A Few Flurries

Thu, 2010/01/28 - 12:27pm | Your editor



      Stock trading is screwed up today because of technical problems in the consolidation process at the NYSE. It may be linked to a surprise dump of snow which hit New York this morning. Or not.

      I have no link with Zacks Investment Research Inc., a rigorously independent analysis shop. The momentum investing service in Chicago runs zacks.com which looks for investment surprises. Yesterday Zacks pounded the table that investors should buy one of our longest-time favorite ADR stocks which I am counting on to finance my years on golden pond.

      And it also strongly supported buying Sandisk, a US company, for momentum, despite (or because of) the stock making new highs. I own healthy amounts of SNDK even though it is not an ADR. Read more »

Hong Kong Confirmation

Wed, 2010/01/27 - 6:13pm | Your editor

Today we will get to hear the State of the Union address. The Federal Open Market Committee is meeting, which may be bullish for stocks (a theory of Tom McClellan of mcoscillator.com). The first of the French collections for the summer are being shown in Paris. The World Economic Forum opens in Davos, Switzerland, And it is the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

But the truly big news today in the investing world is that Hong Kong stocks are formally in a correction, having fallen 10%. This is close to the forecast indicator we spoke about yesterday, the performance of China stocks in the first month after the New Year. Read more »

Waiting for the Tiger or the Kittten

Tue, 2010/01/26 - 4:50pm | Your editor

      Reporter Dan Markman e-mailed me:

      “Last March was much more predictive than Jan. for the year's stock market performance. One possibly alarming but significant explanation could be that the first full Chinese month of the New Year is now a more relevant predictor of the years' overall equity performance than the western one. Quite possible, especially when you consider that by far the bulk of trading action is brought about by emerging-market-related transactions.”

      Comments Michael Kurtz (of Macquarie Bank) from Hong Kong: there have been “substantial net redemptions from China-dedicated equity funds, totaling up to 20% of 2009's full-year net subscriptions in just the last four weeks.” Read more »

Chevalier de la Table Ronde

Mon, 2010/01/25 - 1:54pm | Your editor

      There was more from Barrons' Chevaliers de la Table Ronde this week, and it all sounded a bit dated after the huge sell-off. The magazine holds its gabfest over one day (at the Harvard Club no less) but then publishes the text slowly.

      Last week I berated the panel (and moderator Lauren Rublin) for failure to riposte to Marc Faber's stating that the U.S. Government intervenes in stock markets. Given that the panelists apparently did not notice Herr Faber's illusion, I assume they share it. For the record, Washington operates on Wall Street only indirectly, by creating money which boosts liquidity and stock prices. High stock prices are not important to the White House or Capitol Hill. Read more »

Gott oder Der Teufel ist im Detail

Fri, 2010/01/22 - 2:23pm | Your editor

      Gott ist im Detail. Alternatively: der Teufel ist im Detail. Either way, our President cannot stay above the fray. This is not being talked about as the Volcker Plan or Glass-Steagel II. It is the Obama plan.

      The snafu over health-care reform should teach the Obama White House an important lesson: you cannot get coherent legislation without leadership. Now that Paul Volcker has managed to persuade the president to back his proposal to keep FDIC-insured deposit taking banks from risky market bets, and to cut the growth of banks into entities too big to fail, we have to see the White House take the lead in getting effective laws written and passed.


      Leaving the details to be hashed out by Congress is what went wrong with health care reform. It is a bad precedent. Read more »

Don't Eat Em All (Al Capone)

Thu, 2010/01/21 - 2:36pm | Your editor

     With the Chinese Bank Regulatory Commission putting a freeze on new bank loans for the rest of Jan. and a new Boston tea party tossing a local pol into the River Charles, it might not be a good idea to tell readers about how various conspiracy theories don't make sense.

    Rather than trying to run the world, China is deeply concerned that its Q4 growth last year topped 10.7% year over year. The look-back growth rate, after revisions, was 8.7% for the entire year boosted by a 17% rise in retail sales. That, you will recall, was exactly what the doctor ordered with the lag in exports from the global crisis.

    “It will be nice to see an increase in the interest rate ... in China because credit growth in China has been excessive,” NYU Prof. Nouriel Roubini, told Bloomberg reporters in Hong Kong. Read more »

A New Trade

Wed, 2010/01/20 - 5:25pm | Your editor
Yesterday I sent the full newsletter to pre-subscribers in error. They are welcome to read it and ponder what they are missing, which is to say, stock advice and our current performance charts. For Wednesday I will be more careful, in part because I am filing late Tuesday to attend a Dow-Jones indexes session tomorrow morning.
In part because a commissioned article from Hong Kong turned out to be based on wrong information, and in part because I am depressed about the Mass. Senate results, I am not filing a free blog Weds.

We are doing our best to help create the Great Man-Made River with our latest stock pick, a project to move water nearly 100 miles across the desert in Libya. Moammar Qadaffi is a brilliant wordsmith and I admire this project's name and goals. Read more »

Goldman and Goldman

Tue, 2010/01/19 - 6:26pm | Your editor

     A long weekend with the Barron's Roundtable, here summarized: they're all bulls. And they have no idea what makes stock markets go up. They think the US government bought shares on Wall Street and will continue to do so, which is an urban myth. Wall Street went up not because of direct intervention by the government, but because it had created liquidity which flowed into stocks. Anyway, they are all bulls:

      Felix Zulauf (Swiss asset manager): “Cyclical forces are bullish. The market probably has 10% upside from here. My next recommendation is to short government bonds.” Read more »

A Secret Swiss Source Reports

Fri, 2010/01/15 - 6:50pm | Your editor

    For many years I was addicted to reading “Spengler” on Asia Times on-line. This Spengler (ohne Oswald) wrote about the decline of the west with a more modern mordant appeal. He was a strong advocate of Franz Rosenzweig's theological musings, most of which you have to be German Jewish (like me) to appreciate, and even for my ilk it is tough going.

     Last year, Spengler was outed as being in fact David P. Goldman, a harpsichordist and economist who had co-authored a book called “Dope Inc.” for Lyndon LaRouche, the right-wing populist and conspiracy theorist. Goldman had gone to work for First Things, a Catholic monthly, but he continues to put out the occasional Spengler piece. Usually they are opinionated, philosophical, and hysterically funny. He is still strongly promoted as a writer for Asia Times. Read more »

Citi Wins the Race for ADR Data

Wed, 2010/01/13 - 6:42pm | Your editor

      Citigroup won the annual race to see who will get out data on the prior year's depositary receipts market, with a release yesterday. They cheated, since they annualized data running to the end of November 2009.

      Its tallies showed that volume of DR trading fell 7% year over year with most of the fall accounted for by lower trading of Russian dollar-denominated Global Depositary Receipts on the London Stock Exchange.

      Capital raising by new depositary issues went up 16% from 2008 to $15.9 bn, but still not even close to the record-breaking level of $50 bn reached in 2007. China was very active. Read more »