Wow! Heckuva week, Brownie!
Markets seemed to have made a bottom, at least for now, as sentiment and technical measures Tuesday reached extremes typically associated with lows. Indices moved up Wednesday then exploded Thursday, in a paroxysm of short-covering and rampant buying.
I don't normally like these explosive moves, as there is that discomfiting tendency toward one-day wonders. But the markets had become so washed out that there is a very real chance this could last -- at least a month or so. Time will tell.
There is lots of interesting stuff out there. Let's fire up the link machine and take a quick ride around the Web to see what's worth digesting:
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¿ The Return of Alan Abelson. (If no Barron's subscription, go here.) ¿ Did you notice? At one point earlier this week, all the major U.S. indices were briefly in the red year to date. ¿ This was a key reversal week, and I felt the markets sketched out a "Tradable Low" on Tuesday (at least for a four-week or so bounce). Others, notably Dennis Gartman, disagreed: "It is not at all safe to buy stocks ... not here in the U.S.; not in Europe; not in Asia; not in the emerged nor in the emerging markets. ... This is a bear market and we must understand that; weakness is not to be bought; strength is to be sold into." (And people say I'm bearish.) ¿ Whether Gartman's right now (or I'm right later in the year), TheStreet.com's Roger Nusbaum explains how to pull a Jujitsu Against the Bear. ¿ Markets sold off two weeks ago on good news (al-Zarqawi's death) and rallied this past week on bad news (CPI/PPI inflation data). It was a brief reminder of why you should Lose the News.
¿ Buy! Buy! Buy! Sell! Sell! Sell! Stock market crashes are rational. Also, Why Popular Stocks Are a Sucker's Bet. ¿ Good series at MarketWatch on short-selling: ¿ Slate's Dan Gross asks Why are so many companies purchasing their own shares? The answer is rather suspicious. ¿ What does Extreme Volatility mean? ¿ A good stock screener/power searcher from MSN Money. It's inflation time, and boy, do we have a lot of stuff for you: ¿ Is beating the S&P 500 less difficult than you thought? You know it was a busy week if we are this far along and I haven't mentioned real estate yet: Only a few noteworthy energy/geopolitical items this week: Technology: On to the fun stuff! ¿ Three books arrived this week, and they are all consigned to the queue: O'Shaughnessy's Predicting the Markets of Tomorrow, Greenblatt's You Can Be a Stock Market Genius and Yamada's Market Magic. ¿ Glide magazine suggests 25 New Songs to Download Right Now. ¿ This is the world's most important 6-second drum loop. ¿ Noah sends this along, and says it may very well be the best 12 minutes you'll spend today: Freebird (Live at Oakland). ¿ Try not to enjoy these music videos too much: The pinheads at the RIAA is seeking to once again thwart innovation: Death by DMCA.
¿ John Cleese's contribution to comedy. (Hint: It's more than Monty Python's Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers, and A Fish Called Wanda.) ¿ DVD growth is not what it used to be. ¿ And my very favorite blog entry of the week: Cody Willard is My Type.
- CNBC's Steve Liesman was a guest blogger on Monday in How the Fed Chief Gains Credibility. - Barron's explains Why Bernanke Is Dead Right on inflation. - Economist's View discusses the Ascendancy of the Hawks. - There goes the core! More businesses seek to recoup losses by sharing pain of higher costs with consumers. - Irwin Kellner, does not, unfortunately, understand the "cruelest tax". - Fed Governor Randall Kroszner asks Why Are Yield Curves So Flat and Long Rates So Low Globally?- The Philly Fed has a research report on Core Inflation as a Predictor of Total Inflation. (I think it's crap.) - Rents in U.S. rise at fastest pace in 5 years. - If there is a global slowdown in the fall, will the world decouple from a U.S. Growth Slowdown?
- It turns out that Housing Leads the Economy Up AND Down. Also, the net worth of American households has been unusually dependent on real estate the past few years. Amazingly, 30-year conventional mortgage rates are still historically cheap. - A new study looks at where housing markets are overvalued. CNNmoney.com calls it Housing boom 2.0. Bloomberg's John Waskik asks, Where Are the Riskiest Local U.S. Home Markets?- Don't hand your house to a thief. Beware of sleazy mortgage deals! - The battle between full-service realtors and their discount rivals is hurting consumers. ( The Wall Street Journal) - Mark Kiesel, a senior member of PIMCO's investment strategy and portfolio management group, sold his home and moved into a rental apartment. Here's why.
- BP's chief predicts oil could fall to $25, and Jeff Matthews reminds environmentalists that They Don't Make Trees at BP. - Are we at the Last Exit for Diplomacy with Iran? - The U.S. Military's Manpower Crisis.
- Bill Gates' long goodbye. (I await Jeff Mathews' and Paul Kedrosky's responses with bated breath.) - OK, say you have a $300 PC, and you don't want to spend big bucks on software: Here are Free Ways to Do Desktop Work on the Web. - Can Europe Force Apple To Rework iTunes? (I doubt it.) BusinessWeek has a similar spin: Europe vs. Apple) - Alex, I'll take vaporware for $100: Microsoft said to be developing iPod rival. - The virtual online moneylender.
Several reader's ask how I put together the Linkfest. No can-do today, as I am beach-bound, but perhaps in the coming weeks I can answer that question.
Have a good weekend!
At the time of publication, Ritholtz was long BP, although holdings can change at any time. 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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