A nice way to stay in touch with loved ones, and a convenient way to share my opinions without having everyone just walk away...wait a minute, where are you going? I wasn't finished..

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This one seemed simpler

While shaking one fist at the sky about yesterday's "merger and aquisition rally" which took back my CAR gains, I patted myself on the back with the other hand because I checked volumes reports last night and saw that it wasn't really a strong rally in spite of the gains. Maybe the bad consumer (lack of) confidence report this morning will spark downward movement.

I saw an article today about treasury manipulation of the gold price. It was lengthy and a little tedious, and since we discussed this ad nauseum acouple of years ago, I decided not to copy or link it...but it's still out there, and in some analysts' minds represent a cataclysmic event waiting to happen. Yawn.

Instead, I'm copying this funner article which touches on my incredulity at the strength of certain retailer's stock prices.

There are 215 Starbucks within 5 Miles of my Office
By Barry Ritholtz - September 29th, 2009, 9:30AM

Over at kottke.org, jason started a thread about the maximum Starbucks density and Starbucks center of gravity of Manhattan.

It seemed that 165 was the maximum # of SBUX found within 5 miles of your location.

On a lark, I punched in my street address — 535 5th — and BOOM! We have a new winner — there are 215 Starbucks within 5 Miles of my office.

PS Darden Restaurants releases earnings report today. I'll be interested to see.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another Day

Somehow the Knights of Columbus at the West Dundee parish got their hooks into our friend, Louie and appointed him treasurer. He's had a busy month, selling corned beef sandwiches at Irish fest at St Catherines, then selling roasted ears of corn at Dundee's tradition fest. This weekend it was Tootsie roll sales. Louie's been calling members to line up volunteers, making sandwiches, nursing the corn roasting machine through a long weekend, and hitting the street with boxes of vintage tootsie rolls. I called him last night and he was happy to report a very successful day which concluded at the toll booth with a captive market of homeward bound commuters. Standing there in the rain, he said, he had the sympathy thing working for him. What a guy.

He's the kind of small businessman that we've relied on in the past to keep plugging away with enery, inventiveness, and courage fed by desperation to begin to turn the economy around when things were most dire. I hope Louie and guys like him can do it again. But with banks continuing to cut credit to small businesses these fellows are growing more discouraged.

The news in general, and the financial news in particular has been "optimistic" about our economy. It invokes the mood of survivors in a lifeboat pulling away from the sinking Titanic, with people floundering in the freezing water all around, and hearing the orchestra still playing on the ship's deck.

As I've said before, my greatest disappointment in Obama has been that he's left the Goldman Sach cabal members in hight positions at the Fed and Treasury. I guess in preinauguration briefings they levelled with him about now bad things really are, and persuaded him that to avoid a cataclysmic melt-down he should leave the banking system in their expert hands and give them trillions of dollars to try to cover their losses and generate some market profits which would reestablish confidence in the banking system - hopefully for a period sufficient to allow other stimulative measure to begin to generates some positive results. Anyone who has had their confidence in the banking system restored in the last six months hasn't been doing any banking. On a happier note, the big Jamokes are still getting their seven figure bonuses

I wonder what they told him about UFO's.

I bought a CAR (Avis) put the other day, and the stock dropped about 6% the next day. ISLE is down a lttle bit each day. I said earlier in the week that the index (DJIA,S&P) charts dont appear to be alarming, but a lot of stocks are dropping after approaching the high end of their trading ranges, so I'll try to make few bucks short term, while waiting to see if the market keeps falling.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Still retiscent

So I'll just post an article providing some stock market perspective, nothing too sensational here. Interesting, though, the writer's reference to the possibility the fed will slow down it's purchasing of mortgage backed securities. (ie giving banks tens of billions for garbage) The Fed hinted today those purchases will be curtailed in the next quarter, and the market dropped 81 points and may drop further tomorrow.

Market TalkHome About RSS Feeds The Pinocchio Recovery
Posted by Paul Vigna on September 22, 2009
Autos, Dow Jones Industrials, Economy, Federal Reserve, Markets, Stimulus, Washington

Is it me?

I just can’t help but feel that there’s something the stock market’s missing about the economy. It’s a feeling I had back in 2007 as well. The market was marching giddily higher, right into October, and the whole time, I’m thinking to myself, there’s something wrong here. You didn’t need to know about derivatives, securitized debt, CDOs, CDS or mortgage fraud. Home prices had doubled in five years, wages were flat. It was the very picture of an asset bubble.

Now, I see a recovery that looks like Pinocchio: it wants to be a real little boy, but it’s really just a wooden toy that moves only when somebody pulls its strings. But everywhere, we hear people talking up the recovery as if the economy is sprinting into a new bull market.

Listen, I’m no PhD. I’m willing to entertain the idea that I could be wrong. There are a lot of smart people who probably think I’m wrong. Of course, there were a lot of people much smarter than me who were wrong in 2007.

But I keep seeing all those strings pulling the economy, and wonder if and when they can be cut.

For one thing, the stimulus programs that have come out of the federal government and Federal Reserve have underwritten the recovery. These include cash-for-clunkers, the first-time home-buyer tax credit, the Fed’s facilities for buying Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities, as well as its move to lower its federal funds rate to essentially zero.

Cash-for-clunkers provided a spike to auto sales, but the program has already expired, and the auto sales are already falling back to the levels from before the program. If the rest of the stimulus programs have a similar temporary effect, the economy may be stuck in its current state for some time.

Then there’s inventory replenishment. This is one of the biggest props of the recovery theory. Companies have been slashing inventory levels, and the notion is that once they begin restocking the shelves, it will provide a big boost to activity.

Through August, at least, this process had not started. Inventories were still falling, the Census Bureau reported. If September doesn’t exhibit some rebuilding, this plank will start popping some serious holes. For one thing, now is the time when companies start stocking up for the holiday season, which apparently lasts longer than actual seasons like winter (indeed, K-Mart and Target are already selling Christmas merchandise.) So we should already be seeing some inventory building. Shouldn’t we?

I can see this rally running through October, because the Fed is still underwriting the stock market, through the bond-buying programs, and money managers are still chasing returns, and likely will through their October fiscal years end. The Fed will still be buying MBS through year-end, but winding it down.

Washington’s hope is that the stimulus will eventually give way to a natural momentum that will pull the economy out of recession (and no matter what the President or Fed Chairman or anybody says, right now at least, we are officially still in a recession.)

But if that momentum doesn’t build on its own, if those props disappear, and at the same time holiday sales come in weak, well, that could spell trouble. Another thing to keep an eye on, of course, will be corporate profits. They should start looking better given easy comparisons to last year, but the market is building in a lot of upside there.

But maybe it’s just me.

(Images: Andre Koehne, wikipedia commons)

Tags: Autos, Bull Market, Earnings, Economy, Federal Reserve, Paul Vigna, Pinocchio, Recession, Retail Sales, Stimulus

Monday, September 21, 2009

A moment of levity

One of the highlights of the MSU game was Golden Tate's band dive after catching a pass in the end zone.

Just a quick note...

Janett made a collage set to music capturing many nice moments from Jason and Dee's wedding last weekend. Our trip to Vegas was a lot of fun, and Janett is going to be throwing a lot of change into the Hinkley and Schmitt bottle in the hope of a return visit next year. In case anyone visits here but doesn't know Janett's blog site, here's a link.

As for me, I know I'm unusually quiet these days. I'm a little busy, and not feeling passive or disinterested. I think I'm quiet because there's big things going on, and I'm not driving events so much as participating. Being a participant is a little different from my whistlin' gypsy rover persona. More thoughtful and (I hope) supportive than over the top.

ND's football program is an enigma now. Good offense, but still uncertain on defense. I do think the Big 11 refs were unfair in their calls, but that's pretty much to be expected.

The market persists higher. Charts of the S&P and DJIA dont look like they're topping. I had to rollover my ISLE option, losing a hundred dollars closing out the Sept option and opening an Oct one.

Jose and I are getting along and making progress, Janett's contributing a lot to the venture. In fact she's so busy now with all that's going on, we're both wondering when she's going to get a down day to regroup. Saturday night, after a fun day with Steffie and the boys in Dundee, we had a quiet moment on the porch and shared the feeling that we're very fortunate.

I think I'll click on my playlist and chill for a bit.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Monday, September 07, 2009

I'm no fun

Been sick a week. Head and chest congestion. Occasional running nose or coughing.
One would hope coughing would clear the lungs, but it doesn't seem to work. Worst I feel fatigued a lot. Even mental activity, like working with Janett on how to enter a new clients transactions in Quickbooks wears me out quickly.

I am happy with ND's win, and am looking forward to our Vegas adventure this weekend.
I'll be the prototypical Irish fan searching out a TV at the reception to catch a glimpse of the game. Hmmm, maybe not. Given the time difference, the game should be on early afternoon vs a late afternoon wedding. Folks may be hanging out poolside early, and I could probably slip away now and again. We'll see.

I can't emote much or form strong opinions at this time. Just wanted to be in touch. See you later.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

As the saying goes,

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. But here's my magic elixir.

Here's fhe first few paragraphs of a good write up on the game Saturday. Click here for the rest.

Irish, Weis Seek Validation
posted by Mike Coffey
by John Vannie

Notre Dame opens the 2009 football season at home on Saturday with renewed hope for both the program’s reputation and the security of its head coach. The Irish struggled to a 10-15 record in the past two seasons as Charlie Weis attempted to rebuild the program with a solid base of underclassmen. This year, the team and its fans expect to reap the rewards of this endeavor. The overall roster is generally more athletic, many key players have gained valuable experience, and the schedule appears to be quite favorable.

The opposition this week will be provided by the Nevada Wolfpack, who have never played Notre Dame. Chris Ault’s team boasts a potent offense that was ranked in the nation’s top five last year and returns most of its starters, except at wide receiver. The defense is far less formidable, but Nevada hopes that the patience afforded last year’s young players will lead to improvement this season.
Weis barely managed to survive last November’s collapse and must start fast this month in order to keep the smoldering chair in his office from a spontaneous combustion. The Irish boast a wealth of talent at the skill positions and an experienced offensive line. The latter unit has been much maligned over the past two seasons for inconsistent performances and passive play, but enters this campaign injury-free and absent any plausible excuse.

Defensively, the back seven is stocked with speed, skill and numbers. Competition at each linebacker and secondary position has yielded a formidable two-deep that has not been evident in South Bend in more than a decade. The primary concern is an inexperienced group of linemen, but this can be mitigated if sufficient members of a promising sophomore contingent meet or exceed expectations. Nevada is the first of several teams that will test Notre Dame’s ability to stop the run, and the degree to which the Irish are successful will be a key factor in their overall season results.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I have a cold

and I feel like slouching around all day in a bathrobe, and not even making my hair lay down, or shaving. And going to the ice box and eating leftovers, one spoonful per visit, and channel surfing between stations for real crime shows while checking ESPN for college football news.

Just writing this has made me realize how unpleasant I must be to live with. Janett would be right to be very annoyed, and disappointed in me. OK I'm going to go clean up and get dressed.