Friday, December 28, 2012

#200: Fiscal Cliff Volatility; $NFLX; Milk Prices; $AMZN

A Fiscal Cliff Mini Deal?

$$ - All we're focused on today is the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling.  The latest is that there may be a mini-deal on the fiscal cliff that just kicks the can down the road.  Obviously, since the government likes to spend money, the debt ceiling will go up.

There may be a lot of Kabuki Theater between now and when the deals are made.   But the deals will happen.  I'm sure of it.

Stocks down again.  Down 3% in 8 days according to CNBC!

White House meeting a last stab at a fiscal deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid partisan bluster, top members of Congress and President Barack Obama were holding out slim hopes for a limited fiscal deal bef... Read more

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

More Fiscal Cliff Randomosity

  • $$ - The stock market is stuck until a deal on the fiscal cliff is done. I know. Boring. I guess the next 2 days are about positioning for 2012 taxes or 2013 "predictions" if everyone hasn't done so already.
  • I finally watched Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation today. I wanted to do it the other night, but $NFLX was down and for some reason that created all kinds of problems in my Roku box - it was giving me an error message that it couldn't connect to the internet, although I think it was. It just wouldn't work on anything until Netflix came back up. NFLX was up today, by the way!
  • I liked Christmas Vacation. Not as much as the others, but entertaining enough.
  • Retail sales also came in a little light. Holiday-related sales rose 0.7 percent from October 28 through December 24, compared with a 2 percent increase last year. I'm partly to blame. While I did do most of my shopping online, I didn't spend as much as in 2011 or prior years.
  • I don't feel good about bonds in 2013.
  • $AAPL iPad 5 imminent? Sheez. The Apple release cycle of once-a-year could be "the good old days" soon.
  • By the way, I did most of my shopping on $AMZN. Yes, Amazon Prime and all.
  • By the way, the Lakers have won five in a row. Are they back?
  • George H. W. Bush is in intensive care. Let's pray for his health. I think if it wasn't for Ross Perot, Bush would have beat Clinton in 1992 and served 2 terms.
  • Timothy Geithner says the US will hit the debt ceiling by Monday. No worries. They'll extend it. If it's one thing the government likes to do, it's spending money. And no matter what kind of fiscal cliff deal they come to that raises revenue or "cuts" spending, the deficits will continue and the national debt will continue to rise. It's the way it is until it stops, or something stops us from doing it.
  • Looks like Senator Harry Reid is working with President Obama on a fiscal cliff deal. And then they'd need 30 Republican votes with the minority Democrats to pass it in the House. We shall see...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Obama Flying Home to the Rescue

$$ - As we tear down Christmas the next few days, it's nice to know that President Obama is coming home to work on a fiscal cliff deal.

I still think we're going to get a deal. This week... Next week... Next month...

Obama to fly to home early as 'fiscal cliff' looms

HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama will cut short his traditional Christmas holiday in Hawaii, planning to leave for Washington on Wednesday even... Read more

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

$$ - The stock market hasn't given us much of a Santa Claus rally! We have history on our side. We have market seasonality on our side. We have the Federal Reserve on our side. But on the negative side, the bull market that started in March, 2009, is getting long in the tooth. In addition, taxes are set to go up next week! CNBC reported today that Christmas sales year-over-year are down.

I believe that there will be a fiscal cliff deal that leaves taxes unchanged for most Americans while raising taxes on the "rich." I think everyone believes that, which is why the market hasn't sold off too much.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the bull market end in 2013, though. But I'm going to play the seasonality for now, remain long, and enjoy Christmas.

To all of you, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Going over the cliff: What changes, what doesn't

$$ - What happens to your paycheck if we go over the fiscal cliff?

(Hint... It won't be fun).

Going over the cliff: What changes, what doesn't

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Fiscal Cliffmass Randomosity

  • $$ - The market is volatile. A funny thing happened on the way to the Santa Claus rally - fear.
  • Volume has been high, too. Usually the market volume tapers off as the year winds down. With this kind of volatility, you have to wonder what happens next week with the government basically giving up on solving the fiscal cliff. Although, don't we all know that a deal will be made pretty soon? With tax hikes and sequestration coming, they won't let it happening. Despite all the Kabuki Theater.
  • Great WSJ on that, by the way.
  • I remain long. 100% plus beta. So NDX and small caps mostly.
  • Blogging and audioboo a little light this week. Out shopping, looking at lights. There's a neighborhood near here where 100 homes put in the effort and made quite a display. Very nice.
  • Anecdotally, malls don't seem too crowded. I did do most of my shopping online, but needed somethings from Best Buy. The sunday before Christmas, that store was empty. Seriously.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gun Stocks Are Getting Destroyed

Guns... A contrarian play? $SWHC $RGR. Everyone is in shock and horror over the classroom killings, but is the right to own guns going to go away?

I don't think so.  As a matter of fact, an over zealous government may actually lead to increasing sales. 

Gun Stocks Are Getting Destroyed (SWHC, RGR)

guns cartel

Like yesterday, the stock markets are up, while gun makers are get slammed.

Smith & Wesson is down 9%.

Sturm Ruger is down 6%.


Read more:

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

#199: Market, Apple Stock, Fiscal Cliff

Friday, December 14, 2012


$$ - Today's events make it difficult to discuss the market. A horrible act of violence has struck once again, and I don't have the words to express my sadness and sorrow. 

I will go on to the market, which is what I try to mostly discuss on this blog.


I'm still bullish. I know we seem to hit a snag, and the Nasdaq and NDX can't escape from the heavy hand of $AAPL. Apple stock continues to fall, and today there's word that sales in China aren't as robust as hoped for. Instead of $1000 targets, we're hearing the bottom is in the $400s. From one extreme to the other! We'll see what happens.


Apple's loss seems to be $GOOG gain. Google is grabbing the positive news headlines in growth land because of surging sales of Android phones and now a #1 hit at the iPhone iTunes App Store with the release of Google Maps. Growth funds and ETFs have to own something, and maybe Google is the prize.


Today I did some reallocation, just to grab some stock losses to offset some of the big gains for the year. But I'm still 100% long with beta. But the beta is getting sucked down with Apple! I also have a heavier weighting in the small caps. Someone once told me that small caps outperform from December to June.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Strong Market Day!

  • A nice day in the market, and even $AAPL was up!
  • SP500 up 5 days in a row!
  • The market was stronger, but then Harry Reid came out and said that there's no progress on Fiscal Cliff stuff.
  • I think the talk of $AAPL stock in its death throes is a bit overdone. Yes, they face challenges, but their products are great and people love them!
  • Michigan approves right-to-work laws, making mandatory union membership a thing of the past. Workers can still join if they want to. Or not. Up to the worker. Nice. Why should anyone be forced to pay union dues?
  • Is the news getting more and more crazy? Maybe there are always bad news stories in the headlines, but now a Portland mall shooter.
  • Now we have a few weeks where the regular TV shows take a break and we get the in-between stuff.
  • For all my worries about fantasy football, I'm in the playoffs in both of my leagues.
  • North Korea has a successful missle test. I'm sure that will bring more peace and stability to the region. Not.
  • Lakers lose on the road to Cleveland, and Coach blows up at reporter as I was watching on Lakers TV. Kobe Bryant scored 42.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Sunday NFL Randomosity

  • $$ - Is the NFL just a vehicle to sell Cialis?
  • The Fiscal Cliff still in the headlines. Will people sell stocks to lock in taxes at 2012 rates instead of risk higher rates in 2013? The $600 billion of automatic tax increases and spending cuts scheduled for the beginning of next year includes higher rates for capital gains, making tax-related selling even more appealing than usual. Yes, I think people will do some tax planning. Why wouldn't they?
  • Bob Brinker asks his guest today (David Wessel), given that around 46% of the US pays no income taxes and there's a call for the 2% (the rich) to pay their "fair share," are the 46% who don't pay income taxes paying their fair share?
  • Seems like there is a lot of angst about $AAPL stock. Is the big run over? Every big stock run eventually ends. I don't know if this is it for Apple, but doesn't it fit the profile of an overloved and overowned stock where people believe nothing can over go wrong? Meanwhile, behind the growth is a change in leadership and competition from Google in the mobile space. Plus, now we have the company changing it's strategy of releasing iProducts yearly to some other schedule of multiple releases per year? Hmm... I don't own it, but I do own the $QQQ and AAPL is heavily weighted...
  • I bought a Jawbone Jambox on Black Friday. For myself, of course - Merry Christmas to me! Anyway, it works great. I have it on listening to Brinker while watching two NFL games on, while blogging. LOL
  • Hmm. 49ers cheerleaders.
  • Seems like we wil get some tax hikes. The Republicans seem to be falling in line for a tax hike. “There is a growing group of folks who are looking at this and realizing we don’t have a lot of cards as it relates to the tax issue before year’s end,” Sen. Corker said. “So a lot of people are putting forth a theory, and I think it has merit, where you go ahead and give the president the rate increase on the top 2 percent, and all of a sudden the shift goes back to entitlements.
  • What I don't hear is any talk about spending cuts. Does anyone think that today's $16.3 trillion deficit won't be $22-25 trillion at the end of Obama's term? And then they'll talk about how they made cuts, when they didn't...
  • Greece and Spain are still in the news. But you have to dig a few pages back to find them. Still a big deal. Just overshadowed by what's going on regarding the fiscal cliff, and UK prank phone calls going bad.
  • South Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin has signed with the Dodgers, who expect him to be part of the rotation next season. Isn't that about $200M total on two pitchers in two days?

Fox Business Block Stock Picks

$$ - What are the Fox Business Block stock picks today? As you know, at the beginning of the year I wrote down their picks for 2012, and we'll track those in a few weeks. What are they picking today?

  • Fox Bulls and Bears stock picks: $MAT, $MOH, $GOOG, $BF-A. Meh. If I had to take one of those, I'd probably pick the Google.
  • Fox Cavuto on Business picks: $LNG, $WAG, $F. Uh, I'd go with Adam's pick, Walgreens. For the long term, of course.
  • Forbes on Fox picks: $MMS, $UTEK. Tech stocks! Well, I think those are some volatile names!
  • Cashin' In picks: $NFLX, $AKAM, $SMFG. Those seem like risky picks to me!
I don't recommend any of these and won't follow up, just interesting. Some of the details of their comments will be at later. I like the shows where they review their best and worst picks. There are both, for sure!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

#198: Thoughts on Apple Stock - $AAPL

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The iPhone 5

Bought my $AAPL iPhone 5 tonight. Even received decent trade-in value for the old Apple iPhone 4. My first impressions are that this thing is speedy compared to the 4. In addition, some of my most resource intensive apps are loading really quickly. I use Cyclemeter for the dog walks and bike rides, and it was painful on the 4, but loads and runs quickly on the iPhone 5. Downcast is a podcast app, and it is also speedy. 

The big news is that I switched from ATT to Verizon. I know it all depends where you are, but right now when I'm in the office ATT data network is almost non-functioning, while Verizon (via my iPad) is great. So I had to make the switch. But ATT worked everywhere else - hopefully, I will get the best of both worlds on $VZ!


I bought a cheap case for the iphone 5. It's too slick, and I think it will slip out of my hand and crash down on the ground in short order. So, I'm looking to upgrade.


More comments in the days and weeks ahead. I know many of you are way ahead of me on this, so I won't get too bogged down blogging about my new iPhone.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Bob Costas

$$ - Next NFL halftime, Bob Costas will speak out on the new Israeli settlements in Gaza...

A Gun Control Halftime Show: Should Bob Costas have Spoken out on Belcher Suicide?

KANSAS CITY (CNN)- There are a few things you can usually expect out of an NFL halftime show. A debate about gun control ... Read more

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Saturday, December 01, 2012

#197: Market Thoughts

The California Fiscal Cliff

$$ - Good Lord, the Democrats have the super-majority in CA and want to be able to raise library taxes.  There's a fiscal cliff at the Federal level, but don't forget that CA is already imposing higher income taxes on the rich, an increased sales tax for everyone, and now want library taxes!

Tax! Tax! Tax!

Senate Democrat wants lower hurdle for library taxes

PK_YOLO LIBRARY 0274.JPGSen. Lois Wolk, a Davis Democrat, said Friday she will write a constitutional amendment making it easier for voters to pass library taxes and bonds.

Wolk's announcement came a day after Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said he will write a measure lowering the vote threshold for school parcel taxes. Democrats won supermajority control of both legislative houses in November's election, enabling them to place constitutional amendments on the ballot without GOP votes.

The latest proposal would lower the threshold for library parcel taxes and bonds from two-thirds down to 55 percent...

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Jim Cramer

$$ - Jim Cramer looks at next week saying it all starts Sunday with Tim Geithner on Meet the Press.

Yeah, right. Geithner. 

Meet the Press. Lolz.

Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Next Week's Game Plan

_Search Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" trading recommendations using our exclusive **"Mad Money" Stock Screener**._ * * * NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Next wee... read more


Fiscal Cliff Pop Quiz!

$$ - Fiscal Cliff pop quiz before the fiscal cliff zombie apocalypse.

Fiscal Cliff Pop Quiz: Fun Facts from the Forthcoming Economic Apocalypse

Filed under: Economy, Money and Politics For months, politicians have railed about the fiscal cliff while pundits across the political spectrum have... read more



$$ - I still think the most likely move is up in this market. We are now at month end and the beginning of December where money is added to retirement plans. 

While the news is dominated with the fiscal cliff chatter, the market seemed rather calm today. Especially when Boehner said that talks really hadn't progressed very far. 

I don't know what's going to happen.  I'd guess that tax rates are going up and that spending will also go up. 

My gut feeling is that the move to the upside is going to hit a wall in 2013.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Market Thoughts

$$ - First, I'm still long the stock market and with beta. I believe the most likely outcome for the rest of the year is UP.

But it's a rocky ride, huh? If you're like me, you're tired of the market volatility due to a press conference from one of our political leaders. First, we're close to a deal. Then, we're nowhere near a deal. Next, they say something is going to be worked out. As the releases hit, the markets turn on a dime.

Is this any way to run a stock market?

It's crazy.

That all being said, it does seem like everyone agrees that there will be tax hikes. The short term consequences on the stock market and economy will be a slowdown. So, my thoughts are that even though we should see somewhat of a year-end run, I think the market gets dicey again in 2013 as tax hikes take money out of people's pockets. Combine that with any spending cuts (hahah, yeah right), and there could be GDP contraction heading our way.

Not. Good. For. Stocks.

But, I'm long right now. I'm thinking "sell in May" (or somewhere near that neighborhood) could be a very good strategy next year. Will have to wait and see...

December Dividends and Cashing out

$$ - Many companies are racing to payout dividends in the 2012 tax year to avoid whatever tax hike comes in 2013.  Investors have also been said to be dumping dividend stocks.  First, investors avoid any increase in dividend tax rates in 2013.  But then they also get the 15% capital gains tax rate of 2012.  Who knows what capital gains taxes will be in 2013?


I've also done some tax planning, but I don't think it is good to base investment decisions on taxes alone.  Making money is always goal number one.

Companies' Last Tax Dodge of 2012: Paying Out December Dividends

Filed under: Investing, Wal-Mart Stores, Taxes, Stocks in the News Ethan Allen was a businessman, a writer, and an American Revolutionary War hero. H... Read more

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XBOX 360 vs. Wii U

$$ - While the XBOX 360 is showing its age (as am I), I don't get the Wii U, either.  I guess I need to try it, if I actually felt like buying YET ANOTHER gaming console-thingy.  Probably not.

Time to realize I don't need to buy every gaming console released.  So many games for the XBOX 360 and PS3 sit unwrapped/unopened.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 Schools Nintendo's Wii U in the Holiday Sales Game

Filed under: Company News, Technology, Microsoft, Nintendo, Shopping Well, the gloating didn't last long. Nintendo's (NTDOY) Reggie Fils-Aime -- t... Read more

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Republican Tax Hike?

$$ - The Republicans seem willing to raise taxes following the Obama win and looming fiscal cliff.  Taxpayers will be facing not just rising federal taxes, tax hikes at the state and local levels, too.

One of the selling reasons for 2012 is to pay taxes at the 15% capital gains tax rate, rather than risk a higher tax rate in 2013 and  beyond.  Especially if some of the holdings are in inefficient investments that pay out dividends and capital gains through out the year.  Maybe we will even see the return of tax efficient investing!

GOP senator: Fair to put raising revenue on table
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican senator said Sunday "it's fair to ask my party to put revenue on the table" as part of the solution to avoid the loomin... Read more

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Stocks up on Black Friday

$$ - Bottom line: Stocks up over 3% this Thanksgiving week. Including a nice half-day 172 point move up in the Dow on Friday!

Are we all a bit concerned that the market has moved up so quickly after being so oversold? Usually, we like to see the market pause a bit and then state a fierce move up on high volume to confirm the up move.

But, it is what it is.  Heck, the market has taken back nearly all that was lost post-election.  

The big news today was Black Friday and the Walmart picketers.  Turns out that the picketers weren't actually the Walmart workers themselves, but union folks!  Yeah, union folks would get a big payday if Walmart workers unionized. Isn't that what it's all about?  I'd hate to see unions destroy Walmart.

Did you do some shopping today? I did some online shopping and got some GREAT deals.  Wooo.

Stocks up on Black Friday

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Effect: More than $240 Billion

$$ - Hurricane Sandy may lead to more than $240B in rebuilding. We heard it said during the hurricane that the hit to the economy would eventually see billions spent to rebuild and repair.

Wow.  $240 billion.

Sandy Seen Boosting U.S. With as Much as $240 Billion Rebuilding
John Cataneo is working his 20 employees overtime and still can't keep up with demand from customers who need plumbing repaired after superstorm Sand... Read more

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Thank you for reading and commenting on the blog, and listening to the audioboos. 

There are many things for all of us to be thankful for. Today is a day to reflect not just on thanks, but prayers and contributions to those who need it. The country has been hit by a hurricane, and companies continue to downsize, lay off workers and reduce work hours. Lets pull together not just for today, but forever.


Enjoy the time spent with family and friends.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkeys and Truces Randomosity

  • $$ - The stock market continued it's weekly advance. Reason du jour? Peace!
  • Jim Cramer says to sell $HPQ and $BBY. Nice timing. LOL. The stocks have already crashed. My opinion is that there is little value in these companies. I don't know if they will turn it around or not. HP seems like they make one bad decision after another. Best Buy seems like a 1990's place.
  • Yeah, peace in the Middle East. Lets face it, peace is better than a ground invastion. But I'm not sure any of the underlying issues have been resolved.
  • Anyway, I remain 100% long and strong with beta. I'm bullish. Black Box is on a buy. The market is in the favorable season. Don't fight the Fed. And my favorite indicator: The Cheesecake Factory and BJ's are packed with customers waiting-waiting-waiting for a very long time for a table.
  • For some reason, the US markets are closed tomorrow.
  • Speaking of, I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Market Thoughts

$$ - Here we are in the normally bullish Thanksgiving week, and the market is delivering. Yesterday, the market rallied strong on hopes for a deal on the fiscal cliff. The President and the Republican Congress will most likely make a deal before the end of the year. 

When the market rallies so strongly, one has to worry if it was a one-day wonder or something more significant. Fortunately, the market did not give back the gains today. It was nice to see a pause. Now, in the days ahead, it would be nice to see a strong day on high volume.


Or so, that's what they say.


I remain 100% long and strong, expecting a rally...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Laid-off Hostess Workers

$$ - 18,000 Hostess workers are about to hit the work force. I'm hoping whoever ends up with the Hostess brand names will end up finding places for the workers.  But I agree that these folks will have a tough time finding jobs with the same kind of salary and benefits going forward.

Love Ding Dongs, FWIW.

Laid-off Hostess workers face tough job market

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Hoping for a Fiscal Cliff Deal

$$ - My thoughts on a fiscal cliff deal? It's going to happen.  There will be tax hikes and promised spending cuts. The fiscal cliff is all over the news and both political parties realize that they can't just ignore it this time.  They will reach a deal.

This means tax hikes on the rich - for sure!

Does it mean tax hikes for anyone else???

Stocks: Hope on fiscal cliff deal

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Back from Las Vegas Randomosity

  • $$ - Back from Las Vegas, where I compounded recent stock market losses with casino losses!
  • The official media reason du jour for the stock market weakness after the re-election of President Obama is the "fiscal cliff."
  • The official right-wing blog reason du jour for the sell off is four more years of Obamacare, regulations, and other Obamacrap.
  • The official left-wing blog reason du jour for the selling is George W. Bush.
  • So this week brings Thanksgiving, and the expectation is that history favors a move up in the market.
  • Technically, it seems as if the market is in some risk of breaking support. Barron's tech column makes the point that we could revisit the Spring lows. Would that be a big shocker?
  • A funny thing happened while we have all been preoccupied with the fiscal cliff, Eurozone problems, and the Justin Bieber - Selena Gomez break up. Hamas and Israel are firing shots at each other, and Israel is massing troops at the border. Just saying.
  • Meanwhile, the whole Benghazi thing seems to be spinning out of control. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday that Obama administration political appointees removed references to al Qaeda-linked groups from intelligence agencies’ accounts of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Somebody is going to be in trouble.
  • Strikes at Walmart heading into Thanksgiving. Strikes and protests aimed at disrupting the retail giant Walmart during next week's Black Friday sales events began on Thursday with walk-outs at a number of stores and the promise of more actions in the lead-up to what is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.
  • More later. Too many overtime games on Red Zone.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday Randomosity

  • $$ - The market had another bad day. After starting out down and reversing up, the market fell into the close. Not a good sign.
  • Here we are in a supposedly bullish period. Thanksgiving is coming up. Christmas is around the corner. We have market seasonality with us.
  • I remain long after the buy signal the Friday before Halloween. Initially, it seemed like a great call after the hurricane Sandy closed the markets and the markets rallied in the days after. Then the election happened. Since then, I've lost just a couple of percent. Nothing hand-wringing. But still. I remain 100% long and in higher beta kinds of things. I do still own some dividend stocks, but not very much. Thinking about rotating out of those into more tax efficient growth things. We shall see.
  • Is all the selling really do to Barack Obama winning another four years?
  • Daily Job Cuts: A website that shows companies laying off employees. On a daily basis!
  • Looks like Paula Broadwell works out at the gym. I saw her on some news show, and her arms looked ripped.
  • Cisco earnings and sales topped street estimates after hours. Maybe that will help things! After the earnings announcement, the company's shares ($CSCO) rose more than 1 percent in trading after the closing bell.
  • I read on Twitter that Doug Kass likes $AAPL. I like Apple products. The iPad and iPhone are great! The stock... eh, everyone's already in right?
  • I do listen to Glenn Beck occasionally on the radio. Regarding today's media, I do agree with him and wonder sometimes if we're getting the whole story. He's at The Blaze.
  • There is a lot of discussion on the war on obesity. Bloomberg cut soda sizes. LA is promoting meatless mondays. I'm a guy who has seen my share of 40-pound gains and 40-pound losses. I don't think the government should start passing regulations, though. Oh, btw, I've been holding at a slim 150 lbs for a few years now. Secret? Carbs! I eat a lot of rice and bean burritos. Not very much meat and no dairy. Maybe a few ounces of chicken a week. And a daily walk with the puppy.
  • On this day in history: 1789 - Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to a friend in which he said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
  • I don't know what's going on at $MSFT, either. Seems to me that they're in trouble. I read over the weekend that the Surface isn't selling that well, even though some of the reviews are coming in okay. I don't know how their latest Microsoft 8 operating system is being accepted, but is there really an urgent need to move to the next product cycle?
  • (Oh, and maybe AAPL is heading in the same direction, too).

Friday, November 09, 2012

#196: Election Thoughts, Stock Crash, and $AAPL

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Election Randomosity

  • $$ - The stock market is down over 2.3%.
  • Reason du jour? President Obama was re-elected! Peter Schiff: "I think what's going to happen in Obama's second term is going to be a currency crisis; a sovereign debt crisis. It's going to be the same thing that is happening in Europe or Greece," he says, "but it's going to be a lot worse."
  • Everyone kept their jobs. Obama gets four more years. Senate is still Dem. House is still GOP.
  • They say taxes will go up. Heck, let the Bush tax cuts expire for everyone. Those 47% who aren't on the tax roles? Put 'em back on!
  • "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." - H. L. Mencken
  • California voters passed a tax hike, and gave the Democrats a super majority in the Assembly and Legislature, so that they can hike taxes whenever they want.
  • So my thoughts are that the debt explodes higher, unemployment and GDP woes continue to be problematic. The reason the Republicans may not ever win another national election is because of the growth in low income demographics and the shrinkage of higher-income demographics.
  • Okay, enough about politics. Back to the normal blogging stuff. Just wanted to vent.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Election Eve Thoughts

$$ - Election Eve! Market did something today. Anyone paying attention? Anyway - Go Romney! That's my prediction.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Election Thoughts Randomosity

  • $$ - There is an election Tuesday. Here are my thoughts.
  • Historically, the market performs better under Democratic Presidents, but it also does well under Republican Presidents.
  • Most likely, no matter the Presidential race outcome, there will be gridlock in Washington.
  • I think the biggest issues are Obamacare and the Fiscal Cliff. I suppose we could throw in the EPA. Both sides have different approaches to those things. But with gridlock, expect little more than the status quo.
  • The polls are all over the place, and all based on turnout of Democrats vs. Republicans, and giving some sort of weighting to the Independent vote.
  • Tonight, a D+11 poll has the race tied. No way the turn out is D+11, though. Going from memory, that was a 40% Democrat, 29% Republican and 30% Independent turn out. Nope. Won't be anywhere near that. I'm expecting the (D) and (R) numbers to be very close to each other, and the (I) vote to break for Romney close to double digits.
  • So, I think Romney wins.
  • But... Lets be honest. There has been a huge demographic change since the days of Reagan, in that more and more people depend on government programs and entitlements. It is getting tougher and tougher for the GOP to win national or state-wide elections. Romney was blasted for his 47% comment, but maybe that number is closer to 50% or greater. There are many folks who want and need a government that provides stuff for them. That favors the Democratic Party.
  • So would I be shocked if Obama wins? No. I just think it's unlikely due to Republican enthusiasm and Obama's track record for the last four years. 2008 was a combination of Bush fatigue and enthusiasm for Obama, in addition to a weak GOP candidate in McCain. Now the GOP has its strongest candidate since Ronald Reagan. Many people have Obama fatigue, and feel like he focussed too much on health care and not enough on the economy.
  • No matter who you support, life will go on.
  • If Obama wins, we may end up changing our investment strategy. Maybe we ditch dividend stocks and go back to tax efficient investing. Who wants to pay that new dividend tax rate plus the Obamacare tax on top?
  • If Romney wins, maybe we get out of stocks if the government really does cut back on stimulus.
  • Anyway... Futures were slightly positive when I checked.
  • The Redskins Indicator: Romney will win.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Big Rally Thursday Randomosity

  • $$ - Last Friday was the buy signal heard round the world. After two days of a closed market and a meandering Halloween, the market surged today on better than expected economic data. Or was it?
  • Seems to me that the market was pushing everything up today no matter what. Even in the after hours earnings today, it seemed that even mediocre news was causing stocks to lift.
  • Anyway, it is also the beginning of the month and the beginning of the "favorable season" for stocks, November through April.
  • My thoughts on the market? I'm bullish, long and with beta. My best guess is that we see strength from now until the end of the year. Not in a straight line, of course. Maybe. But probably not. I'll keep an eye on the Black Box, but leaning to staying long and being patient.
  • Last I looked, Linked In beat and was up 8% after hours. That's a stock I never thought would make it. I never go there. I did at first, but then everyone said to go to Facebook. LOL.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers are 0-2 and on their way to an 0-82 record and the first pick in the 2013 NBA draft. Convince me otherwise! Okay, they started out 0-2 last year, too. But wow - turnover city, even though the big three (Bryant, Howard, Gasol) had big scoring nights.
  • In Asia, Apple rolls out iPad mini to shorter lines. It will be interesting to see what happens here tomorrow. I don't think this is a must have item. I may go check out the larger iPad, but don't think I will get it (and trade in the March 2012 version).
  • Curt Schilling accused of fraud in Rhode Island over his software company, 38 Studios. Wow.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

$FB - Facebook dips on staff sell-off

$FB - Facebook: Shares falling as folks are allowed to sell restricted shares. Over 225 million shares are eligible to be dumped, right? Will the temptation be to get out while the gettin' is good? If I owned the stock, I'd be worried that the thing will be in the single digits down the road.

But maybe that's just me!

** Facebook dips on staff sell-off **
Facebook shares fall 3.8% on the day employees became eligible to start selling restricted shares in the social networking giant.
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Halloween Randomosity

  • $$ - The stock market was opened with generators today.
  • On the seasonal front, we're at the end of October and tomorrow is the first of November. We should see seasonal strength here not just from the monthly paycheck money coming in, but the end of the unfavorable Sell in May period and to the favorable market from November through April.
  • Other than Hurricane Sandy and the various election polls forecasting various outcomes, I think the big news this week was $DIS - Disney, getting Star Wars (Lucas films). Yes, there will be more Star Wars movies. Maybe this is an apology for John Carter?
  • Ichan pounces on $NFLX - Netflix. You know, there is a lot of competition there these days.
  • As I type, Asian shares falling. Reason du jour is that while China's PMI has improved, it hasn't improved enough to convince folks that the slowdown is over/bottomed.
  • $FB - Facebook, is going to have a tough time moving up. In addition to all the shares that were locked up being unlocked, investor Jim Breyer is dumping $81M worth.
  • Not that many trick or treaters here as the hour goes past 8pm. And it just started raining. Where did all the kids go? And the last few were teens! Must be over for this year.
  • Futures down last I checked. Weigh that against seasonality!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday Randomosity

  • $$ - The stock market closed again! Last I saw, futures were down. I'm watching the hurricane news and pictures, too. This stuff draws our focus away from things like stocks, Libya, the economy...
  • So, after the mess and economic impact from Hurricane Sandy, big move up for stocks on the clean up and reconstruction efforts?
  • Apple fires a couple of guys. One guy for the Apple Maps fiasco. The maps app works for me mostly. But I put in directions for a Korean restaurant a few miles away, and the app took me 3 miles in the wrong direction on the freeway, had me exit to a side street and then go in the reverse direction until I arrived at the restaurant. So, it got me there the long way.
  • Buy signal on the black box last week, so I'm long and high beta. Didn't feel right at the time, doesn't look right now. But it is what it is. Long.
  • Is Romney up in the polls? Is Obama up in the polls? Who knows! Depending on the surveys. We're seeing D+7 polls showing Obama with small leads. We're seeing R+2 polls showing Romney with large leads. I think this favors Romney, but we won't know until we know who shows up! I think Republicans show up and are more excited in 2012 than in 2008. So the D+ number is going to be smaller. But don't underestimate the number of people who want entitlements!
  • Giants win World Series. I hate the Giants (as a Dodgers fan). But I usually cheer for the National League against the American League. Pretty difficult for me to do this year. So... hmm. Small cheer for the NL. A sweep, too.
  • NBA starts tonight. I forgot to set my weekly fantasy basketball line up. 2012 starting off like 2011 for me. OOOPS.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spain anti-austerity protests draw thousands

$$ - Oh yeah, Spain, too...

Spain anti-austerity protests draw thousands
MADRID (AP) — Several thousand people marched to Spain's parliament in an anti-austerity protest Saturday, but were held back from surrounding the bui... Read more

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Germany: No to new Greek debt haircut

$$ - This one time, in European band camp, a country named Greece spent too much money.  So this Euro stuff is still happening, even if the headlines are all politics right now.  Looks like the current events are much the same as they've been the last few years over there.  

Germany: No to new Greek debt haircut
BERLIN (AP) — Germany's finance minister has dismissed the idea of governments and other public creditors taking a hit on their Greek debt holdings, a... Read more

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$AAPL - Thoughts on Apple Stock Randomosity

  • $AAPL - Thoughts on Apple stock...
  • The stock has corrected quite a bit since hitting $705. There are bears and bulls telling us where the stock goes next. On the one hand, the stock is undervalued at 11x earnings and consumers love the Apple ecosphere. On the other hand, Apple has had a long run and faces the issues many other stocks have had after long runs. The stock is over-loved, over-owned, and the need for consumers to constantly upgrade to the latest hardware is diminishing .
  • By the way, I don't own any Apple stock. But I do own the QQQ, which is about 110% Apple stock from what I read. (Okay, maybe not that much but you know it's way too large of a percentage. Add in Amazon and Google, and the Nasdaq 100 is more like the "Nasdaq 3 + 97 other ones")
  • Heading into earnings this past week, I was thinking about buying some shares. After all, it was heading down into earnings, and I've made money before by going the opposite way the stock is moving ahead of the conference call. This time, I decided not to. It turned out not to matter, as the stock has basically been flat since the conference call. Not the 5-10% move I was expecting!
  • After the earnings announcement, the stock was halted initially. Thats usually not good news. But the stock didn't do anything.
  • Anecdotally, a lot of my android phone coworkers have jumped on the iPhone 5 bandwagon in recent weeks because of the (finally!) upgrades to LTE network and a bigger screen. While some of the Android phones still have better tech specs, at least the iPhone is now in the modern age with the faster wireless speed. Plus, they wanted the Apple iTunes ecosphere with the music, apps, etc.
  • That being said, you wonder about the future upgrade cycle for both the iPad and iPhone. After all, how many more megapixels on the camera do you need? It seems like this may be a problem for all mobile device manufacturers going forward. The mobile devices are providing enough technology to meet the needs of consumers. It's like the PC business. Do you need to buy a PC every other year or is the one you bought a few years ago still hanging in there? So we see what is happening to $DELL and $HPQ stocks, right?
  • Apple said the reason is that they're having trouble meeting demand for the new iPhone 5. Here in Sacramento, I haven't heard of any issues getting a new iPhone.
  • On Apple's earnings call, executives attributed the guidance estimates to a shorter December quarter and a stronger U.S. dollar.
  • Another issue with Apple is that the product release cycle stretches out over a year. Nothing new will be announced for awhile. So the initial excitement over new products lasts a few months, then folks just wait for the next release. Why upgrade if you know the next product is going to be announced in a few months?
  • There is also a lot of competition from Android phones. There are some high quality Androids available. But I think with the latest iPhone 5 upgrades, maybe there is more reason to stay with or go to Apple.
  • I have the March 2012 "new" iPad. So it's a little sad that a November 2012 "new" iPad is being released. I was thinking about trading mine in and upgrading, but I don't think spending the extra money on top of the trade-in value is worth it.
  • Now, all that being said, I'm upgrading my iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5 in a couple of weeks. I want the LTE speed and the bigger screen. I'm also leaving ATT for Verizon. ATT is a bit spotty in Sacramento and barely works at my office, where Verizon is full bars on phone and data.