Linkfest April

This was an interesting week, to say the least. With Non Farm Payroll report out of the way for a month, and the next Fed meeting still more than a 4 weeks away, we now turn towards earnings season.

So far, preannouncements have been few and far between. That suggests earnings data may be robust, with guidance a possible wildcard.   

But that’s next week; Now its the weekend, and you know what that means:  Linkfest!

Payrolls Increase at a Healthy Pace, as Yields Rise & Stocks get Spooked (If no WSJ, go here);  Even before NFP, new Fed research gave them an excuse keep tightening rates;

CNBC, Forex, even Playboy: There seems to be an awful lot of stock trading contest these days. In fact, We’ve Gone Trading Contests Crazy!

• There was a ton-o-Real Estate news this week:

-Mortgage rates hit 4-year high; Meanwhile,the Washington Post notices the overdependence of the economy on Housing: Is Reliance on Real Estate a Crack in the Foundation?   

-Second Homes are an increasingly large part of sales; Meanwhile, Regulators have issued Mortgage Warnings to banks: Tighten up your lending standards 

-The slow down has mixed repercussions:  the good news is its causing Real-Estate Brokers to cut deals, offer rebates to buyers; The bad news?  The rise in rates is pressuring some homeowners, who are struggling to keep up with adjustable rates.   

-Plus, it turns  out that unscrupulous mortgage brokers Credit Bureaus are selling your mortgage applications (You can learn how to stop Credit Bureaus from selling your info here)

- If you have a spare $20 Million, and can afford the $5,000 per day in upkeep, this is a lovely property that needs some updating.

• With the best Q1 for the market in years completed, Mark Hulbert asks an interesting question: What does a strong first quarter imply for the rest of the year? Is there an Correlation between Q1 Performance versus Q2-Q4? (The answer may surprise you);   

• Oil is nearly $70 a barrel; So why did Venezuela offer long-term contracts at $50/bbl – and why did the oil companies refuse?; Meanwhile, Its not ever summer yet, but gasoline prices are high and rising

• The Yale Endowment fund, which has dramatically outperformed the S&P for decades, releases its annual report (PDF) to the public. It contains insights into the thinking of its key managers, and is worth the read. David F. Swensen is the fund’s manager, and his book Unconventional Success
has been very well reviewed. Charles Ellis, Chair of Yale’s
Investment Committee, has also written a few great books: Winning the Loser’s Game is considered a  classic; I found the The Investor’s Anthology to be a wonderful read.

•  5 Traders Worth Studying    

• Paul Merriman offers what is the ultimate buy-and-hold strategy; Unfortunately, most people lack the discipline, and Buy-And-Hold Strategy Will Often Backfire

Lots of Tech related issues:

-Wired magazine shows you how to Put Your DVDs on your Video iPod (Windows); The Mac version is here;

-Not that the Department of Justice would ever allow it, but: What if Microsoft Bought Apple?

-What are the consequences of Information integrity in the digital age? Or as First Monday inquires, In Google we trust?  Speaking of trust, am I the only one annoyed with Obnoxious Dell Pre-Installs?   

-Engadget looks at 30 years in Apple products: the good, the bad, and
the ugly
; And just for giggles, here are the Top 10 weirdest keyboards ever;

• There’s still time to Reap Tax Credits From `Green’ Appliances, Upgrades; Fast Company asks if there is A Green Revolution Beginning in investing;   

• The New Economist wonders whether we are looking at The end of broker research?   

• Interesting new site:  The Buyout Blog 

• There was also plenty of Scientific developments news this week:

-Scientists find the ‘Missing Link’ between fish and land animals   

-Physicists Make Baffling Discovery about Chaos=Order

-It turns out that neutrinos have mass (they are thought to have played a key role in the creation of the Universe)

-Unfortunately Climate Researchers are Feeling Heat From White House (Blame WaPo for that Global Warming pun)

- Thanks to U.S. Geological Survey and  Google Earth, you can take a Virtual Tour of the 1906 Earthquake;

• History’s Hidden Engine Robert Prechter has a new Socionomics Institute (including an on line documentary, and two volume Socionomics book). The short version is his "Key Aspects of Socionomic Theory."
I don’t do Eliot Wave or buy all of his theories, but as I’ve
mentioned previously, the book Prechter’s Perspectives was quite fascinating.

Space news: Last week, the International Space Station watched a Total Solar Eclipse; Next week marks 25th Anniversary of First Space Shuttle Flight;

• What a surprise! The Music Industry Posted Their Sixth Year of Decline; Meanwhile, I forgot to mention last week that my man Cody went to see Jamie Cullum (I couldn’t go!) While his latest disc Catching Tales is pretty good, check out  Twentysomething — especially his cover of Radiohead’s High & Dry.

• In other concert news, some band named the Rolling Stones played China for the first time; Tickets at Shanghai’s 8,000-seat Grand Stage went primarily to foreigners (non Chinese) –  Demand was so strong that ticket prices on the black market  were driven up to $624. Welcome to free markets and the law of Supply and Demand! 

The Magic Numbers is terrific CD, layered and melodic; I just cannot figure out who these  eclectic and brilliant guys remind me of:  I hear everything from older Who, to Simon and Garfunkel to David Byrne to Pavement. No synthesizers, classic rock instrumentation, and lots of fun.

Pack your bags, preflight, zero hour 9 am:  By clicking this link, you agree to hold both me and the TheStreet.com harmless in the event that you laugh so hard you cough up a lung: William Shatner sings Rocketman.

 

That’s all from the rainy NorthEast, where Netflix (now in patent litigation with Blockbuster)  just delivered Good Night and Good Luck just in time for the weekend.

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