clear to adults that investing happens from the inside out. facts don’t choose you, you choose facts. you have your view of the world, life, human nature and markets, and everything else fits into that.

  24. MRegan says:

    Mannwich-

    Chris Cox went to St. Thomas Military Academy in St. Paul. Important? Probably not. just info. I think Vince Flynn the ‘novelist’ went there too. He likes some of that fascist-lite stuff.

  25. leftback says:

    dead hobo’s investing strategy: “understanding the world around me”.

    @DL: Hmm…. that’s deep. My investing strategy actually makes money. Like you said, the other day, TA helps you to choose an entry point (Thursday) where the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor, and get massively short in this case. Ka-Ching.

    It is hard to predict a week’s action in this market because of all the intervention. In any case, time is much harder to predict than price, which is why Doug Kass knew a rally was coming, but only Leftback saw The Bottom and made The Call – right here in Real Time on March 6, 2009.

    Curmudgeon and hecuba are worrying me- they are way too anxious to see Leftback’s Bottom again.

  26. cjcpa says:

    leftback,
    I did not get from your comments that you went with the ‘massively’ on Thursday or Friday.
    I thought you were still ‘evaluating.’

    I probably missed some comments…..

  27. DL says:

    drollere @ 2:53

    My TA CRITIC challenge: for the next four weeks, let’s have the (BP) TA critic analysts post just two numbers every monday morning: that week’s friday close (pick your index), and the market range (low and high, or just the difference). That will let the rest of us marvel at the prescience of the TA critic method(s).

  28. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    Well, Bruce in Tennessee bought more short term bonds today….at under 3%…

    To borrow a phrase from that literary paragon, Macro Man…it looks like the turd polishers ain’t gonna show today…

  29. call me ahab says:

    leftback did call it- the advance was rebuffed 3 times at the 875 level- like a “force field” or something

  30. cjcpa says:

    ahab….
    yes, I recall discussing the theory of resistance with you….

  31. cjcpa says:

    but my problem with TA is that — the level is the barrier until or unless the barrier is crossed, in which case we have a new barrier.

    that – and I’m a cursory observer of others’ analysis.
    which led to my “lack of conviction” post earlier today.

    to be good at this, i.e. better than others, you have to apply yourself.

  32. dead hobo says:

    DL, I don’t know what the fuck the numbers will be on any day. I usually have a good idea if the market is toppy or possibly at a good bottom or adequate buy in point. Then I buy at a bottom and sell at a top and make money on the range, hopefully. Unlike many, I don’t claim the infallibility apparently provided by magic numbers. With this market that is out of control on the downside when viewed as a process, getting the bottom is rough if I don’t feel like waiting it out. I also have a few other rules I follow for various reasons.

    Re FAZ on Friday: When you goobers were fretting about if it was OK to buy in at about $9.80. I said it was as close to a sure thing as you would ever see on Earth. You would have made money if you listened. No, I didn’t buy because of those little rules I mentioned. Some things are out of my control at this time. I’m getting back in at the market bottom.

    You just need to be a big picture person. Not a magic number person.

  33. call me ahab says:

    cjcpa-

    after all the advice and input I’ve decided on the “force field” idea- I saw it in Star Trek- it seems to explain it pretty good.

    Also- dead hobo’s comment “understanding the world around me” has merit- otherwise you would be buying into the gibberish that is doled out daily- someone has to search to find intelligent analysis- you don’t do that unless you know something “just ain’t right”

  34. dead hobo says:

    About my FAZ reasoning, look up and learn the term asymptotic. My conclusion was based on the obvious.

  35. cjcpa says:

    DH:
    right, it is a sure thing.
    unless the gov’t announces their further involvement.
    in which case it’s not.

    from leftback from Friday:
    This 870-875 area is an absolutely MASSIVE technical level. I know AT commented that if this breaks to the upside we go all the way to 950 or higher. If it does break, I can tell you that LB will not be standing in Tiananmen Square in front of the tanks.

    Not that anybody owes me anything, but I read this as equivocation: either it holds or it doesn’t.

    which again, led me to conclude that I don’t have any conviction about whether faz goes from 9 to 6 or to 16.
    and so, I’m mostly just a commentator, not a trader.

    cjc

  36. leftback says:

    ahab: TA people use a lot of inputs including the world around them. TA helps to explain why the market does what it does, especially when it is not making sense from a fundamental perspective. Since there is a ton of program trades in this market, TA is especially useful.

    cj: I was nibbling at FAZ etc last week and then went in massively after SPX 875 was rejected. Worked well.

  37. DL says:

    dead hobo @ 3:33

    “Re FAZ …I said it was as close to a sure thing as you would ever see on Earth”
    I do remember that, and I believe in giving credit where it is due.

    Understand, I am not running for president of the association of technical analysts.
    I simply look upon it as a tool….. one of several.

    My own idealized objective is to figure out where the market should be going based on the macroeconomic fundamentals, then wait for the market to agree with what I think should be happening.

  38. Mannwich says:

    I think the point is there are many tools in the toolbox that one can use in this game and the key is to be open to them all. Unfortunately the elite tools who are in the know have more “tools” to use than we little people do so it’s an uphill battle for all of us.

  39. leftback says:

    So my point was, SPX 875 did hold and as options expired it was pretty safe to get short.
    I had stops on in case something bizarre happened to the upside. It didn’t.

    As DL and AT have both pointed out, this is a business of probabilities.
    You win when others make what turn out to be mistaken estimates of probability.

  40. DL says:

    call me ahab @ 3:37

    “dead hobo’s comment understanding the world around me has merit”.

    Almost like Obama promising “change you can believe in”.

  41. dead hobo says:

    DL Says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    call me ahab @ 3:37

    “dead hobo’s comment understanding the world around me has merit”.

    Almost like Obama promising “change you can believe in”.

    comment:
    ————-
    Change you can believe in:
    From Obama – “Hey, have you got 2 nickles for a dime”
    From a banker on the public dole ” Hey, have you got two dimes for a nickel”

  42. call me ahab says:

    except for one thing Mannwich- we can get in and out much quicker than an institutional investor- samll trade = liquidity

  43. call me ahab says:

    that’s: small trades = liquidity

  44. cjcpa says:

    leftback, I did not grok that from your comments.
    I see now you were looking at either outcome A or B, and with A more likely, pursued it with stops in case of B.

    but that’s not what I got out of it at the time.

  45. cjcpa says:

    and – stops don’t help much with FAZ over the weekend.

  46. leftback says:

    cjc: Not always possible to post and trade in real time – despite the fact I think at light speed. :-)

    TA and anyone’s comments here are just guides. Everyone owns their own trades.
    Sold half of FAZ/SRS today. You have to take what Mr Market gives you and not be greedy.

    We all learn this business by trial and error, and loss is often your best teacher.
    All I am doing is pointing at risk/reward ratios that look attractive to me.
    Sunny weather tomorrow. Turnaround Tuesday. Dead cat bounce.
    Wednesday will be another washout. Or not.

  47. DL says:

    Yeah, I’ll go with “dead feline bounce” tomorrow.

    And we may see 875 yet again soon.

  48. dead hobo says:

    DL Says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Yeah, I’ll go with “dead feline bounce” tomorrow.

    And we may see 875 yet again soon.

    comment:
    —————–
    Yup, maybe in June – July if there’s no new bad news to throw off the next incline. Otherwise a little later. Next time I’ll hold longer because I had no idea there were so many looking for Goldilocks.

  49. Mannwich says:

    I tried to dump a quarter of my SRS at the close but I wasn’t quick enough with the trigger. May try to dump some tomorrow. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a bounce tomorrow from dip buyers but it won’t last.

  50. leftback says:

    I love shorting the banks. It is deeply satisfying on so many levels. Especially C.
    The more they recapitalize C, the more they can be shorted. The gift that keeps on giving.

  51. emmanuel117 says:

    AT, wherever you are, good call on 875.

  52. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Hey, y’all:

    Late to the thread, and only read the first ten or so comments, but I had to jump on down here and offer this:

    Only 3 days to go until the big pivot point on Martin Armstrong’s Pi Cycle is put to the ultimate test. You wanna’ talk about predictive mathematical models? If Armstrong is onto something, we will live to remember that day as being when everything changed (not saying he is onto something, but if he’s right, we’ll know it). Unfortunately, the change predicted can be positive or negative (but it’s supposed to be negative), and it can take place anywhere (not necessarily in the US, but seeing as we’re all global now, I can’t see it not affecting us), so it’s not all that specifically predictive. Mark your calendars.

    I once saw a guy shank a tee shot that ricocheted off of a dead oak tree and back onto the green, for a hole-in-one. If something big happens on the 23rd, I believe I’ll feel the same way I felt then.

  53. ben22 says:

    Mannwich,

    I dumped all my SRS today for a $2 gain from where I bought. Not feeling too great about that considering it was up 20% today!

    I don’t think I’m going back to that one again. I got killed in it a few weeks ago and I barely made money this time around. I’m going to stick to shorting individual names. I’m so convinced commercial real estate is going to get killed I almost think I have to be wrong.

    Happy I owned some puts on my individual names today. That was pretty ugly.

    BTW, check out some of the short term puts on M today?? I should have followed my own advice on those last week.

    I still think there is an opp. to short them and some other big apparel retailers.

    If we all expect the rally to stop, it should be pretty easy to find your shorts, we all know what went up the most during the rally, all the consumer junk.

    Retail, banks, hotels, etc.

    I’d just pick those sectors apart and go to town.

  54. Todd says:

    @Marcus:

    Speaking of Pi, did you ever see the movie Pi where a mathematician goes insane trying to figure out patterns in the stock market?

  55. ben22 says:

    @ Marcus,

    I saw you discuss that on here not long ago. I marked my calendar at work.

    I suppose time will tell.

  56. dead hobo says:

    if you want to try a little straght edge prognostication, GS at $80 – $90 is probable.

  57. dead hobo says:

    Or C at 75 cents.

  58. call me ahab says:

    DL Says:

    ‘Almost like Obama promising “change you can believe in”.’

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again- if you vote for any politician of any party- prepare to be disappointed- trust me- they don’t care- these are the same folks you couldn’t stand in high school

  59. ben22 says:

    re: Pi,

    It’d be cooler if the theory was based on phi instead of Pi. Phi seems far more connected to human behaivor, and, IMO, is just a cooler #.

  60. pigpen says:

    BR, time to send in the seal team 46 into the heart of darkness – wall street.
    http://thebarricadeblog.com/2009/04/18/cartoon-of-the-week-when-do-the-navy-seals-begin-patrols-on-wall-street/

  61. call me ahab says:

    the horror, the horror

  62. Andy Tabbo says:

    emanuelle:

    thanks. my number was actually 870 by last Fri or today. Was pretty sharp reversal day from an ideal price level and timing window. Pretty ugly shape to the decline. It’s oversold extremely short term, but I’d say any good 50%-61.8% bounce from the Fri’s highs should be sold. Any kind of bounce next few days may be the last chance to get out or get short and good level.

    dead hobo is funny to me. Does he read anything that is written in these comments on real technical analysis? It’s just amazing….Some of us wrote notes about an impending bottom back in early March….then some of us said to look for a rollover into 870 on Friday? WTF more do you want? You want me to stand behind you and put your fingers on the buy and sell buttons? Wake up.

    Just like everything, not all technicians are created equal. There’s a lot of hackery out there….

  63. leftback says:

    AT, another great call. I am on the same page about selling into a bounce this week.
    Regarding dead hobo, nothing to add….

  64. Big E says:

    AT – I actually look forward to reading your posts out of almost everyone here and I’m continually amazed at the calls you make (however you do it). I don’t think people give you enough credit around here – you’ve been spot on much more than you’ve been wrong. Just know that you have A LOT of fans (many of us who don’t post often)..

  65. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Todd:

    Yes, I saw it. Very interesting numerology thing.

    Ben22:

    Glad you marked it. One never know, do one?

  66. Andy Tabbo says:

    Todd Says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 4:36 pm
    @Marcus:

    Speaking of Pi, did you ever see the movie Pi where a mathematician goes insane trying to figure out patterns in the stock market?

    Ha. To add on to ben’s comment, indeed, if the mathematician had used phi he would not have gone insane…he would have figured it out. Many aspects of wave analysis is related phi…1.618 and .618. Never saw that movie, but they should have a creepy sequel called Phi, where some crazy guy actually “figures it all out.”

  67. Mortimus says:

    AT

    Love your posts and eagerly anticipate them. I couldn’t care less if you concoct your analysis in a cauldron using Cramer blood and a protractor. But what exactly do you mean “any good 50%-61.8% bounce from the Fri’s highs” ? Are you saying 850-860 area?

    Thanks again for sharing your TA

  68. leftback says:

    My interpretation of AT’s comment is we go down to support (SPX 815) and then bounce 50%-61.8% of the way back towards SPX 875. This leads us to SPX 845-852 as the “lower high” from which we would subsequently descend.

    Looking at the action in Japan and the currency movements, I think we will very likely see the SPX 815 area reached tomorrow. The bounce may not be immediate but it is very likely that some longs may attempt to re-enter there at the 50DMA and short covering will assist a modest move upwards, which is likely to be of only short duration.

    Gold seems to have found support and is likely to have a good run here, along with USD and JPY.

  69. usphoenix says:

    @Bruce: I got a lot of mileage out of the “polishing the turd” adage. You’re the first one other than me to use it. To my knowledge. We must be related.

    Other than TA, or psychological manipulation of the market, or ZH’s explanation, I was completely and totally thrown off by today’s outcome. I expected more of last week’s same. Exactly what new information turned everything upside down?

    The PPT never showed up, which I find fascinating.

    Perhaps the week will shed some more light. But I suspect it’s a misdirection play.

  70. Mortimus says:

    Thank LB

  71. Andy Tabbo says:

    mortimus:

    When i say 50-61.8% retracement of Fri highs I’m referring to the move from 875.63 (Fri. high) to 832.39 (the current low). So, right now, that’s 854 – 859. If we set another low tomorrow, then it will need to be measured from that low. The question though reveals an important concept that’s difficult for some to figure out: Where do you measure a retracement from – to? Alas…that’s an important part of the ‘special sauce’ of technicians……

  72. AmenRa says:

    Honestly I think todays action was prefaced by the “leaked” stress test results. The Treasury PR quickly came out and denied the leak and its results. But it was too late. I also think it was another attempt by the Treasury to test the markets reaction. Right now I’m waiting to see if this turns into a trend. It’s just a turnaround/reversal of the three line break. So I’m on the sideline until I see what develops.

  73. ben22 says:

    AT,

    Curious if you have anything to say or share about gold since you had talked about maybe a month or two ago.

  74. Biggs, N. L. The roots of combinatorics. Historia Math. 6 (1979), no. 2, 109–136. (Reviewer: J. Dieudonné.) SC: 05-03 (01A15 01A20 01A25 01A30 01A32 01A40 01A45), MR: 80h:05003.

    (1) As the author explains, the most ancient problem connected with combinatorics may be the house-cat-mice-wheat problem of the Rhind Papyrus (Problem 79), which occurs in a similar form in a problem of Fibonacci’s Liber Abaci and in an English nursery rhyme. All are concerned with successive powers of 7. (2) The first occurrence of combinatorics per se may be in the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching. (However, the more modern binary ordering of these is first seen in China in the 10th century.) A Chinese monk in the 700s may have had a rule for the number of configurations of a board game similar to go. In Greece, one of the very few references to combinatorics is a statement by Plutarch about the number of compound statements from 10 simple propositions; Plutarch quotes Chrysippus, Hipparchus, and Xenocrates on the subject, so all apparently had some interest in the subject. (Plutarch’s statement is also discussed in a recent article in the Monthly.) Boethius apparently had a rule for the number of combinations of n things taken two at a time. The author discusses interest in combinatorics in the Hindu world, by the Jainas, Varahamihira, and Bhaskara (the latter in the Lilavati). The work of Brahmagupta should be relevant, but is not currently available in English. The Arabs seem to have adopted their combinatorics from the Hindus. The author also briefly discusses some interest in combinatorics in the Jewish mathematical tradition; two examples are Rabbi ben Ezra and Levi ben Gerson. (3) Magic squares may first occur in the lo shu diagram, which is often linked with the I Ching. The author discusses how the idea of magic squares may have entered the Islamic world, was then improved, appeared in the work of Manuel Moschopoulos, and possibly through him entered the Western world. …
    http://math.truman.edu/~thammond/history/Fibonacci.html

    the above, to all those who so freely rip on ‘Astrology’..

    further: http://clusty.com/search?input-form=clusty-simple&v%3Asources=webplus&query=Leonardo+of+pisa

    AT,

    as always, nice TA~

  75. Andy Tabbo says:

    ben22.

    gold’s a tough one for me at this point. I’ve sort of lost the plot on that one recently. I was bearish expecting one outcome. I was rightly bearish, but the whole pattern down from the recent highs has evolved in a way I didn’t expect. So…to be straight with you….I don’t know.

    Essentially, the pattern down from the highs does not look “impulsive” to me. It looks “corrective” in nature…like we’re correcting the previous big move from 680′s to 1000 ish…. If that’s the case, then gold should hold 850 -812 zone and “find support.”

    It should be noted I have an inherent bias against gold. I find myself to be a natural bear on gold. I know, I know…it’s supposed to be a great hedge in a portfolio, but I just don’t like it much. If we go to Mad Max beyond Thunderdome type stuff, do I want to be long Gold, or do I want to be long gasoline, food, and ammo?

    At the end of the day, gold only has value because people “perceive” it to have value, similar to the U.S. Dollar or any other “stable” currency. I don’t want to start a fiat currency v. gold debate….just making the point that most “things” only have value because people believe it has value.

  76. ben22 says:

    AT,

    Understood. I’m confused by gold too. Gold bugs got every possible thing they could have wanted this Feb. and it, as you say, seem to be correcting.

    I don’t know how to read this so for me it might finally be time to watch gold from the sidelines.

    In my attempt to prove my reflation thesis wrong gold is one thing that worries me. Just like every other asset, it went down as well and never really had, at least IMO, a blow-off top. Lots of the other commodities have gone down harder, but then again, they all went up more than gold did as well. Examples would be oil or silver.