Monday, June 30, 2008

The What Inflation? Watch

The Fed (and others) keep jawboning inflation. They say how worried they are about inflation.  They claim inflation is running too high.  But did you see the PCE numbers that came out on friday?  Here's the number that includes everything:

The May PCE deflator came in at 3.1%, which is slightly below expectations. 

It's also important to look at core inflation, ex food and energy.  If the inflation hawks were right about increasing oil prices increasing the costs of everything else we buy, certainly we'd see the impacts in the core PCE, right?  Take a look:

The hated core, ex food and energy, saw a modest increase of 0.1%, and was up 2.1% from the year earlier. Both measures were much better than expectations. The core is important to look at as it would indicate if rising food and energy prices were percolating down and contributing to a more generalized inflationary movement.

Over the past year, oil prices per barrel have gone up approximately 100%.  The inflation hawks keep telling us that this drives up the costs of everything else.  But the reality is that when you're sending more money to the OPEC cartel, you have less money to spend at home on everything else. 

I don't expect the Fed to raise rates during the remainder of 2008.  There is an election coming up, and the Fed prefers to remain on the sidelines.  With inflation running low, and the economy sluggish because of high energy prices, the Fed will continue to keep rates low.


Yes, that is a pic of Alla Kudryatseva.

Friday, June 27, 2008

TGIF Randomosity

  • March 10th closing low 1273. Today's closing low 1278.  Lets cling to the "retest" theory over the weekend.  
  • Well, if there's nothing better to cling on to, that is.  Say... Jessica Biel?
  • Amidst the gloom?  After-tax incomes and spending show big gains.  In otherwords, "It's the worst economy ever since the great depression, so thank goodness we have more money to spend."
  • Jason:  Bear market nearing an end.  Hope so, J.  Although, techincally, we're down about 18.2% from the October 2007 highs.  NOWHERE NEAR A BEAR MARKET!  But it does feel like one.  And we're all about feeeeeeelings, right?
  • Greg Mankiw:  Don't trust anyone who can't see into the future.
  • Barry Ritholtz notes that the VIX isn't showing any panic, yet.  Somebody look under the hood:  Check the VIX's panties for lumps.
  • "VIX's?"  That doesn't seem right, but in my brain grammer exists on the "other side of the tracks".  We're moving forward with no apologies. 
  • Say, how is that Members Top Picks contest going over at Kirk's?
  • From Ugly Chart, USC lab creates 3D holographic display.  Oooh, I can't wait until the porn industry gets a hold of this!  Woohoo!
  • Barrons says that housing may have hit a floor.  Hopefully, they don't mean "the seventh floor," because then there'd be more to go.
  • From Naked Shorts... Cox hardens for a big finish
  • TGIF!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Worst June Since Great Depression!

  • "But alas, the market sucks."- Adam Warner.
  • What else can be said?  Time to fire up the charts, check to see if any divergences are out there to give any bulls remaining any hope whatsoever.
  • It looks ugly.  It feels ugly.  And we're being told 24x7 just how ugly it is. 
  • For example, Worst June for DOW since Great Depression.
  • Afterhours?  Palm disappoints.  Well, how can they stay in business much longer anyways?  This isn't ten years ago.  There are other, better, products out there.
  • So I give you non-ugly:  Scarlett Johansson.
  • Accentuate the positive!


The Citigroup Follies

As I mentioned in the previous blog entry, the Black Box had a buy signal on Citigroup (C) last night. But the folks at Goldman Sachs must use a different market timing strategy, as they came out this morning with a downgrade of Citigroup. Heck, they're recommending to go short!

Thanks for the heads up!  I'm sure this call saved a lot of people a lot of money.


The Distinguished Stock Market

  • In the "life imitates art" category, we flashback to a speech made in 1993 by Eddie Murphy in the movie "The Distinguished Gentleman." Murphy plays con man Thomas Jefferson Johnson and runs for Congress.  Does ths clip remind you of a Barack Obama speech?
  • But back in the "reality imitates fear" category, the stock market selling off heavy this morning.  The catalyst?  Bad attitudes!  A Prozac and an enema for everyone!
  • As everyone, even Yahoo Finance, is noticing, we're at levels not seen since March.  So I'm on the "retesting the lows" bandwagon.  But obviously, if we're looking for market divergences from the previous trip down here they will be hard to find.
  • The Black Box?  It was on buy signals last night for the emerging markets, financials, and Big Pharma.  It liked ETFs EEM, PPH and FXI. It also liked individual banks C and PNC.  Of course, those are all being torn to shreds this morning.
  • Watching, er, hoping, for a reversal.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Black Box, Fed, and Education

  • Checking out the Black Box last night, it had a buy on semiconductors and a sell on oil. FWIW.  This generally means that the Nasdaq 100 won't be far behind with a buy signal. 
  • The market is up today before the Freakies make their intentions known, but you never know what kind of volatility will hit once Bernanke makes his statement.  Stay tuned.
  • The Freakies have been jawboning inflation in between meetings, so I'm wondering if their statement makes just a casual statement about being "vigilant" against inflation.
  • California spends 50% of its budget on education.  That's $57 Billion.  How are we doing"...three in 10 students who enroll in California public high schools fail to graduate."  Noice!  In addition, "The California High School Exit Exam tests students at an eighth-grade math and reading level and, to pass, requires no more than 60 percent on either section. As a result, more than 55 percent of California State University freshmen require remedial instruction in math or English."  Woot!
  • The Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters has more in Education Data tell a sorry story.  Must reading for those curious why it seems we're faultering in education.  The silver lining in the story is the charter schools doing well compared to public schools.  Maybe that's the direction we need to go in.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lazy Tuesday Stuff

  • I guess we're all kind of waiting on the Fed, eh? It'll be interesting to see what they say about inflation this time.
  • Yet another down day in the market.  I think we're just retesting previous lows.  I'll run the Black Box tonight and see what it has to say.  It's been hit-and-miss lately.  Nothing outstanding.
  • From Yahoo Finance, A rebound in financial stocks helped partially offset some disappointment over weak consumer sentiment, falling home prices and an earnings warning from UPS.  
  • Oil prices are up 98% compared to one year ago! 
  • Consumer sentiment in the dumper.  Maybe because we're constantly told how bad it is out there.  Meanwhile, what blu-ray movies are you watching this week?  I don't mean to be flip, but I'm not seeing recession-like pain out there.  And you?
  • Hat tip to Greg Mankiw for the links.  Don't blame speculators for the high oil prices.
  • Obama opposes McCain's proposal for 45 new nuclear power plants.  I guess that makes me oppose Obama.  Energy is the #1 issue.
  • So other than oil prices, where is the inflation?  Wal-Mart has Banquet TV dinners for 86-cents here.  Subway has 12-inch sandwiches for $5. Okay, what did I say about being flip? Anyways. Not that pricey.
  • Bob McTeer:  Not a recession yet.
  • Barry Ritholtz:  Lets Get Technical.  Ah, the debate on the value of technical analysis.  I'm a believer.  But I'm also a believer in a non-cluttered work space.  Have you seen folks who draw charts with what seems like millions of indicators?
  • I watched "We are Marshall" the other day.  I liked it, but it was a bit long.  These kinds of movies that are based on true stories tend to have me hitting the internet afterwards, and looking up information and pictures.  What a story.

Muckdog Makes Hall of Shame!

You're on Notice!

  • Barry Ritholtz listed me on his Hall of Shame! It is a both an honor and a privilege, BR.
  • Wow, I haven't even prepared an acceptance speech.  But, I'd like to thank the Lord Jesus Christ, thank the troops, and pray for world peace.
  • Here's my blog entry that received the accolades:  Thinking About Butterflies Randomosity.
  • I believe Barry has an interesting blog.  Those interested in financial opinions should subscribe to his RSS feed. 
  • In the end, all anyone has to offer are opinions.  I don't know if my opinions are any better than the guy on the blog next door. 
  • But I do try to keep an open mind and review information before making my opinions.  I'm not one to have a pre-formed opinion, and then search out information that validates my views.  I think that opens the door to obscure data reference points and charts. 
  • I like the standard government data releases.  They're fine for me.  I can accept that they change over time and that they're not perfect.  I pay more attention to what the Federal Reserve does, than what the Federal Reserve says.  I view the latter as mostly a comedy show.
  • That's it. 

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another Retest

First, kudos to the folks at Roku who created the Netflix streamer.  Very nice.  Received it yesterday, hooked it up today.  No problems.  Easy breezy.  Have a few movies and TV shows in my "Watch Instantly" queue at Netflix, and am ready to go.  Quality is okay at 480p.  And hopefully hi-def is on the way in the future.  So now, I can watch the most-recent DVDs in HD via my NFLX subscription, and catch up on stuff I've missed via streaming.

You know, when the market rallied off the March lows, I thought that was it.  I thought we were going to head higher and stair-step our way back to new highs.  My thought process there was that the bad news was mostly known and that earnings would rebound in the second half of the year.  The market had gone down around previous lows, and the bounce up seemed to be working fine.  Well, except for the volume.

What's changed?  Nothing really.  I believe what we're seeing is just pessimism.  High fuel prices are making news headlines every few minutes.  And while that's not a major impact to most of our budgets, it is something that we see and that we're aware of every time we go to the filling station.  Yes, we do cut back on Starbucks a bit.  But many folks have adjusted by using mass transit and by making that next car purchase one that gets better MPG.  In addition, we have campaign season going in full gear, and the party out of power is going to continue to try to spread gloom and doom to the best of their ability.  This is not the time to talk up the economy when you're trying to convince the voters to punch the chad with your name on it.

What to do?  I remain long.  We haven't had a recession.  GDP hasn't gone negative in any quarter yet, despite the predictions from the gurus, quarter after quarter after quarter.  Who listens to those guys, anyways?  This one may be flat, but folks are out there spending their tax rebate checks.  Look at Best Buy's recent report, for example. 

What else to do?  Focus on the fun.  It's Summer!  Don't let the gloomers get you down.

Friday, June 20, 2008

On FedEx Vehicle for Delivery!

What?  It's the Roku Netflix Player!  Those of you who subscribe to NFLX are aware that they have a "watch instantly" feature, where you can watch movies on your PC.  But who wants to sit at their desk in front of their monitor watching a 2-hour movie?  This is a box that hooks up to your TV (via ethernet or wifi), and you can watch anything in your NFLX instant queue on your TV.   Price?  $99.

I know there are other options out there.  The reviews of the product are great, though the comments indicate that tech-savvy folks may want to explore other options.  For example, Apple TV does a bunch more, but the purchase price is much higher and you have to buy your movies for download.  NFLX lets you watch all the movies you want instantly included with your monthly subscription price. 

You could also drag cables all over the place to hook up your desktop or laptop to the TV.  But then  you're spending money on additional cables, and have to have a PC fired up, running, burning electricity, and making noise.

Granted, the number of instant movies available is small.  Mostly older movies and older TV series.  But $99?  Cheap enough to buy and try.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Boston Celtics Randomosity

  • Well! Madness at the Fun Factory distracting me from any kind of diversions the past week. But it's only fair to give mega-kudos to the Celtics for blasting the Lakers back to the West coast.  It wasn't even close.  The saddest thing was to see LA basically throw in the towel in that second half Tuesday night.  Boston was the better team.  The East was best.
  • Celtics cheerleader Alexis is happy about it.
  • On to the market...  It's options week, and you know what that means!  According to my playbook, it should be a positive sort of thing.  Down a little over a percent on the SP500 so far.  The gloom and doom is thick in the air.  Everyone is hanging on oil prices these days.
  • It used to be a bad saying to say "You're getting a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking."  But as a commodity, it's on fire!  Maybe coal will be the "in" gift this holiday season.
  • John McCain calls for 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030.  I think that's a start.  Glad to hear somebody say it.  That's the one issue I've been waiting to hear somebody, anybody, bring up.  We need an alternative to burning fossil fuels.
  • I was thinking about getting a hybrid car.  But now this has me worriedIt turns out hybrid owners are trading in their vehicles. Why?  Health fears concerning electromagnetic fields created by the hybrid batteries, says John Dale Dunn, a policy advisor for the American Council on Science and Health.
  • It only took about 30 hours after the end of the NBA Finals for my coworkers to bring up the NFL and Fantasy Football.  The wait begins.  In the meantime, time to start digging into the NFL news to see what players got traded, drafted, retired, or incarcerated since last season.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mid-year Roundtable

  • Okay, I was looking for a picture of  the Round Table Pizza guys.  That quickly changed to girls, but then there were pictures of Eva Longoria with Domino's pizzas.  Since that isn't exactly "Round Table," I decided to compromise and just post a picture of Eva Longoria.
  • Anyways, the point being that this weekend is Barron's Mid-year Roundtable issue, and I'm all over it! 
  • Also, Eva Longoria is not pregnant, so I'm sleeping much better tonight knowing I'm not on the hook for that.  Phew!  Another close call, Muck!
  • The biggest breaking news this weekend?  Lenny Dykstra with the Cyrano de Suttmeier (h/t to Adam Warner).
  • (This entry has been sitting in draft mode for a few days... LOL.)
  • Congrats to the Celtics. 

Thursday, June 12, 2008

This and That

  • Lets be honest. The market doesn't look very good, does it?  Despite the low volume bounce, when it sells off it sells off fierce.  My playbook thinks that pre-options weakness should be bought heading into options week.  Staying long.  Concerned about the summer swoon, but we may have had it.  The question is whether enough buying power is out there and if they're remotely interested in stocks.  Or if they're just on their new Nintendo Wii Fit, getting in shape for bikini season.
  • Better make it flour toritillas on your next trip for Mexican food.  Corn futures rose for a seventh straight day Thursday to a new record, as rain in the Midwest raised concerns that the grain's production will be reduced. Futures have jumped nearly 20% since June 3.
  • Strong retail sales boosted by tax rebate checks.  Cash from government stimulus checks helped push U.S. retail sales up at twice the rate expected in May but the strength could be fleeting as households contend with soaring prices and the worst housing slump in decades.
  • But both Subway and Quiznos have foot-long sandwiches for $5!  What inflation? 
  • I think a lot of folks are taking those tax rebate checks to Costco and Wal-Mart.  Maybe to Best Buy today to buy their new 80 gig Playstation 3 with Metal Gear Solid 4.  Maybe to the casino to bet on the Lakers at home tonight.
  • The media is convinced that this is a great depression or something.  I'm not seeing it anywhere in my daily travels, though.  For all the recession talk the last few years, we haven't had one quarter of negative GDP.  Nor have we had massive layoffs.  Just remember 1981, 1991, 2001.  It's not like that at all.  Not even close.
  • Yes, AAPL had negative divergences and seems to have had a "sell the news" reaction on their iPhone 3g news release.  Stopped out, but put back on because of a gut feeling that the stock may bounce as the July 11th date approaches.  Yeah, not a great chart.  I know.
  • I still plan on getting an iPhone.  There are some other nice phones coming out that I've had my eye on.  But I'm ready to try the Apple experience.  Plus, since it comes out in July, it'll give me something to do in the off hours to kill time before football season!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Apple Hits and Misses

When folks think about Apple, they think iPod and iPhone. Maybe some think Mac.  But behind the big hits are some ideas that didn't work out. Apple's Most Notorious Flops

The Newton.  Pippin.  (Not Scottie, the video game machine!)  Etc.  Check the link for more Apple misses.  Kind of an entertaining stroll through AAPL.  In retrospect, it looks like they've had the right ideas along the way, but the technology wasn't quite there and the audience wasn't quite ready.  Now, we've arrived at the same place, together.

Of course, the iPhone is not a flop. AAPL is likely to capture even more market share with the low-price entry point of their new phone. The new capabilities of the phone may put some other companies at risk, too.  I think Blackberry and Nokia may be in trouble.  I also think with the iPhone GPS, Garmin may be in trouble.

Reading over the iPhone specs at Engadget, I think the thing that disappoints me is the lack of A2DP bluetooth.  That is, wireless stereo.  I don't like cords!  But a minor annoyance, as I rarely use my wireless headphones to listen to music on my existing HTC Touch phone.  (Battery charging is a drag, and my headphones always seem to be on their last leg of energy).

My current phone runs Windows Mobile 6. It's a powerful machine, and I love it. But yes, I do have to reboot frequently and the battery drain is incredible in daily use. I have a charger at home, at the office, and in my car. Always ready to rejuice! Windows Mobile is a bit clunky, and AAPL's iPhone OS works so much more smoothly. The User Interface is much more inpressive. Someone on one of the message boards said, "The only product Microsoft could make that wouldn't suck, is a vacuum cleaner!"

Disclosure:  Long AAPL.

Monday, June 09, 2008

iMonday Randomosity

  • As I was watching the Engadget live-blogging of the Apple 3g iPhone conference, I saw AAPL trading down big. So I bought some AAPL near the lows.  (Just a trade, not a recommendation).  This is a nice upgrade to their phone, and the price point is perfect. $199 for the 8 gig, $299 for the 16 gig. And the latter is available in white.
  • I'm going to get one.  July 11th.  Set an alarm on your Outlook calendar!  Maybe I'll line up at Best Buy now!  (Uh, no.  I can wait a day or week or whatevah).
  • And this one time, in band camp...  With parents cutting back and costs rising, camps are forced to modify services, which could impact everything from bug juice to bowling.  Bug juice?  Anyways, an interesting look at how summer camps are dealing with higher costs of energy.  They're adjusting!  Enrollment numbers for camps are roughly the same.  Interesting, considering folks are depressed about the economy.
  • Why is the Fed so dumb?  Bernanke was jawboning inflation last week, and that leads to fear and concern. Treasury prices declined Monday, pushing two-year note yields up the most in two decades, amid further concern that accelerating inflation will pressure central bankers to raise interest rates.  The key word here is "concern."  Because the fears of inflation haven't materialized in any of the numbers.  We're over 3%.   Oooooh. 
  • Inflation is not accelerating.   Heck, the new iPhone 2.0 is going to be $199.  How many hundreds of dollars is that from iPhone 1.0 last year?  C'mon.  Plus, it has a GPS, slices bread, and gives a great hand job.  So we're getting more functionality out of the same device at a much cheaper price.
  • (Yes, we may have to take public transit or carpool to the Apple store to buy our iPhone 2.0 because fuel is expensive.  I get that.  But the prices of things other than fuel and some food items aren't accelerating in the least).
  • Crude oil drops 3%!  WHAT?  Seriousness alert!  This country needs an energy plan.  We need nuclear power plants.  Lots of them.
  • From Yahoo Finance, we learned that financials struggled today and McDonalds had nice earnings.  Last week was Wal-mart with the nice earnings.  I think we know where those tax rebate checks are being spent!
  • I went to the Angels-A's game yesterday.  Walk off grand slam by Mark Ellis in the 12th. 

iPhone Blow by Blow

If you're anxiously refreshing the Yahoo Finance page to get your Apple iPhone news today, try Engadget's running coverage.

Isn't that all that matters today?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Sell the Loss Reaction

The heck with Yahoo Finance. I'll write the blurb today!

Investors fled from stocks on Friday as the Celtics easily handled the Lakers in game one of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.  Asian stocks initially rallied as Celtics guard Paul Pierce was carried off the floor with a leg injury, only to violently sell off as Pierce returned to the court moments later.

"It was quite a roller coaster ride, up and down, up and down, up and down," said investment specialist Tia Tanaka (not pictured, to keep work safe).

Wall Street had priced in a Lakers Finals victory in five games.  As reality set in that this is unlikely, the bulls did not want to be caught long heading into the second game Sunday at Boston.

"Investors will have plenty of time over the weekend to reflect on the series and their asset allocation," added Tanaka.  "I've been recommending to my clients who want a happy ending that they overweight the Asian rim over US stocks."

Okay, the market is selling off BIG! today. 

Oil is spiking up, because folks must've left their SUVs running in their garages overnight.  It's becoming obvious that we have to act to reduce our oil imports.  I don't think the government is nimble or agreeable enough to get this done, so it's really up to us.   It's going to mean buying a hybrid the next time you hit the car lot.  It's going to take ridesharing and mass transit.  Another idea is trading a typical 5-day, 8-hour, work schedule for a 4-day, 10 hour, work schedule.  Employers will have to allow more telecommuting where feasible.

Here in Sacramento, we have a big project on our major downtown freeway going on.  The lanes are closed down.  I heard on the news that our mass transit system has seen a 30% jump in use the past week.  That's fantastic, and hopefully folks will continue to use mass transit once the freeways are open.

The job losses were also higher than expected today.  While recessions typically have millions of job losses, we're nowhere near that and it's highly unlikely. 

I think the market is on sale today, and that those who get their market orders to buy in will reap in some big profits down the road.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Post Game One Randomosity

  • OK.  Well.  Unfortunately, I stayed at the Fun Factory late and was watching the game on the gamecast ticker.  Came home around halftime.  I think the Celtics defense forced the Lakers into some low-percentage shots, and the Lakers had poor clock management.  Hopefully, the Lakers will figure out how to keep a lead on Sunday. 
  • Ah, the market.  Of course I'm a little concerned about seasonality, and that we're at the top of the trading range.   But I'm just bullish over all the pessimism.  I think with the campaign season heating up, there will be more pessimism in the headlines.  I'd love to see Wall Street scale that wall of worry.
  • Buy on the Dip has a Game One vid up in "The WEST is the BEST?" entry.  But I think during the regular season, the East had the strongest few teams, while the West was more balanced.  But I agree with his sentiment.  Go Lakers!  Scroll down and read the next few posts there for some individual stock stuff.
  • Government Conspiracies and Your Money, from Dr. Jeff.
  • Stock Chartist wonders, "Obama bull market?"
  • Be your own butcher and save!  From Wall Street Fighter.  You don't even have to stop at chicken. Get a huge frozen cow carcass and work it over like a punching bag for a few days. You saw Rocky, right?
  • And of course, a preview of Hillary's concession speech:   “No matter the outcome of the presidential race this November, the year 2008 is a watershed for Democrats. For the first time in the history of either party, a woman selflessly withdrew from a race she was winning to lend a merciful, helping hand to a young African-American in his time of need.

Work. Spend. Play.

  • Market up despite the gloom and doomers. Wasn't it just the other day that they were declaring the bear market rally over?  Who wants a do-over on that call? 
  • I remain 100% long, Nasdaq heavy.
  • Paraphrasing Yahoo Finance, today's rally was based on good news from retail and jobless claims fell.  So, you think folks are out spending those tax rebate checks?  I do.  Good luck to the bears expecting a negative GDP in the 2nd quarter.  I don't think it's going to happen.
  • The Black Box gave a major buy signal on financial stocks last night.  JPM came to the top of the list.  No positions for me yet.  I wasn't near a PC this morning.
  • Life at the Fun Factory?  My fun meter maxed out about 7:45 this morning, but I have to stick around anyways.
  • Lakers-Celtics tonight.  It's the biggest understatement on the planet to say that I'm looking forward to relaxing with a few beers in front of that tonight. 
  • CHEERS!  Maybe some randoms later or some LIVE BLOGGING during the game.  It'll get better after the 3rd beer, too.  Promise!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Liberty City Mayhem!

  • Liberty City Police Face Allegations Of Incompetence, Brutality "Perhaps even more alarming, city records indicate that more than 75 percent of perpetrators in mass-murder or vehicular-manslaughter cases escape, usually by simple methods such as driving into a car-repainting facility. Criminals have even eluded pursuit by walking into their apartment and going to bed for six hours, after which the search has been called off."
  • An interesting tape in the market the past few.  On the surface it doesn't look too encouraging.  But something's not right with what the bears are saying is the end of the bear market rally and resumption of the bear market.  I like what I see in the Nasdaq.  Staying long and enduring the pullback here.
  • Yahoo finance blames Ben Bernanke for adding selling fuel to the selling fire, when he jawboned about inflation again today.  As in, the market was already in a bad mood and the Bernanke comments just gave more reason for selling.
  • Last week I dumped Yingli (YGE) with a small loss.  I always hate selling on weakness, especially when it seems like stocks tend to bounce shortly after I sell!  But YGE continued to collapse with other solars today.  I guess the contrarian thought would be that Everyone Is In.  Everyone wants green energy.  Everyone believes in green energy.  The buy recommendations are overwhelming compared to the sell recommendations.  Maybe the stock run is over for awhile in that arena.
  • I guess a big contrarian play here would be to go long financials!  Does anyone like those?
  • The falling US dollar affecting video gamers!   Here is a quote from Michael Pachter, a professional analyst, “The shortage demonstrates one consequence of the weak dollar. We’re seeing companies ignore their largest market simply because they can make a greater profit elsewhere”
  • I suppose we all expect a dirty campaign season between Obama and McCain, but this proposal from McCain sounds interesting.  McCain suggested at least 10 town hall meetings, once a week, ending the week before the Democratic nominating convention in late August, with locations to be determined by the two campaigns.  I'm all for something different.  You?

Lethargic Wednesday

  • "The next president must be willing to break completely with the energy policies not just of the Bush administration, but the administrations that preceded his, and lead a great national campaign to put us on a course to energy independence," John McCain. Agreed.
  • Crude-oil futures steepened their losses Wednesday to touch their lowest level in a month...  Feel the savings!  How are you going to spend your cash windfall?
  • Ninety-year-old Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., was hospitalized tonight after staffers noticed he was lethargic at work... Well, this joke just about writes itself.  I'm surprised my staffers haven't called 911. 
  • Productivity in the U.S. economy remained at a healthy level in the first quarter and labor costs were contained, government data showed Wednesday.  At first glance this is good news for the economy, but if you put "labor costs were contained" in the babelfish translator, it comes out as "get back to work, monkey boy."
  • U.S. warships will soon leave waters near Myanmar...  At least we're withdrawing troops from somewhere!  I suppose Bush won't get any credit for THAT!
  • After a U.S. prime-time television season notable for its lack of breakout hits, the supernatural fantasy "Pushing Daisies" emerged as the favorite new show of viewers in an AOL poll released on Tuesday.  Doesn't every episode feel the same?  That ain't making it past round 2.  I can't believe they cancelled Journeyman.
  • Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama reaffirmed his strong support for Israel and promised to do "everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. That starts with aggressive, principled diplomacy without self-defeating preconditions."  Uh, I think you might find that preventing "Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon" a self-defeating precondition in itself.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Transfer Auxiliary Power!

I was channel surfing over the weekend and watched a couple of Star Trek: Voyager episodes on Spike TV. Did you ever notice that every problem in Star Trek can be resolved by "transferring auxiliary power" or "re-aligning the deflector dish?"

That seems to be what Wall Street needs today.  Seems like the relay circuits have been fused and the warp core has gone offline.  Yahoo Finance is blaming this on the S&P cutting the debt rating on several companies.  It's more fallout from the mortgage mess. 

One knee jerk reaction deserves another, so lets see what happens in the last hour of trading.