Friday, March 30, 2007

Shuteye Friday

  • That's a wrap for the week.  I went to work early for a 7am meeting (sheez).  I was at work late tonight working with a coworker trying to solve her problems so she can take off for Spring Break.  Not a problem, but I'm feeling it right now.
  • It is also a wrap for the trading month, as March goes out like a lamb and the market is now basically flat for the year.  Don't you wish you were in money market funds all year and had skipped this back and forth gridlocked market?  In any case, we're heading into April which I believe has a bullish bias.  We have the first few trading days of the month hitting us as 401(k) adds get dollar-cost averaged into mutual funds.  More fuel for the bulls to try and take this up.  Me?  Still conservative.
  • So on the way home tonight, I strayed from the veggie path and got some fish and chips, minus the chips.  Had it with some rice and a few veggies.  I think I was needing some comfort food.
  • Investorgeeks on the 2% inflation target.
  • More on the Fed, with Todd Harrison putting Bernanke's testimony in perspective.
  • Is Sanjaya Malakar's American Idol run credibleMaverick Web site (VFTW) claims much of the credit for "saving" Malakar on what it calls "America's largest karaoke contest."  The Web site's mission, picked up and promoted by radio shock jock Howard Stern, is to "have fun with 'American Idol' and embrace its suckiness" by encouraging people to vote en masse for the worst contestants.  Hey, I hope s/he stays on because at least it's funny to watch.
  • Thinking about buying gold?  Mark Hulbert says to think twiceAs contrarians are fond of saying, bull markets like to climb a wall of worry. And what we've seen for much of March would be better characterized as jumping on a bullish bandwagon.
  • From Larry Nusbaum, what are the financial events that point to an increase in wealth in America?  (The Red Sox winning in 2004?)
  • Three months into the year, and the WSJ MarketBeat blog takes a look at where we are.  Three months into the year, there’s a big fork in the road. Markets have experienced the proverbial thrill and agony through the first quarter of 2007, thanks to the re-emergence of volatility and ever-changing expectations for the economy, monetary policy, earnings, weather, political events, and Sanjaya Malakar’s hairstyle.

Button Pushing

  • CMT drops Miss America pageant. 2.4 million watched Lauren Nelson win this year's contest...
  • The market was down, but it looks as if somebody "pushed the button" to send stocks higher as I type.  Quarter-end gaming?  The market is basically flat for the year.  It'll be interesting to see what happens next week when the button pushers are off duty.  Just saying.
  • The CNBC stock contest awards you "bonus bucks" if you get the daily trivia questions correct.  Uh, maybe I'll just stop trading stocks in the contest and just answer the trivia questions.  Say, can we do this in our real life portfolios?  Answering trivia may pay better than stock appreciation plus dividends!  (And do "bonus bucks" count towards a company's PE ratio?)
  • April 1st pranks... Laxatives in doughnuts.  Ugh.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Up. Down. Up. Flat.

  • If one looked only at the market close today, one might think "nothing happened."  But we had a ramp up, a ramp down, and then buying at the close.  Saucy.  I think the battle between the bears and the bulls is as confusing as ever.  Month end and quarter end stuff is in play, too.
  • I remain patient.  I've been contemplating a month end trade, but haven't pulled the trigger.  Still the same core holdings with low beta stuff, some QID, some cash, and some little mo-mo stocks that have been holding their own.
  • The CNBC challenge?  Rank 204,768 and in the top 44%, baby.  LOL.  My plan is to ditch most of my holdings on the 3rd or 4th trading day next week, and switch into some defensive names.  I'm not sure what, though.  Eh, it's not real money.  Thank goodness, cuz AMGN is hurting me a bit. 
  • Yeah, Sanjaya stays.  I find myself pulling for the guy to keep on going.  At least it's entertaining in an "ohmygod" sort of way.
  • I've been stressed at work and ready for a change.  Maybe. 
  • I know.  No links in this one.  Almost a first.

Legal Remedy Overload

California is set to ban smoking in cars. The bill "would make it an infraction punishable by a fine of $100 to smoke a cigarette, cigar or pipe in a vehicle containing anyone under 18."  I think we can all agree that we shouldn't expose children (or anyone else) to secondhand smoke.  But should this be a law that distracts police officers from other duties?  Or should this be a common sense practice and an educational issue?

In addition, aren't there things that are worse for children and worthy of a legal remedy?  What about the obesity crisis?  Shouldn't we fine those over 18 $100 for taking their kids to a fast-food restaurant?  Or how about fining those folks $100 for buying candy bars or soda for their kids?

Who knows where this can lead. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

American Idol - Buh-Bye Chris Sligh

Buh-bye Chris Sligh. You sound a lot better on this than you did on American Idol.

She's Back; She's Blogging

  • Melissa Lee is back, baby! And blogging about debt.  Hat tip to Adam for noticing.
  • Right on cue, here comes the "$100 crude?" columns.  Was anyone writing them when crude was $50 a barrel, or were they predicting $35 crude at that time?  Sentiment is a funky monkey. 
  • Apple iPhone, hit or miss?  Dvorak argues.... missIt's the (Apple) loyalists who keep promoting this device as if it is going to be anything other than another phone is a crowded market. And it's exactly the crowded market aspect of this which analysts seem to be ignoring.  I'm watching the price point and the readiness of "the herd" to throw that chunk of change for something they already have or can get cheaper.  Plus, it's not broadband, right? 
  • Counterpoint: I have the Cingular 8525 which runs Windows Pocket PC, and I do have to re-boot here and there.  It's also menu-intensive, but there are shortcuts available.  (Love it, btw.)
  • One day, I suspect those "$100 crude" columns will be right, by the way.  It wouldn't take much of an international issue to get us there. 
  • Children deluged by food ads.  Aren't adults, too?  I mean, I'm humming the bars to those Carl's Jr's shake commercials.  (Never had the shake, though!)
  • What are the odds that the same teams that competed for the NCAA football title also compete for the basketball title?  Whoa, I'm getting a little ahead of myself.  Sorry Bruins and Hoyas fans. 
  • Joe Theismann axed from ESPN's Monday Night Football to move to college games?  C'mon, Joe:  "Dancing with the Stars," baby.  It's the logical next step.
  • Barry has some comments on Bernanke's testimony, just in case you want to see why investors freaked today.
  • Fly on Wall Street on his misadventures with Apple today.  LMAO.
  • From Wuzzadem, Sanjaya Malakar could win this thing (American Idol)!  No, I'm not putting up a pic of Sanjaya.  Also, Everyone is entitled to his opinion.  LMAO.

Flip-Flop Ben

Ol' flip-flop Ben Bernanke spoke today and stoked some fears in the market over inflation and created doubts that the Fed would lower interest rates in the months ahead. Many investors were assuming from last week's Fed meeting that inflation wasn't a problem and that we'd see lower rates ahead.  Stay tuned!  It seems as if the Fed is content to keep as many folks off-balance as possible.

(I think they're crazy. Inflation is rather tame.)

Anyways, the market sold off hard early and then bounced back and looked as if it were going to stage yet another miracle comeback and blow to the bears.  Today's surprise ending was that there was selling into the close.  Internals today (and yesterday) were weak. 

We are heading into month end and quarter end.  That could lend some support to stocks over the next few days. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Sin Neutral Lifestyle

  • If Al Gore can live a "carbon neutral" lifestyle by purchasing "carbon credits" to offset his huge energy bills, can one live a "sin neutral" lifestyle by prayin' to the Lord for forgiveness (aka, "sin credits") to offset one's less-than-holy lifestyle?  Just thinking to myself on this one.
  • Okay.  Just wait for it.  What?  Oh, the market is down as I type and I think everyone on the planet is waiting for the dip buyers to step in and turn it around.  Isn't that the status quo?  I think we'll see a time where that doesn't happen, so I'm not buying the dips.  Depends on time frames, right?
  • Of course, Norm Fosback would tell us that we want to be in at the end of the month through the first few days of the following month if we want to beat the market.  Just saying.
  • Our prayers have been answered.  Pizza as a health foodUniversity of Maryland food chemists said on Monday they had found ways to enhance the antioxidant content of whole-grain wheat pizza dough by baking it longer at higher temperatures and giving the dough lots of time to rise.
  • I woke up this morning, and my lower lip is all swollen.  Looks like I went a few rounds with HGH Rocky.  I have no idea why.  I was up a few times at night and everything was ok.  But after the alarm went off, I thought "Hmm, my lower lip kind of hurts."  And it started to swell.  Good grief.
  • American Idol results show going to 1-hour. That'd be longer.  As if we needed longer.  I rarely watch the result show, except maybe for the last few minutes to see who gets tossed.  Rarely that. But millions of you do watch it.  Gwen Stefani this week, I believe.    Wind it up.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dancing with the Randoms

  • It's monday night, dance fans.  That's right, in March that means "Dancing with the Stars."  I'm not sure who I'm pulling for, other than more Carrie Ann Inaba.
  • Well, the market is dancing to the bulls tune these days.  Whenever I'm leaning the other way, it is a bit frustrating.  But it all depends on time frames.  I'm looking at the intermediate term and thinking that although we're bouncing, the market is in a corrective stage.
  • Asian stocks slipping as I type, due to concerns about the slowdown in the US economy.  Didn't those folks see the reversal today as investors snapped up shares late in the day?  Or are they suspicious about the end of quarter stuff?
  • According to Carrie Ann's Myspace webpage, she is single, 5' 6", and a Capricorn.  She likes the show "Lost," Dan Browne books, and music "that's got a bit of feeling."
  • Barry on Gas and Oil.  Or "channeling crude dot com."  You know, BR, I don't think folks are phased at $3 gasoline.  Or even $3.50.  We need it.  We'll pay for it.  We have to get to work. We have to go places after work. It's integrated into our lifestyles. We're more likely to cut back on other things before gasoline. 'Nuff said.
  • Clyde Drexler is the sports dancer this year.  Hmm.  Can I really cheer on Clyde the glide, phi slamma jamma alum?  Looks like Cheryl Burke is going to have a rough go three-peating, eh?
  • A Dash of Insight on Quantifying the Economic Impact of Housing Declines.  Jeff takes a look at comments from Doug Kass.  Ain't he a permabear, Jeff?
  • Cody:  Wait to see the whites in the Fed cuts eyes.  Cody starts off, ""Housing" is in every market headline you read. It's mentioned in just about every discussion of the economy and usually in talks about tech earnings, too. Every business and investment show on TV focuses on housing."  Yeah, everything is about housing right now.
  • Okay, Apolo is also the sports star.  Sort of.  Something is funny about that spelling of "Apolo."  That's not the way I learned it grade school, kids.  Despite the spelling, Carrie Ann likes Apolo.  She gives him an 8, lower than the 9's by the other judges. 
  • Not only am I blogging and watching Dancing with the Stars, I'm finishing up my taxes. 
  • Is Jim Cramer the "absolute best" at gaming the system?  ContraHour points and counterpoints.  Interesting, Thomas.
  • And Kim Snider says the road to financial success is well-markedDo you ever look at people who are more financially successful than you are and wonder how they got there? There are only three ways to become rich: inherit it, marry it, or earn it.

Monday Quickies

  • Interesting market today. The bad housing data caused some initial panic, but all that did was set the stage for the bulls to come in and ramp the thing up.  I think much of what happens this week will be due to the quarter-end and month-end stuff.  I think that'll keep a bullish bias to things, but I'm not trying to game it that closely.  I don't think the correction is over.
  • One of the problems with the CNBC stock contest, is that it forces you to be a bull.  It also forces you to be an individual stock picker.  No ETFs.  Sheez.  I'm in 231,833rd place!  Woot!  That's the top 55%, baby!  I'll be running scans tonight looking for a thinly traded stock with a large enough market cap to qualify for the contest.  I have $279K of funny money on the sidelines doing NOTHING!
  • OK, so I'm up by 1 in the office March Madness pool.  Only one guy has a shot at me, and he's riding Georgetown.  I'm riding Florida.
  • Rain moving in... Heck, it's raining now.  Sheez.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Yellow Fever!

  • Watch the Fox Business Block this morning?  Some UN bashing, Hillary bashing, sub-prime bashing (and real estate trashing or soft landing), Congress fiddling and doing nothing while avoiding real issues like Social Security, Medicare, etc.  What?  No talk of Wal-mart this week, folks?  Gary B Smith noted that he thinks we're going to 11K on the DOW.  But most others seemed rather bullish.
  • Me?  No change.  I've been of the same opinion since early December.  No sense to take much risk.  Letting things play out.  Just an intermediate time frame.  I know others are more in-and-out than me.  And I'm still dabbling in mo-mo stocks, although with mixed results here. 
  • Cramer in Crisis at the Madd Money Machine.  Cramer in Crisis. Did he manipulate stocks to his advantage while at his hedge fund. You decide.  My thoughts?  Is anyone surprised?  Does this news shock anyone? 
  • How come the white guys get the Asian girls?  Watch a funny video called Yellow Fever.  And watch until the end for the "surprise" ending.  LOL.
  • I'm on track to win the March Madness pool at the office.
  • Looking for radio stations streaming over the web?  Here they are.  This is really handy for us PDA and Smartphone owners who want to stream whatever wherever.
  • Sky News is an interesting UK site on news.  Has a web feed, of course.
  • Barry has your saturday cartoons.
  • Catch Adam's Randoms yesterday?
  • I know Larry (KLo) seems to be always bullish all the time.  Or maybe just when Republicans are in control.  Anyways, he has a column up called Bull Run talking about the market being up 3.5% last week, the best week in four years.  "That's right, four years," says Larry.  His view on the sub-prime impact, which I agree with.  I do think it is factored in at this point.  Larry adds, "Several new studies have been recently published that show delinquent and late-pay mortgages to be only a small fraction of overall home loans. Thirty-five percent of all homeowners don't even have a mortgage. More than 86% of sub-prime borrowers are not late payers, and over 95% are not in foreclosure."
  • Mark Hulbert on the "Nine to one up day" last wednesday.  ...Wednesday's stock market action was so strong that it triggered a rare technical signal that, far more often than not in the past, has heralded higher stock prices over the subsequent several months.
  • Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Abby Joseph Cohen (and More!)

  • If you missed Squawk this morning, you missed Abby Joseph Cohen! She's running with the bulls and predicting 1550 on the SP500 by year end.  How do you feel about Abby's predictions?  Might want to revisit my SAY WHAT, Abby Joseph Cohen?
  • And her target of SP500 1550 by the end of 2007 is only 25 points less than her 2000 year-end target of 1575!
  • The market flatlined today.  The bulls will say that the past two days are perfect after our confirmation rally.  Resting before folks pile in and drive this thing up.  End of the month is coming, which will see 401(k) additions keeping the buying pressure on.  They'll also say that the bad news of sub primes and a slower GDP are priced in.  Nothing to worry about.
  • The bears will say that corrections don't last just 3-4 weeks, but more likely 8-12 weeks.  Confirmation days within this short of time frame are suspect and very likely to fail.  Everyone is too bullish again.  Semiconductors looked just awful yesterday, giving it back just a day after the follow-through day.
  • Me?  No change in my market views from yesterday.  You?
  • Some great games in the NCAA yesterday, and I only saw the late game.   Ohio State with the incredible comeback.  It was a terrific game!
  • With so many states moving their primaries up to February 2008, we'll see lots of campaigning in 2007 and the candidates will be chosen by February.  Then quite a lull until November 2008.  I think it'll be Hillary vs. Rudy in the "battle of first names." 
  • More good news, at least initially, for those on the low-carb dietsIn a study of overweight and obese people, those who went on a low carbohydrate diet lost more weight -- and more fat -- than their peers who went on a low-fat, portion-controlled diet.
  • Is Melissa Lee still on CNBC?
  • I hope you don't own Vonage.  Judge hits Vonage with injunction.  Ouch.
  • It's friday.  It's late in the day.  It looks like things have settled down here at the Fun Factory.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Market Thoughts and MORE!

  • Let me first say that my thoughts and prayers are with Elizabeth Edwards, John, friends and family. We often get caught up in the hectic day-to-day pace of life to realize how precious every single day is.
  • The market rested today after its confirmation day yesterday. And I don't mean in a Catholic-confirmation sort of way.  I mean confirming last week's rally.  The market saw increased volume and if we're reading our IBD textbooks, the market is signaling that the correction is over.  However, I don't follow IBD religiously, and believe that we have more downside testing to go.  I remain patient with low beta holdings and some cash. 
  • I've found myself trading quite infrequenly the last couple of weeks because of work things and March Madness.  My time frame is mostly of an intermediate nature and I make "big" moves 2-3 times a year at most.  Everything else is nibbling around the edges.  Since my lowering of beta and raising more cash in early December, the Black Box hasn't generated an intermediate signal. 

  • Hey, there's a new ETF that tracks mortgage backed securities (MBB).  We'll have to go ask Roger what he thinks about this one.  ...the new ETF, which has an expense ratio of 0.25%, tracks an index of investment grade fixed-rate mortgage-backed securities of government-sponsored mortgage issuers Ginnie Mae, Freddie Mac. The mortgage-backed securities are pass-through, meaning all principal and interest payments from the mortgage pool are passed directly to investors. The securities must be non-convertible. The index includes 30-, 20-, 15-year and "balloon" securities that have a remaining maturity of at least one year and have more than $250 million of outstanding face value, according Barclays Global Investors, the ETF's sponsor.
  • Blocking internet porn violates free speech, so says a US Federal court.  A 1998 law designed to block children from viewing pornography Web sites violates free speech rights, a U.S. federal court ruled on Thursday, in a blow to government efforts to restrict Internet smut.  So lets carry this to the next level, does this prohibit companies from producing software that parents (or libraries, schools, etc) can install on PCs to block porn?
  • Oh here they go, trying to capture carbon emissions from coal in order to fight global warming.  Why not just stop burning coal?  It's dirty.  It's filthy.  People die trying to get it out of the ground.   Isn't nuclear power much safer and cleaner?  Geez, France is getting almost 90% of their energy from nuclear power now.  They got this one right, folks.  Yeah, we have to deal with nuclear waste; but that seems easier than dealing with CO2 and global warming ramifications.  Right?
  • A YouTube rival!
  • Obey Me, or Die!  Gore warns Congress.  From Liberal Larry.  Environmental Prophet Al Gore warned a stunned Congress today of the dire consequences should we puny humans refuse to obey him. Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Earthquakes. Plagues of locusts. Disoriented manatees. Cats and dogs living together. The deliberate and systematic destruction of all life on Arrakis. Terrifying, indeed – but just a taste of what’s in store for us all should we continue to blatantly defy Gore. 

In Edit: Roger has thoughts on MBB here...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Get Your Freak On!

Get your Freak on, because it's Fed Day in the big city! I don't think anyone is expecting them to do anything.  The market is pretty flat as I type.  As always, what they say will probably impact the market in one direction or another.  We'll have to keep an eye on comments about more sensitive areas.  Recently, sub-primes have caused some emotional responses. 

Thoughts on American Idol?  From the women, Melinda is heads and shoulders the best singer.  Even overall.  From the guys, I think Blake makes even boring songs interesting.

Apple (AAPL) TV heading to stores.    Apple Inc. said on Wednesday it has started to ship to U.S. stores its new Apple TV box, a device that lets viewers take music and video stored on a computer and play it on a television set.   You know you can already do this from a Windows XP or Vista PC, right?  That's what I do with the Sony Media Extender.  But I'm sure Apple's will be "cooler."  As Simon would say, it will have the "it factor."

OK, not the best morning link, but a student puts urine in teacher's coffee potAn eighth-grader faces expulsion after admitting he put urine in a teacher's coffee pot, officials said. The Wilson Middle School teacher noticed that the coffee had an unusual odor Friday and reported it to the principal, Muncie Community Schools officials said. A student who overheard classmates discussing it also reported the incident to officials.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It Matters When It Does

  • Man, I forgot about Dancing with the Stars last night! You didn't, though.  Big ratings.  And I know I recently ran this pic, but any excuse to put up Carrie Ann Inaba.  I got your fox trot right here!
  • Yesterday's market rose on light volume, and with today's advance lets check the volume again.  Yes, it really does matter when it does.  What's that mean?  Like the sub-prime mortgages.  We knew it was going to be bad with all those folks who weren't qualified taking on huge amounts of debt with risky loans.  But nobody cared until they did.  Anyways, volume contines to be weak on the advance and below the 50dma.  Just saying.  I don't think I'm the only person noticing this.  I am not going to short the blazes out of this market because there's no reason to.  Just being patient and letting this correction play out.  I don't think it's over.  It all depends on time frames.
  • I guess by focusing on March Madness and the markets, one misses out on the "exciting" stuff like Valerie Plame testimony and whatever the hullabaloo is over the attorney firings.  Seems like the 2008 race is well under way.  And maybe because vote-heavy California and others have moved their primaries up to February.  Hey, just don't mess up the Super Bowl, folks.
  • The Miami Dolphins got a little tougher at least OFF FIELD by signing Joey PorterMiami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter was accused of punching Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Levi Jones after police said the players exchanged trash talk at a casino blackjack table. Porter was issued a summons on a misdemeanor battery charge after the Sunday altercation that began inside the Palms hotel-casino.  In other Dolphins news, they also signed kicker Jay Feely, according to his blog.
  • Adam comments on Oracle.  He's right.  If a stock was delisted in the forest and nobody was around to hear it, uh... not sure I know how to finish that sentence but you get the drift.  Oh, and he's right about 24's Rena on his randoms.  And he has a hot pic of her up.  So you know.
  • Barry Ritholtz with your Joss Stone music update.  English chantreuse Joss Stone blows the roof off of the dump.  OK, BR.  We'll try it.
  • Who is the King of the Stock Market?
  • Liberal Larry on General Peter Pace's comments on homosexuality:  Gen. Peter Pace’s bigoted remark that homosexual behavior is “immoral” was not only an obvious jab at John Edwards, but a Pattonesque slap in the faces of the 65,000 gay, babykilling troops who are currently slaughtering innocents in Iraq.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Do You Smell Chicken?

OAK RIDGE NORTH, Texas -- Chicken fat and a $3.5 million investment are behind a breakthrough in the way Texans heat, cool and light their homes and offices.

Using the slimy, light-colored tallow as the source for clean-burning biodiesel, Biofuels Power Corp. flipped the switch on three, 2,000-horsepower diesel engines a couple of weeks ago, adding a bit more energy to the massive grid that powers much of the Lone Star State.

Privately held Biofuels Power and others in the renewable energy business say the plant is the first of its kind to produce power for sale on the open market using only biodiesel, a petroleum-free alternative fuel made from plant oils like cotton seed and animal fat -- in this case, chicken fat.

  • Lets cue the Chicken Dance featuring Vince Neil of Motley Crue.  Press play.
  • How do they get the fat out of the chickens, liposuction?  Er... uh. 
  • The markets are off the the races as I type.  Despite some nervous talk about China, more mergers and acquisitions are fueling optimism this morning.  Oil prices continue to tumble over the slowing world economies.
  • Chickens are a renewable resource.
  • Chicken:  It's what's for dinner.  It's also what's running the stove.
  • So is the correction over?  Looking at the charts from last week, wednesday's reversal was pretty powerful.  I don't have a buy signal from the Black Box, and wonder if this is just another relief rally in the correction.
  • The Black Box has a few buy signals on stocks that normally mean good things for the market.  I'm going to be a little more patient with real money, but for the CNBC stock challenge I'm buying AMGN, C, and GE. 
  • Chicken fat in the gas tank?
  • I was just working from home today, but the boss just called and asked me to come in for some meetings.  The real madness in March has NOTHING to do with the NCAA!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

March Madness

* I've been out of town for a few days, watching March Madness at a sports book with some friends. It's been day after day of beer and sports bar food, and cheering on underdogs which has been the wrong bet this year. I'm worn out! Tired! Dehydrated!

* I've tried to blog from my new cellphone, but it doesn't recognize the blogger posting buttons.

* Haven't paid much attention to the market or any other current event. It's amazing how much I don't miss these things.

* Back in gear soon. I have a hunch there are bunches of issues at the Fun Factory. And it's not that amazing how much I don't miss those things...


Tuesday, March 13, 2007


  • Yo, Adriane! Rocky Balboa on human growth hormone?
  • The market could use some growth hormones today.  Options week volatility or a resumption of the downtrend that started a few weeks ago?  It could be either, but my thoughts on the intermediate timeframe are that we have some more down to go before this correction is played out.  I don't think it's a bear market, but I do believe folks will be worrying about one when the correction is over.  Of course, my crystal ball may not be better than anyone else's.
  • Thoughts on the economy in general....  I think the economy is soft but growing.  The government is spending money like crazy.  Interest rates are a little too high for the current environment but not high enough to kill the economy.  Increasing fuel prices are once again acting like a tax on folks and taking some discretionary money out of the economy and sending it to OPEC.  Mortgages are adjusting and those who have risky loans are seeing their payments go higher.  The unemployment rate is low.  Housing is a problem but not that bigMoney is being spent out there. 
  • Just getting back from lunch and seeing the flush on the market.   Check out the volumen in the QQQQ (ouch!):
  • Volume:


    Avg Vol (3m):


  • On 24 last night... Those of you who had "Martha Logan in the family room with the cutting knife" win the office pool.  Uh, I was tired of the Martha story line last year.  Didn't like to see round two.  But stabbing "Mr. Logan" was an easy call as she walked behind him with the cutting knife, eh?  I thought it was kind of odd that she was serving kiwi in such a mental state anyways. 
  • I wonder how the writing team came up with that idea?  "Lets have Martha stab Charles.  But, we need a situation where she has a knife.  So how about we have that ex-security guy - hey he is available, right?  Lets get him before he's on Amazing Race or Dancing with the Stars.  Anyways, he can go to the farmers market and get some fruit during the nuclear fall-out.  Then she'll cut it up and serve it, and will have the knife.  Perfect." 
  • In the "compounding your losses" department, Google (GOOG) being sued by Viacom.  Viacom said in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in New York that Google's YouTube site has infringed on some 160,000 entertainment clips, and it is seeking some $1 billion in damages. Google paid $1.65 billion in stock for the wildly popular YouTube site in November.   Mark Cuban nailed this one I think.
  • More on the market?  Maybe everyone just wanted to clear the deck ahead of March Madness so they can sit in their office and watch the games on their cell phones.
  • More good news on exercising, as this study says young adults who exercise help prevent high blood pressure later in life.
  • Dad stashes stash in 6-yr old daughter's pocket.  Gee, thanks dad.

Sold My Cell Phone Soul (Again)

  • There's a new phone in town! Sold my cell phone soul for another two years!  I had a 2-year deal with Sprint on my Treo 650 that ran out yesterday.  Ready for something new, I shunned the customer retention police and jumped to Cingular/ATT's 8525.  It's a PDA phone! 
  • Not to complain about Sprint.  They're service was great.  The Treo 650 was nice.  I had slow connection speeds, so it was just time to go broadband.  The 8525 is almost like having a laptop with you.  Extremely functional.  Stayed up late mucking with it, but haven't hooked it up to the home office yet.  That'll be on tonight's agenda.  Audio and video are great.  I'm not sure I want to spend $10 a month for TV on my phone, though.  But how cool would it be to watch baseball in the office?
  • One frustrating note about switching from Palm OS back to Windows Mobile Pocket PC is the darn Windows navigation.  I'm on version 5.0 and I know the new version 6.0 is supposed to be nicer.  But even with that caveat, I'm already getting quick at getting to where I need to be.  And the phone has shortcut keys on it.  The Internet Explorer has some formatting issues with large webpages, and I'm going to try mobile Opera to see how that works.
  • Why not wait until the Apple iPhone?  Well, it's not broadband.  I'll wait until a future release.  I think Apple will do really well with that, but I'm a tech geek.  I don't really want a toy that's a music player first. 
  • So far, so good. 

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Big Brown Machine

  • Long Beach State is a 12th seed against 5th seed Tennessee in the first round on friday.  My Dad graduated from Long Beach State back in the day.  He took me to many 49ers games as a kid.  Basketball games.  Football games (when they had a football program...).  The "Big Brown Machine!"   Since you're not here dad, I'll be pulling for them.  Lets pen the 49ers down as a sentimental favorite and hope for the best.   I have a 49ers jersey somewhere in my closet.  I'll wear it friday, dad.
  • I mentioned friday that some more "light volume up" was likely, and that's what we got today.  I suppose we can blame the light volume on folks studying their March Madness brackets instead of stock charts.  But I believe we have to remember what happened a couple weeks ago and that the damage from that isn't over with just yet.  As always, it depends on one's time frames.  The correction isn't over, but nothing moves in straight line and it depends on how one wants to play it.
  • 20-somethings and debt, from Barry Ritholtz
  • Global Warming Expedition to North Pole Cancelled Due to Cold and Frostbite. 
  • More on global warming from ABC, Global Warming Is Not a Crisis.  I don't know about all the doomsday talk from the Global Warming crowd.  I think fear sells, and there is grant money involved.  I'd rather approach CO2 from a pollution point of view.  Don't we all want cleaner air?  Don't we all want to stop burning fossil fuels?  (Coal, oil, gasoline...)  I think that's the key.  But Global Warming has turned into a religion for some.  Check out the war of words on blogs over this stuff.  How can one do that AND study their March Madness brackets?
  • I do miss you, dad.  So you know.
  • Game over for China's internet addictsThe Internet Addiction Treatment Center (IATC) in Daxing county uses a blend of therapy and military drills to treat the children of China's nouveau riche addicted to online games, Internet pornography, cybersex and chats.  Thank goodness I'm not in China.
  • Today is the last day of my 2-year cell phone contract.  I called my carrier and said "Today's the day I can go to a new carrier?  I can finaly switch?"  And they transfered me to their customer retention department and I have a ton of deals to consider.  Remember to do that and see what kind of deal you can work out on a phone and contract, before you sell your soul for another 2 years to somebody else!
  • The CNBC stock trading contest doesn't allow shorts or ETFs.  So if I think the market is heading down, doing nothing is my only option.  So that's what I'm doing until I think we've bottomed. 
  • Must be around 80 degrees here.  And the mosquitos waste no time.  Out in force around dusk.  Talk about your troop surge...

The Amazing Race All Stars - Rob and Amber

  • Buh-bye, Rob and Amber! In The Amazing Race All Stars, the 4th leg of the race saw the amazing elimination of Rob and Amber.  They had finished in first place in each of the first 3 legs and looked to be the odds on favorite to win.  Nope.
  • I missed the last 15 minutes of The Amazing Race, and didn't see that Rob and Amber finished in last.  So I went to the web and started searching.  I found a message board that had live blogging of the show and discovered that Rob and Amber were eliminated.  Much angst about that, but I'm glad to see them go. 
  • But the message board revealed that somebody at Wiki had posted the whole results of The Amazing Race All Stars by mistake!  It was only up for a few minutes before it was taken down, but the damage was done.  If the list was correct, I know who wins.
  • But I'm not going to tell you.  Before next week I'll list who will be eliminated in the fifth leg.  Just to see if the list was right or somebody pulling somebody's leg...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sunday Morning


  • It's selection sunday!  Time to get your March Madness pools ready!
  • I think Gwen Stefani is making another release with No Doubt, FWIW. 
  • I joined the CNBC stock market challenge, but I keep forgetting to make a trade.  I guess I'll go there and pick some $3 stock and hope it works out.  It's not real money, so might as well swing for the fences.
  • Damn.  Trading Goddess is already in the top 39% at the CNBC challenge.
  • Fly on Wall Street with some MACD and ATR for ya.  "Low risk entries."
  • You did set your clock ahead, right?  Right?  All of them?
  • The Inaugural Kurt Bevacqua Weekly Award from Ankle Biting Pundits.  Wow, can't remember the last time I heard THAT name!
  • Mark Hulbert reminds us of the 7th Anniversary of the popping of the internet bubble.  It was on March 10, 2000, that the Nasdaq Composite index closed at its all-time high of 5,048.62. By the time all the air in the Internet bubble had been let out, some 2-1/2 years later on Oct.9, 2002, that benchmark stood at 1,114.11 some 78% lower than where it stood at the top.
  • Is the population of polar bears increasing or decreasing?  Other thoughts on global warming from All Things Conservative.
  • Larry says the WSJ got it wrong again. 
  • Barry has a March Fest of weekend links...  Good stuff.
  • American Idol to air a 2-night charity benefitOn April 24, the show's sponsors will donate an unidentified amount of money for every vote cast for the top six contestants, while on April 25, the show will air what amounts to a benefit concert featuring Gwen Stefani, Pink, Josh Groban, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, and Annie Lennox. Also making appearances will be Bono and Borat.
  • Haven't had to work this weekend, as I think we're ready to go.  It's been stressful at work and I actually spent part of yesterday doing online job searches.  I like being overwhelmingly busy, but not when it comes with stress.  Sparing you the details, but I will say that there is more to life than dealing with knuckleheads.
  • It's close to 80 degrees this weekend in Sacramento.  Spent some time cycling and outdoors.  Cycling legs coming back, and with the time change under our belts that'll only improve because I can get out during weeknights.  Also watched the movie "Munich" which I thought was very good.  One of those movies that after you watch it, you hop on Wiki and read up on the Munich massacre.
  • Trading thoughts heading into this week...  Uh... It's options week.  The playbook says that options expiration week tends to be strong if the prior week was weak.  There are a few thoughts out there.  One is that we're wedging up on light volume, setting up the next leg down of this "correction in a bull market" or bear market.  Another is that everything that happened two weeks ago due to China and Greenspan was a "misunderstanding" and we're heading back higher.  Another is that the bottom of this correction is in, and that we'll eventually head back down and "retest the lows" which would be the buying point.
  • Just something to think about...  Don't let it ruin your picks for the March Madness brackets!

In Edit: LOL, I'm repeating myself! I included the Hulbert link yesterday! I'm leaving it in, because I think it's okay to laugh at yourself. And sometimes, I AM THE KNUCKLEHEAD!!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Random Quicksteps

  • Alan Greenspan seems to be getting more air time now than he did when he was the Fed Chairman! Adam weighs in on ol' blabbermouth. I just wonder what's next for the former Fed dude, Dancing with the Stars?  Hey, could Cheryl Burke three-peat if she teamed up with Greenspan?

  • If Alan Greenspan did enter Dancing with the Stars, would the judges be able to interpret his dance steps? 

    Carrie Ann Inaba:  "I thought it was a fox trot, and that it was one of the best dances we've seen in this competition."

    Len Goodman:  "I think that was the quickstep, Carrie Ann." 

    Bruno Tonlioni:  "No no no, that was clearly a rumba.  You are the Maestro of the dance floor!"

  • Score a victory for the Atkins dietA study of four popular diets found that women put on the one with the least carbohydrates -- the Atkins plan -- lost at least twice as much weight as those on the others, researchers said on Tuesday.
  • In a related note, as biofuels boom, will people go hungry?  Not if they're avoiding carbs.  We'll worry when we come up with an engine that runs on steak, eggs, and cheese.
  • Atkins seems to be popular with this meat-eating calf, who eats chickens.  When dozens of chickens went missing from a remote West Bengal village, everyone blamed the neighborhood dogs. But Ajit Ghosh, the owner of the missing chickens, eventually solved the puzzle when he caught his cow -- a sacred animal for the Hindu family -- gobbling up several of them at night.  Finger lickin' good!
  • The market is basically flat as I write this.  Yesterday's bounce was on a little lower volume, but we'll see if the bulls have any biofuels in the tank and can push this higher or not.  We'll see if we get a follow-through day in the week ahead, or if it was just a lower high and we trend lower.  I don't think "the bottom" is in just yet.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Random Buttons

  • Of course, I am watching the Pussycat Dolls reality show on the C-dub. Who would've anticipated a biological drama like this?  (They're spreading... the flu).  How come some of these girls didn't try out for American Idol?
  • Geekology...  In an effort to speed up my desktop, I added some RAM and removed some hogware.  What is hogware?  Software that sucks the life out of your computer by consuming an overwhelming share of resources.  For example: The Norton Antivirus Suite.  Now THAT will give your computer the flu.  Just removing that increased the performance quite a bit.  I let my subscription to Norton expire and then am trying some free trials of other products.  They're much quicker.  Not hogware. 
  • After that, I doubled the RAM on my desktop (to 2 gig).  My Telechart and Amibroker stock scanning software is flying now.
  • Liberal Larry weighs in on Ann Coulter's comments on John Edwards:  "To imply that John Edwards is a homosexual in a tone that would suggest homosexuality is wrong goes beyond the pale, especially after all the nice things that homosexuals have had to say about Ann over the years."
  • Just in case you missed Gary Kaltbaum calling the market top last tuesday, he reminds  us with his radio archive:   GARY CALLS WORLD MARKET TOP  AT NOON FEBRUARY 27, 2007.  Got it?  Lest there be any confusion, it's in CAPS, it's in bold, and it's underlined.  You can listen to the MP3 file online if you like.  GOT IT?
  • Back to the Pussycat Dolls.  One of the contestants is named "Asia."  Lets assume that's a birth name.  Who would name their kid "Asia?"  That's like hoping your kid grows up to be a stripper or a Pussycat Doll or something.  Jade.  Jasmine.  Asia.  Aren't these stripper names? 
  • I like this cartoon up at Barry's blog on bulls and bears.  I think that's what some of us are thinking.
  • On the Inevitable Bounce at Jason's, the sell signal is still on and he adds, "The momentum did moderate considerably in my system but we need to see a stall in one of the next three days to say that the selling is over. If we bounce from here in my system, the bulls should be wary because -1000 represents firm bottoms and we didn't get there yet."
  • Heheheh, "firm bottoms."
  • Don't forget the bottom line at Trading Goddess' site.  Muzak and thoughts on the market.   She wants volume, dammit!
  • Nice round number trading strategy from the dayshark.  There's a book title idea in there somewhere, Dave.
  • In sad news, a coworker who is not named Asia, is making a career change.  She's running off to be a network admin.  Last day is friday.  She's given me about 30 hugs so far this week, and it's only tuesday.  I'm really going to miss her. 
  • Barack Obama's stock portfolio.  Hat tip to Michelle, who also wonders about the speculative companies.   Hmm...  Also a column about it in the NY TimesOne of the companies was a biotech concern that was starting to develop a drug to treat avian flu. In March 2005, two weeks after buying about $5,000 of its shares, Mr. Obama took the lead in a legislative push for more federal spending to battle the disease.

Correction in a Bull Market?

  • Rally on, Garth! Now the great debate is if we're in a dead cat bounce or if everything last week was due to "misunderstandings" and it's back to the moon we go.  How will the market close today?  Will there be follow-through tomorrow.  And what will happen when the Fed's Beige Book comes out tomorrow?
  • Everyone wants the "correction in a bull market" to be over.  Mark Haines and Erin Burnett seemed giddy at the ramp in the futures this morning.  Erin said something about the tortoise and the hare that didn't make much sense.  Was she trying to say that if we don't make any moves except buy and hold, we'll be okay?  Was she making fun of the hares who trade in, trade out, and take lots of naps during the day?  Was she watching Looney Tunes before coming into work, and just trying to work something in?
  • If this is a "correction in a bull market," then my guess is that it will probably last for more than a week.  There was lots of bullishness and speculation before last tuesday, and that takes awhile to unwind.  I remain in a conservative position with some cash, low beta holdings, and QID.  I still have some of my mo-mo stocks as I'm trading them on their charts and not what's happening in the overall market.  As far as the market, it'll be interesting to watch the volume on this rally attempt to see how convinced the buyers really are.  Oh, and the close - which is still to come.
  • Scooter Libby guilty!  And speaking of great debates, now I suppose the appeals will come and then sometime in January 2009 as Laura is knee deep in packing boxes, duct tape and sharpees, husband George will be issuing pardons.
  • So with many of the TV hits going on Spring Break, what are we supposed to do the next few weeks?  Watch reruns of Meerkat Manor?  (Flower is such a bi-otch!)
  • By August, we'll all forget about who plays for which NFL team.  Enter Yahoo NFL with all the trades, waivers, and speculation.  So the Dolphins released Joey Harrington.  Can't blame them.  So, uh, "Miss Cleo" Lemon?  Culpepper?  Looks ugly there.
  • Oh, and you probably want to know how the cheerleader auditions for the Baltimore Ravens are going.  From 200 hopefuls down to 19!  There's a reality show idea in there somewhere...
  • I'm kind of in a toasty sandwich mood today.  That.  Means.  QUIZNOS!

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Gathering Consensus

  • It's easy enough to surf the various financial sites and blogs to validate one's own opinion of the market. However, this is is something that usually alarms me if it is too widespread.  I believe the market fools as many as possible, and if I find myself in any sort of group-think for too long I start feeling nervous! 
  • Case in point is this gathering consensus that the market is now firmly entrenched in a correction, that at some point in the future there will be a buynig opportunity (that everyone will identify in hindsight), and we'll return to the bull market and new highs.  This is where I find myself;  this is where I find many.  Very disconcerting!   There is complacency about this correction, and I fear that could lead to something that is worse than expected.
  • Radio gurus... Gary Kaltbaum said on friday's show that we're in bear market of "unknown duration."  Bob Brinker declined to give a forecast to a caller's question but blamed the wild action last week on China and Greenspan's use of the "R word."  I have a few more weekend shows to go through, so stay tuned.
  • Antonella Barba.  Just saying.  I might as well just program that American Idol number in my rapid dial.  I don't care if she can't sing.  I don't care if she's not "that" hot.  She's got my vote.  Vote for Antonella!
  • Watched the concluding episode of the cancelled series Day Break from ABC's website.  I liked the show.
  • "Rewind the Tivo and play that again in slow-mo, honey.  I'd swear that's the Queen Mary!"  Is Long Beach, Calif., the new South Beach? As far as "CSI: Miami," "Dexter" and "Nip/Tuck" are concerned, it is. All three shows, set in Miami, have filmed in the southern California port city as well as at other locations in and around Los Angeles. "We go to Long Beach all the time," "Dexter" executive producer Clyde Phillips said.
  • Adam's Randoms with some sure fire ways of knowing that we're at a top and a bottom.  Pick and choose.
  • Wow.  Beware of markets that show early strength and then collapse at the end of the day.  That was an ugly finish.
  • If you missed last night's episode of  The Apprentice, Ivanka was once again absent.  (Doing what?) No Little Donnie, either.  Anyways, there were two firings in the boardroom.  One for uttering the words "White trash" when describing himself; and the other for making a bad decision on the Lexus "luxury" campaign.
  • Say, Dancing with the Stars starts on March 19th.  Seems like we just had one of those.  With John Ratzenberger, who played Cliff Claven on Cheers.  The new cast also includes Olympic skater Apolo Anton Ohno, boxer Laila Ali, former 'N Sync member Joey Fatone, country singer-actor Billy Ray Cyrus and Paul McCartney's estranged wife, Heather Mills.  Will Cheryl Burke three-peat with whoever this time?  Put her with Cliff.
  • Oh, and new reality voting show for the Pussycat Dolls.  Hmm.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Diaper Change!

  • Need to change your diapers after this week in the market? I think many folks left friday with a diaper load of stocks that took a beating this week.  The market closed at the lows and the worry of a potential monday sell-off was making the rounds.
  • Watching the Fox Business Block this morning, it seems the popular opinion is that the correction is on.  Not too many predicting a bear market, rather a correction in a bull market.  Some were saying to buy now, some were saying to wait until it plays out.  The contrarian in me says that if folks are convinced this is just a correction, it may be a little bit uglier than I think. 
  • I remain with low beta stocks and some cash on the sidelines.  I continue to have my QID hedge.  I do still have a few short-term mo-mo stocks where the mo-mo has definitely gone in the diaper.  But until support is broken I'll give them a little more time in case a bounce comes.
  • It's a beautiful day here in Sacramento.  I see a long bike ride in my immediate future.  And the recent rain storms have let me procrastinate on the much-needed yardwork.  I may procrastinate for just one more day...
  • American Idol's Antonella Barba, the hot one, in a sex scandal of sorts.  Now I suppose many, including myself, will be dialing her number every week to keep her on American Idol as long as possible. LOL.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Monthly Seasonality Boost?

  • Monthly seasonality kicking in? Despite the weak opening, the market has bounced back from the panic. Could this be the automatic monthly adds to 401(k) plans as folks steadfastly dollar cost average in to their mutual funds?  Something to think about.

  • Hey, I'm getting good at these "Are you smarter than a 5th-grader" questions.  The only one that threw me off last night was about the library's Dewey Decimal system and whether or not it was used by fictional books. 
  • Monthly seasonality kicking in?  Despite the weak opening, the market has bounced back from the panic.  Could this be the automatic monthly adds to 401(k) plans as folks steadfastly dollar cost average in to their mutual funds?  Something to think about.
  • According to Prince Charles, McDonald's should be banned.  Earlier this week, Britain's Prince Charles suggested during a visit to the Imperial College London Diabetes Center in Abu Dhabi that McDonald's, often criticized over its high-fat menu choices, should be banned.  See?  That's the difference between there and here.  In the US, the politicians are bought and paid for by the big corps, and would never utter such a thing.  I don't think McD's should be banned; but I would recommend that folks limit their intake of unhealthy food choices.
  • Man tries to cash $50,000 check from God.  Kevin Russell found out it's not easy trying to cash a check from God. The 21-year-old man was arrested Monday after he tried to cash a check for $50,000 at the Chase Bank in Hobart that was signed "King Savior, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Servant," Hobart police Detective Jeff White said.   C'mon, Kevin.  Everyone knows God deals strictly in cash.