Here’s a quick 10 spot of links worth reading:

U.S. Stock Pessimism Drops to Lowest Since 2007, Survey Finds (Bloomberg) Pessimism about U.S. stocks fell to the lowest level since the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index peaked in October 2007, as economic reports and policy makers indicate the recession in the world’s largest economy is easing.

Roubini: The Spend-And-Borrow Economy (Forbes) Governments have been spending and borrowing like never before. The question now is: how do they stop?

Fannie, Freddie soar on opportunistic day traders (Reuters)

Homebuilders Buying Land After Three Years of Cutting Inventory (Bloomberg) Homebuilders that spent the past three years selling off land and writing down the value of property holdings are scouring markets in Sacramento, Phoenix, Denver and Orlando — cities synonymous with the real estate bubble — looking for deals on ready-to-build lots as they prepare for a rebound. Writedowns and write-offs by 14 of the largest publicly traded homebuilders totaled $28.5 billion since the start of 2006.

ATA Truck Tonnage Index Rose 2.1 Percent in July (ATA)

Adjustable Mortgages Loom as Threat to Housing Recovery (NYT) more than a half-million option ARMs scheduled to reset in the next four years, at rates many homeowners cannot afford.

When all else fails, blame the lawyers… (Footnoted)

Finance: Before the Next Meltdown (Democracy: A Journal of Ideas)  Intellectual conservatives and bankers have mounted an even more fervent defense of financial innovation. For the past 30 years, financial innovation has increased costs and risks for both individual consumers and the global economy. Consumers bought houses they could not otherwise have bought using new mortgages they had no hope of repaying, creating a housing bubble, while new derivatives helped hide the risk of those mortgages, creating a securities bubble. The collapse of those bubbles has shaken the world for the last year. Today’s challenge is to rethink financial innovation and learn how to separate the good from the bad

A brief history of climate change and conflict (The Bulletin)

Second Degree Murder and Six Other Crimes Cheaper than Pirating Music (Gizmodo)

To answer an emailer’s question from yesterday, I may not agree with all of links I post, but I always find them intriguing and/or thought provoking . . . .

Category: Financial Press

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.

64 Responses to “Thursday 10 Link Roundup”

  1. Re The Spend-And-Borrow Economy

    Spend is such a light word for what they are doing to us. I prefer to call it the squander and borrow economy.

    And soon it will be the squander, borrow and tax economy as they have little recourse to pay for this. Especially from levels under the government levels that control the printing press.

  2. call me ahab says:

    the market has officially become a c a s i n o- fantasy- I can’t even read articles discussing day traders buying FRE and FNM-

    WHY??? What is the rational???

    these institution shouldn’t even be trading at all- they are owned and controlled by Uncle Dumbass-


  3. Thor says:

    The adjustable rate reset article is a good one, I am struck by this one small fact:

    “Mr. Clavon, 63″

    Why in god’s name would a person of this age make the kind of gamble with his finance? Isn’t the usual rule of thumb that the older you get the LESS risk you take with your money? I simply cannot feel sorry for a person at his age, that close to retirement losing their shirts, it’s the price you pay for stupidity!

  4. Onlooker from Troy says:

    Bloomberg’s Smear of Roubini Merely Hurts the Insulter

    Quote: “The very month the recession/depression is adjudged to have begun, Birinyi said to buy AIG. His Dow forecast for 2008 was on the money or close to conservative if it had a 1:2 reverse split. “
    Quote: “This article is a disgrace. What are the penalties in football for piling on and taunting?”

  5. Onlooker from Troy says:


    We threw out all those wonderful prudent rules of thumb and conservative practices in the last decade. You know that. It’s endemic. But I”m with you and I can’t help but still be dumbfounded every time I hear another variation on the bubble stupidity.

  6. VennData says:

    Obama can afford to take a hit now

    Also, if anyone tells you what ObamaCare is, ask them these questions: (Make a bet. If they get all of them right – since they know what’s in the bill – they win, if they get any of them wrong, you win.)

    Public plan or not?
    Mandated coverage or not?
    Coops or not?
    No reform at all or not?
    Pre-existing conditions or not?
    Death panels or not?
    Cost of subsidies to poor or not?
    Universal coverage or not?
    Taxing benefits or not?
    Fee for service or not?
    State waivers or not?

    That should shut them up.

  7. Onlooker from Troy says:

    Trader Mark: Goldman Sachs (GS) Trading Huddles; And if Goldman Had a Town Hall Meeting

    quote: “Frankly if I were Goldman’s CEO I’d make sure we were (ahem) “making some mistakes” this quarter to get that winning percentage down to say low 80%s…”

    Good post; and not just a reposting of the article. Mark makes some good, insightful comments.

  8. Joe Retail says:

    Thor and Onlooker

    I concur. It’s only in the past five years – maybe less – that I have heard people approaching retirement age who seem to think that taking on significant debt is just fine. That’s not the way I was taught. Maybe there’s something else in their net worth that makes it less risky than it looks, but somehow I doubt it.

  9. Mannwich says:

    One for Steve Barry: Deleveraging hasn’t even begun yet in earnest. It’s been postponed for the time being while the economy and markets are reflated. Batten down the hatches when the Mother of all unintended consequences eventually hits. Make sure you have a chair when the music stops.

    Total U.S. debt as a percent of GDP surged to 375% in the first quarter, a new post 1870 record, and well above the 360% average for 2008. Therefore, the economy became more leveraged even as the recession progressed.

  10. mcHAPPY says:

    An interesting article from the man who predicted $20 oil in July. Tough to believe given the huge rally this afternoon and decline of the USD vs. EUR.

  11. Steve Barry says:

    Mannwich: Exactly right…keep it to ourselves.

    Think Bernanke can spot the current equity bubble? Damn we have a thing for stocks in this country that won’t go away despite 2 crashes in the last decade. In fact the moral hazard from zirp and QE went right back into stocks and it worked almost immediately.

  12. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    “The prospect of a human baby with three biological parents has moved closer after scientists created monkeys using a technique that one day could stop children from inheriting severe genetic diseases.”

    …Bob and Ted and Carol and Alice….

    Why stop there? If both partents have big ears, and Mom’s sister has little ears, just b0rrow a little little ear dna…..

  13. deadonarrival says:

    Laid-off workers eye the abyss

    Obama Channeling Reagan Needs 5 Quarters of 7% GDP Growth Surge

  14. deadonarrival says:

    The Truth About Lying

    We are a culture of liars.

  15. call me ahab says:


    laid off workers who fall off the rolls improve the unemployment rate- no?

    with a lower UE rate- then- that mean better times ahead?

    seems like good news to me-

    (is this snark or am i a colossal dumbass?)

  16. deadonarrival says:


    I’m just posting the article. I’m not making any references to how the markets interpret the article (or more importantly, how the MSM interpret the markets interpretation of the article).

    We already know that outcome.

  17. Whammer says:

    @DOA: From your link:

    “Liars get what they want. They avoid punishment, and they win others’ affection.” You would think that I would have learned that by now….. But I continue, especially at work, to be amazed at the complete nonsense that people throw around and get rewarded for it.

  18. SecondLook says:


    While eugenics is supposed to be the line in the sand for genetic researchers, the reality is that eventually its going to happen.

    If you could select positive genetic traits for your offspring – good health, intelligence, appearance – why wouldn’t you?
    If you could remove negative traits – inheritable diseases, for example – why wouldn’t you?

    Yes, people will argue about what constitutes either category, but there would also be a good consensus. Here is a list of the ten most common inherited diseases:

    Here’s a list of the top 10 most common single gene Mendelian disorders in the UK (the numbers are similar globally) and their frequency per 1000 births from the Genetic Interest Group.

    1. Familial combined hyperlipidemia – 5.0
    2. Familial hypercholesterolemia – 2.0
    3. Dominant otosclerosis – 1.0
    4. Adult polycystic kidney disease – 0.8
    5. Multiple exostoses – 0.5
    6. Huntington’s disease – 0.5
    7. Fragile X-syndrome – 0.5
    8. Neurofibromatosis – 0.4
    9. Cystic Fibrosis – 0.4
    10. Duchenne muscular dystrophy – 0.3

    Not having an offspring with any of those might be seen in the not too distant future as a parental obligation.

    The argument about how fanciable we might be in selecting is a bit spurious. Human evolution occured precisely because people constantly made value judgments about the desirability of mates based on their traits. Genetic engineering simply will allow us to make those decisions more quickly, and more accurately.
    Of course, there is the potential for nightmares. Then, that is the case for all new transformational technologies. If the fears of bad consequences dominated our thinking, we would be still in a pre-industrial civilization, or worse.

  19. deadonarrival says:


    Good article, thanks! It’s a tough position to hold onto so I appreciate the re-inforcement.

  20. We are a culture of liars.

    I blame Hollywood. After all, the best liars in Hollywood get to take home the Oscar. The whole thing is a fantasy sham and most people plug it into their heads for hours per day. That has to affect the psyche

  21. Andy T says:

    Well. That’s not a bearish candlestick today. Looks like a hammer bottom, or at minimum a “failure to sell off.” So, that tri-star doji top possibility is now dead. It sure seems like we’re going to probe new highs in the next few days…test of 1050 coming on the SP500? Test of 2060 coming on the Nasdaq. Interesting times.

    Trying to piece together a possible count from the 869 lows in July.

    We could be seeing a “five wave” move with a “first wave extension.”

    869 ->1018 = Wave 1
    1018 -> 979 = Wave 2 (Held 23.6%)
    979 -> 1038 = Wave 3 (38.2% of Wave 1)
    1038 -> 1017 = Wave 4 (Held 38.2% retrace of Wave 3)

    The target for this set up is 61.8% of Wave 3, which is 1053. Similar level on Nasdaq is low 2061, right at a point of huge longer term resistance.

    It would take a break below today’s lows to negate this concept that we have one more marginally higher high coming over the next few days.

  22. Steve Barry says:


    I no candlestick expert…but a hammer bottom at the high end of an uptrend is usually bearish, no? Especially when the whole Dow rally was due to BA.

  23. Thor says:

    deadonarrival – That article was fascinating! And depressing.

  24. Andy T says:

    SB. Yes. you are correct. A hammer bottom looking candlestick that occurs right at a new high would look a lot like a “hanging man.” I don’t think today’s a hanging man because of where/how it occurred. That’s why in the position it’s in, I’m inclined to just call it “failure to sell off” action. Let’s face it, it was looking dicey and then it snapped back pretty hard. Anyone selling this morning is underwater and is now fretting about new highs. I think we’re getting really close to some dramatic reversal, but I’ve been of that opinion for awhile now. This is why it’s sometimes best to just let the market really show some signs of cracking first, before jumping on the short-wagon. With that said, though, I’d still take a shot at selling 1050 and 2060 on the Naz.

  25. km4 says:

    Why the deficit will raise taxes

    A $9 trillion federal deficit over 10 years because The U.S. government is spending huge sums and borrowing more and more and more.

    The solution is straightforward if unpleasant: Shy of finding a fairy willing to leave trillions under Uncle Sam’s pillow, lawmakers will have to raise taxes and cut spending.

    “Taxes are going up and they’re going up for a lot more people than those making more than $250,000. Why? Math. The numbers don’t come close to working,” said David Walker, former U.S. comptroller general.

    Welcome to sobering reality Americans !!!

  26. leftback says:

    People actually questioning the value of our financial services priesthood? Whatever next?

    “we have one more marginally higher high coming over the next few days.”

    I was afraid you might say that, AT. For now, LB is clinging to the hope that a double top in EUR:USD marks the end of this sorry chapter in our nation’s “Free Markets”, but of course there is room for another poke up to 1,46…

    LB thinks that the oil stocks are starting to disconnect from $wtic a little, signs of commodity bubbleiciousness?

  27. deanscamaro says:

    Bernanke Victimized by Identity Fraud Ring

    Exclusive: According to court documents, the Fed chairman and his wife were swindled in 2008 by a skilled team of crooks.

    You don’t suppose there was an expert bunch of computer hackers out there who didn’t worship at the feet of “Helicopter Ben”…………….NAH!?!?

  28. Mannwich says:

    Having all sorts of problems with the site, Barry. What’s the dealio?

  29. call me ahab says:

    from ZH- pretty hilarious- a poster describing what he saw at a starbucks-

    “Today, I saw two surfer/skateboard slackers, complete with flatbill caps, sunglasses worn backwards, “Affliction” t-shirts, etc. One guy was clearly the fast talker, teaching his friend how to daytrade using “resistance” and “support” on a 5-minute chart. Wanna bet what stocks he was talking about? Yep. AIG and Vonage. It was all I could do to keep from bursting out laughing.

    “Just goes to show how hordes of unemployeds have been suckered into “how to work from home” schemes by trading FX, stocks, options, etc. Radio stations here in L.A. are blasting ads for trading seminars and webinars 24/7 from various brokerage houses, and some of the online trading academies.”

    people never ever learn- at least a dog respects the invisible fence when the shock collar jolts him a few times-

    not people- they never learn- simpletons-

    of course maybe that’s all you can do when you don’t have a job

  30. deadonarrival says:


    “deadonarrival – That article was fascinating! And depressing”

    I’m assuming you’re referring to the “liar” article.

    To me, it was depressing at first. Then I thought, “am I, in my behavior in the real world, liberated from that need or not”.

    Depending on the answer to that question, one identifies themselves as a slave, or free.

    Think about it!

  31. deadonarrival says:



  32. Mannwich says:

    @ahab: More signs of a bored, vapid, unimaginative, decaying culture in decline……….as if we needed any more of those. It’s just one bubble scheme to the next. Find the next gravy train and go for the big score every time. Pretty sad. Makes me kind of glad I don’t have kids.

  33. Bruce in Tn says:


    I would. I agree.

    Saw this today too….

    Eurozone recovery under threat as credit contracts again

    M3 money supply growth has slowed to a record low of 3pc. Monetarists watch the M3 figures closely as a early warning gauge for the economy a year or so later.

    The ominous figures help explain why several ECB governors have stepped forward in recent days to cool euphoria. Yves Mersch, the Luxembourg member, said “very low capacity use” in industry would crimp recovery for a long time and warned of a second banking crisis as lenders set aside further provisions for rising defaults. “You can’t cover it up with some good half-year balance sheets. Above all, small banks could get into difficulty. The systemically relevant banks are through the worst,” he said.

  34. deadonarrival says:

    Since this is a “links” link…

    Seems TIMMEH has some company…

    Tax Man Rangel Forgets to Pay His Own

  35. call me ahab says:


    Rangel- shocker!

    Speaking of Timmmayyy-

  36. Andy T says:

    @left. I wish I saw something different because these are essentially impossible markets for me to trade at this point. They’ve been impossible for weeks now….so I really want to see something different. I’m selling either 1050 next few days or something that looks like a legitimate “break down.”

    DX is doing nada, but it I will say the DX is probably frustrating shorts as well, especially new ones….we’ve got the arch-enemy of the greenback getting renominated early…Gross, Buffett and Stiglitz all came out within the same week essentially bashing the dollar publicly….and what has it done? It has essentially grinded for three weeks now. What do Gold bulls have to show for themselves? It’s been the same level for months now….just consolidating in a huge triangle. One way or another something’s going to give soon.

  37. deadonarrival says:

    @Andy T

    I said in another thread that we might be getting close to a Louise Yamada moment (per this thread)

    S&P 500 Approaches 200-Month Moving Average: Technical Analysis

    Today, the S&P bounced off of 1,016 (therein indicated)…

    Coming on the heels of the KASS call, wouldn’t it be perfect for the S&P to rally 2% tomorrow, print a 1,054 (blowing out Kass), then retreating, never to look back?

  38. jc says:

    Bruce N…These monkeys cost George Allen a shot at the white House LOL

    The prospect of a human baby with three biological parents has moved closer after scientists created monkeys using a technique that one day could stop children from inheriting severe genetic diseases.

    The birth of four healthy macaque monkeys

  39. Andy T says:

    I know Louise Yamada is big on the 20 mo. moving average. It’s 1083 right now and will move lower next month. So, I know in her mind we have big resistance coming up. Also, technicians like her pay a lot of attention to breadth. When you’ve got four dogshit stocks like AIG, etc representing such huge % of total volume, that’s a big negative sign.

  40. call me ahab says:


    obama’s health care plan should go down to defeat- it is not a single payer- it empowers insurance companies by forcing employers to supply coverage- Obama negotiated w/ big pharma and guaranteed no cost controls

    worst of both worlds- why bother

  41. willid3 says:

    hadn’t though of this (mainly cause who I work for has said they won’t allow it, for now anyway) consider this.
    as the DNA gets even more well mapped, and knowing how insurance companies like to keep from paying out claims, they can get that info on you and deny your claims or insurance based on your DNA. and you know they will do it. and get approval from the states to do it too!

  42. deadonarrival says:

    @ahab @VennData


    this was VennData’s earlier comment…

    “Also, if anyone tells you what ObamaCare is, ask them these questions: (Make a bet. If they get all of them right – since they know what’s in the bill – they win, if they get any of them wrong, you win.)

    Public plan or not?
    Mandated coverage or not?
    Coops or not?
    No reform at all or not?
    Pre-existing conditions or not?
    Death panels or not?
    Cost of subsidies to poor or not?
    Universal coverage or not?
    Taxing benefits or not?
    Fee for service or not?
    State waivers or not?”

    My response……………….COMPLICATED!

    Another view I read today…

    “Obama’s health care plan will be written by a committee whose head says he doesn’t understand it,
    passed by a Congress that hasn’t read it and whose members will be exempt from it,
    signed by a president who smokes, funded by a treasury chief who did not pay his taxes,
    overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that is broke.

    What could possibly go wrong?


  43. deadonarrival says:


    EXCELLENT! My favorite comment. “Given everything we know, this may seem to be the most rational way to think about things. But you have to wonder when so many are taking the same side of a trade.”

  44. call me ahab says:

    you $ watchers out there- how long do you think the price of stocks/commodities will have an inverse relationship with the $-

    i see commodities as an inflation hedge- thus the inverse relationship when USG policies are inflationary- but there have been times when the $ has been strong and the stocks have done well-


  45. call me ahab says:

    closing observation from Babak’s link-

    “Right now sentiment is skewed severely towards bearishness on the dollar and a disbelief in any outcome other than one in which the US dollar is laid to waste. Given everything we know, this may seem to be the most rational way to think about things. But you have to wonder when so many are taking the same side of a trade.”

    my only thought is the unprecedented debt that will be impossible to pay off- seems to me that is a very heavy weight the $ would have to fight against in order to rise

  46. Pat G. says:

    Oops, problems in reverse mortgage land. Who knew? Check out the “Shifting to Reverse” chart.

    After a collective holding of our breath, our eyes staring into the abyss, a final sigh of relief, it’s back to business as usual:

  47. Transor Z says:

    Hugh Hendry’s August newsletter is interesting. Tough to be in a position with your investors where the “I told you so” part hasn’t happened . . . yet. Like Hussman, he’s sticking to his guns.

  48. Onlooker from Troy says:

    Transor Z

    I’m sure that Hussman has lost some folks and their money lately. People will chase the performance we know. But, I would certainly think that anybody that’s been with him for more than a year or so will stick with him, as they have seen the wisdom and value of not losing big chunks of money.

    It shows just a little in his latest weekly commentary and the very recent annual report. He has talked about his approach and risk, etc. If you go back and read his very early weeklies in 2001-02, you’ll see that he was verbally holding hands every week as he reiterated that he wouldn’t track with the market. Especially when he didn’t chase the rallies. People just hate to see others reap gains when they’re not. They forget that they didn’t take the losses and therefore don’t have to take as much risk.

    Hendry’s a bit of a different case. I’m not real familiar with his track record. Very entertaining to watch though and I find myself identifying with his philosophy and skepticism.

  49. Mannwich says:

    Lower food prices on the way? Sorry, but NOT inflationary…..

  50. Mannwich says:

    Favors from JPM Chase exec to Timmay………the rules don’t apply to the royals…..

  51. Mike in Nola says:

    Transor: Don’t think the Hendry link was posted. Here it is:

    I’ve watched him the past six months and have to agree with most everything he says. Whether it makes money is another matter. I think he uses the method espoused by Taleb: bet small amounts on the very high return situations where you can get in cheap because the crowd has all bet the other way.

    LOL on the Onion. Problem is that it is not so far from their thinking.

  52. Andy T says:


    That DSI sentiment index is a decent index. The guys at Elliott Wave Institute may get pissed for posting a copy of their work, with some other third party’s data contained. It’s almost like double copyright infringement thing going on there….

  53. Mike in Nola says:

    Thor & Onlooker:

    Thor, I think you were looking for books. Here’s another I finally got around to reading: A Short History of Financial Euphoria by JK Galbraith. It’s a quick read, only 100 pages.

    I’m reading the 1993 edition but it could have been written yesterday as he describes what was going on in the 1980′s and then does some generalizing of the characteristic of bubbles. One was brought to mind by the hatchet job on Roubini: those who question the folly are reviled. I know Hussman got some of it and even Barry was treated badly by Kudlow.

    Another characteristic is that when the bubble pops, there is a hunt for those responsible, but the mass who have participated in the speculation never question their own judgment and never learn.

    Another general characteristic he mentions, not of bubbles, but of humans, is their short financial memory, which is aptly demonstrated by this rally. Most of these people who are boasting about the new bull had their heads handed to them not even a year ago and have already forgotten it.

  54. CNBC Sucks says:

    Ohhh Ritholtz…

    The Great CNBC Sucks did the MIT Media Lab data portrait that you did yesterday and it gave me this:

    I seem to be a lot less nuanced than you, but then I don’t know how I am blogging about “education”.

    I also think they mean “boobs” instead of “books”.

  55. Mannwich says:

    @CNBC Sucks: LOL. Just made my night. On that note, off to bed. Green shoots and better than expected for Mannwich.

  56. Mannwich says:

    @Mike: One more and THEN off to bed. That’s because those clowns like Wesbury are still trying to get back to “even”.

  57. Mike in Nola says:

    Manny: Yeah, I keep dozing at the laptop, but the wife needs an antibiotic at midnight here, so I have to stay up another hour. Pleasant dreams.

  58. Andy T says:

    Not really sure who this Huge hendry fellow is, but he cites both Prechter and Steve Keen in his writings. So, I’m a big fan. I’ve been putting up Steve Keen links every several weeks when a deflation/inflation comes about. And heh, Prechter is the ultimate socio-economist/behavioralist, so I think he’s on the right track. I can sympathize with him in re: trading/investing….time slows down when you’re not making money. Though, I might suggest, it could be worse. One could be losing money.

  59. Thor says:

    Mike – Thanks! I’ll check it out for sure!

  60. Mike in Nola says:

    Andy T:

    Search for Hugh Hendry on this site. I have posted a number of links to his video, the one in China popping up all over the place after I posted it here, indicating a lot of cross pollenization. If you see him, it’s hard not to be impressed, although maybe it’s because he thinks a lot like I do, only with a much, much deeper background and the fact that it’s his only job.

    He’s also fun to watch because he does not suffer fools gladly.