Does April have ides? I'm not sure. March certainly does, and while April 15 may not forewarn the death of Caesar, it is a day that many taxpayers find similarly ominous (if not quite fatal).
Also ominous this week: a 10-year Treasury note with a 5 handle on it -- something that hasn't occurred since June 2002. Investors may also want to keep an eye on inflation, real estate, gold and energy. A 5% yield on the 10-year may not prove to be a mortal wound, but it is worth paying close attention to.
But enough about the week that was. Let's look at the week that will be: It's earnings season, and for you fundie guys, that means lots of conference calls. Here are a few items to keep you occupied this weekend, and some stuff to read while the analysts are busy congratulating management on a great quarter:
¿ Speaking of taxes, Who Pays, and How Much? Also, Slatediscusses the AMT (it got me too). ¿ Barron's has two editorials this week on inflation. The short version: It's here, and it's undercounted, get used to it. The long version: here and here (if no Barron's sub, go here). ¿ Bloomberg claims the Yield Curve Sent False Alarm. As you might expect, I disagree. ¿ If you look at the economic and market conditions now vs. a few years ago, it's easy to see why equities were so much more attractive when everyone hated them. Is this a case of the "Wall of Worry" -- or is it more like "What, Me Worry?"¿ The Wall Street Journal has a podcast on CEO compensation. ¿ It's time for a quick real estate roundup: ¿ For those of you shopping for home, ignore all of the above: Local Trends Matter Most When Making a Home-Buying Decision. ¿ Interesting Stock Screener from BusinessWeek. ¿ On the one hand, the CXO Advisory Group asks: Can analysts, experts and gurus really give you an investing/trading edge? On the other hand, a Journal of Finance study discovers that some mutual fund stars really can pick stocks. ¿ The New York Times' business blog DealBook has a good piece on David A. Rocker in Profile of a Short Seller. Also amusing: Skilling's Mr. Bill Defense. (If you are too young to know what Oh Noooo! means, go here.) ¿ In a front page story in The New York Times, Major General Paul D. Eaton, General Anthony C. Zinni, Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold, Major General John Batiste, Major General John Riggs and Major General Charles H. Swannack Jr. have all called for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. The President robustly defended Rumsfeld. An uprising of retired generals against a defense secretary is extremely rare. Rummy is a short-timer -- I give him six months and he's gone. ¿ One of the aforementioned military men, Lieutenant General Newbold became, well, newlybold in Why Iraq Was a Mistake. Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal's predictions for Iraq all came true. ¿ Are stocks looking at a perfect seasonal storm?¿ We've now reached the point where the zinc and copper in a penny are worth more than one cent. (Lucky for us there's no inflation.) ¿ A Federal Reserve study considers whether the U.S. economy will decelerate as boomers retire. For hard-core economic wonks: Monetary Central Planning and the State. ¿ Another week where a lot of science news hit: On stem cells, we saw some good news: MS patient 'pain-free' since stem cell therapy. Less good: Singapore is wooing top U.S. stem cell scientists away. ("Singapore's siren song is growing increasingly more irresistible for scientists, especially stem cell researchers who feel stifled by the U.S. government's restrictions on their field.") Also bad: The University of Wisconsin's legal lock on stem cells may be thwarting life-saving research. ¿ Kiplinger advises to avoid these Seven Career Killers. ¿ Plenty of interesting stuff in the world of tech: ¿ Are you Unskilled and Unaware of It? ¿ Ummm, hungry: The World's 50 Best Restaurants. (Note that while the U.S. is considered one region, New York City is considered another.) Here are last year's winners. ¿ I engage in a bit of Media Criticism. ¿ Fascinating new book: Financial Founding Fathers: The Men Who Made America Rich. You can read the first chapter online. Meanwhile, the WSJ claims Alexander Hamilton Is Man of the Hour At Treasury Again. ¿ There's a terrific debut disc from Bitter:Sweet. The Mating Game is a sensually ethereal, retro lounge set of songs. Not your typical electronica, it's lushly melodic and reminiscent of Morcheeba and Zero 7. You can stream most of the album for free here, or download a free MP3 at C/Net Download. ¿ My turnaround time with Netflix is now 2 days. I mailed back Goodnight and Good Luck on Wednesday morning, and Paycheck was delivered home Friday. For those of you who like jazz vocalists, Dianne Reeves is fantastic on the Goodnight and Good Luck soundtrack. ¿ The last two links for the holidays: If you are in San Francisco with nothing to do Sunday, go catch the Big Wheel Race Down Lombard Street. I can't explain why, but it seems that The Easter Bunny Hates You (funny video)
The Wall Street Journal reports that the hottest markets have gone cold (if no WSJ, go here). When to sell an investment property in a cooling market. A new real estate indicator gets noticed. An active loan officer and real estate agent asks What's Next For Highly AppreciatedMarkets. Delinquencies and foreclosures are picking up, with the Midwest getting hit the hardest.
-Jeff Matthews explains why Bill Gates is highly overrated as a technologist -- and makes you laugh doing it -- in Over-Share from Dr. Evil's Hideaway. -It turns out that VCs aren't long-term investors. -The Cato Institute trashes the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as perversely reducing options and competition in the consumer entertainment and digital media space. Meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundaiton looks at the law's unintended consequences. -Last week, I mentioned how unhappy I was with obnoxious Dell preinstalls. A programmer took matters into his own hands: Introducing the Dell De-Crapifier. -The Top 20 Strangest Gadgets and Accessories.
And that's all from New York, where we are expecting 80-degree weather today. That's good for catching some rays -- and generating
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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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