Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve

  • Six bowl games today. I hope you have plenty of beer on ice.
  • When all the stock pundits are predicting that 2008 will be the year of tech, does that have you worried?  Doesn't that mean that everyone may already be invested in tech, and that they're trying to show you how smart they are and convince you to join them in a FREE CASH GIVEAWAY?
  • And nobody likes financials, eh?  Just thinking out loud here, but maybe since everyone is Zigging with tech, the Zag play may be... Financials!
  • The market ending 2007 with a whimper.  We had 3 pullbacks of 10% this year, plenty of chances to do intermediate-term market timing for those interested. 
  • Stupid Colorado.  Horrible start last night.  I have Air Force in the early game against Cal.
  • But I did win the Fantasy football league by the skin of Dominic Rhodes' teeth.  It was tough having the championship game in week 17 this year, with so many teams playing lame-duck line-ups. 
  • I hope everyone has a wonderful 2008.  Any New Year's resolutions? 

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Football Weekend!

  • Regressing to the mean in my bowl picks. 8-6.  But tonight?  Got the Colorado Buffaloes and the points against Alabama!  Sounds crazy again.  I think 'Bama would win.  Hopefully by 3 or less...  But takin' the dog again. 
  • In the Fantasy Super Bowl this weekend.  Had to scramble to put together a line-up with so many teams resting players.  Sheez.  We'll see.  I'm not sure it's looking so great here mid-way through the afternoon.
  • How disappointing are the New Orlean Saints?  I thought they'd have a great year.
  • Nice game by the Patriots last night.  Just when you think they're vulnerable for a loss...  They pull it out.
  • I think the stock market should have a decent day tomorrow.  Taking the day off from the Fun Factory, so I'll be watching bowl games.

Friday, December 28, 2007


  • Well, the market was up a little bit ago. What happened?  Did a tiger escape from a foreclosed property in Pakistan?  (See what I did there?  Three current events, with a hint of wall of worry stuff, blended into a stock-selling reason du jour.  Yeah.... Ugh.  But it's friday.   Cut me some slack!  And it probably makes as much sense as anything else...)
  • I had one tax-loss sell this year, but did that back in November and rotated into something same-same.  I believe the SP500 is going to new highs in 2008, Cheech.  The big question today is a matter of positioning.  I'm in a high-beta portfolio now.  So I did some Black Box searching last night and identified a few interesting names that I may rotate into.  Hard to say if I'll do that or not just yet.  I'd like to see us move higher before I start that.
  • Miss France, Valerie Begue, keeps crown after photo controversyBut her reign threatened to be short-lived after a magazine published a risque series of photographs in which she was seen lying in a crucifixion-like pose while wearing a bikini or licking condensed milk in a suggestive manner.
  • Milk builds strong bones.  Just sayin'...
  • Anyways. 
  • Three underdogs today, baby!  The first game starts at 2pm CA time, so I need to find an excuse to leaf early.  Comprenez, Valerie?
  • (I don't know if  "Comprenez" is correct French; I just Babelfished "understand."  Spanish would be "Comprende" so it must be close!!!).
  • What are the odds of oil taking out $100 in 2008?  We're almost there.  Great headline for those running for President, though.  $100 oil will be a psychological thing.  Local news cameras will be out on the street for that.  So where is gasoline headed?  $4-5 a gallon in 2008?  Seems like a no brainer at this point.  But maybe folks will do something radical like.... DRIVE LESS!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Charles Barkley on the Boston Celtics

  • Sorry to wake you up for this, but it's important: "If they (Boston Celtics) win 72 games this year, I'll walk from here to Phoenix. In a Speedo." - Charles Barkley.
  • The Nasdaq was up 6 days in a row before today. Then, today happened. The RSI(2) was at nosebleed levels on the NDX. Anyways. No trading for me. Just long here.
  • I had Texas -2 tonight. A favorite? Yeah.
  • Three bowl games tomorrow, and I have all dogs. Houston, Maryland, and Michigan State. Yeah, the latter bet was made prior to the ineligible list came out. I must be crazy. (Just cover, please!)
  • Hey, that Iowa caucus thing is next week! Seems like it's about time to thin the herd a bit, eh? Seems like they've been campaigning for 13 years and have had 5000 debates.
  • Web site to carry new bin Laden tape on Iraq. Tape? Who uses "tape" anymore? Must be dated!!
  • The Nikkei was down 11.1% in 2007. Really.
  • If you're like me, when you go out for Chinese food you read the place mat that has the birth years and what year it is. Year of the Dog or Bear or whatever. Next year(2008)? Year of the Bankruptcy. Bad year to be born. I hope the fortune cookie has a more optimistic message.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After

  • I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Welcome to the day after.  I imagine there are tons of folks out shopping for the day after bargains.  Not me!   Although, I don't know why anyone pays full price for Hallmark ornaments when you can get them this week at 50% off.
  • The stock market seems to have a holiday hangover as well.  Not doing too much here.  We're now approaching the month-end and year-end.  I imagine most of the year-end stuf is done.  But the 401(k) contributions will be rolling in and should lend some support to the averages as cash gets dollar-cost averaged into mutual funds.
  • I have Central Michigan and the points in tonight's bowl game against Purdue.  The first time the teams met, Purdue hot-waxed 'em.  So did North Dakota State.  Geez, why did I take Central Michigan?  Hmm.
  • For whatever it's worth, the Black Box generated a buy signal on Citigroup.  I think the financials might be a good 2008 play (via XLF).
  • As 2008 unfolds with major politics, I think we'll be constantly told how bad the economy is and how "change" is needed to fix things.  But the reality will differ from the campaign speeches.  Continued slow growth and no recession.
  • Is 2008 is the last year of the 15% capital gains tax rates?  That could lead to some interesting positioning later in the year if folks want to adjust their cost basis higher.  Of course, one would have to incur a tax hit to do so. 

Monday, December 24, 2007

Stocking Stuffer

  • Stock market closed 3 hours early, but looks as if Santa stuffed the stockings with more of the Santa Claus rally. I believe the market is headed to new highs, so I'm remaining 100% long and strong.  The economy continues to grow at a below trend rate, and we're not in a recession.  The Fed is cutting rates.  Inflation remains low.  The bull market should continue.
  • 4-2 in bowl games so far!  But a few close calls...  I had UCLA and So. Miss!  Also, ECU last night.  We're bowl-free until wednesday.
  • So I made my Fantasy Football championship game next week.  And many of my players will be rested for the playoffs.  Geez.   So I'm on the waiver wire picking up 2nd string running backs...
  • Actress Michelle Rodriguez began a 180-day jail term in Los Angeles on Sunday for probation violation.  (From sentence back in October).
  • Christmas Eve.  Wow.  Time flies.
  • After tomorrow, we'll be flooded with the Best Of 2007 lists.  And 2008 predictions!  Of course, I'll play along this year, too.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Rally Mode: On

The market rallying sharply today. And the reasons? 

  1. Navy covered the spread last night (yeah!).
  2. RIMM.  Crackberry high!
  3. Core PCE up .2%.   That's the Fed's favorite indicator of inflation.
  4. Strong consumer spending.

Those waiting for a recession are going to have to keep on waiting.

I have Memphis plus the points in tonight's New Orleans Bowl. 

Thursday, December 20, 2007

RIMM Shot!

  • The market caught a bit of a bid, mostly in the Nasdaq. And RIMM up about 10% afterhours on earnings.  Nice stocking stuffer, Santa!
  • The "Save Journeyman" campaign sending boxes of Rice-a-Roni to NBC.  Join in!  (If you like the show, that is.  Otherwise, more "Battle of the Choirs" or whatever that was for you!)
  • Contrary Conary on RAD and Jimmy.  Ye-ouch!
  • Yeah.  Nice job, RIMM, from the Trading Goddess.  Just go for the pic, k? 
  • The constant blaring of the recession siren has hit the Yahoo Buzz index the search for "recession" doubled the past week.
  • I missed Sy Harding's call on the dollarWe've been on a buy signal for the U.S. dollar, with a 10% position in an etf that tracks with it. The first time we've taken a position in a currency. The dollar's recent strength has been getting some attention lately.
  • This year is ending nothing like last year for me.  I was trading and flipping small caps last year; while this year I'm long large caps and not doing much trading at all.  Funny, that.  Didn't plan that ahead of time, just worked out that way.  I believe the market is headed to new highs despite the very loud, blaring siren calls for recession.

Bowl Season Kick-off

  • Bowl season begins tonight.  I have Navy and the points.  (I like taking the dogs in bowl season...)
  • So, the market...  Um.  Hmm.  It seems like it's biding time for something.  It is options week and year end is next week.  One would *think* that we'd have a positive bias to end the year.  At least that's my thought.
  • It's been a strange year on Wall Street.  As if the market is distracted.  Is Jessica Simpson on site?
  • I missed the Journeyman finale.  Thank goodness for DVRs. 
  • Oh, and... Save Journeyman!
  • Navy, Navy, rah-rah-rah!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Back from Las Vegas

  • Back after a few days in Las Vegas.  Didn't fare too well at the tables or slots, but did well on the sports bets.
  • All I hear and read about is "recession."  A bit of overkill on the pessimism.  It's Christmas.  The eggnog cup should be half full!
  • I haven't started Christmas shopping yet.
  • After just a few days away I feel a bit disconnected from the stock market.   It's getting late in the year to stage any impressive rally to all-time new highs.  I'd expect options week to have a positive influence on stocks, but maybe everyone is in Holiday mode at this point.  Volume will probably be pretty light through the end of the year.  I'm remaining 100% long at this point.
  • Interesting comment in Barron's over the weekend about how the average gain in the DOW is 18% the year after 3 consecutive rate cuts from the Fed.  Of course, now that we know that... ahem.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Save Journeyman

  • Save Journeyman.
  • CPI came in hot. Even ex food and energy.
  • The market faultering as I type. Options week rally ahead?
  • TV writers strike really going to muck up the second half of the TV season. Maybe a good time to Netfix some showsI missed in the past...
  • Funny how Obama and Huckabee have closed in on Hillary and Rudy, eh?

Thursday, December 13, 2007


The big news in December? Steroids in baseball. Big list of players here. Hat tip to Adam Warner, who has so many questions.

Still a little under the weather, but dragging myself into the office. The play book says that the week before options week is weak and often times presents a buying point or launching pad into options expiration. I'm still all in and bullish. The economic numbers coming out today did seem to indicate that the economy is stronger than what folks expected. And also stronger than what we're reading in the paper and watching on the news.

PPI came in a little high...

Barry Ritholtz takes a look at today's data. I don't always or often agree with BR, but I always read his stuff.

More later. I'm tired. But Rosenfels just hit Johnson for a Texans TD, and that lifts my fantasy spirits....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's Raining Money!

I woke up this morning, and it was raining money! The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it was coordinating with other central banks to deal with the global credit crunch. Wall Street rallied after the surprise announcement. In a statement timed to occur before the start of trading in New York, the Fed said it planned to offer $40 billion in emergency funds to banks next week through an auction process.

Amazing. Yesterday's rate cut gets sold because it's not enough. The volume on the sell-off was a bit light, and it smacked of a one-day wonder. The same kind we had in the opposite direction during the correction. But the news being thrown at us from the media from day to day is extremely gloomy, even as the economy slowly advances month after month. So it is easy to give in and buy into the gloom.

We'll have to see how this kind of aggressive action is reacted to after this open.

Maybe I should have just used another Helicopter Ben picture!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fed Parsing Day

This is what today is all about. We all know the drill, right?

Will the Fed cut .25 or .5? What will the Fed say in their text?

Will the market ramp up or down at 2:15.01? Will the initial market reaction be faded?


Monday, December 10, 2007

Get the Led Out

  • As I mentioned last week, I'm remaining 100% long the market here.  I believe we're going to new highs.  In the short term, I'd expect it won't be a straight ride up.  But trying to get too cute often leads to underperformance, second guessing, etc.  No need to do it here.
  • But... If I had to make a guess in the short term?  Would it be surprising to see a sell the news reaction after the Fed announcement tomorrow?
  • The Led Zeppelin concert begins in a few minutes.  Looking for a song by song blog?
  • I'm still a little under the weather.  This cold seems to be dragging on and on.

Friday, December 07, 2007

TGIF - December 7th

  • I remain long this market.  I think investors are realizing that the headlines about how horrible the economy is have been a bit overdone and ... WRONG!  We have rallied quite a bit off the lows, and at some point we're going to see the advance stall out.  I'm not going to try to game any short-term swings.  I believe the market is heading to new highs, and once there I'll look at reallocating. 
  • We can't forget December 7th.  It doesn't seem to make the headlines much anymore, and those who served this country back in World War II are passing away. 
  • Today's headlines include the real estate "fix" by President Bush.  Watching some CNBC and Fox Business News, I tend to agree with those who say that folks who can't afford homes shouldn't be in homes.  Why is the government bailing out those who don't have much to lose?  Remember that some of those last to buy a house in the bubble went in with no money down and had low teaser rates that are now adjusting.  How much are they losing?  Do they have any home equity?
  • I realize that an election year is coming up and there will be some government intervention.  But not sure if this will help or just prolong the housing crisis.  After all, those who cannot afford the mortgage payment reset now will probably be unlikely to afford it in a few years, either.
  • I went in to work yesterday, and probably should've stayed home.  Today, I'm back at home.  Felt pretty miserable this morning, but better later today. 
  • Today's tech-geek thing I did (while bored) is to fix my MP3 player.  At work, I use an old 20 gig Nomad Jukebox 3.  For the past few years, I've been unable to add new songs to it or pull songs from it.  So after searching The Google, I found a firmware upgrade and a software upgrade.  It works! 

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

No Recession Here, Mister!

  • Watched the Sacramento Kings play Utah yesterday night (on TV), and noticed that the halftime show was go cart racing with the Kings, and sideline reporter Angela Tsai.  So you know.
  • What recessionThe dollar was higher against major counterparts Wednesday, after upbeat U.S. economic data calmed fears of a looming recession and led many investors to believe the U.S. Federal Reserve won't decide on the 50-basis point interest rate cut next week that some had begun expecting. Private-sector hiring expanded at a faster pace than expected in November, nonfarm business productivity was revised higher and unit labor costs data revealed milder inflation than previously thought.
  • So there you go.  And the stock market may have reacted to this today, up big across the board. 
  • Oh wait. Lets see if Yahoo Finance came up with something original today:  "Stocks rally on strong economic data."  Gee, yesterday's decline was all about economic worries and real estate concerns.  Flip-floppers!
  • President Bush to propose five-year interest rate freeze on home loans.  More details to come tomorrow, but it looks like loans taken out from January 2005 until this past July will be eligible.  Senator Hillary proposes a five-year freeze on ARMs and also a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures.
  • Didn't trade today.  Remaining 100% long.
  • Stayed home sick today.   Slept in.  But did accomplish something.  I upgraded the ROM on my cellphone from Windows Mobile 5 (WM5) to WM6.  Feels like a new phone!  Extremely easy.  No problems.  But I did have to re-install some of the applications and such that I wanted.  The issue there was finding registration codes for various things.  And WM6 came with a different set of ring tones. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


  • Home sick today.  It's 6pm PST, and I've been sleeping most of the day!  A head cold it seems.
  • The market was down because of... Broker downgrades?  Well, okay.  Oh, and Yahoo Finance is down to generalities... Economic Concerns.
  • Yesterday I blogged briefly about watching for some government intervention the housing and foreclosures situation.  Keeping an eye on some agreement there.  I think that's the most interesting thing going on.
  • Mark Hulbert:  How do you play a Santa Claus rally? 
  • Just my thoughts... I'm not sure about this whole Santa Claus rally or January Effect thing.  I haven't been able to make much sense of what's supposed to happen and why. 
  • John blogs over at The Trading Goddess, Cast Your Nets to the Asian Financial Sector.  Singapore ETF!
  • Interesting blog entry up at the Wall Street Journal about jobs and the economy.  But he sees few signs of an impending recession. Business orders aren’t dropping. Overtime hours for temp workers haven’t dropped substantially. Warehouses aren’t filling up with inventories, which would be a sign of falling sales. And customers’ needs in distribution centers and call centers haven’t fallen off. “The forward demands are not shrinking,” Mr. Camden says. “They’re not drawing them in like they did in the last recession.”
  • Of course, you'll have to temper some of that with a dose of Barry Ritholtz:  Retail Fading.
  • Again, I do agree with the WSJ entry more than Barry.  I do think the economy is slower than we'd like due to energy and real estate, but I don't see a recession.  But then, I have the benefit of not having a PhD in economics, so I tend to see things more clearly.
  • Where do the Presidential candidates stand on Social Security?
  • I've had a couple of liters of diet-7up today.  Fizzy!  Why does 7up seem to hit the spot when you're not feeling well?  And wouldn't that 7up be even better with a few shots of Seagrams Seven in there?  Too lazy to go get some, I am.
  • President Bush admits our intelligence departments are a bundle of suck.  And Michelle breaks it down with links and HOT AND STEAMY NEO CON COMMENTARY! 
  • And even if Iran doesn't have a nuke program, but is developing nuke materials that would allow it to create a bomb two years out or so?  Well, two years is a very long time away.  Right?  Isn't it like not making chocolate chip cookies, but having flour, eggs, sugar, Crisco, baking soda, salt, vanilla, and choc chips in the pantry?

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Government Real Estate Bail Out

Michelle Malkin writes that "Hillary and Bush agree; Government should bail out homeowners." And of course, she's against the whole nanny-state thing.

My thought is that if they're both talking about it, something is going to happen. Right or wrong? Who knows. The bigger question to me is what does this mean? What does it mean to financial stocks, the home builders, REITs, etc?

Something to keep an eye on...

Save Journeyman, Save the World

  • I  check Yahoo Finance daily.  I like how they bundle up the market action in just one sentence.  Sometimes it makes sense.  Sometimes it leaves one scratching their head.  Today?  "Wall Street fell Monday, led by financial services stocks, on concerns that the U.S. economy's expansion will erode amid troubles in the mortgage industry."
  • Thanks for the insight, fellas.  Not that one can generally determine why the market does what it does on any given day.  Here's one on me for the future, "After last weeks advance in the financial markets, investors were cautious ahead of this week's economic data."  
  • Or, "Investors sold off stocks today, depressed that NBC was not airing rookie show Journeyman monday night."
  • Save Journeyman.
  • I remain 100% long, and didn't do much of anything today.  We're still in the monthly strength period, and I remain optimistic about the economy despite the constant roar of gloom and doom from the major media outlets and financial pundits.
  • Finished Christmas shopping?  Started?  Avoiding? 
  • Me?  The latter!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sunday Morning Quarterback

  • Moon A little "live blogging" while watching the NFL Red Zone channel.  No commercials on the Red Zone, either.  Noice!
  • The market had a nice 3% or so rally last week.  We are in the monthly strength period as 401(k) money gets dollar-cost averaged into the market, providing some buy pressure.   I like the idea of a year-end rally, especially into the headwinds of the wall of worry negativism we read about and listen to on a daily basis.  Yes, the economy is growing slowly.  But it's not a recession.  Energy and real estate are a drag on growth, but we do have growth.
  • I remain 100% long here. 
  • If you're a fan of NBC's Journeyman, good news!  NBC will be airing the remaining episodes.  I think this is one of the better shows on TV, and hope NBC keeps going with it.  You can go to and send them an email.  I did. 
  • And yes, that is another picture of Journeyman co-star Moon Bloodgood from her Maxim shoot.  Ahem.
  • Buy signal still on at Jason's.
  • The Lies that (Some) Financial Advisors Tell.
  • More on Charles Rangel's "guaranteed" Middle Class Tax Hike.
  • Is Alan Abelson ever happy about anything?  Excerpts from this week's Barron's:

Better Sold Than Bought


That may not aptly describe the mood of the country at large -- which is of the overwhelming opinion that the economy is rattling along on the wrong track and in the wrong direction -- but after a smashing stock-market rally last week, the glad cry began to enjoy some muted resonance in Wall Street, where hope and optimism are never in short supply.

(blah blah blah blah)

For none of the horrors that sent the market reeling -- the demolition of housing, the collapse of credit, the increasing pain inflicted on the mass of consumers caught in the vise between all-but-stagnant income and the remorseless rise in the cost of essentials -- show much inclination to vanish. Just the opposite: Especially in credit and housing, the big chill grows ever meaner, and we expect this week's employment numbers to furnish another icy blast.

  • We certainly are being told day in and day out about how horrible things are.  But look at the latest BLS numbers on inflation, unemployment and wages.  So Abelson says to sell the rally, eh?  Think he'll be right?  Is he ever right?