November Linkfest (Brrrrr)

It was a rare week: no new records or milestone:  The Dow  slipped below below 12,000, as it fell a little bit every day. Despite higher-than-expected wage growth, and rising oil prices, the Dow still didn’t give up a full 1%. The Dow ended the week off 104.22, while the S&P 500 declined
13.04 points. The best looking index was the
Nasdaq, which declined less than 20 points over the five sessions.

Just about all of the macro-economic news was bad — the lone exeption being the unemployment rate falling to 4.4% (a 5 year low). While NFP were soft, the revisions were decidely not. Given the ostensibly tight labor pool and rising wages, the Fed is unlikely to lower rates any time soon.

Oil, while still under $60 a barrel, popped over $59 Friday due to Nigerian unrest. Barron’s trader column noted warnings of kidnappings and bombings in oil-producing areas made energy traders a bit skittish.

We are in the home stretch for quarterly earnings, and while the economic data will be light this week, all eyes are on Tuesday’s Mid-term elections.

That’s what ahead; Here’s what’s currnetly worth reviewing: Weekend linkfest!

INVESTING

• Don Hays has been all over this: Global Cash Glut Fuels Investment Boom

 RealMoney is offering students and profs a free subscription through May 31, 2007.
The only requirement: You must have an email address that ends in ".edu." Email collegetour@thestreet.com to start your free subscription.

• The plunge in Canadian stocks may be a lesson for U.S. investors: Governments do impact equity markets; On a related note, see all of the Major Enacted Tax Legislation 1940 – 2006

8 Ways to Trade the Elections; Van Kampen funds looks at how elections have impacted market performance: For Investors, Elections are Only the Beginning

• Bloomberg magazine gives the nod to the The World’s Top Analysts

• Morgan Stanley makes a couple of big bets on Hedge Funds and on Trading Carbon Dioxide

• Merrill strategists say trim energy, financial stocks; add technology, media, in Ten investing ideas for the next 12 months; Jim Jubak also sez: Buy Tech Stocks

• 30 Years of Insurance Returns; Speaking of which: Without hurricane losses, Berkshire Hathaway Q3 profit soars; Also: Buffett’s Buys Target($269 million), J&J ($1.47 billion) 

An Effective Way to Track the Market

• Land Prices Bury Margins for Homebuilders

   


ECONOMY

The Wall of worry continues to build:

Actual GDP: ~0%

• Morgan Stanley’s Great Debate on economic growth outlook

• We haven’t a clue what actual NFP data is  . . . hence, the Retiring of the Over/Under Bet   

• WSJ:  Goldilocks Gets Eaten (if no WSJ, go here)

• Our Retail Preview & Update was very accurate; So much for the "Gasoline Effect"   

• The Unemployment Rate tends to hit bottom just before Recessions

• 

The Economist looks at the long term structural changes in the US Economy: Slow road ahead

• Bloomberg notes that Profits Rise 23% in U.S., Led by Banks, Insurers;

Pretty mediocre: Wal-Mart’s October U.S. Same-Store Sales Rose About 0.5 Percent; The giant retailer is slashing prices on Electronics and beginning their holiday discounting early.

• What miracle? Productivity slows to a standstill

• An emailer asks: Why are you so obsessed with housing? The answer is found here:  Can the economy survive the housing bust?

• I’m not even close to being Wall Street’s most Bearish economic pundit; that’s a battle between David Rosenberg and Nouriel Roubini

• An interesting discussion between two academic economists on an area of economics known as "political business" cycles: How Much Do Election Shakeups Affect the Nation’s Economy?    

• The American Enterprise Institute looks at the U.S. economy, which
has slowed to a level below trend growth rate in 2H ’06, and asks is the process is self-correcting or self-reinforcing?   

Japan’s Household Spending Drops for Ninth Month



FEDERAL RESERVE

Confessions of a Data Dependent: The speech by (8th inning) Fisher on relying on faulty data was an eye opener;  Another must-read was the Journal’s Bad Data Helped
  Fuel Rate Cuts, Housing Speculation
(free) 
   

Hopes for Fed rate cuts die; The result: Treasuries Fall Most Since July 2005 as U.S. Jobless Rate Drops

• Fed’s Lacker: Economy `Resilient’ to Higher Rates

 


HOUSING

• The National Association of Realtors decided they need to drop $40 million to tell you It’s a great time to buy or sell a home!  The interesting about the advert:   EVERY SINGLE STATEMENT IN IN IS MATERIALLY FALSE OR MISLEADING

• The Good News: Single-Family Home Prices have had a great run (inflation adjusted); The Bad News: They are are only starting to roll over

• Hard to argue with this headline: The New Word in Home Sales: ‘Canceled’   

• As Homeowners Face Strains, Market Bets on Loan Defaults; also RealtyTrac: Nat’l Foreclosures Up 17 Percent in 3Q

• The NAR’s Chief Economist was forced to change the cover of his book; Scroll down to item #4 to see these future changes to the book’s cover (hysterical!)

Homeowners an optimistic bunch: Despite news of the housing market slipping, just 6% of homeowners surveyed said they believe their own home’s value will decline over the next 12 months.

 


Sentiment/Psychology

• Whah?  Floyd Norris says changes in Consumer Confidence point to a GOP loss in 2008

Pollock painting may be priciest ever

• The WSJ’s favorite "cult" wine:  Screaming Eagle at $1595 per bottle; (Perhaps it goes well with last week’s $454 cigar)

• Mark Hulbert notes the Wall of worry has become slope of hope

• Maslow’s Theory of Human Motivation

• Some interesting sentiment data via Lew Rockwell

• CNBC’s Kudlow & Company just recorded their biggest year-to-year growth (134%) in the key 25-54 demographic

 

 


Politics

With 4 days to go til the mid-term elections, there lots of political
ground to cover (then we can put this category away for a while):

Election Update, final part Tradesports some changes. Freefall:  GOP has a less than  21% chance of retaining control of the House; Odds for retention of Senate were down nearly 4 points:  Senate at 70% even.

• The Economy?

-Bush Gains Ground on Economy, But Iraq Still Tops Voters’ Agenda

-Bush, Republicans Find Strong Economy Doesn’t Win Middle Class

Bushenfreude—the phenomenon
whereby high-income beneficiaries of the Bush tax cuts use their windfalls to
fund Democratic candidates—is still raging

Futures Sites React to Kerry foot-in-mouth  Speech; See the troops’ response here.

Republican Rebels of ’94 Now Face Their Own Revolt

• Candidates Are Ignoring $1.35 Trillion Alt. Minimum Tax ‘Time Bomb’


Energy/Media/Military

Bechtel wraps up Iraq projects; their role in reconstruction is "over."

• File this under WTF: US stops audit of Iraq rebuilding;

What to do with Tehran: The Case for Engagement in Iran

Pentagon gears up for new media war

• Wild commercial from The World Wildlife Foundation 

• Carter Says North Korea was in Nuclear Compliance until "Axis of Evil" SOTU  comments


Technology & Science

Powers of Ten: here’s what adding a zero does

Only ’50 years left’ for sea fish

•  Jeff Matthews asks "Guess what company just reported a decline in internet revenues last quarter?" Give up? highlight the following word Microsoft !;

Defective-by-Design looks at all the gadgets and toys at Amazon that have restrictive DRM . . .

Gmail, YouTube Going Mobile

  God gets away with murder, not to mention a cushy, tax-free existence. So says Richard Dawkins in a Bloomberg discussion

• What are Web’s societal, scientific consequences?  The academics weigh in

 



Music Books Movies TV Fun!

The critics love Borat!

• One of my quant buddies recommends Evidence-Based Technical Analysis: Applying the Scientific Method and Statistical Inference to Trading Signals

• I’ve been going a bit Jazz crazy lately: We Three (Roy Haynes With Phineas Newborn and Paul Chambers),  The Roy Haynes Trio, Sarah Vaughan’s Swingin’ Easy, and Ella at Juan-Les-Pins;

• Waiting to arrive: Donavon Frankenreiter’s Move by Yourself; I am also totally jazzed over the remastering of The Pretenders, arguably the greatest debut album ever.

• Diebold gets into a pissing match with HBO and demands the cancellation of a documentary on their voting machines; Film saying they can be manipulated ‘inaccurate’

• Michael Lewis on Going beyond ‘Moneyball’

• Nothing like having the WSJ announce you are a horndog

• Forget clay pigeons, we want to shoot up bigger things!

Ken Lay’s Will

• I like to drive fast, but I keep excessive speeds confined to the track. Not this guy  (start at the 3 minute mark) Note the speedo on the Bike is in kmh, not miles, so 297km/h is roughly equivalent to 185 mph.

•  Beware blind Lip Gloss tests 

• A Guy witnesses an accident . . . too funny!
 

That’s all from my corner of the North Shore of Long Island, where I am off to a few days of hot laps in Sebring Florida.

Category: Weblogs

Are You a Trading Junkie?

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Psychology, Trading

Analyzing why “It’s a great time to buy or sell a home!”

Yesterday, we discussed the $40M NAR ad campaign, “It’s a great time to buy or sell a home!” On the way home, I actually saw the full page ad in the Personal section of the WSJ; (Unfortunately for the NAR, the section’s front page article was “The New Word in Home Sales: ‘Canceled’) I read…Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Psychology, Real Estate

Stock Traders Almanac 40th Anniversary Dedication

Category: Media

“Incredible Talent Pool, Zero Competition”

Category: Media, Retail

It’s a great time to buy or sell a home!

In fact, its such a good time, that the National Association of Realtors decided they need to drop $40 million telling you so: > > Buy the way, imagine if a Fund manager or analyst ever said: XYZ? Oh, yeah, its a great time to BUY OR SELL that. (They would cart them away). Here’s…Read More

Category: Economy, Real Estate

NFP: Retiring the Over/Under Bet

Category: Data Analysis, Employment

Blog Spotlight: Abnormal Returns

Another edition of our new series:  Blog Spotlight.

We put together a short list of excellent but somewhat overlooked
blog that deserves a greater audience. Expect to see a post from a
different featured blogger here every Tuesday and Thursday evening,
around 7pm.

Up next in our Blogger SpotlightAbnormal Returns. AR is a year old blog written by a private investor with
nearly two decades of experience in the markets.  His experience
includes a stint in a variety of roles with a mainstream investment
management organization, extensive publications in the practitioner
literature, and a hedge fund start-up.  The Abnormal Returns blog is
focused on investor education and unearthing items of interest for the
investment blogosphere.

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Abnormal_returns

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Today’s focus commentary looks at Stock Replacement Strategies in the Spotlight

>

Stock
Replacement Strategies in the Spotlight

Seldom a day goes by
without the financial press reporting on some new financial product innovation. 
We have been attuned to the fact that with this increase in choice also comes a
need for education and proper context. 
While
ETFs are clearly the most visible
innovation, the list does
not end there.  Option volumes have
also
surged
showing an increasing
interest on the part of investors to more closely match their viewpoint with the
most appropriate financial instrument.

We
here at
Abnormal
Returns
do not claim to be
options experts, but the time is right to explore an interesting options-related
opportunity.  The stock market, measured by the S&P 500, has run up from a
June low of some 1220 to a recent high of nearly 1390, for a gain of some 14%. 
With some
valuation
and
technical
measures becoming a bit overextended it should not come as surprise that some
investors are looking to reduce their overall market exposure.

Read More

Category: Blog Spotlight

Retail Sales: So much for the “Gasoline Effect”

Category: Retail

Retail Preview & Update

Category: Economy, Psychology, Retail