Festival of Links

The plot thickens: Another week, another set of gyrations. Investors this week discovered that what goes up, must come down. Inflation got noticed, Leading indicators slipped, the greenback slumped, metals got shellacked, derivatives caused some problems, and the bounce that many hoped for, never showed.

If the market climbs a wall of worry than it should be straight up from here. 

No matter to us here in linkfest central. We have an inordianately rich vein of material to mine for your reading pleasure this week. Strap yourself in, pour a cup of joe, and get your clicking finger primed, cause its that time agian: Linkfest!

• There’s an old expression on Wall Street: They Don’t Ring a Bell at the Top.  Actually, they might have: A recent front page WSJ article Behind Surging Stock Market: Old-Fashioned Economic Boom arrived mere days before the market sell off began. (If no WSJ, go here). Investors Business Daily was no better, with an editorial a week before that: The Boom Goes On. Its as close to a gong going off as will ever see.

• This may be a sign of things to come. In Europe, Derivatives activity linked to share falls;

D’oh! Inflation! Go figure. Wall Street has finally discovered rising prices. Its just no fun aboard the Reality Express! and, CPI data on Inflation is Rotten to the Core;

• My favorite headline this week comes from Bloomberg: If Banks Were Musicians, Citigroup Would Be Ozzy (heh heh). It matches Investment
banks’ personalities with various  musicians. Goldman Sachs = The
Rolling Stones, Merrill Lynch = Madonna (best days behind both), Morgan Stanley = Coldplay.
Very funny, and frighteningly accurate.

• So let me see if I understand this: When the CPI dramatically understated inflation due to the perverse Owner’s Equivalent Rent, that was okay. Now that housing is coming down and rents are rising, we should ignore it? What a buncha &*%$#@ hypocrites!

Pimco’s Bill Gross is ornery;
He looks for inflation to be benign, growth to moderate, and Dollar
based assets (and the dollar itself) to underperform global
alternatives;

• Back in February, I did an extensive Q&A with Paul Desmond of Lowry’s Reports (Part I is here, and the important Part II is here). I asked Paul what he thought of the recent market action, and he does not dissappoint.    

• The WSJ had a column in March that led to the recent SEC option backdating investigations (if no WSJ, go here). The entire fraudulent mess is based on an academic paper by University of Iowa Biz Professor Erik Lie, titled Does backdating explain the
stock price pattern around executive stock option grants?
" (and I love that the Prof who uncovered the fraud is named "Lie!")

• You are only a slightly cleverer pants wearing primate. Don’t believe me? Studies reveal Both Monkeys and Humans are Irrational, and in much the same ways;  Same goes for drivers: How is it that the vast majority of people consider themselves above average? This helps explain why Overconfidence is the Most Common Trading Problem

• The National Bank of Canada takes a hard look at Long rates: from maestro Greenspan’s conundrum to Mr. Bernanke’s
trials
(pdf)    

• Lots of interesting charts this week:

-Nyquist Capital looks at The Four Horsemen of Web 2.0
-You Call This A Correction?
-A long hard look at Semiconductor, Biotech charts
-There are some early indications of trouble
-Polytrendline cycle analysis (no, really)

• The NYT looks at Foreign Stocks and the Allure of Double-Digit Growth

• And, David Weidner looks at whats In and Out on Wall St.   

We’ll go light on the Energy and Housing news this week: 

•  Fareed Zakaria gives us the Real Story of Pricey Oil; National Review looks at The Dollar/Oil-Price Connection; The author shoud be aware that its not just Oil, but any dollar denominated commodity is rockin. You can check out local gas prices in your zip code area with this nifty site.

What if Housing Hare Becomes a Tortoise? (WSJ, free)  Duh! CNN’s understates the obvious: Real estate cools down (CNN does have a Real estate survival guide) and What I Wish I Knew Then About Home Buying   

Lets move onto some very cool tech related stuff:

Weathermole is an awesome tool, combining Google Maps and the National Weather Servce 7 day forecasts. Click anywhere on the US map for the upcoming weather. (I wish I had this when I did all that travelling last year).

• Guy Kawasaki on The Top Ten Lies of Corporate Partners

• The NYT’s tech columnist, David Pogue, is blogging. I’ve lost count, but I think that brings the number of NYT blogs up to more than a dozen.

• Cool video effects with the logitech orbit cam

• How cool is this robotic German parking garage? It occupies only 20% of a comparable traditional facility, is less expensive to build, and retrieves vehicles in less time and without the potential of being damaged by an attendant.

• Speaking of robots: This new Italian robot does heart surgery autonomously (Unverified).
 

5 questions about the future of the boob tube   

• Wired Mag looks at how an AT&T Whistle-Blower unravelled the NSA survellience issue;

• Microsoft Vaporware announcements are still dutifully reported by the business press as if they had any credibility. Recall that Microsoft’s .NET (any one remember THAT?) was touted by Fortune Magazine as a "huge revolution. Puh-leeze. Recent fluff articles have discussed Microsoft’s imminent destruction of Google, and their iPod killer. It says more about what gelded lapdogs some financial media members are than it does about Mister Softee’s PR efforts.

Meanwhile, rumors abound that Steve Ballmer — who won’t ket his kids use an iPod or Google — is on the outs; I don’t believe Bill Clinton will replace him, but he might just score a board seat.

5 Ways Google is Shaking the Security World 

Cody Willard goes hardware crazy!
 

Some interesting Political stuff this week:

• National Review, well reviews A Congress Gone to Pot;   

• WaPo discusses The Return Of Voodoo Economics;

• Fascinating left/right debate about the media (liberal or not?) between two well spoken advocates: Eric Alterman on the left and Tucker Carlson on the right; (Note that this was originally supposed to be between Alterman and Robert Novak, pre-Plame investigation)

• Andy Borowitz shows himself to be a non-partisan, equal opportunity humorist:
Gore Offers Self as Alternative to Hillary, Ambien and Bush Double defeats Prez in New Poll;

•  The Intelligence Agency Turf War Guide (from Langley, We Have a Problem)

• And for the apolitical amongst you, the BBC reports on Staying happier for longer;

Music news continues to be both exciting and maddening:

• Coming soon to annoy Paul Kedrosky further: Google Music

• You didn’t actually believe them, did you? The Record Labels Sue XM Radio, despite having testified to Congress and the Supreme Court that they don’t want to interfere with product development or innovation (Liars!) Meanwhile, the RIAA would have you believe that each month’s piracy is greater than the GDP of France.   

• Interesting new site: The Music File

My Amazon Wish List got a little shorter this week:

• Paul Simon’s latest, Surprise, actually is. You can sample most of the disc here. No Ladysmith Black Mambazo this time out – its a new aural soundscape for Simon, courtesy of producer Brian Eno. Fans of Peter Gabriel and Talking Heads are intimately familiar with Eno’s work, and it actually works quite well with Simon’s songwriting and voice.

• But my favorite new CD is the Red Hot Chili Pepper‘s double CD, Stadium Arcadium. RHCP never seemed to live up to their masterpiece, Blood Sugar Sex Magik. If that was their Dark Side of the Moon,then this is their Wall. It careens from funk to rock to melodic pop and back again; its simply their best album in a decade.

On to something less new: Monk: I’m working my way through the Thelonious Monk Complete Blue Note Recordings; Its his seminal early 1940-50s work, and may be a bit obscure for non-fans. If I had to rec just one Monk disc, I couldn’t — but newbies cant go wrong with either Monk’s Music or Brilliant Corners or Monk’s Dream or Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane;

• The latest (2nd) trailer for the upcoming Pixar film Cars is out, and it looks great. Also in animated land, a remix contest for the upcoming Philip K. Dick flick, A Scanner Darkly. Meanwhile, there is a fantastic collection of links to vintage animated shorts, all in the public domain, Enjoy!

• The new Clerks 2 Trailer (rated R) picks up ten years after "Clerks" and looks in on Dante and Randal’s semi-new life (or lack thereof).  Note: This is profanity laced and not safe for the office;

Books: Interesting looking analysis, The Birth of Plenty, on Human progress; The author is upbeat about the future; He put the entire first chapter on line. Also, Lee Siegel has a MALCOLM GLADWELL PROBLEM;

Sold to the Klingon in the third row! Christie’s is auctioning off ‘Star Trek’ props. The full list of tchotchkes are here.

• I cannot find the words to explain what the hell this is all about: Hooked on a feeling

Aren’t you glad I didn’t talk about the weather?

Category: Weblogs

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If Banks Were Musicians . . .

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Hypocrites, Inflation, Housing

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All Aboard the Reality Express!

Category: Federal Reserve, Inflation, Investing, Markets, Psychology