Short Selling Master Jim Chanos Was Interviewed on Bloomberg TV (12/5/2012)

If you missed it, famed short seller Jim Chanos, founder of hedge fund Kynikos Associates, was interviewed by Trish Regan on Bloomberg TV on December 5, 2012. First, let's talk about his track record. He shorted Enron before it went to zero, bet against Moody's in 2007, went short China in 2009-2010, and more recently bet against Hewlett-Packard before it crashed. And not only that, he made all of these bets public. Impressive stuff.

During the segment he talked about how he started in the business, his China short, the euro area crisis, fiscal cliff, U.S. economy, and the Federal Reserve's effect on stocks.

Case-Shiller Home Price Index Has Flatlined Since January 2009, Chris Whalen Thinks Housing Drags Economy Into Recession In 2013 ($ITB)

Chris Whalen, senior managing director of Tangent Capital and co-founder of Institutional Risk Analytics, believes housing will drag the economy into a recession in 2013. Constrained credit conditions, especially for jumbo loans, will be to blame. He was interviewed on Fox Business on November 27, 2012.

Zynga Files Preliminary Application to Run Real-Money Gambling Games in Vegas (Reuters)

I'm currently editing my template, but this news on Zynga was interesting:

"(Reuters) - Social games maker Zynga Inc said on Wednesday it filed a preliminary application to run real-money gambling games in Nevada, a significant step in cracking a complex but potentially massive new market that could resuscitate its faltering business."

I've been watching Groupon and Zynga crash ever since their IPOs. They are currently trading around their cash and book values. Here are my previous posts.

Hat tip @bored2tears

Ukraine Crushed in $1.1bn Fake Gas Deal - Guest Post

Guest post by Jen Alic of

Ukraine Crushed in $1.1bn Fake Gas Deal

Certainly the folks at Gazprom are having a good snicker, reveling in the mockery that has been made of what should have been a landmark Ukraine-Spain gas deal that would have loosened Russia's gas grip on Kiev.

Everyone wondered how Russia would respond to Ukraine's attempt at gas independence. But this is what happens when you mess with Gazprom.

It was a horrible moment for Ukraine last Monday—all the more horrible because the whole event was televised—when the historical $1.1 billion deal it was about to sign with Spain's Gas Natural Fenosa turned out to be fake.

ECRI's Achuthan: Fiscal Cliff? The Recession Started In July (Video)

The recession started in July, according to ECRI's Lakshman Achuthan. So, if we fall off the fiscal cliff, will it be a depression?

Image: Super Typhoon Bopha From Space Over the Philippines (via NASA ISS/JSC)

"This astronaut photo of Super Typhoon Bopha was taken on Sunday, Dec. 2 from the International Space Station, by Astronaut Ford as the Category 4 storm bore down on the Philippines with winds of 135 mph. Credit: NASA ISS/JSC"

ISM's November Manufacturing Index (PMI) Declines to Lowest Level Since July 2009, $IYT Underperforming Indexes

The ISM November PMI declined to 49.5% in November, the lowest level since July 2009 (49.2%). Are the green shoots dying? This morning the Transportation Index ETF ($IYT) is underperforming the S&P 500 ($SPY), Nasdaq 100 ($QQQ), Dow Industrial Index ($DIA), and Russell 2000 ($IWM).


Graham, Boehner and Geithner See Risk of Going Over Fiscal Cliff (Videos)

Republicans and Democrats have until January 1, 2013 to make an agreement on the fiscal cliff (automatic tax rate hikes and spending cuts), or they'll risk a recession and lower stock prices via fiscal tightening. According to the Congressional Budget Office's November projections,

"if all of that fiscal tightening occurs, real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) will drop by 0.5 percent in 2013 (as measured by the change from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013)—reflecting a decline in the first half of the year and renewed growth at a modest pace later in the year. That contraction of the economy will cause employment to decline and the unemployment rate to rise to 9.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. After next year, by the agency’s estimates, economic growth will pick up, and the labor market will strengthen, returning output to its potential level (reflecting a high rate of use of labor and capital) and shrinking the unemployment rate to 5.5 percent by 2018."

So will the Republicans give in to the Democrats' plan to raise tax rates on the top 2% of income earners? Last week, the S&P 500 rallied on the belief that the U.S. will avert the fiscal cliff, but any kind of failed negotiation would send the market back down, in my opinion. But during the Federal Reserve's FOMC meeting on October 23-24, the minutes release said FOMC participants were thinking about QE4 when Operation Twist ends at the end of 2012. They could decide this at their next meeting on December 11-12. The minutes said,

Ghost Elevator Prank in Brazil (Video)

Some weekend volatile entertainment for you.