Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Who Called the Top?

  • Who called the top? Gary Kaltbaum!  I listened to yesterday's radio show, where he announced that during his tuesday webcast at 12:00pm EST, he gave a sell signal with the DOW down about 100.  He is 100% cash.  He has been warning the past few days that the brokerages and financial stocks have been tanking, and that they have been good proxies for the market recently.  He last gave a sell signal on May 11th, 2006 which was a good one.  So you know.
  • Dead cat bounce in the market today?  If I had to make a guess, I'd stick with what I said yesterday in that we'll see a little bounce and then more selling.  I think the correction is on and will set up a buying opportunity  down the road.  I remain with low beta holdings and cash. 
  • Let me paraphrase Ben Bernanke's comments today on the growing costs of Social Security and Medicare:  "We're screwed!"  He started throwing out numbers about the growth rate of the entitlement programs versus GDP, and it was quite alarming.  Basically, we can raise taxes or reduce spending.  Can you think of any other options?
  • Great night by the American Idol men last night.  I thought they did quite well compared to last week's show. 
  • OK, lunch time...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

More Market Sell-Off Thoughts

As you know I've been expecting a pullback or correction in the market since the Fall. It is amazing how a day like this can wipe out months of gains. And while I've been positioned for this day, it's never a good feeling to see folks lose money.

Barney Frank made some interesting comments when questioning Bernanke during the last FedSpeak. Barney said, "DUDE! The economy is below trend growth!" (I'm paraphrasing). Has the Fed gone too far with rate hikes? Did they tap on the breaks a few times too many? Maybe. And the higher gas prices are acting like a tax hike. And China. And this. And that. We can always scan the headlines to find the blame, but what didn't matter the last few months suddenly matters.

I believe we're still in a bull market. Corrections are normal and healthy. Sometimes we're all guilty of micromanaging our investments, when the best course of action is often times just "staying the course." (A popular phrase, lol). Dollar cost averaging into the market is still the best way to accumulate wealth over the long term. Nothing has changed because of today.

If I were to guess the short term, (and that's all it is... a guess), I'd expect a little bounce and then some more selling. We can't ignore the selling volume that came in today. And short-term traders will try to protect their gains since the July 2006 rally. I'd imagine that an SP500 pullback of 5-10% from the highs would contain the correction and present a buying opportunity for those who like to rebalance their portfolios on strength or weakness as I do.

Investing is a game of diligence and patience. The country is at full employment, businesses are growing, and the government is deficit spending at federal, state and local levels. Greenspan's calling for a recession in 2007 is wrong; and he is often wrong. Hopefully you didn't sell stocks in 1996 when he made his famous comment of "irrational exuberance" in the stock market. As you know, the market did pretty good the following years.

Just some thoughts. I don't see a recession on the horizon. Too much money flowing out there.

Bad Day in the Market Thoughts

Told you so!  Just kidding.  I've been expecting a correction for so long, that time has finaly proved to be my ally.  The low-beta holdings and cash that I have are holding up much better than the market, but the small cap mo-mo stocks I have aren't doing so well.  I'd be careful about knee-jerk reactions to this, but with the volume so heavy, it does seem that today could be the start of the much anticipated correction.  Funny how months and months of gains are taken out in just one day.

China gets the blame as their market took a huge hit.  Or maybe it was Al Gore winning an Oscar on sunday night.

Remember, corrections are healthy and set-up the next bull leg.  I'm not rushing in with cash today or tomorrow, but there will be a time to ratchet up beta again.  Patience is always the key.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

We Like the Boom

  • Yes, indeed. We like the boom! The stock market has been booming for almost 4 years (March 2003).  And since July 2006, the market has been trending up without even a pullback.  Despite those of us who keep looking for a 5-10% pullback, it just hasn't happened.  So turn up the bass, crank up the sound, and lets rap with Tigra and Bunny.
  • From Henry Blodget, put your favorite guru to the test!
  • Tomorrow night is one of the awards shows.  Oscars, I think. I get them a bit mixed up from TV, to movies, to music.  It's just another awards show of Hollywood acknowledging their own.  Lots of expensive dresses and jewelry.  Lots of lists of "who looked hot" and "who did not."  On the movies, I like the movies that are entertaining, not the ones that win the awards.  Know what I mean?  Often times, I find the winning movies a bit boring.  I view movies as an escape from reality.  A break from the day-to-day grind.
  • Todd Harrison on Fortress Investing Group in his Marketwatch column, Have we seen this movie before"Billy Ray Valentine said in "Trading Places" that the best way to hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people. In one fell swoop, Fortress Investment Group made a lot of wealthy folks wanting for more." 
  • As folks are doing their tax returns, I'm reading and hearing more questions on the telephone tax credit refund.  Here's a column up at Five Cent Nickel on it and potential abuse.  He notes in the blog that “While the vast majority of taxpayers are claiming the telephone tax refund correctly, we are seeing some clear abuse involving overstated refund requests. People requesting an inflated amount will likely see their refund frozen, may have their entire tax return audited and even face criminal prosecution where warranted.”
  • Larry Kudlow on the Hillary vs. Obama fued.
  • Mark Hulbert on the contrarian view of bull marketThe bull market in stocks is still alive, even if closer to its end than to its beginning.  That has been the conclusion reached for several months now by contrarian analysis, as reported several times in this column.   Yeah, that's what I think and I'm wondering if I'm in the crowd.  I mean, expecting some sort of correction or pullback within the bull market.
  • Greg Mankiw on Budget Options, wonders if "we could increase the gasoline tax by $1 and reduce all ordinary income tax rates, AMT rates, and dividend and capital gains rates by 2 percentage points to produce an approximately revenue-neutral tax reform."  Hmm.
  • Kind of rainy here today.  Everytime I head outside I get peppered with raindrops.  Being lazy.  Got the Rutgers vs Villanova game on.  Looks like there is a break in the rain, so I'm going to try to get a bike ride in.

Friday, February 23, 2007

G.I. Jane II

  • Seems like we all may have jumped to the wrong conclusion. Britney Spears has clearly been chosen to star in "G.I. Jane II."  Congrats, Britney!  Filming to start once she's out of rehab.
  • The market?  I know we all thought that Pelosi, Reid and the new Democratic Congress had passed a resolution banning the Dow from having a down week.  Apparantly, this was a "non-binding" resolution because the Dow went down this week!  From our friends at Yahoo Finance, For the week, the Dow industrials lost 0.94 percent, the S&P 500 was off 0.35 percent and the Nasdaq composite index added 0.75 percent.  Looks like sector rotation, eh?  Check the semis again...
  • Looking at my stock market playbook, which has been totally worthless since the Fall, we're closing in on the end-of-month seasonal boost.  I would expect that 401(k) additions being dollar-cost averaged in would keep us in rally mode for awhile longer.  I still have some cash on the sidelines with some low-beta stocks, and a few small cap mo-mo stocks.  Yes, I'm getting antsy with the cash but no reason to chase.  Patience, Muck...
  • From Cramer-centric Madd Money on uranium:  Don't let living in the great U.S.A. lull you into missing out on the future," Jim Cramer told viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Thursday. There is a "sad bias" against nuclear power in this country, and with the democrats likely to win the elections, it looks like this bias will stand, he said. While Americans protest nuclear power, the rest of the world is embracing it and "leaving us in the dust," Jim stated. Jim thinks now is the time to be a buyer of Uranium stocks as the price of uranium has exploded to $75 a pound.
  • Hurricanes caused by global warming?  Thanks ABP.
  • Alyssa Milano in a new ABC drama pilot.  Alyssa has won the lead role in an ABC drama pilot about a successful Atlanta lawyer who returns to her messy family in Savannah, Ga., with her newborn son.  Hey, nobody told me Charmed was no longer on!
  • Michelle to co-host "It's Out There" on Fox.  ...fronted by conservative blogger-columnist Michelle Malkin and former Clinton administration operative Kirsten Powers, will take on political and cultural issues enflaming the blogosphere.
  • MOFO!  Thanks Adam, for keeping us updated on what Lenny is up to in his life after baseball.  Other than his car wash joints.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Elimination Night

  • Unfortunately, only two guys are going home tonight.   Why can't it be ten?  And as Ryan counts the votes and sends the survivors back to the bench, it must be excruciating for the losers.   Ooo, Paul is gone.  He was bad.  Oh good grief, they're making him sing that song again.  OUCH!
  •  Yahoo Finance says that the Dow was down 52 and the Nasdaq was up 7 because of "Iran worries."  Lets think this through.  Would folks really sell the dividend paying Dow stocks and buy the Nasdaq if they were worried about Iran?  The semis were up 2.76%.  Are semiconductors the safe harbor against Iran's nuclear enrichment program?
  • Liberal Larry says Dick Cheney Outs Nancy Pelosi"...did Cheney even bother to consider that maybe emboldening the so-called terrorists with the illusion of victory is part of a cunning plan to lure them here, to our soil, where they can be easily apprehended and given the kind of emotional counseling they truly need? The idiot cons like to say that it’s better to fight them “over there” than “over here”, but in all honesty where would you rather Bush’s silly war be waged – on the terrorists’ turf where they are familiar with the terrain, or here in the streets of America where our troops have the home field advantage?"
  • Microsoft hit with $1.52B in damages.
  • More on Microsoft from Barry, in Microsoft vs. Google.
  • I believe in Adam's Randoms!  You?
  • College Republican targeted by stalker speaks out.  Hat tip to Michelle.  This is an incredible story.   You know, I've listened to liberal radio shows and sometimes read liberal blogs, and what this stalker was saying isn't much different from what those folks are saying.  I think folks are entitled to their views of course, but acting them out...  Wow.
  • No need to diet and exercise to lose weight.  The link says dieting alone works.   Hmm.  Color me skeptical.
  • Former NBA guard Dennis Johnson died.  I remember some great games he had as a Celtic.  Great defender.  Great clutch player.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

American Idol Sandbox

  • The talk in the sandbox at work today was how bad the guys did on American Idol last night.  Tonight, the women seem to be belting them out with more authority and at least in tune.  Randy and Simon seem to be harsher than usual, so I'm wondering if that's part of the script for week one.  They're right on regarding the girl singing Aerosmith, though.  YEESH!
  • The market drifted lower today and the reason du jour is the fear of inflation.  Don't just take my word for it, Yahoo Finance says:  Stocks finished mixed Wednesday after consumer prices showed a larger-than-expected increase in January and minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting showed the central bank considered but decided against taking a more dovish tone on the threat of inflation.  The Labor Department's report that the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in January came as a surprise to Wall Street, which had expected an 0.1 percent increase. Declines in energy prices didn't fully offset a rise in costs of medical care, food and airline tickets. The core figure, which excludes often volatile food and energy prices, rose a greater-than-expected 0.3 percent. 
  • Robert Kiyosaki writes a column at Yahoo called Why the Rich Get Richer?  Maybe they (the rich) write books and do seminars.  Ah, I did read his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad.  It was okay, IMHO.
  • Very popular Vice President Dick Cheney said, and I paraphrase, "The Democrats Iraq plan sucks."  My thoughts are that with a divided country, the war is lost. 
  • Baseball switching from wool to synthetic caps?

In Edit: OK, since I posted this there has been some really bad singers. Can I fast forward to the final 12 or whatever it is?

In Edit again: Just a thought on stocks. I remain in low beta stuff with some cash, not chasing tech or that sort. But I have been trading some small caps and those seem to be catching the mo-mo. It does make me wonder about where we are in this rally if the momentum stuff is starting to work well. Of course, I've had the same thought for awhile and the market has been in a tremendous uptrend since July without much hesitation. While it's easy to cite complacency and high bullishness, there are also a lot of columns out there warning about corrections and pullbacks. Maybe those are the folks adding fuel to this stock market rally!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Blowin' Bubbles

  • When I was a kid, I remember my grandmother buying those bottles of liquid bubbles.  And then when we ran out, she'd try to make more using laundry soap.  Which never quite worked out the same.  Don't know why I just though of it.
  • Why did XM and Sirius merge?  Do you care?  I'm not quite ready to pay for radio just yet.  Of course, I'm a net radio guy and record via replay radio and listen via my MP3 player (smartphone) during workouts, commuting, biking, etc.
  • Are you watching American Idol?  This is horrrrible.  Everyone sounds bad.  Flat.  Pitchy.  All over the place.  Maybe it's all just nerves, because I think some of these folks have some voices.  But so far... sheesh!
  • Demise of the shorts from Herbie.  Sign of the times: In a market that is going straight up, short sellers are becoming an endangered species. Even brokers who specialize in finding "short ideas" a bet that prices will fall are dwindling.
  • Ah, here's the reason for today's market rampage: U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record closing level, as reassuring comments from Federal Reserve Governor Susan Bies, along with upbeat results from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and merger news, helped offset disappointing earnings from Home Depot Inc.  Thanks, Susie!
  • The buy signal is on at Jason's.
  • Can you tell that work is stressing me out?  I mean, it's been a rough year so far.  Just tons of balls in the air, conflict, deadlines, etc.  Bleh.


  • OK, been in meetings all day long. Hectic day.  Just came back to find the market is again in bull mode this week.  So much for this "bad February" hoo-hah.   There's not much of February left!  It is post-options expiration week, which tends to be weak.  But throw all the rules out because it looks like we're never going down again.  I suppose it will when I finally give up and trade-in my lower beta holdings for tech stocks!  Not yet....
  • Surgeons who play video games more skilled.  The Nintendo Wii motion activated game controller?  Heck, I thought The Legend of Zelda was fun, but had no idea that Link was a surgeon, too!  Haven't played the most recent version, though.
  • Chargers hire Norv Turner.  Uh, retread city.  The Chargers were 14-2 last year.  Any takers that Norv can beat that?
  • I'm hooked on Deal or No Deal.   How dumb is that?  Addictive show.  And the contestants are just goofy.  Howie is great.
  • Speaking of goofy, how about Britney Spears shaving her head?   You kind of wonder how she's doing from a psychological point of view.  Something seems to be off a bit.  Now Britney Spears has checked in to rehab.
  • Heroes is great, but I'm so tired of hour-long episodes and then having to wait until next week.  I'm thinking about just recording it and watching it later.
  • What sort of non-binding things do the Democrats have planned for us this week? 
  • Smoking affects the brain like drugs.
  • Got my first 2007 bike ride in yesterday.  Felt great, but I can tell I haven't been out since October.  Average speed down a bit, even though I was able to ride 15 miles with no problem.  Kind of windy, but that tends to even out.  Clouds today, and until daylight savings time it'll be difficult to squeeze in an evening ride. Looks like rain blowing in, too.
  • OK, I'm spent.  What a day.  Thank goodness for a short week.

Oh, FWIW, yes I have listened to that Circle Circle Dot Dot song a zillion times since linking to it below. LOL.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Circle Circle Dot Dot

  • You got your cooties shot?
  • The market is suffering from a bout of the cooties today. But maybe this is to be expected as the market is heading into a three-day weekend and near the top of the current bull market.  It's beginning to feel like Spring in some areas of the country.  70 degree weather here today.  I can't blame folks for having a bout of Spring Fever if nothing else ahead of a three-day weekend.  And that's probably better to have than cooties.
  • China announced last week that they're planning on building 40 new nuclear power plants over the next 15 years.   Now Russia says they'd like to build more nuclear power plants to generate electricity.  At least some countries are moving forward while the US is stuck in reverse in our energy policy.
  • California outlawed coal plants, but then has to import power from other states that use coal plants.  I mean, what is that? Besides hypocrisy...  
  • The FCC wants to regulate violence on TV?  Give me a break.  Can't the government keep its grubby paws out of our lives?  The thought is that violence affects kids.  But HELLO!  Shouldn't parents keep an eye on what their kids are watching?  This is not a government role.
  • Chinese New Year on sunday, and Fortune says the Year of the Pig will bring disasterExpect epidemics, disasters and violence in much of the world.  Or in otherwords, same ol' same ol'...  Isn't that the norm every year, Fortune?
  • For some reason, I've been watching Smallville the past few years.  Maybe it's Kristen Kreuk.  And the writers have finaly made Lex Luther evil this year.  Although he doesn't quite show the zany madness of Kevin Spacey as Lex in the recent Superman movie.  Great job on that, KS.

Free Shipping

I ordered something over the internet the other day and the company asked me for shipping information. Would I like it shipped:

  • $12.99 for overnight by plane
  • $8.99 for three day by truck
  • Free by duct taping the package to the back of a turtle and pointing it in my direction.

Of course, I selected Free. After all, I've read The Millionaire Next Door and realize that these are the kinds of decisions made that over a lifetime can add up to millions.  After the order, the confirmation email said "Congratulations, you've been updated to three-day shipping for free!" 

I wonder how many folks are getting ripped off $8.99 for the three day?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

All About Erin

  • This morning on the Squawk, Erin Burnett called those folks looking for a correction or pullback "Chicken Littles."  Just saying.
  • Erin also noted in her conversations about the offshoring and outsourcing of jobs with CEOs that there may be somewhat of a worker shortage here in the US.  One CEO noted that he needed to hire 1,300 engineers this year.  The US graduates 60,000 engineers per year, while India and China graduate 600,000 to 800,000 engineers per year.  HOLY SMOKES!
  • Must reading:  Adam's  Watch TV Get Rich!  Just because.  You'll see.
  • Outstanding episode of Lost last night.  Finaly, off "the others" storyline and on to something else.  Desmond!
  • A nice day in the markets after yesterday's blast off.  The uptrend continues.  So much for February being the worst month of the positive seasonal cycle, eh?
  • Hey, the brain CAN make new brain cells!
  • No big deal if you miss a TV show and forgot to record it.  Most networks have the free replay up the next day.  I've been watching ABC's Day Break this way.  Another great show that never got any traction during the holidays' Lost hiatus.  Highly recommended.  And Moon Bloodgood!  (Can I get a "hubba hubba?")
  • Fox to broadcast a "right-leaning" new satire show sunday night.  Might be interesting.
  • Chipotle with good earnings.  I like the place, but it's too crowded so I rarely go there.
  • Netflix flix... I watched Superman last weekend.  Next? Click

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Market Thoughts

  • So what do we call today? Bears giving up?  The bears having a Rex Grossman day?  I've been guilty of watching for a correction since the Fall.  While I have employed a QID position from time to time, for the most part I've been long lower beta holdings while keeping some cash on the sidelines.  Also trading a bit on the side to keep things interesting.  The portfolio has been moving up, although not at the pace of the DOW 30.
  • The market has been nothing but outstanding.  The pullback that we had late last week through monday was on low volume.  As Bob Pisani said yesterday, anyone who can read a chart can see that we're in an uptrend.  Do the bulls have enough firepower to carry this market much higher?  The bears haven't been able to prove their case in the slightest.  While February is supposed to be the weakest of the seasonal strengh period, the market is hear at new bull market highs!  The bears have been wrong.  Those looking for a correction have been wrong.  Ultimately, there will be a correction.  But waiting for one has  been like waiting for Godot.
  • I'm not about to chase this market with high beta holdings.  Rather, I'll stick to my discipline and be patient. 
  • That's it.  I'm outta here.

All We Need is Love

  • Welp, it's Valentine's Day. And the market is showing the love today.  Up huge in a moon shot, and even tech is participating.  Bernanke showed us some love today, saying (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Inflation, shminflation."  Or more exactly, "There are some indicators that inflation pressures are beginning to diminish," Bernanke said."  I like my wording better. 
  • My coworker made me some cookies today.  Just saying.
  • "Happy Valentines Day, you're fired!" says Daimler as it axes 13,000 Chrysler jobs.  Love hurts, baby.
  • Why is it gross to kiss your sisterResearchers who wanted to find out why it is not only taboo to kiss your sister, but also disgusting, said on Wednesday they have discovered why in a discovery that challenges some basic tenets of Freudian theory.  
  • Beware the pitfalls of office romance.  Always seems like a good idea at the time, though.  LOL.  "People are a little sloppier around Valentine's Day," said Debra Mandel, a psychologist and author on the subject of office relations. "They might let the relationship out of the box more."  Box?  Interesting wording. Just saying.
  • Breaking up with Norton...  Do you use Norton products for firewall, virus checker, etc?  I think it's a great product, but it's a resource hog.  I uninstalled the Norton Suite from my notebook PC and performance ramped up.  I'm on year 2 with my desktop and it has slowed down with newer programs, so I'm about to yank Norton from the desktop and switch to something less memory intensive.  Also adding some RAM.
  • More love later....

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday Rap

  • The markets cruise into options expiration week near the highs of the bull market.  What's next?  I can certainly identify with Mark Hulbert's column Apocalypse Later"Contrarian analysis has been poised on the edge of a stock market sell signal for several months now. But every time such a sell signal appears imminent, advisers pull back a bit and their restraint gives the bull market a bit more lease on life. "  Yup.  I remain in low beta holdings with some cash on the sidelines, waiting for Godot.  Er, I mean a correction.
  • On nuclear power plants, the real choice in alternative clean and safe energy to fight global climate change,  China is on track to build two new nuclear reactors every year for the next 14 years.  Japan, which is only the size of California, is building 11 new nuke plants … India wants to build up to 20 new plants … and Russia is shooting for at least 42. Even in Australia, which currently has no nuclear power, the Prime Minister is pushing a plan to build 25 nuclear power plants.  By the way, don’t count on other alternative energy sources. None of them are quite ready yet.  Everyone wants to know about the US:  About 30 new nuclear plants have been proposed in the U.S.  Well, if we can get 'em by our enviro-crowd.
  • I went and saw Letters from Iwo Jima this weekend.  What a spectacular movie.  I really liked it.  Now I want to see Flags of our Fathers.
  • Free Money Finance:  Facts about Millionaires: Most Make a Bundle, Went to College, and Are Married.  My 2-cents?  I think that there is this perception that one has to be born into wealth, inherit it, or win the lottery.  But the reality is that those who make good decisions can become wealthy.  Examples of good decisions?  Studying hard when young, going to college, saving 10-15% each month, spending less than you make, avoiding debt (living within your means), and investing in a diversified portfolio of investments over a lifetime. 
  • Henrietta's favorite stock blogs.   I read those, too.
  • The sell signal is on at Jason's.
  • America's Mayor woos the CA GOP. 
  • No.  Not watching the Pro Bowl.  LOL.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Red Friday

  • Hey, was that some selling on Wall Street today? I had forgotten what the color red looks like.  I thought maybe the Democrats had passed some law forbidding the selling of stocks when they took over in January. 
  • One creeping fear into Wall Street other than Hillary '08, is that the next Fed move may be to raise interest rates.  WHAT?  Or maybe that the Fed won't be lowering them anytime soon.  Yeah, the economy is doing well and some of the recent economic numbers were upgraded to show stronger growth.  This Fed has used hawkish tones even when the economy showed slower numbers; what will they say if things pick up again?  Even housing seems to be "basing" recently despite the short-term rate hikes.  If we've had a soft landing in the economy, then maybe things are picking up and investors are starting to contemplate the next Fed move.
  • I want to know how they "tested" Pastor Haggard to see if he was cured and now "completely heterosexual." What kind of treatment is involved in such a cure?  "Well just take a teaspoon of this syrup everyday at mealtime, and you'll start liking women and GoDaddy commercials."   Hat tip to Adam for the linkage.
  • Barry was on BizRadio.  Adding it to my podcast list for the weekend.  Barry adds in his blog entry, "The problem with live radio/TV is that you always remember what you want to say later."  Say, they should've made a Seinfeld episode like that.  They did!!
  • I haven't watched any of the In Case of Emergency sitcom episodes.  You?  Oh, I've recorded them.  Just to satisfy the "inner Kelly Hu fan" inside of me at some point down the road when everything else is in reruns.  Or when "Rock Star: The Bangles" is on over the summer.  Y'know?  Well, I might watch that Rock Star...
  • David at The Shark Report with a buy signal on the SPX?  The SPX is giving a little buy signal with the 2 day RSI under 10 and a pullback to the 21 day SMA which has been a pretty good buy level in the past.
  • Trading Goddess on Rick's Caberet.  She says she goes there for the food, Pastor Ted.  She put up a menu link as "complete" proof.
  • Karl Rove on immigration (as he explained the rationale behind the president's amnesty/open-borders proposal this way):   "I don’t want my 17-year-old son to have to pick tomatoes or make beds in Las Vegas.”  Sometimes I just shudder at the public comments people make.  Oh, hat tip to those crazy lefties at Think Progress.
  • I was watching some of the Anna Nichole Smith coverage last night on the TV news magazine shows.  She had quite an interesting life story.  Ups and downs all over the place.  I'm sure more to come this weekend...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

More of the Same

  • The markets? I'm at a loss for the reason du jour, so lets ask Yahoo FinanceStocks closed slightly lower Thursday as uncertainty about decelerating profit growth resurfaced to keep the market in a period of consolidation following last week's sizable market gains.  Breadth was flat. Looks like gold and gold stocks had a nice day.  We're marching through February with hardly a concern so far.
  • Anna Nicole Smith dead at 39.
  • So if you watched Lost last night, then you are probably wondering where the blood bank is that provides blood for surgeries.  In addition, who brings the donuts for the blood donors and where do they buy the donuts from?  OK, it was good to see the castaways again.  Seems too long since they've been on the tube.
  • Circuit City restructuring and closing some stores.  When was the last time you went to a CC?  I can't remember my last time.  I used to go all the time in the pre-Best Buy days.  Just saying.
  • Dallas Cowboys hire Wade Phillips
  • We're getting some rain here!
  • In the dumb bets department, a Bears fan loses bet and changes his name to Peyton Manning.  Scott Wiese, a die-hard Chicago Bears fan, will legally change his name to that of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning after signing a pledge in front of a crowd at a Decatur bar last Friday night. He vowed to adopt Manning's name if the Bears lost Sunday's Super Bowl.   That's okay, Scott.  Er, Peyton.  Brush it off!  Rub some dirt on it!
  • An over-the-counter weight loss drug?  Uh, hello investment idea.  That's got to be a bestseller, don't you think?  The first over-the-counter weight-loss pill won approval from U.S. health officials on Wednesday, giving the two-thirds of Americans who are obese or overweight another option to help them shed pounds
  • Maybe some market gloom from the HSBC warming.  Rising interest rates hurting those borrowers who got in on introductory low interest rate loans.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Amazing Bull Market

  • This market has been amazing. Every attempt to go down is bought right up.  We're out of the monthly strength period and in what is normally the weakest month (February) of the seasonally strong period (fall through spring).  But do you see many sellers out there?  And today we finaly saw tech playing some catch up!  Ketchup!   Catsup!  Could we see the Nasdaq finally get some legs for a change?
  • I remain in lower beta holdings, some cash, and still trading some small caps.  Not daytrading, just the holding period is usually under a few weeks (ie, make a buck or two and move on.)  I can't see myself getting gung-ho on increasing my beta until we've seen a 5-10% pullback.    Until then, I'm pretty much on cruise control with the lower beta stuff (Beta < 1, where 1 is the SP500).
  • Work has been crazy, hence the lack of blog entries or comments elsewhere lately.  I get home, and the last thing I want to do is turn on the PC!  I've been on this "pizza bread" kick lately.   Basically just toast some french or sourdough, with some red sauce a few veggies and light cheese.  Comfort food!  Hopefully I can get back to normal soon.  February is going to be tough, though.
  • Do you say "Feb-You-Airy" or "Feb-Brew-Airy?"  Most folks seem to leave out the first "r."
  • Raining here.  First rain in like 41 years.  Or so it seems, anyways.  We've had a long dry spell.  Probably George Bush's fault somehow.
  • Hey, tonight "Lost" is on.  It last aired about 41 years ago, too.  The time slot was moved to 10pm to avoid competition with American Idol.  (Although, don't you just need to watch the last 5 minutes of the results show anyways?)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Microsoft and the Market

There was a lot of hype built into Microsoft (MSFT) ahead of the Vista launch. While it is true that most of us will eventually upgrade our PC and thus to Vista, there doesn't seem to be a mad rush by folks to upgrade prematurely. There is also a "gut feeling" by many that it may be better to wait awhile until bugs and/or compatibility issues are worked out. In addition, there may also be a slight market share loss to Apple. Microsoft had remained above its 50dma since the July market lows, but is now trading below the 50dma. It plunged below the 50dma on big volume yesterday.

Also it's important to note that MSFT is a big weighting in many of the indexes.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Super Bowl Pick

  • OK, I think 6.5 or 7 is too much.  I even think the Bears can win outright.  However, I will take the 6.5 points believing that a strong Bears defense and a pretty good running game against the Colts' weaker run defense will make a difference.  In addition, the Bears' special teams are the "X factor" and they have a huge advantage here over Indianapolis.  I think this one is a no brainer.  Taking the Bears and the points.
  • The market?  Monthly strength cycle is nearing the end, and February can be a weak month.  Of course, despite those of us fearing a correction the market continues to show strength.  A correction doesn't have to be a move down; it can also be a long period of sideways consolidation.  Earnings are growing and the overboughtness of the market can diminish as prices trade sideways.
  • Is "overboughtness" even a word?  How about "overboughtiness?"
  • John Edwards says he'd "raise taxes on the wealthy" to pay for health care"We'll have to raise taxes. The only way you can pay for a healthcare plan that cost anywhere from $90 to $120 billion is there has to be a revenue source."  Is it just me, or do the Democrats seem to want to use the same tax revenue (raising taxes on the wealthy) for multiple purposes? 

Edwards seems to me to be a populist.  Nevermind doing what's right or wrong. Instead, he seems to say whatever it'll takes to get elected.  I like to call him as "Used Car" Johnny.  Whatever it takes to sell the junker out front.

  • If you don't have a Nintendo Wii yet, try the Wii Seeker.
  • I blew off work friday and went to SoCal.  Came back late saturday night.  Quick trip, but needed something to change up the pace.  Saw some family.  Had dinner.  Saw a high school hoops game.  Went to the beach for a bit.
  • Chrysler may cut 10,000 jobs and close plants.  Seems like the whole US car industry is going under.  Lots of bad decisions on car designs.  Lots of bad decisions on big union contracts.  Blame everywhere.  And lets give credit to the Japanese car makers, who seem to have captured the hearts and wallets of car buyers.
  • Is Super Bowl Sunday a junk food paradise or what?  What will you be having today?
  • The decimation of YouTube continues, as Viacom demands that YouTube remove more than 100,000 videos.  Pretty soon the only thing left on YouTube will be infomercials, movie trailers, and home vids of kids singing karaoke.  Do you think Google spent its money wisely when buying YouTube?
  • Enjoy the game today.  Should be lots of fun.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thursday Quick Hits

  • Nice day in the markets. Market internals were great.  Technology looks a little fuzzy, though.  The DOW is at a new high.  I think we're buoyed on the monthly strength of 401(k) additions, so we'll have to see what happens when that dries up.  It is now officially February, so let the buyer beware.
  • On the inflation front, there is very little.  The core PCE deflator was up just .1%.
  • Only one more week of American Idol tryouts.  And hey, if Paula wants to come in sloshed, I say let Paula come in sloshed.
  • So, we're responsible for global warming, because of greenhouse gases mainly from burning fossil fuels in power plants.  But get this:  The Eiffel Tower, near the meeting hall, and some French homes shut off lights for five minutes on Thursday night in an action to highlight energy waste and global warming, briefly cutting France's power consumption by one percent.  WHAT?  France gets most (85%) of their electricity from nuclear energy.  They're not even contributing to global warming.  They could've asked everyone in the country to turn every light on and leave them on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 1/4 days a year.  Just to boast.  Maybe France should get the Nobel Peace Prize for having the smarts to rely on nuclear energy instead of fossil fuel energy, eh?
  • Nintendo Wii parties.  (Just a side thought.  I've been to several stores where Playstation 3s seem to be in plenty of supply, but no Nintendo Wiis are available.  Just saying).
  • Amazon (AMZN) reports after the bell that sales were up 34%, but profits were cut in half.  The more they sell, the more they lose.  Hey, what a business model!  Thank goodness sales weren't up 68%!  Seriously, something about "the company lost the benefit of a large tax gain it had a year ago and saw its operating margin narrow."  Er, okee.  2007 business plan:  Widen back up that operating margin.  See?  I could be CEO.
  • Work is driving me knuts.  Er, gnuts.  Aw, crazy.  You know?  I need a drinking vacation.  I wonder if Paula would be interested?  Well anyways.  One planned is coming up in the not too distant future.  Ooh, and a Super Bowl party sunday.  Hey, I'm okay.  Mental attitude adjusted.  Glass is back to half full. 
  • And look at France with their tax credits for video games with a "cultural dimension."  I'm not sure what they mean by that, but it sounds like if the video game objective is to kill bad guys, so that you can rescue an expensive bottle of Merlot, that'd be okay.