Good morning! From 28 inches of snow, to a sunny 60 degrees, and back to the 20s: That’s the weather in the NorthEast. (Why Vermont and Maine didn’t get buried, I don’t know). We had quite the busy week, from Bernanke to options expiration to a strong (if narrow) rally. Lots of stuff to cover — pace yourself, ya got 3 days — so pour another cup-o-java, and lets get down to it.
• This is probably the coolest thing I’ve done at The Street.com: Q&A: Paul Desmond of Lowry’s Reports. Desmond is an extremely well regarded Technician. If you read just one thing today, this is it. And Part II Q&A is even better;
I was planning on linking to Paul Kasriel’s 7 page Critique of Bernanke’s Congressional testimony — and then I saw that this morning’s Barron’s excerpted the most relevant parts of it. (If no Barron’s sub, go here);
• Speaking of which: Didn’t we hear back in June 2005 that we were in the 8th inning of the Fed tightening cycle? Gee, this has got to be the longest 8th inning in the history of baseball;
• Fascinating journo tale: For three years, a WSJ reporter in Baghdad tried to work and live normally — as the war closed in: Under the Gun (free);
• I double dog dare anyone to call Paul Craig Roberts a member of the far Left: Before he wrote The True State of the Union, he was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, Associate
Editor Wall Street Journal editorial page, Contributing Editor of
National Review. (Go read his True Sotu — its not pretty);
• Interesting: We are shifting our buying habits from things to experiences;
• Does Treasury Secretary Snow understand the difference between CapEx and Cap Gains? Apparently not, judging by his recent WSJ Op-Ed: The Heart of the Economy;
• Some Economists disagree with Greenspan: Why Central Banks Should Burst Bubbles;
• Finding Memes for Contrarian or Trend-following Plays makes a lot of sense;
• Airlines do it, Oil
companies do it — why not GM and Ford? Their sales are so subject to the vagaries of Crude Oil prices: So why doesn’t GM Hedge?
• Its not just for low paying jobs anymore: Outsourcing Is Climbing Skills Ladder;
• Fascinating: Bob Cringely thinks that Apple can do for video distribution what it did for digital music, and inadvertantly save a dying franchise: Don’t be surprised if Apple saves the day for Blockbuster Video (hint: it involves Video iPods);
• The WSJ and NYT each fail to Connect the Retail Sales Dots;
• I am not a big Suze Orman fan — she reminds me too much of my mother (which helps explain much of whats wrong with me) –
but this column is filled with some surprisingly good advice: The 12 Biggest Money Mistakes;
• Huh? How they gonna do that? ETF Will Trade On Earnings Surprises;
• The Christian Science Monitor informs us of a dangerous backlash: the Status of US brands is slipping globally among teens;
• No surprise here: Foreign buying of US corp bonds hits record in ’05;
• The Housing Market won’t pop — but it might gradually slow, with big implications for the Economy;
• I’ve been Bullish on Oil since 2003 ($32), but this strikes me as a bit late and alarmist: Why oil will hit $100 a barrel;
• Are Bears really more rigorous than Bulls? (Cramer and I disagree on this)
• Reuters has set up a Financial Wiki;
• Two interesting Science articles caught my eye this week: renown Physicist Alan Lightman discusses the Future of Science, while Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria looks at Europe as a fading Scientific — and therefore economic — power: The Decline and Fall of Europe;
• As if you haven’t had enough about bloggers: The BBC looks at Bloggers as an army of irregulars; New York Magazine considers the Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom, and Slate wonders if Blogs Are they over as a business; As to the the phrase "Magazine Cover Indicator" — at best, I helped re-popularize it — but I cannot take credit for coining it;
• If you ever wondered why a CD film soundtrack costs more than the movie DVD itself, you are not alone: 75% of music fans surveyed said CDs cost too much. Perhaps this non-competitive pricing — and not downloading — is the industry’s biggest problem;
• Of course, the RIAA’s lousy PR ain’t helping: Telling consumers that they cannot convert their legally purchased CDs to iPod is absurdly idiotic; So too, is illegally digging up dirt on a single mom’s kids (who may have downloaded music);
• Mac versus Windows, the too-funny version: Bill Gates introduced the features of the upcoming Windows release Vista, at CES. This version of the speech is notable for the video substitution of the 3 year old Mac OSX, revealing Microsoft "innovations" as cheap copies; (heehee)
• I’m not a big country music fan, but Rabbit Fur Coat by Jenny Lewis (with The Watson Twins) is a terrific album — I love the cover of the Traveling Wilbury’s "Handle With Care"
• Believe the hype: Eye to the Telescope by Edinburgh chanteuse K.T. Tunstall is the best new CD I’ve heard this year;
• Old School? Streaming Rhapsody’s free music service, I heard the Benny Green trio Live at the Village Vanguard: Testifyin’! Great stuff for classic Jazz buffs;
• A pair of very violent flix with female leads, opening soon: Ultraviolet (starring Milla Jovovich, from the under appreciated Fifth Element) and the comic based V for Vendetta (starring a shaved Natalie Portman). I’m there.
• How many of these do you recognize? Unusual Looking Buildings On Earth;
• Dave Barry’s Blog is another huge time suck — and is hysterical.
That’s all for the last linkfest of February — I’ll be travelling next week, and won’t be able to post.
I’ve been to San Francisco a dozen times, but always on business — I am taking a few days to enjoy the city — Alcatraz, Golden Gate Park (Japanese Gardens), Carmel by the Sea, Muiz Redwood Forest. Hey you local San Franciscans — what are the must see/must do/must eat/must stay things and places when visiting the City by the Bay for a few days of R&R? Tell me what has to be done on a short trip!