Good Saturday morning! Is it just me, or does it seem like each succeeding week has been wackier than the last? We started with Bartiromo-gate and ended with a rally driven by the nonfarm payroll report that had the Dow closing in on all-time highs.
That's now in the history book. Before the next
, we have lots of links to review and a hot week coming up, so lets get busy:
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¿ The big confab in Omaha is this weekend, and Buffett shareholders from all over will converge for the annual meeting/lovefest. Some good reading always comes out of these gatherings. You can see the homespun wisdom of the world's second wealthiest man in Buffett's past letters to shareholders. Whitney Tilson edits that down to a more managable Sayings of Chairman Buffett (PDF). Last night, Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) dropped 4 large on an an Israeli firm that makes metal-cutting tools. Some, however, keep harping that Buffett's Batting Average Is Sinking. ¿ Cody and I have disagreed on the merits of big-cap tech. Here are two different but related views: ¿ The Wall Street Journal (free online this week) reports that "the nation's obsession with real estate shows no signs of abating" ( House Voyeurs, Click Here). The Journal mentions a couple of sites that provide the actual sales prices of homes ( Real Estate ABC, and Zillow), something you used to have to trek down to the county commisioner's office for. ¿ Elsewhere, this looks like the week the wheels came off the housing bus. The leading subprime mortgage broker, Ameriquest, laid off 3,800 Workers and closed 229 offices. (The company's founder is the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands.) Smaller lender Merit Financial laid off nearly its entire staff. Meanwhile, home refinancers are increasingly pulling equity out -- and at much greater rates than before. ¿ The builders are having a rough go of it, too. Toll Brothers (TOL) - Get Report stock has been cut in half since its peak last July. The company lowered 2006 forecasts for the third time. Other home builders have also noted a slowdown. That's no surprise, given all the inventory building up -- particularly in previously hot markets like Las Vegas, Boston, Florida and Denver. ¿ All is not lost, however: CNN notes that the key is the jobs market -- as long as it stays healthy, housing can avoid an implosion. ¿ Bloomberg's John Berry holds Maria Bartiromo's feet to the fire over Ben Bernanke. ¿ Energy continues to be a wonder, as crude rallied, then plummeted below $70 and finished the week just above that level. Wondering abounds: The Washington Post wonders How We Got to $3 a Gallon; Slate's Dan Gross wonders How dumb does Big Oil think you are?; Some of the peak-oil folks wonder if we are at the cusp of a collapse in supply; and I wonder whether we will turn into a HybriBioFuelCellNation. ¿ While everyone is rooting for a "one and done" scenario, history suggest it may more likely be One & Undone. ¿ This was a terrific week -- not just for market performance, but for some very interesting commentary: ¿ In addition, it was a booming week for Contrary Indicators. Two of the Street's biggest bears got bullish: Merrill Lynch's Richard Bernstein increased his equity exposure, while Morgan Stanley's Roach Turns More Positive About Global. Bloomberg's Caroline Baum notes the loneliness of those forecasters who are expecting a slowdown (present company included). Morningstar explains Why Popular Stocks Are a Sucker's Bet. ¿ There's plenty of interesting news out of Asia. India is on the road to a transport revolution. The FT has a good roundup up of all things China. If you're curious as to the true state of what's going on behind the scenes in Asia, then this is for you: China Uncensored. I was surprised to learn that China bad loans may reach total of $900bn. I continue to like Malaysia and Taiwan. Why? Because these are Boom times at China's factories. ¿ Interest rates and inflation were big news this week also, with the 10-year yield and gold hitting record levels. We saw: ¿ Rising Inflation is a Bigger Tax Bite than Oil. As I am fond of saying, except for everything going up in price, there is no inflation. If you want to know how the Fed looks at inflation, see Inflation Expectations: How the Market Speaks and ( PDF). ¿ Jeff Matthews writes that a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Unlimited Productivity...¿ We prefer to avoid discussing politics, but these articles were genuinely surprising: ¿ Smackdown! Michael Milken vs Jeremy Siegel. ¿ The new Apple iMac ads are a hoot, especially the one about viruses, and the one about restarting.
¿ Top Ten List of Top Ten Lies Lists (amusing) ¿ Fast cars: A friend emails, "I know you are a car buff, yet I never see you point to auto-related items in the linkfest." Okay, you asked for it: ¿ Top 10 Reasons You Know You Watch Too Much CNBC. ¿ I've mentioned Jack Johnson before. If you like his laid back surfer style of acoustic guitar, then definitely check out Donavon Frankenreiter. His eponymous album has been out for about a year, and he has a new disc scheduled for release in June. ¿ I've also been really enjoying James Hunter's People Gonna Talk. Van Morrison calls him "the best voice and best-kept secret in British R&B and soul." Very retro, very cool. If you like motown or 50's R&B, then run, don't walk to get this. ¿ The trailer for MI3 looks pretty cool. How is it that, after all these years, I still can't help but hum along to the theme from Mission Impossible? ¿ Pixar is now a division of Disney. In case you missed it, the trailer for Cars.
- What Will the Stock Market Return over the next 10 Years?
- Marketwatch's David Callaway explains Why stocks will continue to stay hot.
- Fidelity offers this advice on 10 Smart Selling Strategies.
- Ticker Sense shows How This Recovery Stacks Up (in 3 parts).
- University of Chicago Professor Charles Wheelan (author of Naked Economics) sets out to debunk one of the worst ideas in economics: the Laffer Curve.
- Brett Steenbarger explains How Professional Traders Differ From Amateurs.
- Ned Davis and Miller Tabak offer the Bear Necessities.
- The Truth on the market blog points us to this paper on The Effect of Stock Spam on Financial Markets.
- Google Video offers us a history of Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve.
- Nasdaqtrader provides a video History of The Stock Market in six parts.
- Bloomberg's Chet Currier projects current trends to "infinity and beyond" in What Stocks Need for a 20 Percent Gain This Year.
- The President's polling numbers are down because of conservatives.
- The former chief investment strategist at Donaldson, Lufkin, & Jenrette says Iraq is on the brink.
- Bill O'Reilly's ratings have been in a free fall.
- Rumsfeld Orders Retired Generals Back to Active Duty.
That's all from the sunny suburbs of NYC, where we are expected to hit 71 degrees today -- and you know what that means:
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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