Monday, December 31, 2012

Jim Rickards on Currency Wars, the Fiscal Cliff and Global Markets (Videos)

source: Bloomberg.com
Jim Rickards, author of 'Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis' and Senior Managing Director at Tangent Capital Partners (and "the principal negotiator in the 1998 bailout of LTCM by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York"), was on Bloomberg TV today and on December 5 talking about currency wars and the real strategy behind the Fed's quantitative easing programs (see below). He also appeared on RT's Capital Account on December 12, which I embedded below as well. They were all very interesting interviews and explain what's really happening in the global macro environment today.

Regarding the fiscal cliff, Rickards mentioned that tightening fiscal policy (raising taxes/cutting spending) during a depression will hurt the U.S. economy and make the S&P less attractive in 2013. But he remains bullish on real assets (gold) going forward as the U.S. Dollar gets debased by the Federal Reserve. So, similar to 2009-2011, if the dollar breaks down, it will probably be bullish for the S&P in nominal terms. It is interesting that the S&P 500/US Dollar Index ratio actually peaked in early 2011, while the S&P 500 made new highs in 2012. We'll see what happens with economic growth, Treasury yields and inflation in 2013. Fun game. Happy New Year.

President Obama Speaks on the Fiscal Cliff Deadline (12/31/2012)

Watch the archived video below via The White House on Youtube.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Media Coverage of the October 19, 1987 Stock Market Crash (-22.6%)

On October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones Industrial Average crashed 22.6%, the biggest crash ever recorded in a single day (official list here). Check out all of the media coverage I found. This graphic via The Nightly Business Report is currently my avatar on Twitter. How crazy was this move?

1987 Stock Market Crash via NBR

Friday, December 28, 2012

President Obama: "I'm Modestly Optimistic That an Agreement Can Be Achieved" (Video)



$VIX Spikes to 22.7, $SPX Starts Reacting to Downside (Charts) - Updated

In the past month, the $VIX is up 50% and the S&P 500 is down only 0.95%. The S&P fell 1.10% today on worries that Congress won't pass a bill in time to avert the fiscal cliff (automatic tax hikes and spending cuts). It also broke through the 50 day moving average. The fund that bought 25,000 VIX January $20 calls on December 12 is now in the money it looks like. The House and Senate will probably come up with a deal to lighten the blow on the economy, but it could be forced by market volatility. *Also, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told Congress on December 26 "that the statutory debt limit will be reached on December 31, 2012." Finally some fresh implied volatility.

Media Coverage of the Dow's "Mini-Crash" on October 27, 1997 (And SEC Report)

The Asian financial crisis set this one off. Watch ABC News' coverage of the October 27, 1997 "mini-crash" below. The Dow fell 7.18% that day. I also found an interesting SEC report on the crash.

Watch CNBC's Coverage of the 2010 Flash Crash; The Dow Plunged 9.2% Intraday

Look how surreal the flash crash was on May 6, 2010. The Dow lost about 1,000 points or 9.2% intraday before recovering at the close. It happened between QE1 and QE2.

When The House Failed to Pass the $700 Billion Bailout Bill The Dow Plunged 7% (Videos From 9/29/2008)

I'm analyzing stock market crashes right now. On September 29, 2008, the Dow fell 7% when the House failed to pass the $700 billion bailout bill. The bill was eventually passed by the House and signed into law on October 3, 2008. But the crashes didn't end there. The Dow fell 7.33% on October 9, 2008, 7.87% on October 15, 2008, and 7.7% on December 1, 2008. Crazy times.

Watch Dick Fuld's Evil Speech From 2007 on Lehman's Short Sellers, and Lehman's Recruitment Video From 1999

Dick Fuld is the former CEO of Lehman Brothers. Scary stuff right here.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rick Santelli's Rants on CNBC Today

Hell yeah.....

Jeff Gundlach Sees Downside Risk For U.S. Stocks, Likes Japanese Stocks Into 2013 (Bloomberg TV, 12/18/2012)

Source: Bloomberg.com
Jeff Gundlach, co-founder of DoubleLine Capital, was interviewed by Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg TV on December 18, 2012. Watch the 22 minute video below. He gave his views on the S&P 500, Japanese stocks, U.S. economy, and fiscal policy. Here are a few quotes from the video.

"Investors should be looking for lower prices on most risk assets in these developed countries, with the exception of Japan, which I turned bullish on, the Japanese equity market, about a month ago under the logic that the only policy tool that remains in Japan is debasement of the currency. So it's quite likely that the weakness that has started to develop in the Japanese yen will continue. And on the other side of that, the exporters in Japan will start to do better. And so my most high conviction investment idea for the past month and now going into 2013 is that the Japanese yen will weaken and that the Japanese stock market should improve based upon debasement"

Wow, nice call there. Look at the chart of USD/JPY over the past month. The Tokyo Nikkei Average is up 11% since mid-November. He even called the bottom on the Shanghai Composite Index recently. Here are his views on the U.S. economy and fiscal policy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Yen Broke Down Recently Because Japan's Abe Wants the BoJ to Print Money Like Crazy to Spark Inflation ($USDJPY)

On December 16, Shinzo Abe became Japan's next Prime Minister. He essentially wants the Bank of Japan to print an unlimited amount of money to stimulate inflation and exports via a lower yen, which explains the recent move. Traders or currency funds were already pricing in the outcome of the election on November 14 and 15, when USD/JPY broke through a 4-year downtrend line and 2-year ceiling resistance level (see second chart). Watch Japanese government bonds (JGBs) to see if anything really happens. 5-year JGBs currently yield 0.187%. If Japan can't spark inflation, it will end up just fighting against the Federal Reserve and other central banks to lower its currency.

U.S. Will Hit Debt Limit On December 31, 2012 (Tim Geithner's Letter to Congress)

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner WatchesSenate
Vote on Debt Ceiling Bill in 2011 (Flickr)
Wow, no wonder the $VIX spiked today. When last year's debt ceiling bill ('Budget Control Act') "failed to hit S&P's deficit reduction target of $4 trillion," S&P downgraded the U.S.'s debt rating to 'AA+'. The S&P 500 then crashed and Treasuries rallied. Credit rating agencies are still warning about downgrades.


$VIX Keeps Rising With Little Movement In S&P 500; Money Is Nervous About Fiscal Cliff

The $VIX rose 9.9% today to 19.48, but the S&P was only down 0.48% to 1,419.83. The VIX (volatility index) continues to move higher despite little movement in the S&P. Traders or portfolio managers are clearly just hedging the market here just in case there's no fiscal cliff deal by December 31, 2012. In the past month, the $VIX is up 22.36% and the S&P is up 1.49%. So get ready for a huge market move.


$VIX vs. S&P 500 1-Month Chart (stockcharts.com)

Remember The February 27, 2007 Flash Crash? The Shanghai Composite Crashed As Well (CNBC)

2007 HISTORY: I found CNBC footage of the February 27, 2007 flash crash, see below. The Shanghai Composite's crash was the initial catalyst. According to the NYT, the Shanghai Composite had its "worst one-day tumble in a decade." And there were rumors floating around that "the government was considering new measures to tame the world’s hottest stock market before a bubble developed." What's funny is the Shanghai Composite then rallied 111% in the next eight months. The Shanghai Composite and S&P both peaked in October of 2007 before the great recession and financial crisis began.

According to Nanex, the NYSE completed Phase IV of its "Hybrid Market" rollout on February 27, 2007. They also said, "Note that prior to Feb 2007, the NYSE had never been a reporting exchange in any incident." And don't forget that bankers, CDO managers and mortgage arbitrage hedge funds were fueling the biggest credit bubble in history.


S&P vs. Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite, January - March 2007.

Financial Links to Close 2012 (Excluding Fiscal Cliff)

***Citi's Matt King Presents: 'The Most Depressing Slide I've Ever Created' (Housing vs. Demographics - must see charts) (Business Insider)***

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

PPI Cliff? Two Signs That Deflation is Far From Over (Elliott Wave International)

Syndicated post by Elliott Wave International

Two Signs That Deflation is Far From Over
A key economic index turns south

By Elliott Wave International

The federal government defines the Producer Price Index (PPI) as "the average change over time in the selling prices received by domestic producers for their output."

With help from the Federal Reserve's massive inflationary policies, the PPI has climbed even as the economy began to fall in 2008-09.

All the while, the financial media persisted with stories of an economic recovery. EWI analysts offer an independent perspective.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Conservation Not Technology Will Be Our Saviour – Chris Martenson Interview (Part 2) - Guest Post

Source: Wikimedia Commons (added to post)
Guest post by James Stafford of Oilprice.com

Conservation Not Technology will be our Saviour – Chris Martenson Interview (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1…

In part 2 of our exclusive interview with Chris Martenson economist and editor of the popular financial website Peak Prosperity Chris talks about:

  • How tight oil is being oversold
  • An idea for solving the storage and Battery problem
  • How price, not technology, has unlocked boom reserves
  • Why it's about conservation now, not new technology
  • Why we should be concerned about another financial meltdown
  • Future opportunities for investors
  • Why exporting natural gas is a terrible idea
  • Why Governments should help renewable Energy innovation
  • Why net energy returns are the MOST important thing

Don't Fall for the Shale Boom Hype - Chris Martenson Interview - Guest Post (Part 1)

Source: Wikimedia Commons (added to post)
Guest post by James Stafford of Oilprice.com

Don't Fall for the Shale Boom Hype - Chris Martenson Interview

We are in the midst of an amazing energy boom, but by sweeping the idea of peak oil under the rug we are ignoring a significant fact: the relationship between hydrocarbon reserves and flow rates are not the same as they used to be—reserves have increased but flow rates are not as high or sustainable.

Perhaps the most important thing we need to pay attention to is net energy returns, on which we run society. Massive new discoveries are only netting a fraction of the returns compared to earlier decades.

While we must proceed into the energy future with caution—and the knowledge that analysts may be overselling the shale boom—there are also, as always, major opportunities in this story and they can be found in the wider trends related to improving energy efficiency.

Looking at our energy future in more detail we were fortunate to speak with the well known economist and author of the Crash Course Chris Martenson. You can find out more about Chris and the Crash course at his website Peak Prosperity.

In part 1 of our exclusive 2 part interview Chris discusses:

  • Why we shouldn't talk about energy independence
  • What the media is failing to report about the “massive” Shale discoveries
  • How oil analysts are getting the economics wrong
  • Why we could see $200 a barrel Oil in the Near Future
  • The relationship between energy and the economy
  • Why peak oil is not a defunct theory
  • Why electric vehicles are the future
  • Why natural gas should be a bridge to a new energy future
  • Why Washington just doesn't get it

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fiscal Cliff: E-Mini S&P Future Crashes But Regains Support Levels After Boehner Cancels Tax Vote

The E-mini S&P 500 March 2013 Future (ESH13) is currently down 1.35% after House Speaker John Boehner called off the "Plan B" vote (legislation that would raise tax rates on those making $1 million+). He didn't have enough support in the House to pass the bill.

The E-mini S&P future initially crashed through its near-term uptrend line and 20 and 50 day moving averages on the news, but quickly regained all of those support levels. The VIX (volatility index) was pricing in this risk during the past week (1, 2). Either way, damage was done to ES tonight. So keep an eye on that uptrend line to see if it holds (watch $SPX, $SPY and ESH13). Congress has 10 days to prevent automatic tax hikes and spending cuts from taking place. If Congress goes over the cliff, it would cause an economy possibly already in a recession to contract even further. That's why the market got spooked tonight.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

House Pulls "Plan B" Vote, "Did Not Have Sufficient Support" (Speaker Boehner)

Here is Speaker Boehner's statement via speaker.gov:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) this evening issued the following statement:

"The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass. Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff. The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation's crippling debt. The Senate must now act."

Uh oh.

The Biggest Stock Market Crashes Occurred Between 1899-1937 and 1987-2010 In Percentage Terms

Anyone find it interesting that no big stock market crashes occurred between 1937 and 1987? This list doesn't include intraday crashes like the May 6, 2010 flash crash, which sent the Dow down 9.2% before closing down only 3.2%. To this day, the Dow's 22.61% loss on October 19, 1987 was the biggest crash ever recorded (going back to 1899 at least). Now I'm going to gather up historical media footage.



Table snapshot via Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_daily_changes_in_the_Dow_Jones_Industrial_Average#Largest_percentage_changes

Junk Bond − S&P Earnings Yield Spread Goes Negative For The First Time Ever!

So will the spread go to -500bps?! Can't happen right?

Go to Business Insider to see the chart http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-important-charts-of-2012-2012-12#david-schawel-portfolio-manager-71.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Boehner: House Will Pass Bill to Avoid Fiscal Cliff; Obama Says They Must Accept Tax Deal (Videos, $SPX $TYX)

No deal yet on the fiscal cliff. President Obama and House Speaker Boehner gave updates in press conferences today (videos below). The House is going to pass a bill tomorrow that will raise tax rates for those making $1 million or more. Obama wants the threshold to be $400,000 or more.

The S&P is currently pricing in a deal taking place, but options traders are hedging crash risk. So, as you can see in the chart, the market is trading in a sideways channel waiting for a catalyst. Today the S&P ($SPX) fell 0.76% to 1435.81, the $VIX spiked 11.5% to 17.36 (testing 200dma), and the 30-year Treasury yield ($TYX) fell 1.06% to 2.98%. $TYX and $SPX are still above their 200 and 50 day moving averages.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012's Top 5 Oil & Gas Plays - #1 Kenya

source: KTN Live
Guest post by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com

2012's Top 5 Oil & Gas Plays

2012 has been a stellar year for oil and gas. From East Africa to North America, new technology, major new discoveries, an unparalleled appetite for exploration and a metamorphosing perception of risk have changed the playing field.

We're looking at potential rather than existing production, and here are our Top 5 picks for this year:

Turkana County, Kenya

We have to start with Kenya, the biggest success story of the year.

Monday, December 17, 2012

ECRI: U.S. In Recession Because Industrial Production, Personal Income and Sales Peaked In July (Chart & More)

source: ECRI
Lakshman Achuthan, co-founder of ECRI, has been getting a lot of heat lately for his July 2012 U.S. recession call. He addressed his haters in a news release on December 7, 2012 (see below). His overall view is that the U.S. is now in a recession because industrial production, personal income, and sales all peaked in July (3 of the 4 "U.S. Coincident Indicators"). Employment kept rising, but he mentioned that sometimes there is employment growth at the beginning of recessions.

Part of the reason why I started this blog was to keep track of guru calls in the media. When looking back at previous posts, Lakshman Achuthan started to make economic slowdown calls in June 2011. But on September 30, 2011, ECRI officially announced that the U.S. was "tipping into recession." When he was interviewed by Aaron Task on Daily Ticker, he said:

"We may be in a recession today already, or it may start in the next month or two. That answer we can have in about a year when the dust settles. When all the GDP revisions are in, and the jobs revisions are in, and sales... All those big numbers get revised so many times. Once they get revised, we'll see, did it start in the 3rd quarter, did it start in the 4th quarter." (Lakshman Achuthan interviewed on Daily Ticker on 9/30/2011)

That never panned out, but Achuthan did "clarify the timing of his call" two months later on Bloomberg TV. He extended his recession call to mid-2012.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hedging Killer Asteroid Risk (Video)

Here is an interesting National Geographic video on killer asteroids. Any way to hedge this risk with asteroid derivatives?

"What's the deadliest threat to humans? An asteroid tearing through space with the explosive power of 100 million mega-tons of TNT."

Friday, December 14, 2012

2013 Market Outlooks

  • Ray Dalio (Bridgewater Associates): The US Economy Is Facing A Rare Set Of Circumstances That Will Be Bad For Markets (Business Insider)
  • Q&A: Goldman's Jan Hatzius Explains The World's Most Important Chart, And His Big Call For The US Economy (Business Insider)
  • Analyst Predictions: Here's Where The Stock Market Is Heading In 2013 (Business Insider)
  • Goldman Sachs Is Predicting A Major Economic Turn To Happen In 2013 (Business Insider)
  • Deutsche Bank: Are Equity Yields A Screaming Buy - Or Reversion To Reality? (Zero Hedge)
  • Goldman's David Kostin: S&P Hits 1575 In 2013, P/E Multiples Expand, Equities Outperform Bonds, High Yield Bonds Look Attractive (CNBC)
  • S&P 500 Will Drop 1.8% to 1,390 in 2013, Wells Fargo Says (Bloomberg)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

$VIX January Calls Are Active (VIX Cash = 16.59)

Here's an update from the OptionMonster Volatility Sonar Report via optionmonster.com. The VIX is currently at 16.59 and bouncing around 3 year lows. The VIX (volatility index) measures the expectation of near-term volatility in the S&P 500 Index via its option prices. So, if I understand this correctly, traders via out-of-the-money VIX calls are buying (or hedging) the expectation of traders pricing in the expectation of higher volatility in the S&P in January.


Fed Announces QE4+, Will Raise Rates When Unemployment Rate Hits 6.5% Or Inflation Rate Hits 2.5% ($SPX Sells Off)

$SPX sold off after QE4+ announcement
The Federal Reserve officially announced QE4+2 yesterday. In addition to asset purchases, the Fed is now tying economic data to the federal funds rate. The FOMC statement said it would consider raising the federal funds rate above 0%-0.25% if the unemployment rate fell to 6.5% or the inflation rate hit 2.5%. During Chairman Bernanke's press conference yesterday (embedded below), he warned about the fiscal cliff and said the Fed didn't have the tools to offset fiscal tightening. Nothing really new.

It looks like traders sold the QE4+ news. The market actually spiked yesterday but closed unchanged/negative. $SPX is down another 0.60% today. Now the market is waiting on a fiscal cliff agreement. $SPX is still above key moving averages but it pierced through the near-term uptrend. Keep an eye on the bull market trend line. Going forward it will be interesting to see how gold, Treasury bonds, the U.S. Dollar and equity indices price in economic growth versus the prospect of tightening. Or if risky assets will even care that much about QE anymore. Are we at the end of the reflation party? And with fiscal tightening coming either way (Ray Dalio yesterday at the DealBook conference), as well as potential volatility ahead for longer-term rates, it seems like we could be in for some surprises soon.

S&P 500 Bull Market Breakdown Watch (Chart) $SPY $SPX

You can see where hedging downside risk probably makes sense in 2013 if the S&P continues to rally here. But if the U.S. goes over the fiscal cliff, watch to see if the uptrend line from the March 2009 low gets tested again. $SPX will need to break through the 50 and 200 day moving averages first. βoo-ya! See this exact chart at stockcharts.com.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oil Prices Could Drop Substantially: An Interview with Michael Levi - Guest Post

Colorful Old Oil Barrels
img: L.C.Nøttaasen/Flickr
Guest post submitted by James Stafford of Oilprice.com

Oil Prices Could Drop Substantially: An Interview with Michael Levi

There's been plenty of talk about potentially radical US foreign policy changes as a result of the shale boom. While one shouldn't expect any dramatic US foreign policy move away from the Middle East, factors are influencing a greater focus on Asia. Only one thing is certain in this transforming world: The shale boom is real and the implications are many and difficult to predict.

In an exclusive interview with Oilprice.com publisher James Stafford, energy security expert Michael Levi, the David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), discusses:

  • Why oil price stability is still all about the Middle East
  • Why the oil and gas industry is heading towards transformation
  • Why oil prices could drop substantially
  • Why the US shale boom is real
  • Why the shale oil boom won't lead to major US foreign policy changes
  • Why Keystone XL is pretty much non-essential
  • Why we won't see any radical change in renewables in the next five years
  • The best way to achieve meaningful results on climate change

Moody's on the 5y5y Forward Breakeven Inflation Rate vs. Treasury Yield Disconnect, High Yield Bonds

According to a chart released by Moody's in their November 29, 2012 Weekly Market Outlook, there is a huge gap between the 10-year Treasury Yield and 5-year 5-year Forward Breakeven Inflation Rate. And they've been diverging since late 2011. So the rates vs. inflation battle should start to get interesting again. Inflation expectations were at 2.91% at the end of November; but, according to Zero Hedge today (pre-FOMC statement), the 5y5y Forward Breakeven Inflation Rate just hit 3.08%, "the highest level in 17 months."

The charts below are from Moody's November 29 Weekly Market Outlook ("Not Only the Fiscal Cliff Threatens Defaults"). They also made an interesting call on high yield bonds and interest rate risk.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

November NFIB Small Business Optimism Index Plunges To Level Not Seen Since April 2010

source: NFIB.com
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index plunged 5.6 points to 87.5 in November, the lowest reading since April 2010 (86.8). It hit 81 in April 2009.

Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB's Chief Economist, said on CNBC today that it's "the tenth worst reading on the index we've had in 37 years. So I think the reason it went down is because people look out into the next 6 months and go you know we are in trouble here."

This is part of the reason why economists expect the Fed to announce QE4 tomorrow (Get Ready For QE4: Fed To Buy $870B More Through 2013, Barclays Says (Forbes); Fed Seen Pumping Up Assets to $4 Trillion in New Buying (Bloomberg)). It also feeds into ECRI's view that a recession started in July 2012. The S&P 500 seems to believe that we'll see a fiscal cliff deal by the end of the year. Watch out for negative catalysts.

Small-Business Owner Confidence Plunges More than Five Points (NFIB press release)

Global Food Price Index at Record High, Compare Against Central Bank Balance Sheets and Total Credit Market Debt/U.S. GDP (Charts)

DoubleLine Capital's Jeff Gundlach put up a chart of the global food price index (via the World Bank) in his presentation slides today (listen to a replay of his webcast here). This seems like a dangerious trend in place. If you put the global food price index up against the sum of major central bank balance sheets and total credit market debt/U.S. GDP, doesn't it seem like something has to give very soon? During the call he had interesting views on the Japanese Yen, NIKKEI 225, Shanghai Index and quantitative easing.

Inside The Meltdown (Video)

This is for the blog archives. Enjoy.

"On Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008, the astonished leadership of the U.S. Congress was told in a private session by the chairman of the Federal Reserve that the American economy was in grave danger of a complete meltdown within a matter of days. "There was literally a pause in that room where the oxygen left," says Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.)."

source: PBS Frontline

Monday, December 10, 2012

Beware of the Fed's Next "Conundrum"; Revisiting Alan Greenspan's 2005 Interest Rate Conundrum

Since TBTF banks and interest rate managers seem to be just gambling on the future direction of yields, inflation, and the economy like it's a game on Zynga, with the Federal Reserve distorting the whole market. Let's revisit February 16, 2005, a better time, when former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan had a serious interest rate "conundrum" on his hands. This conundrum would end up destroying the financial system three years later.

Source: St. Louis Fed

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Peter Schiff vs. Ben Bernanke, Economists and the Media (2005-2009 Epic Fail Videos)

I love watching business TV videos from 2005-2008. Such an epic fail. All of the good ones mostly feature Peter Schiff. Let the five videos load.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

$GRPN Shoots Up 23% on Huge Volume, Lots of Speculation (Chart)

$GRPN rose 23% on Friday on no news. The action started before 11:00am (I randomly tweeted the move I saw), and then it kept spiking on huge volume after 2:00pm.

source: StockCharts.com (GRPN 1-day, 2-minute chart)

My sources say it could be related to short covering, hedge funds buying the stock (Tiger Global Management LLC owned 9.9% as of 11/19/2012), or speculation that it could be a takeout candidate (Google bid $6 billion for Groupon in 2010, so it is now half off). It could also be related to simple price valuation ratios. When $GRPN crashed to a record low of $2.76 on November 11 after missing Q3 earnings estimates, I mentioned that Groupon was almost trading at its cash and book value. Since then it rallied 70% to $4.68, so it was obviously severely oversold at that point. Check out the chart below. It's been building a bullish divergence for a while now.

Friday, December 7, 2012

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.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

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)

source: Zynga.com
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

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

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

Guest post by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com

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.

Monday, December 3, 2012

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).

source: FreeStockCharts.com

Sunday, December 2, 2012

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.