by phil - July 23rd, 2014 8:09 am
As I pointed out in our Member Chat Room this morning, there is a Bloomberg article this morning on the CPI report that says:
The cost of living in the U.S. rose at a slower pace in June and home sales climbed to an eight-month high, showing the economy is generating little price pressure as growth accelerates.
But growth is NOT accelerating, is it? We JUST had a GDP report that showed exactly the opposite, yet here we have a noted MSM publication simply ignoring that FACT:
How do people read these things and just accept them? How do authors write them? How do editors OK them? Not even the commenters seem to catch it – it's like the whole World just accepts the BS of the moment.
This is what Orwell predicted it would be like in a future where the media became electronic and the past was instantly forgotten by a population that was unable to think for itself.
It took them 30 more years than planned, but here we are!
"And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.' And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. 'Reality control', they called it: in Newspeak, 'doublethink'.
"The past, he reflected, had not merely been altered, it had been actually destroyed. For how could you establish even
by phil - March 13th, 2012 7:52 am
For once I have to agree with Fox (and thanks to D Virginia for the link):
With gas at $3.87 and over $4 in California, New York and Illinois, Fox news says other journalists don't check "the substance of the accusations against the President," the media needs to "look at certain claims and promises to see what the facts are behind them." And what are the facts that Fox News presents us with?
- Cal Thomas: "No President has the power to increase or to lower gas prices – Those are market forces."
- Neil Cavuto: "China and India are slopping up oil faster than we can these days and THAT is the not so sinister response to what's going on."
- Cheryl Casone: "At this point, it really is tough for this President, I have to be honest with you, because he really does not have any control over what's going to happen with the markets and with the economy and with oil prices and with supply and demand and gasoline – it really is out of this President's hands."
- Bill O'Reilly: "Yesterday oil hit a record high and politicians can't do anything about it."
- Joe D'Agostino (VP of NYMEX on O'Reilly): "The only thing we can do is start to use less energy."
- Bill O'Reilly: "If every American who owns an automobile or an air conditioner says "I'm going to use 10% less" – the prices then would fall… Politicians can't do this."
- News team: "Get rid of gas guzzlers, buy decent insulation for your house and tell your local, elected officials to get on the stick and do some more mass transit/infrastructure spending because those kinds of fixes that can really help Americans."
- News team: "Drilling an ANWR would reduce the price of oil by about 40 cents a barrel (1 penny per gallon) or maybe as much at $1.40 per barrel (3.3 cents per gallon)." "If we drilled in ANWR we would get 4% of our daily consumption in oil." "It would take 20 years for saving from ANWR drilling to be realized."
- O'Reilly: "So the next time you hear a politician say he or she will bring down oil prices, UNDERSTANT IT'S COMPLETE BS! If Americans want lower gas prices, cut back – that's what the candidates SHOULD be saying. Sell those SUV's, ride a bike when
by phil - December 19th, 2011 7:36 am
Oh, hello Mr. Seoul,
I dropped by
to pick up a reasonStick around while the clown
who is sickdoes the trick of disaster
Asia was in turmoil last night as news of the death of Kim Jong Il hit the wires. South Korea’s Kospi Index fell 3.4%, both the Shanghai and Hang Seng fell more than 2% at their opens but, along with the Nikkei, they all finished strong and down about 1.25%. My comment on the matter to Members at 11:29 last night was:
Meanwhile, Dear Leader has died and that shot the Dollar back to 81 and knocked the futures down half a point. Asia is down more like 2% as no one is please with Jr. taking over in South Korea. I always find that amusing when leaders who are hated die and the markets react negatively – as if the next guy could be worse. Markets just hate uncertainty but China is in charge of N. Korea – I doubt Kim’s son is going to suddenly declare war or whatever it is people are worried about. He’s just 27 and probably not suicidal
If anything (but I’m going to bed), I’d take oil long off the $93 line (/CL), which is where we liked them Friday. Gold already zoomed back to $1,600 and has been rejected there and the Dollar doesn’t look that strong above 81 so far.
So far, my logic is holding up as things have already calmed down and oil topped out at $94.50 at 5:30, for a nice $1,500 per contract gain in less than 6 hours. I find it easier to trade futures off news like that than they are to play during the US Market hours as the moves internationally, still seem to make a little sense while the moves in the US market are often pure nonsense.
Speaking of nonsense, David Fry agrees with me on Treasury rates as we are now falling below what you can get in an FDIC-insured deposit, which I consider the non-panic limit for rates. Unfortunately, we do get plenty of panic at a drop of the hat these days and TLT shorts were our big loser last week but we stuck with them for January, hoping things calm down…
by phil - November 22nd, 2011 7:43 am
Long live the Debt! In case you are voting in the next election – here are 12 people to get rid of. Much as I may blame one party over another for this failure, they all deserve what's coming to them for A) Pretending they were going to accomplish something and B) For not now getting up and making very strong statements denouncing the corruption in politics that make it impossible for Congress to do the Nation's business anymore.
In case you happen to be a Fox News viewer, I will try to keep this VERY simple because, as it turns out, we now have definitive studies that prove Fox News MAKES YOU STUPID. Of course, it is possible that only stupid people watch Fox News but I know many people who think they are smart and watch Fox News so I have to blame Fox News here as do researchers at Farleigh Dickenson University who found "The results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don’t watch any news at all." As I can tell you from raising my own children to be good citizens:
The biggest aid to answering correctly is The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which leads to a 6-point decrease in identifying the protesters as Republicans, and a 12-point increase in the likelihood of giving the correct answer. "Jon Stewart has not spent a lot of time on some of these issues," said Cassino. "But the results show that when he does talk about something, his viewers pick up a lot more information than they would from other news sources."
Watching Fox News, by the way, led to an 18-point disadvantage (out of 53% of all respondents) in being able to answer questions like "Were Egyptians successful in overthrowing Hosni Mubarak" or "Has the Syrian uprising been successful" but that was a Fox viewer's area of expertise compared to having a clue of what is going on in American politics other than "Obama sucks." Tied with Daily show viewers for best informed were NPR supporters but, sadly, only…
by phil - October 21st, 2011 7:29 am
A statement was issued by Merkel and Sarkozy yesterday.
As translated by the Financial Times, it read:
The President and German Chancellor spoke today by telephone to prepare the European dates in the coming days.
The President and the Chancellor have agreed to provide a comprehensive and ambitious global response to the current crisis in the euro area.
This response will include the following:
- The operational implementation of new forms of intervention EFSF.
- A plan to strengthen the capital of European banks.
- The implementation of the economic governance of the euro area and the strengthening of economic integration.
For a lasting solution to the situation in Greece, the Greek authorities will have to make ambitious commitments to address the situation of their economies as part of a new program. Based on the report of the troika and the analysis of debt sustainability Greece, France and Germany call for immediately undertake negotiations with the private sector to reach an agreement for strengthening sustainability.
The President and the Chancellor will meet Saturday night in Brussels ahead of the European Council summit in the euro area on Sunday. France and Germany have agreed that all elements of this ambitious and comprehensive response will be discussed in depth at the summit on Sunday in order to be finally adopted by the Heads of State and Government at a second meeting no later than Wednesday.”
As I said to our Members in Chat (we went bullish on the news, of course) – could they possibly be more clear in their statement? Well, apparently they should have been because the interpretation of this statement, as headlined in the WSJ, was as follows:
Disagreement between Germany and France over virtually every point in a plan to resolve the euro-zone debt crisis forced Merkel and Sarkozy to concede that a summit of EU leaders Sunday won’t produce an agreement.
And that’s what moved the markets yesterday. Fortunately, we have learned to ignore almost everything printed in the Wall Street Journal or any other Murdoch-owned publication and, of course, it goes without saying that if any news is being broadcast on Fox, there’s probably another side to the story that is true.
by phil - July 19th, 2011 8:29 am
NWS is down 20% of late.
Today we hear from the Murdoch family, owners of the venerated Wall Street Journal as well as Dow Jones, Inc., who will be explaining how their company allegedly broke the rules, lied, threatened and/or bribed almost everyone, engaged in cover-ups, slandered anyone who got in their way and callously ruined the lives of innocent people – all in the name of profits. Already Sean Hoare, the reporter who blew the whistle on Murdoch has been found dead inside his London apartment. "The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing," said a police statement.
Would that be the same British Police Department that’s had two high-level resignations over accepting bribes from Murdoch’s organization? The Daily Mirror newspaper quoted an unnamed friend as saying Hoare "thought that someone was going to come and get him, but I didn’t know whether to believe half the stuff he was saying." In other words, Hoare was poor and intimidated by NWS (he was refusing to testify against them) while the Murdochs are rich so every possible benefit of the doubt is being given to them just like Rebecca Nalepa was found with her hands and feet bound with a rope around he neck hung off a balcony in a San Diego mansion and the police there are thinking "suicide."
As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said: "The rich are different than you and me – they have more money." As Bill Domhoff pointed out this weekend, when we talk about the rich, we don’t mean the top 1% – people who "only" make $1.6M a year or more. Sure those of us in that group may have a "get out of jail free" card for when we speed and we may get our buildings approved quicker than most and we may get a local ordinance passed here or there but, when you move up to the top 0.1% ($36M or higher per year income) or the top 0.01% ($450M or higher annual income), where Mr. Murdoch lives – not only do you get both national and international laws rewritten to suit your needs (like taking over 100% of the UKs satellite broadcasts), but the other laws don’t even apply to you.
by phil - December 21st, 2010 8:24 am
I figured out how to get bullish!
Just read the Wall Street Journal. On the front page we have "Nuclear Pact Adds Backers" above the fold along with a fluff piece on the weather in Europe. There are 3 other featured articles on the front page of the World's most widely-read financial paper and one is a fluff piece on the Jimmy Stewart museum, one is on the obscure concept of betting people are going to die (very fun and interesting but "The World's biggest financial paper"?) and the last is on the SEC looking into Mark Hurd's exit from HP. On the left is "What's News" with about 30 summaries of articles in the paper so one would think you could look this over and have a really good idea of what's going on in the World.
I see that "Spain said its regional governments are on track to meet their budget targets" and Dow component Boeing (who fell off yesterday) announced a "$1 Billion commercial satellite deal with the Mexican Government" and Blackstone is starting a $15Bn fund and TD is buying Chrysler Financial for $6.3Bn and (and this is a real XMas gift to Wall Street) "A Senate deal to fund the federal government until early March doesn't include money to enact the health-care overhaul or stepped up regulation of Wall Street" and also that North Korea held their fire during a South Korean artillery drill. Wow! All seems right with the World, doesn't it?
If I just read the WSJ, I find no reason to be bearish at all. Certainly there is no mention of Spanish Bond Yields rising 37% in a month to 5.5% at today's $4Bn bond auction. There is no mention of China's Vice Chairman of National Development saying that China "needs to prepare for a long- term fight against inflation" or that oil imports into China are expected to fall off next year as their economy cools down. You would think the fact that BAC, JPM and four other lenders facing a suspension of foreclosure activity under court order in New Jersey would be a news story or perhaps some mention of the 29-year high in sugar prices would be of interest to investors along with the limit-up trading in cotton to record…
by phil - October 29th, 2010 8:29 am
Is bad news going to be good news?
Last quarter, after several adjustments, it has been decided that our GDP grew at a 1.7% rate. The general consensus is that this quarter we should be up around 2% but the whisper number is a big miss, down to 1.3%. Slower GDP growth will be GOOD for the stock market as it gives Ben and Tim the excuse they need to crank up the printing presses for some real Zimbabwe-style inflation.
It’s easy to pay off $15Tn in fixed rate 2-year to 30-year notes when your country is cranking out $1Tn bank notes, right? Can this really be the path our nation is following? The markets are certainly betting on it but we have been betting against it with longs on UUP at $22.50 (still there) and a short play on the QID weekly $13 calls at .46 yesterday along with other bearish trade ideas we’ve entered ahead of the GDP as well as the elections and next week’s Fed meeting.
Why can’t we just give up and go with the flow? Well, first of all, you can read my last few weeks of posts or you can read our last few Newsletters so I won’t rehash the great global macros here but I will make the point that (and this may shock you) we are not alone in the World and the things we do, or try to do in our economy, affect the economies of other nations. Perhaps when the US was 40% of Global GDP, we could have gotten away with it but now we are 20% and falling fast yet we still attempt to run our foreign and economic policies as if we are large and in charge.
This is not the way the rest of the World sees us anymore. To the rest of the World we are unrealistic children with dangerous spending habits who happen to owe them A LOT of money. We borrowed $15Tn and our "plan" is to pay them back with hyperinflated dollars that are already discounted 33% from where we began cranking up the borrowing in 2002 (to pay for wars and tax cuts).
by phil - August 31st, 2010 7:32 am
Fear is the mind killer,
Fear is the little death
That brings total Oblivion
I will permit my fear to pass
Over me and through me
And where it has gone
I will turn the inner eye
Nothing will be there
Only I will remain."
That is the Bene Gesserit incantation for bravery from Frank Herbert’s "Dune," one of my favorite books. When the markets turn nasty on us it is time to get analytical, not emotional and we need to let our fear pass over us as we step back and evaluate the situation with fresh eyes, and a calm mind.
Above is a chart of our major indexes and their year-to-date performance. As we tested our -5% lines last week, we added a fresh round of Disaster Hedges, a series of trade ideas that can make 500% or more if the market falls further and in an afternoon Alert to Members yesterday, we added another SDS hedge with a 400% upside. Having some high-reward hedges in your virtual portfolio allows you to set aside just 2% to protect your entire virtual portfolio against a 10% drop in the markets. 10% is A LOT for the markets to fall and, of course, now that they have brakes on the market, we can always add more hedges along the way down. Should the market fall "just" 5%, we STILL make 10% on our hedges and that nets our virtual portfolio (in this example) UP 5% on a 5% drop in the market. If our bullish plays were also hedged with covers – then so much the better!
Most importantly, having a balanced virtual portfolio with hedges allows you to play the market WITHOUT FEAR. Warren Buffett famously advises investors to "Be greedy when others are fearful" and our own PSW Rule #1 is "Always sell into the initial excitement," which doesn’t mean always buy but we look for opportunities to sell fear (naked puts) on a dip, the same way we sell our own positions into spikes up that we consider overdone.
by phil - December 31st, 2009 8:28 am
"Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving Hell with them as usual." ~ Mark Twain
"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce
I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers a very happy New Year. 2009 was challenging to say the least – clearly it was the best of times and it was the worst of times but if 2009 has taught us anything it's that there is always an opportunity for the perseverent. We went from the depths of despair in March straight into a 9-month rally of epic proportions. While we may question the wisdom of the underlying fundamentals, we cannot question the evidence of just how resilient our economy and our people really are and that, if nothing else, gives me great hope for our future.
I myself have gone from being the lone market optimist back in March (see our Crisis, Year One Review) to being one of the 11% of the remaining pessimists as the market takes back over 50% of it's losses (I am arguing that it's less than 50% in my Last Charts of the Decade). Whether we are, as I think, at the apex of a very normal Fibonacci retracement or whether we are at the mid stage of a full recovery back to our 2007 glory remains to be seen but for now, I can re-use the same statement I made to Members when I argued the media was too bearish in March (click on image for great video):
"Television is a powerful and emotional medium, it is very difficult to go against the will of ALL these "experts" when they get on TV and all tell you to sell (or buy) and then their TV station backs them up with bearish news and bearish guests – it’s a natural bias that develops, they aren’t going to make their own paid personalities look foolish by contradicting them with facts and dissenting opinions."