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Archive through December 17, 2010

Chart Forum » Hilarius' Hall Of Fame » Our Daily Bread » Archive through December 17, 2010

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pjf000
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Username: pjf000

Post Number: 10
Registered: 05-2010

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Sunday, December 05, 2010 - 05:34 pm:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Hi Ody,
I enjoy reading your commentary of your views of the markets and the world in general.
I must say, however, that there has been an extraordinary opportunity to have remained invested in the market and taken positions in those sectors that have been outperforming the rest of the market. Whilst it is true the market has done little more than track sideways, it is really mostly true for the all ordinaries. The small caps and miners etc have been stellar and by little more than just following any sort of EMA system (daily or weekly) one would have captured much of that rise.
So, it appears that even during these uncertain times and period of total market malaise, one may still trade the market with positive results.
Regards,
Phillip.


Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent

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billt
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Username: billt

Post Number: 569
Registered: 02-2010

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Sunday, December 05, 2010 - 06:37 pm:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



hi Ody & Phillip,

What has altered over the past 6 months, from a fundamental point of view, is an improving GDP outlook for the US economy. (...from 1% to 1.7% to 2.5%...)

Although US Unemployment has stayed stubbornly at high levels, it has not significantly worsened. US Consumer Confidence indicators have also risen, giving the markets some hope. Faced with the Fed pumping in $100b a month into the markets, Wall Street has responded accordingly.

The PIIGS debt problem has a short term solution in play, whilst the German economy is booming...so the markets know the solution is there, at least for now.

The potential impulsive move off the 1010 low back in July is perhaps a reflection of that change in the dynamic.

The SPX should pull back to the 1200 level by next Friday, but we should be approaching 1300 by late January/early February 2011 I feel.

What happens after that might be a significant fall, as the full horror of the West's Debt & Deficit woes kick in, and perhaps a softening of GDP print outs....but that's a few months away, until then Santa has arrived early and his slay has some last presents to give away...

As you say Phillip, trading MAs would have been child's play over the past 6 months...add a little Double Top readings at wave 1 & 3, and Triple Bottoms at Wave 2 & 4 you may have filled your boots!


Bill










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ody
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Username: ody

Post Number: 5455
Registered: 10-2006

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Monday, December 06, 2010 - 06:30 pm:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Bill and Phillip,

If I have any regrets at all it is precisely that, as cat lady showed a while ago, the small stocks that I had, and indeed advocated to others when I NO LONGER (!) had them, would actually in general very well indeed. I must plead that in that respect my lack of confidence in the market is so strong that it wins out against my confidence in my own ability to pick stocks that outperform, even though I have now demonstrated an ability to do that over some decades. This is just a psychological hurdle I find very difficult to overcome, in my own investing. I think that I would have been in constant worry about resources stocks (and those have often been volatile), but steady, solid money-makers like Domino's Pizza (to mention just one) would HAVE BEEN OK (I am less certain now). So I do take your point about exceptions. On the other hand, by not spending much time sorting out small holdings of small stocks but putting a large amount of capital to work at a high yield, I Have gained quite a handsome some during a time when the market as a whole has in essence been idle.


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ody
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Username: ody

Post Number: 5456
Registered: 10-2006

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Monday, December 06, 2010 - 06:33 pm:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Rallying?

Well, perhaps, but not without a lot of hesitation. And Australia seems to me a very "flat" kind of market. Indeed, has way underperformed (as a market) the S&P 500.


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ehmu
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Username: ehmu

Post Number: 172
Registered: 08-2010

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - 01:34 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



The establishment is in Despair.

"It is fiscal, economic, and political failures at home that are threatening the ability of the United States to exert the global influence that it could and should. In other words, it is not reckless American activity in the world that jeopardizes American solvency but American profligacy at home that threatens American power and security. The American people and their elected representatives postpone solving the country's debt addiction at their great peril."


http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north916.html

The crisis of confidence that ody expresses has become extremely prevalent. Even the most adept and nimble speculators are having difficulties and doubts with the mirage styled faulty rallies. Gaps are now the rule. Cracks and fissures open and close without warning; many once competent fundamental analysts and technicians alike gobbled up by the ether.

And there are those that would have us believe that we should buy "Gold" contracts or certificates, of which there are 20 times the actual amount of physical gold. If there were ever a run on physical gold, 19 out of 20 people (the late ones) would be SOL.




_____ n a m a s t e

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ehmu
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Username: ehmu

Post Number: 173
Registered: 08-2010

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - 01:47 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



More money available to float the boat.

The announcement this morning that the Federal reserve is on the job and will gladly respond with a supplement to QE2 smells a little like rats, bats, or raccoons to me.

My hunch is that in the first month they have already used up 30% of the six month budget , for the purpose of keeping dry feet.




_____ n a m a s t e

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ody
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Username: ody

Post Number: 5457
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Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - 06:53 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



It's not looking good

I suppose that my ultimate, deep-seated reluctance to play the market with stocks that I KNOW are in principle winners remains in essence that I have no faith in the market AS A MARKET, and worry lest it at some point will fall fairly rapidly, taking almost all stocks with it. I believe that since April it has actually been in a constantly tenuous position even as regards sentiment. The big 2009 rally was based on sentiment which in turn was based on the mistaken concept that economies were seriously on the mend. I think the more recent tendency has been for people to doubt this, and therefore to handle the markets purely speculatively. That being so, nothing can be built on by an investor except very short-term, as people will readily sell and move on. This latest attempt at rallying is now looking less and less convincing, psychologically, though one must argue "never say never". Still, look at this from CNN:
---------
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Precious metals like gold and silver took center stage Monday as few investors showed a willingness to jump into the stock market fray on a day with no major economic news on tap.

Stock trading volume was lower than average, and major indexes drifted around breakeven, after Fed chairman Ben Bernanke gave a pessimistic outlook about the nation's economy.
----------
It is difficult to see how the speculators are going to extract a real Halloween/Christmas rally from this. The technical analysts predicting such a rally do, I think, have a problem to contend with: lack of any SUSTAINED confidence in anything. LITERALLY anything, financially. Suddenly it is "gold on", "shares down". At any stage, even within days, that might be vice versa: the market reacts knee-jerk fashion to any news, as it really does not know what is happening, or at least fears any real commitment as that may prove costly. Gold has been among the better things - but not without risk either.


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ehmu
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Post Number: 177
Registered: 08-2010

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - 08:15 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)




ody wrote on Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - 07:53 am:

"gold on"




I too am trapped by my ancient perception of what constitutes a capital market.

I'm not willing to collect cellulose trading cards, just because others with money are collecting cellulose trading cards.

My view on the precious metals markets parallels my view of the general capital markets, that it is a paper expansion network. Why would anyone buy a piece of paper that gives them a privilege to buy a precious metal in the future at a given price. I wonder about the character of the people that are making these promises, when they know full well that there isn't enough gold in the world to honor 10% of their promises.

In the share markets, why would anyone even think of giving some company their hard earned cash for a promise to pay it back in 10-150 years. Yeh right, where does the line up start, and get to the back of the line, please.

We are all having a psychotic episode together, remembering the days when the capital markets were competing for our hard earned savings.

Say Gold, and fools rush in.

Fundamental, and technical analysts alike are realizing that when the stakes are fixed by the king, that the old rules are history. There are no rules in a knife fight.

I'm not kidding myself, I'm in cash, which is becoming worth less each moment we take to discuss this mess.

But I'm not too worried since my cash is also made of cellulose. We can feed it to our bovine or swine.

I wonder if it is too late to invest in cellulose ??




_____ n a m a s t e

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cat_lady
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Username: cat_lady

Post Number: 735
Registered: 10-2006

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - 05:07 pm:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



do I detect a bit of santa in the air today?

notwithstanding, I'm pleased to be in the market at the moment, however I think I'm ready to crystalise a few profits in the short term stocks over the next few weeks so I can enjoy christmas.

by the way:

MCE


how good is this company

cheers
cat lady


Without my morning coffee I might as well be a dog

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ody
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Username: ody

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - 06:12 pm:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Cat lady: Santa Claus

Yes, today was a relatively good day. The XJO reached its recent high as long ago as 5 November, when it went to 4815, and closed on 4800. Since that time it has lost ground, and of late has even had difficulty getting back above 4700. Today it did do that, but it was obvious from the last hour of trading that, having surpassed that level, the market (or those who led it down, anyway) was uncomfortable to "get ahead of itself", and begun to move back towards 4700. That figure, 4700, is a sort of magnet for both bulls and bears, towards which they keep returning over time. For a significant breakout to occur (which too many people have claimed happened last week), we first of all need to see the XJO comfortably staying above 4700, and it remains to be seen whether the end of trading today showed a wish to go back there or merely that caution weighed heavily on the market at the thought of moving well beyond it.

It would seem to me possible, but not likely, that the index will hurry towards 4800. For it to sustain impetus, it will not only need to reach that 5 November level, but to show that it can SUSTAIN itself above that. Until that happens, I don't think we can speak of any significant rise or rally. On the face of it, 4800 "ought" to offer stout resistance, so if the index can "take out" that level and stay above it without dipping back down, THEN it might have crossed a really significant psychological barrier. As Halloween/Christmas rallies are frequent, and fundmanagers like to end the calendar year on a positive note, a rally lasting until Christmas and indeed the last day of the year is not inconceivable. But I would not surprised if it turned out to be difficult to get beyond that 4800 in ongoing fashion - and there is plenty of bad news around, already, with likely enough more to come before the end of the year, to spoil the party.

Another dangerous element of the whole market is that virtually EVERYTHING is riding on resources. Although there are, of course, stocks in other sectors that have performed well, the market as a whole has performed quite badly during this past year if resources are taken out of it. In part, what we are seeing is a shift away from other sectors of the economy. All this makes us very vulnerable, especially because the resources sector is very speculative. If anything really upsetting were to happen in that sector, then the market as a whole will not be able to resist downward pressure, as the other sectors just haven't got the strength needed.


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ken
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Username: ken

Post Number: 714
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Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - 06:45 pm:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Hello all,

Just a warning from my back-tested mechanical systems.

I have an exit in several of my systems that attempts to identify tops where it is best to sell than hold on. It is based on the gains of the XAO daily for a number of days. This exit had me selling most of my system stocks today. The systems will probably have me buying again in a few days but I hopefully will be better off in the meantime.


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ehmu
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Username: ehmu

Post Number: 185
Registered: 08-2010

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - 01:14 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Three stages of delusion

This is good, but you need to enjoy dry reading.


http://www.iipub.com/blogs/john_mauldins_outside_the_box/archive/2010/12/06/the- three-stages-of-delusion.aspx




_____ n a m a s t e

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ody
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Post Number: 5459
Registered: 10-2006

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Thursday, December 09, 2010 - 06:42 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



What a global "rally" we are having ...

If markets don't want to let down the many technical analysts who have been telling us about something like a real rally, they had better get their skates on. It looks, just now, as though market sentiment is inspired more by economic pessimism and worries than by charts and chartists' prognoses. Of course, we shall now no doubt be told that the rally "really" is coming, but merely deferred. IF, by any chance, our market went down to ASX200 4550, and especially lower, I'd be out, if I were invested in this market. I am not saying that the market is heading that way. What I find the most striking aspect is that there is just nothing like the predicted rise occurring, while yet a massive sell-off just doesn't as yet look likely either. But remember: for Australia the resources sector is the only really profitable one, as far as share prices go, and if any real sell-off occurs in that sector, prices will definitely go south across the board. Lack of confidence in resources could easily be spurred on by lack of confidence in world recovery and especially in financial markets; also, by the need for China to prevent its economy from overheating. There may well be potential sellers who'd rather have a quiet Xmas than one plagued by discomfort. So we could get a "correction" rather than a rally.


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ehmu
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Post Number: 190
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Thursday, December 09, 2010 - 07:24 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Well said ody:


Rick Santelli, on CNBC this morning said, "spin it all you want, but neither the technical analysts nor the fundamental analysts have any say in where the markets are going, or where they have been recently. The markets are strictly following the FED controlled liquidity."

Rick is very honest, clear thinking, and somewhat sardonic in his views---a little like others we secretly admire.

Now as to the resource sectors,--- in my opinion India and China only need to lay seige to the resource sectors to be able to accumulate the lions share of material. They have already accomplished serious control of the resources in Africa. This would only take them one or two generations to accomplish, and why would they be in a hurry.

For the US markets, and their sphere of influence--
The chart for $us vs $VIX (both of which are fixed by the FED) shows how the perceived value of Americans investing their dollars in the markets pulled back to below the sacred resistance.

When Ben Bernake and Tim Geithner decide there will be a rally, then there will be a rally. Until they get out of Dodge, the only pull back we will see will be the contrived corrections to cool off the hot and steamy Bulls.

A pull back looks good on their resume. After all, the FED doesn't want to be seen as fixing the markets or the exchange rates.






_____ n a m a s t e

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ody
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Thursday, December 09, 2010 - 05:08 pm:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Employment figures

... were the likely cause of the rise on the ASX today. They showed the economy trending more strongly than had been estimated. Of course that does prompt a degree of confidence in investors, but as they mull over the figures they will realise that the RBA, which was talking about the current interest rate as about right, will not like high employment, and that therefore another rise may come sooner rather than later. And the RBA is right in this in that most of our economy is actually fragile, nationally speaking, with the lion's share of REAL profit being made mostly in WA and some other areas where mining is strongly active - mostly Queensland. The RBA can NOT let the strength in the mining sector get out of hand, as that would cause severe imbalance and inflation (already wage rises have been in the order of 12-13% - much too high). An unbalanced economy is a dangerous economy. So upon reflection the market may not "push on" much. It did well today, I shall admit, but was clearly afraid to go beyond its latest best figure, so it remains to be seen whether it now has met resistance or not. The days to come will make that clear. It does need to get beyond where it is at present, and then - more challengingly - needs to go for 4800 as its next hurdle. By itself 4800 would be a good level to reach, though we were there not so long ago. For a genuine new rally 4800 would still be rather low.


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ehmu
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Friday, December 10, 2010 - 02:01 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



How are house prices in your area ??

http://calgaryrealestatereview.com/2010/10/25/the-economist-canadian-real-estate -overvalued-by-23-9/




_____ n a m a s t e

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ody
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Friday, December 10, 2010 - 11:40 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



I may be impatient ...

But I do wonder what is happening to this much-touted rally. This seems a weak day, and as it is Friday it would not surprise me if it won't improve much either.

I am surprised because, although I did not myself expect anything like a rally of any signficance, there has been a lot of talk about it, particularly among those who engage chiefly in technical analysis. (For those of us who look at how the fundamentals are likely to be interpreted by markets this rally, such as it is, was never going to be impressive - the only way it could be that would be if there were a lot of bulls believing stocks would go up, but not on fundamental grounds.)


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rdumas
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Friday, December 10, 2010 - 12:56 pm:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Hi Ody,

What you need to remember is that not every one has the same trading time frame or trading methodology that you have and that you obviously haven't actually been reading what the technical discussion have been saying since early July otherwise you wouldn't be attempting (and failing) to make the TA guys look bad.

Now I know that your contention is that the market isn't higher now than what it was on the 15th April. All that the TA guys have been saying is that the high on the 15th April will not be the high for the market before the current rally (which you are unable to see) completes in early 2011. No more or less than that. If this does happen then perhaps you can point the finger and say "see I told you so".

The XJO moved 10.0% from the 6 July to the 9 August and between the 25 August and 5th November it moved 11.6% so even if you managed to snag only half of the percentage gain in each rally you would have made over 10% on your capital.

If you were a longer time investor the XJO moved 15.1% between the 6 July and the 5 November which isn't a bad result in anyone's language.

So instead of trying to bag technical analysts in their attempts to help shorter time frame investors to make some money other than the 7% (or 8% that both you and I are getting on some of our money) how about laying off the criticisms. I don't go out of my way to criticise your belief in fundamental analysis and would hope that you pay me and other TA guys the same respect.


I've given you my view based on what I know now. In another 5 minutes that view might change because of additional information. It's the best I can do - Rudy

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billt
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Post Number: 581
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Friday, December 10, 2010 - 03:32 pm:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



My own thoughts on the Fundamental/Technical issue is that US Stock markets have responded to the improving US GDP figures since this rally commenced in August 2010. Fundamentals & Technical Analysis have aligned….

The updated US GDP figures continue to improve month by month since the 27 August announcement, and so did the markets. (see TNA chart below)

You may recall that the declining of US GDP figures from 2009 Q4 of 5.0% to the 2010 Q1 of 3.7% ignited the market decline in April/May this year, as Q1 figues were released in mid April. The Q2 collapse to 1.7% sent the markets lower to find the 2010 low.

The recovery of US GDP since the 27 August 2010 announcement provided a sustained rally. The last announcement of Q3 @ 2.5% drove the markets further north.

TNA (US Small Caps) rallied over 119% in this period. Many of Aussie Miners did just as well such as IAU, SDL, ARU, LYC, RMS, LNC, SFR, RRL, IGR, and a host of others.

Whether US GDP will continue to improve is uncertain. At some point the Debt & Deficit drag on US GDP will more than likely have a very negative effect.

To my mind the Fundamentals and the Technicals have mirrored imaged themselves over the past few years - there does not seem to be a crystal ball gazing consideration into the future beyond the current announcements. The trick is to monitor the fundamental movements very carefully, and not to have a pre conceived idea what the outcome may be...when GDP was plummeting from 5.0% to 3.7% to 1.7% I had the view that the US markets were toast, but a recovery (however brief) has begun - and it was based upon an improving US economic outlook.







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billt
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Friday, December 10, 2010 - 04:22 pm:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Just to complete the story!

US Quarterly GDP reports are broken down into three announcements: advance, preliminary, and final. Release Time: Third or fourth week of the month at 8:30 ET for the prior quarter, with subsequent revisions released in the second and third months of the quarter.

2009 Q1 -4.9%
2009 Q2 -0.7%
2009 Q3 1.6%
2009 Q4 5.0%
2010 Q1 3.7%
2010 Q2 1.7%
2010 Q3 2.5%

The 'Advance' figures for 2010 Q2 & Q3 were lower than the 'Preliminary' which added to the improving GDP announcements since August 2010 and hence the sustained rally….. 1.0% to 1.7% to 2.0% to 2.5% it was just better and better news. Just what Uncle Ben wanted & paid for!

TNA's MA 3 & MA 10 told you that without even knowing the GDP Fundamentals!

The 4Gs/4Ms told us that too...ages ago, even before Uncle Ben knew!


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ody
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Friday, December 10, 2010 - 04:44 pm:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Rudy and others,

I am not talking about there having been no rally/rallies; that would be utterly nonsensical and non-factual. What surprises me, instead, is that the market currently - here in Australia, anyway - is performing so much less well than a good many analysts (not specifically you) had expected. Not that long ago (I remember Eugenio's enthusiasm at the thought as he came out of hospital) it was widely assumed that we'd be getting a decisive Christmas rally, and for that matter we have had a good many optimists of the Shane Oliver variety etc saying for much longer that the market would end the year quite high. I currently can't see it happening, and I wonder why. That is all - there are times, of course, when the analysts do get it right, and yes, there have of course been opportunities at various times to make money as the market went up. (Or down, if you picked that correctly and were prepared to play that move.)

No need to extrapolate huge generalisations about T/A on my part, or to think I am referring to specific analysts, when all I modestly observe, right now, is that the market seems to be nowhere near as optimistic as fairly recently it was expected to be, and by quite a few people.


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eblode
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Friday, December 10, 2010 - 05:26 pm:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Ody,
I must agree with you. For all the hype months ago that we were going to have a strong end of the year rally and easily hitting the 5000 mark the market in its typical fashion made us look foolish.
Fortunately my recent operation opened for me a completely new view on the market. It has made me immune to it's vagaries and disappointments. Yesterday I lost a paper profit of $5000 when TRS announced a steep loss of future profits and the shares dived from 17.20 to 13.41. Normally it would of ruined my day and I would be snarling at all and sundry. Not this time. Only 7 weeks ago I had a surgeon tell me that I had a 4 kilo tumour in my gut and that there is a 50/50 chance of success. And he wasn"t kidding, I was now in his hands. When I first opened my eyes in the dark intensive care ward I didnt know if I would be greeted by my parents followed by the Angels when suddenly I felt a nurse by my side taking my blood pressure. I WAS ALIVE! I'll see my wife again, my family. I had passed through the Valley of Death. Gus Mercurio wasn't so lucky. So tonight I'll be with my family at home. I'll have a Glenfiddich whiskey and drink a toast "TO LIFE!'
Worry about TRS? You gotta be kidding.

Eugenio


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ehmu
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More on negative divergence.

The chart, believe it or not, demonstrates the influence of forced liquidity.

"It isn't until Liquidity levels pull back in the face of lingering negative divergences that a market pull back finally occurs. When inflowing Liquidity is in Expansion territory and at a high rate of expansion, the market continues to move up in spite of any negative divergences. "

http://www.stocktiming.com/Friday-DailyMarketUpdate.htm






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ody
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Quite right, Eugenio: all of it!

And a beautiful account of events. Glad you made it, and with that large tumour removed you must be in much better shape than before, so I am counting you "in" for quite a while yet.

My experience is that people almost always underrate the extent to which a really big crisis continues to influence matters negatively. I think that we are seeing an increasing awareness of the problems in share markets, and also in spending. Even here in wealthy Australia 10% of people's income is now saved or used to reduce mortgages. That cannot fail to reduce economic activity hugely, especially in retail. And the enormous Chinese export and import figures just announced (exceeding all expectations) mean that that country is overheating: it will have to put the brakes on big-time (to our detriment), or a significant collapse, at some point, becomes inevitable. Countries cannot continue economic activity at this rate without very serious danger, and it suggests huge asset bubbles are forming. This one the one hand and (notably) European malaise on the other - with the US also a problem - are bound to have a very negative impact on people's outlook. I have just seen Shane Oliver's expectations for next year, and I think he is dreaming - as he has been for some time.


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ody
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ehmu: stocktiming

I look at this too, and I do take the point, but what should be added is that it is only a matter of time before inflows will be reduced. The situation is extremely tense and worrying, with contradictory impulses occurring that cannot be indefinitely sustained. See also my previous post in this regard: economies are trying to achieve something impossible.
Much movement of money is simply the result of printing money, interest rates too low, artificial pump-priming - not evidence of "real" money-formation. And I think that increasingly people are beginning to understand how dangerous the situation is. We hear far less of the phoney - or ignorant - optimism that was so much with us a few months ago, and even fairly recently. Like China - and because of China - money flow here too is too intense (see e.g. colossal wage rises in WA): none of this can continue without serious crashes.


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ehmu
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Hi Ody:

I pretty well agree with you, but disagree slightly with your opinion about the final reckoning.

We are taking this somewhat out of the realm of finance and in to the realm of philosophy, but bear with me for a moment.

The point that I disagree with is the notion that there will be a crash of sorts. I think that the crash is being disguised, the crash is actually happening in front of our eyes by the cash infusion thereby diluting the value of all material in the world.

Here is my short version, I'll leave the details to those with a desire to fill in the blanks, identify the guilty etc.

There was a debt bubble that burst.

The material that has market exposure lost 50% of its value over an 18 month period.

Governments around the world have chosen to reflate the "price" of things to avoid insurrection. The real value will still have lost 50%, but because of the dilution of currency it will appear to be back to normal.

The most disturbing thing to me (and embarrassing I might add because I'm just now catching on) is that the hidden debt in the form of credit default swaps and derivative insurance on ridiculous margin buying of commodities is also being normalized by the same mechanism---printing money.

So, the cash equivalent that I am sitting on of the 50% that I preserved is being diluted at an alarming rate.

I need to get the money in to the system where it is likely to be REFLATED to some degree or another.

If I stay in cash, when the cash infusion ceases, I will truly only have .25 cents on the value of my savings dollars remaining because of the fiat currency dilution.

I believe that this spectacle we are seeing now is a liquidity bubble, and that there will be no crash at the end, just throngs of whimpering aristocrats.

That's my two bits worth. (play on words intended)

Hal

ps
I worry that intense focus on the crash scenario prevents people from taking positive steps.

(Message edited by ehmu on December 11, 2010)




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ody
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ehmu - asset bubbles

NOTE: I had to do this quickly, so there are typos - sorry!

I can see your general point, and it is certain that the devaluation of money, deliberately caused by the printing of money, has led to an upward valuation of many assets by way of compensation. That process by itself, though, cannot and never does on indefinitely. Major devaluation of currencies always cause disasters in the end - what we don't know yet is how long this process of devaluation of money on the one hand, and of inflation of assets on the other will go on for. There are signs that in real estate it is coming to an end, and eventually the share market will no doubt follow. What is difficult to get right, in technical analysis OR in fundamental analysis, is the matter of timing.

But the basic moves of economies by themselves are ultimately a matter of cause-and-effect that can be grasped. For example, in 2006 - at the latest - it was obvious to the best fundamental analysts that there would be a huge financial crisis. Most of the people who did get that right are convinced, still, that there will be significant declines still to come in various areas where at present prices are high: simply because the lofty levels are not sustained by any enduring factors, but very artificially have reached those levels as a result of factors that are transient. The printing of money, for example, never goes on for ever. In the end, markets tend to revert pretty much to their "normal" levels. That bieng the case, there is, I think, a very high chance that many of the present bubbles will indeed be "pricked", even though in some cases changes will prove real and lasting. Not everything that goes up goes up without reason. So, I accept that most likely the East is really getting wealthier, and the West poorer. But some of the more extreme claims being made in such contexts seem to me implausible. Have you noted, for example, how despite much speculation it is very difficult for the speculators to push the AUD well and truly beyond parity?? And an alarming number of seemingly high prices is in the process of "deceleration". Who would have thought a year or so ago that The Reject Shop would fall by 21% in one day? It was, admittedly, no longer on my list of desirables, so if I had been in the market I would not have incurred that loss. But it is a good example of how prices can change in a way that few people expect. It was still strongly recommended by many people until recently. The way I make most of my money is by being in the market with such a share WHILE THE MARKET IS STRONG. The first time I had it - and a good swag of it - I made more than 200% on it. I continue to think that the market is a very dangerous place these days, which is why I failed to gain from the rallies that have occurred since October 2009. But in the 2009 rally I made FAR more than I could have made, myself, during 2010. And what if the market does go up to 5000 at the end of the year? Not really a big deal, in the overall scheme of things. Still a modest level only. And as for holding money in AUD and deposits plus interest rate securities such as hybrids: all of it has, during my time out of the market since October been only gain. The interest rate securities not only have given me a better yield than deposits, but I am well and truly in the black versus my purchase prices as well. Additionally, the AUD has gone up more than most currencies. The total increase in the money pool I have has been very impressive over 2010, and I very much doubt that I would have done better in shares, as only the smaller companies would have interested me, and then only a small number of THEM. While I should perhaps have been more courageous, I could only have invested a small portion of my capital in them, and with more risk. So I have no serious regrets.

Will I stay in the AUD and fixed interest forever? No, of course not. My whole investment strategy consists PRIMARILY of selecting asset classes. Broadly, fixed interest has been a MUCH better class to be in - certainly the way I have handled it myself - than shares. The latest article I saw had shares actually DOWN by 2% over a 12-month period. Admittedly, my small holding of small companies, had I had it, would not have been. So arguably I was too cautious about that.

But I am NOT predicting that 2011 will merely bring us more of the same. I keep my ears and eyes open!

(Message edited by Ody on December 11, 2010)


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ken
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Ody,
re your statement that people are saving 10% and this will have an effect on retail - I quite agree. But this saved money will become available via borrowing for the huge capital investments to be made over the next few years, so it will still add to GDP but in a different way.

Just better to get out of retail stocks and into the engineering companies.


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ody
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Ken: saved money

How do you see the money (that 10%) becoming available if people are spending it to pay off their mortgage? They are paying off debt with that money - not investing in shares, for example. But you may have a different point in mind. Glad to hear more.

But, in any case, I certainly agree that retail stocks are in general not the place to be, and also that some of the best engineering stocks would be likely to be much more profitable. If there is going to be action anywhere it will be in the resources industry and its development - massively. The RBA has already observed that part of resources-related economic activity is taking place AT THE EXPENSE OF the rest of the economy. So stocks that help the miners ("picks and shovels" in the old days) would have to be a reasonable bet, as they can charge for any labour that anyone gives them to do - and there obviously will be a lot of such labour required. So I endorse your choice. The important thing is to get the right stocks in this sector, for they are uneven. But there is no doubt that some are very good. Hmm, I might look at some, for the suggestion is appealing - more so, I feel, than the miners themselves, as those are often harder to pick, at least for someone who wants reasonably steady performance over a number of months. And we'd have to hope that China is not going to slam on the brakes TOO hard. However, the mining companies have set in motion an awful lot, and that is not likely suddenly to grind to a halt.


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ken
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Ody,

The money paid off loans goes into the banks and comes out again as new loans. The capital investments I am thinking of are the North-West Shelf developments

Ken


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ody
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Ken, - Sure, I agree. And other mining activity, within WA notably, as well.


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ody
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From CNN:

For the week, the Dow locked in a gain of 0.4%. The S&P 500 added 1.3%, and the Nasdaq rose 1.5% over the last five days.

The advance came after government data showed that the U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in October, raising optimism about economic growth early next year. A separate report on consumer sentiment also came in better than expected.

The trade data "caught people off guard and suggests that the fourth-quarter GDP might look much better than expected," said Dan Greenhaus, chief market strategist with Miller Taback & Co. "But I think the news out of China is the bigger story."

The People's Bank of China further increased its reserve requirement ratio for banks as part of an ongoing effort to cool inflation and avoid an economic crash landing. The move stoked speculation that the central bank could hike interest rates next year.

"China continues its steady steps towards tightening," said Greenhaus, adding that such moves are necessary. "They need to slow things down."

A separate report showed that China's trade surplus fell 16% in November, as exports surged 35% from the prior month.


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ody
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Some of the latest Roubini pronouncements

Bloomberg Interview - Roubini Says India Growth May Beat China’s in 10 Years
Nouriel Roubini
Dec 9, 2010 8:27PM

From Bloomberg

By Kartik Goyal

India’s economy may expand more than China’s in the next 10 years if the world’s second-most populous nation lifts curbs on foreign investment in retail and boosts spending on roads and bridges, Nouriel Roubini said.

Roubini NYT DealBook Interview - U.S. Real Estate Problems are 'Underappreciated'
Nouriel Roubini
Dec 7, 2010 1:48PM

NYT DealBook:

Dr. Doom Predicts Another $1 Trillion in Housing Losses By EVELYN M. RUSLI

As Nouriel Roubini heads to Athens to meet with investors and policymakers potentially about the debt crisis in Europe, the economist says he’s increasingly worried about a problem closer to home: America’s real estate mess.

The country’s real estate problems are “underappreciated,” and banks could face another $1 trillion in housing-related losses, Mr. Roubini said in a phone interview with DealBook on Monday. At the same time, he played down the issues in Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain, calling the matter “contained” for now.


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ehmu
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Hi Ody:

Thanks for your response, I now have an expanded view on the subject, and likely not as tainted by uncertainty.

Hal




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bridog
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Eugenio,

Brilliant to hear from you again.

I can't get to be a active participant at the moment but want to discuss stocks with you again when I can come up for air. You'd better be up to it!

Cheers


Old enough to know better . . .

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bridog
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Ehmu,

Thank you for your thoughts on the “slow crash” by currency dilution.

I’m not sure, but it’s novel and somewhat compelling. I hope you continue to develop it and express it here. Do you have in mind only the US and Euro economies and their bond markets?

Cheers,


Old enough to know better . . .

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ehmu
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Hi Bridog:

Seems global to me, and that would make sense because it is likely tied to the fact that the world is locked into $us as a reserve currency.

The concept only could help me if it softens my fear of going long. The markets go up, and many retail investors remain on the sidelines (to their detriment--me included).

best
Hal


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ody
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Nothing compellingly positive in this report from Business Spectator:
---
Business conditions lifted slightly in November, with weakness in the retail and wholesale sectors offset by strength in construction, recreation and manufacturing, according to a leading business survey.

Despite the lift, National Australia Bank Ltd's monthly survey said business conditions remained soft.

Business confidence declined for the third consecutive month, with business conditions and confidence both below their long-term averages.

Profitability lifted out of negative territory, despite mining conditions falling sharply.

There was a gap between mining conditions and confidence, with mining confidence rising to its highest level since December 2005.

"It is likely that sharp fluctuations in commodity prices have affected the mining sector, while the improving global production outlook may be responsible for the currently high level of mining confidence," the bank said.

Employment conditions weakened marginally with labour cost pressures unchanged.

New orders increased slightly in November but continue to trend in negative territory. Forward orders remained negative, with the trend reading at -1 index points.

Capital expenditure rose by 3 points to a relatively robust +10 index points.

Demand growth is forecast by the bank to have slowed to around 3 per cent in the December quarter, which would result in growth in non-farm GDP slowing to around 2.75 per cent on an annualised basis, in line with the six-month trend evident in the September quarter national accounts.

NAB said the Reserve Bank of Australia was probably surprised by recent weakness, with the lender revising its forecast for the next interest rate rise to May next year, when it expects the cash rate to be lifted to five per cent.

The bank said the Australian dollar was expected to peak around $US1.05, which is expected to keep inflation under control.


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ehmu
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Visions of a higher order, poetry in motion

"As proof of a munificent God, I offer the fact that none other than Ron Paul - the libertarian Texas congressman whose last book is dedicated to why the Federal Reserve should be abolished - is going to be in charge of Congressional oversight of............the Fed.

Here, from a New York Times article, are some earnest expressions of Paul's love for this esteemed institution:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/12/weekinreview/12chan.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=ron%20p aul&st=cse

The Beginning of the End

“The day the Fed came into being in 1913 may have been the beginning of the end, but the powers it obtained and the mischief it caused took a long time to become a serious issue and a concern for average Americans.”

The Gold Standard

“Whenever I talk of a gold standard, there are always people ready to accuse me of having some obsession or fixation. Fetish is a word thrown around. In fact, I’m only observing reality: the idea of sound money in most of human history has been bound up with gold money.”

A Full-Time Counterfeiting Operation

On Mr. Bernanke: “There is something fishy about the head of the world’s most powerful government bureaucracy, one that is involved in a full-time counterfeiting operation to sustain monopolistic financial cartels, and the world’s most powerful central planner, who sets the price of money worldwide, proclaiming the glories of capitalism.”

New Money Out of Thin Air

“Only the Federal Reserve can inflate the currency, creating new money and credit out of thin air, in secrecy, without oversight or supervision. Inflation facilitates deficits, needless wars and excessive welfare spending.”

Fed Chairmen He Has Known

“Being in Congress in the late 1970s and early 1980s and serving on the House Banking Committee, I met and got to question several Federal Reserve chairmen: Arthur Burns, G. William Miller and Paul Volcker. Of the three, I had the most interaction with Volcker. He was more personable and smarter than the others, including the more recent board chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke.”

Low Interest Rates

“Artificially low interest rates are achieved by inflating the money supply, and they penalize the thrifty and cheat those who save. They promote consumption and borrowing over savings and investing. Manipulating interest rates is an immoral act. It’s economically destructive.”

The Bailouts

“Today, there is no principled opposition to the corporate bailouts and the Fed’s trillions of dollars of new credit and the takeover of insurance, mortgages, medical care, banks and the auto industry. The arguments have only been over amounts, financial vehicles, and which political group gets to wield the economic power. If there is no moral argument against the economic takeover of America, there will be no resistance to the dictator who rules over our lives with an iron fist.”

The Obama Legacy

“For the same reason a disease cannot be cured by more of the germ that caused it, the inflation and debt accumulation of the Obama years will not inflate our way out of it. This depression will likely last and last.”"


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cat_lady
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the overall "rally" as such may be muted, but some of my shares are wearing santa hats at the moment:

OZL
DTL
MCE
VPE
ORL

makes up for a few of the flatliners.... IDL, BOW, PTM, FGE....

cheers
cat lady


Without my morning coffee I might as well be a dog

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ody
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Catlady

Of your stocks I find MCE particularly congenial, and it has strong fundamentals - quite a bit of gearing, but within the limits of good sense, and their earnings, including those projected, seem excellent. They would appear to be doing just the right kind of thing at the right kind of time. If you have had it for several months you have done very well indeed, and although the current PE does not look low, the projected earnings would seem to augur well for the future PEs. There seems to be a lot of trading in the stock, which may mean quite a bit of profit-taking on an ongoing basis, but this does not matter so long as there are enough people to support it, and so long as it remains worth supporting!


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ody
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Greg Peel's Latest FnArena Report

It's been a while since I scanned FnArena with care, and as the title of Peel's report caught my attention I decided to read it. I find it very informative and persuasive (as usual), and this is it:
-----
The Overnight Report: Momentum Problems
FNArena News - December 15 2010

By Greg Peel

The Dow closed up 48 points or 0.4% while the S&P rose 0.1% to 1241 and the Nasdaq added 0.1%.

At its close of 11,476, the Dow has now regained the level from which it fell the day Lehman died, being the last of the three major indices to do so. But while this achievement should be some cause for celebration, Wall Street is clearly suffering from momentum issues at present.

A late kick was all that saved both the S&P and Nasdaq from posting a down-day, and the Dow's close of up 48 looked tepid compared to the level of up 86 it had achieved after lunch. Volume was not inspiring. For the second day in a row, Wall Street tried to push up solidly in the morning only to be met by selling in the afternoon. Technical selling at these pre-Lehman levels perhaps? Well that doesn't work for the Nasdaq, which is already well above now.

The unconvincing drift up continues in the face of some pretty good economic data.

Before Wall Street arose the closely watched German ZEW economic sentiment index was released, showing an increase to 4.3 from 1.8 in November. The result had the euro looking stronger as the bell rang on the NYSE.

The US producer price index rose 0.8% on the headline in November, up from October's 0.4% rise. Gasoline (4.7%) and fruit (13.6%) were big contributors, leaving the core PPI to rise only 0.3%, as expected, following a fall of 0.6% in October. Annual producer inflation is running at 1.2%.

The Fed continues to monitor only the core rates of inflation and tonight brings the more important consumer price index. While QE2 is a fight against low core inflation, many commentators warn that a weak US dollar is playing havoc with inflation of staple goods and energy prices – a direct hit to the consumer's pocket.

Yet consumers were enthusiastic in November, sending retail sales up 0.8% against an expectation of 0.6%. Take out volatile and lumpy auto sales, and the rise was 1.2% versus expectations of 0.7%. Previous months' gains were also revised higher. The surprisingly good retail sales results have seen economists gradually lifting fourth quarter GDP growth forecasts, now averaging 2.9% up from 2.5% only a month ago.

Further good news came in the form of business inventories and sales data. There has been concern in recent months over solid rises in inventories, which support GDP growth, not being matched by rising sales. The risk is goods are soon discounted for clearance and deflation results. But in October inventories rose only 0.7%, short of 1.0% expectations, while sales rose 1.4% to mark the biggest jump since September 2008.

But not all retailers are created equal, and there were echoes of Harvey Norman's (HVN) current consumer electronic woes last night in a profit warning from US equivalent Best Buy. An unexpected drop in third quarter earnings sent Best Buy's shares down 16%.

When Wall Street was reaching its lunch time highs, the US dollar had weakened after an earlier rise and the risk trade was back on. Base metals had already closed flat in London but gold had regained US$1400/oz and the Aussie had returned to parity. The afternoon reversal saw the dollar index rally to close up slightly at 79.46, gold to close flat at US$1395.90/oz, and the Aussie to be only slightly higher at US$0.9980.

The timing of the reversal coincided with the release of the Fed's latest statement on monetary policy. While little change was expected from the current QE2 program, there was some anger that the statement was almost word-for-word a carbon copy of the previous statement six months ago – the one which introduced QE2. The only difference was a further nod to unemployment problems. Between the last statement and this one, the US ten-year Treasury yield has exploded up 90 basis points. Last night it rose another astonishing 20 basis points to 3.48%.

Is there a problem? We know that US Treasuries had been “bubbling” and we know that Wall Street has been hoping for the day that bonds are sold off and stocks are bought once more. We also know that rising yields reflect a stronger economy given the implications of an eventual cash rate rise. But the point is QE2 is all about the Fed buying Treasuries in the two-ten range in order to keep money “cheap”, in order to stimulate corporate earnings and thus stock prices, and ultimately to spark some fresh hiring. Memo to Ben: it ain't workin' sunshine!

Stocks are stronger but not very convincingly, and money is getting more expensive, not cheaper. This includes mortgage rates. Thus the anger stems from the Fed's seemingly “rubber stamped” policy statement which did not address such issues.

There is, of course, the underlying risk that QE2 will spark too much inflation rather than just correcting deflation, particularly when the central bank ignores the effects of rising commodity (eg oil and food) prices. Bond yields appear to be reflecting this fear more than reflecting a stronger economy.

Tonight's CPI release will be interesting, along with industrial production and housing market sentiment.

The SPI Overnight was up 3 points.

Today in Australia Westpac will release its monthly consumer confidence survey. Retailers will be holding their breath for signs of an upbeat Christmas which, based on trading turnover since mid-November, has not yet materialised.


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billt
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Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 08:57 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Best 'gangster rap' voices now....






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ody
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Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 10:28 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Latest worries on Wall Street (and for the world)

From FnArena:

The Overnight Report: Still Here, Says Europe
FNArena News - December 16 2010

By Greg Peel

The Dow fell 19 points or 0.2% while the S&P dropped 0.5% to 1235 and the Nasdaq lost 0.4%.

Wall Street had a raft of economic data to contend with last night, beginning with the consumer price index.

With QE2, the Fed is attempting to fight deflation. The November CPI result brought this battle to the fore. Both the headline and core CPIs rose only 0.1%, taking headline inflation to 1.1% annualised and core (ex food & energy) to 0.8%. The Fed focuses on the core, and its target zone is 1-2%. Clearly we're not there yet, and indeed such inflation readings are the lowest in 50 years.

The good news is that industrial production rose 0.4% in November having fallen 0.2% in October. Economists had expected a rise of only 0.2%. The bad news is that the National Association of Homebuilders' housing market sentiment index remains fixed at 16 this month. At least it didn't decline, but this is a 50-neutral index. The last time sentiment was in the positive range above 50 was in April 2006.

There was more good news in that following a big drop last month, in contrast to other Fed regions, the Empire State (NY) manufacturing index jumped 22 points from minus 11 to plus 11. Statistical error?

All up, the net news was good. Industrial production and Empire index were good, the housing index was at least not more bad, and the CPI result was bad and thus good because it means no end in sight for QE2. On that basis, the Dow was up over 40 points by late morning. But have we seen this movie before?

Come lunch time the sellers moved in again – a bit earlier this time. This time was not so much a case of simply losing momentum, but a direct response to a jump in the US dollar. The jump in the dollar was a result of a drop in the euro.

Last night Moody's announced it was reviewing its credit rating for Spain, with a possible downgrade pending. Belgium is also under watch. While no great shock, such announcements revive global unease with regards to Europe. The euro ultimately fell 1%, sending the US dollar index up 1% to 80.23.

The US ten-year bond yield had been up 9 basis points to 3.56% but on the European news slipped back to 3.52%. When Europe falters, risk money flows back into the safety of US Treasuries (which is one of life's great ironies). But it is US bonds which are causing Wall Street a lot of heartache at present.

The bulls point to rising long bond yields as a sign of an improving US economy. But if money is flowing out of bonds, where is it going? The Fed wants it to go into equities and equities have indeed pushed higher, but it's one hell of a graft. The problem is the bears' interpretation of rising bond yields. They see rising inflation expectations. And while a little bit of inflation is good for stocks, a lot is bad as inflation undermines capital and yield returns. And rising long bond rates are pushing mortgage rates higher at a time when house prices are again teetering.

America is once again on the horns.

The ultimate rise in the US dollar had a predictable effect on commodities. Base metals fell 1-3% in London while gold dropped US$14.90 to US$1381.00/oz. Oil nevertheless managed to rise US67c to US$88.95 following a weekly inventory report in the US which showed a bigger than expected drop.

The Aussie was sticking its head above parity again on Tuesday night but last night fell over a cent to US$0.9858.

The SPI Overnight fell 13 points or 0.3%.


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ehmu
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Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 10:52 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Bill, that was some pun ultimate awful.

or maybe just a bad batch of mushrooms.


bwah..ha.ha.ha

Hal


_____ n a m a s t e

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ehmu
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Friday, December 17, 2010 - 04:23 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



There is no cure for stupidity (I mean the ppt).

And do not underestimate the power of the Plunge Protection Team.

They strike again,---bears nearing extinction.




_____ n a m a s t e

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ody
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Friday, December 17, 2010 - 09:00 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



In Search Of Real Money
FNArena News - December 16 2010

"Osborne says iconic red budget box empty "for years", keys lost"
- Bloomberg headline.

This will be our final Investment Commentary of 2010. We would like to wish all clients, prospective clients and readers a happy and healthy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

The authorities continue to try and paper over the cracks, but the mission is futile because the entire superstructure is rotten. Wholesale banking failure is now colliding inexorably with wholesale political failure. In the US, this has led to a messy compromise whereby expiring tax cuts are renewed, and matched by an extension of benefits payments. US equities greeted the news with their usual Pavlovian dinner-bell yelps of thoughtless enthusiasm, but the Treasury market reacted by collapsing. As well it might: America's soaring national debt outlook just got measurably worse. In the euro zone, by contrast, austerity is winning out against sanity. Ireland has just been forced to accept bail-out loans from its European masters that represent, in effect, stealth support for their own ailing banks. Two systems, two different approaches. One common aspect: if bondholders weren't already feeling nervous about the outcome, they should be now.

Conventional economists continue to bicker about how we got here, and how we might get out. Keynesians and neo-Keynesians continue to indulge in a fruitless dialogue of the deaf; massive spending hasn.t worked yet – evidently we just haven.t spent enough. But for Austrian economists, the route map of the way here has always been clear, just like that of the directions for the way out. We got here because banks and central banks inflated a credit bubble that distorted economic activity and triggered colossal malinvestment, particularly in property. When that bubble burst, instead of simply getting out of the way, government intervention in the market perpetuated and intensified the impact of the bust. The Irish government has been roundly criticised for the blanket guarantees it issued to its banks in the dark days of 2008, but the British government hardly covered itself in glory. In return for saving its own bankrupt banks using taxpayers. money, the UK government managed to negotiate perhaps the worst deal in the world. By failing to nationalise insolvent banking groups completely, it maintained the myth that these organisations were somehow sound. More to the point, it managed to extract no control whatsoever over lending or any other policy decisions despite hundreds of billions in taxpayer support. Memo to self: try never to deal with bankers, and certainly, count your fingers afterwards.

If it seems that our current economic problems are uniquely caused by a confluence of politicians and bankers, it's because they are. These problems go beyond the quotidian concerns of property prices and the rate of economic growth. They go to the very heart of what Jörg Guido Hülsmann in his excellent book calls "The ethics of money production":

"There is no tenable economic, legal, moral or spiritual rationale that could be adduced in justification of paper money and fractional reserve banking. The prevailing ways of money production, relying as they do on a panoply of legal privileges, are alien elements in the capitalist economy. [When commentators, watching in despair at the current crisis, write of a failure of capitalism, they should instead refer to a failure to allow capitalism to operate freely.] [Fiat money and fractional reserve banking] provide illicit incomes, encourage irresponsibility and dependence, stimulate the artificial centralisation of political and economic decision-making, and constantly create fundamental economic disequilibria that threaten the life and welfare of millions of people. In short, paper money and fractional reserve banking go a long way toward accounting for the excesses for which the capitalist economy is widely chided.. [Paper money and fractional reserve banking] have been created because they allow an alliance of politicians and bankers to enrich themselves at the expense of all other strata of society."(Emphasis ours.)

Hülsmann, surely correctly, suggests that the monetary institutions of our time are in urgent need of reform. But as he also rightly observes, discussion of monetary reform, if it takes place at all, suffers from an amazing intellectual narrowness. This may be in large part because money is not a subject that we ordinarily ever discuss; we merely accept it. (But then, we don't always inhabit what feels like a now endless existential banking, financial and monetary crisis.) It may also be because conventional economists have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Again, to quote Hülsmann,

"Economists relish in pointing out the importance of economic incentives in the determination of human behaviour. While virtually no section of society has escaped their scathing criticism, until very recently few of them have been concerned about their own incentives. Yet the facts are plain: championing government involvement in money and banking pays the bills; promoting the opposite agenda shuts the door to an academic career. No consistent economist could expect monetary economists to lead campaigns against central banks and paper money."

Paper or fiat money alone is evil because it requires monopoly and coercion on the part of the state for its use. In the entire history of the world, no paper money has ever come into being spontaneously and been used by the public – it has always required government compulsion supported by a police state. And it is evil because, en route to an inevitable collapse in value, it invariably leads central banking institutions to inflate away the wealth of the citizenry – particularly when, as now, the banking infrastructure totters under a mountain of unsustainable debt.

Changing one's perspective, perhaps quite radically, on the essential nature of money (what it is, and what it is not) is not necessarily easy. But it is possible. As Andreas Acavalos has written so well:

"..the problem of economic calculation under a fiat monetary regime is fundamentally insoluble. It cannot be solved for exactly the same reason that you cannot solve the problem of "measuring" a length of cloth with an elastic tape measure. The only "solution" is to throw away the elastic and use a yardstick that cannot be stretched at will." That yardstick, of course, is gold.

"Since it is unfortunately not within our power, as ordinary citizens, to do away with fiat money, we have to live with it and manage our affairs accordingly; we must, in other words, take rational economic decisions in the context of an irrational monetary regime that distorts relative prices and renders them increasingly meaningless as guides of where to invest. Here, I think, is where the role of gold comes in: acquiring gold is not an investment. It is a conscious decision to REFRAIN from investing until an honest monetary regime makes rational calculation of relative asset prices possible."

In a world where all currencies are fiat, investing in currency is a sub-optimal decision; everything is relative. Gold and silver, admittedly, are closer to absolutes. But the US dollar for one is an elastic tape measure, and gold and silver are not.

We view the investible world through four asset class prisms: high quality debt; high quality equity; absolute return funds; and real assets. Three of these four types can be owned "passively"; absolute return funds, on the other hand, are not a formal asset class as such, and positively require some form of active management. In the unrealistic circumstance of being forced at gunpoint to choose one and one only of these assets to hold for the foreseeable future, high quality equities, absolute return funds and real assets (notably gold and silver as "natural money") would all pass muster to a greater or lesser extent – but the exercise is in any case wholly artificial. On the matter of broader equity market valuations, we have no strong convictions – as always, we will stick to what we consider to be defensive high quality. But since the monetary authorities seem determined to print and debauch their way back to what they presume to be growth and wealth, that leaves a pretty serious question mark over having the entirety of one's investments concentrated in the form of bonds – or in the currencies in which those bonds are denominated. As the last week's price action in the largest (poorest quality) government bond markets would tend to suggest ("US stimulus sparks government bond sell-off" as the FT put it), investors in government bond markets like those of the US, the UK and even Germany may be in for a rude though not entirely unforeseen awakening.

Tim Price
Director of Investment
PFP Wealth Management
13th December 2010.
Email: tim.price@pfpg.co.uk Weblog: http://thepriceofeverything.typepad.com
Group homepage: http://www.pfpg.co.uk
Bloomberg homepage: PFPG <go>

The views expressed above are the author's, not FNArena's (see our disclaimer).


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ody
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Friday, December 17, 2010 - 11:02 am:Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    View Post/Check IP (Moderator/Admin only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only) Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



Market not doing well

The Australian share market is continuing to perform below what were/are the general expectations among many, at present being actually in negative territory. The chief reason is crystal-clear: lower commodity prices, the area where our economy is the most sensitive, since it is in effect the only strong one in the area of exports, and in any case the main driver of economic activity in Australia.

This being the case, the market is today defensive, in the classical manner: financials are in effect neutral (not good enough, even for a defensive market), and otherwise consumer stocks are up (incl discretionary, even), health, and telecommunications. It's not a handsome list, and there is evidence of quite a bit of caution and concern - not only about materials, but also the general financial situation, including once again Europe (perhaps above all), the US, and China.

While there have been up-days, this rally is nothing like what was widely hoped for, and the market will really have to get its skates on if we are to finish the year on a good number. My own strong sense is that Australians are concerned and worried about over-investing in either houses or the share-market. A lot of money is being saved - put on deposit, or, in particular, used to pay off mortgages. Retailers are often pessimistic, even though retail stocks were today being bought. Fear that China will have to restrict activity is strong (and it is doing so already); this is one reason for the diminishing appetite for commodities.

Productivity figures for our economy have proved disappointing, while yet some huge wage increases have been paid - both reasons for concern. And it is not as though people are blissfully unaware of such factors. Until recently, this country was showing itself ludicrously complacent: but that is nowhere near as much the case right now.

Our appallingly poor government does not help either - I cannot recollect a federal government since I came to Australia in 1976 which so consistently does either nothing or the wrong things. Indeed, I find it hard to remember a government as ineffective yet harmful. (The two things do not contradict each other.)


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eblode
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Gentlemen & Cat Lady,
After reviewing my trading results during the year I find that I have just about broken even. I am ashamed to say so but that is the honest truth. My broker was the true winner. However I have learnt a great deal and see quite clearly where I made stupid errors. Also I took some really big hits which caught me by complete surprise. NVT and TRS were awful losses. As well as that I sold out too quickly on real winners. Dumped LYC at 1.00, FLT at $9.00,BLY 2.94 etc. etc. In 2011 It will be different.
Nevertheless the general market was disappointing. I truly expected 5000 plus to be reached by Christmas. Never happened. Dare I say that this will happen in early 2011 and that the USA will make a healthy recovery. Who knows?? 80% of my present portfolio is in copper and iron ore with a punt on HGO,MRM,CDA and ABC. Still holding TRS.
Wishing you all a very healthy New Year and a really northbound market in
2011.

Eugenio







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bridog
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Could this be the start of the long awaited resurrection?

Apex Minerals (ASX:AXM) is pleased to provide a brief update on its operational performance for November.
• 40,000 tonnes mined from underground at 6.2 g/t for 8,000 ounces of contained gold (up 26% on September quarter average).
• Gold production for November at 6,936 ounces is highest for calendar 2010 and up 8% on the average for the September quarter.
• Cash operating costs at $871 per ounce of gold sold is confirming significant reduction reported last month. This is 30% lower than the September quarter average.
• Metallurgical recoveries at 87.5%, again the highest level this calendar year (September quarter averaged 85%).
• Development achieved 437 metres of lateral for November of which 221 metres related to capital (decline and cross cuts).
• New resource for Wiluna being finalised and expected to be released to the market early next week.

Now, I know one swallow does not a summer make, but this is a good start. It would be good to get the last of my trifecta up before the end of the year. The other two? KGL and BND. I've raved about them all for yonks.

Cheers


Old enough to know better . . .

 
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