Its as if each week is a contest to see if it can top the previous week’s zaniness. How long can these "interesting times" go on?  Its getting to be exhausting . . .

The mergers in the Oil patch at a hefty premium ensures that the sector will remain an investor focus. And I heard something about some meeting this week (Weds/Thurs?) that might be important. I’ll look into it and get back to you in the event anything interesting comes of it. And what is it about Florida that attracts whackos and terorists? This group of idiots wanted to blow up the Sears Tower? Other than that — quite a week

Well, no rest for the weary: Its a rainy Saturday morning, and you know what that means: Its the festivus for the rest of us: linktime!

• Barron’s Alan Abelson notes that former Fed Chair Alan Grenspan urged consumers to get adjustable mortgages at precisely the worst possible moment. (If no Barron’s, go here);

• The Fed meeting this week will be the obvious focus; 1/4 point is a done deal, tho some think an "explanation mark" i.e, half a point, is possible. Bloomberg notes what the end of accomodation means in Fed Steals Punchbowl, Party Ends, Hangover; Rex Nutting asks Are the Fed’s hawks going overboard in their zeal to slay inflation?  Dave Altig asks: Is Core CPI A Lagging Indicator?  Mark Thoma queries Which Measure of Inflation is Best for Monetary Policy?;

• A study by former Fed Governor Laurence Meyer and former senior Fed economist Brian Sack found that Chairman Bernanke is moving markets more than Greenspan;

Two-Year Yields at 5 1/2-Year High Lure Investors; The small but growing “6 percent” club;      

Enough fed chatter, we’ll be hearing it all week anyway. On to more interesting stuff:

Why the Real Estate Slow Down Matters So Much (See also: Mortgage rate hits 4-year high; Foreclosures May Jump as ARMs reset); Also, this moves to the free section of the WSJ Slowing Sales, Baby Boomers Spur a Glut of McMansions;

• Billionaire Ron Lauder Pays A Record $135 Million for a Klimt; Slate’s Dan Gross asks Is art a good investment? Our own Tero Kuittinen ponders whether art auctions signal major stock and/or property market peaks?

• How important is stock selection? As it turns out, not very.

• For the month (ending June 15), short-selling jumped to an all time record at the NYSE; This happened "during a reporting period in which U.S. stocks pulled back
broadly amid fears of higher interest rates and weakness in overseas
financial markets

• Mark Hulbert discusses a Deceptively Simple Timing System

• From the UK, here are Fifteen favourite investing fallacies

• Lost in all the debate about Microsoft and Goole is this simple investing truism:  Old Stars Don’t Lead New Bulls (I’ll have more on this soon);   

• A study by EIA sees world oil demand rising 37 pct by 2030; See these charts and this PDF Energy projections; The audio of the presentation is here;

• Meet the Men who managed to fleece the idiots brain trust who once ran Enron, buying "old school" divisions which they then turned into huge profit centers;

• Hard tho this may be to believe, Michael Dell made his first ever purchase of Dell Stock ($70m). Don’t get all that excited, Dell’s worth 18.7 billion dollars, and its the equivalent of you buying 100 shares (really); Plus, It turns out that Insider Trading is "Iffy" as a stock-picking aid;

• The Media continues to go Blog Crazy!

Ask Henry Kissinger:  Is power sexy?   

•  Who is Hiram Bingham — and why is he getting a USPS stamp?

Pardon talk for Libby begins; VP Cheney may testify


Lots of Science and Technology news this week:

• Wicked Fast: Super-cooled IBM computer chip shatters speed record

• A self propelled, 200 mpg, 20 mph wheel, from RevoPower

The Doomsday vault: an Arctic isle will hold all of the world’s seeds in deep freeze   

•  Robert X. Cringely thinks  Microsoft is in crisis; (My take is here)   

• Climate Scientists Spotlight Arctic Warming, Plight Of Polar Bears   
(See also It’s official: We live in hot times)

• We looked at free web based alternatives to Office last week; Zoho has quite a collection of tools, all online:  Presentation software,  word processor, spreadsheet, collaboration groupware, email, CRM, organizer and more — all free. IF you are on a budget, these are definitely worth looking into.

• Intriguingly odd: 11 cousins, all at genetic risk of a specific type of cancer, all have their stomachs surgically removed.

• Software wars: The Free and Open Source Software against the Empire of Microsoft (graphic)   

• Online blackmail for the masses

On to the really fun stuff!

• Two interesting "economics of sports" items: NYT looks at Sportonomics Beguiles 3 Economists while the WSJ observes that Baseball ConfrontsThe Luck Factor;

•  The WS asks ‘DRM’ Protects Downloads,But Does It Stifle Innovation? (free)

• This is a nice slice of history: Trading At The New York Stock Exchange, 1934 (My b-day is in October);

•  A Terrifying Message from Al Gore; Whoch, by the way, leads me to some good news: Comedy Central has ordered 13 new episodes of Futurama

• I finally got around to seeing George Clooney’s directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (I liked the DVD alot); On the other hand, I was disappointed in Sarah Silverman’s Jesus is Magic; Usually, she is much funnier than this; The A/V club tells you what Classic Movies It’s Okay To Hate; And file this under WTF: The Michael Moore film festival?

• I’m leaving this week for 10 days of R&R, and I am bringing a huge stack of books with me:

- The Long Tail
- true odds
- How To Survive a Robot Uprising
- Dinosaur in a haystack
- Anatomy of the Bear
- iCon
- Galileo’s Daughter
- Double Whammy and Tourist Season (I really like Hiaasen)
- Magical Thinking
- Getting things done

There’s no way I’ll even get through even half of them, but since I dont know which ones are good and what I’ll be in the mood for . . .  I will report back on what I really liked;

Revenge of the public:  I love that people with video and audio recorders are embarrassing companies who have awful customer service. The ridiculous AOL cancellation issue reached a crescendo this week, and you probably saw it on CNBC; But did you see this: A Comcast technician goes to a customer’s home to replace a faulty modem. After spending an hour on hold with Comcast’s central office, he fell asleep on the customer’s couch — and the guy videotaped it.

• Improv Everywhere stages a fake hypnotism performance complete with audience plants; its amusing. The same group previously did a Hoax U2 concert near the Garden — just before a real U2 concert; Some people thought it was like the Beatles live on Apple’s HQ roof performance during the recording of Let It Be.

• Wikipedia’s list of fictional expletives;   




Set the TiVo, get the SPF 30, and I will soon be outta here. With the weekend linkfest spending a few weeks of R&R in the sun, we will not publish again til either July 1 or 8, depending upon the sunburn.  Enjoy the 4th of July — I know I will!

Category: Weblogs

15 favourite investor fallacies

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Investing, Trading

Read it here first: The Cost of Sarbanes-Oxley

Category: Corporate Management, Data Analysis, Financial Press, Markets, Politics

Call to ARMs

Category: Federal Reserve, Inflation, Markets, Real Estate

Cycle Forecaster

Category: Technical Analysis

Empire of Microsoft

Category: Corporate Management

Protecting Your Profits

Category: RR&A, Trading

James Altucher: “The Underlevered American Household”

Lets just look at what’s wrong with a few items in Jim Altucher’s column yesterday, “The Underlevered American Household.” I may have to address the rest of the erroneous analysis in a full column — but for now, let’s stick with the first chart in the article. Jim believes the following chart is “mostly useless.”…Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Retail

Dell Makes A Purchase (Whoopee!)

File this one under “you’ve got to be kidding me.” > Some people are all excited that Dell Chairman Michael Dell, (who presumably knows his business better than anyone else), finally bought some shares recently. Specifically, Dell bought $70 million worth of stock at $23.99. Remarkably, this was Michael Dell’s first ever purchase of his…Read More

Category: Corporate Management, Psychology, Trading

The Media Goes Blog Crazy!

Category: Financial Press, Intellectual Property, Investing, Media, Web/Tech, Weblogs