23 September 2009

Two Poppy Songs

Greg Kurstin, a.k.a. Geggy in the 90's and the Bee in the 00's, is the common thread in these songs. First up is Geggy Tah's single, "Whoever You Are" which received significant radio play during my time living in St. Louis with a car that featured a fully-functioning AM/FM radio, but a busted tape deck. Following that is The Bird and the Bee's "I Hate Camera" in a live clip, and then in a fan-made video featuring the album version.

22 September 2009

Janjuah Is Calling for 550 on the S&P

RBS' Chief Credit Strategist, Bob Janjuah, is back making some bold bearish pronouncements, found via Zero Hedge and this now dead link on Pragmatic Capitalist:

I do however think that we are VERY MUCH in the tail end of the correction of the Oct 07 to Mar 09 bear move, where S&P lost nearly 60% from peak to trough, and where the correction from the Mar low would, at 1120, represent the 50% retrace. Once what I assume is a bear mrkt correction finishes, over the next month or so, I expect the Bear to return with vengeance and I retain my call for NEW LOWS in equities. That’s 550 S&P!!
Okay, here are some meatier excerpts that go beyond the bold 550 call:

HISTORY tells us that this will end in failure, with ugly consequences, the net result being MORE DEBT that needs to be repaid thru vicious spending cuts & higher taxes, a (monetary) inflationary BUST and/or a currency shocker - to be swiftly followed by a longer term Debt Deflationary bust. So, in 1 line, all I think is certain - if you think like me - is that the longer the current bubbles persist & the bigger these bubbles are blown up, the BIGGER the explosion will be when it all goes POP. And realistically, I am talking weeks/moths, NOT qtrs/years. YOU may be smart enough to 'get out' of risk in time, but the overwhelming majority will not. And at that time, there will be NOBODY left to bail us all out......


When risk assets top out - level, timing - is always difficult to predict. I think its weeks/months away, and I very much think we are in the deep tail of the risk asset rally. I know a lot a smart folks who think this can go higher and for a bit longer then I think, and I can see the argument. But nearly all the folks who I respect and have talked to for a long time agree that if it goes on for much longer then it will end in a terrible mess.

Fresh Live Weakerthans

Aside, from the recent Weakerthans show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg:

Plea from a Cat Named Virtute, not from the recent Brooklyn show:

14 September 2009

Inaugural Trams (Live)

This is a video of SFA performing Inaugural Trams at their Highline Ballroom show on 9/11. Their 9/12 show at Hoboken's Maxwell's which I attended did not have the light show, but was far more intimate. But nobody's posted any videos from the Jersey show, so this'll have to do.

11 September 2009

Indicies March Higher as the Dollar Declines

I recently examined the NASDAQ trendline in not one but two posts. The downward trendline that began in late '07 was recently breached during the last five days of bullish market irrationality:

The next chart shows the NASDAQ's incredible bullish march since March. A trading channel seems to have developed. With that in mind, here's my textual annotation from the chart:

The NASDAQ could conceivably trade in this channel. The RSI readings are short-term and medium-term overbought. But shorting the market since March has proven very painful. The fundamentals may still suck, and corporate insiders are selling their shares at astronomical ratios, but I think the weakness of the dollar is helping push the indices higher.

So let's take a look at some charts for the almighty dollar:

The bearishly-inclined, like yours truly, believes there is limited upside to the equity markets right now, but the risk is a cheaper dollar will push the indices higher. The dollar's downward move does look a bit overdone in the short-term if you take into account the RSI readings. But the dollar could fall significantly further to levels seen in the first half of '08.

Saw Doctors

It's been nearly a year since I traveled to Ireland. Perfect time for some Saw Doctors, then.

10 September 2009

04 September 2009


I came across this intriguing blog today, newsfrom1930.blogspot.com. It reminded me of a classic book from the Great Depression, Oh Yeah?, that I've had since childhood. Oh Yeah? in 1931 presented quote after oblivious quote from politicians and businessmen who believed in the early-30's version of green shoots. News from 1930 likewise captures the day-to-day reportage from 80 years ago that eerily parallels much of what is happening today. It's a fascinating work in progress, even though we know what happens.

Here's a link to News from 1930's amusing mission statement and an excerpt:

Q. Okay, why are you doing this blog? Are you saying we're in for a replay of the 30's?

A. How did I know you were going to ask me that? No, I don't think things are going to get as bad as in the 30's.

Q. So you're an optimist.

A. Well, that's only mildly optimistic. I mean things in the 30s got really, really bad. For example, between 1929 and 1932, the number of cars produced declined from 4.8 million to 1.2 million ...

Q. Okay - that's pretty bad, but it's only one industry ...

A. Looking at the economy as a whole, GDP went down by 40% and unemployment went from around 3% to 24% ...

Q. Wow! That is really bad.

A. It's actually even worse than that, because back then many more people worked on farms. When you take out farm workers, unemployment hit 37% - an almost unimaginable level for us today ...

Q. You must be a blast at parties ... Well then, if you don't think we'll repeat the 30's, are you saying, in Mark Twain's words, that history won't repeat but it will rhyme?

A. Hey! I wanted to use that line!

Q. Sorry. Well, do you think that?

A. Yes. I believe 1929-1930 has a couple of important similarities to 2008-2009. First and fundamentally, there was a big buildup of debt leading up to both. This was followed by a couple of major economic problems, including many banks running into trouble and a loss in perceived wealth by lots of people. These problems in turn have deflationary implications since they lead to less credit and spending ...

Q. Could you get to the second point before I fall asleep?

Click this to read the rest.

03 September 2009

The NASDAQ Downward Trend Is Intact

I recently asked which NASDAQ trendline will prevail?

Looks like the overhead downward trend has prevailed:

Click on the image to enlarge. You'll see the NASDAQ has fallen below its recent steep upward trendline.

The Gray Lady and I See Eye to Eye

The Gray Lady sums up my market point-of-view just about perfectly.

First, the bear-market-rally is overdone, with corporate insiders selling their shares:

“The people who know are getting out early,” said Art Cashin, the director of floor operations at UBS, who said his “gut feeling” about the markets prompted him to sell some stocks last week. “This rally’s a little long in the tooth.”

On Friday, the research firm TrimTabs reported that insider selling had grown to $6.1 billion in the month of August through last Thursday, its highest levels since May 2008 — when the Dow Jones industrial average was floating above 12,000, compared with just over 9,500 at Friday’s close.

The ratio of insider selling to insider buying also soared in August, to about 30 to one, its highest levels since the firm started keeping numbers in 2004.

Second, trash stocks, i.e. financials, led this horseshit rally:

Analysts say that financial stocks are looking even frothier as trading in a handful of big banks has come to dominate the action on Wall Street. The KBW Bank Index, which tracks two dozen national and regional lenders, has surged more than 150 percent since early March.

Shares of the troubled insurance giant American International Group have quadrupled. And Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, while still down sharply from their record highs, have been some of the rally’s biggest winners.

Third, the overwhelmingly bullish sentiment in the market offers up a contrarian indicator. Other technicals, like the Elliot Wave folks, are also questioning the rally:

Just before stocks turned around in early March, only 2 percent of investors were optimistic, according to the Daily Sentiment Index, which measures the mood of small traders and is run by Jake Bernstein, an independent market analyst. Now, the index shows that about 89 percent are feeling bullish. Investors were equally cheery when the Dow hit its record high in October 2007.

Robert Prechter, president of Elliott Wave International, a technical analysis firm in Gainesville, Ga., cut his negative outlook on stocks in late February. “Now,” he wrote in an e-mail message, “we are firmly back on the bear side.” Investors might be embracing greed once again, but Mr. Prechter said he doubted the stock indexes could replicate the remarkable gains of the past five months.

And fourth, Doug Kass is calling the top:

The hedge fund manager Doug Kass, who declared in March that stocks had skidded to a “generational bottom,” said last week the rally had run its course.

Like other investors who expect the markets to falter, Mr. Kass said he believed the economy was not heading toward a quick or easy recovery. Companies have made themselves look profitable by slashing costs, but he said they are not going to rake in more money in the months ahead as long as weakened consumers stay in hiding.

“I think we’ve seen the high for the year,” he said. “There’s a time to hold ’em and a time to fold ’em. And I think we’re at that point.”

Then there's Paul Tudor Jones, whom Bloomberg reported is calling bullshit on Goldman Sachs' call that the market and economy are in recovery mode:

Paul Tudor Jones, the billionaire hedge-fund manager who outperformed peers last year, is wagering that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley got it wrong in declaring the start of an economic recovery.

Jones’s Tudor Investment Corp., Clarium Capital Management LLC and Horseman Capital Management Ltd. are taking a bearish stand as U.S. stock and bond prices rise, saying that record government spending may be forestalling another slowdown and market selloff. The firms oversee a combined $15 billion in so- called macro funds, which seek to profit from economic trends by trading stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities.

“If we have a recovery at all, it isn’t sustainable,” Kevin Harrington, managing director at Clarium, said in an interview at the firm’s New York offices. “This is more likely a ski-jump recession, with short-term stimulus creating a bump that will ultimately lead to a more precipitous decline later.”