Archive for December, 2009

A Decade’s Worth of Returns

A Decade’s Worth of Returns

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

From 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2009

Decade's Worth of Returns

 


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The year in U.S. home prices

The year in U.S. home prices

Courtesy of Tim Iacono at The Mess That Greenspan Made

Someone may have already compiled this chart this week after the release of the latest S&P Case-Shiller data on home prices on Tuesday. If so, it hasn’t crossed my computer screen, so it seemed like a good idea to create one here today in order to see how home prices have fared in the 20 metropolitan regions that the Case-Shiller Index follows.

year in u.s. housing

Note that the October data is released in December and the October figures also include the months of August and September, so this is anything but a real year-end result, but since most people aren’t interested in "year in review" type stuff in March, this will have to do.

Don’t be surprised if, around this time next year, the financial media is talking about the strong real estate rebounds in Las Vegas and Phoenix – prices can’t keep falling forever.

 


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The Transition to Risk

The Transition to Risk

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith Of Two Minds

high angle view of traffic driving on a freeway in snowfall

The hidden transition to ever-higher systemic risk was the major story of 2009: nothing’s been fixed, and the risks of systemic failure are rising every day.

On this last day of 2009, I want to address what I call the transition to risk.

One analogy is the way that the risks of suffering a fatal heart attack rise in a completely hidden way. The body doesn’t signal the slow accumulation of fatty deposits in arteries; the process is silent. Nor is there any conscious awareness that arteries are hardening. The accretion of risk is slow, steady, invisible--until it’s too late.

Some transitions to risk are highly visible. If you’re driving on winding mountain roads and suddenly enter a thick fog bank which cuts your visibility to a few feet, the risks posed by continuing at high speed skyrocket.

The prudent person slows down or even pulls well off the road; the imprudent person ends up a statistic.

Then there are situations in which risk is building but someone with an asymmetric stake in the game convinces everyone the risk remains low to serve their own needs.

The boat is leaking, the winds are rising, but the skipper’s profits require completion of the passage. So he reassures the nervous passengers that everything is fine, the weather is actually improving, and the ship’s pumps can easily handle the leaks.

In an economy with a mainstream media controlled by a handful of corporations and a government financial policy in the hands of a few secretive manipulators, this "reassurance" comes in the form of blatant propaganda.

Here is an example from today’s "news": (a.k.a. disinformation)

Jobless claims fall unexpectedly as layoffs ease.

The number of jobless workers continuing to claim benefits, meanwhile, dropped by 57,000 to 4.9 million, also better than the increase that analysts expected. This supports the "headline" propaganda: "Jobless claims fall unexpectedly as layoffs ease."

But the propaganda/disinformation masks the reality that it’s actually 10 million people who are receiving benefits, and that number increased by 200,000:

But the so-called continuing claims do not include millions of people that have used up the regular 26 weeks of benefits typically provided by states, and are receiving extended benefits for up to 73 additional weeks, paid for by the federal government.


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Trucking Put Options Drop Despite Slip in Shares at YRC Worldwide

Today’s tickers: YRCW, NOK & MDVN

YRCW – YRC Worldwide – I was a little skeptical yesterday of the extreme pessimism that depicted the predictions from the options market surrounding the fate of trucking giant, YRC Worldwide. Investors stepped up to buy huge amounts of put options at the 50 cent strike price that expire next month. With shares at that time trading at $1.00 the huge premium represents a rather expensive 50% layout on an event far from certain. The event is not necessarily the bankruptcy of the company itself, rather it’s the potential for the investor to make money from the trade. Investors would do well to look back at the actual trading price of stocks that go into bankruptcy. Shares don’t always go to zero and they can stay above 50 cents even upon entering a Chapter 11 filing. While today’s news of a debt-for-equity swap provides a reprieve from a filing now, investors continue to ditch the stock, which is today trading at 82 cents. However, those same put options at the 50 cent strike have fallen heavily to 35 cents offered today because the uncertainty surrounding the outcome is perceived to be lower. In the options world, we call that reading implied volatility. Today it’s fallen massively from 291% to 188% at the 50 cent strike.

NOK – Nokia Corp. ADR – Looks like an investor is either unwinding a implanting a call option spread on Finnish cell phone maker, Nokia, whose shares have traded between $12.85 and $12.97 this morning. It appears that open interest at both of the February $14 and $15 strikes took off yesterday with both reading around 35,000 lots today. Further bullish volume saw investors buy the lower strike calls at 28 cents and sell the higher $15 strike for about 9 cents. The net cost of the spread at 19 cents means that a surge of 15.6% in Nokia’s shares to $15.00 would maximize investors’ gains at 81 cents per contract. Volume today is 18,000 lots at each strike price. Shares have not traded above the $14.19 breakeven point since they slumped on October 14, 2009.

MDVN – Medivation Inc. – Shares of the biopharmaceutical company have risen at a 45 degree angle since October rising from $25 to almost $40 each this week. The company develops drugs for diseases with limited treatments including Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease. One…
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Fitting End To 2009 Trading: Big Volume Sell Off

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

It was only fitting that a year marked by irrational and erratic trading, saw a substantial volume selloff in the last 15 minutes of trading after there was absolutely no volume done all day. What sparked it? Only a few momentum chasing quants know, even as the bid seemed dangerously close to getting unglued. Suddenly all the big-cap liquidity provisioning seemed just a tad tenuous. Another way of looking at it: a cheap appetizer of things to come. Is the January 4 rush for the exits entre next?





Goldman’s Ten Questions For 2010

Goldman’s Ten Questions For 2010

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

One of the great paradoxes of life is that the smarter one is, the better one realizes just how little one knows. The same thing is  true with forecasts: one can hypothesize and conjecture, but if one is unlucky, one is screwed: no matter how thought out, error-proof or logical the narrative – it is the unpredictable events that ultimately shape events, not the "priced in" obvious factors. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle applies in a perverse fashion not only to the wave-particle duality in the quantum realm, but to the very underpinning of economics: by predicting the future we implicitly change it. The futility of forecasts is well known to all those, who with the exception of a several few, whose very existence is an economy of scale "strange attractor" (think Warren Buffett and Goldman Sachs), have tried to repeat a winning performance, be it based on fundamentals, technicals, or kangaroo entrails. It is also sufficiently useless to the point where we will spare you a Zero Hedge set of observations of what to expect: if you have been reading this blog, you know what we believe is relevant as we enter 2010. How it will all pan out, however, is a totally different story. It is therefore not too ironic, and somewhat fitting, that Goldman Sachs’ chief economists do not leave 2009 with a dogmatic set of forecasts, which, just like every other year would have the success rate of a coin toss, but with 10 key questions addressed exactly one year into the future. Here are Goldman’s 10 Questions for December 31, 2010.

*****

Our forecast for 2010 features sluggish GDP growth, employment gains that are too slow to prevent a further modest increase in the unemployment rate, low (and probably falling) core inflation, and a Federal Reserve that “exits” from some unconventional monetary policies but keeps the funds rate at its current near-zero level.  For the last US Economics Analyst of the year, we try to answer what we think are the 10 most important questions for 2010.

1. Have house prices bottomed?

Probably not yet, but we are quite uncertain.  Although US homes are no longer significantly overvalued, we believe that much of the increase in prices over the past six months has been due to three temporary factors: a) the homebuyer tax…
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A Zero Hedge Premium Preview: The Dionysian Rites of Henry Kissinger’s CIA and the Iranian Revolution of 2010

A Zero Hedge Premium Preview: The Dionysian Rites of Henry Kissinger’s CIA and the Iranian Revolution of 2010

Courtesy of Marla Singer

As you may or may not know, Zero Hedge is in the process of developing a number of premium offerings for 2010.  One of these is "Cf., The Journal of Irreverent Attacks on Conventional Wisdom, Entrenched Dogma and Sacred Cows."  For your reading pleasure, and to act as a preview of premium things to come, we attach Volume I, Issue I entitled "The Dionysian Rites of Henry Kissinger’s CIA and the Iranian Revolution of 2010."

Abstract:

Failing to foresee the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is, rightly or wrongly, often cited as one of the most significant and dramatic of Western intelligence failures. After enduring a superlatively ignominious electoral defeat in the history of the United States (Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter with 89.7% of votes in the Electoral College in 1980) and in what may have been the record holder for rapidly published post-presidential memoirs up to that point, Jimmy Carter’s 1982 book "Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President" pointed an accusing finger at the Intelligence Community’s Iranian performance.  His recollections lamented the work of the Central Intelligence Agency in particular, citing an analyst report on Iran from August of 1978 indicating that the country "…is not in a revolutionary or even a pre-revolutionary situation."  By January of 1979 the Shah had fled. As might be imagined, what followed was a full court press, prompted by constant policy-maker pressure as well as the personal intervention of Henry Kissinger, who was badly embarrassed by the failure, to develop an organic revolution early warning system capability within the various appendages of United States intelligence.  We review one such system outlined in the Central Intelligence Agency report "Warnings of Revolution," dated March 1980 and apply the methodology to present-day Iran.  We find generally that the methodology’s results are consistent with a finding of probable revolution (as it is defined in the report) in present-day Iran. Our open source version of this tool with general application to a wide span of national targets is available for public use courtesy of Zero Hedge.

- Marla Singer and Geoffrey Batt

You can read the entire piece here.

Original source material is available here:

http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/CIA on Revolutionary Indicators.pdf
http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/CIA on Revolutionary Indicators II.pdf
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On Deck for January 2010: 1060 or 1160 in the SP 500?

On Deck for January 2010: 1060 or 1160 in the SP 500?

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

Here is a slightly different view of the SP 500 daily chart, showing potential retracement levels if it breaks down.

Try not to get in front of the move. This market is 70% program trading again.

Bonne Heureuse Année mes amis

SP 500 March Futures with Fibonacci Retracements (if there is a serious correction)

Longer Term View of the SP 500

And Then There Is Tech..

VIX: Back to Complacency
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.


 

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding

The banks must be restrained, the financial system reformed, and balance restored to the economy before there can be any sustained recovery.

 





Updating the H1N1 Update

Updating the H1N1 Update

EM of swine influenza (H1N1) virus particles (virions), determined to be the cause of the

Watching and Waiting
Ukraine
Vaccines
Tamiflu Resistance
Dr. Niman vs. WHO, ECDC and CDC

by Ilene with guest expert Dr. Henry Niman at Recombinomics

Watching and Waiting

While the numbers of new cases of swine flu have been declining in many regions, including the United States, it is too early to know whether or not there will be subsequent waves of disease.

"Based on my experience with new diseases and the lessons learned from past pandemics, I think we should remain cautious and observe the evolution of the pandemic over the next six to 12 months before declaring victory," World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan tells Swiss newspaper Le Temps. (World Health Official Says Swine Flu Still a Threat)

Although the WHO is remaining "cautious," changes in the virus’s genome that increase its virulence and resistance to Tamiflu are becoming more common.  Dr. Henry Niman, expert in flu virus evolution, believes another wave of illnesses will occur in early 2010.  In addition, he believes resistance to Tamiflu will become "fixed," similarly to how this genetic change evolved in the seasonal H1N1 virus.  (See Flu Update: Tamiflu resistance and Ukraine update, and Efficacy of Roche’s Flu Drug Tamiflu In Doubt, by David Phillips.)

WHO: H1N1 swine flu pandemic will stick around for another year

The World Health Organization warned government health authorities to remain vigilant on the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, saying the virus could mutate before vaccines can help it dissipate.

The World Health Organization is confident that the H1N1 swine flu pandemic will be under control in a year’s time – however, WHO officials warned global governments to remain vigilant for any mutations in the troublesome bug.

Dr. Niman believes this wave will be more severe than the previous two--but not due to random mutations. Rather, this will result from the process of recombination. Due to recombination, increasingly greater transmission of aggressive variants (D225G, D225E and D225N) and Tamiflu-resistant viruses will occur.

Ukraine

I’ve reprinted two recent articles at Recombinomics, with my comments in blue.

The WHO Surprise on D225G / D225N H1N1 Fatalities, Recombinomics Commentary

After considering the current available virological, epidemiological and clinical findings and following discussions on an earlier draft with WHO and its European-based


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Where We Are, Where We’re Heading

Where We Are, Where We’re Heading (2010)

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

Businessmen Jumping Off a Cliff

Let’s score the 2009 edition first:

  • The economy will NOT recover in 2009:  I’ll take this one, although some would argue I only deserve half (I said 8% unemployment U3, we actually got 10%.) 
  • Deflation, not inflation, will become evident well beyond housing.  Miss.  Valid if you look at energy, but the "well beyond" includes a meaningful subset of the various things people buy.  Nope.
  • Housing prices will continue to decline: Direct hit.
  • The Fed’s attempt to "pump liquidity" will be shown to be an abject failure: 1/2 a point.  Certainly if you look at stock prices, it’s a miss.  If you look at whether credit creation was stabilized and increased, its a horrifying score.  We did get the instability in the dollar, but no bond market crash.  I didn’t specify how, so I can’t take credit for that which I didn’t predict.
  • GDP will post a 12-month negative number, Depression print. Clean miss.
  • The stock market has not bottomed.  1/2 credit.  It had not bottomed but my SPX 500 @ 500 call was not achieved.  The 50% swing, however, got damn close.  Lots of money to be made if you’re quick and good, but an absolute minefield if you’re a long-term investor – spot on.
  • Precious metals will not be a safe haven: Clean miss.  Gold and silver have both performed well.
  • The Dollar will not collapse.  Correct.  It hasn’t.  It ended the year of 2008 at 82, it now trades at 78, down 5% or so. 
  • The pound or Euro – and perhaps both – will be where the FX dislocation initiates if it occurs.  Early, which means wrong.  Clean miss although the last month sure looks bad for the Euro.
  • The US Consumer goes from negative savings to positive:  Direct hit.
  • Commercial Real Estate will effectively collapse: Direct hit although the effect has been well-hidden.  Several Tickers have been written on this, including major banks walking off 50% underwater properties.  I can’t take full credit as the REIT explosion I expected didn’t happen, so I only get half a point.
  • Along with the above, expect 10% of retail stores to close.  I don’t have accurate numbers on this but it sure looks that way.
  • Several states will get in serious financial trouble


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Zero Hedge

Schiff: Negative Interest Rates Are "Boneheaded"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Via SchiffGold.com,

Donald Trump has been badgering Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for months, begging for lower interest rates. This week, he took things to another level, saying that the “boneheads” at the Fed need to push rates into negative territory.

In his podcast, Peter Schiff said negative interest rates are boneheaded. ...



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The Technical Traders

Metals are following downside sell off prediction before the next rally

Courtesy of Technical Traders

It is absolutely amazing how the precious metals markets have followed our October 2018 predictions almost like clockwork.  Our call for an April 21~24 momentum base below $1300 followed by an extensive rally to levels above $1550 has been playing out almost like we scripted these future price moves.

Now that the $1550 level has been reached, we are expecting a rotation to levels that may reach just below the $1490~1500 level before attempting to set up another momentum base/bottom formation.  And just like clockwork, Gold has followed our predictions and price is falling as we expected. Just look at our October 2018 chart where we forecasted the price of gold...



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Chart School

Crude Oil Cycle Bottom aligns with Saudi Oil Attack

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Do the cycles know? Funny how cycle lows attract the need for higher prices, no matter what the news is!

These are the questions before markets on on Monday 16th Aug 2019:

1) A much higher oil price in quick time can not be tolerated by the consumer, as it gives birth to much higher inflation and a tax on the average Joe disposable income. This is recessionary pressure.

2) With (1) above the real issue will be the higher interest rate and US dollar effect on the SP500 near all time highs.

3) A moderately higher oil price is likely to be absorbed and be bullish as it creates income for struggling energy companies and the inflation shock may be muted. 

We shall see. 

...

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Phil's Favorites

Black Hole Investing

 

Black Hole Investing

Courtesy of John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline 

Scientists say the rules change in a cosmic “black hole” at what astrophysicists call the event horizon. How do they know that? Not by observation, since what happens in there is, by definition, un-seeable. They infer it from the surroundings, which say that the mathematics of the universe as we understand them change at the event horizon.

Or maybe not. One theory says we are all inside a black hole right now. That could possibly explain a few things about central bank policy. ...



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Insider Scoop

The Street Reacts To Kroger's Q2 With Mixed Takeaways

Courtesy of Benzinga

Kroger Co (NYSE: KR) reported second-quarter results that came in better than expected. The earnings beat may have been overshadowed by management's decision to remove its prior guidance of $400 million in incremental EBIT by fiscal 2021.

Q2 A Mix Of Positives And Negativ...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Bond Yields Due For Rally After Declining More Than 1987 Stock Crash

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

U.S. Treasury Bond Yields – 2, 5, 10, 30 Year Durations

The past year has seen treasury bond yields decline sharply, yet in an orderly fashion.

This has spurred recession concerns for much of 2019. Needless to say, it’s a confusing time for investors.

In today’s chart of the day, we look at a longer-term view of the 2, 5, 10, and 30-year treasury bond yields.

Short to long term bond yields are all testing 7 to 10-year support levels as momentum is at the lowest levels in a decade.

A yield rally is likely due across the board after a recent decline that was bigger than the stock crash in 1987!

If yields fail to ral...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Nonfarm Payrolls Not Seasonally Adjusted Tell the Real Story - Unspinning Wall Street™

Courtesy of Lee Adler

Not seasonally adjusted nonfarm payrolls, that is, the actual numbers, give us a truer picture of the jobs market than the seasonally adjusted garbage that Wall Street spews.

Friday’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payrolls jobs headline numbers disappointed investors with slower than expected growth. But was it really that bad?

Here’s How The Street Spun It – Wall Street Journal Modest August Job Growth Shows Economy Expanding, but Slowly

Employers added 130,000 nonfarm jobs, jobless rate held steady at 3.7%

U.S. employment grew only modestly in August, suggesting that a global economic slowdown isn’t driving the U.S. into recession but has dente...



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Digital Currencies

China Crypto Miners Wiped Out By Flood; Bitcoin Hash Rate Hits ATHs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Last week, a devastating rainstorm in China's Sichuan province triggered mudslides, forcing local hydropower plants and cryptocurrency miners to halt operations, reported CoinDesk.

Torrential rains flooded some parts of Sichuan's mountainous Aba prefecture last Monday, with mudslides seen across 17 counties in the area, according to local government posts on Weibo. 

One of the worst-hit areas was Wenchuan county, ...



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Biotech

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

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

 

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Courtesy of  , Visual Capitalist

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry, known as Big Pharma. The entrance of such behemoths will radically transform the cannabis industry—once heavily stigmatized, it is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless co...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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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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Promotions

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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.

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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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