Friday, July 31, 2009

Grow

"Pushing Tin"

Air traffic controller flick starring John Cusack and Billy Bob.

Control, losing control, and rebirth.

TPMtv

Sideways - Oil Up

The DOW gained 17 and the S&P gained almost 1 point on Friday at 4 p.m. EST.

It all ended up being another sideways market session.

The GDP news is the days clincher. With the second quarter GDP numbers being slightly better than expected, Wall Street went with guarded optimism. The market rallied for most of the day then leveled out late in the noon.

Just looking around briefly, energy was at the center of the gains.
Oil rose 3.75 percent on Friday after data showed the U.S. economy shrunk less than expected in the second quarter, raising hopes the recession was easing.

U.S. light crude traded up $2.51 to settle at $69.45 a barrel...source

One Percent

This is the hottest economic news of the morning and probably in quite some time.

The economy contracted but according to government data it contracted less than anticipated.

As I post this, markets are up.

CNN: Economy: The pain is starting to ease
The pace of economic decline slowed substantially in the second quarter, as the U.S. economy shrank at an annual rate of 1%...

Economists surveyed on Briefing.com expected the second-quarter reading to show the economy contracted at an annual rate of 1.5%.

CNN - Global GDP Snapshots

The Market On Friday

This morning futures are up.

At 8:30a.m., the government will release second quarter GDP figures. Economists expect the data to reveal that the economy shrank during this period, but not at a rate as large as the first period. So this is perceived to be the good news with the bad.

More corporate results also come forward today. Futures are significantly up, but the last week has shown that the DOW can make 100 point shifts up or down, very quickly.

Reuters: Futures edge up before GDP data, but Disney off
The government will release second-quarter gross domestic product figures, a measure of all goods and services produced within the U.S. borders, at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

The Daily Show

"Gangsters"

The Specials

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Clunkerless

Oh well. Maybe the clunker isn't so bad after all.

MSNBC: Sources: Government to stop ‘cash for clunkers’

Clueless


What do you do when you are out of political ideas and have limited intelligence?

Why you make up stories, of course.

McClatchy: Here's the truth: 'Birther' claims are just plain nuts
...Hawaii state officials said again this week that they've examined the original and affirmed that it shows that Obama was born there.

Nikkei Opens Higher On Friday

Beer-gate has come and gone. Only Obama drank a Bud Light. Me, I like Guiness and I drink maybe 4 bottles per year. Beer is just a little too good.

What is going on in world markets? I am very surprised by the rallying activity and I still don't trust it. The S&P is almost at 1,000. That's amazing.

Could I be suffering from post-recession trauma.
...economic data sparked fresh optimism that the recession may be bottoming out.

The number of U.S. workers staying on jobless rolls fell to the lowest in three months last week, government data showed, while the four-week moving average for new claims dropped by 8,250, to 559,000 -- the lowest level since late January. source
Reuters: Nikkei hits 10-month high, exporters gain on yen

TPMtv - Beer Day

Big Boost

The DOW gained 83 points while the S&P gained 11 closing just under 987. The S&P is ever so close to 1,000. All bets are off, maybe the DOW can hit 9500 to 10,000. Its crazy time, always has been.

A few corporations reported better than expected earnings today, the government auctioned off more bonds, and the news on unemployment is hideous but investors saw it as better.
On the economic front, U.S. government data showed initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits rose a tad above market expectations in the week ended July 25.

However, the four-week moving average for new claims, considered to be a better gauge of underlying trends as it irons out volatility, fell to its lowest level since January. source

CNN - Drugs In Meat

Perhaps the one time I will post something from a Lou Dobbs segment.

This clip will help turn you into a vegetarian.

The Market On Thursday

This morning at 7:45 a.m., futures are up, slightly.

We are into the center of the quarterly report season with Exxon Mobil, Kellogg, and Motorola reporting today.

Data on unemployment will be released today and the projected numbers continue to be severe and harsh. This erosion in employment and all of its accompanying personal and societal strain are the real epicenter of the recession.

Reuters: Stock index futures point to higher open
The U.S. Government officially takes a 30 percent equity stake in Citigroup on Thursday, becoming the bank's biggest shareholder in connection with the February bailout.

Jobless numbers, due at 1230 GMT, are expected to have risen to 570,000 from 554,000 the previous week.

"Seeing Hands"

Dengue Fever - revising the rock sounds of Cambodia circa 1960s. Its called Khmer Rock.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dowd On Palin

Homosexual Is Next

The hapless hard right, those sobbing individuals that must have it their way or no way, have determined that Obama is an illegal alien.

First it was Palin. She said Obama pal-ed with terrorists and so therefor Obama is a terrorist by proxy.

Next the hard right branded him a socialist for heaping tons of money on Goldman Sachs and other corporate banks just like a good capitalist should.

In the background is the fundamental problem, the unspoken, he's black and therefor is a ..... Fill in as necessary.

Now Obama is an illegal alien posing as president. He is the Alien in Chief, ushering in all illegal aliens to invade our public schools and deplete all resources.

Recapping, Obama is all of the worst things that a hard line right winger fears the most - terrorist, socialist, negro, illegal alien.

What is missing? Homosexual. Therefor, the next attack on Obama will be a movement to reveal his homosexual past.

TPMtv

This House Is Getting Old Update

Today its all about doing some fundamental electrical wiring updating.

Its 7 p.m. and we are still working and its going to be a late night.

I see the markets slightly dipped, all within a less than panicked range. Volatility is resting while caution is in the foreground.

Investors want to see proof that the DOW's run up to 9,000 has realistic legs. Only Goldman Sachs can verify reality.

Getting back to the house - we are becoming more and more determined to fix this old broken down thing up. With each buck that the house is throwing us, we are more fixed on wrestling it into submission. We own the house, the house thinks it owns us. We need to show the thing who has the bank account.

I am beat tired.

CNN - Colin Powell

The Market On Wednesday

At 7:45 a.m., futures are down.

The word is that investors are back in caution mode. The front end of the quarterly reporting period drove the market up with unusually good data. The middle section is a little more troublesome.

There doesn't seem to be a compelling reason to drive the DOW into the mid 9,000 area.

Reuters: Futures off as investors pause, commodities drag
Key economic reports due on Wednesday include data on June durable goods at 8:30 a.m., and the Federal Reserve's Beige Book at 2 p.m....- which is the central bank's snapshot of regional economic conditions.

Swing

Why do people swing their arms when they walk? Not exactly a searing question but the answer is interesting, in a modest, yawning, yet green energy ergonomic way.

Yahoo: Out on a limb: Arm-swinging riddle is answered
Holding one's arms as one walks requires 12 percent more metabolic energy, compared with swinging them.

The arms' pendulum swing also helps dampen the bobbly up-and-down motion of walking, which is itself an energy drain for the muscles of the lower legs.

If you hold your arms while walking, this movement, called vertical ground reaction moment, rises by a whopping 63 percent.

"Roll Over Beethoven"

Gene Vincent - Fender Jazzmaster solo guitar, very nice.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Arctic Photos On Display


According to this Reuters article - U.S. releases unclassified spy images of Arctic ice, the photos, held out of the public eye by the Bush Administration, that demonstrate the severity of ice melting in the Arctic region can be seen here - USGS: Arctic Ice Sites.

I have viewed several sets of the images and I can see that the ice is cracking or rather melting with little rivers networking throughout the sheet as we go into 2007. In truth, I need a professional geologist to help point it out.

See what you think.

Shatner Does Palin

TPMtv

Sideways

Could a sense of emotional stability and deep breath calm be descending on the hyper investor class?

Say whatever you want, but the market went sideways today. It dipped in the morning and rallied in the afternoon, with the whole kaboodle essentially stopping where it began numbers wise.

Could it be that people really are less freaked by the implosion of the economy and millions of layoffs. Investors are less freaked.

Three months ago, today's news would have dropped the DOW by 200 points.

You know, its summertime. Summertime is special. Go out into the daylight, get some sun on your face, and enjoy your life. Its a good life, it really is.

Reuters: Dow, S&P 500 slip, but Nasdaq up with biotechs
...the markets technically overbought, and looking for a reason to take a breather, the stock market's slight decline is a good performance.

CNN - Should Organs Be Sold

The Market On Tuesday

Nice time to be fabulously wealthy in America - one could buy lots of bells, whistles, and corporate equities on the cheap and one probably did.

At 8am futures are down. Investors will get data on house pricing, consumer confidence (is this an oxymoron), and a list of corporate quarterly reports from among others, Viacom and Home Depot.

With the removal of the uptick rule, high frequency trading, and insider news on how Goldman Sachs controls the worlds' economy, following the market is beginning to feel like waiting for crumbs under the banquet table.

I take that back, it is waiting for crumbs under the banquet table.

Reuters: Futures dip before home prices data
(On home prices) Economists in a Reuters survey expect a decrease of 0.5 percent versus a 0.6 percent all in April.

"The Treehouse Song"

Ane Brun

Monday, July 27, 2009

Nikkei Opens Higher On Tuesday

Going It Alone

With plenty of online brokers like E-Trade and such, and with people p.o.'d with traditional investment brokers, a shift is occurring.

More and more people are going it alone. It certainly is understandable.

Reuters: Investors dump brokers to go it alone online
"I will never again trust anyone who is commission-driven to manage my portfolio..."

"When the market took a hit, I thought, hey, these people don't look any brighter than me..."

7 Indicted For Terrorism

It will be interesting to follow this case.

News Observer: Seven indicted in N.C. court for terrorism
The charges are related to allegations that they helped raise money and provide training for terrorism operations in Tel Aviv, Israel.

TPMtv

New Home Anyone

The DOW ended up gaining 15 and the S&P gained almost 3 today.

Considering that new home sales for June was so much better than anticipated, the market was tepid.
Sales of newly constructed single-family homes spiked 11% in June to an annualized rate of 384,000 homes, according to a report released Monday.

That is really good news. Considering what's going on in existing home sales, with all the foreclosure activity sending down home prices, for new homes to jump like that is a good indicator that the economy is bottoming out." source
And there you have it. More and more economists are leaning towards the recession has bottomed out line of thought.

So why didn't the market have an astonishing day to go with the housing news? I think its partly due to the over success of the last two weeks when the DOW hit 9,000. Its a dizzying view and people need to understand if this is the correct view. So its back to easy caution.

Reuters: Financials lift Wall St. in late rally
...investors rotated into financial shares...

Upbeat data on new home sales underpinned financial stocks...

...U.S. new home sales posted their biggest monthly gain in eight years in June...

CNN - Palin Finale #1

The Market On Monday

At 8am futures are slightly up.

77% of the companies that have reported earnings so far, have done better than expected. This is a cold fact.

Oil is up as well. More companies will be reporting today including Verizon, Honeywell, and Corning. This along with soon to be released home sales data will affect the day's outcome.

Reuters: Stock futures signal gains on Wall Street
Oil rose for a third session on Monday to hit its highest level in more than three weeks, near $69 a barrel...

"Along Comes Mary"


The Association - doing some pre-Devo moves. Is this embarrassing? Why did the recorder make it into pop music in the mid - 60s. The recorder? Check out the Asian dudes' guitar, is it a Hagstrom? I like the hairdos. Its a basic businessman's cut except its overgrown and with long sideburns.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Nikkei Opens Higher On Monday

"Gatherings"

Spaced - British TV comedy series. I like it.

Conyers At The National Press Club

Video clip with Conyers calling for a full investigation of Bush abuses of power and misconduct.

Now we are talking.

National Press Club: Congressman John Conyers

High Frequency Trading


Its all the rage - high frequency trading. If you are on the inside of some large investment firm like Goldman Sachs, you can make millions. If you are not, well then tough luck sucker.

Read this article.

NY Times: Stock Traders Find Speed Pays, in Milliseconds
Powerful computers, some housed right next to the machines that drive marketplaces like the New York Stock Exchange, enable high-frequency traders to transmit millions of orders at lightning speed and, their detractors contend, reap billions at everyone else’s expense.

These systems are so fast they can outsmart or outrun other investors, humans and computers alike.

Joe Biden - NYT Op Ed On The Recovery

Eh... Joe recaps the federal government's moves to pump up the volume, er the recovery. Or as some like to call it the "cov'ry."

Imagine a huge nation of say 300,000,000 people all going into rehab. There, now you got it.

NY Times: What You Might Not Know About the Recovery

Recession Over - World Peace Next

Nice article from Newsweek. Its one to gain attention and create some energetic mind buzzing. Essentially it is another summation article and the news is not new. Its also a leap of faith.

The markets are still the leading indicator and the trailing ducklings are unemployment, housing, foreclosures in commercial and residential property, fractured health care, and let's not forget that nasty old deficit, several trillion in red.

Newsweek: The Recession Is Over
The Obama administration's strategy rests on what some might call industrial policy or excessive government intervention—or even creeping socialism. I call it "the smart economy." It means eschewing the blunt economic instruments we've always used and focusing resources and rhetoric on strategic sectors: renewable energy/green technology, infrastructure, broadband, and health care. It means making investments to run vital systems more intelligently and efficiently, thus creating a new infrastructure on which the private sector can work its magic. This philosophy, legislated in the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, holds that a mixture of targeted investments, tax credits, subsidies, reforms, and direct purchases can preserve or create jobs in the short term, improve America's economic competitiveness in the long term, and catalyze private-sector investment.

Bush Hid Global Warming Evidence

The President one loves to hate, George W. Bush hid images taken by US spy satellites that clearly show the effects of global warming in the Arctic area.

What can we say. The man was a piece of work.

GuardianUK: Revealed: the secret evidence of global warming Bush tried to hide
Photos from US spy satellites declassified by the Obama White House provide the first graphic images of how the polar ice sheets are retreating in the summer. The effects on the world's weather, environments and wildlife could be devastating.

The pictures, kept secret by Washington during the presidency of George W Bush...

The photographs demonstrate starkly how global warming is changing the Arctic. More than a million square kilometres of sea ice - a record loss - were missing in the summer of 2007 compared with the previous year.

"Jealous Guy"

Roxy Music

Saturday, July 25, 2009

"Beginnings"

Spaced

Health Care Change

There is a built in natural resistance to change. It is called the suffering of change. We are like rocks that like to settle in a spot and not budge but become more enmeshed, some in more ways than others.

Perusing the articles on the web about new health care changes, there seems to be a shared sense that something is going to come forth while the resistance is profound.

Corporate America has a vise like grip on the powers that can expedite change. Essentially change would mean that someone's money river is being redirected. This is the fundamental problem - always follow the money.

CNN: Pelosi: When I take health care bill to the floor, 'it will win'
“We believe that we have a good bill..."

“This isn’t about rushing,” the leading Democrat says amid criticism from Republicans that her party is trying to rush through massive changes to a sector that makes up a sixth of the U.S. economy.
McClatchy: Distrust of government blunting Obama's pursuit of new programs
Even if they like Obama himself, people just don't think that the government can handle anything big, let alone something as personal to them as their health care.

"There is a lack of trust in government right now, and the average American does not trust the federal government to make heath care decisions on their behalf."

Sick Bush Sick Cheney

The Bush Cheney monstrosity was and continues to be a blight on the American landscape.

The fouled duo contemplated breaking the constitution in a myriad of ways.

When one sees Cheney's daughter mouthing off about how Obama does not want to secure the United States, one must recall that she is aligning herself with and defending the monstrous fascist over-reach of her father.

This article should raise the extreme ire of any American regardless of political affiliation.

Reuters: Bush advisers debated troops to nab U.S. terror targets
The Bush administration debated testing the U.S. Constitution by sending troops into the suburbs of Buffalo, New York to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with al Qaeda, The New York Times reported on Friday.

Recapping The Recession

The weekend is a good time to attempt to recap the viciousness of the recession. The markets are closed and people can try to relax when its socially allowed and safe. Whenever I take some time off I feel guilty about not doing work of some kind. Maybe its just me, but I doubt that. We are all filled with heaps of work related guilt. In truth I can't wait to do nothing, maybe sit in a chair and watch the scenery.

One thing to remember about economic articles that make bold predictions, is to recall that journalists have screwed up with their recession predictions at every single point.

I remember back in January of 2008 when economic journalists were writing that the recovery would occur in the Summer of 2008! Hardly, that's when things were just getting slightly toasty. Someone with the anal attention and desire required, could write a book about how economic journalists screwed up at every point.

The consensus coalesces around a few themes. The recovery will be "L" shaped - the thing hits bottom and drags along the rocks for another year or more. The recovery will be jobless. Millions will be unemployed. Residential housing market prices are slightly better, foreclosures are at a record pace, but next up is commercial real estate which is in big foreclosure trouble. This is why the REIT might be another big deal in the near future - buy low, hold, and sell or rent high. Lots of IPO REITs will come online soon.

Finally the market is doing better but all agree that it is fragile. The bones have not calcified with the DOW at 9,000. Its all wobblier than a new born giraffe. The whole kit and kaboodle could get real nasty real fast with a week of distressed news and realistically that bad news is out there.

Miami Herald: Dow closing at 9,000 is a sign economic panic has subsided
It all amounts to an economy that experts see as both more predictable and much more poised for a rebound. In fact, some economists say the national recession may already be over. If not, it will probably be over by the winter -- when most analysts predict the economy will start growing again.

...the stock market could dive in the face of either a minor spook or a major shift in good earnings news turning bad. Even a small shift in perceptions could send Wall Street heading for the exits again.

Book To The Future

Reuters' journalist Timothy Gardner has reviewed a new book on the future when gas is priced out of sight.

"$20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better" by Christopher Steiner predicts significant changes in the familiar American lifestyle.

Things like extensive road travel, car pollution, deaths from car accidents, and how we get our food, are covered with an eye towards an improved quality of life.

If you have to ride a bike all the time, you probably will stay slimmer.

Reuters: Business Books: Costly gas is good for you
...when gasoline hits $10 a gallon some 20,000 lives will be saved per year.

High oil prices should finally push the United States to catch up with Spain and Japan and develop high-speed rail lines.

"Symphony No. 7"

Karajan conducts Beethoven

Friday, July 24, 2009

Swine Flu

We read the news and something really catches your attention. This got my attention.

The swine flu is not gone. On the skirts of the recession, we get swine flu on steroids.

Is this cry wolf again or the real deal...

Yahoo: Swine flu could hit up to 40 percent in US

Robo Bunt


Remember the article from last week about the military vehicle that could fuel itself on dead bodies.

Now there's baseball playing robots.

Everybody likes robots.

Yahoo: Japanese professor creates baseball-playing robots
Japan boasts one of the leading robotics industries in the world, and the government is pushing to develop the industry as a road to growth.

"The Safe Place"

Alfred Hitchcock presents -

TPMtv

DOW Up Again

The DOW is at 9,093, unbelievable.

The NASDAQ dropped a tad, tech was not the flavor of the day. The S&P gained a bit as well.

This recent rally has all the stability of a sand castle. We need to recall that the market is a leading indicator. The front end of the car is perfect while from the grill on back its totaled.

Oil is up strictly on emotion and hope rather than need.

Hey, let the good times roll.

"The market is continuing to feel the strength of economic optimism from the greater financial markets..."

Europe produced a raft of survey reports on Friday that suggested the worst of the recession may have passed by mid-year and that industrial output has started to stabilize. source

CNN - Yoo Punk'd

The Market On Friday

At 7:30am futures are up.

After the closing bell on Thursday, Microsoft posted weak quarterly results. Recall that Intel posted better than expected results last week.

We are all wondering how far this latest rally can go, or if it can hold at present levels, or if it will soon retreat.

One of the larger problems looming are foreclosures in the commercial real estate market with both mortgage defaults and property devaluation rampant.
About 4.5 percent of bank commercial real estate loans were 30 or more days delinquent in the second quarter, up from 3.6 percent in the first quarter... source
Banks however are trying to stall the process of foreclosure on commercial real estate. Another economic Armageddon would cause renewed havoc.

The problem is there and its huge, and its simply being pushed into the future in hopes that an economic recovery will clear away defaults.

Reuters: Stock index futures point to higher Wall St open
After Thursday's closing bell, Microsoft shares fell 4.1 percent as the company posted a steeper than expected 17 percent drop in quarterly revenue.

"Sonata K. 455"

Scarlatti

The visual is a typical midi graphic representation common to computer music production software.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nikkei Opens Higher On Friday

CNN - Balance

Lou Dobbs - W.N.

Of all the stupid things that have come down the pike from wing nut land, this ranks in the top 20.

In the same way that even John Stewart pointed out the absolute nonsense of Lou Dobbs, Media Matters makes it clear as a bell.

On the other hand, perhaps it does make sense. After all, I believe Cheney was born in hell.

Colbert - Cheney

TPMtv

9,000

The DOW gained 188 points to hit 9,069.

Everyone is literally walking around dizzy. Nine thousand is a minor mountain top, the air is thin and the view is rare to behold.

Great now let's see 10,000.

Unemployment claims did not have much of an effect today. The numbers were expected, hundreds of thousands of more people are unemployed. Profitable second quarter reports from companies like 3M and AT&T did the bulk of the heavy DOW lifting.

Could the recession really be easing?

Reuters: Dow tops 9,000 as earnings, data fuel rally
...data showed U.S. existing home sales rose in June...

"What I like about the rally that we've seen so far is the breadth of it. It's not really confined to a single sector. It's broadly spread. That gives me confidence."

...U.S. government data showed claims for jobless benefits rose last week, roughly in line with expectations, while continuing claims declined.

The Daily Show - Birthers

The Market On Thursday

At 8am futures are up.

Up to this point investors are seeing better than anticipated second quarter earnings. Optimism is back and the markets have shown gains.

The articles are in agreement about a modest return to normalcy from the severe credit crunch of a few months ago. This is good news.

When you combine a return of easier bank inter lending and better than expected second quarter reports, there is a renewed interest in equities. Money is moving back into the stock market.

We know the bad news, the foreclosures, the unemployment. Still the economic climate is improving and a much greater disaster is no longer feared.

Reuters: Stars align for easing of U.S. credit crunch
"There was pricing of tremendous systemic risk in the marketplace at the beginning of the year...A lot of that has been taken out of the market and that risk has also come down dramatically."
Reuters: Futures edge up on earnings; jobs data on tap
"Earnings could get choppy as this reporting season continues because the production side is stronger than the consumption side, and production-oriented companies tend to report sooner than consumer-oriented ones..."

...investors will look for clues on whether the pace of job cuts is slowing when the Labor Department releases first-time claims for jobless benefits for last week at 8:30 a.m. EST

No Money, No Problem

This is a must read fascinating article on a man who lives on zero money.

He is a modern hobo and philosopher.

Men.Style.com: COULD YOU SURVIVE WITHOUT MONEY? MEET THE GUY WHO DOES
By 1999, he was living in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand—he had saved just enough money for the flight. From there, he made his way to India, where he found himself in good company among the sadhus, the revered ascetics who go penniless for their gods. Numbering as many as 5 million, the sadhus can be found wandering roads and forests across the subcontinent, seeking enlightenment in self-abnegation. "I wanted to be a sadhu," Suelo says. "But what good would it do for me to be a sadhu in India? A true test of faith would be to return to one of the most materialistic, money-worshipping nations on earth and be a sadhu there. To be a vagabond in America, a bum, and make an art of it—the idea enchanted me."

...think of him like the raven, cleaning up the carcasses the rest of us leave behind.

"Lived In Bars"

Cat Power

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Horrific Crime

We get these horrific crimes that occur with uncontrolled frequency.

The results are traumatic and so terribly painful for the victim and everyone.

There are diseases of the body that can infect other people. There are also diseases of the psyche that can infect people in terms of how they act and behave.

This is a crime committed by boys acting like a pack. There is nothing but pure ignorance here.

azcentral.com: 4 boys accused in rape of 8-year-old girl
The boys, ages 9 to14, were arrested by Phoenix Maryvale Precinct officers around 5 p.m. Tuesday. The attack occurred Thursday. They are being held at a juvenile detention center on suspicion of sexual assault and kidnapping, police said. The oldest could be tried as an adult.

The girl was taken into Child Protective Services custody after the attack after her parents disowned her. Hill said the parents blamed her for being victimized and bringing shame to the family.

Hill said the girl and the four boys are each refugees from war-torn Liberia in west Africa which, according to investigators, would complicate authenticating names and dates of birth.

Nikkei Opens Higher On Thursday

TPMtv

Even

First off we all want to send our best wishes to Sande.blogspot contributor and commenter "GK" who has had a serious illness. I wish him as speedy a recovery as possible.

The DOW lost 34 and the S&P lost 1/2 today while the NASDAQ gained a tad. High Tech is going great guns lately and Apple produced decent second quarter results. Did anyone figure that tech stocks would improve in this environment?

It was a sideways type of day. We like that. More reports will come forth this week.

Reuters: Apple, Starbucks lift Nasdaq; Dow, S&P 500 slip
...disappointing bank results and declining energy shares weighed on the broader market.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reiterated in testimony to the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday Text Colorthat the U.S. economic outlook is improving, but that supportive policies would be necessary for a while to prevent rising joblessness from sapping the recovery.

CNN - Total Eclipse

The Market On Wednesday

Just after 7am futures are significantly down and the price of crude is down.

Bernanke will be testifying before Congress again this morning about the state of the US economy. This along with a slew of quarterly reports from companies like Morgan Stanley, Boeing, Qualcomm, Altria and Wells Fargo may or may not change the likelihood of a drop in the market.

Reuters: Futures point lower ahead of earnings
Apple Inc posted on Tuesday quarterly profits that beat forecasts...

Crude futures fell more than 1 percent to less than $65 per barrel...

"Live In Stockholm"

Miles Davis Quartet

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Wednesday

Eventually we will explore the way currencies dynamically change in relation to each other.

Today, the yen is up against the dollar. When this occurs Japanese exports are pricier and consequently sales by Japanese exporters drop.

Although its too early to tell how the Nikkei will finish on Wednesday, this is an unusual situation where the Nikkei is down after Wall Street had a day of gains.

Reuters: Nikkei edges down, exporters hit by stronger yen
...the yen crept up against the dollar.

Unemployment, Stability, Inflation

Bernanke spoke today on the state of the economy.

He said unemployment will continue through 2011. This is key in that high unemployment hurts the recovery from the recession. Also, he's talking about the various measures that will be used to counter inflation by taking money out of the economy. Its interesting to read that the general quality of Bernanke's remarks were intended to appeal to investors.

Reuters: Unemployment could undercut U.S. recovery: Bernanke
...unemployment is likely to remain uncomfortably high into 2011 and could sap fragile consumer confidence...

"We will not allow the broad measures of money circulating in the economy to rise at a rate rapid enough that would cause inflation eventually."

TPMtv

Adrift

The DOW closed up 67 points and the S&P also went up 3 points.

Allegedly it was all due to Caterpillar posting a strong second quarter.

Earlier in the day Bernanke spoke about the realities of the economy and not much is new here. At some point the unemployment numbers subside, foreclosures peter out, and the chill in the public conscience thaws.

One thing to remember is that many corporations are showing better numbers or better than expected numbers because they have laid off scads of workers and have cut all kinds of costs. Exactly how many times can that process be repeated.

Reuters: Dow rises on Caterpillar; Nasdaq, S&P 500 edge up
...a solid profit from Caterpillar Inc eclipsed unease about the company's outlook for the current quarter...

CNN - The Dead Sea

The Market On Tuesday

Futures are flat this morning as investors await a day filled with second quarter results from a slew of companies.

The price of a barrel of oil is up a bit as well.

I've read mostly positive predictions for the week's activity but there's usually a catch. Its surprising to see the DOW closing in on 9000.

Addendum: With Caterpillar showing strong results, futures are now significantly up. In recent history, when futures are this high up the market opens higher and the day turns into a rally.

Reuters: Futures flat ahead of busy earnings day
In one of the busiest days of the earnings schedule, bellwethers including BlackRock, Apple Inc, Yahoo, Advanced Micro Devices, Caterpillar, United Technologies, Coca-Cola and are due to report results.
Reuters: Oil creeps above $64, awaits U.S. fuel stocks data
"The market is see-sawing based on people's perception of the U.S. economy -- they don't really know if the recovery is durable, and they are trading based on available data that offers clues on the outlook..."
Addendum -

Reuters: Futures jump after strong Caterpillar results

"I'll Be Back Someday"

Howlin Wolf

Monday, July 20, 2009

Nikkei Opens Higher On Tuesday


CIT was thrown a lifeline by private not Federal investors and Wall Street reponded with gains and more optimism. Texas Instruments reported better than expected earnings as well.

The talk is that this could be another week of gains. Hey, whatever.

The leading indicator of the US economy, equities, is having a ripping time while the tail end of the economy, jobs and the average joe are caught in frigid hell.

The truth is now that we are more aware of the extent of Goldman Sachs' financiers throughout this economic century, what Sachs says has importance. They are now saying that their estimate for where the S&P 500 will be at year's end is being raised by over a hundred points.

Reuters: Nikkei climbs as recovery hopes revive, banks up
...revived hopes of a U.S. economic recovery...

Minimum Wage Raise

The Federal minimum wage is getting a bump Friday to $7.25 per hour.

The state of Washington has the highest minimum wage, $8.55 per hour.

McClatchy: On Friday, lowest-wage workers get a raise
Two previous wage increases, one in 2007, the other in 2008, pushed the federal wage to $5.85 and then to the current $6.55 an hour. The third, which goes into effect Friday, will push it to $7.25 an hour.

Eighteen states and the District of Colombia already have minimum wages that are higher or equal to $7.25 an hour.

TPMtv

CNN - New Tech Giants

The Market On Monday

This morning futures are slightly up.

The week will be filled with second quarter earnings reports from company after company. This is not just America, this is corporate America, and this is what its all about in terms of the health of the economy.

Some of the companies reporting today will be Texas Instruments, Legg Mason, and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney bellwether Halliburton (boo).

Finance journalists have settled on a new tone for their articles. Gone is panic and volatility, eliminated is unfounded over optimism as we saw in the April - May rally period, and now we have a sober flicker of hope. Call it the new economic realism replete with massive foreclosures, massive layoffs coupled with a 10% unemployment rate, massive personal and commercial debt default, shaken consumer confidence, yet an ever perky and stubborn corporate resilience daring to pave the way as the leading economic indicator.

When the reports are good, the market will rally and the opposie is true as well. Oil is up and that always boosts equities.

Reuters: Stock futures point to firmer Wall St open after CIT deal
Human Genome Sciences Inc said its experimental drug to treat lupus was successful in a late-stage clinical trial, a likely shock to many on Wall Street who had written the drug off as dead.

Oil rose above $64 a barrel...

U.S. White House Director Peter Orszag said on Sunday that second-quarter U.S. gross domestic product figures are likely to be better than the first quarter...

...recession's grip on the economy appears to be easing...

"Sonata In E"

Scarlatti performed by Horowitz

Sunday, July 19, 2009

REIT

The interest in the Real Estate Investment Trust is gaining momentum.

Savvy investors believe that the collapse in real estate especially commercial real estate signals an opportunity to buy cheap, hold, and rent or sell high in the future, along with all other deal ventures.

Reuters: U.S. REITs seeking billions in IPOs, follow-ons
...creating new lending companies that plan to go public to raise billions of dollars to take advantage of the distress in the commercial real estate market...

...just the beginning of what some bankers expect to be a boom in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) going public over the next few years.

Blue Florida

In addition to the large business, employment, asset, sales, foreclosures, and such, shake out that is going on as a result of the recession, Republicans in Florida are taking heat from Democrats.

Florida stands a chance of becoming more blue and less red.

Miami Herald: Alex Sink's fundraising success could mean trouble for GOP
For the first time since the GOP won control of state government in the mid 1990s, the Democratic Party and its leading candidate for governor together raised more money than their Republican counterparts at the start of a gubernatorial election season.

Alex Sink, the state's Democratic Chief Financial Officer, raised almost $1.3 million to Attorney General Bill McCollum's $1.04 million, since April 1. The Democratic Party raised nearly $2 million, while the Republican Party of Florida raised almost $1.2 million.

Max Keiser On Goldman Sachs

Not All Banks Are Alike

A few more banks have gone belly up.

The article points out that the cycle of unemployment, lower housing prices, and debt default is the cause. Also they are reporting that losses from residential home mortgages might be leveling off, but that losses from commercial loans is increasing.

We can't overstate the fact that there is a massive business shake out in progress.

Yahoo: Regulators shut banks in Calif., Ga. and SD
Regulators on Friday shut two banks in California and two smaller banks in Georgia and South Dakota, boosting to 57 the number of federally insured banks to fail this year.

The 57 bank failures nationwide this year compare with 25 last year and three in 2007.

"C'mon C'mon"

The Von Bondies

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Saigon"

Three Sheets

The Blob

Anchorage Daily News: Black goop afloat off Arctic coast identified as algae
Miles of the thick, dark gunk had been spotted floating between Barrow and Wainwright, prompting North Slope Borough officials and the Coast Guard to investigate last week. A sample was sent to a DEC lab in Anchorage, where workers looked at it under a microscope and declared it some kind of simple plant -- an algae, Meggert said.

Your Weekly Address

Coming Up On Wall Street

Wall Street had a surprising and decent run this last week. Much better than expected quarterly reports from Goldman Sachs, Intel, and IBM set the mood for an investment rally.

Its important to remember that the stock market is the leading indicator of the economy. We still have employment, debt default, and foreclosure problems but the market concerns itself with corporate health almost exclusively.

Next week companies like Apple, McDonald's, and Coca Cola report. The last week it was the banking and technology sector, next up is household name brands.

Essentially we are going to see another strategic week where the fortunes of all can turn on a dime.

Reuters: Earnings to decide stocks' fate
In the coming week, 143 companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index will report earnings. Results from big manufacturers will give investors the broadest picture yet of the earnings season. So far, banks and technology companies have set the tone.

"The equity market is the biggest leading indicator for the economy, so what we are going to be looking at is what kind of information is coming out of earnings..."

"Chan Chan"

Buena Vista Social Club

Friday, July 17, 2009

Week End


Mercifully the weekend has arrived.

Even though the DOW and S&P have been more lively this week than in the past 6 to 8 months or more, the recession problems in some other ways are compounding.

Lots of managers and financial elites are talking about how the worst has past, and how the future is better. Even Roubini has said as much and that is something.

Still there are the little people on the ground. Unemployment is over 10% in fifteen states, and many more states are close behind the 10% mark including my state, New York.

There is a record number of foreclosures in process. Personal loan debt is defaulting at high numbers and we can partly blame that on the incredibly loose lending practices of just a few short years past. Ban the credit card, get rid of it.

Admittedly some corporate reports are better but exactly how is all of this going to pan out if unemployment continues. Are financial planners banking on a shrinking middle class to spend their money at a rate that will cover those left behind in this recession and then some. Consider that a first rate company like Harley is shedding a thousand jobs because people only want the requirements and not the bells and whistles.

There is a reshuffling going on. A great deal of wealth has been concentrated even further into the hands of the elite and many millions are paying dearly for this.

Obama At The NAACP - Sotomajor

The Market On Friday

Futures are down this morning, veering into the sharply down. GE posted weaker than expected quarterly results. GE is one of the bellwether companies.
GE's size and the scope of its operations -- which range from commercial lending to building railroad locomotives to running the NBC television network -- make it a bellwether of the world economy, which is facing a brutal recession. source
With Bank of America also posting losses due to loans defaults and such, the day appears to be set to open lower. We had decent gains Monday through Thursday but today the rally has a good chance of falling.

Reuters: Stock futures extend losses after GE, BofA results
"It's going to be hard to add onto the big gains we've had this week."

Bodhisattva In Metro

"El Manisero"

Antonio Machin

Thursday, July 16, 2009

NIkkei Opens Higher On Friday

TPMtv

More Hersh On Cheney's Death Squad

Leave it to Dick Cheney. Under his own authority and out of sight of the rest of America and Congress, Cheney turned the US on its head and created death squads.

We get the sense that the Bush administration violated the law of the land so much that its not possible to unravel its destructive work. It takes more time to unravel it than it did to create it, and the extent of the damage is massive.

The Daily Beast: The Man Who Knew Cheney's Secret
"Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on," Hersh said at the time. He added: "Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us."

Yesterday, The New York Times reported the hidden program in question was a death squad authorized by Dick Cheney without congressional approval.

The Full Taibbi

Taibbi's full report on Goldman Sachs is now online.

Rolling Stone: The Great American Bubble Machine
The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled dry American empire, reads like a Who's Who of Goldman Sachs graduates.

Bump Again

The DOW and S&P closed up 95 and 8 respectively. We have had a decent rally these past few days.

Goldman Sachs, Intel, and now JP Morgan have shown impressive quarterly gains. IBM has not, and CIT is about to go belly up.

Right now the fear about quarterly profits being less than the expected bad, has eased. Can we now find compelling reasons for the DOW to hit 9,000. With unemployment climbing, foreclosures climbing, and default on personal loans and credit cards rising, you would have to think no.
"Investors have ratcheted up expectations for earnings almost across the board, so that optimism is still there even if today's action is rather muted..." source
JP Morgan posted higher quarterly profits mostly based on trading. They are still losing money on credit cards and loans. This is all directly linked to rising unemployment.
JPMorgan expects its credit card business to lose money this year and next, and sees higher commercial real estate losses for several quarters.

"We're still obviously in a pretty big recession..."

...rising unemployment will put upward pressure on credit losses. source
Finally, Harley Davidson is laying off 1,000 employees. The company makes a nice bike but people are spending money on the essentials not on the goodies. source

Spare A Corpse?

Look, there are rises in consciousness, where humanity takes a step beyond savagery. And then there is the other.

Fox News: Upcoming Military Robot Could Feed on Dead Bodies
A Maryland company under contract to the Pentagon is working on a steam-powered robot that would fuel itself by gobbling up whatever organic material it can find — grass, wood, old furniture, even dead bodies.

Foreclosures Update

Recapping the recession in easy steps:

-The wealthy elite have captured more wealth or control of more wealth with a few minor exceptions.

-The middle class has shrunk by several million. (Note see article below) Also many in the middle class are now significantly less wealthy crimping retirement plans.

-The poor have increased their ranks with poverty among children increasing, crime increasing, and polarization increasing.

-Access to a decent job has tightened to the size of a pin hole with the exception of elite fields and a few trending opportunities in specific areas.

CNN: 1.5 million homes in foreclosure
A record 1.53 million properties were in the foreclosure process -- default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions -- during the first six months of 2009. That was 9% more than the previous six months and 15% more than the same period of 2008...

CNN - Is Commercial Property Recovering?

The Market On Thursday

Futures are flat today. JP Morgan is showing a boatload of profit while lender CIT is on the verge of bankruptcy or worse. This is today's push and pull mixed in with a little recession strategic data due out later today.

Everyone is still talking that equities are in for a bit of a rally. Reviewing the list of quotes from portfolio managers and financiers this would seem to be the case. These people are also talking about the worst is past. Can we overstate the fact that evryone is jumpy and this jumpiness will continue.

Reuters: Stock futures flat as CIT angst offsets JPMorgan
JPMorgan's second quarter results topped Wall Street's estimates, continuing a stream of reassuring news on bank earnings after Goldman Sachs...

"Matchbox"

Carl Perkins

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Schultz Challenges Limbaugh

Nikkei Opens Higher On Thursday

There is a rally in progress. Everyone knows at this point though that the footing is still shaky no matter what the Fed says. Initial quarterly reports have been fair but there are many more reports to come.
"You have record low levels of stock ownership and so on these kinds of days you see people pile in."

...while the start to the financial reporting period was positive, it is too early to do a victory lap regarding second-quarter results.
source
Reuters: Nikkei gains 1.4 pct on yen, U.S. earnings optimism

Krugman On Colbert

Wise Latina On Trial

Uighur Film

People that are opposed to the Chinese occupation of Tibet may very well also support the Uighurs.

The region is under Chinese control like Tibet and like Tibetans, the Uighurs are seeking political freedom.

George Bush actually made it easier for China to label the Uighurs who want freedom as terrorists. Several innocent Uighurs also turned up at Gitmo to the dismay of many in the world community.

BBC: China tries to block Uighur film
The film, Ten Conditions of Love, centres on Rebiya Kadeer, the US-based head of the World Uighur Congress.

"No-one reacts well to strident approaches, or to the appearance of being bullied. I don't think it's a positive way of behaving..."

TPMtv - Obama On Health Care Reform

Huge Jump

The DOW gained 256 to close at 8,616 and the S&P gained 26 to close at 932. That's amazing.

The talk of the day still centers around Intel for one thing. However there is an interesting Reuters article on Intel's numbers.

Reuters: Don't read too much into Intel's success: Eric Auchard
Partly, this was merely the "snapback" that occurred after Intel throttled back production to as low as 25 percent of factory capacity in the first quarter, amid a glut of unsold chips and shriveling demand.

Intel is benefiting from healthy demand in China and -- to a lesser extent -- the United States, among consumers rather than businesses. But these are not swing factors for the likes of Nokia, IBM or Google.
In addition to the news from Intel, oil gained simply because US inventories have dropped. The US is still the world's largest user of oil therefor its time to go shopping for oil. Also oil is central to the rise and fall of most stock market activity. So a 3% bump in crude prices gets the market churning.

Reuters: Oil jumps over 3 percent after fall in U.S. crude inventories
Oil rose more than 3 percent to over $61 a barrel on Wednesday, supported by falling U.S. crude oil inventories and economic optimism following positive U.S. data.
Finally there is also mention of manufacturing data that suggests the recession is easing. The following Reuters article does not amplify this data but hopefully more specific information will come forward.

Reuters: Wall St jumps as Intel, data boost sentiment
Optimism was further reinforced by manufacturing data that suggested the recession is abating, as well as minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent policy-setting meeting that showed officials judged that the economic contraction was slowing.

The President's Chuck

The Market On Wednesday

Intel has allegedly activated an optimistic turn in the investor's lustful heart.

Futures are up this morning, rather high up we might add. This is a surprising turn based on the extremely gloomy predictions from last week about worrisome and bothersome corporate quarterly results primed to turn the markets south, or as they like to call it - a correction. Kinky.

The moment seems to be positive but that dreaded correction really is still looming large. Green shoots may be made out of astroturf. So the long run is still not clear sailing.

Unfortunately futures have no meaning around 4pm. This is a fickle beast lately and even though futures are up surprisingly high, as more corporate and consumer pricing data comes in over the course of the day, things can change fast.

Having said all this we might suspect that the day will end on a positive note. I'd say the odds are about 50.6 to 49.4, gains.

Reuters: Stock futures jump as Intel spurs optimism
...as Intel Corp's solid results and upbeat outlook reinforced hopes for an economic recovery...

In Europe, major indexes were up almost 2 percent.