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  • For months, J.C. Penney (JCP) turned up as the #1 result on Google (GOOG) queries for dozens of items, even beating out Samsonite in a search for ... Samsonite. The NYT delves into the shady world of search engine optimization as well as the man in charge of policing it, Google's powerful Matt Cutts.  [View news story]
    Sponsored links is a different story ...
    Feb 13 06:06 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • For months, J.C. Penney (JCP) turned up as the #1 result on Google (GOOG) queries for dozens of items, even beating out Samsonite in a search for ... Samsonite. The NYT delves into the shady world of search engine optimization as well as the man in charge of policing it, Google's powerful Matt Cutts.  [View news story]
    "For months, J.C. Penney (JCP) turned up as the #1 result ..."

    "turned" is the operative word here, i.e. it's the past tense. I don't know if you read the NYT article, but it states that JCP has been "penalized" for their aggressive tactics. I doubt you'll find them anywhere near the top for any of those searches for awhile.
    Feb 13 04:37 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • With continued state support called into question, Moody's downgrades the Irish banks. Previously barely investment grade, Bank of Ireland (IRE +1.8%) is now junk status at Ba1. Allied Irish Bank (AIB +2.2%), already junk, is now bigger junk at Ba2.  [View news story]
    "Ratings for the banks' ... were cut to junk status for Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Banks" per CNBC

    www.cnbc.com/id/41526987

    I believe Moody's considers Ba1 to be "not prime" i.e. junk. Ba2 would be even more "not prime"
    Feb 11 11:28 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Egyptian VP Omar Suleiman, speaking in Cairo, says Hosni Mubarak has stepped down and that presidential powers have been given to a military council. EGPT +4.6%.  [View news story]
    Dunno about that. Sounds more like a military coup. Mubarak is finished.
    Feb 11 11:11 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A pension fund with 12% of its assets in gold must sell off the bulk of those holdings as the Dutch National Bank decides such investment is "inconsistent with the interests of the participants." Proceeds from the gold sales will presumably be invested in Portuguese debt?  [View news story]
    Even the great ones whiff once in awhile ... :>)
    Feb 10 12:13 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chart of the day: core inflation over the past 40 years. Does this really look like a big problem?  [View news story]
    Not surprising to see one of the Fed's favorite mouthpieces put this up.

    First, the nature of the chart is deceptive - yes CPI sucked in the 70s which makes today look good, but a rate of even 2% can be quite corrosive to purchasing power over time.

    Second, I'm guessing a part of today's pleasant rate is just that the government has gotten better at artificially lowering it through things like the Boskin Commission (whose role was to lower the CPI) and hedonic adjustments.

    Third, inflation is excess money - in the 70s this excess showed up in CPI, in the 90s it showed up in internets and telcos, in the 00s it showed up in RE ... Just because CPI (as defined by the government) doesn't capture it should be of little comfort to anyone who is worried the Fed has somehow engineered yet another boom/bust cycle in asset prices.
    Feb 10 09:47 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • An optimistic Floyd Norris sees much in common between the current employment picture and 1983, when the unemployment rate tumbled from record highs. But Norris overlooks a huge difference: housing. In 1983, housing starts zoomed from 1M to 1.7M - "Not. Gonna. Happen. Not with the overhang of existing vacant housing units."  [View news story]
    Don't forget, in 1983 there was a lot of room left for interest rates to come down. The 30 year was still in double digits at the time, short rates were probably pretty close as well.
    Feb 4 09:46 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • March sugar futures rise 5.1% to a 30 year high as Tropical cyclone Yasi threatens Australian production, which accounts for 7% of world exports. Earlier flooding has already reduced Australia's sugar crop to the lowest level in nearly 20 years. Sugar ETF: SGG +4.2%.  [View news story]
    Covered it earlier ...

    seekingalpha.com/curre...

    Been looking all day, but still can't find a place to buy banana futures!
    Feb 2 03:37 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Iceland's decision not to guarantee the debt of its banks stands in stark contrast to Ireland's path. Both countries suffered brutal recessions, but Iceland has quickly resumed organic growth, while Ireland faces years of staggering debt payments and austerity (though today's numbers look good).  [View news story]
    I'm missing something here. What has you upset?
    Feb 1 03:39 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Iceland's decision not to guarantee the debt of its banks stands in stark contrast to Ireland's path. Both countries suffered brutal recessions, but Iceland has quickly resumed organic growth, while Ireland faces years of staggering debt payments and austerity (though today's numbers look good).  [View news story]
    I'd hardly call it "editorializing.' That Ireland will face difficult times is fairly common wisdom. I fail to see the harm in pointing out good news when it does hit. Would you prefer not to know that information?
    Feb 1 01:49 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A shortage of workers becomes the issue as German unemployment falls to about the lowest level since reunification. The lack of skilled labor “can already be felt today and threatens to become a serious problem," says a spokesperson for an engineering firm group.  [View news story]
    I think "skilled" is the operative word here!
    Feb 1 09:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • An investor buys 108,000 Citigroup (C +1.3%) January $7.50 calls expiring in 2012, Steven Sears reports - noteworthy because it's the first time "in recent memory" that a major investor has created a significant position that envisions Citigroup trading above $7. Up until now, most of the betting has centered on the stock trading above $5.  [View news story]
    Maybe he's short C up the yazoo and is just hedging.
    Jan 31 03:30 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Among the stocks hit by unrest in Egypt and the suspension of cell phone activity is its largest mobile phone operator, Vodaphone (VOD -2.1%), who says "under Egyptian legislation, the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it." EGPT -4.4%.  [View news story]
    Thanks for the suggestion. We did cover a possible "bell ringing" in shipping rates yesterday ...

    seekingalpha.com/curre...
    Jan 28 03:18 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Interest rates in Australia could rise a lot faster than markets expect if a research report warning of accelerating inflation is correct. Strong demand, rising import prices, and widespread shortages of labor all point an economy operating at or beyond capacity.  [View news story]
    Yes, there will be slowing. Far more important IMHO to the Aussie economy and interest rates is the voracious Chinese and emerging market demand for the commodities.

    The X factor will be the raging housing bubble (much of it tied to the China-led boom). If it cracks, expect the RBA to ease early and often!

    Don't forget the (small) possibility of a TARP like bond issuance by the Aussie gov't to pay for the necessary rebuilding. In this case, you could see the Aussie economy speed up as a result of the flooding. Conversely, the gov't could jack taxes and exacerbate the slowdown.

    It's a giant 9 dimensional puzzle. When you figure it out let me know!
    Jan 28 12:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Interest rates in Australia could rise a lot faster than markets expect if a research report warning of accelerating inflation is correct. Strong demand, rising import prices, and widespread shortages of labor all point an economy operating at or beyond capacity.  [View news story]
    Whatever happens to interest rates in Oz over the coming year (and I have no idea; the article posted is one group's opinion), I wouldn't think the floods would affect very much. People and entire economies have a way of getting right back on their feet. The Aussie $ remains near all-time highs. Stocks have been going up.

    Are the floods going to end the commodity boom? Are they going to slow down Chinese demand for Aussie goods? Are they going to reverse the labor shortage?
    Jan 26 08:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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