July 14, 2010

Wednesday Financial Briefing
— Monty

NOTE: NSFW-ish pic at the bottom of full post.1

Stocks had another good day, with both the Dow and the S&P 500 indexes gaining one and a half percent. The S&P 500 closed at 1,095.34, and the Dow closed at 10,363.02. The gains were driven by optimism over corporate earnings, and not a little bit of wishful thinking. I'm happy because my 401(k) is gaining back some of the equity it's been hemorrhaging over the past, oh, two years or so; I'm sad because I know that this is a sucker's rally and it won't last. (DOOM!)

Large-cap firms (and banks) may be doing well, but small companies are still hurting. This is most of the reason I'm still bearish about the rally we're in right now -- I don't think it'll last because it doesn't have any depth or, frankly, any rationale. It's the kind of giddiness a drunk feels right before he gets behind the wheel to drive home -- he never suspects that half an hour later some green-faced Highway Patrolman will be collecting his various pieces and parts off of the highway.

I often joke about DAGGER, a high-frequency trading algorithm, being a sentient (and malevolent) being. Others make jokes about SKYNET. But as the WSJ reports, the trend towards using algos in financial trading is accelerating. Computers are on the verge of taking securities trading entirely out of human hands, and this doesn't sit well with me. Algorithms and AI heuristics are only as good as the people who program them, who are human and thus make mistakes. I also fear that HFT will make value-investing pretty much obsolete, and thus make stocks in general a purely speculator-driven pastime. It's not investing anymore; it's just gambling, because stock-picking and research are dead. The algos drive everything now, at millisecond speed.

Uncle Sugar is "generous to a fault". It's easy to be generous when you're giving away other people's money.

It looks like China is coming down off their sugar-high as well. And more speculation that the Chinese are hiding a mountain of bad debt. They may pretend to be capitalists, but remember that the government is still authoritarian Communist. They'll hide the bad news until it explodes in their faces. If you're going to invest in China, you'd best do it fast, because when the boom is over...it's over.

So the problem with public-sector pensions is this: either they use real-world assumptions for rate-of-return on their investments, and suddenly come face to face with a $2.9 trillion dollar shortfall; or they continue to make unrealistic assumptions about how much return they're going to get over the next twenty or thirty years, when the resulting meltdown may have consequences no one wants to think about. Unions, of course, are against the idea of low-risk/low-rate-of-return accounting. Pull quote:

Brainard said, “Nonetheless, it is a defensible arrangement in a corporate environment, in which a company at any point could go bankrupt or be acquired, and hand its pension liabilities to taxpayers or shareholders. But considering the very long life -- essentially perpetual -- of a public-sector entity, and its ability to stay invested throughout market cycles, requiring their pension plans to value their liabilities as if they’ll earn a return consistent with that provided by a conservative bond portfolio, is nonsensical.”
In other words, states can rely on taxpaying suckers like us to fund their madness for eternity. Eternity!

The rise and fall of the "Shadow Banking" system. Read the linked report if you're into that kind of thing: it is both interesting and scary.

Here's something I don't understand. When Greece's troubles became widely-known, markets the world over immediately pissed themselves. So yesterday Moody's cuts Portugal's debt rating to A1, and....nothing. What the hell, man? Greece gets kicked in the nuts but Portugal gets a pat on the head?

Welcome to the Brotherhood of the Boned, Kentucky! Our support group meets on Wednesday nights at 7pm down at the Loyal Order of Moose hall next to the dry-cleaners. The meetings are usually chaired by California, the founding member of the Brotherhood of the Boned.

Today's krappenfest brought to you by Miss Sally Rand.2


--------------------------------------
1 I'm going to start warning folks if I'm posting a photo of one of my vintage beauties. The stuff is pretty tame and I do try to keep things tasteful, but still, I don't want to get anyone into hot water.
2 Sally Rand actually did not perform in the nude; she wore a body-stocking.

Posted by: Monty at 02:05 AM | Comments (97)
Post contains 759 words, total size 6 kb.

1 We must get the federal government out of the Unions pockets. Also, we must get them out of the business of assuming unfunded pension liabilities from private companies. Particularly those who pensions were part of a union negotiated agreement.

The question is, will the Republicans have the desire and balls to do this?  I hardly think that it should be my responsibility to pay for some union fat cat's luxury retirement in Michigan while I struggle in my own retirement here in SC.

Ans yes, Sally Rand was a babe.

Posted by: Vic at July 14, 2010 02:20 AM (/jbAw)

2 Dooooom.

Posted by: greek chorus at July 14, 2010 02:20 AM (4WbTI)

3 Why are we getting Spanish ads on the "home" page? Someone see a trend in illegal aliens reading this site? Just wonderin' V5

Posted by: V5 at July 14, 2010 02:23 AM (EeWDL)

4 Morning all....

Get your barf bags ready for an 11 am report from the 'intellectuals' at the White House Council of economic advisers:

A report to be unveiled at 11 a.m. EDT will estimate that Obama's $862 billion economic stimulus package, which passed last year, has saved or created 3 million jobs and is on track to meet its goal of 3.5 million jobs by the end of this year.

The analysis from the White House Council of Economic Advisers will say that government funding of clean energy, economic development, construction projects and other initiatives is spurring "co-investment" by private-sector firms, according to a U.S. official who previewed the report.

http://tinyurl.com/32h7uzl

Posted by: Tami at July 14, 2010 02:25 AM (VuLos)

5 Yet another run-up with trading volumes indicating that two zit faced kids are trading the same share at lightning speeds.

Mornin

Posted by: Herr Morgenholz at July 14, 2010 02:26 AM (RgXpA)

6

We must get the federal government out of the Unions pockets. Also, we must get them out of the business of assuming unfunded pension liabilities from private companies. Particularly those who pensions were part of a union negotiated agreement.

Two words: Dream. On.

 

Posted by: Andrew "Andy" Stern, David "Son of Myril" Axilrod, Rahm "brother of Zeke & Ari" Emanuel at July 14, 2010 02:28 AM (pfMMA)

7 Sally Rand on What's My Line in 1952.

http://tinyurl.com/2djxvcl

Posted by: Vic at July 14, 2010 02:28 AM (/jbAw)

8 Now entering the Annals Of The BonedTM: Texas:  http://tinyurl.com/2wkrwyg

Posted by: Herr Morgenholz at July 14, 2010 02:30 AM (RgXpA)

9 Thanks for the warning,  Tami.   I think they haves tasked Biden with delivering the lies today with this report.

That way,  if one of his lies happens to not pass muster with the press (infinitesimal chance, I know) or if some people in the business community call them on this claptrap,  they can just blame Biden for making a mistake.

I think I will start cleaning closets this morning.  More interesting and believable.


Posted by: Miss Marple (redneck teabagger) at July 14, 2010 02:32 AM (bixjr)

10 Herr; How did your daughter come out on the doctor visit?

Posted by: Vic at July 14, 2010 02:34 AM (/jbAw)

11 Herr; How did your daughter come out on the doctor visit?

She's fine.  Still fighting the lymph infection on one side, swimmers ear on the other.  She's a tough bird, though, and is slowly coming along.

Posted by: Herr Morgenholz at July 14, 2010 02:35 AM (RgXpA)

12 Ayn's hotter sister.

Posted by: nickless at July 14, 2010 02:36 AM (MMC8r)

13 I hope she gets well soon. We will all pray for her here.

Posted by: Vic at July 14, 2010 02:36 AM (/jbAw)

14 So Kentucky is on the list of the boned now.  KY is not known for being in the pockets of the unions so one wonders how it got that way. 

Posted by: Vic at July 14, 2010 02:39 AM (/jbAw)

15 I think I have something in my ear. too.

Posted by: the Man from Nantucket at July 14, 2010 02:39 AM (w9bVp)

16 I think they haves tasked Biden with delivering the lies today with this report.

Yeah, who better to deliver this swill than the village idiot.

Posted by: Tami at July 14, 2010 02:40 AM (VuLos)

17 Thanks, Vic.  You're OK, for an old squiddie.  ;-)

Posted by: Herr Morgenholz at July 14, 2010 02:42 AM (RgXpA)

18 Just kidding you, Vic.  I admire the Navy.

One of my forbears was Capt. Benjamin Rue, of the USS Philadelphia.  (My middle name is "Rue").  After a glorious career of a few months, he engaged the British fleet at the Battle of Valcour Island, and the Philadelphia went straight to the bottom.

Since then, the family has wisely chosen to serve this nation in the infantry.

Posted by: Herr Morgenholz at July 14, 2010 02:49 AM (RgXpA)

19 Why are we getting Spanish ads on the "home" page? Someone see a trend in illegal aliens reading this site?

Just wonderin'

V5 Posted by: V5

---------------
Ads?  What ads?  Since I installed adblock plus in firefox a few weeks ago, all web pages are blissfully devoid of ads...  try it!


Posted by: Chi-Town Jerry at July 14, 2010 02:51 AM (Do528)

20 Krappenfest- That's a german holiday, only in July right?  Right!?

Posted by: Darth Randall at July 14, 2010 03:06 AM (oLULt)

21

I used to confuse Sally Rand with Ayn Rand.  Citizen stripper!

Posted by: Crusty at July 14, 2010 03:07 AM (qzgbP)

22 Miss Rand,

Okay... here's what I want. First... we both get naked.  Except... we're both wearing sailor hats. Then we get into a jacuzzi filled with Pepto-Bismol, I clip your toenails, and you shave my buttocks. Naked... jacuzzi... Pepto-Bismol... toenails... shave my buttocks.

How much would something like that cost?

Posted by: Wodeshed at July 14, 2010 03:17 AM (MFbfZ)

23

the only people believing anything coming from the WH are those who  want  to believe those lies.

however, the Dem House candidates who voted for stimulus will quote these #s.  It is up to the R challengers to get ahead of this.

Posted by: kelley in virginia at July 14, 2010 03:25 AM (jRcMS)

24

Posted by: Wodeshed at July 14, 2010 08:17 AM (MFbfZ)

I'd say that'd cost a whole heckuvalot. $2,000 for the graverobbers, $20 Sailor Hats, $5 Pepto Bismol, $200 for hotel room with jacuzzi, $2 toenail clippers + price of one really good Necrophilia Lawyer. 

Posted by: Joanie (Oven Gloves) at July 14, 2010 03:29 AM (HaYO4)

25

one really good Necrophilia Lawyer

To think that there might actually be people coming out of law school with that as a specialty...

Posted by: Zimriel at July 14, 2010 03:38 AM (9Sbz+)

26 Most state employees hired before 2008 can retire after 27 years...Workers who perform "hazardous duty," such as police officers, can retire after 20 years.

Wankers! Wait until you're giving pencil pushers pensions after 5 fucking years of service! Booyah! 

Posted by: CalPers at July 14, 2010 03:47 AM (VcPAo)

Posted by: franksalterego at July 14, 2010 03:49 AM (+6fgE)

28 That was about the best exchange in the very funny movie Rat Race.  Cracked me up.

Posted by: Wodeshed at July 14, 2010 03:52 AM (MFbfZ)

29 This is a little off topic but geez the coffee party was an abject failure so now the NAACP is tasked with bringing down the tea party?  And why is the tea party even bothering to entertain their ridiculous notions of racism.  The NAACP is starting to sound like that McCarthy guy who saw communists everywhere.  Did the pres of the tea party actually suggests purging racists from the ranks or are my friends kiddin me?  I mean why would the tea party even respond to this at all?   It's like when someone thinks you are trying ot steal their BF and you kinda ignore them cause you know you are doing nothing of the sort and it's all in their dumb jealous mind so you have to walk that fine line of dealing with it every time you see them but knowing he's not your type, you don't want him and you could have had him way before she came along if you wanted him, so you wonder why she doesn't get this.

Posted by: curious at July 14, 2010 03:52 AM (p302b)

30 28

Dude...do you read Bulgarian newspapers regularly?

Posted by: Wodeshed at July 14, 2010 03:55 AM (MFbfZ)

31

"That was about the best exchange in the very funny movie Rat Race."

Dang, I've seen that film several times, but I don't recall that scene at all. 

Posted by: Joanie (Oven Gloves) at July 14, 2010 03:57 AM (HaYO4)

32 I could have told WS that retail sales would be down in June.  america is fighting a credit addiciton and some are fighting a shopping addiction, they are winning their battle but might be losing the war.

Posted by: curious at July 14, 2010 04:01 AM (p302b)

33 Happy Birthday to my Ford truck. I bought her on July the 14th 1986.........  shes been a damn good truck......  i drive her almost everyday......

Posted by: Racefan at July 14, 2010 04:03 AM (J75wC)

34 If you get the chance to read Michelle Malkins write up of the NAACP meeting yesterday please do. It is funny. they pass some funny resolutions, specifically one on preventing the government from closing failing inner city schools, only to have one member object because the motion is grammatically incorrect.

Posted by: Ben at July 14, 2010 04:03 AM (wuv1c)

35 YUM brands had a good quarter but it wasn't as good as they thought and they guided lower.

Posted by: curious at July 14, 2010 04:04 AM (p302b)

36

A report to be unveiled at 11 a.m. EDT will estimate that Obama's $862 billion economic stimulus package, which passed last year, has saved or created 3 million jobs and is on track to meet its goal of 3.5 million jobs by the end of this year.

You know what, I am not that concerned. I hope he keeps saying he saved or created jobs. I hope he says it everyday, because it will only piss off the average unemployed person to no end. They know it isn't true. And with 9.6% unemployment and another 7%+ working part time jobs know it isn't true.

 

It will elicit the anger that naturally comes when someone lies to your face and both he and you know it to be a lie.

Posted by: Ben at July 14, 2010 04:06 AM (wuv1c)

37

The Video Game CD Key company must be doing well, it has expanded its advertising budget

Posted by: Ben at July 14, 2010 04:06 AM (wuv1c)

38

 Happy Birthday to my Ford truck. I bought her on July the 14th 1986.........  shes been a damn good truck......  i drive her almost everyday......

that's awesome. I love things that last for a long time. I wish products were still made that way.  I bought a suv this year and I am hoping to get at least 10 years out of it.

 

Posted by: Ben at July 14, 2010 04:09 AM (wuv1c)

39 So the new financial rules are nothing more than a killer of economic growth:

Designed to fix problems that helped cause the financial crisis, the bill will touch storefront check cashiers, city governments, small manufacturers, home buyers and credit bureaus, attesting to the sweeping nature of the legislation, the broadest revamp of finance rules since the 1930s.

In the end . . .

Posted by: Ed Anger at July 14, 2010 04:09 AM (7+pP9)

40 In other words, states can rely on taxpaying suckers like us to fund their madness for eternity. Eternity! Well, Fiddle Dee Dee, Ratfuckers!11!1!!1!11!

Posted by: Scarlett O'Weigel at July 14, 2010 04:09 AM (w9bVp)

41 31 28

Dude...do you read Bulgarian newspapers regularly?

I own some shares of (NGB).. The stock was downgraded to a "hold" from "buy" sometime back... I'm just curious if it was because of these false reports.

Posted by: franksalterego at July 14, 2010 04:11 AM (+6fgE)

42 What's the actual odds of a civic bankruptcy somewhere in the USSA? Isn't that the preferred method of getting entitlements and pensions under control?

Posted by: dr kill at July 14, 2010 04:12 AM (w9bVp)

43

July 14 (Bloomberg) -- Sales at U.S. retailers fell in June for a second month, indicating the pace of economic recovery moderated heading into the second half of 2010.

Purchases decreased a more-than-projected 0.5 percent following a 1.1 percent May drop, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Excluding auto dealers, demand fell 0.1 percent, matching the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Moderated? Is that what it did? Someone should tell Barry that Recovery Summer is moderating.

Posted by: TheQuietMan at July 14, 2010 04:12 AM (1Jaio)

44 It is funny. they pass some funny resolutions, specifically one on preventing the government from closing failing inner city schools, only to have one member object because the motion is grammatically incorrect.

That sounds like an SNL skit from back when it was funny.

Posted by: Ace's liver at July 14, 2010 04:13 AM (LtIsn)

45 Moderated? Is that what it did? Someone should tell Barry that Recovery Summer is moderating.

The really sad part is they timed all that stimulus payout such that the greatest effect on unemployment would be in the run-up to the election.  If that isn't an indictment of Keynesian stupidity I don't know what is.

Posted by: Ace's liver at July 14, 2010 04:17 AM (LtIsn)

46 The man from Nantucket is a great GReat GREAT American- IYKWIMAITYD

Posted by: Sean Hannity at July 14, 2010 04:18 AM (w9bVp)

47 That sounds like an SNL skit from back when it was funny.


C-I-L-L my landlord

Posted by: Eddie Murphy, when he was funny at July 14, 2010 04:18 AM (MFbfZ)

48

Public pension shortfall?  Public pension shortfall?  There ain't no public pension shortfall! 

Does the public still have money?

No shortfall!  Now shut the eff up! 

Wouldn't want to wake the public.

Posted by: Hussein the Plumber at July 14, 2010 04:23 AM (RkRxq)

49

does anyone  know instapundit's e-mail address? i can't find it on his website

 

Posted by: Ben at July 14, 2010 04:24 AM (wuv1c)

50 It is funny. they pass some funny resolutions, specifically one on preventing the government from closing failing inner city schools, only to have one member object because the motion is grammatically incorrect.

Maybe Otis Mathis from the Detroit Public schools wrote it.

Posted by: Tami at July 14, 2010 04:24 AM (VuLos)

51 Economic prosperity is just around the corner. I found 2 bucks in an old pair of jeans. I wonder if at 11 the White House will take credit for my new found largess and claim that it is further proof that the stimulus is working!

Posted by: Mallamutt at July 14, 2010 04:25 AM (OWjjx)

52 The NAACP meeting would be funny if they were treated with the "respect" that they actually deserve. IOW, if they were ignored as a group of perpetually aggrieved crackpots.

The problem is some of the idiots in this country give them credence. The NCAA is still honoring their "boycott" of SC by prohibiting any payoff games in SC.

The universities, being the liberal assholes that they are, are not fighting it with the NCAA.

Posted by: Vic at July 14, 2010 04:27 AM (/jbAw)

53 We must get the federal government out of the Unions pockets.



Good luck with that. Incestuous doesn't even begin to describe that relationship.

Posted by: Unclefacts, AoSHQ Pro Debate Squad, And Summoner Of Meteors. at July 14, 2010 04:27 AM (eCAn3)

54 pLayoff games in SC

Posted by: Vic at July 14, 2010 04:28 AM (/jbAw)

55 Good luck with that. Incestuous doesn't even begin to describe that relationship.

That's why I asked if the Republicans would have the desire and balls to do it.

Posted by: Vic at July 14, 2010 04:29 AM (/jbAw)

56 Monty is using footnotes. Perhaps this place is getting to high browed for someone like me.

Posted by: Mallamutt at July 14, 2010 04:29 AM (OWjjx)

57 I've asked the CEO's of CSX and INTEL to send me a pair of their rose colored glasses. 

Posted by: curious at July 14, 2010 04:30 AM (p302b)

58 So yesterday Moody's cuts Portugal's debt rating to A1, and....nothing. What the hell, man? Greece gets kicked in the nuts but Portugal gets a pat on the head?

When Greece's rating got cut, investors cut and ran because they thought Greece was really going to go under.   Right up until it happened, no one was sure whether the EU would come through with a bailout.  But it did.  So now investors assume that Portugal's rating cut is nothing to fuss about, because somehow, some way, it will be bailed out too. 

Posted by: wolfwalker at July 14, 2010 04:32 AM (aijDA)

59 Vic you're crackin me up this morning bro, Reps with balls? That's gold! GOLD I tell ya!

Posted by: Unclefacts, AoSHQ Pro Debate Squad, And Summoner Of Meteors. at July 14, 2010 04:32 AM (eCAn3)

60 Monty is using footnotes. Perhaps this place is getting to high browed for someone like me.

Same here, but I ignore the footnotes. I just come to his financial briefing thread for a good jolt of cheerful optimism in the morning.
 
heh

Posted by: Soap MacTavish at July 14, 2010 04:36 AM (554T5)

61 The NAACP is starting to sound like that McCarthy guy

That is an excellent way to put it and needs to be repeated often. Racism--the new red scare! (Only less accurate, of course)

Posted by: Randy at July 14, 2010 04:43 AM (GtTYq)

62 The difference between the NAACP and McCarthy is that there were actually communists in the government. Even more than he said. Hell, the communists ARE the government now.

The NAACP is throwing out that age old cry of racism where none exists. If I had to make a call today on large organizations that employ racism two of the largest racist  organizations there are are the NAACP and the CBC.

Posted by: Vic at July 14, 2010 04:48 AM (/jbAw)

63 @64, I agree, but imagine the sputtering reaction of a proggie being compared to McCarthy.

Posted by: Randy at July 14, 2010 04:51 AM (GtTYq)

64

59 I've asked the CEO's of CSX and INTEL to send me a pair of their rose colored glasses. 

Isn't CSX more or less just a black hole of government subsidy?

Posted by: Pocono Joe at July 14, 2010 05:00 AM (yFWMe)

65 Isn't CSX more or less just a black hole of government subsidy?

Other than getting favorable legislation, probably not. The one you are thinking of is AMTRACK.

Posted by: Vic at July 14, 2010 05:02 AM (/jbAw)

66 When you read the "Shadow Banking" paper if you click on any page that is sideways you can chose turn page clockwise. This might save your neck muscles, I'm glad my doctor told me about it when he was fitting me with the neck brace.

Posted by: helpful guy at July 14, 2010 05:07 AM (4nxhP)

67
I skipped the briefing, and went straight to Sally Rand. Ayn Rand's sister, yes?

Posted by: I R A Darth Aggie at July 14, 2010 05:17 AM (1hM1d)

68

 I love things that last for a long time. I wish products were still made that way.  I bought a suv this year and I am hoping to get at least 10 years out of it.

(After the Zombie apocalypse) Trends researchers are predicting a return to high quality items, much like stuff that was made after WW II.  When my grandmother passed away in the early '90s, I inherited her waffle iron.  It's s Sunbeam, circa 1950s (if it's that new).  It has a cloth cord, no Teflon, obviously.  It makes four-standard-size waffles at a time that fall out of the top half with barely any prodding.  On a gourmet web site I found out that these babies are in high demand and going for big bucks on E-bay since all the new ones are crap.  I'm keeping it forever.

Posted by: RushBabe at July 14, 2010 05:18 AM (W8m8i)

69 Uncle Sugar is generous to a fault.

I recently had a guy do some landscaping work for me and he was telling me about his in-laws from N.O. that came to live with him in the aftermath of Katrina.  While they were with him they both got the famous $2000 debit cards.  Which is fine I guess.  But then they both got another.  And another.  And another.  Being honest people they sent them back.  I'm sure glad this was the only snafu related to that mess.

I can't wait till Uncle Sugar is running my health care.

Posted by: rockhead at July 14, 2010 05:20 AM (RykTt)

70 does anyone  know instapundit's e-mail address? i can't find it on his website

From the "Contact" link on the right-hand side of the page, pundit at instapundit.com

Posted by: Additional Blond Agent at July 14, 2010 05:23 AM (SHKl9)

71 Here's something I don't understand. When Greece's troubles became widely-known, markets the world over immediately pissed themselves. So yesterday Moodys cuts Portugal's debt rating to A1, and....nothing. What the hell, man? Greece gets kicked in the nuts but Portugal gets a pat on the head?

You're being funny, right?  If not, I'll 'splain it.  There was already enough incontinence and they didn't want it to happen again.  Let the dream live.

Posted by: rockhead at July 14, 2010 05:28 AM (RykTt)

72 Algorithms and AI heuristics are only as good as the people who program them, who are human and thus make mistakes.

You say this like its a bad thing.  I see this as an opportunity if I can get a gig writing some of that code and inject a few low frequency, but predictable bugs.

1. Sabotage code
2. Invest accordingly
3. Profit!

Posted by: Purple Avenger at July 14, 2010 05:38 AM (Yhus3)

73 Trends researchers are predicting a return to high quality items, much like stuff that was made after WW II.

There has always been a small(ish) but persistent, market for very high quality stuff. 


Posted by: Purple Avenger at July 14, 2010 05:42 AM (Yhus3)

74 A great article about how Precedent Fershizzle fucking around in the financial markets are probably going to lead to higher food prices.  While the article doesn't say that directly, it's a given.  This is the way futures and derivatives are used in the real world:  http://tinyurl.com/29cl7ey

Posted by: Herr Morgenholz at July 14, 2010 05:44 AM (5aa4z)

75 I like her a lot better than that guy who used to buy us popsicles and take pictures of us while we ate them. I think his name was Randy Sal.

Posted by: Milesdei at July 14, 2010 05:44 AM (FS9ko)

76 IP = 79.173.240.60

Posted by: spammer at July 14, 2010 05:51 AM (/xnO6)

77 how does a drop in retail sales signal a "slowing recovery"?

Its like acceleration at 0g.  You could still be moving "forward", just not accelerating. 

If you believe that, I've got this bridge in Brooklyn I'm looking to unload...

Posted by: Purple Avenger at July 14, 2010 05:53 AM (Yhus3)

78 Posted by: Gerry at July 14, 2010 10:46 AM (L1loU)

There's a lot of psychology to the markets.  Really, what are they going to say?  The economy was supposed to ramp up just in time for the election and so far that isn't panning out  But then again rumor has it that only about 4% of the stimuli went for infrastructure, the rest to save teaching jobs and union pensions and states and unemployment and such.  If more had gone for true, legitimate infrastructure they might be singing a different tune.  "soft recovery" is a nice way to say "holy crap, we're not sure what's going on but things aren't working as planned this keynesian stuff isn't working like the text book said."

Posted by: curious at July 14, 2010 05:56 AM (p302b)

79 DOOM!??  Is Monty stealing my lines now?

Posted by: Killface at July 14, 2010 06:01 AM (zgZzy)

Posted by: Killface at July 14, 2010 06:03 AM (zgZzy)

81 Remember what happened when they f-ed around with the corn supply by forcing ethanol on us?  Seems FinReg could increase our boned-ness.  Another entry for the law of un-intended consequences (or intended consequences for those with the tin-foil hats).  Time for another purchase of doomsday food.

Posted by: rockhead at July 14, 2010 06:03 AM (RykTt)

82

Monty,

I don't think your understanding of the use of Algo's is as clear as it could be.  I have worked in and around the Buy Side for decades and the use of Algo's is simply a way to execute the orders the Portfolio Managers have decided to execute.  The machine doesn't decide what security to trade, it simply assists the trader in getting it executed at the lowest or highest price (buying vs selling).

Also, High Frequency trading doesn't limit or reduce the opportunity for value investing.  In fact HFT may make it easier to get your value trade done by ensuring smooth price movement.

Re-instate the Uptick Rules and some sanity will return ...  in the bad old days if you wanted to do a program trade of a basket you simply had to BUY into the basket first.  There was simply now way to sell short on the uptick across hundreds of names.  Now you can just as easily short the basket as go long the basket. 

 

Posted by: Jeff at July 14, 2010 06:12 AM (A3tpD)

83 30's 40's and 50's chicks are teh hawt.

My wife has all of Busby Berkley's stuff.  I thought I would hate it but sh elured me in with the vintage hotties.


Posted by: Melodicmetal at July 14, 2010 06:25 AM (x4S2a)

84

I think a lot of people are buying on credit now, expecting inflation to rise a lot.

And retail sales are dropping.

Doom indeed.

Posted by: Rat Patrol at July 14, 2010 06:31 AM (dQdrY)

85 I don't know rat patrol, a lot of my friends are furiously paying off their credit card debt and their student loans.  It is totally kewl now to say you aren't going out cause you are concentrating on paying down your student loans and credit card debt.  No one says a word, everyone accepts it.  And it's ok now to wear a dress more than once with the same people present and to say "this dress is just fine, I'm not buying anything new until I can buy it with cash, not credit".

Posted by: curious at July 14, 2010 06:46 AM (p302b)

86 Oh Boy; just what I always wanted, multicolored gibberish.

Posted by: Vic at July 14, 2010 07:12 AM (/jbAw)

87 I also fear that HFT will make value-investing pretty much obsolete, and thus make stocks in general a purely speculator-driven pastime. It's not investing anymore; it's just gambling, because stock-picking and research are dead.

Right, because that research-driven stock picking has always been so effective.  It's amazing how many people continue to fool themselves, even after decades of evidence to the contrary, that their research efforts really pay off.  They use the same data (SEC filings, Value Line, S&P, etc.) that millions of other investors use, but somehow expect that their interpretation is unique. 

Well, at least you have something to blame a lack of success on now.  That damned HFT!!!

Posted by: Ted Kennedy's Gristle Encased Head at July 14, 2010 07:49 AM (+lsX1)

88 I am voting for Jerry Brown. CA is circling the damn drain, and mostly because of his policies from the '70s. Therefore it is only fitting that the house of cards should come crashing down on his watch. Cynical, aren't I?

Posted by: rawmuse at July 14, 2010 08:12 AM (gQWi+)

89 Holy Jesus, that was the Moby Dick of comment spams, wasn't it? I'm going to leave it there as a tribute. Go eat some acid and enjoy.

Posted by: Monty at July 14, 2010 08:25 AM (4Pleu)

90 The machine doesn't decide what security to trade, it simply assists the trader in getting it executed at the lowest or highest price (buying vs selling). Er...not so much. Algos operate on arbitrage, and since they operate at speeds that vastly outstrip what humans can manage, they have to be decision-making tools as well as analyitical ones. Algos can and do pick stocks to trade -- all the time. A human may set the base strategy or the initial parameters for the algo, but you and I both know that a minor initial problem can run completely out of control at computer-speeds. And HFT algorithms suffer from an inherent problem: they are mechanistic and not holistic. They can't see into a CEO's heart, or see the personality conflicts on a board of trustees. They can't see that the newest VP of manufacturing is diddling the head of the PR department. Algos can't judge stocks; they can only calculate differences between them at certain points in time. Arbitrage. That's all algos are good for, really, but they're driving humans out of the equation because human beings can't keep up with the volume that HFT can churn out.

Posted by: Monty at July 14, 2010 08:29 AM (4Pleu)

91 Dudlow is pimping for Geithner again today.  Happy days are here again.

Posted by: ed at July 14, 2010 08:35 AM (Urhve)

92 HFT algorithms suffer from an inherent problem: they are mechanistic and not holistic. They can't see into a CEO's heart, or see the personality conflicts on a board of trustees. They can't see that the newest VP of manufacturing is diddling the head of the PR department.

So, investor by day, crack Wall Street PI by night?  You're like Veronica Mars, but for stocks!  I've been thinking you were a gasbag since your first post, but now it is apparent that this has all been a Shakespearean-style farce - well done!

Posted by: Ted Kennedy's Gristle Encased Head at July 14, 2010 09:14 AM (+lsX1)

93 So, investor by day, crack Wall Street PI by night? What can I say, man? I actually read the prospectuses and look at the company's balance-sheet. I realize that's old fashioned, but I'm an old fashioned kind of guy. If I know the CEO of an embattled company is a stand-up guy, I'll be more likely to bet that they'll pull out of a tight spot than if the guy is a money-grubbing sleazebag. Companies are formed by, composed of, and run for the benefit of, human beings. They do not exist to generate profits for brokers and investment bankers.

Posted by: Monty at July 14, 2010 09:39 AM (4Pleu)

94 Reading a prospectus or a 10-Q is neither old fashioned or unique.  If you believe it gives you a leg up on the millions of other people that read public filings, then have at it.  It would be interesting for you to detail the tiniest shred of evidence of how your keen knowledge of CEO hearts and assorted co-worker couplings have translated into an actual investment advantage. 

By the way, interesting definition of why companies are formed.  I guess those Investing for Dummies pamphlets penned by Michael Moore have found an audience.  Here I always thought that a public company was run to benefit shareholders and now I see that they are actually responsible for the betterment of mankind (excepting brokers & bankers).  Thanks!

Posted by: Ted Kennedy's Gristle Encased Head at July 14, 2010 09:59 AM (+lsX1)

95 Ted, I don't understand if you're arguing in favor of algos, or just arguing to be a dick. I'm inclining towards the latter, but I can't quite pull a point out of your ramblings, so I'd appreciate some clarification before I come right out and call you a douchebag.

Posted by: Monty at July 14, 2010 10:05 AM (4Pleu)

96 My argument is with your laughable assertion that you are divining investment success from your knowledge of what is in a CEO's heart or by knowing which directors (trustees?) are squabbling with each other.  First, you obviously don't know any of this information until it's public.  Second, even if you did know, who's to say what effect it has on actual investment results?  Have you conducted research that actually refutes "nice guys finish last?"  Is a board in conflict less or more effective than room full of rubber stamps?  Can you prove it?

My disposition toward automated trading is entirely neutral.  However, the idea that HFT will make value investing obsolete is absurd.  Are you saying that the algos won't allow an embattled company to be sold off?  Will they take all the direction out of the markets?  Will volatility explode, or worse, go away?  FYI, automated high speed trading is not something that was invented three weeks ago, it's been around, in various forms, for more than 25 years.  HFT is just the latest in perpetual string of boogeymen.  It is simply human nature for people to look for some entity other than themselves to blame for their investing shortcomings.

Posted by: Ted Kennedy's Gristle Encased Head at July 14, 2010 10:43 AM (+lsX1)

97 Ready for iPhone, Blackberry, and music phonesStay connected to the world without missing a beat. Beats come with an additional Monster iSoniTalk headphone cable with built-in call answer button and microphone so you can easily stop rockin' and start talkin'.

Compact connector design reduces bulk and eases unnecessary strain that can damage headphone connections and ports.

Posted by: Hermes bag at December 14, 2010 05:07 PM (tcKkl)

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