Memorial Day Weekend Linkfest, Part II

  Yesterday, we looked at the week that was. This morning we preview the week that will be:

Traders returning from the weekend will slowly ease back into the swing of things. The week starts slowly, but its backloaded with data. On Wednesday, the last Fed meeting minutes get released. Thursday sees the revised Q1 GDP; the initial growth data was 1.3% (annualized), but even that punk number may turn out to be too optimistic. Consensus has been lowered to 0.7%. The silver lining is so poor a growth rate could revise hopes of a Fed rate cut sooner rather than later.

Barrons_econ_calendarFriday is chock full of data: Personal income and spending gets reported, as does the PCE Deflator — a key Fed inflation indicator. Also on Friday: ISM, University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment,  and May car and light-truck sales.

But the main economic event for the week is the May Non-Farm Payroll and unemployment data, via the  Bureau of Labored Statistics. Consensus is for 140,000 new jobs, and unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 4.5%.

A slew of retailers are scheduled to report this week also: Costco, Tiffany, Sears Holdings all release quarterly earnings data. Also on the earnings calendar: New Wal-Mart partner Dell reports fiscal Q1 earnings Thursday.

For you techno-heads, the Wall Street Journal’s 5th "D: All Things Digital" conference is this week. There are a bevy of tech heavyweights scheduled to present, but headline event is a rare joint interview with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

The the largest mainland Chinese IPO is scheduled for Friday — solar-power company LDK Solar Co. Ltd. It launches on the New York Stock Exchange Friday, and is expected to raise nearly half a billion dollars. The WSJ noted that the last Chinese solar company, China Sunergy, "soared 51% on its first day of trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market earlier this month, making it the best debut by a Chinese IPO in the U.S. this year."

Warm up that mouse wrist — its clicking time — Here’s our look ahead at the coming week:


Skeptical Investors May Help Fuel Rally:
Most chartists are familiar with trends, volume and momentum.
Sentiment, or how people in the market think, is usually given short
shrift simply because the data are not readily available to most
investors. But sentiment analysis is a key piece of the technical
puzzle. It tells us when the majority of investors are thinking alike
and in the words of Humphrey Neill, author of The Art of Contrary
Thinking, "When everyone thinks alike, everyone is likely to be wrong."

Relative Short Interest/Total Market Float: You need more than high short interest to bet on a longer lasting market correction.   

• A Business 2.0 Two-fer:

The Top 25 fastest growing tech firms   
Top 25 tech stock returns   

The Psychology of Trading  Professor Andrew Lo (MIT) 

Gold tells a sad story of asset deflation in the future:
Gold is telling a different tale than the equity markets, but the
equity markets have hundreds of billions of private equity dollars (in
the US), and a huge, though less quantifiable, pot of domestic savings
(in China) to propel them beyond sensible levels. Gold is telling us
that there is more asset price deflation ahead of us in the US,
principally through a housing market that will be weaker for longer,
and a commodities price peak later this year. (FT)

How Much Do Interest Rates Affect the Fair Value of Stocks?

Why Japan Hasn’t Joined the Global Celebration: Japan’s economy and corporations are enjoying
the most stable period of growth they have had for decades. So why is
Tokyo’s stock market performing so poorly compared with others? Since the beginning of this year, the Nikkei Stock
Average of 225 companies — which rose 0.14% or 25.07 points to
17705.12 yesterday — is up less than 3%, compared with nearly 9% for
the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Most other stock markets also are
doing better than Tokyo. The DAX index in Germany is up 17%. The
Shanghai Composite Index has shot up 56%. (Wall Street Journal)

• The US Dollar may be setting up for a counter-cyclical snapback: Dollar Rebound?

to Hire Brokers Abroad
It’s getting easier for you to open a brokerage account — in Botswana. And not just there, but also in many bigger and more
important markets, ranging from London and Hong Kong to Auckland, New
Zealand, and Cairo, Egypt. Around the world, local banks and brokerages
have been rolling out online services that let Americans and
international individual investors open accounts to buy and sell
foreign stocks directly. Their goal is to cash in on the booming interest world-wide in investing in foreign countries. (free Wall Street Journal)

Citibank Annual Strategic Investor Conference (May 18 2007)



The Wall of worry continues to build:

• WSJ looks askance at BLS data: Job Market’s Strength May Have Been Overstated (if no WSJ, go here

• Floyd Norris of the New York Times counsels Wait a Few Months Before You Believe the Numbers:
It is the newest economic statistics that usually get all the attention
as investors and analysts try to gauge the health of the economy. But
sometimes the statistics that take the longest to arrive can provide
the most important information, particularly when they point to
inflection points in the economy. So it may be with jobs data that the
Bureau of Labor Statistics released this month for the third quarter of
2006. The new data calls into question the previous conclusion that
employment grew at a strong rate in late 2006.

Is U.S. Ceding ‘Master of the Universe’ Status?: China is trying to slow its breakneck
pace of economic growth. The U.S. could use a little of what
China has too much of. Are the two countries working at cross
purposes? The notion of a global growth cycle, with countries taking
their cues from the U.S., is being challenged as Asia’s
developing economies continue to boom amid a slowdown in the
U.S. In this new age of globalization, synchronicity is out,
decoupling is in. Yes, China and India are growing in ways that
may be independent of the business cycle. (Bloomberg)          

A stretched credit cycle, a more savage downturn: High finance has never been more sophisticated. Bankers have never been more
clever. Yet in the US subprime lending boom, banks fell over themselves to
advance 100 per cent loan-to-value mortgages to out-of-pocket deadbeats.
According to industry folklore, even an insolvent arsonist was given
accommodation. Lending standards to private equity are collapsing just as risks rise and
returns are being competed away. (FT)

Fed Plans to Revise Credit Card Rules:
Credit card companies would have to disclose interest rates and fees in
clearer, easier-to-understand language under proposed new
consumer-protection rules that could take effect by year-end. The
proposed rules, which the Federal Reserve Board unveiled yesterday
after a 2 1/2 -year study, would be most significant change to the
nation’s truth-in-lending regulations in 26 years. (Washington Post)   

How Worrisome Is a Negative Saving Rate?  (NY Federal Reserve)

Consumers pinched by rising gas prices:
The usually unflappable U.S. consumer is being pinched by high gasoline
prices, and that’s likely to slow economic growth this summer,
economists say. Average retail gas prices jumped by 12 cents to a
record $3.26 a gallon last week, the Energy Department reported Monday.
Gas prices are up nearly 50% since late January, one of the largest
sustained increases ever recorded by the government. Over the past two
decades, gasoline price spikes have proved to be relatively temporary,
so consumers didn’t really change their behavior by cutting back their
discretionary spending in other areas. By the time consumers got around
to changing their behavior, prices had fallen back. This time, it could
be different. (Marketwatch)


The US Mortgage Market – Overexposed and Overrated   

Home auctioneers are back in action:  A sign of the distressed real estate market and growing volume of
foreclosures, the auction of 92 homes, condominiums and apartment
buildings in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties was the kind of
event not seen in the Southland for more than a decade. In fact, the
company that staged the auction — Real Estate Disposition Corp. of
Irvine — came out of hibernation to do it, said its chairman, Rob
Friedman. A sister firm,, conducts sales of  land,
but, Friedman said, Real Estate Disposition last conducted big home
auctions during the real estate bust of the early to mid-1990s. (L.A.Times)

 Are NYC apartments messing with inflation measures? See OER, CPI and the Fed: A Strange Love Story and OER / CPI and New York Rentals

How Some Agents Tout ‘Green’ In Seeking an Edge With Buyers:
Some real-estate brokers are beginning to tout their
environment-friendly credentials to get an edge in a slowing housing
market. But the brokers are discovering that selling green is harder
than talking about it. Living in homes boasting solar panels and other
energy-saving additions is becoming more mainstream, but brokers must
still convince developers and buyers that green features are worth the
added cost. And even if clients are eager to buy, there is a shortage
of properties offering the features. (Real Estate Journal)



• Weekend Jazz: Oscar Peterson: After recording and performing for over half a
century, Oscar may be the most recorded piano players of all time. His stunningly complex yet elegant and soulful playing worked equally well on ballads, uptempo numbers as well as blues. Check him out.

• The Larry Sanders Show could very well be the best television comedy of all time, edging out Seinfeld (and blowing past  I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, The Simpsons, The Office, the Dick Van Dyke Show, MASH, and the Mary Tyler Moore Show).

• On a related note, Dick Cavett on What does it take to be a comedy writer?   

Steven Wright twitter page

• Interesting concept for a new book: The Cult of the Amateur: How today’s Internet is killing our culture

That’s all from an overcast Sunday morning out in the Hamptons. Even if it doesn’t burn off, I am loaded for entertainment this weekend. Don’t forget the SPF 15 — you can get burned even when its cloudy!

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Friday Evening Jazz: Oscar Peterson

Exclusively_for_my_friends_box_setTonite’s guest host for FNJ is a music insider. Although he is known better for many of the newer acts he represents, he is, surprisngly enough, a closet jazz aficionado, and therefore must remain anonymous.

Here’s his take on the O-man:

Oscar Peterson has been recording and performing for over half a century. He may also be the most recorded of all piano players. (And he’s from Canada).

Oscar bridged the swing and bop eras, rooting himself in a style that was at the same time stunningly complex yet elegant and soulful.  Nobody used more notes to swing! Oscar is sometimes dismissed because he wasn’t groundbreaking in the way that many of his contemporaries were. But the range of expression he achieved on the piano, and his technical prowess, is hardly rivaled in mainstream jazz.

Trio_2 Many consider his solo recordings of the late 60s and early 70s to be his most outstanding work, but I was always partial to his trio recordings both with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen and later with Joe Pass and Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson. The live album "The Trio" from 1973 (not to be confused with a Verve release of the same title) is a great recording of Oscar with Pass and Pederson and shows Oscar at his most virtuosic. Check out the Brown Thigpen work live here.

Satch_and_joshFor a
compendium of his 60s work in both trio and solo settings, the
excellent box set "Exclusively for My Friends" will keep you
entertained for years. Of course, there are the standard "songbook"
albums (George Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc.) and the duets with greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Clark Terry and
Dizzy Gillespie.

Night_trainBut if I had to pick one place to start, and on a
Friday night with your favorite Bordeaux, it would be the 1962 album "Night Train" with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen

It showcases Oscar at his best on both ballads and uptempo numbers and he really shows his blues chops. In particular, note the title track, Bags’ Groove (one the great jazz classics), Moten Swing and Elllington’s great C-Jam Blues. The bonus tracks added to the reissue aren’t particularly special, but don’t diminish Peterson’s brilliance on this record.



(videos after the jump)


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