Watch 'Inside Job' by Charles Ferguson, Full Video (Must See!)

Inside Job, a documentary film directed by Charles Ferguson on the 2008 global financial meltdown, is now available to watch online for free. I embedded it below via archive.org (with embed code). Hat tip to Zero Hedge and Open Culture. I saw Inside Job when it was in theaters; it is a must see if you care about the economy and financial markets.

The DVD is available on Amazon. Charles Ferguson won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 2011 Academy Awards. Watch his acceptance speech here. He was also interviewed by Charlie Rose, Deal Book (Andrew Ross Sorkin), PBS (Tavis Smiley), INET (Institute for New Economic Thinking) and France24 (2010 Cannes Film Festival).*Update: The video was down the last time I checked. Perhaps it is still at archive.org in a different location. I still recommend you see the movie.

David Sokol Resigns From Berkshire (CNBC Interview, Buffett's Letter, Lubrizol Trades LZ)

David Sokol on CNBC 3/30/2011
David Sokol, former Chairman and CEO of NetJets, and Chairman of MidAmerican Energy and John Mansville, all owned by Berkshire Hathaway/BRK, resigned unexpectedly on March 28, 2011. His resignation letter came as a "total surprise" to Warren Buffett (read Buffett's response below). Many people thought Sokol would be Buffett's successor; but he told CNBC yesterday that resigning "has been on his mind for two-and-a-half years" in order to start a "mini-Berkshire".

This is where it gets interesting. In early January, Sokol bought 96,060 shares of Lubrizol (NYSE:LZ) for $104 per share (roughly $10 million), two months before Buffett bought the company for $9.7 billion or $135 per share! This has to be the takeout trade of the year so far.

Lubrizol/LZ - Stockcharts.com
During the CNBC interview (watch below), Sokol mentioned that he bought Lubrizol for his personal family account, as he thought it was an attractive undervalued investment. He recommended Lubrizol to Buffett as a potential opportunity for Berkshire and disclosed that he bought LZ shares. He didn't think Buffett was interested in the company, or would have acted as quickly.

Call options could have been betting on a deal. According to Livevol, LZ April call options traded 7 times normal volume on March 9. Was that Buffett levering up or someone in the know? I provided links below for more analysis on what happened. In any event, Sokol timed his $LZ investment pretty well (+30% non-annualized). Here are quotes from the CNBC transcript:

Jim Rogers on Japan, Buffett on Social, Shiller on Farmland, Bartels on S&P, FCIC Interviews

I find interesting blog posts and articles everyday on Twitter (@dvolatility) and Google. They are mainly analyst notes or views by hedge fund managers and economists. I thought I'd post the most informative links on this post. I linked to FCIC interviews (and transcripts) with Michael Burry, John Paulson, David Einhorn and William Black at the bottom.


NYSE - via CarmelBuds
Buy Japan Stocks: Jim Rogers - CNBC Video (3/30/2011)

Buffett Says Social-Networking Sites Overpriced Ahead of Public Offerings - Bloomberg

Foreclosure Backlog Hits 30 Months, Average Delinquency Period 537 Days (Option Arm Cliff Arrives) - Zero Hedge

‘Shadow Inventory’ of U.S. Homes Totals Nine-Month Supply (CoreLogic) - Bloomberg

David Rosenberg On QE3 ETA - Zero Hedge

Mary Bartels BofA: S&P 500 Could Drop 9.9% Before Resuming Rise (1,400 Target) - Bloomberg, VideoZero Hedge (chart)

Passport Capital's John Burbank Interview (resource scarcity, oil prices, Saudi Arabia) - Bloomberg Video

Chart: S&P Case-Shiller index on home prices in 20 key cities declines for seventh month in a row - St. Louis Fed

Video Interview with Seth Klarman in 2009 - ValueWalk

Consuelo Mack Interview with Niall Ferguson - ValueWalk

GARY SHILLING: And Now House Prices Will Drop Another 20% (charts) - Business Insider


President Obama's Speech On Libya (Video-Transcript, 3/28/2011)

Watch the video and read the full transcript after the jump via WhiteHouse.gov ("Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on Libya", 3/28/2011). Disqus below.

After 40 years of Nuclear Passion, It Hurts - Guest Post

Written by Llewellyn King for OilPrice.com

After 40 years of Nuclear Passion, It Hurts

For 40 years I've written about nuclear power, defended it and believed, as I still do, that it offers the best signpost to a great future; to what Churchill called the "sunlit uplands"; in short, utopia.

I regard electricity as one of mankind's great achievements, saving people from the menial, painful drudgery that marks daily existence without it. Growing up in Africa, I'd see men and women walking miles, many miles, barefoot across the savanna, looking for a few pieces of wood to burn for cooking and hot water.

Electricity, I've believed for these four decades, is assured for thousands of years through nuclear. With advanced breeder reactors and with the energy stored in weapons plutonium, it comes close to perpetual motion: So much energy from so little fuel.

The alternative choice is to burn up the earth, fossil fuel by fossil fuel, until we are searching, like the people of the African savanna, for something that is left to burn.

Wind and solar are defined by their geography and limited by their scattered nature. Their place at the table is assured but not dominant. Industrial societies need large, centralized energy sources.

Yet a nuclear tragedy of almost immeasurable proportions is unfolding in Japan. The sum of all the fears about nuclear is being realized. Hades and Poseidon have joined to cut nuclear down.

Quotes From Fed Presidents on Ending QE2 (Excess Reserves, Monetary Base Charts)

Excess Reserves of Depository Institutions and
St. Louis Adjusted Monetary Base (St. Louis Fed)
Since all eyes are on the Federal Reserve to see if they will vote to end, or extend, quantitative easing (QE2/Treasury bond purchases), below are quotes from Fed Presidents last week. I threw up a chart showing excess reserves and the monetary base, as well as an excerpt from John Hussman's weekly market comment on QE2 (3/28/2011).

After reading what the five Fed Presidents had to say, it seems likely that the Federal Reserve will end its bond buying program after QE2. We shall see. Thoughts?

Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser's speech on 3/25/2011 titled "Exit":

"If this forecast is broadly accurate, then monetary policy will have to reverse course in the not-too-distant future and begin to remove the massive amount of accommodation it has supplied to the economy. Failure to do so in a timely manner could have serious consequences for inflation and economic stability in the future. To avoid this outcome, the Fed must confront at least two challenges." (continue reading at philadelphiafed.org)

"I don't think that is necessarily imminent, but we have to be very careful we don't get behind the curve," Plosser said, as he warned of the relative fragility of the Fed's inflation fighting credibility among the broader public." (via Dow Jones Newswires after his speech)

Video of Tsunami Hitting Port of Kesennuma in Japan, Water Rising Towards Cameraman

This is very freaky... When the tsunami struck the Port of Kesennuma in Japan, the water kept rising towards a cameraman on a roof of a building. FYI: Visit "Resources related to the 2011 Japan Crisis" at Google Crisis Response for "latest information about this crisis, resources for those affected, and ways to contribute to relief efforts in Japan."
"Some 27,000 people are confirmed dead or missing, with more than 2,000 bodies recovered from the sea. About 240,000 are homeless, sheltered in about 1,900 evacuation centers spread mainly across the devastated northeast but also in cities like Tokyo." (Time.com)

February New Home Sales at 250,000 Units, Makes All Time Low (Since 1963) - Charts

Source: St. Louis Fed - (Since 1963)
The new home sales figure for February was abysmal. It hit an all time low of 250,000 units. Take a look at the short and long term charts. From the U.S. Census Bureau (3/23/2011):
"NEW RESIDENTIAL SALES IN FEBRUARY 2011

Sales of new single-family houses in February 2011 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 250,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 16.9 This is 16 9 percent (±19 1%) percent (±19.1%)** below the revised January rate of 301,000 below the revised January rate of 301 000 and is 28 0 percent (±14 8%) below the and is 28.0 percent (±14.8%) below the February 2010 estimate of 347,000.
10 year Chart - St. Louis Fed

The median sales price of new houses sold in February 2011 was $202,100; the average sales price was $246,000. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of February was 186,000. This represents a supply of 8.9 months at the current sales rate."

What does this mean for public housing equities and ETFs (ITB, XHB), and the economic recovery in general? Further review:

Behind the Numbers: New Home Sales Keep Falling - WSJ

No more McMansions: Half of home sales under $200,000 - Christian Science Monitor

R.I.P., New Home Sales - Floyd Norris at New York Times

Home sellers pull out all the stops to attract wary buyers - USA Today/AP

WRAPUP 2-U.S. new home sales hit record low, outlook gloomy - Reuters

New-Home Sales Tumble To Record Low - Investors Business Daily