My afternoon train reading:

• Stocks Least Loved Since ’80s (Bloomberg)
Ahhhnold & Michael Lewis: California and Bust (VF)
• The Unintended Consequences of Tech Stock Repurchases (NYT)
• Debit-Card Pitchwoman Orman Flirts With Conflict (Bloomberg)
• Old mortgages rise from the dead, haunt homeowners (Reuters)
• If I Were a Broker, Here’s How I’d Sell Facebook (The Reformed Broker) see also Tech Survey (Financial Planning)
• Never Mind the Tax Cheats — Go After the Tax Code: The Ticker (Bloomberg)
• Obama holds edge over Romney in general election matchup, poll finds (Washington Post)
• Macworld 2012 (Shawn Blanc)
• Ground Hog Day Comedy First (New Yorker)

What are you reading?


Shaky Profits Threaten U.S. Stock Rally


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.

15 Responses to “10 Monday PM Reads”

  1. Moe says:

    Reading the latest on MF Global and wondering why they don’t turn the investigation over to the IRS…they have a nose for these things.

  2. Susan G. Komen and Big Cancer’s “Crawl for the Cure”
    Posted by Karen De Coster on February 5, 2012 02:53 PM

    The politicization of breast cancer is quite an amazing thing to behold. This article in the Wall Street Journal on the Susan G. Komen nonprofit organization touches on only one small slice of a very rotten pie. This organization is a huge player in what I refer to as the Big Cancer industry – an industry where every patient is a vital profit center.

    The charity had been funding Planned Parenthood so it could influence women on the conventional wisdom surrounding breast cancer – breast cancer education, exams, and of course, the highly profitable mammogram that is pushed on every woman in America who is 40 or older (and often, women in their thirties). A lot of folks believe the decision was made because of pressure from anti-abortion groups. From the article:

    Komen founder Nancy Brinker said Thursday her group’s decision wasn’t based on “emotions or politics” and wasn’t tied to abortion. Komen officials said they had changed their standards for grants in several ways, including not funding organizations under government investigation.

    However, this quote from the article is more what I would expect to see as a driver in the funding cut.

    The Komen group also said it preferred to give grants to groups that perform mammograms themselves, rather than “pass-through” funding. Planned Parenthood does clinical breast exams but typically refers mammogram patients elsewhere.

    The Susan G. Komen organization would like to be able to manage the number of mammograms that will occur, and how and where they will occur. The mammogram scheme has been exposed by many, including William Campbell Douglass, MD. [See his article for the Weston A. Price Foundation. Also see an article by Barbara Minton, "Mammograms: Fat Profits at High Cost to Women."]

    Here is a collection of some very relevant quotes from doctors, researchers, investigative journalists, authors, etc. on Big Cancer and why the medical establishment does not want to cure cancer. Also, here are a few (out of many) additional sources to understand more about the racket that is Big Cancer.

    - “Cancer Industry Fights to Keep Obscene Profits” on
    Pinkwasher: (pink’-wah-sher) noun. A company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.

    Critical Questions to Ask Before You Buy Pink…”

  3. Pantmaker says:

    “Shaky Profits Threaten U.S. Stock Rally ”

    You have just stumbled across the key to the future of the markets. This is the real elephant in the room….it’s not on anyone’s radar…but it will bring the S&P ALL the way back down to earth.

  4. AHodge says:

    presidential chances?
    the one place i take seriously now is the Iowa “markets” odds
    obama up recently to about 60%
    rising steadily since mid Oct

  5. gordo365 says:

    That reformed broker story on how we would work the Facebook IPO was incredible! Too believable. I’m going to go wash my hands now…

  6. Josh has a book coming out showing all of the broker’s tricks. Its pretty amazing stuff

  7. Sechel says:

    Re old mortgages,

    It’s still not dawning on the average American, how sloppy record keeping isn’t just about banks making a few extra dollars, but about the potential for more clouded titles and increased title insurance cost amongst other things.

  8. RW says:

    Michael Lewis’s piece was a great read and concluded on exactly the right note: Not pessimism, not optimism, just the perennial need to adapt to changing conditions while maintaining integrity of mission and purpose while avoiding throwing the weaker members of society under the bus.

    I was glad to to see the article straighten out where Meredith Whitney was coming from when she completed her regional analysis of “winning” states vs. “losing” states and, almost as an aside, remarked that the ability of municipalities to pay their debts should be a bigger concern, something she took a lot of heat for when that didn’t materialize.

    The health of municipalities goes well beyond balance sheets so I was not particularly surprised to see a lower rate of default than anticipated but there is also the problem that aggregating the health of communities, however you want to evaluate that, does not necessarily tell you what state success is likely to be nor will aggregating states necessarily tell you how a region or a nation is doing.

    This is complexity certainly but it is also confounding: Internal factors that for one reason or another escaped attention or were not seen as essential to analysis. For example take Simpson’s Paradox (please!), an old thorn in the side of those who deal in aggregated and disaggregated data, and are occasionally gobsmacked when values of different subgroups are added up to form a single total group and that total shows a relationship or trend the reverse of the relationship or trend seen in the subgroups; the whole is either more or less than the sum of its parts.

    Trying to explain this without going back and re-examining everything (including your assumptions) is more likely to leave you with egg on your face than anything worthwhile.

  9. Robespierre says:

    “Old mortgages rise from the dead” I mean really why don’t they call them the zombie mortgages?

    On the same venue, CR announced today that we have reached the bottom in housing (inventory and prices and such) as oppose to BR’s recent call of no bottom yet. He has a bunch of historic metrics none of which reflects on the wave of boomers who will need to sale/down size just to pay for their retirement. So my money is on your assessment: no housing bottom yet. – I think

  10. re: the CR call..

    “…CR is smoking crack. You simply can’t look at charts and determine anything in this regard, and here’s why: Tax load.

    I’ll give you one example — my former home in Deerfield, IL.

    I sold it in 2000. Today, it has gone up in “value” (according to various estimated sources) a fair bit from where I sold it. Of course it was worth a hell of a lot more in the middle of the bubble, but that’s immaterial.

    What’s material is the carrying cost and what you can rent a similar house for.

    See, real estate taxes on that house are now (as of 2010, latest I have the assessment for) right near $21,000 a year. And the estimated rent is $2,600 a month.

    So renting the house would bring you $31,000 a year. But of that only $10,000 is left after paying property taxes, or about $830 a month. That doesn’t even come close to paying the mortgage on the joint.

    In fact you can’t even get close to being able to cover a 2% Interest-only rolling note on the place with what’s left of cash flow, and that assumes 100% occupancy and zero operating expenses, both of which are of course fanciful assumptions. When interest rates go up in the future, of course, it simply makes it worse — much worse.

    In other words the house has a negative capitalized value at the present time.

    Housing bottom? Not a prayer in hell for areas like the Chicago suburbs, as there is no price at which these homes can change hands in an open market and yet pencil out due to the tax load. At roughly $2,000/month in property taxes alone these homes are worth nothing — and we’re not talking about mansions here either. Oh sure, it is a very nice (and pretty large) house, but it’s not a mansion by any stretch of the imagination…”

    when are they going to merge w/ the AP?

  11. Iamthe50percent says:

    Regarding “Old mortgages …”
    Whjen I first heard the idea of a Jubilee, a mass forgiveness of all mortgages, I thought it was a crackpot idea. The more I hear about stuff that is going on in the banks and courts, the more the Jubilee idea sounds better and better. Wipe out ALL the debt and start over. That will fix the housing market. As for the TBTF banks, wipe them out and put their management teams in jail, preferably Gitmo.

  12. sellstop says:

    I’m rereading “The Rational Optimist”, by Matt Ridley.
    There are a lot of reasons why we will work our way out of this mess.


  13. Jojo says:

    Reformed broker is too good! As a person involved in the sales game, I bow to him…

  14. lunartop says:

    Why economic inequality leads to collapse

    “The significance of a growing “wage-productivity gap” is that it upsets
    the natural mechanisms necessary to achieve economic balance. Purchasing
    power shrinks and consumer societies suddenly lack the capacity to

    Gonna Take Student Loans Eh?

    See, one of the nasties in Child Support enforcement has long been
    the denial of licenses of various sorts. Professional licenses have
    been revoked for failure to pay and even mundane things like hunting and fishing license applications check for defaulted child support obligations now. Some states will revoke driver licenses as well, which of course makes it a whole lot of fun to get to work in order to try to pay that obligation.
    appears that the noose is now tightening around young people’s necks
    who were foolish enough to take “government guaranteed” student loans”

  15. leoklein says:

    “Macworld 2012 (Shawn Blanc)”

    Favorite Shawn Blanc post so far: “Why Apple Will Never Make a 12-inch MacBook Pro”

    [Um, Because they made a 13-inch MacBook Pro.]