Possible Improbables

Doug Kass is out with his annual list of long shot events that have a better chance of occurring than most people expect. They are, as always, quite intriguing and thought provoking.

Interestingly, almost half of Kass’ last year’s improbable surprises came to pass (up from 33% in 2006 and 20% in 2005).

Its subscription only, but will eventually get moved to the free site. Consider this a teaser — these are just the headlines, without the  full analysis/explanation.

Without further ado, here is the excerpted list of 20 improbable surprises:


Kass’ 20 Surprises for 2008

1. The Housing Depression of 2007 morphs into the Retail Spending Depression of 2008.

2. Corporate profits drop by 10% in 2008.

3. The S&P 500 Index falls by 5%-10% in 2008.

4. Volatility pushes even higher. Daily moves of 1%-2% become commonplace.

5. The Federal Reserve eases monetary policy in 2008, with nearly every meeting accompanied by a 25 bp cut.

6. Growth in the Western European economies deteriorates.

7. The Chinese juggernaut continues apace. Chinese stock market doubles again in 2008.

8. The Japanese market puts on a surprising resurgence.

9. The housing bust accelerates. High profile bankruptcies in 2008 include Countrywide Financial (CFC), Beazer Homes (BZH), Hovnanian (HOV), Standard Pacific (SPF), WCI Communities (WCI) and Radian Group (RDN).

10. Financial stocks fail to recover.

11. Research in Motion (RIMM), Apple Computer (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) move into bubble status and their shares double in 2008.

12. Yahoo! (YHOO) and eBay merge. So do Amazon (AMZN)and Overstock.com (OSTK).

13. General Electric (GE) will sell NBC Universal to Time Warner (TWX), which will not sell or spin off AOL.

14. U.S. dollar’s value falls by over 10% in 2008; Gold rises to over $1,000/oz.

15. The price of crude oil eclipses $135/barrel.

16. Acts of cyberterrorism occur that compromises the security of a major government. Financial markets will be exposed to hackers.

17. The Hedge fund community are disintermediated in 2008. Outflows accelerate.

18. There are several Enron-like accounting scandals in 2008.

19. Democrats Clinton/Kerrey and Republicans McCain/Crist represent their parties in the Presidential/Vice Presidential contest in November. Democrats grab the White House.

20. Sovereign Wealth Funds become targets of American politicians.


Thanks for putting this together, Doug. It’s a terrific, fun exercise in creative thinking.  (The full version can be seen at Real Money Silver).



Kass’ 20 Surprises for 2008
Doug Kass
Real Money Silver, 12/31/2007 7:56 AM EST   

Category: Commodities, Currency, Economy, Federal Reserve, Investing, M&A, Markets, Politics

New Year’s Linkfest

Category: Financial Press

Cool site of the day: FeeDisclosure.com

Category: Consumer Spending, Real Estate

TED Talks

Of all the distractions, entertainment, and discussions that the inter-tubes provided in 2007, I think my favorite discovery was the Ted Talks. It consistently provides the most curious, thought-provoking, surprising sets of ideas found anywhere on the web.

Instead of watching online, I finally clicked over to the Apple iTunes podcast section, went to TedTalks and selected "Get All." An hour later, all 101 chats were  downloaded and iPod ready. Sure, its not as funny as Ricky Gervais’ podcasts — but they are a whole lot more educational. 

Its internet Barry’s gift to commuting Barry for 2008 . . .


Category: Video, Web/Tech

Friday Evening Jazz: Oscar Peterson (II)

Exclusively_for_my_friends_box_setOscar Peterson has been recording and performing for over half a century. He passed away Christmas Eve ’07 at the age of 82.

He may be the single most recorded of all piano players. 

Oscar bridged the swing and bop eras, rooting himself in a style that was at the same time stunningly complex yet soulfully elegant. 

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 along with 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 do not overlook 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 1960s 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.

I am also partial to A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra.

Night_trainThe 1962 album "Night Train" with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen is also a favorite. It showcases Oscar at his best on both ballads and uptempo numbers and he really shows his blues chops.


Oscar Peterson will be missed . . .



80th Birthday Tribute to Oscar Peterson


Oscar Peterson’s ‘Jazz Odyssey’
Hear an extended version of Bob Edwards’ interview with Oscar Peterson.   


Oscar Peterson, 82, Jazz’s Piano Virtuoso, Dies
NYT,  December 25, 2007    


A Jazz ‘Behemoth’ Moves On
WSJ, December 28, 2007

Tributes paid to Oscar Peterson

BBC, Tuesday, 25 December 2007, 08:00 GMT     http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7159772.stm>

Read More

Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

The Credit Crunch, as told by Dr. Suess

Category: Credit, Derivatives

Oil Movements

Category: Commodities, Energy, Financial Press, Web/Tech

New One Family Home Sales: Ugly!

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Real Estate

Dollar Value Inventory of Unsold Homes

Category: Credit, Real Estate, Technical Analysis

A Different Kind of Music List: Best of 2007

It’s that time of year again! Following our successful outings the past three years, I’m at it again. Here’s our Different Kind of Top 10 Music List for 2007. If you missed prior versions (2006 and 2005 and 2004), here’s the deal: There are a gazillion Best of Lists out there (and one list to…Read More

Category: Digital Media, Music