Wednesday, August 5, 2009

SAR #9216

Don't you wish the law treated us all the same?

"Bread eaten in secret..." Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has instructed employees "to avoid making high profile purchases" because "This is a sensitive time for us, and wants to make sure that we’re not being seen living high on the hog.” Even though they are. You bring the pitchfork...

'Better than Expected' : If you set the bar low enough, even Wall Street can surprise. A year ago, analysts predicted 2Q2009 S&P 500 earnings would be $26. In January they cut it to $20, in April to $15. It came in at $15.50. My Mother used to curse me with faint praise, so I know what it really means.

Just Saying: "Why do we even need the insurance companies? What constructive role are they playing? They’re taking tens of billions of dollars each year and putting that into profits when that should have been going into healthcare.”

Relapse: GMAC is now an independent bank. Didn't help; 2Q2009 losses were $3.9 billion.

Short-sighted: The LEAF is touted as the first mass-marketed, zero-emissions, all-electric car. No such thing; the emissions simply take place at a fixed plant that spews CO2 up a smokestack to make the electricity.

The 'New Normal': The market keeps climbing as successive waves of joblessness lap a little less high on the shore. But 565,000 isn't that much better than 600,000 in a week - that's still an annual 30 million jobs lost. The real unemployment rate in the U.S. is closer to 20%. In July there were 6 unemployed workers for every job opening. Going forward, growth will be slower, profits lower. No income, no shopping. And that's the way it will be for quite a while.

Be of Good Cheer: The UK housing market is expected to return to growth by 2014.

Obituary: We are sad to announce the passing, after a long illness, of investing for the long term. No flowers. Please send contributions to technical and momentum strategies if you wish to continue pretending to be an investor.

Have I Warned You Lately? Dr. Fatih Biro, chief economist for the IEA reminded the world that oil supplies are declining quickly, with production from existing fields falling 6.7% annually and new production falling far short of replacement, much less providing the energy for renewed economic growth.

Good On Them: First time buyers, armed with $8,000 from you and me, took advantage of "lower priced" houses (said disdainfully), and have driven up the number of pending sales contracts. This, too, shall pass.

It's Baaacck: El Niño, the Pacific ocean phenomenon that brings crappy weather world-wide, is returning this fall. While not quite as strong as the 1997-8 event, it promises drought in Africa, India, South-east Asia and Australia, with heavier rainfall in South America.

Black is the New Green: Is the stealth bailout of the auto industry the last hurrah? Consumers - absent government checks - have no money. There's nothing they can look forward to except a Friday or Monday in October. A black one.

Porn O'Graph: Are You Feeling Lucky, Punk?

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