When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? -- John Maynard Keynes

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Greenspan: We Don't Know How Fed Policies Will Work (video)

Greenspan: We Don't Know How Fed Policies Will Work: Video - Bloomberg:
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Former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan discusses central banks' [Federal Reserve] monetary policies on “In The Loop.” (Source: Bloomberg July 30)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Boom Bust Trap, Financial Meltdown on Horizon?

Boom Bust Trap -- 

Another financial meltdown on the horizon? | TheHill: "And you thought that last global financial crisis was bad. A report issued on Sunday by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) warns that policymakers have failed to address the root problems that caused the 2007-2008 financial meltdown. Instead of taking a long-term perspective aimed at increasing real economic productivity and output — the kind that actually benefits people by raising living standards — government officials have sought to pump up the numbers through monetary and fiscal stimulus. As a result, we now have an alarming disconnect between the performance of global equity markets, which are booming, and an underlying world economy that is merely limping along. While major stock exchanges around the world have experienced spectacular returns — Standard & Poor's 500 Index went up 30 percent last year — real-world economic growth came in at a meager 3 percent for the first quarter of 2014... When the BIS chastises policymakers for masking structural deficiencies and long-run misallocations of economic resources by resorting to the quick monetary fixes of quantitative easing and zero-interest rates — well, it should get their attention. And when the report suggests that short-term policy responses to the last crisis may be "creating a bigger one down the road," the red lights should start flashing...." (read more at link above)


Monday, July 28, 2014

Innovation, Frugality, Non-consensus View, Things Learned from Jeff Bezos

A Dozen Things I have Learned from Jeff Bezos | 25iq: "....“I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate.” You can’t outperform the market if you are the market.  Similarly, you must adopt a non-consensus view and be right about that view to beat competitors... “I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.” More money often equals more problems. Companies with too much money are often less rather than more innovative. A quote much used by venture capitalists and entrepreneurs comes to mind here: “We have no money, so we must think!”" (read more at link above)


Sunday, July 27, 2014

The States People Are Fleeing In 2014

Moving Out - The top outbound states for 2013 were:

New Jersey
New York
West Virginia
New Mexico

The States People Are Fleeing In 2014: "Illinois, No. 2 on the list, with 61% more people moving out than in, has a depressing story to tell. Stoll says that over time the state has lost a third of its manufacturing jobs and a quarter of its jobs in construction, and a significant proportion of its unemployed have been out of work for the long term, so the real employment rate there is much higher than the relatively high official figure of 8.9% rate suggests. The Labor Department stops counting people as unemployed when they have given up looking for work or they take a part-time job that doesn’t pay the rent."

So where is everybody going?
The top inbound states of 2013 were:
South Carolina
North Carolina
District of Columbia
South Dakota

more info: http://www.unitedvanlines.com/mover/united-newsroom/press-releases/2014/2013-united-van-lines-migration-study.htm


Friday, July 25, 2014

Financial Crisis, Tim Geithner, Barack Obama, Congress - Paul Krugman: "we failed, badly"

Forget the book -- read the review (excerpt below):

Does He Pass the Test? by Paul Krugman | The New York Review of Books: ".... the victory over financial crisis looks awfully Pyrrhic. Before the crisis, most analysts expected the US economy to keep growing at around 2.5 percent per year; in fact it has barely managed 1 percent, so that our annual national income at this point is around $1.7 trillion less than expected. Headline unemployment is down, but that’s largely because many workers, despairing of ever finding a job, have stopped looking. Median family income is still far below its pre-crisis level. And there’s a growing consensus among economists that much of the damage to the economy is permanent, that we’ll never get back to our old path of growth... Whatever Geithner may say, it’s clear that a lot more could also have been done to reduce the burden of mortgage debt. Yet we didn’t do what needed to be done... We can argue about how much of the blame rests with the Obama team... But the overall grade seems clear. We didn’t pass the test—we failed, badly."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Internet Tax Moratorium, Internet Freedom, Internet Tax Freedom Act

Internet Freedom Lives - WSJ: "... House leaders should aim for an immediate floor vote. The bill, authored by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) and co-sponsored by 138 Republicans and 76 Democrats, would permanently extend the Internet tax moratorium. This successful law, in place since 1998, doesn't ban sales taxes but simply prohibits multiple and discriminatory taxes online. This means that America's more than 9,600 state and local tax collectors can't create Internet-only taxes that don't exist off-line. The law has prevented new taxes on Internet access services and email and thus has allowed Web commerce to serve consumers with innovation. Some in Congress wanted to hold the Tax Freedom Act hostage to a separate bill imposing state sales tax collection burdens on Internet sellers, but economic wisdom seems to have prevailed in the House. The law is due to expire on Nov. 1, and a quick vote in the House will help encourage the Senate to do the same. Lawmakers should serve online consumers before serving themselves during the August recess. More than 200 million Americans use the Internet, and very few want to be hit with new taxes on their monthly Internet access bills. And very few would look kindly on politicians responsible for such a preventable mess...."

more info: Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 3086) - GovTrack.us


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Federal Email Systems Should Be on Gmail and Google Apps

Unbelievable email system at IRS -- sounds like something circa 1999! --

 Sources: Lois Lerner’s emails likely gone forever - Rachael Bade - POLITICO.com: "A high-level administration official called our cellphone to say that, based on his own exasperating experience, Lois Lerner's IRS emails might really be unrecoverable. Demanding anonymity, the official said he had been trying to assemble an archive of his own email while in government, but underlings told him there were gaps of months at a time. When we asked what the excuse was, he said: "I can't get a straight answer. You know the bureaucracy." We told him that if he'd document his experience and email it to us, we'd print it. Recoiling, he said there was no way to write such a thing in an email because of "the climate." We told him to just send it from his personal email. "I can't do THAT!" he replied. "Gmail really IS forever."--"Lerner's emails likely gone forever," by Rachael Bade, with Brian Faler: "Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner's crashed hard drive has been recycled ... 'We've been informed that the hard drive has been thrown away,' Sen. Orrin Hatch ... said.""


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How to Turn Your Closet Into Cash (video)

How to Turn Your Closet Into Cash: Video - Bloomberg:
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How to Turn Your Closet Into Cash (video)
Poshmark CEO Manish Chandra explains how the company can help you turn what's in your closet into cash. He speaks with Matt Miller on "Bottom Line." (Source: Bloomberg June 27)

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Vacation is a Luxury Most Americans Can Not Afford

Taken a vacation lately?

The jobs report knows: Americans aren't planning to take a summer vacation | Money | theguardian.com: "With just 15% of Americans planning to take an actual vacation, hiring at US hotels and restaurant slows compared with last year"

A vacation is a luxury most Americans can not afford.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hedge Funds, Managers, Career Risk, Market Beta

There's a drift toward market beta happening across the $2.7 trillion hedge fund industry. No one should be surprised. Because the single most powerful, overriding force in finance is neither fear nor greed, it’s career risk -- the cumulative annualized growth rate for the S&P 500 over the last three calendar years has been an astonishing 16 percent. That means a million dollars invested in the market on January 1st 2010 and left in through the end of 2013 is now worth almost $2 million.

What’s a hedge fund manager to do? | The Reformed Broker: ".... if you don’t play, can you keep your assets and clients? Maybe for a little while, but each passing month it gets harder. You can stick to your guns and continue to fight – as Seth Klarman is doing with a 50% cash position - or you can simply hang ‘em up like Stanley Druckenmiller.... so-called “investors”… Most of them only like the idea of non-correlation, but can’t stand the actual sight of it when the bulls are fornicating on the corner of Wall and Broad...." (read more at the link above)


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Global Economic Crisis, Are We In Trouble?

Increasingly, "yes" is the answer heard -- "A gradual tightening of fiscal policy and structural reforms are desirable to restore fiscal space depleted by the 2008 financial crisis. In brief, now is the time to prepare for the next crisis." -- Kaushik Basu, the World Bank Senior Vice President and Chief Economist

18 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is Accelerating As We Enter The Last Half Of 2014 Washington's Blog: "... Most Americans tend to only care about what is happening in the United States, but the truth is that serious economic trouble is erupting in South America, all across Europe and in Asian powerhouses such as China and Japan.  And the endless conflicts in the Middle East could erupt into a major regional war at just about any time.  We live in a world that is becoming increasingly unstable, and people need to understand that the period of relative stability that we are enjoying right now is extremely vulnerable and will not last long.  The following are 18 signs that the global economic crisis is accelerating as we enter the last half of 2014…" (read more at link above)


Friday, July 18, 2014

IMF slashes estimate for US economic growth in 2014

IMF slashes estimate for US economic growth in 2014 | Business | The Guardian: "The IMF believes the US also needs to do more to mitigate the impact of its ageing population and to stimulate productivity. The best option would be for government to boost spending, notably on infrastructure, the IMF said. "But, regrettably, political agreement on such an approach remains elusive," the fund said. The IMF also warned that while financial markets appeared relatively stable, the long period of low interest rates had increased the chances of a new financial crisis emerging."


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Economy, Recession, Unemployment

The Nation’s Economy, This Side of the Recession - NYTimes.com: "In the five years since the United States began its slow climb out of the deepest recession since the 1930s, the job market has undergone a substantial makeover. The middle class has lost ground as the greatest gains have occurred at the top and bottom of the pay scale, leaving even many working Americans living in poverty. The housing industry, once the primary engine of growth and a fountain of jobs, has shrunk, while health care, technology and energy have led the recovery...."


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hillary Clinton juggernaut to the White House in 2016 unstoppable?

What could sink the Hillary Clinton juggernaut to the White House in 2016? This one is not hard to figure out -- and it has everything to do with ego, greed, and everything repugnant about our current political "pay to play" culture --

Chelsea, the Clintons, and the Foundation:
As the 34-year-old tries to wean some of the cronies from the Clinton Foundation — which is, like the Clintons themselves, well-intended, wasteful and disorganized — Chelsea is making speeches that go into foundation coffers. She is commanding, as The Times’s Amy Chozick reported, up to $75,000 per appearance. (source: Maureen Dowd in the New York Times, infra)

Isn’t It Rich? - NYTimes.com: "“It is troubling when corporate donors give to political charities with a more or less obvious expectation that softer and gentler treatment will ensue in the future. It is also troubling when some of the payers are public or nonprofit entities themselves such as colleges and universities, converting taxpayer funds and tax-exempt donations into signals that could end up in positive treatment when these institutions are themselves seeking access and favors, even if it is only a good word put in by one of the Clintons to a federal agency providing funding or to a regulator who might be taking a critical look at university tuitions and endowment payouts.”" (read more here)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Google, Eric Schmidt, Cuba, Internet Freedom

Google's Eric Schmidt Went to Cuba for Internet Freedom Visit - US News: "Google has been a voice for greater Internet openness in nations with strict laws on digital speech, in part hoping for more Internet users to become customers of their online suites of products. Schmidt also visited Myanmar in 2013 to discuss Internet freedom after that nation enacted free speech reforms after decades of military dictatorship... " (read more at link above)


Monday, July 14, 2014

Barrick Discovers Hidden Gold Treasures in Nevada (video)

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Barrick Discovers Hidden Gold Treasures in Nevada: Video - Bloomberg:  Rob Krcmarov, senior vice president for global exploration at Barrick Gold Corp., talks with Bloomberg's Liezel Hill about the company's 15.6 million-ounce Goldrush gold deposit in Nevada. Even after a century and a half of exploration and mining, Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining Corp. say there's plenty of hidden gold still to uncover in Nevada. (Source: Bloomberg June 18)


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cynk Technology, Markets, Suckers, Irrational Exuberance (video)

Video - SEC Temporarily Suspends Trading in Cynk Technology - WSJ.com:

“The suckers are out there,” he added. “Who knows how garbage like Cynk gets going? Once people start buying it, the irrational exuberance mentality builds on itself. Soon people bid it up simply because they think the stock will go up, which in turn causes more people to buy…which in turn causes the stock to go up.” No, Cync’s trading isn’t the sign of a market bubble. Instead it’s the product of some “potentially manipulative transactions” focused on one stock rather than the broad market. Sure, it’s crazy and it doesn’t make much sense. But that, in itself, offers an important reminder of how the market can work. “Remember, there are lots of finance professors today who tell us how efficient the market is, who say that the market is rational and that it’s impossible for an investor to beat the market over the long haul. Please. The market is made of humans, and it has all our virtues and vices,” Mr. Elfenbein says. “The rally in Cynk Technologies is a perfect example.”

Source: WSJ - http://on.wsj.com/W3NNwM


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cynk Technology -- Yeah Markets are Rational, LOL! (video)

Here’s Why Cynk Technology Is Up 36,000%: Video - Bloomberg:
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The financial world has become obsessed with Cynk Technology, a stock that sold for a few pennies for most of its existence before exploding more than 36,000 percent to give it a market value exceeding $6 billion. Julie Hyman reports on “Big Number” on “In The Loop.” (Source: Bloomberg July 11, 2014)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Decoded Bond Secrets, Memphis Firm Mystifying Wall Street

How Memphis Firm Decoded Bond Secrets Mystifying Wall Street - Bloomberg: "....Traders are finding it too expensive to keep betting against bonds, forcing them to buy the securities to exit their so-called short positions, said Jim Bianco, president of Bianco Research LLC in Chicago. He said he expects 10-year yields to fall to 2.25 percent this year. “The relationship between nominal growth and interest rates is not as strong as they think it is,” Bianco said in a June 25 telephone interview. “If you want a fundamental reason for the squeeze, the growth is not there. If rates go to 3.5 percent, every single person makes money on it except Chris Low and me, because we’re the only ones who are bullish on the market.”" (read more at link above)


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio Coming July 12

"Masters in Business is half radio, half podcast. It is a weekly one-on-one interview, broadcast (repeatedly) each weekend. The first half of it is an hour of radio (about 32 minutes of record time in 4 segments). But the second half has no time restrictions at all... Doubleline’s Jeff Gundlach tells wonderful stories in great details about his early days as a bond manager that are fabulous. Jim Chanos, Kynikos fund manager and wonderful raconteur, regaled us for hours with all great stuff. Former SEC Chair Arthur Levitt, Jr. is sharper at 83 then most of us ever were on our best day — and may just well be the finest Human Being I have ever met in my life.... My goal is to speak to the 100+ most influential and important minds in finance over the next two years." (source infra)

Coming July 12: Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio | Barry Ritholtz - The Big Picture: "Our first 10 shows are now recorded and scheduled, and should broadcast as follows:

1.  Jeff Gundlach, Doubleline (July 12)
2.  Rob Arnott, Research Affiliates (July 19)
3. Arthur Levitt, SEC Chairman (July 26)
4. Michael Mauboussin, Credit Suisse, Columbia U (August 2)
5. Jack Brennan, Vanguard Chairman & CEO  (August 9)
6. Jim Chanos, Kynikos (August 16)
7. Sheila Bair, FDIC Chairman (August 23)
8. James O’Shaugnessy, OSAM  (August 30)
9. David Rosenberg, Merrill Lynch, GS, (September 6)
10. Larry Swedroe, Buckingham Asset Management  (September 13)"

One hour broadcast on Bloomberg Radio (you can stream it from Bloomberg.com, SoundCloud, the Bloomberg terminal).


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Obamacare, Health Insurers Getting Richer

An Obamacare bailout? Insurers already got one!—politics—Commentary: "...In other words, your health-insurance company is getting richer and it's jacking up rates because it can. Obamacare doesn't stop it. Wall Street is encouraging it. And there's nothing you can do about it. This doesn't look good for President Obama, who frequently cited soaring insurance costs when selling and defending his health plan across the country. And it also makes Republicans look a bit foolish for continuing to warn everyone about a looming bailout for insurance companies hidden somewhere in the pages of the ACA. It turns out the whole law is a bailout or boost, call it whatever you like, for the health insurers. They're doing fine and will continue to do fine...."

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Chicago Gun Violence, Part III -- Fourth of July in the Windy City

Chicago Gun Violence, Part III -- on the Fourth of July Weekend Holiday in Obama's Hometown --

82 shot, 14 fatally, over holiday weekend in Chicago - CBS News: ".... As of early Monday morning, the station reports no one was in custody for any of the weekend shootings."

And did Obama Have Anything to Say?

Silence. Denial. Failed Leadership.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Shootings, Killings, an "Everyday Normal Thing" in Chicago

How do you change sick people and a sick culture and a sick city? Or is Chicago just another Detroit?

Chicago - 13 shot as holiday weekend begins: 'It's like an everyday normal thing' - chicagotribune.com: "....A teen at the scene, whose mother did not want him identified, said he saw a woman slumped over on the porch after he heard what sounded like fireworks. "I think it was like 10 or 8 shots," he said. "They told me, 'Run!' So we ran." The mother of the boy, Andrea Byes, said she is planning to move out of the two-flat where she lives with her children because of the violence, drug sales and loitering on the block. "I'm not surprised something like this happened," said Byes, 40. "It was a matter of time. They're all over everywhere. . .These people are used to it. It's like an everyday normal thing, and it's sad that these children have to grow up thinking it's an everyday normal thing." Another shooting overnight left one dead and one wounded in West Englewood. The two were hit when someone fired from inside or near a black car about 2:40 a.m. Friday in a stripmall at 63rd Street and Damen Avenue...."

Happy Fourth of July?


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Government Pension Funds, Addicted to Risk

Pensions vulnerable, another Fed created problem --

Why Government Pension Funds Became Addicted to Risk - NYTimes.com: "... Plunging returns on safe investments over the last few years are a sign of broadly increased investment risk and tepid prospects for economic growth. It won’t be impossible for pension funds to meet a return target of 7 to 8 percent in that environment, but doing so will involve taking on a lot of risk — which means the next stock market crash is likely to also bring another round of exacerbated state fiscal crises and cuts to pension benefits. It’s the way we’re paying for what looks like a free lunch of high investment returns on stocks. A return to boring pension funds that invest mostly in bonds would make the cost of pensions explicit and upfront, and would not subject governments to pension crises when the economy goes bad."


Friday, July 4, 2014

VA Corrosive Culture, Failures in Health Care

Corrosive culture, bad management --

'Corrosive culture' at VA has led to significant failures in health care, White House review finds | Fox News
One VA audit found that 10 percent of veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals and clinics have to wait at least 30 days for an appointment. More than 56,000 veterans have had to wait at least three months for initial appointments, the report said, and an additional 46,000 veterans who asked for appointments over the past decade never got them. This week, the independent Office of Special Counsel concluded there was "a troubling pattern of deficient patient care" at the Veterans Affairs that VA officials downplayed.  Among the findings were canceled appointments with no follow up, contaminated drinking water and improper handling of surgical equipment. (read more at link above)


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Private Island in Florida Keys for $110M (video)

Listed: Buy a Private Island in FL Keys for $110M: Video - Bloomberg:
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Private Island in Florida Keys for $110M (video)
LI$TED takes a look at some of the most exclusive real estate available on the market. The most expensive private island is for sale in the Florida Keys and it's just a quick helicopter ride from Miami. Bloomberg looks at what you get for the $110 million asking price. (Source: Bloomberg June 27)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fed Is Wrong Everytime on Growth Forecasts (Kumar video)

Fed Is Wrong Everytime on Growth Forecasts: Kumar: Video - Bloomberg:
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Sri Kumar, founder and president at Sri-Kumar Global Strategies, examines comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen on interest rates and modest growth for the United States, why he believes the Fed will be better off ending quantitative easing sooner than later and how current conditions mirror risks prior to the financial crisis. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg Surveillance.”


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Offshore Cash of $2 Trillion, the Hunt for Tax-Friendly Deals

Follow the money --

Offshore Cash of $2 Trillion Sparks Hunt for Tax-Friendly Deals - Bloomberg: "Takeovers by U.S. companies of targets in low-tax environments -- those with a corporate tax rate of below 20 percent -- have doubled in proportion to all overseas deals, according to data compiled by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts. The desire for such an arrangement, known as a tax inversion, is a factor in Medtronic Inc. (MDT)’s $42.9 billion purchase of Covidien Plc (COV) and Pfizer Inc. (PFE)’s more than $100 billion effort to buy AstraZeneca Plc. (AZN)"

The Big Picture

Financial Crisis - The Telegraph

JohnTheCrowd.com | The Sailing Website

Craig Newmark - craigconnects