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Krugman: “The Question Is Whether Our Economy Is Governed By Any Kind Of Rule Of Law”

Krugman: "The Question Is Whether Our Economy Is Governed By Any Kind Of Rule Of Law"

rule of lawCourtesy of Washington’s Blog 

Paul Krugman writes:

The mortgage mess is making nonsense of claims that we have effective contract enforcement — in fact, the question is whether our economy is governed by any kind of rule of law.

***

True to form, the Obama administration’s response has been to oppose any action that might upset the banks, like a temporary moratorium on foreclosures while some of the issues are resolved. Instead, it is asking the banks, very nicely, to behave better and clean up their act. I mean, that’s worked so well in the past, right?

The response from the right is, however, even worse …. conservative commentators like those at The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page have come out dismissing the lack of proper documents as a triviality. In effect, they’re saying that if a bank says it owns your house, we should just take its word. To me, this evokes the days when noblemen felt free to take whatever they wanted, knowing that peasants had no standing in the courts. But then, I suspect that some people regard those as the good old days.

I’m happy that someone as prominent as Krugman is weighing in on the side of the rule of law.

I’ve been hammering on that topic for years:

Pic credit: Jesse’s Americain Cafe 


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Insider Selling Outpaces Buying By Over 290-To-1 In Past Week

Insider Selling Outpaces Buying By Over 290-To-1 In Past Week

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

According to Bloomberg, for the week ended September 17, corporate insiders bought $1.4MM in shares in a whopping 7 different companies. This was just marginally offset by sales of $441MM in 98 different companies, a ratio of 290 to 1 of stock notional sold to bought. But wait: this is GREAT NEWS: last week the ratio was 650 to 1! So this is a huge improvement and certainly yet another reason for today’s rally, even though last week total notional sold was $332 million, or just under 25% lower, and sellers came in well lower at "just" 72. But who needs details when you have the Fed… Certainly not retail, which has now pulled money out of domestic stock funds for 19 straight weeks. So for those wondering just who is orchestrating today’s move higher, please let us know if you find out.


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Chief Economists are for PR

Another bad review for the Blinder and Zandi article – wrong and not only that, the economic models are a total waste of time. (For more about Eric Falkenstein and his experience with IP litigation, read our interview from last September,  The Limits of Intellectual Property.) – Ilene 

Chief Economists are for PR

Courtesy of Eric Falkenstein at Falkenblog 

Ezra Klein has a post promoting Blinder and Zandi’s model that shows massive good effects from more government deficit spending. As the model is a 1970′s vintage approach, an approach that attracted the nations best minds for decades, and was abandoned because they don’t work better than rather simple alternatives (eg, a vector autoregression of GDP, Fed Funds, and the Baa-Aaa spread). 

I found this amusing because it highlights that journalists grab whatever science supports their ends. The details are not important, you have a professor with lots of publications, he has a complicated scientific argument, it makes you an objective, rational journalist. He even quotes Narayana Kocherlakota saying macro models work, not realizing the Kocherlakota was actually talking about a very different class of models than the one Blinder and Zandi use, and forgetting that of course a macroeconomist would say macro theory works.

At one point, Klein reaches for this argument for believing in their results:

It’s also worth noting that the private sector relies extensively on these models, and it would be odd for them to give Moody’s all that money if they thought there was no predictive value.

Presumably, he infers that as Zandi works for Moody’s, his results are somehow used by Moody’s. They are, but not in the way he thinks. I used to work at Moody’s. Moody’s does not make money off their macro economic opinions, they make money issuing ratings on debt, something they are paid well for. The macro view is alluded to in any analyst opinion, but even within Moody’s it’s not like the analysts think their economist knows better than others. CNBC and the outlets need someone to comment on macroeconomic topics, so having a full time economist discuss these things makes sense. Yet, remember, economists can’t predict business cycles, or explain why Mexico is poor, while the US is rich. Sure, people have theories, but there’s no consensus, highlighting that macroeconomists don’t understand the big issues on their plate. 

I worked directly for Chief Economists at two major…
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JIM GRANT SAYS THE FED KNOWS NOTHING

JIM GRANT SAYS THE FED KNOWS NOTHING

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Oh the ironies!  The man who believes the U.S. has a Greek problem also believes the Fed has no idea what it’s doing….At least he gets part of the argument right.  Unfortunately, the “brightest” and most respected minds in this country have just about no clue how things work in the real world.  Is it any surprise that the economy is a total mess when everyone listens to these “experts”?

Source: Bloomberg TV 


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Which Way Wednesday – Topping or Popping?

Wheee, what a ride! 

We only had one trade idea for Members all day Monday and that was the DIA $103 calls for .52 from the 9:46 Alert.  It is extremely rare that we only have one trade in a day but there really wasn’t anything for us to do as we had been BUYBUYBUYing all last week so there was nothing to do but watch.  The calls finished yesterday at $1.12 for a nice 115% gain in 24 hours but we took the money and ran at 10:04 on a spike up to $1.25 because it’s too close to expirations to mess around.  They actually topped out at $1.55 near the close but - better safe than sorry.  Anyway, we replaced them with IWM calls later in the day and those doubled up and we were out at the close – again, it just doesn’t pay to be greedy

It’s fun to day trade options on expiration weeks because the premiums go way down and we get fantastic leverage.  Our longer-term trades turned mixed for the first time in 2 weeks (we had been 100% bullish) and we went from one to a dozen trade ideas a day as we used DXD for an overall hedge and took bullish positions on AAPL (2), GOOG (2), INTC, T, TZA (which is really a bearish position) and bearish positions on DIA (2) and MA.  Of course ALL of our bullish plays were hedged already so the mix was a real indication of how exhausted the rally was starting to look. 

Too much, too fast was the watchword for Tuesday as we were already up 5% for the week so we expected a gap fill back to the open (didn’t come yet) before we get serious about taking out our levels (Dow 10,290, S&P 1,102, Nas 2,257, NYSE 6,930 and RUT 651).  We expected good news from INTC (we did a bullish ratio spread aimed at $22) and now we’ll see if it’s good enough to get the Nas up to 2,257 but it was the NYSE that worried us yesterday as they were close but no cigar at our 6,930 target.   

Gap filling would be nice and normal and would take us back to test Dow 10,200, S&P 1,075, Nas 2,200, NYSE 6,800 and Russell 620.  If we can show a little support there and consolidate for the next run, we’ll be in pretty good shape to continue this run but FIRST we have to test them WITHOUT everyone freaking out and…
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Prechter on Yahoo! Finance: “Even $1 Trillion Can’t Save the Euro, But Gold is No Safe Haven”

Here’s Robert Prechter’s (of Elliott Wave International) latest video.

Prechter on Yahoo! Finance: "Even $1 Trillion Can’t Save the Euro, But Gold is No Safe Haven"

The euro’s recent loss has been the dollar’s gain, which means that it’s not the best time to buy the U.S. dollar. Meanwhile, the most popular alternative to currencies, gold, isn’t such a good buy either. Watch the second excerpt from Robert Prechter’s May 20 interview with Yahoo! Finance Tech Ticker host Aaron Task to hear what Prechter thinks is in store for the U.S. currency and gold.

For more information from Robert Prechter, download a FREE 10-page issue of the Elliott Wave Theorist. It challenges current recovery hype with hard facts, independent analysis, and insightful charts. You’ll find out why the worst is NOT over and what you can do to safeguard your financial future. Hurry! This free offer expires June 7.

****

And in case you missed Robert Prechter’s previous Yahoo video (I did), here it is:

"On Schedule for a Very, Very Long Bear Market"

Robert Prechter discussed the recent global sell-off that has sent all major U.S. averages 10% below their 2010 highs with Yahoo! Finance Tech Ticker host Aaron Task on May 20, 2010. Prechter says that the current climate shows that "we’re in a wave of recognition" where the fundamentals are catching up to the technicals and that it’s time to prepare for a "long way down."


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Taibbi On Goldman: Part Deux

Taibbi On Goldman: Part Deux

Matt Taibbi Courtesy of Tyler Durden

The man who started it all, by boldly going where nobody else dared go before (with a few exceptions) and to singlehandedly rewrite the financial dictionary by introducing the concept of the bloodthirsty mollusc, by throwing out Goldman where it belongs, i.e, front and center, writes his follow-up narrative. What can we say: the man was right, to the chagrin of his numerous critics, and what’s worse (or better), may have started an avalanche, which with the prodding of Senators like Ted Kaufman, could well destroy the Too Big To Fail concept once and for all. Now if only someone in the political blogosphere would do to Congress what Taibbi did to mainstream Wall Street, there actually may be hope for America yet.

Taibbi writes:

Just under a year ago, when we published "The Great American Bubble Machine" [RS 1082/1083], accusing Goldman of betting against its clients at the end of the housing boom, virtually the entire smugtocracy of sneering Wall Street cognoscenti scoffed at the notion that the Street’s leading investment bank could be guilty of such a thing. Attracting particular derision were the comments of one of my sources, a prominent hedge-fund chief, who said that when Goldman shorted the subprime-mortgage market at the same time it was selling subprime-backed products to its customers, the bait-and-switch maneuver constituted "the heart of securities fraud."

CNBC’s house blowhard, Charlie Gasparino, laughed at the "securities fraud" line, saying, "Try proving that one." The Atlantic’s online Randian cyber-shill, Megan McArdle, said Rolling Stone had "absurdly" accused Goldman of committing a crime, arguing that "Goldman’s customers for CDOs are not little grannies who think a bond coupon is what you use to buy denture glue." Former Wall Street Journal reporter Heidi Moore hilariously pointed out that Goldman wasn’t the only one betting against the housing market, citing the short-selling success of – you guessed it – John Paulson as evidence that Goldman shouldn’t be singled out.

The truth is that what Goldman is alleged to have done in this SEC case is even worse than what all these assholes laughed at us for talking about last year.

Did we mention Matt has a way with words? And he goes on:

Prior to the "Bubble Machine" piece, I had heard rumors that Goldman had gone out and


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Market Snapshot + Bear Flag Chart Pattern

Courtesy of Market Tamer 

Market Snapshot

ECONOMIC REPORTS

MONDAY 2/1 Personal Income, Personal Spending, Construction Spending, ISM Index

TUESDAY 2/2 Pending Home Sales, Auto Sales, Truck Sales

WEDNESDAY 2/3 Challenger Job Cuts, ADP Employment Change, ISM Services, Crude Inventories 

THURSDAY 2/4 Initial Claims, Continuing Claims, Productivity-Prel, Unit Labor Costs-Preliminary, Factory orders 

FRIDAY 2/5 Nonfarm Payrolls, Unemployment Rate, Average Workweek, Hourly Earnings, Consumer Credit

EARNINGS OF NOTE

MONDAY 2/1 ACV, APC, GCI, HUM, MNKD, PCL, SOHU, TUP

TUESDAY 2/2 AFL, ADM, CTRP, CMI, DHI, FISV, JDSU, MTW, MAN, MRO, MEE, MET, MYGN, NETL, PBG, SU, DOW, HSY, UPS, UNM, GRA, WHR

WEDNESDAY 2/3  AKAM, AMP, BDK, BRCM, CBG, CSCO, CMCSA, EFX, HMC, INSP, IP, MWW, NOV, NVLS, PFE, RL, BCO, TWX, V, WLT, YUM

THURSDAY 2/4  BEBE, BKC, CME, CI, DB, DO, GSK, HIT, K, MA, MCO, NOC, PENN, PBI, SLE, SNE, HOT, SUN, TM, UIS

FRIDAY 2/5 AET, AON, BZH, PC, TSN, WY


Stock Market Insights: The Cash Flow Statement

 

Cash is king!  Liquidity in the form of cash tells us that the company can meet its obligations.  The Cash Flow Statement is the third and last statement that we will touch upon.  The statement is filed quarterly and year over year in concert with the Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet.  The Cash Flow Statement is a measure of incoming and outgoing cash from its business operations for a specific point in time.  The statement further defines the cash flow of the company that is indicated on the Balance Sheet.  There are two methods of accounting that are used 1) accrual and 2) cash.  Most companies use the accrual method which accounts for goods delivered as sales regardless of whether they have been paid for or not.  The outstanding balance is shown on the Profit and Loss Statement under accounts receivable.

 

The Cash Flow statement typically divides the accounting for cash into
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Virginia Borrows $1.26 billion To Pay Unemployment Benefits; Detroit Loses $400 Million on $800 Million of Bonds; Detroit’s Easy Solution

Virginia Borrows $1.26 billion To Pay Unemployment Benefits; Detroit Loses $400 Million on $800 Million of Bonds; Detroit’s Easy Solution

Courtesy of Mish

French mime artist Marcel Marceau's items auctioned at Drouot in Paris

Virginia is robbing Peter to pay Paul because it is plain flat out broke. Bankrupt is probably a better word. To pay unemployment benefits, Virginia will borrow $1.26 billion and pay it back plus interest by jacking up unemployment taxes.

Please consider Va. to borrow $1.26 billion for depleted unemployment funds.

As Virginia wrestles with ways to replenish its depleted fund for unemployment benefits, Hampton Roads employers expressed concern about the impact that higher unemployment taxes could have on the health of their businesses.

The sorts of tax increases described by the Virginia Employment Commission earlier this fall may be difficult for some small businesses to absorb without job cuts, said Jim Shirley, owner of Bennett’s Creek Farm Market in Suffolk.

The state’s average unemployment tax per employee will jump from $95 this year to $171 in 2010 and to $263 by 2012, the VEC said in a Sept. 29 presentation to the Commission on Unemployment Compensation.

For small retailers, the financial pressure from weak sales and higher unemployment taxes could be intense, Miller said. "You’ve got to have someone in the store, and if you’re down to one person in the store, you can’t cut any more."

In addition to boosting unemployment taxes on employers, Virginia will have to borrow more than $1.26 billion from the federal government in coming years to continue paying jobless benefits, the VEC said in its forecast.

That’s because the deficit in its unemployment-benefits fund will hit $194 million by the end of this year and balloon to $561 million by the end of 2010, the VEC said.

Two dozen states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, New York and Texas, have already borrowed about $21 billion from the federal government to pay jobless benefits, according to the Labor Department.

One problem with borrowing to pay jobless benefits, the VEC noted, is that interest payments on this debt cannot come from the unemployment trust fund or from federal money. The interest payments on its $1.26 billion of projected borrowing are likely to total $36.7 million and come from general state funds, the VEC said in its September report.

Yet Another Reason To Not Hire

Borrowing money while jacking up…
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FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH

Jim believes the worst is yet to come and paints a very frightening picture, like nothing most of us have ever seen. – Ilene

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH 

Courtesy of Jim Quinn at The Burning Platform

 
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
 
                               Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth 
 

Stephen Stills wrote the song For What It’s Worth in 1967. It was composed three years into the Second Turning, the Consciousness Revolution. The song has come to symbolize the turbulence, mistrust, rage, paranoia, anti-war spirit, and the anti-establishment mood of the 1960’s. An Awakening era has many parallels to a Crisis era at the outset. A traumatic event or events triggers the mood alteration in the country which sets the next twenty years in motion. In 1929 the stock market crash triggered a 17 year Crisis. In 1963, the assassination of John F. Kennedy triggered a 20 year Awakening. In 2005, the housing collapse has triggered the next American Crisis which we are living through today.

 
 
 
“All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.” 
                                                                                            George Orwell
 
We are currently at the same stage of this Crisis as we were in the Awakening when Stephen Stills wrote this deeply poignant song. An Awakening begins in an uproar of fury, passion, anger, and civil disobedience. The fury subsides during an Awakening as the passion flames out. The last Awakening period reached a crescendo in 1974 with the resignation of Richard Nixon and the country lapsed into disillusionment and lethargy as the 1970’s petered out. A Crisis begins similarly with a trigger that causes pain and suffering, but instead of fury subsiding, the Crisis intensifies, violence erupts, war breaks out and danger becomes extreme. The current Crisis is about to detonate upon the unwary twittering Americans while they are mesmerized watching Dancing with the Stars and Housewives of New Jersey on their 52 inch HDTVs in surround


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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!

 
 

Zero Hedge

Oil Tops $83, Gold Over $1255 As Commodities Spike Higher & Riyal Slides To 2009 Lows

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

It is unclear what the catalyst is - aside from the bounce back from The FT's rejection of Reuters rumor-spreading about ECB corporate bond buying but instead of the usual morning smackdown, precious metals are spiking higher. Gold hit $1255 - its highest in over 5 weeks). Oil is also spiking higher, WTI just broke above $83 (so much for that consumer tax cut?)

 

 

And oil is spiking too...

&nbs...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Sharp selloff in stocks sets up long-awaiting buying opportunity

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Last week brought even more stock market weakness and volatility as the selloff became self-perpetuating, with nobody mid-day on Wednesday wanting to be the last guy left holding equities. Hedge funds and other weak holders exacerbated the situation. But the extreme volatility and panic selling finally led some bulls (along with many corporate insiders) to summon a little backbone and buy into weakness, and the market finished the week on a high note, with continued momentum likely into the first part of this week.

Despite concerns about global economic growth and a persistent lack of inflation, especially given all the global quantitative easing, fundamentals for U.S. stocks still look good, and I believe this overdue correction ultimately will shape up to be a great buying opportunity -- i.e., th...



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Phil's Favorites

Schedule Note

Courtesy of Lee Adler of the Wall Street Examiner

The cycle screening data update will be posted Tuesday morning. I have just finished producing today’s new Radio Free Wall Street  program. It will be available shortly. Thanks for your patience!

...

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Chart School

Weekly Gasoline Price Update: Down Another Nine Cents

Courtesy of Doug Short.

It's time again for my weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Rounded to the penny Regular dropped another nine cents and Premium eight cents. Regular is now at its lowest price since January 2011.

According to GasBuddy.com, only one state (Hawaii) has Regular above $4.00 per gallon. The highest continental average price is in California at 3.49. Missouri has the cheapest Regular at $2.76.

How far are we from the interim high prices of 2011 and the all-time highs of 2008? Here's a visual answer.

...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of October 20th, 2014

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Insider Scoop

UPDATE: Bank Of America Reiterates On ITT Educational Services As Shares Surge But Risks Remain

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related ESI Urban Outfitters Drops On Q4 Profit Warning; Mead Johnson Nutrition Shares Spike Higher ITT Educational Services Shares Soar On Preliminary Results

In a report published Monday, Bank of America analyst Sara Gubins reiterated an Underperform rating on ITT Educational Services, Inc. (NYSE: ESI), and raised the price target from $7.00 to $8.00.

In the report, Bank of America noted, “ESI shares rall...



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Market Shadows

Falling Energy Prices: Sober Look takes a Sober Look

Falling Energy Prices: Sober Look takes a Sober Look

What do falling energy prices mean for the US consumer? Sober Look writes a brief yet thorough overview of the consequences of the correction in the price of crude oil. There are good aspects, particularly for the consumer, bad aspects, and out-right ugly possibilities. For more on this subject, read James Hamilton's How will Saudi Arabia respond to lower oil prices?  In previous eras, Saudi Arabia would tighten the supply to help increase prices, but in this "game of chicken," the rules m...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly. Just sign in with your PSW user name and password. (Or take a free trial.)

#457319216 / gettyimages.com

 

...

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Option Review

Release Of Fed Minutes, Icahn Tweet Boost Shares In Apple

Shares in Apple (Ticker: AAPL) are near their highs of the session in the final hour of trading on Wednesday, adding to the muted gains seen earlier in the day, following the release of the September FOMC meeting minutes and after activist investor and Apple shareholder Carl Icahn tweeted, “Tmrw we’ll be sending an open letter to @tim_cook. Believe it will be interesting.” Icahn’s tweet hit the ether at 2:33 pm ET and was met with a spike in volume in Apple shares. The stock is currently up 2.0% on the day at $100.75 as of 3:15 pm ET.

Chart – Apple rally accelerate...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Has Been Getting Obliterated

Joe has found a place for Bitcoins, and if you hold a lot of them, you won't like it.

Bitcoin Has Been Getting Obliterated

Courtesy of 

Remember Bitcoin?

There's not much to say about it, except that it's doing TERRIBLY.

Here's a chart going back to earlier this summer. Charts don't get uglier than this.

Bitcoinwisdom

Interestingly, the Bitcoin industry continues to be quite excited about the prospects for the digital currency, and there continue to be announcements about expand...



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Promotions

Last Chance! See The 'Google-Like' Trading Algorithm 'Live' TODAY

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Pharmboy

Biotechs & Bubbles

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely.  From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.

First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices.  Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment.  Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer.  For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...



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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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