It's as if there's a contest where each week tries to top the previous week's zaniness. How long can these "interesting times" go on? It's getting to be exhausting...
The mergers at hefty premiums in the oil patch ensure that the sector will remain a focus of investors. And I heard something about some meeting this week (Wednesday and Thursday?) that might be important. I'll look into it and get back to you in the event anything interesting comes of it. And what is it about Florida that attracts wackos and terrorists? This group of idiots wanted to blow up the Sears Tower? Other than that -- quite a week.
Well, no rest for the weary: It's a rainy Saturday morning, and you know what that means. It's the
for the rest of us: Linktime!
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¿ Barron's Alan Abelson notes that former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan urged consumers to get adjustable-rate mortgages at precisely the worst possible moment. (If no Barron's, go here.) ¿ The Fed meeting this week will be the obvious focus. A quarter-point hike is a done deal, although some think an "exclamation mark," i.e, a half-point increase, is possible. Bloomberg's Mark Gilbert explains what the end of accommodation means in Fed Steals Punchbowl, Party Ends, Hangover Starts. Rex Nutting asks, Are the Fed's hawks going overboard in their zeal to slay inflation? Meanwhile, Dave Altig asks, Is Core CPI A Lagging Indicator? And Mark Thoma queries, Which Measure of Inflation is Best for Monetary Policy?¿ A study by former Fed Governor Laurence Meyer and former senior Fed economist Brian Sack found that Chairman Bernanke is moving markets more than Greenspan. ¿ Two-year Treasury yields at a 5 1/2-year high lure investors. The small but growing "6 percent" club. Enough Fed chatter. We'll be hearing it all week anyway. On to more interesting stuff:¿ Why the Real Estate Slow Down Matters So Much. (See also: Mortgage rate hits 4-year high and Foreclosures May Jump As ARMs Reset.) Also, this moves to the free section of The Wall Street Journal: Slowing Sales, Baby Boomers Spur a Glut of McMansions. ¿ Billionaire Ron Lauder pays a record $135 million for a Klimt. Slate's Dan Gross asks, Is art a good investment? Our own Tero Kuittinen ponders whether art auctions signal major market peaks.¿ How important is stock selection? As it turns out, not very. ¿ For the month-long period ended June 15, short-selling jumped to an all-time record at the NYSE. This happened "during a reporting period in which U.S. stocks pulled backbroadly amid fears of higher interest rates and weakness in overseasfinancial markets." ¿ Mark Hulbert discusses a deceptively simple timing system. ¿ From the U.K., here are 15 favorite investing fallacies. ¿ Lost in all the debate about Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Reportand Google (GOOG) - Get Report is this simple investing truism: Old Stars Don't Lead New Bulls. (I'll have more on this soon.) ¿ A study by EIA sees world oil demand rising 37% by 2030. See these charts and this PDF. The audio of the presentation is here. ¿ Meet the men who managed to fleece the idiots brain trust that once ran Enron, buying "old school" divisions which they then turned into huge profit centers. ¿ Hard though this may be to believe, Michael Dell made his first-ever purchase of Dell (DELL) - Get Reportstock ($70 million worth). Don't get all that excited. Michael Dell's worth $18.7 billion, and it's the equivalent of you buying 100 shares (really). Plus, it turns out that insider trading is "iffy" as a stock-picking aid. ¿ The media continue to go Blog Crazy!¿ Ask Henry Kissinger: Is power sexy?¿ Who is Hiram Bingham -- and why is he getting a USPS stamp?¿ Pardon talk for Libby begins. Vice President Cheney may testify.
Lots of science and technology news this week:
¿ Wicked Fast: Super-cooled IBM computer chip shatters speed record. ¿ A 200-mpg, 20-mph way of getting around town, from RevoPower. ¿ The "doomsday vault": an Arctic isle will hold all of the world's seeds in deep freeze. ¿ Robert X. Cringely thinks Microsoft is in crisis. (My take is here.) ¿ Climate Scientists Spotlight Arctic Warming, Plight Of Polar Bears. (See also: It's official: We live in hot times.)
¿ We looked at free Web-based alternatives to Microsoft Office last week. Zoho has quite a collection of tools, all online: presentation software, word processor, spreadsheet, collaboration groupware, email, CRM, organizer and more -- all free. If you are on a budget, these are definitely worth looking into. ¿ Intriguingly odd: Eleven cousins, all at genetic risk of a specific type of cancer, have their stomachs surgically removed.
¿ Software Wars: free and open-source software vs. the Empire of Microsoft (graphic). ¿ Extortr.com: online blackmail for the masses.
On to the really fun stuff!¿ Two interesting "economics of sports" items: The New York Times' Joe Nocera writes Sportonomics Beguiles 3 Economists, while the WSJ observes that Baseball Confronts The Luck Factor. ¿ The WSJ asks 'DRM' Protects Downloads, But Does It Stifle Innovation? (free)
¿ This is a nice slice of history: Trading At The New York Stock Exchange, 1934. (By the way, my birthday is in October!) ¿ A Terrifying Message from Al Gore, which, by the way, leads me to some good news: Comedy Central has ordered 13 new episodes of Futurama. ¿ I finally got around to seeing George Clooney's directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (liked it a lot). On the other hand, I was disappointed with Sarah Silverman's Jesus is Magic. Usually, she is much funnier than this. The A/V club tells you what Classic Movies It's Okay To Hate. And file this under WTF: The Michael Moore film festival? ¿ I'm leaving this week for 10 days of R&R, and I am bringing a huge stack of books with me: There's no way I'll even get through even half of them, but I don't know which ones are good and what I'll be in the mood for. I will report back on what I really like. ¿ Revenge of the public: I love that people with video and audio recorders are embarrassing companies that have awful customer service. The ridiculous AOL cancellation issue reached a crescendo this week, and you probably saw it on CNBC. But did you see this? A Comcast (CMCSA) - Get Report technician goes to a customer's home to replace a faulty modem. After spending an hour on hold with Comcast's central office, he fell asleep on the customer's couch -- and the guy videotaped it. ¿ Improv Everywhere stages a fake hypnotism performance complete with audience plants. It's amusing. The same group previously did a hoax U2 concert near the Garden -- just before a real U2 concert. Some people thought it was like the Beatles concert on the roof of Apple Records' headquarters during the recording of Let It Be. ¿ Wikipedia's list of fictional expletives.
- The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More
- True Odds
- How To Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion
- Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History
- Anatomy of the Bear: Lessons From Wall Street's Four Great Bottoms
- iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business
- Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love
- Double Whammy and Tourist Season (I really like Hiaasen)
- Magical Thinking: True Stories
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
Set the TiVo, get the SPF 30, and I will soon be outta here. With the Weekend Linkfest spending a few weeks of R&R in the sun, we will not publish again until either July 1 or 8, depending upon the sunburn. Enjoy the 4th of July -- I know I will!
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;
to send him an email.