My morning reads:

Stock bulls vs. bears: A 12-chart battleground (MarketWatch) see also Bernanke Should Get Credit for Dow Record (Barron’s)
Hilarious! Take The Zero-Hedge Test  (Cassandra Does Tokyo)
• Why Redfin, Zillow, and Trulia Haven’t Killed Off Real Estate Brokers (Businessweek)
• Reports of the death of retirement savings greatly exaggerated (Investment News)
• Are Banks Safe Enough? Do we Really Know? (EconoMonitor) but see The trade-off between bank regulation and economic growth (Central Bank)
• Sequestration: A Fiscal Diet That Won’t Fix the Deficit (The Fiscal Times) see also No, the United States Will Never, Ever Turn Into Greece (The Atlantic)
• Want a longer, happier life? Embrace pessimism, study says (National Post)
• How much is a piece of content worth? (pandodaily)
• The comprehensive, fully caffeinated guide to coffee at work (Quartz)
• Upgrade or Die (The New Yorker)

What are you reading?


Firms Send Record Cash Back to Investors

Source: WSJ

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.

23 Responses to “10 Friday AM Reads”

  1. rd says:

    I knew I was in trouble on the Zero-Hedge test when I picked f. Glass with factor of safety against tipping and spillage for the first one.

  2. Mike in Nola says:

    Nice obit on Chavez. I think it’s accurate, too, although it certainly won’t be echoed by the US lapdogs. Interesting that his attitude towards US corporatism was a lot like that of many here, yet he has been demonized. I think that says a lot about what would happen to anyone here if they were important enough to threaten the Koch Brothers financial interests..

  3. hue says:

    The ‘Big Data’ Revolution: How Number Crunchers Can Predict Our Lives

    How New York’s first “director of analytics” revolutionized the city’s building inspections

  4. willid3 says:

    seems BP still doesnt understand that when they make mess they really need to learn from it, as oppose to say so

  5. rd says:

    Re: retirement savings

    The unrelenting focus on average 401k account balances is likely seriously distorting the actual understanding of people’s actual retirement savings. If people have the habit of saving at all, then they are probably saving more than the analysts think. This is particularly so today now that it is normal for people to work for many different companies over their life. The days of 40 years with one firm ending with a gold watch and a pension are long gone unless you work in government.

    My current 401k balance indicates that I am headed towards retirement disaster. However, by the time you add up a rollover IRA from previous jobs, an old regular IRA, multiple spouse 403bs, and an ESOP, then our total retirement assets are currently about 5 times my 401k balance. That doesn’t include a modest pension my spouse will have. Most of these assets are with different financial instititutions, so none of them could come close to understanding our complete financial picture from the balances they are mananging.

    Reasonable conservative projections (nominal 4%-6% investment returns before and during retirement) and our current retirement savings rate indicate that we should have about 70% to 100% of our current income during retirement while our expenses will be reduced with no college, FICA tax, or projected debt costs . There would be no way to predict that from my 401k balance alone unless aggregated statistics are available.

    A more important issue is the many people that probably have zero retirement savings and will be relying exclusively on Social Security. However, the IRS should be able to figure that out pretty quickly simply by compiling their financial data they receive by SSN and identifying people with tax returns who do not have reported retirement plan assets.

  6. VennData says:

    Chinese Parliament Holds 83 Billionaires

    Let’s get more businessmen into government, like the Chinese.

  7. DeDude says:

    “Beat the Press” at CEPR is taking on Joe Scarborough and Jeffrey Sachs for being deliberate morons:

  8. b_thunder says:

    “Fed mulls putting a “not for sale” sign on its assets”

    “…Ben Bernanke and other officials have said a decision not to sell the mortgage and Treasury bonds would only add about a year to the process of returning the central bank’s balance sheet to a more normal size of around $1 trillion, probably around 2020″ – that’s nice… 7-8 more years of “stimulating?” Are we in for a “lost decade and a bit?” Otherwise, unless they plan “just right” for next 8 years, we’ll have a heck of inflation “episode!” And what’s the Fed’s record for predicting the future?

    “If they do not sell the bonds, they will not realize a loss.” – this is a carbon copy of the trading strategy employed by (according to Cramer) “one of the Great Ones” – Lenny Dykstra (who’s doing serious time in the Big House)

  9. VennData says:

    Regarding John Carney’s Article on survey’s of business people saying health insurance reform is causing a slow down in hiring:

    Watch what they do…

    …not what they say.

  10. willid3 says:

    people are raiding their 401k?,0,5856839.story

    for living expenses?
    might be worth knowing if they were really close to retirement or not.

    but like RD,. I also have multiple retirement accounts. but the current 401k is still among the biggest.

    but then again I dont expect the 401k to do that much when its times for it to do what it was supposed to. suspect some of the wailing about it (retirement savings) is sales stuff, and some of it is trying to cover up that its not intended to be the sole source of retirement income, as it was really set up to work with other sources (pensions and social security). since we have basically eliminated one leg of the retirement funding and one of the remaining legs, savings, isnt and was never all that robust to begin with. and part of trying fund retirement on savings alone runs in a major issue. the majority dont make enough to be able to do it (the average wage has been falling. and even though its 50,000 or so, its not enough to allow a lot of savings and living. and if we really cut back on living expenses, we will also cut the number of jobs and cut incomes, as what you and i spend end up as some one else’s income. and eventually that all comes around and is the source of your income too)

  11. S Brennan says:

    So we are training up and arming a “new” Syrian army because the “old”ones the “CIA” originally armed & trained were Al Qaeda playing the “CIA” for fools [again...and again]. Remind me again, who is president? As far as I can tell, Dick Cheney’s insane plans for the middle-east are still in place.

    911, does that sequence of numbers mean anything to anybody? So we sow, so shall we reap, why are we repeating the steps that led us to that day? We face no existential threats and even if we did, a people who stone their women folk to death for the sin of being a victim of rape can never be our allies.

    In the past decade we have replaced by force of arms the three most “enlightened” middle east regimes, with Sharia/Al Qaeda religious tyrannies. One country under bush and two countries by Obama. To pay for this insanity the president is working with Republicans to raid the Social Security Fund. Again I ask, did we have an election in 2008, because outside of a bunch of people whooping and hollering about who won…there’s not a shred of evidence.

  12. PeterR says:

    Another good NYer article, this about Fa(r)ceBook updated news stream:

    Then the Borowitz Report indicating that 97% are against being killed by a drone:

    Have a good weekend, and good luck dealing with the blizzard forecast by the NWS for Long Island.


  13. CD Sorensen says:

    The test of a first-rate intelligence would be balancing opposing ideas, is the test of first-rate wisdom knowing when to use one or the other? I think our industry can suffer from TEDitis in the sense I got from this article.

  14. bwillia0 says:

    The Financial Bonanza of Big Data

    Vast troves of information are manipulated and monetized, yet companies have a hard time assigning value to it..

  15. rd says:

    BTW – I was travelling this week and got to stand in nice full-body scanners.

    Meanwhile, TSA announces this:

    Are they really this stupid? Have people queue up for 30 minutes to an hour to get every part of their body inspected while your carry-on can go merrily through the X-ray with a nice knife in it? Do they think that somehow we managed to put an AK-47 or a samurai sword in our pants pocket? Oh yes, but box cutter blades that are half-inch long still aren’t allowed. I thought security theater was bad before but it has moved to the Gigli level of bad movies. I am waiting for Inspector Clouseau to leap out in his TSA uniform enay moment.

    Increasingly, I am thinking that all levels of the US government are bound and determined to demonstrate their monumental stupidity and inability to function competently. They seem to want to prove that government is the problem and can’t work effectively.

  16. willid3 says:

    wonder if this will help make 401ks safer

    the 401k provider shouldn’t/should use your money to pay for their operations? and they can charge fees on top of that?

  17. Theravadin says:

    How to re-allocate budgets to productive assets: bring the military down out of dreamland.

  18. JimInMissoula says:

    Everything old is new again… Dow 36,000 is back!


    BR: We mentioned that here, with the snarky rejoinder “If you make the same forecast repeatedly for 15 years, you will eventually be right”

  19. Joe Friday says:

    Want a longer, happier life? Embrace pessimism, study says


  20. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Businessweek article on Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia is interesting.
    I think it is still early days yet for Redfin; give it another few years and their market share will increase. Smart employees, and customers who are very used to doing a lot of things online. I suspect Redfin will continue to refine and grow; it’s early days yet and they are still figuring it out. Add handheld devices into their service model and I suspect it begins to really take off.

  21. WFTA says:

    Zero-Hedge Test was a riot. Thank you.

  22. S Brennan says:

    Sometimes I give up on the human condition and begin to curse the darkness…and then somebody will strike a match and toss it on my desk. Let me do the same and shine a light your way…in addition to being a free thinking engineer, the person in question was Hermann Göring’s brother…courage has many forms.