Record breaking! That was the week that was, as the Dow set another set of closing and intraday highs.
Barron’s Trader column notes that the "Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the week at a record high, its first in nearly a month, rising 138, or 1.1%, to 12,446. It’s gained 16% this year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 climbed 17, or 1.2%, to 1427, its highest close since November 2000. Both benchmarks have risen in four of the last six weeks." One small fly in the ointment: High beta stocks are participating less. Nasdaq 100′s advance — Barrons called it "half-hearted" — are the Technicians canaries in the stock market coal mine."
Economic news this week was rather benign — retail sales booming, inflation vanquished — if you take the government’s stats at face value (I sure don’t).
No need to fret over this — we’ve got you covered. All the noteworthy stories you may have missed, in one fabulous page. While we await the arrival of Festivus — here’s a linkfest for the restivus!
INVESTING & TRADING
• Herb Greenberg asks: Is it a brains or a bull market?
• Alliance Bernstein expects 2007 investment to be Positive, but not Robust: A Long Slowdown
• Michael Lewis (Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The New New Thing) goes off on private capital: Stocks — Coach Class of Capitalism (its a must read) "At any given time in the capital markets there are at least two sets of rules — one for the rich and well-connected, another for the middle class, the Wall Street proletariat. The upper class rides in the front of the plane with their venture capitalists and hedge-fund managers; the proles ride in the back, with the mutual-fund managers."
• The BusinessWeek 2007 forecasts are out, and — whattayaknow — I am not the low forecast this year!
Also way cool — all of the forecasts are sortable, by mid- and year end- forecast, asset allocation, index, etc. (Suggestion: Could we see this on one long page, instead of 4?)
• Bad Corporate Santa: The talk of Wall Street is the immense bonus pool
at Goldman Sachs. But as Dan Gross notes, "elsewhere in corporate
America, employees are far more likely to find lumps of coal instead of
bars of gold in their Christmas stockings this year." So if your boss was misrely this year, be sure to share your tales of "Christmas parties canceled, bonuses revoked, lame gifts, and general Scrooge-like behavior."
Send your examples to email@example.com by Monday, Dec. 18.
• Smart Money’s Where to Invest in 2007
• David Aronson on How to Be an Intelligent Analyst in the 21st Century — be sure to check out the powerpoint presentation included (if no powerpoint, well, go get Open Office)
• John Hussman on Phase Three: The Speculative Blowoff
• Just because you love Tivo, doesn’t make it a great stock: When ‘Buy What You Know’ Doesn’t Pay
• Barron’s Technical columnist Michael Kahn discusses what the Dow’s New High means — is it a New Worry?
• The WSJ on the Retirement Lies We Tell Ourselves (free)
• Why the Wealthy Love Tax-Free Bonds Um, lemme guess: ulta-safe, and no taxes?
• Fortune Magazine’s 10 rules for building wealth
• Why are so many companies holding so much cash? An interesting analysis concludes: the tax costs associated with repatriating foreign income (Harvard, University of Texas at Austin, University of New South Wales, and NBER).
The Wall of Worry came down quite a bit this week, as the Fed continued to focus on inflation rather than slowing growth:
• On the latest US data… No inflation? Puh-leeze! The Cleveland Federal Reserve sees Inflation very differently than does BLS
• Yes Virginia, it is different this time: Front page WSJ article quotes several pundits who opine as much: Housing, Auto Slumps, May Defy Usual Role, As Recession Harbingers (free)
• How Good Were Retail Sales Really? Thanks to a change in methodology, less good than reported.
• Some think what we have is a Resilient Economy;
• What does the global ratio of fighter jets versus private business jets mean to the Economy? Why, its a new obscure economic indicator: The Guns-to-Caviar Index
• Paulson Says: Agreement With China Will Narrow Trade Imbalances (video)
Not surprisingly, the FOMC kept rates steady and abrely changed their statement.
• Caroline Baum’s Letter to the Fed Chair (I hope it’s OK to call you Ben)
• Merrill Lynch sees "Aggressive Rate Cuts in 2007"
• Fed Chair Bernanke in China, Urging the end of the Yuan’s Export ‘Subsidy’ (video)
• An instant Onion classic! Catching up with Alan Greenspan
Some mixed news in Housing this week — a notable improvement from the cascade of negative news:
• Realtors See Improvement Ahead For Housing Market, Home Prices; For a slightly more skeptical look at this, see Yeah! Cheerleaders say Housing Will Recover in Q1!
• Speaking of Orwellian cheerleaders: It looks like someone at the National Association of Realtors was deleting criticisms of their chief economist Davis Lereah over at Wikipedia;
• Real Estate Promotion of the Week! Buy a house, get a Glock (some restrictions apply)
Retail Sales Data was quite a shocker this week, with a surprise number out of Commerce, and an increasing pace of discounting:
• Is the shopping based on Sustained demand or opportunistic deal-hunting?
• From fashion to food, sites track deals and offer ideas for stumped gift givers via the WSJ Blogs for Shoppers (free)
• Lastly, Holiday Gifts For The Filthy Rich
• Most investment strategists remain high on stocks, especially American ones
• Mark Hulbert notes that the Surprising contrarian sentiment hints bull market isn’t done
• A great column about the ays investors kid themselves –a bout their spending, saving and investing: The Retirement Lies We Tell Ourselves
• Divergences At The Market Highs: What’s Hot, What’s Not Among ETFs
• Silicon Valley VC Kleiner Perkin’s got a great big Green Investment Machine
• Absolutely fascinating article about the probles the US Army is having in the new world of asymmetrcial threats: Despite Its $168 Billion Budget,The Army Faces a Cash Crunch
• Report: Taliban regrouping in Pakistan
• New York Times adds sharing tool
Technology & Science
• Wikipedia founder remakes Web publishing economics
• Impressive live video/animation of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission is an ongoing unmanned Mars exploration mission,
• Business 2.0: Google’s copyright fix
• A different type of Web Fraud: In Web Traffic Tallies, Intruders Can Say You Visited Them
• Mozilla Ships Alpha Release of Firefox 3.0
• Flickr Co-founders: How We Did It
• LCD TVs Get 40 Percent Cheaper
Music Books Movies TV Fun!
• One last pleasant musical surprise: Bob Dylan’s new album — Modern Times — is unexpectedly good.
• Charlie Brown/Scrubs mash up: very funny!
• Liz Claman is one of my favorite CNBC anchors, and she has a new book of investment legend interviews: The Best Investment Advice I Ever Received. There’s an interview with her about the book here; and a chapter excerpt with Jim Awad here.
• Automobile Magazines 2007 All-Stars; I’ve driven nearly all of these, and the one that still thrills is the Vantage;
• Surly, bad-tempered Santa is making inroads: You Better Watch Out
• The WSJ’s Time Waster has an entire column about the rise of the latest viral YouTube video hit: An Unrefined Musician Uses Stop-Motion VideoTo Play a Catchy Tune (free)
• Jason Kottke on the best spam message ever (NSFW)
Its practically a heat wave here in the NorthEast, with temperatures soring towards 60 degrees — 10 days before Christmas! I’m taking the convertible out of the garage and going cruising!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.