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  • Home prices used to count in inflation measures, until 1983. So the recent run-up to the housing bubble didn't show up - and neither are today's falling prices. Floyd Norris charts an alternate inflation index that may show why core measures may be missing the mark when it comes to bubbly housing.  [View news story]
    Yes, it will be interesting to see how the Fed reacts to higher cpi once the homeowner's equivalent rent numbers start to turn up. [And we should start to get higher rents now that job payroll figures are showing consistent growth; that's why REZ has been on a tear over the past year.] Will the Fed try to have it both ways; ignoring what was going on in the real world of housing prices when the boom was going on, and then ignoring the CPI once the homeowner's equivalent rent starts heading hgher? My guess is, to some extent the Fed will try to have it both ways.
    Apr 2 11:23 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Subprime and other residential mortgage bonds that helped trigger the financial crisis are back in vogue with long-term investors, in the latest sign that U.S. credit markets are healing. Their fat yields are attractive at a time when the Fed has pushed interest rates on the safest investments to among the lowest levels in history.  [View news story]
    "Subprime and other residential mortgage bonds that helped trigger the financial crisis are back in vogue with long-term investors, in the latest sign that "...people have a short memory.
    Apr 1 04:21 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • As David Sokol sticks up for his purchase of Lubrizol (LZ) before Berkshire (BRK.A -2%) made a bid to purchase the chemical company, speculation about Sokol's holdings is driving other shares, like Middleburg Financial (MBRG +9.3%). Berkshire's going to suffer, David Weidner says, as folksy charm won't make this mess go away.  [View news story]
    It's not that simple.
    If he bought the share knowing that he would recommend the company to Warren B., then obstensibly he was driving up the cost of the purchase for the company that he worked for. As an executive, he owed a duty to Berkshire shareholders.
    That is why there is such a thing as derivative lawsuits.
    Mar 31 03:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The recovery appears to be uneven across different states, Wells Fargo says. New York and California will rebound the fastest, while Florida will be among the slowest, and "nowhere in the country does the economic picture look bleaker than in Nevada."  [View news story]
    Oh, you mean like Alabama and Mississippi being liberal, and Minnesota and Vermont being conservative? ;-)
    Mar 30 09:29 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • That was short-lived; after a brief rise earlier, Treasurys are back down for the ninth day after the Fed buys $1.568B in TIPS, of $6.485B offered by dealers. The 30-year Tsy yield +0.02 to 4.51%; 10-year +0.03 to 3.45%; 5-year +0.03 to 2.2%; 2-year +0.02 to 0.8%.  [View news story]
    Seems to be a pattern of Treasuries selling off just after the Fed buys them. Perhaps they should call it "quantitative fleecing."
    Mar 29 11:16 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Healthy competition or a race to the bottom? The ASX (ASXFF.PK), worried about losing business to Hong Kong (HKXCY.PK) and Singapore (SPXCF.PK), mulls making it easier for mining companies to list on the exchange. One way: allowing listings for businesses that have little more than potential exploration sites.  [View news story]
    Don't dubious mining companies already have exchanges to trade on? Seems to me that I read somewhere about Vancouver, BC serving that purpose.
    Mar 29 08:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Rarely encountered among central bankers, accountability is important to BoE dove Adam Posen. "If I have made the wrong call, not only will I switch my vote, I would not pursue a second term, they should have somebody who gets it right." That attitude might have saved the world from 2 decades of Alan Greenspan.  [View news story]
    As the philosopher said, "The owl, minerva, only flies at dusk." With central banking, we might only be able to conclusively see that a given policy was wrong well after the decision.
    Mar 28 11:17 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Time Warner Cable (TWC) is in a dispute with big media companies over whether it can beam live TV channels to iPads (AAPL). The fight erupted when TWC, without securing permission, released an iPad app that includes a lineup of 32 live channels it carries on traditional TV. Execs at MTV (VIA.B), Discovery Channel (DISCA), Food Network (SNI) and others call the move a "land grab."  [View news story]
    Of coures, if your or I started transmitting TWC channels to the internet, the company would have us in court in a heartbeat.
    Mar 25 03:17 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The government of Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper falls in Canada after Parliament passes a vote of no-confidence. An election is expected in May, and polls show Harper's party is likely to reclaim power.  [View news story]
    I've got a great idea for a new TV series; have countries swap leaders for a month [think "wife swap" at a bigger level]. We could send Obama up to Ottawa where he could make a televised address every evening, and Harper could come down here and perhaps give a fresh perspective on our budget impasse.
    Mar 25 03:12 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Another thing for junk debt investors to watch out for: a sudden change in direction for inflows. Traders are revising numbers that made it seem like a record $2.8B was pulled out of high-yield funds this week - to closer to $836M of outflows, after reclassifying Fidelity's $2B move as more of a shift.  [View news story]
    I'm sure fund flows still have an impact on high yield [or "higher-yield lower-quality". as I call them], however the availability of credit derivatives means that fund flows probably do not pack the wallop that they used to.
    Mar 25 03:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bespoke notices that 57% of stocks are now above their 50-day moving averages, a very positive breadth metric for a continuing rally. The percentage recently bottomed at the same level as last August, then bounced quickly. If the same track following the August pullback holds, Bespoke thinks another strong multi-month rally could follow.  [View news story]
    Oh yeah? The percentage of S&P 500 stocks trading above their 200-day moving average recently broke below it's 12-week moving average. See, I've got two MA's to your one MA. Take that!
    Mar 25 10:19 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Barnes & Noble (BKS) is down 28% since putting itself up for sale seven months ago, but still isn't cheap enough to generate interest from P-E buyers. "There’s not much to like," says one analyst. "Assets on their books are losing value so quickly. Other than Riggio, I don’t know who else would want it."  [View news story]
    ""Assets on their books are losing value so quickly."? I wonder if we aren't hearing a bit of hyperbole here. Since they mostly lease their retail space, what are B&N's assets; books? the e-book?
    Mar 25 08:39 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A slight fall in March eurozone composite PMI does little to dent the view the economy grew smartly in the 1st quarter. A bit more worrying, the survey shows manufacturers raising prices at the fastest pace in the 9 year history of the report. Full report here.  [View news story]
    Since we supposedly live in a global marketplace, it's interesting that European manufacturers are raising prices, considering that U.S. manufacturers are said to be unable to pass through price increases. It's not as if the European unemployment rates are significantly better than ours. What do you think?
    Mar 24 08:04 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tiffany's (TIF) strong Q4 bodes well for sellers of luxury goods. Gross margin rose more than two points to 60.9%, "with the increase primarily reflecting the recapture of higher product costs through retail price increases." Ex-forex fluctuations, worldwide sales surged 12%, and comps were up 8%. TIF +5% premarket. (PR)  [View news story]
    Of course, the results are pre-Tohoku earthquake and Tsunami. Japan is a big market for Tiffany's.
    Mar 21 08:43 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Neither admitting nor denying guilt, IBM (IBM +1.0%) agrees to pay a $10M fine to settle an SEC charge the company bribed South Korean and Chinese government officials for over a decade.  [View news story]
    Wow! $10 million? That's a huge fine for a little 'ol company like IBM ;-)
    Mar 18 02:02 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment