Blogs

  • Inflation & Jobless Rate Soars!

    * Dollar wages war on euro! * Pulling the wool over our eyes... * A Gold discussion... * 4-weeks of selling renminbi... ** Inflation & Jobless Rate Soars! Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! It's been 3 weeks since I last started a Friday with that note. I hit every red light this morning on my way to work, which led me to think aloud in the parking lot, that this isn't going to be a Fantastico Friday... And when I turned on the currency screens, after reaching my desk, I could see why I thought those negative thoughts... It's getting ugly... Yesterday, I was busy with my head down working on something, when Chris Gaffney yelled across the trading desk, "Hey, Chuck, what happened to the euro?" I looked up to see the euro had lost 1-cent in a matter of 20 minutes... But that's not the end... This morning, the euro has given up another 1-cent, and now trades with a 1.47 handle. Just what the heck is going on here?...
    Posted to Daily Pfennig by Chuck Butler on 08-15-2008
  • Quotable Quotes: Sun Tzu

    As aquaman (a/k/a Michael Phelps) seeks to make Olympic history in Beijing, the advice from a Chinese champion from another era and another discipline is ageless. Be it sport, politics, business, or war, a few words from Sun Tzu. "Strategy without...
    Posted to Musing on the Markets by Vinny Catalano, CFA on 08-15-2008
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  • Little-Known IRA Tax Saver

    Many people own shares of employer stock through 401(k) or other retirement plans. Few of these workers, or many of their financial advisers, know the tax break that is available slash the tax burden from selling those shares. With a little planning and...
  • Week of 08/14/2008

    In This Issue:

    Surprise! Oil Prices Can Plunge As Well As Soar
    Russia-Georgia Conflict Shows Oil Retreat Has Legs
    The Dollar Is Rebounding By Default
    We Know We've Said This Before, But "Buy The Bargains"
    The Bottom Line This Week

    Last week, the stock market continued to make the big swings that started several days earlier. This time, however, we were delighted to see that the pattern was skewed towards the positive. Thanks to a 332 point gain on Tuesday and another 303 point jump on Friday, the Dow and the Nasdaq ended the week up 3.6% and 4.5% respectively.

    Those were very nice numbers for a five day period, especially since poor economic news –and the Russian/Georgian war- continued to dominate the headlines. However, none of it could overcome the enthusiasm investors had for the recent plunge in oil prices that brought the magic $100 level within sight. If oil gets that low we will see rejoicing on both Wall Street and on Main Street. We might even raise a glass ourselves.

    Meanwhile, Mother Market is testing our resolve. After rising 49 points on Monday, stocks dropped 250 points through Wednesday. More gyrations are undoubtedly on the way.

    ...
  • Retail Sales Disappoint Again...

    * Dollar rally continues... * U.S. data continues to be weak... * Gold and the A$... * Sterling melts away... ** Retail Sales Disappoint... Good day... And a Thunderin' Thursday to you! Michael Phelps didn't swim in any finals yesterday, so no Gold for the U.S! I'm just floored by this kid! My oldest son, Andrew, was a pretty good swimmer in his day, but my goodness, this kid is on a different planet! OK... Well, front and center this morning, we have a report that just printed that shows U.S. Home Foreclosures rose 55% in July. Bank seizures almost tripled according to RealtyTrac Inc. That's sad folks, simply sad... I look at this report and shake my head in disgust for Alan Greenspan. Yes, Big Al Greenspan is the root of all evil in the housing meltdown... Sure there were the greedy folks that booked loans that shouldn't have happened and all that, but down at the root of the meltdown you'll find Big Al's picture!...
  • WCI, the Fed and Spring of 2010

    WCI, the Fed and Spring of 2010 Just because your title is “billionaire investor” doesn’t mean you don’t make a mistake from time to time. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn apparently lost $113 million when his home-building company...
  • Trade Deficit Narrows...

    * Dollar rally continues... * Be careful what you wish for! * Prime loans now in trouble... * Norges Bank to keep rates unchanged... ** Trade Deficit Narrows... Good day... And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Tuesday saw more volatility in the currencies as the dollar went back in forth, but well within a trading range. The euro has melted down to the 1.49 area, where it seems to have found some breathing room. The Trade Deficit for June shrunk, but the Budget Deficit widened... Again, the fundamentals in the U.S. continue to point to recession. All this and more in today's Pfennig, so grab a cup o'java, a chair, and let's go! OK... Front and center this morning, I want to talk about the Trade Deficit, which in June showed a narrowing from $59.8 Billion to $56.8 Billion, which looks good, right? Well... As I told you in yesterday's Pfennig, you have to be careful what you wish for. This drop in the Trade Deficit pushed the dollar higher yesterday morning, and got me thinking... (I know, that could be dangerous, but stay with me here...) A stronger dollar will not play well, share toys, and keep its hands to itself, with exports... And exports have been something short of amazing with the dollar being weak. In fact, exports have accounted for the largest contribution to GDP in the past 5 quarters! (with U.S. Consumer spending drying up, this is possible!) Add to that, everyone getting goose bumps regarding a global slowdown... If the world slows down, like the dollar bulls are claiming they will, thus propping up the dollar, then U.S. exports will slow even more!...
  • Beyond the Sound Bite: An Interview with Roy Johnson

    When it comes to understanding the drivers of corporate success, shareholder value, value based management, and value based finance are more than catchy phrases. They are analytical methodologies that enable a deeper understanding of the elements of competitive...
  • The Fed, The Stock Market & What To Do Now

    The Fed left interest rates unchanged at 2% at the FOMC meeting last week, despite warnings in the media that rates would be increased. To the contrary, I have argued that the Fed will leave rates unchanged all year, and the FOMC policy statement last week supports that view. There are indications that inflation will moderate later this year, which will take pressure off the Fed to raise rates. Next, we turn our eyes to the stock market and ponder whether we are looking at a continued sideways market for several more years. If so, this will be bad news for millions of Baby Boomers that have not saved enough. Maybe it's time they consider something different, such as the investment programs I recommend....
  • Understanding/Applying "Feedback Loops"

    FEEDBACK LOOPS: A VICIOUS CYCLE . I’m slowly yellow-highlighting passages on every page of the little gem of a book I found at the annual New Paltz library sale: THE RETURN OF DEPRESSION ECONOMICS (1999) by Paul Krugman. For those of you who are...
  • A Value Investor Looks At China

    China is all the rage for the next few weeks as the Olympics are going on. Many are calling this China's time to showcase itself to the world. I have a lot of friends and analysts who are big China bulls, believing that the next few years will see continued high growth in China, although less than the above 10% of the past few years. In Outside the Box, we like to look at some contrarian analysis from time to time. Value Investor Vitaliy Katsenelson gives us some reasons why the outlook for China might not be so bright. This has implications for lots of markets that are driven by Asian demand....
  • Hereeeeeee's Baaaaaacccckkkkk!

    * Dollar rally continues... * Who's buying U.S. debt? * Homeowners upside down.... * U.S. data continues to be bad! ** Hereeeeeee's Baaaaaacccckkkkk! Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! I'm Baaaaaaaaaccccckkkk! Well, actually, I made it to the office yesterday morning, after flying all night from San Francisco (with a stop in Dallas)... I told the crew ahead of time I didn't want to hear anything about how I looked... And they obliged, but I could see that they were giggling inside! I'm still worn out, but Hey! I got back yesterday, to find out I get to go back out on the road all next week... Geez Louise, somebody get me a private plane! HA! Well... The joke on the desk used to be that "When Chuck was gone, the currencies rallied"... That certainly wasn't the case with this past absence! I had pre-written a large part of what I was going to say in yesterday's Pfennig, before I was not able to connect, flying in a big airliner....
    Posted to Daily Pfennig by Chuck Butler on 08-12-2008
  • One Year and Counting

    commentary from this week's "Sectors and Styles Strategy Report : “Of all the newfangled financial creations that have caused problems this past year, arguably the most nerve-wracking are derivatives traded over-the-counter…”...
  • Central bank intervention is the reason...

    * Central Bank intervention is the reason... * Busy data week... * Australia's central bank to mirror the BOE?... * China to slow appreciation ... ** Central bank intervention is the reason... Good day... I know most of you opened the Pfennig up this morning hoping to get a blast of Chuck's witty writing style. Well the airlines arranged for Chuck to stay in San Francisco a little longer, so you'll have to wait another day. The currency markets continued to get hammered by the US$ on Friday with the dollar index climbing all the way back above 76, a level we haven't seen since mid February. The dollar did sell off a bit in early European trading, but it has started to climb again as I write. Several readers sent me an excellent opinion piece by James Turk which appeared on GoldMoney's website. Mr. Turk points to central bank intervention as a major reason for the recent dollar strength. The article agrees with what I was saying last week; that the dollar has no fundamental reason to be rallying. The reports and news out of the US have not been favorable to the greenback, and the twin deficits in the US continue to soar out of control. I mentioned that the recent moves of the dollar smacked of intervention, as the dollar only wanted to move in one direction, ignoring any data which would typically send it back down. Turk points to some data which backs up this intervention theory....
  • A New Asset Class, Part Two

    Last week's letter was the first part of a speech I have been giving on what I think will be the rise of a new asset class. This week will be the second and final part. Let me set up this section with a few paragraphs from last week's letter and then a quick summary. If you want to read the entire letter from last week, you can go to the website archives. But first, a quick note. George Friedman from Stratfor was at my daughter's wedding rehearsal dinner last night. He had just found out about the invasion of South Ossetia by Georgia and was keeping track of the events over his Blackberry from his correspondents on the ground in Georgia....