Blogs

  • The Geopolitics of Iran

    For nearly 30 years, long before it was a charter member of the "Axis of Evil," Iran and the US have been locked in a hate-hate relationship. Walk down the street any Friday afternoon, and you're as likely to hear "Death to America!" as "Hi Ali, how are you?" Three decades of animosity, an externally opaque society, and no trade relations between the two countries mean that many of us have just the barest understanding of what's really going on over there. But whether it's a negotiated settlement with the US over Iraq, or a war-risk premium for crude oil, to threats and counterthreats with Israel and the US, Iran's decisions have enormous impact on the global economic system. All of the sudden, the picture of the "mad mullahs" you get from the papers seems expensively inadequate....
  • RBNZ Cuts Rates...

    * The dollar swings it mighty hammer! * Weekly Jobless Claims spike! * Exposing the debt in N.Z.... * The Fed's Beige Book is grim... ** RBNZ Cuts Rates... Good day... And a Thunderin' Thursday to you! It's not so Thunderin' for me this morning, as I must have eaten something that didn't agree with me last night... Therefore I was up most the night sick... This will be ever so short-n-sweet, and then I'm going back to bed, I've got a presentation this afternoon with Addison Wiggin, I've got to be in tip-top shape for that! The dollar swung its mighty hammer again yesterday, bringing the euro to the 1.56 handle, with all the other usual suspects falling in line behind the euro. The markets are ga-ga with news that leads them to believe the "worst is over" in the credit crunch... I beg to differ on that, but then, I'm just one guy, one voice, one letter......
    Posted to Daily Pfennig by Chuck Butler on 07-24-2008
  • The (Mega) Trend is Your Friend

    Bottom fishers, short term traders, and market timers aside, some investors might be tempted to conclude that the sell oil/buy bank stocks trade is a sustainable trend. If, however, an investor takes a step back and utilizes one of the most consistent...
    Posted to Musing on the Markets by Vinny Catalano, CFA on 07-24-2008
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  • Beyond the Sound Bite: An Interview with Michael Greenberger

    As the US Congress moves forward with its threat to force change upon energy speculators, my interview with the former Director, Division of Trading and Markets, Commodity Futures Trading Commission couldn't be more timely. Expanding upon his recent...
    Posted to Musing on the Markets by Vinny Catalano, CFA on 07-24-2008
  • In Search of a Bull Market

    In Search of a Bull Market It’s an old stock-market saw – there’s always a bull market somewhere. Even though the S&P 500 is down some 16% year to date, it’s easy to point to commodity and oil stocks and say, “See? There’s...
  • A Perfect Storm...

    * The euro runs into a summer storm... * Plosser wants higher rates... Yeah, right! * Aussie dollar strength to return... * Canadian inflation pops higher than expected! ** A Perfect Storm... Good day... And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! A great day yesterday, as I was able to meet up with old friends, readers, and well wishers... So many people were just glad to see me here! I told them it was good to be seen! Looks like the oil rigs dodged a bullet with Dolly in the Gulf Coast, and that's a good thing! But Dolly will still hit South Padre Island today, please keep that in your thoughts today... Well... You know how I explained on a couple of occasions in the past couple of weeks, a Perfect Storm for the dollar? Well, those never materialized due to a number of reasons... Yesterday, we finally got that Perfect Storm, but it wasn't for the dollar... You know those Mid-Western summer storms, when in the middle of the day, it turns pitch-black, and the trees all begin bowing from the wind, and then the rain comes down hard? Well, that's much like what happened yesterday with the euro... Here's the skinny......
    Posted to Daily Pfennig by Chuck Butler on 07-23-2008
  • Greatest Gift For Your Kids Or Grandkids (Or Even Yourself)

    This week, we start with a review of The Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation, one of my favorite non-investment topics. This update is meaningful to me because we just took my 16 year-old daughter in for testing last month. So, indulge me if you will. At the end, I will review the recent performance of Scotia Partners, Ltd. You will be impressed, I promise, plus I will introduce you to a less aggressive way to invest with Scotia. With a bear market upon us, consider Scotia to meet your retirement goals....
  • More Losses!

    * Currency rally runs into profit taking... * Mortgage related losses continue to mount... * Taking risk... Just seems stupid right now... * Canadian Retail Sales post a gain... ** More Losses! Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! It was a long day of travel for yours truly, who saw two gate changes and two plane changes along with 1.5 hours of delay... I ran into a reader on the plane, that said, Hey! Aren't you Chuck Butler? I could see all the people sitting around me thinking that they should know Chuck Butler, he must be a celebrity! HA! Little did they know, it's just little Ole me, the Pfennig writer! Well... The currencies had a good day VS the dollar, as the euro was able to gain well into the 1.59 handle... Part of my presentation to the main stage crowd tomorrow (900+) is going to ask the question... Where are all those people that claimed the weak dollar trend was over last month when the Fed stated they were going to be inflation fighters? They are no-where to be found! That's where! I recall that even a big name guy at the Royal Bank of Canada, flatly stated the weak dollar trend was over... Where have all the naysayers gone? Long time passing......
  • Jesus is Coming. Look Busy!

    commentary from this week's Sectors and Styles Strategy Report: The Democrats in Congress appear poised to exercise the political version of the second coming with a second coming of their own – a stimulus package targeted toward consumers for...
    Posted to Musing on the Markets by Vinny Catalano, CFA on 07-22-2008
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  • A Short Covering Rally

    How do you spell short-selling rally, gentle reader? In this week's Outside the Box we look at several short items (pardon the pun) from various sources, which paint a not pretty picture. The first hit my inbox this morning from Art Cashin (of CNBC fame and also Head Floor Trader for UBS). "Deconstructing The Rally - The sharp rally that sprang from the new short sale restrictions has been spiky and, in several ways, very powerful. The impact of the short rule change was evident. As Barron's notes, the 150 stocks with the heaviest short interest rallied a stunning 15%. The stocks with the smallest short positions rose only 2%. That may be a function of existing shorts scrambling to cover to pass the new, belated, scrutiny. That thesis got added weight from a couple of areas. The Merrill Lynch results got mostly panned by several analysts and TV pundits. Nonetheless, the stock closed 24% above its lows for the week. Also, the financial sector ETF rose nearly 25% from the lows. "All of the above suggests that the rally is based on the two pronged government move. First, put a safety net under the financials, especially Fannie and Freddie. Second, restrict opportunities to sell the financials short. We'll wait to see if those efforts have further legs this week."...
  • Taking On Risk Again!

    * Mexico's rate goes higher! * A 100 Billion dollar note? * Euro rates to go higher? * Oil's sell off might be short-lived... ** Taking On Risk Again! Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go, the taxi's waiting, he's blowing his horn... Yes, I'm off to Vancouver this morning... This becomes a labor of love for me especially today, with Chris taking off the same week I'm in Vancouver, I'm writing the Pfennig on my way to the airport! Graham Nash wrote a song about that... But I won't go there after the intro! Oh, what the heck! Just a song before I go... This will be short-n-sweet this morning, as I've got to get to the airport! Friday, saw the currencies range bound once again, as the data cupboard was empty. And... We didn't have any major losses print, or we didn't have any news at all about all the rot on the U.S. economy's vine. The Biggest mover was... Drum roll please... The Mexican peso! Yes, the Mexican peso outperformed all other currencies last week, reaching a 5-year high VS the dollar after the Mexican Central Bank raised interest rates 1/4% (25 BPS) to 8%, pushing the peso to its highest level VS the dollar since 2003!...
  • Sectors and Styles Strategy Report: July 21, 2008

    excerpts from this week’s report: Model Growth Portfolio (MGP) “ Wow. A fantastic week as the strong underweight in Energy finally paid big dividends most of the relative performance gains at 63 basis points. Combined with a modest 13 basis...
    Posted to Musing on the Markets by Vinny Catalano, CFA on 07-21-2008
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  • The World Will Not End

    Housing starts rose 9% and the market cheerleaders proclaimed that we have seen a bottom. But not if you look at the actual numbers. New unemployment claims were OK, but not if you look at the actual numbers. And inflation was simply ugly, no matter what numbers you look at. However, oil is down and there is reason to think it may have further to go on the downside. We cover all this and more, as we first look at why the world is not going to end....
  • Quotable Quotes: Investing 101

    As equity investors in emerging markets get a taste of the bear (see yesterday’s image from the Pakistan stock market), the lessons of successful investing are learned the hard way. “I am upset because I am constantly losing money and there...
    Posted to Musing on the Markets by Vinny Catalano, CFA on 07-18-2008
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