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September 2009

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9

The Truth Behing Zero Hedge's Founder

September 30, 2009 – Comments (4)

New York Magazine recently published an interesting article about the founder of the "Zero Hedge" blog.  Apparently the blog's creator is a 30-year old who was banned from trading securities for insider trading.  [more]

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15

My CIT Group Story

September 30, 2009 – Comments (12) | RELATED TICKERS: CIT

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I dove into the bond market in my personal portfolios at the height of the credit market turmoil with both feet at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009.  As someone who has followed bonds for a number of years, I had never seen anything like the amazing opportunities that I saw then.  Most of the bonds that I purchased were from relatively strong, blue chip companies like JPMorgan Chase, Alcoa, American Express, Corning, etc...    [more]

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7

Fascinating article on Chinese health care

September 30, 2009 – Comments (1)

I've been in a Jim Jubak kick lately.  While I don't always agree with what he has to say, he's a prolific poster on his new blog and he comes up with some interesting stuff.  He made a fascinating post on health care in China yesterday.  

The link that he provided to an article by a person who describes the care that they received when they had surgery there and how the system works alone is worth the price of admission.

I don't have a lot of time to describe the article this morning, but trust me it is definitely worth a read.  

The announcement by the Chinese government earlier this year that it will to spend $124 billion by 2011 to provide some form of health insurance to 90% of the country's population seems something that one might be able to make a profit from, not only by playing things like Chinese companies in the sector but by thinking about the implications of what would happen if the Chinese actually felt better about their country's system and started spending some of the 40% of their income that they currently save.

Health care reform is an even bigger deal in China–and it will change the way to invest in that country  [more]

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33

Has the Permabear's favorite employment statistic already peaked?

September 29, 2009 – Comments (29)

My previous post stating that the United States might return to job creation in April of next year certainly generated quite a bit of discussion.  So I am going to up the ante further with the following statement:  [more]

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27

The U.S. will start adding jobs again, sooner than the doom and gloomers think

September 29, 2009 – Comments (44)

I came across an interesting Jim Jubak post on his new blog this morning titled The economy will start adding jobs again–in April. While I am not sure of the exact month that it will happen, as I noted in a recent post the rate of job losses is slowing (see post: The Jobs Market Continues to Improve).  While I don't personally envision the roaring, V-shaped recovery that some foresee, at some point likely in the first half of 2010 the terrible string of monthly job losses that we have been experiencing for too long will come to an end.   [more]

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16

Japan's Demographic Time Bomb

September 28, 2009 – Comments (11) | RELATED TICKERS: EWJ

Despite all of the euphoria surrounding the recent political party change in Japan, Barron's published an extremely bearish article on Japan in this week's issue. It contained some good data, including the following items:

-  Japan's gross national debt now equals 217% of its GDP, compared with 81.2% for the United States and an average of 72.5% for the G-20 nations.

-  The UN median forecast estimates that Japan's population will fall from its current 127 million to only 101.6 million by the year 2050 (the same forecast has the U.S. population rising from 317 million to 404 million during that period).   [more]

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15

My current favorite sector...health care

September 28, 2009 – Comments (7) | RELATED TICKERS: AZN , BAX , BDX

I often disagree with what Michael Santoli has to say in his weekly Barron's column, so much so that I often wonder why it is so prominently displayed at the front of the magazine.  Having said that, Mr. Santoli's article in this week's issue was outstanding.  I believe that he hit the nail right on the head when he talked about the attractiveness of the health care sector right now.  [more]

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22

Job losses, early retirements hurt Social Security

September 28, 2009 – Comments (22)

Here's a shocker, Social Security is a mess. The government now estimates that it will pay out more than it is collecting in taxes over the next two years.  This is the first time that this has happened since the 1980s. Specifically, the program will run a $10 billion deficit in 2010 and $9 billion in 2011. Tack these on to the already massive federal deficit.  [more]

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27

If doomsday isn't around the corner, what's next?

September 24, 2009 – Comments (16) | RELATED TICKERS: BOOM

   [more]

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8

The Jobs Market Continues to Improve

September 24, 2009 – Comments (6)

Every Thursday morning at 8:30 AM EST the Department of Labor publishes its tally of the weekly jobless claims.  I always listen to the simulcast of the announcement on CNBC on my drive to work with great interest because this number is the closest thing that's out there to a real-time picture of what the jobs market is like.  [more]

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24

Karl Denninger is a joke compared to James Grant

September 23, 2009 – Comments (8)

The error of optimism dies in the crisis, but in dying it gives birth to an error of pessimism. This new error is born not an infant, but a giant.  [more]

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8

Want Dividends? Look Overseas.

September 22, 2009 – Comments (2) | RELATED TICKERS: UL , AZ , BP

This month's Kiplinger's contains an article that's right up my alley, foreign stocks that pay dividends (I love both).  [more]

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30

It's official, September's U.S. light vehicle sales are going to be Terrible...but not for the reason that you think

September 21, 2009 – Comments (21) | RELATED TICKERS: F , TM

After being cautiously optimistic at in a couple of posts over the past two weeks I decided to let my fingers do the walking and run some channel checks on how auto sales are actually going in September.  Doing so too early in the month is usually fairly counterproductive because sales in the auto industry are very back-weighted towards the end of the month for a number of reasons, such as dealers hold off on reporting sales to manufacturers in the hopes that incentive monies will increase, consumers have been trained to wait until the end of the month to get the best deal, etc..., but we're getting close to late enough to get a reasonable assessment of how things are going.  [more]

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10

A hidden potential catalyst that could cause this boring stock to soar

September 21, 2009 – Comments (3) | RELATED TICKERS: VOD , VZ

   [more]

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11

Strong used car sales, a sign of an improving economy and good news for CarMax

September 18, 2009 – Comments (7) | RELATED TICKERS: KMX

As someone who works in the industry and follows it closely, I've never been a big fan of any auto stocks, neither manufacturers nor retailers.  I'm still not, but the following news item that I came across today is good news for auto groups that have large used vehicle operations, like CarMax (KMX) the country's largest used vehicle retailer.  [more]

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21

A Case for Value and Corporate Bonds Over Growth

September 17, 2009 – Comments (4)

I have been very fortunate to have played the recent rally in the stock and bond markets from the long side in all of my personal portfolios.  My CAPS score has taken a beating lately because I am positioned much more conservatively both here and in real life than many of the top players currently are...and I am completely fine with that.  I am not currently and have not been short anything in real-life and I'm short only a handful of stocks in CAPS, so I have escaped all of the punishment that the permabears who put their money where their mouths are have been forced to endure.  [more]

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12

Toyota is getting aggressive. That's great news for Q4 auto sales.

September 17, 2009 – Comments (2) | RELATED TICKERS: TM

Ever since Toyota's dealer meeting in Las Vegas two days ago I have been hearing rumblings about how Toyota was about to get very aggressive with its sales promotions during the fourth quarter.  An article in this morning's WSJ confirms those rumors: Toyota Sets a Big Sales Drive.  [more]

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18

The real meaning of all of those fancy "business" and "finance" terms

September 15, 2009 – Comments (1)

Today's WSJ contained a hilarious dictionary that tells the real, updated meaning of all of those fancy "business" and "finance" terms that we seen throuwn about today.  [more]

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11

The drop in September new vehicle sales will not be as steep as I initially thought it would be

September 11, 2009 – Comments (4)

Well, it looks like I beat the fancy PhDs over at Edmunds.com to the punch again.  Last week (September 4th) I revised by dour forecast for weak September light vehicle sales in the U.S. upward slightly saying the following  [more]

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9

Good news for China and Bad news for Mexico

September 11, 2009 – Comments (2)

I've got good news and bad news.  Which do you want first?  OK, I'll start with the good.  [more]

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25

Gasp, some companies are actually hiring. Here's who.

September 10, 2009 – Comments (13)

The headlines are filled with tales of companies and municipalities that are laying off employees...and rightfully so, the unemployment rate hasn't been this high in a long time and it's still rising (though much more slowly than it had been).  [more]

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22

Depression versus Recession Debate

September 10, 2009 – Comments (8)

For some odd reason I find the semantic debate about whether we are currently in a bad recession or a depression interesting, despite the fact that it really doesn't matter much in the grand scheme of things.  Barry Ritholtz posted some interesting facts, not made up generalizations, today about why the current downturn is not nearly as bad as the Great Depression was.  They included:  [more]

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40

This is NOT the second Great Depression, and no amount of made up figures and false information can change that

September 09, 2009 – Comments (22)

Alsty's recent post stating that the current terrible recession is much worse than the Great Depression was is long on false, misleading statements and short on facts.   [more]

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21

Reducing debt won't be fun, but it's the only way out of this mess

September 08, 2009 – Comments (7)

Everyone and their mother has been talking about how the U.S. consumer is in debt up to their eyeballs and that the savings rate in the United States had fallen to an unsustainably low level.  Well it appears as though this is in the process of changing my friends...at least on the consumer side.  [more]

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26

Still think that this is as bad as the Great Depression

September 08, 2009 – Comments (31)

Many of the fearmongers out there like to compare what we're going through today to what happened during the Great Depression.  Obviously neither they nor myself are old enough to have lived through that horrible period, so I thought that I would share a nice chart that compares what the job losses were like back then to what they are like today:  [more]

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18

Did the government lie about the number of clunkers that were traded in during the CARS program?

September 04, 2009 – Comments (14)

I just came across an interesting article this morning.  Before I post the link I need to preface this by saying that while Edmunds.com sometimes provides accurate, useful information...sometimes they are waaaaay off on their auto sales forecasts, "True Cost of Incentives," and other reports that they publish.  Heck they stated before the whole Cash for Clunkers program that they didn't think that it would have a large impact upon auto sales.  So that's one example of a major mistake that they have made just a couple of months ago.  [more]

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29

News from the 1930s

September 03, 2009 – Comments (14)

I came across an interesting website today called News from 1930.  I wish that there was actual scans of the papers so that we can see if these quotes were really in there, but if tey are real they sure are interesting.    [more]

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13

Response to the challenge of my forecast of 9.5 to 10 million light vehicle sales in the U.S.

September 03, 2009 – Comments (2)

Recently CAPS' resident perma-bear Alsty challenged my auto sales forecast in the comments section of an unrelated post.  Since auto sales don't have anything to do with credit ratings agencies, I decided to break out my response to his challenge of the U.S. light vehicle sales forecast that I made several months ago in a new post.    [more]

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14

Hooray - Ratings Services Lose Free-Speech Bid to Dismiss Investor Suit

September 03, 2009 – Comments (2) | RELATED TICKERS: MCO

Horray for this:  [more]

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28

Straightforward...ahhhh not really

September 02, 2009 – Comments (13) | RELATED TICKERS: A , LLY

OK, something has been bothering me for a couple of weeks now, so I thought that I would get it off of my chest.  I absolutely HATE those ally bank commercials.  You know the ones...they say something like "ally - straightforward."  Here's a couple of examples of the ads before I get to why they're completely absurd:  [more]

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8

Straightforward...ahhhh not really

September 02, 2009 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: A , LLY

OK, something has been bothering me for a couple of weeks now, so I thought that I would get it off of my chest.  I absolutely HATE those ally bank commercials.  You know the ones...they say something like "ally - straightforward."  Here's a couple of examples of the ads before I get to why they're completely absurd:  [more]

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29

An open letter to CNBC's Steve Liesman

September 02, 2009 – Comments (4) | RELATED TICKERS: CN , BC

I am swamped at work today, but I was irritated enough with what I heard on CNBC this morning to quickly blast out the following e-mail to CNBC's "Senior Economics Reporter" Steve Liesman using its general mail system.  If anyone knows how to get his direct e-mail address I will send it there as well:  [more]

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14

Today's Funny Stuff: Darn Programmers and Fake Numbers

September 01, 2009 – Comments (1)

I got a good chuckle out of a couple of things this morning and it's not even 9:30 AM yet.    [more]

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