Tuesday, April 27, 2010

All You Need to Know

If we need a catalyst for a Summer selloff, maybe we got one. $$

Financials were struggling as it is with the lynch mob going after Goldman Sachs. It is very difficult for the market to go up without the financials.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Selling Homes Like it's 1963

Biggest gain in home sales since the Kennedy administration!

Home buyers are taking advantage of low interest rates and more affordable homes. Buyers may also be worried that interest rates are heading higher with a recovering economy, and feel as if they want to get the low rates locked down.

Good news!

Is Porn Responsible for the Financial Crisis?

Is Porn Responsible for the Financial Crisis?  SEC staff were surfing pornography instead of watching the financial system:

image The memo was first reported Thursday evening by ABC News. It summarizes findings of past inspector general probes and reports some shocking findings:

_ A senior attorney at the SEC's Washington headquarters spent up to eight hours a day looking at and downloading pornography. When he ran out of hard drive space, he burned the files to CDs or DVDs, which he kept in boxes around his office. He agreed to resign, an earlier watchdog report said.

image _ An accountant was blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting websites classified as "Sex" or "Pornography." Yet, he still managed to amass a collection of "very graphic" material on his hard drive by using Google images to bypass the SEC's internal filter, according to an earlier report from the inspector general. The accountant refused to testify in his defense and received a 14-day suspension.

_ Seventeen of the employees were "at a senior level," earning salaries of up to $222,418.

_ The number of cases jumped from two in 2007 to 16 in 2008. The cracks in the financial system emerged in mid-2007 and spread into full-blown panic by the fall of 2008.

And the rest of the time they just wasted

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Randomosity

  • image I hope you celebrated Earth Day with a bike ride, as this Japanese girl did. Bikini bottom with the sweater ensemble, because you never know if it’s going to be too cool or warm in Spring.  Be prepared, dress in layers!
  • Microsoft’s $MSFT income up 35% driven by Windows 7.  Ah, yes. The upgrade cycle.  I imagine we’ll see more of that with regards to companies tied to PCs.
  • NFL draft analysis.  I love watching the NFL draft.  It’s very memorizing.  Every player taken somehow “should have gone much earlier.”  Fun!
  • The market seems to be gasping a little, but I’m not ready to do anything about it.  It had a chance for some big selling today, but rebounded off the open.
  • Tim Urban finally voted off American Idol.  Well, he’s not even close to the best of the rest on that show. I didn’t watch much of the Charity Event last night. Thanks to the magic DVR, I was able to skip through most of it.  I did pause at Fergie’s outfit, but I had to turn the sound down.  I just don’t get the Black Eyed Peas.
  • $AMZN falling 6% after hours.  Their profits were up 68% from last year, but anticipating a slowdown in growth.  I used to buy stuff from Amazon all the time.  Almost weekly.  But I don’t buy many books, movies or CDs anymore.  Plus, there is a porch thief who follows the UPS truck around and swipes stuff.  I have always had things re-shipped, but it’s frustrating.
  • Did you read that Hulu is going to charge $10 a month for past-its-prime TV?  I’m not looking for another monthly subscription.  Does this mean I won’t be able to watch Stargate SG-1 anymore if I don’t sign up?  Plus, they’re going to add more commercials?  Ugh.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Battle of the Leaks

The iPhone 4G leak is so yesterday. How about the Dell Lightning, running WinMo 7 in the 4th Q? H/t engadget:

iPhone 4G Madness

I've been following the iPhone 4G prototype story all week long. No word from $APPL, but Gizmodo released lots of curious press that then set off a blogstorm.

My 2-yr contract is up, and I will be debaiting an iPhone vs. Android soon. I do love the iPhone and am leaning in that direction, especially if the prototype leaks are true. Looks nice.

Meanwhile, Apple is selling 3GS phones like hotcakes. Almost 9 million in the first quarter. Stock price has already zoomed, and gurus continue to raise targets.

We get almost daily Apple news without rumors. iPhone, iPad, and the new Macbooks have all dominated tech headlines.

What an exciting time to be following tech news. Portable tech seems to be where it's at...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

US Stock Futures

US stock futures...

Uh oh for Tomorrow

Japan market struggling. $GS fallout?

Buying a Fallen Star

When the tragic news on $MEE broke about the miners, the stock took a huge beating. From panic comes opportunity, and while it may seem cruel and heartless to buy a stock after a tragic incident, the country does burn a lot of coal.

I don't own any and would probably wait until selling volume and government investigations dry up. But until we come up with other ways to generate electricity, we are going to need coal.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wherefore art Thou, Inflation?

Lowest inflationary pressure since the dinosaurs roamed the planet, says Dallas Fed Richard Fisher. $$

Of course, back then everyone was employed as a hunter-gatherer, leading to a 0% unemployment + underemployment rate. Actually, that's a bit backwards. Well, women had yet to enter the workforce; although I do recognize cave-keeping to be a full-time job.

Anyway, the current excess capacity and high unemployment means that there is quite a bit of slack in the economy that needs to be tightened up before we start seeing upward pressure on wages.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Intel Rocks Earnings

$INTC reported earnings this afternoon. Went well!

The release of Windows 7 probably helped PC sales and thus chips. Looking forward as the economy improves, more tech sales ahead with new Apple Macs, too.

The Quakes Keep on Coming

Wow, another major earthquake. This one rocks Western China. I think anyone living near a fault line should be on pins and needles ... Ooh, I'm in CA!

Steven Seagal’s Executive Assistant!

Since the stock market goes up everyday now, lets see what Steven Seagal is up to these daysimageLooks like he hired Kayden Nguyen as an executive assistant, but clearly all the job details were not specifically spelled out in the statement of duties.

According to court documents obtained byCBS News, the 23-year-old was hired by Seagal in Feb. 2010 as an executive assistant at his production company. But she says on the first day on the job, she learned that she was actually signed up to replace one of the two Russian female "attendants" on staff as Seagal's sexual servants, available for his sexual needs 24/7.

Well, there you go. 

Mets at Rockies on MLB.tv

I love my MLB.tv!  Okay, shilling a bit here but I’ve been watching a lot of games, and the season is barely a week old!


Earnings Season

Who gets to throw out the first pitch for earnings season? $AA. I think we need to mix it up a bit, don't you?

It will be interesting to see how companies report forward guidance and how investors react. Specifically, how much of this is priced in already and will guidance surprise to the upside? Let's hope so.

Obviously, we have had a nice rally and consolidation or pullbacks are normal and healthy.

I remain 100% long. Not trading much at all. Just diversified and trend riding for now.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The iPad Stand


So if I do get the iPad, I guess I have to go to the SPCA and pick up the cat iPad stand.  Warning: This iPad stand must be fixed, potentially declawed, fed, and one must keep a box of sand in the house.   This stand is not safe in a moving vehicle and cannot be used while on a plane or public transportation.

H/T and fantastic pic from Veronica Belmont!  Nice!

April Showers

  • imageSunday afternoon here in Sacramento, and we’re getting a “soaking rain.”  Plus, the wind is blowing about a zillion MPH.  Wherefore art thou, oh Spring?
  • Blowing up Texas Stadium.  Pictured!
  • I bought MLB.tv for the computer (and thus the PS3 and Roku, connected to the big-screen TV, and the iPhone for wireless).  I’ve enjoyed seeing the Dodgers bullpen fall apart yesterday and today.  GOOD GRIEF.
  • I remain long the stock market, until a reason not to.  Not trading in and out or trying to catch every nickel swing here.  Just riding the trend.  Sorry for not trading the wiggles, but it seems like that hinders more than helps.
  • image I spent some of the afternoon watching Leo Laporte on Twit.tv broadcast live, and in the IRC chat room.  I am a geek. 
  • I haven’t ordered an iPad yet.  I guess the 3G version would be the one. Although who wants another monthly 3G charge?  Maybe better to wait it out, see what’s next in the iPhone line. 
  • Comments pro and con on the iPad.
  • Twitter buys Tweetie.  I love the Tweetie 2.0 app for the iPhone.  Even paid the $2.99 for it.  Now you can get the app for $0!
  • Looks like the EU is going to send Greece some aid.  $61B!  Maybe California could ask for some aid from the EU.
  • More Apple… The iPhone OS 4.0 as a game changer.  Multitasking!  Also some video stuff behind the scenes that could mean new iPhone hardware in the near future.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Tuesday Randomosity

  • imageThe market continues to act well.  Why fight the trend?  $$  I remain 100% invested. 
  • $AAPL acknowledges iPad Wi-Fi issues. Oops. “Under certain conditions, iPad may not automatically rejoin a known Wi-Fi network after restart or waking from sleep. This can occur with some third-party Wi-Fi routers that are dual-band capable when: Using the same network name for each network, [or] Using different security settings for each network,” Apple wrote.  Still waiting for the next version, if any.
  • Hey, HP is releasing its own tablet PC, called the Slate.
  • Yes, the stock market is due for a pullback.  Everyone knows that!
  • Seems like we’re getting big earthquakes every few days.  This 7.7 earthquake hits Indonesia.  The temblor struck 125 miles from Sibolga, situated on Indonesia's Sumatra island, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The quake hit at a depth of 19.3 miles at 5:15 a.m. (6:15 p.m. ET, Tuesday) USGS said.  Hmm, I wonder when one will hit CA?
  • What a game last night!  I was cheering for Butler.
  • Greek bond yields at 7.1%. The big market moves on Tuesday were a reaction to rumors and press reports, rather than to a significant change in the Greek financial situation. But if jittery bond investors become reluctant to buy new Greek bonds or demand still higher interest rates, European countries might be forced to strengthen their commitment to a bailout.  Keeping this one on the watch list.  Debt is a bad thing.
  • The court ruled against the FCC and “net neutrality.”  Winners and losers.  Telecoms win.
  • RNC member resigns in protest of spending scandal.  Sean Mahoney, one of 168 RNC members who elected Steele, said the scandal involving the RNC spending $1,900 at a risque California night club is "the straw that broke the camel's back." He said he was resigning in protest of what he considers inappropriate spending of donors' money.  "The scandal represents a pattern of unaccountable and irresponsible mishaps that ought to unnerve every fiscal conservative.”  Ya think?
  • I expect people with lots of money to be partying and having all kinds of wild sex with lots of people.  But doing that with someone else’s money shows an utter lack of concern and respect.  Party on your own dime, folks.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Lagging Indicator Alert: State Revenues Rising

The economy has improved, and now we’re seeing one of the lagging indicators catch up: Tax revenues.  Well, some of them:

State and local tax collections rose above year-ago levels in the fourth quarter for the first time in more than a year as gains in property taxes and corporate income taxes offset continued declines in other revenue sources, the Census Bureau said.

State and local governments collected $360 billion in tax revenue in the fourth quarter of 2009, up 0.8% from the same quarter a year ago, the Census said week. It was the first year-over-year gain since the third quarter of 2008.

Property taxes, the primary source of funding for many local governments, rose 5.8% to $170 billion.

The report suggests that tax revenue is no longer in the freefall that followed the aftermath of the recession.

The gain in property taxes offset declines in other sources of funding. Personal income taxes fell 4.7% in the fourth quarter of 2009 versus the same period a year earlier. That was the smallest drop in a year and compared with declines of 12% and 28% in the two preceding quarters

Overall good news.  When employment picks up, maybe the personal income tax numbers will go up, too.

The Markets: Devil’s Advocate

I’m trying to play Devil’s advocate on this recent market rally.  $$  So what could go wrong?

  • image As the economy improves, energy demand will go up.  President Obama has had no energy policy and we’re at the same place we were a few years ago, a decade ago, and 30 years ago.  We burn a lot of imported oil.  What happens as gasoline prices increase?  (Yes, he talks a lot about nuclear power, drilling for oil, green jobs, etc.  Talking and $84.87 will buy you a barrel of oil).
  • The economy is moving ahead with (basically) 0% interest rates.  What happens when interest rates go up?
  • Unemployment is in the double digits and there has been a continuing loss of private sector jobs.
  • Taxes are going up next year as the Bush tax cuts expire.  Health care taxes are coming.  In addition, most states are running budget deficits and will be under pressure to cut jobs and raise taxes.

This is all just a wall of worry, though.  Right?  The trend is your friend.  I remain 100% long.


But, here is the Black Box on $VTI…  Nothing to see here.  Ignore those red arrows and move along, son!