Good morning, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Linkfest. So much happened this week that we will be ranging far and wide today. Put on your sprinting shoes — or, if you live in the NorthEast, your snow boots — cause we got some ground to cover.
• Economists say Fed Chief Bernanke should establish his credentials as an inflation fighter — but their average forecast puts rates no higher than 4.75% this year, a survey finds. Of course, most economists have gotten inflation ass-backwards.
• The 30 year Bond (a/k/a "The Bond") returned this week to surprisingly strong demand. The thirst for US long bonds heralds steeper inversion;
• On the subject of Bonds: Legg Mason has Passed PIMCO in Fixed Income Assets;
• Yahoo Finance has an excellent overview of Why Americans Aren’t Saving. MSN MoneyCentral points out that the Rich are getting richer faster. And Slate’s Dan Gross calls the "ownership society" a bust. And for the econ wonks out there, check out this Federal Reserve research on the impact of The Decline in Household Saving on the Wealth Effect.
• A consumer 3play: Doug Kass notes the Consumer is increasingly leveraged; This is important due to the consistent relationship between consumer spending slowdowns and bear markets; If you want an early warning prior to a Consumer Spending slowdown: Watch Real Hourly Earnings.
• I participated in a fascinating discussion on Economic Dark matter at the WSJ: Is ‘Dark Matter’ in the Deficit? (How often do you get to call a pair of Harvard Economists idiots?);
• Is the Party Really Over For the Housing Boom? Perhaps not.
• I’ve been annoyed at Citibank’s odd Panic/Euphoria gauge (here and here); Apparently, I’m not the only one: Barron’s Mike Santoli notes the barrage of criticism, and gives Citigroup’s Tobias Lefkovich an opportunity to defend the indicator (Barron’s is free this week); An easy fix for the indicator is at the end of this;
• While many of President Bush’s appointees have been highly criticized, his Economic appointees (Federal Reserve, CEA) have all justifiably received universal accolades. That is, until a recent "Out of Left Field" Fed appointment drew jeers.
• Fuel for the Windfall Tax crowd: Exxon Mobil spent more money in 2005 buying back stock than it did on capital spending, exploration and research and development. (They are just beggin’ for trouble);
• Thomas Friedman argues our SUV lovin’, fuel wastin’ ways — and $65 Oil — is why Iran will eventually have the bomb.
• The Seven Sins of Fund Management (pdf);
• Need some software written? Rent a coder!
• Some good reads: A well regarded book on Index funds is online for free; What looks like another interesting read — Ahead of the Curve — has extensive charts and excerpts online; I just started Confessions of a Wall Street Analyst — and so far, its terrific;
• Lots of market commentors (Rev Shark, Myself, Doug Kass) like to use pithy quotes to make our point. Now, there’s an entire blog dedicated to just Trading Quotes;
• Ever since Curb Your Enthusiasm began, I discovered two things: That Larry David really is George Costanza (the character is no longer a parody), and knowing this makes the original Seinfeld series is even funnier than before;
• An interesting trend in music? All female hard rock cover bands;
• The more things change: Last year’s critical darling Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, sounds intriguingly like David Byrne and Talking heads — circa 1979. I like it, but then again, I’m a huge T-heads fan;
• The Falling Sand Game (Warning: an amusing but colossal time sink);
That’s about all from suburban NY, where a Nor’Easter’s acomin’ — and I am well stocked with hot cocoa, Godiva Chocolate Liquer, and more DVDs than I can possibly watch in a weekend — including The Aristocrats. Tag line: "No Nudity, No Violence, Unspeakable Obscenity".
Let the blizzard begin!