Archive for May, 2009

Bg Picture Conference Schedule

Here is the penultimate schedule for the Conference on Wednesday  — you can register for the last few seats here. (The ultimate version will have my name spelled correctly!)

Media inquiries should contact conference producer Marion Manneker.

Conference registration is here.




Category: Markets

What Makes People Happy?

Vanity Fair:

Is there a formula—some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation—for a good life? For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been examining this question, following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age. Here, for the first time, a journalist gains access to the archive of one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history. Its contents, as much literature as science, offer profound insight into the human condition—and into the brilliant, complex mind of the study’s longtime director, George Vaillant.




What Makes Us Happy?
Joshua Wolf Shenk

Category: Video

Increased Spam Filter

Just an FYI: If you post a comment amd it doesn’t show, its probably been caught by the newly amped up spam filters. These will be manually reviewed and posted, but it may be as long as 12 or even 24 hours before hand. If you post the same thing multiple times, it just raises…Read More

Category: Weblogs

007′s Aston Martin for Sale

Pay attention, 007. London-based auction house Bonhams is holding its 10th annual sale of James Bond’s favorite runarounds next month. The Aston Martin auction at the manufacturer’s base in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, on May 9 features 46 cars, including a DB5 similar to the model in the 1964 movie “Goldfinger.” Even without any enhancements from…Read More

Category: Weekend

Advertising Goes Quant

Interesting article about bringing “Wall Street-like analysis” to the advertising industry. That unfortunate choice of words does not mean what it appears to at first blush. By “Wall Street-like analysis,” I do not believe the writer meant to imply that 1) the analysis was conflicted, 2) there was in inherent bias in it; 3) the…Read More

Category: Financial Press, Mathematics, Web/Tech

Thirty years of the 30-Year

Nice thirty year chart showing the net change in interest rates, via the 30-year treasury bond. Given the high (inverse) correlation between interest rates and stock prices, the 1982 to 2000 bull market is much less about productivity, ideology, or deficit reduction — it was about falling interest rates, plain & simple. > 30 Year…Read More

Category: Investing, Markets

Quiet in the Hamptons

Surprisingly quiet out here — weather was gorgeous Saturday. Our favorite restaurant was empty on Saturday night . . .  and the late movie in South Hampton was also empty.  No traffic, lots of For Sale signs and For Rent signs — even this late in May. Kinda weird, very quiet — I am trying…Read More

Category: Economy

The Beatles by David O’Keefe

David O’Keefe makes these amusing caricatures of musicians and actors. This one amused me:

Category: Music, Weekend

Words From the (Investment) Wise 5.31.09


Source: CXO Advisory Group

In addition to the major stock market indices rising for a third consecutive month, some of the other milestones achieved during the past week were the following:

• The S&P 500 Index rose by 5.3% in May for a three-month performance of +25.0% – the biggest three-month gain since August 1938.

• The Dow Jones Industrial Index advanced by 4.1% and 20.4% for May and the three-month period respectively – its largest three-month return since November 1998. (The last straight three-month gain was from August to October 2007, when the Index reached its bull market peak).

• The US dollar declined to a five-month low against the euro, losing 6.6% during May. The buck’s declines was even more pronounced against high-yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar (-9.4%) and the New Zealand dollar (-11.3%).

• The yield spread between two- and ten-year Treasury Notes reached a record 275 basis points on Wednesday before narrowing to 254 basis points by the close of the week.

• The Reuters-Jeffries CRB Index increased by 13.8% during May – its best monthly gain since 1974.

• The Baltic Dry Index – measuring freight rates of iron ore and bulk commodities – climbed every day in May to post its biggest monthly advance (+95.6%) on record.

• The price of West Texas Intermediate Crude recorded its largest monthly increase (+29.7%) since March 1999.

• Silver surged by 26.8% for the month – its strongest performance for 22 years. (Gold bullion advanced by 10.2% during May, and platinum by 8.2%.)

Back to long-term bonds. According to the Financial Times, Mike Lenhoff, chief market strategist at Brewin Dolphin Securities, said: “Bond markets may be telling us to expect inflation but, more importantly, I think they are telling us that policy makers the world over will succeed with their efforts to reflate the global economy.

“The trend of yields on corporate debt has been down, and that on Treasuries up, implying diminishing risk premiums – which is just what you would expect if markets are banking on recovery.”

The week’s performance of the major asset classes is summarized by the chart below.



The MSCI World Index (+1.7%) and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index (+6.6%) last week added to the previous week’s gains to take the year-to-date returns to +5.4% and a massive +36.3% respectively.

Although the major US indices experienced declines on Monday and Wednesday, the weekly scoreboard ended in positive territory, as seen from the movements of the indices: S&P 500 Index (+3.6%, YTD +1.8%), Dow Jones Industrial Index (+2.7%, YTD -3.1%), Nasdaq Composite Index (+4.9%, YTD +12.5%) and Russell 2000 Index (+5.0%, YTD +0.4%).

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Category: Markets, Think Tank

Sorry, I’m Late

Amazing shortfilm from

Shot with a stills camera in the ceiling.
There’s lots of making of-stuff on the website.

Category: Humor, Index/ETFs, Video, Web/Tech