Archive for April, 2009

Scientists see this flu strain as relatively mild

Flu Watch Update – current genetic and other indications are suggesting the swine flu virus is typically contagious, but on the mild side in virulence.  - Ilene

Scientists see this flu strain as relatively mild

By Karen Kaplan and Alan Zarembo, LA Times 

As the World Health Organization raised its infectious disease alert level Wednesday and health officials confirmed the first death linked to swine flu inside U.S. borders, scientists studying the virus are coming to the consensus that this hybrid strain of influenza — at least in its current form — isn’t shaping up to be as fatal as the strains that caused some previous pandemics….

Flu viruses are known to be notoriously unpredictable, and this strain could mutate at any point — becoming either more benign or dangerously severe. But mounting preliminary evidence from genetics labs, epidemiology models and simple mathematics suggests that the worst-case scenarios are likely to be avoided in the current outbreak.

"This virus doesn’t have anywhere near the capacity to kill like the 1918 virus," which claimed an estimated 50 million victims worldwide, said Richard Webby, a leading influenza virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn….

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health published genetic sequence data Monday morning of flu samples isolated from patients in California and Texas, and thousands of scientists immediately began downloading the information. Comparisons to known killers — such as the 1918 strain and the highly lethal H5N1 avian virus — have since provided welcome news.

"There are certain characteristics, molecular signatures, which this virus lacks," said Peter Palese, a microbiologist and influenza expert at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. In particular, the swine flu lacks an amino acid that appears to increase the number of virus particles in the lungs and make the disease more deadly….

The swine virus does appear able to spread easily among humans, which persuaded the WHO to boost its influenza pandemic alert level to phase 5, indicating that a worldwide outbreak of infection is very likely. And the CDC reported on its website that "a pattern of more severe illness associated with the virus may be emerging in the United States."…

But certainly nothing that would dwarf a typical flu

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DOW 10,000!

Courtesy of Henry Blodget at ClusterStock

DOW 10,000!

cramer-bullhorns-tbi.jpgCelebrating the DOW’s best monthly percentage gain since 2002, CNBC has begun banging the DOW 10,000 drum.  Specifically, the network is asking guests whether they think we’ll be there by the end of summer.

In classic fashion, the prototypical CNBC guest these days is no longer talking about a "bottoming process." (That was three weeks ago.)  Now, seven weeks into a rip-roaring bull market, the guests are talking about… the new bull market.

We’re still skeptical.  We’re certainly grooving on those "green shoots," and we hope that the worst recession since the Great Depression is on its last legs.  We’re also glad we didn’t panic and throw in the towel at DOW 6500 when the Wall Street Journal ran that DOW 5000 cover story (which put in the bottom, by the way.) 

But we’re still not persuaded that stocks won’t suddenly head for the cellar again, especially as people realize that we still have a humongous bad debt problem on their hands.  Also, stocks are now almost back to fair value (see Robert Shiller’s chart below).


So if you’re banging the drum about stocks soaring from here, you’re arguing that they’re going to charge right back to being significantly overvalued again.

At today’s levels, stocks are priced to return about 9%-10% a year over the next decade.  That’s a much better return than they’ve been priced to return at any time in the past 15 years (other than 7 weeks ago).  But we’d feel more comfortable about betting the farm if/when they’re priced to return, say, 17% a year, as they have been at the bottom of other major bear markets.  That would be a single digit P/E…

See Also:

Economy: Don’t Look Now, But Worst Is Over


Chrysler Chapter 11 Case Assigned To Judge Arthur Gonzalez

More on Chrysler’s impending bankruptcty, courtesy of Tyler Durden. – Ilene

Chrysler Chapter 11 Case Assigned To Judge Arthur Gonzalez

Update 2: Top unsecured creditors include:
  • Ohio Module Manufacturing – $70.3 million
  • BBDO Detroit -$58.1 million
  • Johnson Controls – $50.3 million
  • Continental Automotive – $47 million
  • Cummins Engine – $43.9 million
  • Germersheim Spare Parts – $36.2 million

Update 1: Chrysler says will produce Plan of Reorganization by August 28. Uhm, my math is rusty but that is a little longer than 60 days.

Developing Story. Gonzalez previously worked on Enron and WorldCom (here is a list of the judge’s opinions)

Corinne Ball of Jones Day will legally represent the company in bankruptcy.

Some more updates as I try to track down Chrysler’s bankruptcy case # in SNY (reader input welcome).

- Treasury to get 8% of equity in new Chrysler
- VEBA to get 55% of equity
- Daimler agrees to give up 19% equity in Chrysler
- Cerberus forfeits equity in the company and will waive its share of Chrysler’s 2nd lien
- In February Chrysler told U.S. it had $51.4 billion in assets

Here is the administration’s just issued statement on Chrysler:

Also conference call to be held to discuss the filing:

On Thursday, April 30 at 2 p.m. (EDT), Bob Nardelli, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chrysler LLC and Chrysler Office of the Chairman Members will hold a media conference call to address the state of the company in response to President Barack Obama’s news conference.


USA Toll Free Number: 888-677-1046

International Toll Number: +1-773-756-0415


See also Senior Chrysler Creditors Revolt by John Carney in the favorites section – Ilene


Senior Chrysler Creditors Revolt

John Carney at ClusterStock reprints a statement by a group of Chrylser’s senior creditors complaining they have no voice in negotiations due to being shut out: "in its earnest effort to ensure the survival of Chrysler and the well being of the company’s employees, the government has risked overturning the rule of law and practices that have governed our world-leading bankruptcy code for decades."  Anyone surprised? For more on the Chrysler bankruptcy, see the Zero Hedge section. – Ilene

Senior Chrysler Creditors Revolt

Courtesy of John Carney at ClusterStock

As Maria Bartiromo just reported on CNBC, a group of senior Chrylser’s lenders made up of firms that didn’t take TARP funds have issued a statement saying that they have been shut out of direct contact with the government during the negotiations.

Instead, they have been forced to negotiate through JP Morgan, which they view as having a conflict of interest.

Here’s the statement:

As of last night’s deadline, we were part of a group of approximately 20 relatively small organizations; we represent many of the country’s teachers unions, major pension and retirement plans and school endowments who have invested through us in senior secured loans to Chrysler. Combined, these loans total about $1 billion. None of us have taken a dime in TARP money.

As much as anyone, we want to see Chrysler emerge from its current situation as a viable American company, and we are committed to doing what we can to help. Indeed, we have made significant concessions toward this end – although we have been systematically precluded from engaging in direct discussions or negotiations with the government; instead, we have been forced to communicate through an obviously conflicted intermediary: a group of banks that have received billions of TARP funds.

What created this much-publicized impasse? Under long recognized legal and business principles, junior creditors are ordinarily not entitled to anything until senior secured creditors like our investors are repaid in full. Nevertheless, to facilitate Chrysler’s rehabilitation, we offered to take a 40% haircut even though some groups lower down in the legal priority chain in Chrysler debt were being given recoveries of up to 50% or more and being allowed to take out billions of dollars. In contrast, over at General Motors, senior secured lenders are being left unimpaired with

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Debt and income inequality (with additions 4/30)

Here’s an interesting discussion by Benign Brodwicz with charts on income inequality and the implications to society. - Ilene 

Debt and income inequality (with additions 4/30)

Courtesy of Benign Brodwicz at The Animal Spirits Page


  • Note the similarity between the graphs of income inequality and debt/GDP.
  • It took a war, not just a depression asset price collapse reducing wealth inequality, to reduce income inequality last time, supporting the hypothesis that a new social contract is required to cure this ill.  The war brought people more income equality, the New Deal didn’t.  Without the motivation to band together to fight a common enemy like the Nazis, will Americans tolerate deficits of 13 percent of GDP and inevitable tax increases, when there is no equalization of the income distribution and the highly compensated continue to receive outsized rewards?  This is the great risk to the social fabric, and why I think the social contract is [widely perceived to be, which is the same thing as being] broken.
  • All households took on more debt in the national run-up since 1980, but lower income households took on much more in a attempt to “keep up” with higher income groups.  Median household income stagnated relative to mean income during this period (U.S. Census Bureau).  The bottom half is deleveraging, implying that their standards of living will fall further behind the top income classes, implying further rending of the social fabric.
  • Fixing the banks won’t fix this; in fact, it will exacerbate the current quasi-feudal situation.


Source:  Emmanual Saez’ home page.  The income measure is personal tax return based, so is roughly based on household income.


Source:  Credit Suisse




Source:  Boston Fed

Honey I Shrunk The Treasuries

Courtesy of Tyler

Honey I Shrunk The Treasuries

10Y UST just got the Friend-O treatment. The yield now is a Fed vomit-inducing 3.15%.



Perspectives From The Great Depression

Courtesy of Tyler at Zero Hedge

Perspectives From The Great Depression

No less an authority than FDR’s Treasury secretary and close friend, Henry Morganthau, said in 1939: "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work…..I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started, and an enormous debt to boot!" Similarly policy makers’ current aggressive actions remind me of the quote “Never in the history of the world has there been a situation so bad that the government can’t make it worse”.

And some comedy, compliments of the 1934 (now bankrupt) Chicago Tribune

hat tip Greg

Comparing Today’s Vegas Back Lot To A Real Bull Market

Tyler at Zero Hedge posts an analysis by contrary investor which compares our current market and economic situation to the ingredients that would support the birth of a real bull (not bs) market. - Ilene  

Comparing Today’s Vegas Back Lot To A Real Bull Market

Courtesy of Tyler at Zero Hedge

Zero Hedge has often been critical of the administration’s current policies, which are not unique or novel, or even sufficient, as many claim, to prevent a relapse based on a confluence of economic events that pushed the country into the Great Depression, and can be simply qualified as inflationary spending and credit bubble reflation. By peddling debt at even cheaper rates than the much maligned Greenspan did during the great initial credit bubble inflation, what is happening right now does not differ one bit from the scenario that brought us here. Attempting to set the basis for a true bull market by Obama would look totally different, most notably the elimination of massive amounts of debt to the pain of existing equity holders. Of course, that would never happen as those very equity holders are the bulk of his voting constituency and what politician cares about doing the right thing instead of getting reelected? But that is not news to anyone.

What would, however be newsworthy, is a comparison of the current market which has at this point become a speculative day trading casino, with the one, which in the early 1980s lead to a multi generational bull market, however ultimately fed by the same credit binge that has led us to our current predicament. For that purpose I present a great analysis done by highly insightful and contrarian folks over at contrary investor. The observations are stunning.


You already know that since “the bottom” in the equity market back in early March, the cries have grown ever louder with each passing point higher on the major equity averages that a major stock market bottom has been reached and a key turn in the economy is at hand as many an economic stat of the moment shows stabilization in rate of change deterioration for now. Moreover, we’ve seen a number of stock market extremes in recent months that we have to admit are generational in nature.

Has a major inflection point on the downside been achieved? It’s been a very long time since we’ve…
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Obama Official: Chrysler To Be “Surgical” Bankruptcy

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Obama Official: Chrysler To Be "Surgical" Bankruptcy

According to an Obama official, the company will receive a $3.5 billion DIP from the U.S. government and up to $8 billion in total government financing, will file in NY bankruptcy court, and GMAC will take over financing duties.

The bankruptcy is expected to last 30-60 days (this is the biggest load of misguided garbage I have ever heard).

Other facts: Chryler will name a new board of directors and the Chrysler-FIAT alliance is expected to go through.

According to BO "Bankruptcy is not a sign of weakness." OK: are we talking about the same process where equity holders are wiped out and bondholders get pennies on the dollar?

Nothing like blaming Xerion Capital (a subsidiary of administration darling Perella Weinberg) once the UAW finds another 100,000 unemployed in its ranks in 3 months.

Anyone willing to take the under on the 30-60 days?

At least Bob Nardelli who single-handedly destroyed Home Depot and is now the proud supervisor of two massive corporate failures, is out . Great work Bob.

PS – Is it a sign of the apocalypse if one agrees with Dennis Kneale?

This article updates a previous post by Tyler on Zero Hedge:

Chrysler To File Any Minute, Hedge Funds Blamed

Of course, as expected, the White House is placing the full blame for the impending bankruptcy on the hold out hedge funds. Here is the stupendously hypocritical statement releaseed from the White House:

"[The hedge funds'] failure to act in either their own economic interest or the national interest does not diminish the accomplishments made by Chrysler, Fiat and its stakeholders nor will it impede the new opporunity Chrysler now has to restructure and emerge stronger going forward."

How dare these hedge funds believe that debt covenants have any value under the current administration? After all, Obama himself is telling you that your economic interests have to align with the national ones. As long as they diverge, you can expect to pay 99% of all income as taxes in perpetuity compliments of soon to be implemented legislation out of Barney Frank.

By the way, isn’t it ironic that one of the biggest culprits

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Frontrunning: April 30

Tyler Durden’s Frontrunning: April 30

  • The quants are brewing real trouble at Morgan Stanley (WSJ)
  • Europe erases 2009 losses (Bloomberg)
  • Chrysler bankruptcy looms as deal on debt falters (NYT)
  • Howard Kagan sues Harbinger for $63 million of back pay (Dealbook)
  • Mexico plans partial shutdown to slow spread of flu (Bloomberg)
  • Japan’s industrial production up as Americans wait in lines to buy Toyota and Nissan cars (NYT)
  • Nasdaq follows SEC’ workaholic example and will take no action in Dendreon (Bloomberg)
  • Navigating toward Bretton Woods 3? (RGE)
  • Economy down, stocks up (Fundmastery)
  • What would Milton Friedman say? (Bloomberg)
  • US Protectionism takes its first bite (National Post)


Kimble Charting Solutions

Wilshire 5000 Creating A Triple Top? An Important Breakout Test Is In Play!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The stock market has been on fire of late, rallying up to the edge of price resistance on several indexes. Today, we look at one of those stock market indexes: the Wilshire 5000.

The Wilshire 5000 tracks all of the stocks in the US market, so it is a broad-based index that carries significant importance when gauging the health of the overall US stock market.

Looking at the long-term “weekly” chart above, it is pretty clear that the index is at an important price juncture.

The Wilshire 5000 spent the last 25 years trading within a rising price channel (1)...

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Phil's Favorites

Will it hold?


Will it hold?

Courtesy of 

My Chart o’ the Day this weekend comes to us from Jonathan Krinsky at Baycrest Partners, who’s out with some significant insights about the week that was.

He looks at the possibility that both the dollar and bond prices have hit a high and are now about to roll over. A drop in USD below support, which appears to be imminent, would have all sorts of implications for the recent breakout in gold extending and for the potential of emerging markets stocks outperforming US stocks. A drop in bond prices (rates going up) could mean a reversion in the bond proxy rally (REITs and Utes) and a boost for the banks and brok...

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Zero Hedge

Draghi 'Out'ed By ECB Insiders As Liar And Schemer

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Wolf Richter via,

Draghi’s shenanigans get hilarious, months before his term ends.

So here’s ECB President Mario Draghi, whose term ends in October, and he’s at the ECB Forum in Portugal, and in a speech on Tuesday titled innocuously, “Twenty Years of ...

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Chart School

Formula for when the Great Stock Market Rally ends

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

When valuations for the boring water company or the boring electric company is trading like your Facebook, Apple, Amazon or Netflix or Google (ie FANG) you know something is wrong.

This is when a seriously over valued market is screaming at you.

Of course the reader must understand in a world where money printing goes super nuts (Zimbabwe style) the stock market may go hyper inflationary and picking a time frame for a top is never a good idea, but we are not there yet. There is no Ben Bernanke helicopter money to the masses yet (ie MMT). 

To see when water company's (and such like) are nearing the crazy FANG like valuations a review of the Dow Jones Utility Index channel shows us how history can repeat. The c...

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The "Tesla Killer" Car Is Nowhere In Sight


The “Tesla Killer” Car Is Nowhere In Sight

By Jacob Wolinsky, ValueWalk

Here’s some catnip for the Tesla bulls on this email list: my analyst, Kevin DeCamp, a longtime TSLA shareholder and car owner, took a test drive of the Jaguar I-PACE and, while it “looks great and is fun to drive… it is lacking in a few areas where Tesla really shines.” He concludes that “Tesla may end up killing itself, but the “Tesla killer” car is nowhere in sight.”

The Tesla Killer Hasn’t Arrived Yet: My Test Drive of the Jaguar I-PACE

By Kevin DeCamp

As a long-time, devoted Tesla...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream - the battle is on to bring them under global control


Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream – the battle is on to bring them under global control

The high seas are getting lower. dianemeise

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

The 21st-century revolutionaries who have dominated cryptocurrencies are having to move over. Mainstream financial institutions are adopting these assets and the blockchain technology that enables them, in what ...

more from Bitcoin

Insider Scoop

What To Expect From The S&P 500 Over The Next 20 Years

Courtesy of Benzinga.

The volatility of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY) so far in 2019 is enough to highlight just how unpredictable the S&P 500 can be.

It may seem impossible to predict what’s coming for the market over the next 20 years, but DataTrek Research co-founder Nicholas Colas recently ma... more from Insider


Consumer genetic testing customers stretch their DNA data further with third-party interpretation websites

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


Consumer genetic testing customers stretch their DNA data further with third-party interpretation websites

If you’ve got the raw data, why not mine it for more info? Sergey Nivens/

Courtesy of Sarah Catherine Nelson, University of Washington

Back in 2016, Helen (a pseudonym) took three different direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests: AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA. She saw genetic testing as a way...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...

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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism


The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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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Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"



Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:


·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union


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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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About Ilene:

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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