Posts filed under “Really, really bad calls”

Uh-Oh: Economists Say Recovery, Market Gains Solid

No worries!

The same people who missed the worst oncoming recession in 80 years, the credit collapse (worst in US), and the market crash are now telling you the recovery is for real.

Gee, why does this — Economists expect recovery to stick, see slow, steady GDP rise — not make me more comfortable?

“Nearly four of five economists surveyed by USA TODAY say the stock market rally since March is heralding a sustainable recovery.

If they’re right, the nation won’t slip back into recession nor will the Dow Jones industrial average plunge anywhere near its March low of 6547.05. The Dow sank nearly 3% Friday to close at 9713 after the government reported consumer spending fell 0.5% in September.”

I had to file this under categories “Contrary Indicators” and “Really, really bad calls.”


usa today pulse


Economists expect recovery to stick, see slow, steady GDP rise
Paul Davidson and Barbara Hansen,
USA TODAY   November 2, 2009

Tracking the pulse of the economy

Category: Contrary Indicators, Really, really bad calls

Wolf vs Siegel: EMH Smackdown

You might have missed yet another smackdown yesterday: A debate on the Efficient Market Hypothesis in the FT vs the WSJ: • Martin Wolf: How mistaken ideas helped to bring the economy down (FT) • Jeremy Siegel: Efficient Market Theory and the Crisis (WSJ) My read is Wolf trounced Siegel, but as a non-fanboy of…Read More

Category: Markets, Really, really bad calls

Reckless Strategies Doomed WaMu

It seems to be Real Estate Monday, as a series of intriguing articles have broken recently. First and foremost, the Seattle Times has a fascinating two parter, that you must not miss:  A series of interviews with former WaMu executives and employees, as well as a survey of internal company documents, reveals that management plotted…Read More

Category: Credit, Real Estate, Really, really bad calls, Regulation

Reaganomics vs. Obamanomics

Category: Economy, Really, really bad calls, Video

CATO: Sub-Prime, Rates, Leverage Did NOT Cause Crisis

You gotta love the hard core ideologues: Its almost cute they way they stick to their theories, facts be damned. Cute, except for the amount of damage they caused. (Hmmm, this Kool aid is delicious!) Case in point: The latest work of fantasy from the CATO Institute. They are now insisting that a stricter fed…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Psychology, Really, really bad calls, Regulation

Partisan Economics

David Leonhardt has a terrific piece in the Times today on Bruce Bartlett — “the most persistent — and thought-provoking — conservative critic” of the GOP. The discussion of tax cuts is fat too common sense to be seen in print very often: “His conservatism starts with the idea that high taxes are no longer…Read More

Category: Politics, Really, really bad calls

Birth Death Adjustment Coming Under Fire

One of our favorite bugaboos is finally getting its due: The horrifically misleading Birth Death adjustment. It is finally being recognized in the mainstream as the massive data distorter that it is. The latest BLS analysis and data revision shows that during 2008, the Birth Death adjustment caused NFP payrolls to be  significantly under reported….Read More

Category: Employment, Really, really bad calls

Why Have 2009 Earnings Forecasts Been the Worst Ever?

Jim Bianco has some comments on this year’s horrific analyst misses:


At Bianco Research, we have demonstrated that earnings forecasts are missing by their widest margin ever in 2009. While we have over 140 years of actual earnings data, IBES earnings estimates date back to 1985.

The chart to below shows the error rates in forecasting operating earnings for both top-down forecasters (strategists) and bottom-up forecasters (company analysts). It measures the forecast one-year forward versus what actually happened one year later. The data covers the period from 1985 to 2002, and unfortunately we have been unable to secure an update. It shows that the largest forecasting errors ranged from +30% in the late 1980s (meaning the forecasters were far too optimistic) to -20% during the recession of 2000 (meaning they were far too pessimistic). Data from 2002 to 2006 is missing, but it is a safe assumption that the earning misses that occurred during this period were not as extreme as the previous records set.


error rates


The next chart uses Bloomberg data for bottom-up forecasts. By mixing IBES and Bloomberg forecasts, we risk comparing apples to oranges. But, if the surveys are done properly they are both surveying the same people and should offer a very similar data set. As highlighted on the chart below, the current forecasting error is now near 100%, more than three times the largest error seen from 1985 to 2002. No other period has ever come close to the current period.

Read More

Category: Earnings, Really, really bad calls

Can Irrationality Be Rational?

There is an interesting (albeit flawed) analysis in this month’s New Yorker by John Cassidy: Rational Irrationality. The subject is “the real reason that capitalism is so crash-prone.” The author’s main point seems to be its rational to pursue profits even in an irrational manner when everyone else is profiting from it. Indeed, to miss…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Corporate Management, Credit, Psychology, Really, really bad calls

The Myth of Sideline Cash

A quick look a chart on Money Market Mutual Funds belies the common belief that “cash on the sidelines” is what powers markets higher. As the chart below reveals, the Market goes up, and as we saw in the 1990s and from 2005-08, so too MMF goes up. This is evidence against the standard sideline…Read More

Category: Markets, Really, really bad calls