I haven’t thought the 75%+ rally was particularly irrational over the course of the last 12 months. Surprised by the strength? Absolutely. But irrational, no. As of late, we’ve begun to see signs that the consumer is back, but the equity action implies that the consumer is not only back, but ready to break records. In late 2006 I wrote a letter that said:
“So here we sit with a relatively healthy economy, signs of inflation and record housing prices. Sounds pretty good, right? Not so fast. The markets could certainly move higher if housing doesn’t collapse, but we see very few scenarios in which that can happen. When the housing market slows consumers will spend less and businesses will begin to suffer. The US economy will then fall into a recession and European and Asian countries will quickly follow suit as the world’s greatest consumers wilt under the environment of low liquidity and higher debt….The credit driven housing bubble remains the greatest risk to the equity markets at this time.”
The day before the market bottom in March 2009 I said government intervention would likely generate an equity rally. But I did not come close to predicting that we were on the precipice of a 75% 12 month move. Not even close. On the other hand, I have never thought the move was particularly irrational and didn’t fight the tape through 2009.
I was very constructive on the market heading into 2010 and maintained that stimulus, strong earnings and an accommodative Fed would result in higher stock prices in H1. I point this out not because I am trying to toot my own horn or gloss over my many imperfections (many can be emphasized), but overall I have been able to not only foresee the macro mechanics driving the market, but have also done a fine job translating that into…
U.S. business bankruptcies rose 38 percent last year, to a record since bankruptcy laws were changed in 2005, according to a bankruptcy data firm on Tuesday.
There were 89,402 bankruptcy filings by businesses last year, compared with 64,584 the previous year, according to data compiled from court filings by Automated Access to Court Electronic Records, which is part of Jupiter eSources LLC in Oklahoma City.
Personal bankruptcies jumped to 1,357,565 last year, from 1,031,562 the year before.
The data included bankruptcy codes Chapter 7, 11 and others. Consumers often use Chapter 7 to get a new start on their financial lives. Chapter 13 lets people discharge some debts. Businesses typically use Chapter 7 to relieve themselves of debt and Chapter 11 to restructure debt and operations.
The numbers have been "steadily up," said AACER President Mike Bickford. "I don’t think (2010) will be less than 2009. I think what’s going to tell the tale for 2010 is the first quarter."
An important measure of future home sales fell far more sharply in November than economists had expected. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) index on pending home sales—contracts agreed upon but not finalized—dropped by 16 percent in November, more than three times what economists interviewed by the Dow Jones Newswires had anticipated.
The pending home sales index registered declines in every region: 26 percent in the Northeast and Midwest, 15 percent in the South, and 3 percent in the West.
The NAR report follows the release last week of a Case-Schiller report showing home prices were flat in October, in spite of the surge in purchases based on the home buyer tax credit and exceptionally low mortgage interest rates. This was not enough, a Tuesday New York Times editorial points out, “to overcome the drag created by a glut of 3.2 million new and existing unsold single-family homes—about a seven-month supply.”
“The situation, we fear, will only get worse in months to come,” the Times writes, citing increasing mortgage rates, the eventual ending of the home buyer tax, and
Two quick ways to dump debt are to walk away from no recourse mortgage loans and file for chapter 7 bankruptcy.
The debt slave act of 2005, better known as the bankruptcy reform act of 2005 was supposed to prevent the latter but it is no surprise in this corner that it didn’t. In fact, the law encouraged banks (and was purposely written to allow banks) to make high-risk loans thinking they could make debt slaves out of people forever.
It is fitting the law backfired. As ye sow so shall ye reap.
The number of Americans filing for personal bankruptcy rose by nearly a third in 2009, a surge largely driven by foreclosures and job losses.
And more people are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which liquidates assets to pay off some debts and absolves the filers of others. That is significant because a 2005 overhaul of federal bankruptcy laws aimed to encourage Chapter 13 filings, which force consumers to sign onto debt-repayment plans in exchange for keeping certain assets.
Overall, personal bankruptcy filings hit 1.41 million last year, up 32% from 2008, according to the National Bankruptcy Research Center, which compiles and analyzes bankruptcy data. It is the highest level of consumer-bankruptcy filings since 2005. Consumers rushed to file in 2005 before the new bankruptcy laws took effect in October of that year.
Chapter 7 filings were up more than 42% as of November 2009, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the research center. November is the most recent month with analyzed data available. Chapter 13 filings rose by 12% and made up less than a third of 2009 filings as of November.
"I can’t see over the top of the files on my desk," said Cathleen Moran, a bankruptcy attorney at Moran Law Group in Mountain View, Calif., likening it to the rush of clients before the revised law went into effect. In a three-month period before those rules changed in 2005, her firm filed five times as many cases as usual.
Ms. Moran’s clients in 2008 typically were people who earned between $40,000 and $80,000. That
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said commercial real estate woes won’t set off a new banking crisis, in remarks to the Economic Club of Chicago.
“I don’t think so,” Geithner said, when asked whether commercial real estate could set off another banking meltdown. “That’s a problem the economy can manage through even though it’s going to be still exceptionally difficult.”
The global economy has accelerated since the worst of the recession and banking crisis last year, Geithner said, noting a U.S. Commerce Department report today showing the economy expanded 3.5 percent in the third quarter.
“You can say now with confidence that the financial system is stable, the economy is stabilized,” Geithner said. “You can see the first signs of growth here and around the world.”
Is he serious? All you have to do is spend about 15 minutes reading through just a few of the reports that were published recently and it quickly becomes apparent that a tsunami of red ink is forming in the sector, ready to come crashing down on the whole of the banking sector — as well as the economy — in the immediate period ahead:
Unrealistic assumptions, layers of investors, sky-high prices, and possible fraud will make it hard to clean up the mess in commercial real estate
When Goldman Sachs (GS) sold complex bonds backed by the Arizona Grand Resort and other commercial properties in 2006, it suggested the returns would be strong. The 164-acre luxury Arizona Grand, set against the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix, boasted an award-winning golf course, deluxe spa, and several swank restaurants. The on-site water park was named one of the best in the country by the Travel Channel. With the resort’s new owners planning to refurbish hotel rooms and common areas, Goldman told investors that the renovations would help boost cash flow.
As was so often the case during the real estate boom, the lofty projections didn’t pan out. When the economy softened and business travel
In trying to assess the trajectory of the US economy, one is struck by the recent divergence between the manufacturing and the services sectors. Manufacturing in the United States has picked up steam recently in spite of some weather-related headwinds (see chart). The service sector on the other hand took a turn for the worse, which is negatively impacting the labor markets in this service-oriented economy (see story). A couple of key indicators point to slower non-manufacturing activity:
OvaScienceSM (NASDAQ: OVAS), a life sciences company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of female fertility treatments, today announced the issuance of two United States patents covering its AUGMENTSM fertility treatment. AUGMENT is based on the Company's egg precursor cell (EggPCSM) technology and is being developed to improve egg quality and the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF). AUGMENT will be available in international IVF clinics this year.
“The new patents strengthen and extend the protection for AUGMENT in support of our efforts to offer a potential new fertility treatment option to women and families,” said Michelle Dipp, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of OvaScience. “We continue to aggressively pursue additional pate...
Before the market opened, the weekly unemployment report came in better than expected, although the reporting of new claims has skewed in both directions by weather (e.g., my home state). The S&P 500 rallied at the open and hit its morning high 30 minutes later -- one that it would beat by a tenth of a point during the noon hour, up 0.43%. The index traded lower in the afternoon and closed with a trimmed gain of 0.17%, but that's another record high.
Tomorrow's employment report for February will be closely watched by market participants, but the pattern of late has to write off weak economic news as weather-related and celebrate goo...
The Global X Social Media Index ETF (Ticker: SOCL) touched fresh record highs on Thursday morning, surprising no one given the top three holdings of the Fund are Hong Kong-based Tencent Holdings (12.678%), Facebook Inc. (12.506%) and LinkedIn Corp. (8.166%), which are up 130%, 160% and 22%, respectively, since this time last year. The SOCL reflects the performance of companies involved in the social media industry, including companies that provide social networking, file sharing and other web-based media applications. Shares in the ETF rose 1.3% today to a new high of $23.00, and have soared approximately 65% since this time last year.
Today brought three better than expected economic releases from Construction Spending, ISM Manufacturing, and Personal Income. The ISM figure was quite unexpected and Personal Income was well above expectations. If we ignore for a moment that the Final GDP reading for Q4 was lowered on Friday (which may or may not have been primarily caused by severe weather), we have had a week of better than expected economic numbers. Corporate earnings have also continued to exceed forecasts, albeit with a bit more cautious guidance.
Of course, none of that matters when the “war drums” start beating. Russia and the Ukraine are engaged in a serious game of “chicken” with a bear in the hen house. The Russian ruble has borne the brunt of the damage so far with a double digit drop today again...
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Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.
And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014? The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.
As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...
Welcome to the fouth update of the IRA Virtual Portfolio. First I am going to summarize the current state of the Portfolio then I will get into all the activity we had during September expiration.
Profit and Loss – Net of closed positions the portfolio is up a total of $769
Market Commentary – Last expiration I said, "I would like to put a total of $20,000 to work by the end of SEP expiration. If the VIX pops up to around 20 I plan to put about $50,000 total to work." The market didn't quite reach the goal but I did manage to deploy $15,000 of buying power. I still feel the market is too high and expect a correction during October. If the vix pops up to around 20 I still plan to put about $50,000 to work. If a correction doesn't happen I still plan to have a total of $25,000 in buying power put to work by October expiration. Now on to the act...
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