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Archive for December, 2010

Monday – news in review

December 31st, 2010 Admin No comments

Taking it all in, a brief review of the day’s news.

The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq are all up slightly on the day, so far. Nasdaq faring the best with a 1 percent gain at midday.

Asian markets have not fared so well this Monday. Major indexes across Asia were down 2-3 percent on the day, continuing the losses that began late last week.

The Nikkei, Hang Seng, Shanghai Composite, Kospi, and Straights Times indexes have all taken a haircut of more than 2 percent on the day, with the Hang Seng falling 3.7 percent.

Bloomberg reports that commodities are falling on worries over economic growth. There is current weakness in copper, oil, gold, corn, and wheat as the UBS-Bloomberg’s CMCI Index of 26 commodities has declined 1.2 percent on the day.

Still, for many of these individual commodities, the declines seem to represent more of a retreat and consolidation after reaching recent multi-year and record highs. The same is true of the CMCI index, which “touched a record high of 1,250.7118 on Oct. 19″.

For more on the Commodities markets, see this Bloomberg video clip with Sean Corrigan of Diapason Commodities Management, who makes some very interesting and sensible points on the current action in various commodities during a recent TV interview segment.

Trouble in the shipping sector? Bloomberg reports that an influx of newly built crude oil tankers could greatly outpace the increase in oil demand as estimated by the IEA, leading to potential earnings shortfalls and a decline in share prices.

Lower freight rates and higher marine fuel prices are also said to be looming over the supertanker sector. Still, optimists point out that many oil tankers will likely be converted over the near term to haul bulk commodities such as grain, coal, and iron ore. This should ease some of the expected tanker glut.

Scooter Libby sentenced to prison

December 31st, 2010 Admin No comments

White House aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby has been found guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice and sentenced to 30 months in prison for his efforts in stifling a CIA leak investigation.

More from BBC News:

A US judge has sentenced former key White House official Lewis “Scooter” Libby to 30 months in prison.

Libby was found guilty of obstruction of justice and perjury in March over the investigation into the unmasking of CIA officer Valerie Plame.

Libby was the former chief of staff to Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Nobody has ever been charged with the offence of leaking the name of Valerie Plame, whose husband had criticised the war in Iraq.

So Libby takes the fall. Will “Plamegate” ever reach the top of this administration? It looks as though the whole thing might fade out in the dying days of this presidential administration, much like the Iran-Contra scandal of Reagan’s second term.

More on this from BBC in the background article, “Trial reveals White House secrets”.

Julian Robertson: CNBC interview

December 31st, 2010 Admin No comments

Legendary hedge fund (Tiger Management) manager, Julian Robertson sits down with CNBC for an interview on the economy, the US’ financial situation, and his views on investment opportunities.

As most of you who regularly read this blog know, we rarely feature (or discuss) anything shown on CNBC, so if you notice a segment of their programming featured here, you can assume it is worth watching. That’s certainly the case with discussions featuring Julian Robertson, whose past CNBC interviews can be found here.

You can also find more on Robertson in our related articles and posts footer below.

Hat tip to Paul Kedrosky for highlighting this clip.

Related articles and posts:

1. Seasoned investors search for value – Finance Trends.

2. Robertson shifts curve steepeners to curve capsMarketfolly.

3. Profile on Julian RobertsonMarketfolly.

Mr. Rogers says…

December 31st, 2010 Admin No comments

From Bloomberg.com: video of Jim Rogers addressing a London audience on the topic of China’s future growth and rise to power.

Also, Jim gives his outlook on the dollar, stocks and bonds, and commodities.

Quote from Rogers at the opening of this video clip:

“The single best word of advice I can give you is to teach your children and grandchildren Chinese (Mandarin). It’s going to be the most important language in their lifetime”.

Wow. Be sure to watch this clip.

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Market notes – 11/10/08

December 31st, 2010 Admin No comments

Some of the more notable stories and market items of the day.

1. AIG gets $150 billion government bailout; posts huge loss.

2. Obama set to push “big bang” reform package.

3. Hedge fund star Greg Coffey astounds City. (Hat tip: Fintag)

4. Fed reverses itself on promises of transparency.

5. Treasury illegally repeals tax law; a quiet windfall for banks.

6. Bear Stearns risk manager to guard henhouse: Caroline Baum.

7. Meredith Whitney joins FT.com for a video interview.

8. Northern Trust commentary on China’s stimulus package.

Thanks for stopping in. Join us tomorrow, as we discuss the bigger picture of finance blogging and the future of this blog (your input will help us here). See you then!

Features of the week

December 31st, 2010 Admin No comments

Lots of energy related news in this week’s “Features”, and plenty more besides…

1. Oil climbs above $126, as commodities benefit from dollar flight.

2. Putting $120+ oil in perspective: Jim Rogers, Bill Powers, Matt Simmons.

3. (Video) T. Boone Pickens discusses wind power and energy policy during the Milken Institute Global Conference.

4. Citigroup (NYSE:C) plans to shed $400 billion in assets as part of Vikram Pandit’s rebuilding plan.

5. Uh oh: Zimbabwe bank officials now praising our officials.

6. FT correspondent Jack Fairweather describes changing perspectives in Iraq.

7. Post-election violence in Zimbabwe escalates.

8. Tea with Greenspan down 65%, and other casualties of a weak economy.

9. “Why not let the markets set prices?”, asks Peter Schiff.

10. Mish on tax rebates and “economic stimulus nonsense”.

Advisor turnover roils investors

December 31st, 2010 Admin No comments

Article from todays Wall St. Journal on choosing a financial planner. Plus, what to do in the event that your current financial planner retires or sells his business to a larger company.

From , “Advisor turnover roils investors”.

When Jerry Roberts got news that his longtime financial planner was retiring and selling his practice to a larger company, “it was very unnerving.”

“I very carefully chose my original planner,” a sole practitioner in the Robertses’ hometown of Indianapolis. “I was cognizant of his investment philosophy, his range of capabilities, and his past experience. I didn’t know anything about the new firm coming on,” says Mr. Roberts, a 64-year-old retired bank officer.

Like the Robertses, a growing number of people who have spent years building a relationship with a trusted financial adviser are having to start over again with someone new. Planners are getting older — the average age is 55, and nearly a third are over 60 — and they are retiring at an accelerating pace, often without a specific succession plan in place. That in turn is helping to fuel a wave of consolidation in the industry, as big financial-advisory firms and banks, including Wachovia Corp., Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna Bancshares Inc. and Alabama’s Compass Bancshares Inc., seek to control a larger share of Americans’ retirement assets.

Read the whole article at the link above. Not just for those whose planners are moving on; there are tips in there for anyone who’s shopping around for a financial planner.

Skaters ride the California foreclosure wave

December 31st, 2010 Admin No comments

It seems California skateboarders are once again taking advantage of a rare window of opportunity.

Thanks to the recent wave of house foreclosures, many California homes have been abandoned, leaving backyard pools neglected and open for (pool-riding) business.

Area skateboarders have been quick to scour their neighborhoods for empty backyard pools, just as their predecessors did during the mid-1970s drought. Only this time, they’re locating pools with a little help from realty tracking websites like realtor.com.

Excerpt from, “Skaters jump in as foreclosures drain the pool”:

“…On a recent morning, a 27-year-old skateboarder who goes by the name Josh Peacock peered into a swimming pool in Fresno, Calif., emptied by his own hands — and the foreclosure crisis — and flashed a smile as wide as a half-pipe.

“We have more pools than we know what to do with,” said Mr. Peacock, who lives in Fresno, the Central Valley city where thousands of homes, many with pools behind them, are in foreclosure. “I can’t even keep track of them all anymore.”

Across the nation, the ultimate symbol of suburban success has become one more reminder of the economic meltdown, with builders going under, pools going to seed and skaters finding a surplus of deserted pools in which to perfect their acrobatic aerials.”

Cali-style pool-riding is back, and this time it’s an international phenomenon. According to the New York Times article, skaters are dropping in from as far away as Germany and Australia to ride the empty pools.

Which makes sense, given the thrills of pool-riding and the legends that have since grown up around the style’s early practioners. Maybe today’s skaters hope to share in the excitement of a movement chronicled in old skateboarder magazines and in documentaries such as Dogtown and Z-Boys.

Plus, at least some skaters seem to have an understanding of the easy money policies that helped fuel the real estate bubble and its eventual collapse. You gotta love this line taken from the Times article: “God bless Greenspan, patron saint of pool skatin’.”

Features of the Week

December 31st, 2010 Admin No comments

All the news that’s fit to print in our weekly review of the markets and cultural scene. Set a spell and enjoy our, “Features of the Week”.

1. Why jobs have gone AWOL: Michael Pento on our structural unemployment problem – FSO.

2. Living history in Nantucket – WSJ.com

3. Grim voter mood turns grimmer on economy & war – WSJ.com

4. Doug Wakefield on the efficient wealth transfer – Safehaven.

5. The Point of Collapse: Keith McCullough on QE2 & QE3 – Hedgeye.

6. Psychological aspects of buying the bottom – Charts Gone Wild.

7. The mathematics of the short side don’t require one to catch the top of rallies in order to make money – Smart Money Tracker.

8. As HFT continues to speed up, I look for ways to slow down – Chicago Sean.

Paul Van Eeden interview

December 31st, 2010 Admin No comments

Note: Please see our post update regarding interview links.

Over the weekend I watched an hour long interview with investor Paul Van Eeden on Robtv. If you are interested in catching Paul’s views on gold, junior mining shares and the outlook for companies in the commodities sector, I would definitely recommend watching it.

Speaking of which, you might also want to catch Marc Faber’s segment from last Friday. While giving a brief example of the effects hyperinflation might have on certain asset classes, he elicits an “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” reaction from anchor Jim O’Connell. While I’m almost certain it was a staged response, I was delighted nonetheless.

Update: The March 2006 interview clip has been found and re-added to this post. See our most recent Paul van Eeden interview clips post and search the blog for more content.

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