Now that was a crazy week -- up, down, sideways. At least the weather was nice. I am of the belief that the market does have a memory from day to day (trend, persistency, etc.), though the past five days certainly make one wonder.
No matter. Spring has sprung, and with April showers upon us, can May's flowers be very far behind? The temperature is heading to the high 50s and low 60s here in the Northeast -- and we have had a number of gorgeous sunny days -- something that actually has
been shown to matter to traders
. If we can get crude oil to recognize that Old Man Winter has left the building, we may be on to something.
Such are the vagaries of life amongst the green and red ticks. But it's the weekend, and you know what that means: Linkfest!
¿ Despite the run-up in oil and interest rates, the market's had a sizzling first quarter. Barron's points out that (once again) analysts' predictions regarding a rotation into big caps were wrong (If no Barrons sub, go here). ¿ So much for "One and Done": The 15th rate hike of this cycle hit this week, and No. 16 looks assured for May 10. Barron's Mike Santoli ( The Trader column) offers this tidbit, which illustrates the Fed's impact: I'd modify that to point out most of the gains took place before January 2004. ¿ Speaking of the Fed: The real fed funds rate (adjusted for inflation) remains at historically low levels. ¿ Former Fed chair Paul Volcker notes that Bernanke is not inheriting the best of situations. But he's not all serious; it turns out the inflation scourge has quite the sense of humor. The keynote speaker at Grant's Investment Conference, Volcker quipped, "Greenspan gets $500,000 per engagement, and Jim Grant offers me breakfast, which turns out to be coffee and a roll." ¿ On Monday, I discussed my concerns about a market meltup in One More Time? and push out my market topping expectations a few months. For a change, I outline the technically bullish factors as to why this rally might still have further to run. No, I didn't get net long, but I hedged my shorts and covered a few others. The projections I made in December for mid-2006 -- 11,800 on the Dow, and 2600 on the Nasdaq -- are looking increasingly doable. ¿ Top traders made more than $1 billion in '05. Leading the pack: Boone Pickens, who made an estimated $1.5 billion. ¿ There is no escaping real estate. The well-respected economic research firm, ISI Group, looks at the political and economic repercussions of "Housing Bubble Trouble," and asks Have we been living beyond our means?Although I am not in the bubble camp, I do think thatprices could easily "correct" by 15%, 25%, or even 35%, with huge repercussions elsewhere. USA Today expects slowing real estate to ripple through the job market. Foreclosures are up -- Denver market foreclosures increased 31.5% -- but still below record levels. Meanwhile, BusinessWeek cautions all in a recent cover story Buyer (And Seller) Beware. ¿ The New York Times has an unusually rich business section today. Its writers take 60 Minutes to task in Selling Short the Virtues of Short Sellers; defend technical analysis and technicians as "providing a reality check to conventional thinking;" observe that China and U.S. are the world's growth engines (but their markets are laggards); and show how to calculate what to pay for a home. Lastly, the above-the-fold business section cover story -- Some New Math on Homes -- has that uh-oh quality about it: New math rationalizes away fast-rising prices (Sounds vaguely familiar). ¿ This week saw a big rise in patent litigation stories. Check out my Rise of the Pure Patent Business Model, which is based on a Real Money column from 2004. Nathan Myhrvold, who spent 14 years as Microsoft's chief technology officer, is pro-patentholder in Inventors Have Rights, Too! (if no WSJ sub, go here) ¿ Globally, the expansion can be described as lumpy. NYU's Nouriel Roubini asks, Today Iceland: Tomorrow Turkey, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, U.S.? Even Asia-Pacific Economic Growth Slowed in 2005; prospects for this year, however, are positive. ¿ The number of new millionaires reached a record 8.9 million in the US, but 18- to 40-year-olds face what look like increasingly difficult finances. ¿ While the Associated Press notes that the Rise in Consumer Optimism Confounds Analysts, I have a simpler explanation: The measure is from the Conference Board, and therefore, once you wipe the spittle off of it, it's fairly worthless. Stick with the University of Michigan's reading, which has been positive (but less biased). ¿ More Wall of Worry: Forbes suggests that Smart Money Sours On The Market. ¿ Is global warming an investment thesis? Fortune wonders, " Could Global warming melt your portfolio?" There have been lots of stories about the effects of weather change, including Australia getting hit with several big cyclones and a Caribbean Coral Reef Suffers Record Death. Although I usually look at Time magazine covers as contrary indicators, I wonder if its recent cover story, which admonishes us to " Be worried, be very worried" might not be one this time. ¿ Speaking of which: There is a terrific history of crude oil, OPEC, and the oil industry at this UC Davis site. Very informative. ¿ Mark Hulbert is cynical about shareholder democracy. ¿ The whole brouhaha about the Department of Justice's litigation with Google turns out to have been just the tip of the iceberg: The Subpoenas Reach Far Beyond Google. ¿ Some interesting blogs I've stumbled across this week: ¿ Director Peter Bogdanovich writes in the Los Angeles Times that we are Moving Away From the Movie Theater (I've been saying this or a long time). Actually, this is only partially true: Boutique theater chains are doing very well by offering a higher quality experince versus the megaplexes. ¿ Here are the Top 18 Skylines in the World. ¿ Quite simply, the best bumper stickers. ¿ Louis Uchitelle, a reporter at The New York Times, discusses the broader impact of downsizing in The Disposable American: a look at Layoffs and Their Consequences. ¿ A jazz fan friend of mine asked me to note the passing of sax great Jackie McLean this week. He advises checking out Fickle Sonance, Nature Boy, or Montmartre Summit 1973. ¿ Last week's alt country Rabbit Fur Coat by Jenny Lewis shows how stylistically flexible she is; a previous rec for The Postal Service is, despite gorgeous melodies, heavy on Europop synth. Her other other band, Rilo Kiley, is indie rock; try The Execution of All Things or More Adventurous. ¿ The Pretenders have a new box set, Pirate Radio. Why should you care? Their first CD, Pretenders, is not only a seminal and influential rock/punk album, but it's probably the greatest debut album of all time, snarling sexuality the whole way through. If I'm really lucky, the Chrissie Hynde biopic will cast Gina Gershon in the lead. If you weren't alive when Space Invaders was the video game of the moment, go get this disc.
"From the time the present bull market got moving in March 2003, most of its appreciation took place before June 30, 2004, while the Fed was either easing or held rates at 1%. During that span, the S&P's total return was 39%, or a 2.7% monthly average. Since then, the S&P has returned 18%, or about 0.6% a month."
CFO magazine has a new finance blog called Dealbreaker.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has several Blogs.
A new Aplia economic news blog specifically designed for econ students.
Barron's gives the Kirk Report blog a terrific review (if no Barron's go here)
With planting season nearly upon us, its important to remember that a varmint will never quit -- ever. They're like the Viet Cong -- Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on
And that's all she wrote!
Barry Ritholtz is the chief market strategist for Ritholtz Research, an independent institutional research firm, specializing in the analysis of macroeconomic trends and the capital markets. The firm's variant perspectives are applied to the fixed income, equity and commodity markets, both domestically and internationally. Other areas of research coverage also include consumer, real estate, geopolitics, technology and digital media. Ritholtz is also president of Ritholtz Capital Partners (RCP), a New York based hedge fund. RCP is driven by the analysis performed by Ritholtz Research. Ritholtz appreciates your feedback;
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