Weekend Linkfest: Week in Preview

Yesterday, we reviewed the week that was. This morning, we look at the week that will be. Our link emphasis is on future looking columns and articles.

Barrons_econo We have a light week in terms of Economic data: Tuesday we will hear Same Store Sales, and  New Housing Starts. On Thursday, its Jobless Claims, and Leading Economic Indicators in the morning; Philadelphia Fed Survey is at noon

Is it that time already? Yes, it seems that last earnings season just ended, and the new one is already about beginning. The next big broker to report is Morgan Stanley (Weds). Perhaps electronic retailers Best Buy (Tues) and Circuit City Stores (Weds) will shed some light on how the consumer is doing. FedEx reports results Wednesday — International shipping is expected to be strong, domestic activity less so — thought it should surpass last quarter’s very soft numbers.

The Paris air show is this week, and Boeing will keep the pressure on arch rival Airbus. Expect major deal announcements to move the stock. Ford and GM will be trying, quite desperately, to extract some concessions from the UAW. (Your guess is as good as mine!)

Plenty of Fed speakers this week, but nothing scheduled from the big kahuna. I’m most curious as to what NY Fed President Timothy Geithner has to say about Asian financial markets.

Lastly, the WSJ reports that NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg — still not announced for president — "will go before Google employees next week in California for a question-and-answer session, as four presidential candidates have done. The search-engine company has invited all the major candidates to appear before employees at their Mountain View headquarters, and so far Democrats John Edwards, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson and Republican Sen. John McCain have participated."

Loosen up those wrists! Its clicking time:


Bull market may still be ahead: Yamada: "Near-term pullbacks are an important part of a bull market," Yamada,
managing director at Louise Yamada Technical Research Advisors, said at the
Reuters Investment Outlook Summit in New York. "I suspect there’s some more
selling to come, but the stock market doesn’t have major structural problems
yet." Yamada said strong global growth, most notably in developing nations, has
been helping offset sluggish domestic economic performance. (Reuters)  See also Bond bear market ahead?  (Video)

• With sentiment towards the dollar almost universally bearish, its
no wonder that the market appears to be setting up for a major rally in
the greenback. Some fundamental factors that might be behind the move: Dollar Breakout?

Rising rates threaten the buyout boom:
Bond prices from Tokyo to Frankfurt to New York have sold off in recent
weeks amid concerns that interest rates are marching higher worldwide.
That’s pushed up bond yields and fueled worries that it will be harder
to borrow money. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.
"This is the end of the cheap money cycle," said Marc Pado, U.S. market
strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald. (CNN Money)

Handicapping chances for a summer rally: Despite the sudden hand-wringing over yields that have climbed to their
highest levels in five years, as bond prices fall, the demand for bonds
from international buyers — particularly China — remains as strong as
ever. In fact, the increasingly attractive yields should serve to lure
more institutional money into the market, at least in the short term. (Marketwatch)

Why Bond Yields can be a Threat to Equities

How to Hedge Wisely:
For a stock investor, hedging against losses may involve any of several
strategies in which he essentially bets against himself, using options
contracts and other instruments. While some of these are quite complex,
exchange-traded funds and even buying Treasury securities offer other
possibilities. (free Wall Street Journal

Booyah Slide: Websites reproducing Jim Cramer’s Mad Money Buys and Sells may be impacting his ratings. Also, Cramer’s appearance on Conan (very funny).

• View from the future: In 2012, Blackstone proposes take themselves private at $15 per share.

What Are China Stocks Worth? Singapore Shows 65% Less: China’s benchmark CSI 300 Index would need to fall as much as 54 percent to come in line with the price-to-earnings ratio of Hong Kong’s Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which tracks shares of 41 mainland companies listed in the city. The CSI 300 would have to drop 65 percent to match the average multiple for Chinese shares traded in Singapore, according to calculations by Bloomberg.      

How to spot retirement hogwash: Some call it hogwash. Others call it B.S. No matter what it’s called, those on the verge or already in retirement need to be on the lookout for it. Older Americans must have their "detector" up when it comes to the products and services being hawked by those in the so-called retirement industry. (Marketwatch)


The Wall of worry continues to build:

Jason Kottke points out that sushi has been added to the ever-growing list of everyday consumables as economic indicators: steak, Big Macs, Starbucks coffee, Coca-Cola, and cigarettes.

Barron’s notes that There’s No Inflation — Except for Necessities
of daily sustenance as food, gasoline and The Wall Street Journal
(which, in case you were too busy having a jolly time at the beach to
notice when it was disclosed, next month will fetch $1.50 a copy rather
than the current buck). But those are obviously exceptions that prove
the point, for none constitutes a component of core inflation, so, in
the larger economic scheme of things, how significant can any of them
be? (If no Barron’s, go here)

Inflation? Food, energy costs’ exclusion debated: When it comes to measuring inflation, consumers and economists often don’t speak
the same language. When consumers think of inflation, they often focus on
prices of things they buy regularly, such as food and gasoline, which have been
going up significantly in price this year. But when economists, including Federal Reserve officials,
talk about inflation, they often focus on a measurement of price pressures
called "core" inflation. Core inflation excludes costs of food and energy goods,
the very items that are the most visible prices for most consumers. Many
economists will be focusing on the core when the government releases its monthly
producer price index and the closely watched consumer price index. (USA Today)

Not Everyone Is in the Red on Trade With China:
The great Chinese export machine is producing rising trade surpluses
with the United States and soaring surpluses with Europe. But when it
comes to the rest of the world, it is running a trade deficit. (New York Times


Housing grows even less affordable: Home prices may have fallen this year, but a new study says housing
has become more unaffordable. And if interest rates continue to rise,
the balance could tip even further. According to the 2007 State
of the Nation’s Housing report from the Joint Center for Housing
Studies of Harvard University, 17 million of American households in
2005 were putting more than half their income into paying for shelter –
a rise of 1.2 million from the prior year, and a jump of 3.2 million
from 2001. (CNNMoney)

• Dan Gross asks "What do Iraq and the U.S. housing market have in common? At first
blush, not much. Iraq, which has taken the lives of thousands and
ruined America’s reputation abroad, is far more disastrous than the
housing collapse, which has been merely financially devastating."  How the housing collapse is like the Iraq war (Slate)

• Want to buy a home, but hampered by bad credit, an empty bank account
or no job? No problem! That may sound like an exaggeration of a
late-night infomercial. But
it is, in effect, the pitch that a number of Web sites are making to
consumers, saying insolvent home shoppers can be made to look more
attractive to lenders. Web Help for Getting a Mortgage the Criminal Way. (New York Times)


Solar Companies of All Sizes Race To Develop Cheap, Efficient Panels:
Hampered by its high cost, solar power accounts for less than 1% of
world-wide electricity generation. It costs 35 to 45 cents to produce a
kilowatt hour of electricity from solar panels, compared with about
three to five cents burning coal, according to the International Energy
Agency. A different approach, known as concentrating solar power, uses
huge arrays of mirrors or solar dishes to track the sun and collect its
heat to make electricity. Yet even that costs nine to 12 cents to
generate one kilowatt hour. (free Wall Street Journal)

Arabs Fear Spread of Gaza Conflict Arab countries are eyeing the chaos in Iraq and Gaza with alarm, fearing that the Palestinian fighting could spread to the West Bank and further destabilize the region. The Arab League chief on Thursday called for a cease-fire, warning of disaster otherwise. (Associated Press) See also Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq U.S. Department of Defense Report to Congress (pdf)

Pearson Is Said to Seek a Partner for a Takeover of Dow Jones: Pearson, the publisher of The Financial Times, is exploring a rival takeover offer for Dow Jones & Company, and has discussed a joint bid with General Electric and the Hearst Corporation, people familiar with the talks said yesterday. (New York Times)  Also, The Murdoch Who Could Be King (BusinessWeek



Is the U.S. winning back its competitive edge? Maybe the U.S. isn’t falling as far behind other nations in math and science education as business leaders fear. A new study suggests that American universities are luring more entrepreneurial talent from overseas than many think, fueling a boom in tech startups here. (Fortune)

• I simply refuse to believe this is true: Nearly Half of the U.S. Doubt Theory of Evolution   

Saturns moon Io’s has a giant smoking volcano plume. Tvashtar was snapped by Long
Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) as the spacecraft flew past Jupiter
earlier this year, this first-ever “movie” of an Io plume clearly shows
motion in the cloud of volcanic debris, which extends 330 kilometers
(200 miles) above the moon’s surface. Only the upper part of the plume
is visible from this vantage point – the plume’s source is 130
kilometers (80 miles) below the edge of Io’s disk, on the far side of
the moon.

Light Fantastic: Flirting With Invisibility:  Increasingly, physicists are constructing materials that bend light the
“wrong” way, an optical trick that could lead to sharper-than-ever lenses or
maybe even make objects disappear. (New York Times)


The JVC Jazz Festival NY begins this weekend, and runs for a few weeks. Highlights  include performances from Cassandra Wilson, Branford Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Keith Jarrett, Patti LaBelle, Ron Carter, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Nancy Wilson.   

Hysterical: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog at the Tony Awards: (quasi-not safe for work)   

Strain on U.S. grid to make blackouts common:  Most people in the United States only
think about where electricity comes from when the lights go out
suddenly. But unless the antiquated transmission grid is fixed,
expensive blackouts that bring modern life to a grinding halt
will become ever more common, according to Lights Out: The Electricity Crisis, the Global Economy, and What It Means To You, a new book by Jason Makansi.

HBO has been promoting the hell out of "The Flight of The Conchords" — originally a New Zealand duo, who achieved somes small measure of fame on BBC radio. It looks to be absurd and fun.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend — and the gorgeous Weather — its convertible time!

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. gorobei commented on Jun 17

    I’m surprised only half the US doesn’t believe in evolution.

    Rent a car, and drive two hours out of Manhattan in any direction. Turn on the radio, and listen to the talk shows. Be it Long Beach Island, the Catkills, or the start of upstate NY, you are going to hear a lot of Bible-thumping and anti-evo nonesense. I take that to be the reality-border around NYC… where hearts and minds are still being contested.

    Drop into Kansas, as my friend did recently, and expect anti-evo to be the default belief.

  2. devilfutility commented on Jun 17

    I can’t believe that half of US households believe in the Theory of Creationism (or doubt Evolution) either. I have knowingly known only one person in my life who literally believed in creationism and he was true blue born again fundamentalist.

  3. m3 commented on Jun 17

    the cramer video was hilarity…

    you gotta love him… lol.

  4. gorobei commented on Jun 17


    So who do you hang out with? A cross-section of America, or a bunch of intelligent, college-educated over=achievers?

    Here in 10023, willingness to believe silly ideas rather prices you out of the neighbourhood. Now go most places in the US where land is close to free, and see if strange beliefs are really that expensive to hold.

  5. ManhattanGuy commented on Jun 17

    You know what they say .. civilization ends once your cross GWB :)

  6. Barry Ritholtz commented on Jun 18

    Let’s clarify a few items on evo:

    1) Many people do not seem to have a firm grasp on the Scientific Method. It teaches as follows: You develop a hypothesis explaning some aspect of natural phenomena. You then design experimental studies to test your thesis. If it is proven out, i.e., predictions for accuracy regarding a given phenomena, then you use that theory until it is disproven, or a better methodology comes along.

    The problem with alternatives to the scientific method is that they are not quantifiable, testable or disprovable.

    2) There is an enormous difference between “consensus” and a well accepted theory. The Theory of Gravity has held up well over time — maybe it will be eventually disproven (but given how long its been around and subject to so much scrutiny I doubt it).

    3) If one does not accept the scientific method, or chooses to dis-believe evolution, what do you believe instead? Not what you believe in terms of religion or spirituality, but in terms of Science — or do you not believe in Science?

    4) Consider the random chance of everybody’s religious belief. It is a function of whatever family you were born into or adopted. That’s fine for anyone’s spiritual beliefs. I find it hard to imagine pursuing an ideological doctrine merely based on the heritage of the family that took me home from the hospital.

    5) Lastly, Evolution does not teach that Humans evolved from Apes or Chimps — but it does suggest that there is a common ancestor we both evolved millions of years ago. Studies of DNA show we share about 96% of the same genes.

  7. DavidB commented on Jun 19

    I’m wondering how you square belief in evolution with your faith Barry? Aren’t they diametrically opposed?

    Anyway, I’m not going to argue the point. I’ll just post a couple articles for your consideration

    You’re good at math Barry. One thing I like about math is that it beats the tar out of evolutionary theory. It’s not even a close fight. The mercy rule is invoked early

    Where are all the people?

    Cheating with Chance

  8. Barry Ritholtz commented on Jun 19

    Faith is just that: Faith.

    It requires no proof.

    Science, on the other hand, is all about PROOF. What can we show to be repeatable, predictable, calculatable? What can we deduce and infer from that? How can we further our base of knowledge?

    They are two entirely different realms.

  9. DavidB commented on Jun 19

    are statistics about faith or fact? The two links I showed you above show evolution is statistically improbable if not impossible.

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