The melt-up continues. The market is on fire, and it looks like nothing can or will stop it. Nuts with Nukes! Weak Earnings! Mixed Economic Data! Hawkish Fed talk! None of it matters, as this is a runaway train, and woe be he who steps on the tracks in front of it. The usually circumspect Mike Santoli called it a "Get-Me-In-Now" Market.Forget Y2k ... The Dow is now in one-two-k (12k) territory.
And funny thing is, the Dow was the laggard this week, gaining less than 1%. The SPX tacked on 1.2% for the week, tagging 1,365 -- a five-year high. Nazzy was the star, up 2.5% to 2357. Both the Dow and the S&P are now over their May highs, with the October option expiry coming up this week. Are you long? Short? In cash? All three? Well, none of that matters right now. Warm up your mouse hand, and get clicking -- it's weekend linkfest time!
INVESTING ¿ Barron's Alan Abelson calls this "One of Those Aberrational Stock Markets" (if no Barron's, go here) ¿ Oh yeah? Shut Up, and Run With the Bulls ¿ Bernie Shaeffer is looking for another 15% on the S&P 500 from here
¿ Gee, where did all the bears go? ( And why do the bulls seem so insecure?) ¿ Insurer Earnings Are Soaring ¿ Two terrific discussions on the future of China: The Great Chinese Profits Debate and Is China Growing at the United States' Expense?; (see also China Quarterly Update pdf) ¿ Fascinating question: When Does the Fed Cut With the Dow at or near Record Highs? ¿ Raymond James' Jeff Saut asks: How Cheap is the Dow? ¿ The Hewlett-Packard story gets messier and messier. Somehow, I doubt credit for the turnaround goes to the prior CEO: Carly Fiorina's Revisionist Chronicles ¿ Earnings have been less than wonderful -- thought they are still on track for double digit year-over-year gains. ¿ Weak Results Dim Hedge Funds' Luster -- My suspicions are that alpha-chasing hedgies are a large part of this recent move;
ECONOMY ¿ How much does housing wealth boost consumer spending? (The surprising answer: more than twice stock market wealth)
¿ Robert Rubin on America's "Deficit Disorder" ¿ Retail Sales Ask: " What Soft Landing?" ¿ Fed rethinks view of housing-led slowdown ¿ The Absurdly Large BLS Revisions, part II ¿ Bankers saw it coming Check out the total lack of agreement in the following reports:- Fed Beige Book Says Retail Sales, Services Demand Picking Up¿ Goldman Lowers GDP and Interest-Rate Forecasts
- U.S. Growth Near`Stall Speed' Raises Recession Risk
- Conflicting Signals -- Best Third Quarter in Years
- Chip sector expected to issue lackluster reports
- Fed Reports Resilience in Economy
- Job Losses May Turn Housing Slump Into a Rout
-Services -- the largest sector of the US economy -- is now growing at the slowest pace in 3 years
HOUSING ¿ Interview with Kenneth Heebner, on Surviving a Real-Estate Slowdown. Since 1994, Heebner has managed the $1.2 billion CGM Realty Fund. It has the best 10-year record of all real-estate-focused mutual funds, according to fund tracker Lipper Inc. So it may be worthwhile to hear what Mr. H has to say. ¿ Seeing Something to Cheer in a Big but Stabilizing Inventory of Homes ¿ Dallas Fed says " Drag from Residential Real Estate could get much worse." ¿ Guest Blogger Stephen Colbert on Housing ¿ Investors Struggle With Aftermath Of Condo-Investing Fever ¿ ARMs Control for Borrowers ($) ¿ Don't say you weren't warned: Prices in 100 U.S. Cities Expected To Decline for Next Few Years; Of course, if mortgage rates plummet further, that may not happen. See also: Where Home Prices Are Falling, Rising or Just Staying the Same
¿ Tom Toles amusing take on Housing ¿ The good news: For homeowners who have been putting off remodeling projects, now may be the time to get started. Sluggish homebuilding demand is pushing down the cost of construction materials and spurring remodelers and other professionals to take on smaller projects -- and sometimes cut fees.
Energy & Commodities ¿ An Oil Baron Not Afraid to Be Candid ¿ Which Way Is Gold Heading?
¿ How Long Will the Commodities Shakeout Last? ¿ A close-up look at commodity traders: Pit Bulls
Politics Media Military I rarely link to Time magazine (a matter of interest, not politics) but this week, they have lots of really interesting stuff: ¿ A Marine's 'Letter from Iraq' moved quickly beyond the small group of acquantainces and hit the inboxes of retired generals, officers in the Pentagon, and staffers on Capitol Hill. Regardless of your views of the war, you cannot read this without feeling proud of our military, working under trying circumstances and still doing their level best. ¿ Curious as to what economists think the battle for the House (and less likely, Senate) will mean to the economy and to the markets? (select " Election Impact") ¿ Ever since America's decisive military victory -- and it was originally a decisive military victory -- Iraq has been nothing but trouble. Time magazine reports on the errors and bad guesses, before and after the war, that got the Bush administration into this spot. ¿ This Lancet study is sure to generate pushback: Iraqi Death Toll Exceeds 600,000,Study Estimates ¿ Time magazine on the End of the GOP Revolution; I actually thought they top-ticked it last year when -- for no discernable reason -- they put the shrill blond harpy on the mag cover. ¿ A Revolt of the Generals? ¿ Trow da bums out? Tradesports gives the GOP only a 33% chance of retaining control of the House. (Last Price: 33.1), down big from lst week's 40% odds; GOP control of Senate remains over 70% (Last price: 70.6). The market must think divided government is good.
Technology & Science Google is slowly moving into Apple's position as the dominant news story, on hundreds of unrelated items. I wasn't trying to spotlight them, but note how many Google items are sprinkled here: ¿ Google's Free Web Services Will Vie With Microsoft Office ( Docs & Spreadsheets)
¿ An example of this new Web-based collaborative technology would be this real estate agent's Buy Versus Rent Spreadsheet. Think about how many fabulous apps Google maps' open API has spawned; now apply that to spreadsheets. The possibilities are practically endless. ¿ Way cool: The MIT computer-assisted sketch simulator (really drives home the meaning of going back to the drawing board)
¿ James Altucher inspired me: Blogger Spotlight ¿ 11 Companies that are changing the world ¿ Distant Planet is Half Fire, Half Ice ¿ Why Apple Will Change TV ¿ Go ahead, call it: 877-GOOG-411 ¿ Who knew? Exploding Stars Influence Climate Of Earth ¿ Forbes goes YouTube crazy: The YouTube Revolution ¿ Is Windows Near End of Its Run? an interview with Steven A. Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft ¿ Apple & U2 paint the iPod red
Music Books Movies TV Fun! ¿ Question: Is Borat the funniest movie ever...or just the most offensive? ¿ Peter Gabriel has been opening his tracks up to fans and holding a remix contest. The results are pretty interesting. ¿ Dude, Where's My Film? ¿ There are few De Niro movies -- in fact, few movies period -- funnier than Midnight Run; ¿ I greatly enjoyed both The Tipping Point and Blink (the former much more than the latter), but I came away with the impression that these were interesting magazine articles s t r e t c h e d a little to be full books. Apparently, there are other, far harsher critics: The NY Observer on Passing the Gladwell Point; ¿ Following Paul Kedrosky's advice, I just received the lovely Index Funds: The 12-Step Program for Active Investors. It is so lavishly illustrated, it is practically a cocktail table book.
¿ NBC is running online-only "Webisodes" of The Office (deleted scenes here)¿ DOT: Dangerous Intersection Causing Some Pretty Cool Accidents ¿ This close to an election, and Jib Jab is surprisingly silent; ¿ Ever wonder what happens when you dump a bucket of liquid nitrogen into a swimming pool?That's all from the gloriously sunny Northeast, where on the breezy north shore of Oyster Bay, the OysterFest beckons. Time to get shucking!
¿ Guiness World Record for most T-Shirts worn at one time