Monday, July 31, 2006

Hank! and Mel

  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry "Hank!" Paulson in his first major outing since taking over the post, heads for Wall Street on Tuesday to share his views about key challenges facing the economy.   On Monday, Treasury spokesman Tony Fratto described Paulson's address as "a look at the major economic structural challenges this country faces" but declined to define it more precisely.

Mel didn't say anything bad about Dinosaurs, did he?

  • Boy, did Mel Gibson get a little crazy?  Drinks.  Drives.  Goes on a verbal tirade.  Tequilla was the drink of choice, considering the empty bottle in the car.  It's hard to come back from that and be taken seriously.  I guess he's just human like the rest of us.  Rehab is probably a good idea.
  • Market ends up relatively flat.  I like the way it held up after Fed Freakie Poole threw a high-heater up under the bulls' chins today.  We'll see how it unfolds. You know it'll be interesting!
  • Oh, speaking of partying all night long, how about those Lindsay Lohan stories?  Mom comes out and defends her.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers get Greg Maddux.  Free agency kind of ruins baseball.  It just seems wrong for this kind of thing to happen.  Rivals switching teams.  What's up with that?  He's been getting hit pretty good this year, so not sure if this helps LA or not.
  • Fantasy Football note:  Scratch Brian Finneran from my #1 WR pick list..  More football?  Interesting who didn't show up to meet President Bush in Miami.  Nick Saban!  Yeah, well I think if the dinner is in March, Saban would've went.
  • Another Fed Freakie, Janet Yellen of SF, also decided to blab in front of the mic today.  And she's a voting member!  Yellen said in a speech at San Francisco's Golden Gate University that the fed funds rate is "in a vicinity that is roughly appropriate," and that the Fed need not keep raising rates until the point where inflation actually turns down.

For Ages 12 and Up

  • Quite the ballgame yesterday, with 3 runs scored in the top of the 9th by the Blue Jays, only to see the A's counter with 3 in in the bottom of the 9th. It was a Milton Bradley game(for ages 12 and up)! Walk-off 3 run dinger.
  • The Federal Reserve Freakies are in front of the mic again!  Just when folks were convinced that the Fed would take a pause in the rate hikes and were seeing some confirmation via the slowing economy, here comes St. Louis Fed Freak William Poole with some jolting commentarySt. Louis Fed president William Poole said he hasn't made up his mind whether the Fed should raise rates at its next meeting on Aug. 8. "I am still 50-50, we still have important data yet to come," Poole told reporters after a speech to the Southern Legislative Conference.  The economy is pulling in two different directions, with inflation pressures rising, but growth slowing, Poole said.  Er. Uh.  DUDE!  Higher energy prices are taxing consumers, and folks aren't spending as much at the malls and restaurants.  If you keep hiking rates, you will create a recession.  But, the Freakies have been down that road before, haven't they?
  • All this seems to have caught Wall St. a little off guard.  We are in the monthly strength period as 401(k) money hits mutual funds.  August is normally a weak month for stocks.  So if the Fed is going to create a lot of uncertainty and scare folks, once the 401(k) adds are in it could get interesting.  The Freakies are meeting again soon, so we'll have that to look forward to.  Of course, the silver lining in Poole's comments?  Poole is not a voting FOMC member this year.  Woohoo!

  • Hmm... What to do for lunch today?
  • Lets be honest.  Hizbollah (and other terrorist groups) won't accept any peace offer that doesn't include the destruction of Israel.  They'll just keep on killing.
  • Giant yellow Israeli scorpians.  Looks like they're good for somethin'...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Oak Town Blogging

I'm in Oakland watching the Toronto Blue Jays vs. Oakland A's. Just a quick note to say that a 12 ounce beer is going for $7.50.

Yeah. Well. That's why God created ATMs, right?

The game is tied at 1 as I thumboard. ..

Friday, July 28, 2006

Rolly Polly Fish Heads

Muck, should I be concerned?

  • Another day, another new health study.  This one says that fish oil helps weight loss.  It's not so great for the fish, though. The University of South Australia study found that daily doses of fish oil containing omega-3 fatty acids helped obese people burn off excess weight.
  • How'd you like a job where you just write up the day's ETF performance numbers and speculate on a few reasons for the moves?  "Well, those powershare semis (PSI - Cramer's Take) sure had a nice move today due to, er, uh, well everything uses chips these days."  He might have other duties at TheStreet, but I'm not sure.
  • Wal-Mart giving Germany the heave-hoAnalysts said leaving Germany should boost Wal-Mart's future earnings because it was an unprofitable business in a market that posed tough challenges for Wal-Mart. Germany's difficult regulatory environment made it hard for the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer to open large stores and its low prices did not stand out in a market filled with cut-price stores. 
  • Eh, enough for a friday.  Been working like crazy this week.  Made a big career decision.  Time to take the kayak out. 

So You Think You Can Trade?

  • Ever listen to financial radio guy Gary Kaltbaum? Maybe you've seen him on Fox's saturday morning business shows.  Yeah, he does kind of look like Super Mario.  Yesterday afternoon, he said that yesterday was the end of the market rally and that the market was going back to test the lows.  Oh, the Nasdaq is currently up 39.  Maybe he's "early."  He also boasts that he's been "110% right about this market" and called the market top on May 11th.  I heard him then, and he did make that call.  The SP500 closed on May 11th at 1303.  As I type, it is 1278.  From Kaltbaum's show, he indicates that he's on the sidelines.  So, he's avoided a 25 point loss.  Which is about 2% from his sell signal.  Not including trading costs, taxes, or any dividend distributions.  Just saying.  I think the "Super Gary-o" pic holding a mushroom might be appropriate.  He does have an entertaining radio show, though.  And I suppose one can say that we're in summer trading range so far, and at least Super Gary-o is making some money market interest waiting it out.  Although he does say that he thinks we're in a bear market.  It'll be interesting to see if he goes bullish and what levels he buys in at.  Or, if the market turns back down and proves him right. We shall see.
  • Looks like the monthly strength action is alive and well.  But I have to be honest with you.  When the market opens and within a few minutes I see the index up quite a bit, my first reaction is "Aw, crap.  This is going to be sold.  Those poor suckers who are buying this open."  Not the case today.  Lets hope the strength from us lemmings doing our monthly 401k additions pushes the market up and over resistance on decent volume, so that the technical analysis lemmings can buy the breakouts.
  • Tony Blair to press President Bush on a UN resolution on the Middle East crisis.  What kind of resolution would that be?  "Quit killing each other.   Stop the hate.  Give each other a big hug."  The terrorists have made it clear that they want to destroy Israel.  I can't blame Israel for self defense.  And I have doubt whether an international peace keeping force between Israel and Lebanon would stop the violence.  I think the terrorists would still figure out a way to blow up malls and school busses in Israel.
  • I've made my decision on the job offer from the Salt Mine.  More money, but no.  I have a "been there done that" feeling about that place.  I didn't like working there before, and even though it's a different job in a different area, I still have an uneasy feeling about their organization. 

Thursday, July 27, 2006


  • I'm going to have to quit interviewing for jobs. When I get an offer, I face a really tough decision on what to do next.  Out of the two interviews I had on tuesday, I received one job offer yesterday.  From a previous employer, so not sure how I feel about it.  Haven't given them an answer yet.
  • Speaking of wishy-washy, the market suddenly lost all strength, setting up an interesting trading day on friday.  We're at the end of the month and you know what that means!  That's right!  We'll all be dollar-cost averaging like a bunch of lemmings into our 401k plans over the next few days, probably lending some strength to the market.  Before we start the high-fives, we should be aware that we are now entering the Danger Zone:  August!  August is one of the worst months of the year for the market historically.  Lemmings beware!
  • Hey, maybe some of us burger flippers will get a raise.  House may vote to increase minimum wage!
  • Hey, pay attention:  Vegan diet reverses diabetes symptoms.  From personal experience, I can tell you that I lost a bunch of weight and my cholesterol, sugar, triglycerides, blood pressure, ETC dropped like a rock when I went low-fat vegan.  Lots of veggie sandwiches and bean-rice burritos for me. 
  • I can't believe how fast the day flew by.  I've been so busy here at the Fun Factory this week.  No time for any of the daily distractions.  One of my coworkers is out on jury duty, so in addition to keeping my team busy I'm trying to keep her folks moving forward.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Late Day Liftage

  • Once again, the stock market seems to be doing the late show, staging a nice lift towards the end of the trading day. I don't know why some investors think we need a consolidation day after we've only had a day or two of up.  After all, trends are made by relentless grinding in one direction with only a day or two here and there in the opposite direction.  Instead of having an up day followed by a consolidation day, I much prefer a "drip drip drip" higher day after day.  Just blow through resistance and change people's opinions from bearish to bullish.  Why dilly dally around?
  • Both interviews went well yesterday.  We'll see if I get offered a job out of either of them.  I'm not sure if I'm interested, but since I'm contemplating them perhaps I am!  More money, for sure.
  • Burrito and a banana for lunch.  Or as Sesame Street might say, "Today's lunch brought to you by the letter 'B.'"
  • Bill Cara on Stagflation.  I dunno about that.  Inflation is low, GDP is still over 3%.  The Fed isn't growing the money supply, so there aren't more dollars chasing around fewer goods.  Folks are spending more on fuel and less on retail, so inventories are building on shelves.  I doubt retailers react to building inventories by raising prices.
  • Market now falling a bit here with under an hour to go. C'mon buyers!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Highlights

  • With the market up big yesterday, everyone probably expects the market to fall back today. None of the previous big 3 rallies since June had any staying power.  So far, the market is treading water.  It'd be nice to see it do it with some positive internals and maybe a lift near the end of the day.
  • It's been crazy here at the Fun Factory.  Plus, I have two job interviews today.  First one is done, and it went really well.  The second one this afternoon is back at the Salt Mine.  Yes, I told them no last week.  But the manager called me yesterday and convinced me to go down there and talk with them. 
  • ESPN shows the Yankees-Rangers game yesterday.  Following the game, the network goes to baseball highlights for the day.  What game do they start out with?  Yeah, Yankees-Rangers. WHY?  WE JUST WATCHED THE DARN THING!  I don't get it.
  • More later.  I'm hungry.  All this interviewin' works up an appetite...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Universal Appeal

  • Interested in Miss Universe 2006? We'll start this one with a picture of Miss USA 2006, Tara Conner.
  • I added more high beta equities at the close.  (Using ETFs).  Rotated from some lower beta stuff.   I'm not a short-term trader, but I am aware of the saying that cheap stocks tend to get cheaper.   But I trade longer term than that, and like to buy weakness across a diversified index.  I believe we're in a correction within a bull market, and that the upwards trend will resume.  So I increase my beta on dips.  I'm also aware of this classic line from Vegas Vacation, where Chevy Chase's character Clark Griswold was losing money at the blackjack table:  You don't know when to quit, do ya Griswold?... Here's an idea: Why don't you give me half the money your were gonna to bet, then we'll go out back, I'll kick you in the nuts, and we'll call it a day!
  • Why the glum face?  It's friday!
  • For your weekend Fox News pleasure, be sure to keep tab of those Israeli tanks massing along the Lebanon border. 
  • Despite the stock market turmoil, did you notice that the indices appear to have done nothing for the week?
  • A different take on DELL from Bill CaraFor many reasons, Dell is included in the Cara Global Best 100 Companies list. Today the company reported a bad quarter and dismal guidance going forward. That’s good. It’s time to buy. So don't sell DELL.  Hoo, that takes some guts, Bill!
  • From Larry Kudlow's site, quoting Milton Friedman:  "There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income."


  • In "oh my gosh, really?" health news, kids need more exercise! Instead of one hour a day of moderate physical activity, young people may need to do 90 minutes to stave off high blood pressure, raised cholesterol levels and other risk factors that can lead to heart problems.  Probably a good idea for adults, too.  I've noticed young kids in the neighborhood are outside playing a lot.  But the middle-aged kids are nowhere to be seen.  I suppose they're inside with their XBOX 360s and Playstations...
  • Market Thoughts...  According to CNBC this morning, 65% of companies are beating estimates.  Yet, even with the good news the stocks that are getting the most attention are the stocks that are blowing up.   Yahoo (YHOO), Dell (DELL), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Intel (INTC) are some of the tech darlings that investors are focusing on.   This market stinks for tech stocks, and especially semiconductors where the words "price wars" are being thrown about.  But looking at a larger and more diversified index like the SP500 or the total stock market (SPY or VTI), it's easier to see a correction and a summer trading range.  If we're still in a bull market as I believe, then the tech stocks are overshooting to the downside (same in reverse as when the market rallies).  The market seems to be pricing in a recession, yet the GDP slowdown is supposed to bring us down to 3%.  Not a recession in a wikipedia definition.
  • Some NFL training camps are open!  Lots of news here.
  • The Sacramento Kings and the city of Sacramento have agreed to a new arena deal that would call for a  $.25 increase to the Sacramento County sales tax.  This will go in front of the voters in November.  My prediction?  It's going to get voted down in a big way.  The number of folks disinterested in the NBA and Kings far outnumber the supporters.  And nobody likes their taxes raised!
  • More health...  Energy drinks make you sleepyBut after an hour, people who had (energy) drinks had slower reactions and more lapses in concentration than those who had a no-sugar, no caffeine drink.  You know, that's been my experience. 
  • Been playing around with Moho, an animation package.  It's also pretty good for just drawing cartoons. 

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hooked on a Fantasy

Don't go there, Muck...

  • I thought I was out of control playing in multiple fantasy sports leagues.  I play in multiple fantasy football, basketball, and baseball leagues.  I haven't yet tried Fantasy FishingBefore each professional fishing tournament, Mr. (Bob) Fowler spends hours on the Internet researching the pro anglers and considering factors such as weather forecasts and the depth of lakes where they're competing. Mr. Fowler, 46, then picks the fishermen he believes will catch the biggest fish in real-life. He enters his picks on a free fantasy-fishing Web site owned by pro fishing organizer FLW Outdoors and competes for prizes based on his predictions.  Hmm, I'm not quite ready for that.
  • The market?  UGH!  BLECH!  GROSS!  Not what we wanted to see after yesterday's big gain.  So far, the market has had 3 big (huge) rallies since June.  And none of them have stuck.  The summer trading range is alive and well.  Nobody wants to take risk just yet.  I'm still long and markin' time.  A little in the red on the high-beta positions established in June.
  • Good news afterhours is that Google did really well in their earnings report.  Not having the same issues as Yahoo.  Web search leader Google Inc.  on Thursday posted an industry-leading 110 percent rise in quarterly profits as the company dodged the slowing growth trend that has hurt rivals Yahoo and eBay.  But you know, there are a lot of places to go on the web.  It'll be interesting to see how all of these companies do going forward.  They all do get a lot of eyeballs.  Yahoo's problem was slowing revenues vs. their high multiples.
  • Most of my flu/cold has gone away.  Hoo-ray.
  • Microsoft warns of a Powerpoint virus.  You know, I've been noticing that whenever I vew a Powerpoint presentation, I get kind of sleepy.  Now I know why!
  • See the story about a New Zealand cop moonlighting as a prostitute?  Bring yer cuffs, officer...
  • Holy smokes!  MSFT en fuego afterhours!  Up 6%, which should be good for cap-weighted ETFs if it can hold until tomorrow.    Their profits were down, but raised their estimates for the current fiscal year.
  • Joining the market pity party, economic analysts say that even though the Fed may pause, they're not done raising rates.  By this time, I hope everyone reading realizes that economists are less reliable than weathermen.  But they sure sound like they know, huh?

Jagermeister Shots with Ben



While I did see the "egaging" crossfire between Barney Frank and Ben Bernanke about wages, I've missed the rest of it. But Aaron Task over at notes something interesting about The Bearded One:

During Q&A, Bernanke just said: "Growth doesn't cause inflation."

If true, can this also be true (from testimony)?: "economic activity should moderate to a pace close to that of the growth of potential both this year and next. Should that moderation occur as anticipated, it should help to limit inflation pressures over time."

Pour me a shot of Jagermeister and lemme think about it. Better make it a double.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bernanke Summer Blast

I can't figure that Bernanke guy out, Muck. I'm glad he's on my side today, but where will he be tomorrow?

  • Ah, yes!  Ben Bernanke says something to give the market a reason to rally!  Now we all knew this was coming, right?  The market more oversold that it has ever been in the history of the world, not a single bull on the planet, everyone ready to go to World War III in the Middle East, and, er.... okay, I'm exaggerating a tad.  On a day where Yahoo gets hit with a katyusha rocket, it's surprising to see the Nasdaq rallying.  But maybe Yahoo is facing more competition than ever.  We all know about Google, and MySpace is now the leading internet site.  Throw in YouTube and soon a free AOL, and Yahoo isn't the only destination anymore.  It's still my home page, though...
  • Anyways, nice to see the rally.  Of course, we never know what the Fed Girls will say tomorrow.  And earnings and guidance will continue to guide us.
  • President Bush set to cast his first veto on the stem cell bill.  (Gee, why couldn't he veto prescriptions for seniors?)
  • Remember Dancing With the Stars finanlist Stacy Keibler?  (Hubba hubba).  Well, she landed a contract with DisneyUnder the pact, the former wrestler will star in a pilot for the studio or will join an existing Touchstone TV series.
  • So I'm already researching cell phones even though my current contract doesn't expire until early 2007.  I'm thinking I want something where I can use Slingbox and stream media.  WELL.  Why not orb?  Of course, I now see that Mark Cuban says that Broadband Video is Overrated.
  • Cuban also says The Internet is Boring.  He sounds a little bitter to me.  Maybe somebody ought to send him a Shaq jersey to cheer him up a bit... heheheheh.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Turnaround Tuesday

  • The market did a nice turnaround today and closed up. I like to see strength at the end of the day.  But tomorrow could be interesting.  Fed.  Earnings reports.  Etc.  Yes, I'm still long with beta.  Kind of boring with the market (SP500) seemingly in a trading range for the summer so far, but I'm not worried about it.
  • This just in...  Fruit and fiber the way to go to avoid obesity!  The overweight and obese subjects consumed more total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, and less carbohydrate, specifically dietary fiber and complex carbohydrate, than normal weight subjects.  So much for that low-carb crap.  I'm not sure why this is a shocker, though.  Gee, whole grains and fruit.  What a surprise.  Not.
  • I'm still a little under the weather, but came in to the Fun Factory today.  I think I'll last the whole day.  Initially thought maybe half a day, but heck I've made it this far.  Kind of slow today.  It's well over 100 degrees and people have shifted gears I think. 
  • I don't know what's going on with the job situation.  I called my former employer, the Salt Mine, back about their job offer.  I told them I wasn't interested.  Get this.  Today, when I came in to work I had a message from someone else asking for a job interview.  This one sounded interesting, so I'm meeting with them next week.  And before lunch, I ran into somebody I used to work with, and she asked me if I'd be interested in working for her company.  I don't know what's going on.  Either karma is telling me I need to change jobs, or else the economy is booming and companies are competing for workers.  That's all I can figure.
  • I'm still thinking about that Motorola Q as my next cell phone after the Treo...
  • While I was sick, I downloaded some software and was playing around with it.  Moho for animations.  And Xara for drawing pics.  I didn't have the patience yesterday to get past the 3rd tutorial with Moho, but it was kind of fun. 
  • I'm reading a story with the headline "Israel Pounds Lebanon" and I'm thinking that the heads of state talking to the media about these events should talk in their wrestling voices.  You know what I mean?  Flex their muscles and strain to get the words out. 

Monday, July 17, 2006

Dazed and Confused

  • Kirk says today was like watching paint dry, and that investors are dazed and confused. Lets cue the Led Zeppelin and try to get our way through it
  • The markets were basically flat today.  At some point, I think the market gets tired of watching current events and get back to looking at economic events.  We're in options expiration week, which tends to be positive.  We have earnings up the wazoo and also inflation data coming out.  All of this AND Bernanke speaking!  We should see some volatility on all of this.  There is some heavy gloom and doom on this market.  It started down before the Middle East violence, and even if that gets discounted the market will have to find something in the economic data to get excited about. 
  • President Bush and England's Prime Minister Tony Blair were chatting in front of a microphone they thought was turned off (video).   Some transcripts are a little different.   Here's one from BBC.  SkyNews has one here.  From the Financial Times.  What comes across to me is the friendsihp and chumminess between Bush and Blair.  It shows that the relationship between the US and UK is pretty strong and united.  Certainly better than all the prepared remarks.  This is the way they chat.  Interesting.  Bush is right, they gotta stop doing this shit.
  • Well unforuntately, I didn't work out at all this weekend.  Didn't take the kayak out.  No biking.  Nothing.  I feel really lazy, but my energy levels are tapped and this cold is making me tired.
  • Hmm, Beer League the Movie.
  • Nap time again.
  • In edit: Adding this from Market Power, more Zidane goofiness...

Ah Choo!

  • I've been sick the last few days. Feels like a cold. Very much in the respitory system.  Hit me a little friday night so I wondered if it was allergies or a cold.  Went downhill all saturday.  Sunday was the worst day.  I called in sick today, so I'm just home.  At least today I'm up out of bed.  Yesterday was major league sack time for most of the day.  Nothing worse than a summer cold, though. 
  • I just woke up, and the market has been open for 3 hours.  Doesn't seem like it's moving much.  I wonder if investors really care what's going on in Israel-Lebanon?  So far higher oil prices really haven't hurt consumers, other than they're spending less at the malls.  People still are driving like crazy, because they have to get from point A to point B.  Fuel prices aren't high enough to stop that.  But are they spending less at Starbucks and Cheesecake Factory?  Looks like it from the earnings numbers.
  • In the big picture, is anyone shocked that for the bazillionth time there is war in the Middle East between Israel and the Arabs?  Isn't this like a 5000 year war?  The weapons get more advanced each time, though.  I get this feeling that no matter what we do, we can't resolve a 5000-yr war. 

  • You know, I have this Derringer Live album.  It's actually an album, too.  (That means I haven't been able to play it for about 10 years since I don't have a record player).  So, Rick Derringer has been featured in a commercial for something (I can't remember what) that I see on CNBC way too frequently.  The only song I can remember from him is that Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo.  Looks like Derringer has been doing some producing since his hey day. 
  • Big tsunami down Indonesia way.  Holy smokes.
  • Well, I haven't been up for long... but I think I'm ready for a nap!

Friday, July 14, 2006

More on Friday

  • Stocks are swooning because of whatever. We have geopolitics. We have a downtrend or correctionthat seems to be in place because of either the Fed's fear of inflation because of a too strong economy or because of bad earnings from a slowing economy.  Take yer pick.  New lows zooming.  Oversold?  Sure.  "Everyone" thinks that stocks could ramp if there is any good news at all out there.  Well!  I'm going to remain long and in beta, and may add a little more near the close.  I think we're still in a bull market, and this is a correction.   
  • Well, the war coverage is out there.  Once you've seen one Beruit bombing, you've seen them all.  So it seems like a good tme to search YouTube for something.  Turns out the most popular vids out there are from Emmalina.  She dances.  She talks.  She curiously tilts her head to one side as she speaks.  She's made the big time, in an article at the Washington PostHer numbers are eye-popping. According to the YouTube counters, she has more than 4,200 subscribers to her oeuvre, which includes 28 videos ranging in length from a few seconds to a few minutes. As of 8 p.m. Friday, her work had received 363,652 views since the first video went up two months ago. That's 2,000 more than when I checked Friday morning, making it one of the most popular destinations on YouTube.  So there you go.  Immitation is all about flattery, so check out lazydork's immitation of Emmalina.
  • Christie Brinkley?  Yeah, the Uptown Girl is divorced again.  #4!  Peter Cook is the latest husband to be cast aside. Haven't heard much about Christie lately.  I think the last time I remember seeing her was in those exercise informercials with Chuck Norris selling some total-body workout gizmo.

  • Ah, the closing bell.  Maria on the tube and the talk is that the Nasdaq is at a 9-month low.  Oil is at record levels.   $100 a barrel?  The latest guest said he'd hesitate to put any price cap on oil.  It could go up and up and up forever.  Hey, think how much it'll cost when it's so expensive that nobody's buying it!  (bah)
  • Of course, higher oil prices are something that we must pay.  We have to drive.  We'll cut back on other spending first.  Coffee.  Cheesecake.  A better paddle for the kayak. 
  • Hizbollah or Hezbollah?  Can we get a ruling on this?
  • Bill Clinton is out there telling Africa to encourage AIDS testing"People living with HIV and AIDS can live a normal life if they go for testing to know their status. We'll bring the medicine and it does not matter at what cost but how many lives will be saved and changed," Clinton said.  Doesn't matter the cost, eh?  AIDS kills 10 people per hour in Malawi.  Yikes.
  • Disney released Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest this summer. They'll release the DVD at Christmas.  They'll have the 3rd movie in Pirates of the Carribean next summer, and the DVD Christmas 2007.  Then a sequel to the Chronicles of Narnia.  Big movie money, eh?

  • Great one up over at Barry's.  From the email bag!  I got a good laugh out of that one...
  • Easyguru at StockBee talks about the Weekend Dilemma.  Yeah, that's it, huh?
  • David thinks the "weekend long" trade might be crowded at The Shark Report.  That's a good blog, btw. If you haven't subscribed to the feed, what are you waiting for?  Why do you even read financial blogs?  Maybe you should take up knitting or something.  C'mon.  (OK, it's friday and I'm losing it..)
  • Tickersense has started a blogger sentiment poll, which I participate in.  The July 10-14 poll shows 28.57% bulls, 31.43% bears, and 40% of people who don't have a clue.  Er, who are neutral.

Free Falling!

  • Cue the Tom Petty, because this market is Free Falling as we head into the weekend. The thought is that there ain't nobody who wants to be long this market with the rockets red glare between Israel and the terrorists.  Of course, this could be setting up one big rally next week if things calm down and earnings come in and yadda yadda yadda.  For now, CNBC is talking about $100 oil and bombs and instability and ... well, enjoy the Tom Petty.
  • We had the hub-bub about breastfeeding at Victoria's Secret recently.  Now comes this health news from Yahoo about Diet and Exercise OK for breastfeeding women.   Overweight women who are breastfeeding and want to lose weight can do so safely by decreasing the amount of sweetened drinks, snack foods, sweets and desserts in their diet and walking briskly for 45 minutes per day, four days per week, a new study indicates. Next time at the gym, keep an eye on that woman next to you on the treadmill.  Baby on board!
  • Kirk wonders if Enough is EnoughHave we had enough selling to price in the bad news? Investors certainly hope so and the most aggressive ones among us will probably try to deploy some cash if only to try to catch a snap back rally.  Yeah, probably.  As I mentioned yesterday, each trip back down towards the bottom of the trading range generates more fear and pessimism.  Ain't that the truth!
  • I've used "ain't" twice already and it ain't even noon yet!


  • Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett dies at 60. Syd Barrett, one of the original members of legendary rock group Pink Floyd, has died at the age of 60 from complications arising from diabetes. Too young I think...
  • Bombs raining down on Beruit as I type.  Israel was serious, it seems.  You know, I think Israel shows considerable restraint.  They leave Gaza, and the terrorists just move the rocket launchers closer to Israel and launch rockets.  It's like the terrorists aren't even interested in peace.  Like the Iran leader said, they want to wipe Israel off the map.
  • I didn't watch much "Felicity," but Keri Russell is now a CoverGirl.  And she didn't even have to win America's Next Top Model to do it.  Can you imagine the tears Keri Russell would shed being shredded by Janice Dickenson?
  • Valerie Plame sues Dick Cheney.  I don't know if the Vice President has established a 1-800 number for folks to call in with tips on how to catch the "real leaker."

  • Look who is getting a long weekend off...  Michelle WieShe hit bushes and trees, water and weeds. Michelle Wie hit them wide right and left, long and short, everywhere but the fairway. She let out an "argh!" as a tee shot sailed off to the right, into the trees. And she put her right hand over her mouth as another floated wide right, this time landing on a hill.  Ah, I was cheering her on.  She would've been the first woman since 1945 to make a PGA Tour event.  I think it's great she gave it a go.
  • The market could open ugly tomorrow.  The war is escalating.  The worry will be oil.  Of course.  If you want to help, don't drive so much.  Conserve. 
  • Another one.  Red Buttons, the carrot-topped burlesque comedian who became a top star in early television and then won a 1957 Oscar with a surprising dramatic turn in "Sayonara," died Thursday. He was 87.
  • It took a long time for me to come up with my Black Box market timing system. Want to take a peak at the inner workings?
  • Hey, it's after midnight!  G'night!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Front Page News Respect!

  • Poor North Korea. They just can't seem to stay on the front page of the news headlines for very long. First, Iran knocks them off.  North Korea responds with missle launches to get back on the front page.  Now, the growing conflict between Israel and the Hezbollah (or Hizbollah?) is going to bury North Korea to the back pages yet again.  Kim Jong Il just can't get no respect!
  • With the market tanking and all the bad headlines, I wonder if Ben Bernanke and the Fed girls will start making more market-friendly chatter?  The Minneapolis Fed Bank President Gary Stern believes that too much is made over short-term forecasts, said the economy over the next two years "will look a lot like the previous two years." On average, economy growth should be around 3%, with the unemployment rate staying around the neighborhood of its current level of 4.6% and inflation staying in the benign range of the past two years although there might be short-term fluctuations.

  • Jim Cramer.  Lordy.  Now here is a guy who runs with the crowd.  As pessimism and gloom mount, Brother Jimmy says it's A Lot Like 2000, Only Worse.  I've got this train-wreck button on my "Mad Money" console -- the sound effects board I use during my TV show -- and I feel like hitting it a bunch of times right now just to emphasize what this market's become. It's 2000 all over again without the snap-back because of the geopolitical stuff.  He wrote this after the market close and finished the column off with More pain ahead.  By the way, I think Jim is a great entertainer and probably has some good fundamental insights into some companies.  I don't know how he follows so many of them, though.  But I do think he runs with the crowd as far as his market timing insights.  He's getting worried here again near the bottom of the trading range. Well, my opinion anyways.
  • I'm going to have to read through the political blogs later.  There must be some wild posting with the geopolitical stuff going on.  Those with an agenda will blame President Bush as they do for everything else.  Levi breaks, 9/11, hurricanes, or chewing gum stuck under the desk?  Yeah, blame President Bush.
  • Stock market down for the day.  SP500 still above the correction lows that we saw mid-June.  Also closing below the 200dma.  For those folks who watch that stuff.  Not indicators I use, although they sometimes act like a magnet for the market (or stocks) when I'm looking for entry/exit points.  Also looks like an inverse head and shoulders in the SP500.  Not that head and shoulders are reliable patterns, but some people watch that.

Market Thoughts

  • I want to start out today with "Market Thoughts."

Back in April, I sold off my high-beta stocks and rotated into some cash and low-beta (aka "safe") holdings due to a sell signal I had.  My thoughts at the time were that in addition to the Black Box sell signal, we were headed into the weak summer season and mid-term election cycle stuff but that I'd look for weakness to play a summer rally.  At the end of May, I had buy signals and put cash back to work, including some high-beta positions in early June.  I mentioned that I thought we would likely see a summer trading range

So why would I buy stocks when facing a potentially frustrating trading range?  I thought the market looked right, and there was no guarantee that we'd see a trading range develop.  We could've launched back up for good right then.  I think it's better to be positioned for a rally even if the rally takes awhile to develop.  (Just as I had sold in April using the same strategy in reverse).  We are in the trading range, and what is happening is that this is serving to really frustrate the bulls.  Folks are convinced more and more that we're in a bear market each time we come down near the bottom of the trading range.  Yes, some sectors will overshoot (semis and tech), so I watch the SP500 as my main indicator of where we are.

Things are gloomy right now, and the SP500 isn't back at the trading range lows.  North Korea. Israel and Palestinians.  Iran.  Iraq.  Afghanistan.  Oil prices.  The Fed raising rates because they fear inflation because the economy is too strong.  On and on.  People are extremely bearish and getting more so with each trip down to the bottom of this trading range.  Some are convinced it's a bear market, from listening to Gary Kaltbaum yesterday.  I disagree.  I think this is a pullback or correction like we normally see a few times a year, and that the bull market is still intact.

Just my opinion, and I remain long with beta.

  • My former company, The Salt Mine, has called me about a job offer.  As you know, I recently turned down an offer from Wonderful Inc.  They left a message on my vmail, and said they'd call back.  Interesting.  The Salt Mine is much closer to my home than The Fun Factory where I work now.  The job is in a different area than I worked before, but with the same manager.  He's trying to build up a new team and gave me a call.  Again, interesting. 
  • Ooh, as I type it looks like Haifa was hit by two missles.  So we could see more selling and "giving up" on the market.  I'll get more aggressive on that if it happens.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lets Blame the EU!

  • The market looking ugly as I type. So if I'm combing the wires for a reason du jour, I'd say the ruling against Microsoft in the EU could be a culprit. MSFT is weighted heavily in multiple index trackers.  Hard to make any gains when a heavily weighted component is being fined hundreds of millions with threats of $3+ million a day.  It is wednesday before options week.  Heck, I'm looking at some calls right now.  I'd go out a few months, though.  (Left all my gambling money in Reno last weekend!)  If I do anything, that is.  Probably won't here.  I'm still thinking summer rally followed by a swoon in the late summer.
  • Dan Rather will have a weekly news show on HDNetRather, 74, touted his new three-year deal with Cuban, the firebrand entrepreneur and owner of professional basketball's Dallas Mavericks, as a chance to escape the "corporatization of news" and practice serious journalism that "really matters."  Of course, will there be an audience for content that Dan Rather says "really matters?" 
  • I might've learned my lesson about using off-site links to pics yesterday, having a pic redirected to something a little unsavory.  Might've!  It was funny if you caught it, though.
  • Makes you wonder why MSFT even does business in the EU at all.  I suppose the fine(s) are small potatoes to MSFT compared to all the money they pull in from doing business in the EU.

  • The problem with having toys (boats, bikes, kayaks, rollerblades, pools, etc) is that we have to work for a living.  Here it is, summertime, and instead of kayaking or biking, I'm working in the office.  I like my job, sure.  But there just isn't enough time for play.  Agreed?   It's heating up here in Sac again, so good pool weather.  For those at home by a pool...
  • I found Heartless Economics from Cafe Hayek, Economists tend to care more for Pakistanis than polar bears.  He links to a column by John Baden (Consensus on Contentious Claims) that goes over the costs of fighting global warming.  While most agree that climate change is occurring, many proposed “solutions” are monumentally expensive, uncertain, and distant. They are, in sum, the sorriest of investments.  Check it out!
  • Hah, as I'm thinking about buying some calls I run across this blog entry from Kim Snider at Kimmunications, Lies Advisors Tell: Options are RiskyIf you want to use options to gamble on the future direction of stock price, you might as well pile your money up in the front yard, pour gasoline all over it and light a match. You are placing a bet - a highly leveraged bet no less - on a random event.  Gee, it must be karma. 
  • Market continues to sink.  Buyers not stepping in (so far), like they did yesterday.  Somebody give KLAC a call again, eh?

Super Zinedine Zidane

  • Zinedine Zidane goes Super Mario and gets a 1up on YouTube. It's been a few days since Italy beat France to win the World Cup, and it didn't take long for somebody to put something clever together. 
  • The market?  Well, the SP500 has a series of higher lows in case you were watching.   1219.  1237.  1260.  Same with the DOW.  So there's a positive.  Don't ask me about the Nasdaq.  Sorta, I guess.
  • Folks around the Fun Factory were hoping "anybody but France" won the World Cup.
  • I didn't watch the All-Star game.  I just found out that the winner gets home field advantage in the World Series.  Shows how much attention I've been paying to baseball.  Geez.
  • Liberal Larry runs the BlameBush! blog.  Extremely funny.  Yesterday he "sponsored" a rolling blogfast where folks were required to fast for 10 minutes during the day to protest President Bush's "illegal war" in Iraq.  During that 10 minutes, you couldn't eat anything.   After the 10 minutes, somebody else would take over the fast.
  • Lebanon and Israel Hizbollah guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers and killed at least seven on Wednesday in what Israel described as an act of war by Lebanon that would draw a "very painful" response.
  • Market going down as I type... Wednesdays prior to options week are often a little wacky.  Often times, it sets up a good buying opportunity.  A wed-wed rally.  Hey, there's hope right?
  • I don't get the overtime rules for soccer. Imagine in baseball, if instead of extra innings, they had a home run derby? Or in basketball, instead of overtime, they played a game of H-O-R-S-E? Or in football, instead of overtime, they had a field goal kicking contest? (Or "punt, pass, and kick" like the kids challenge!) I guess the problem in soccer is that the danger is nobody would ever score. 1-0 is considered a high-scoring game, right?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Who You Gonna Call?

  • Malevolent ghosts stealing your chickens and torturing you in the night? Who you gonna call? Indian cops called to investigate ghosts. I hate chicken-stealin' ghosts.  They're the worst kind of ghosts, IMHO.  Pretty easy to spot, though.  Just look for the chicken floating mid-air.  There's your ghost right there.
  • Hey, I like the way the market finished today.  Nothin' spooky about that.
  • Was your father a thief? Because he stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes.  Top 10 pick-up lines.  Nah, put me down for Friends' Joey:  How you doin'?

  • I get tired of reading the negative politcal sites.  Here comes Bush this morning with some upbeat economic numbers, and some liberal blogs are trashing him.  I think these folks would come back from Disneyland, and instead of telling you what they liked, they'd list everything wrong with the theme park.  These Angry folks are convinced we're in the "worst economy since Hoover" (John Kerry 2004), and I think they're way out in deep right field.  They don't have a clue.  They're full of beans.  This economy is pretty darn good.
  • Profunds has some negatively-correlated ETFs now.  You can short by buying an ETF.   Handy for retirement accounts, where you can't short.  Barry Ritholz dipped his toe in these and has some thoughts.
  • Quitin' time.  Load up the bus and take 'em home!

In Edit: Thanks to L for the comment about offsite traffic being redirected from my previous pic. Clever. Replaced the pic!