Linkfest April Ides

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, Slate discusses the AMT (it got me, too);

• Barron’s has two editorials this week on inflation. Shorter version: Its here, and its undercounted, get used to it. Longer version: here and here (if no Barrons 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 versus a few years ago,its 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?”

• WSJ Podcast on CEO compensation;

Time for a quick Real estate round up:  The WSJ points out that the Hottest Real Estate markets have gone cold (if no WSJ, go here). Also, 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 Appreciated
; Lastly, Delinquencies and Foreclosures are picking up, with the Midwest as the hardest hit area; 

For those of you shopping for home, ignore all of the aboveLocal Trends Matter Most When Making a Home-Buying Decision;   

• Interesting Stock Screener from Business Week;

• 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: New Evidence from a Bootstrap Analysis;   

• The NYT Business Blog, Dealbook, has a good discussion about 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 Nooooooo means, go here)

In a front page NYT article, 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 Secy of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation; The President robustly defended Rumsfeld;  An uprising of retired Generals against a Sec’y of Defense is extremely rare; Rummy is a short-timer — I give him six months and he’s gone;

• One of the aforementioned military men, Lieut General Greg Newbold became, well, newly
bold in Why Iraq Was a Mistake; Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal 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 is worth mnore than a cent (lucky for us there’s no inflation);

• A Federal Reserve study considers whether the US Economy Decelerate as Boomers Retire; For hard core econ wonks: Monetary Central Planning and the State;   

• Another week where a lot of Science news hit: On  Stem Cell, we saw some good news: MS patient ‘pain-free’ since stem cell therapy Less good: Singapore is wooing Top U.S. Stem Cell Scientists aways ("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: University of Wisconsin’s legal lock on stem cells may be thwarting lifesaving research;

• Kiplinger advises to avoid these Seven Career Killers;   

• Plenty of interesting stuff in the world of Tech:

-Jeff Matthews explains why Bill Gates is highly over rated 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;

-Cato institute trashes the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as perversely reducing options and competition in the consumer entertainment and digital media space;  EFF looks at the Unintended Consequences of the DMCA;   

-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;

• Are you Unskilled and Unaware of It?

• Ummm, hungry: The World’s 50 Best Restaurants (note that while the US is considered one region, NY is considered another). Here are prior 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 the Treasury dept.; 

• Terrific debut disc from Bitter:Sweet – The Mating Game is a sensually ethereal, retro lounge set of songs. Not your typical electronica, its lushly melodicreminiscent 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 morn, and Paycheck was delivered home Friday; For those of you who like Jazz vocalists, Dianne Reeves is fantastic in the Goodnight and Good Luck Original Soundtrack

• 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 cannot explain why, but it seems that the Easter Bunny Hates You (funny video)

And that’s all from NY, where we are expecting 80 degree weather today, and that’s good for catching some rays –and generating solar energy.  Gee, I wonder if there are any good solar power investments out there . . .

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. adam commented on Apr 16

    Regarding state taxes:

    States which fail to cut taxes will see a continued outward migration of job-creating top 5% earners. This effect is already evident in larger population shifts (think of zero income tax states Florida, Texas, and Washington). High-tax states, such as those in the Northeast and California, have seen or will soon see relative population declines. This shows up, with each new census, as a loss in congressional seats and electoral college votes.

    In the end, the so-called blue states are, in general, taxing away their own political power. The loss will be accelerated if the capital gains and dividend tax cuts are not extended, as high-income tax payers flee to lower-tax states.

    If high-tax states are to stem the tide, they will have no choice but to cut rates, as some have already done (see New Mexico, for a shining example).

  2. Lee commented on Apr 16

    But these poeple who move to blue states continue to vote like red staters thereby fouling the nest again.

  3. Brian commented on Apr 16

    Red states can afford cheaper state taxes because they’re subsidzed by the Blue states (via federal taxes extracted from the Blue states being sent back to the Red states as pork). Clever scam there.

    The remaining industries where America still has an edge are on the coasts (Tech, Biotech, finance, Hollyweird, etc.) The Heartland subsists on pork, ag subsidies, and military spending.

  4. stew commented on Apr 16

    Thanks. I wasn’t able to pick up any weekend financial reading, but you saved me with this massive load of info. Thanks for keeping me(and many others) updated.

  5. adam commented on Apr 17

    Brian: what you say is true, but management of these cutting-edge companies can and will pull up stakes if they feel overtaxed.

    Lee: You may be right to some extent, but I don’t see Texas swerving left anytime soon.

    We’ll have evidence one way or another after the 2010 census and 2012 election.

  6. Idaho_Spud commented on Apr 18

    Unskilled and Unaware of it: The theoretical paper won an Ig Nobel prize in Psychology in 2000 (which isn’t to say they don’t make a good point!!). How cool is that? :)

    The 2000 Ig Nobel Prize Winners
    (Click here for details about the ceremony)
    David Dunning of Cornell University and Justin Kruger of the University of Illinois, for their modest report, “Unskilled and Unaware

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