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  • Republican House Speaker John Boehner says he’s not sure Congress and President Obama can reach a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. “I’m not confident at all,” Boehner quips. It may just be electioneering by the Republicans to keep the heat on the President going into October, but it's risky banter with a resolution already priced into the markets - like we have right now.  [View news story]
    Because this is a business forum and we want to know what the effect will be on investing not what anyone's personal thoughts are on politics. Really, they are separate things. Calling commenters names is juvenile and provides zero insight.

    Muddying the water is what nut jobs do to Tricky's point.

    Here is an example.......if we go off the fiscal cliff and suffer a downgrade, does this debase our currency further, risk our ability to borrow money around the world, and will it sink equities in total or just some selected issues that have greater exposure to the risk?

    Nothing personal, nothing directly political, yet the questions are valid and immediately related to the press release. I pick my own winners and losers not the government. Make sense?
    Sep 12, 2012. 05:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Republican House Speaker John Boehner says he’s not sure Congress and President Obama can reach a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. “I’m not confident at all,” Boehner quips. It may just be electioneering by the Republicans to keep the heat on the President going into October, but it's risky banter with a resolution already priced into the markets - like we have right now.  [View news story]
    So, is anyone going to make a economic or finance driven comment or has this just become another version of the WSJ commentary that forced me to cancel my subscription?

    Looks like I have to find yet another source for true business discussions devoid of partisan politics. Seriously, any of you that think any of these guys is in your corner have not lived long enough to know that they are all in it for themselves. A bunch of liars that spend more time raising money for reelection than negotiating our future.

    I am not confident that they will resolve the cliff and if they don't it will cost us all dearly. Boehner is at the mercy of Cantor and Obama is locked into place. The markets will tank when it happens, the dollar will devalue, but we will stave off another credit downgrade. Very ugly all around.
    Sep 11, 2012. 10:36 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • July Employment Report Preview  [View article]
    Not sure where you live or if you travel much, but research shows crime is on the upswing, especially theft, people are milling in the malls but not buying much, and many strip malls are half empty.

    The Labor Force Participation rate is the lowest in years. Food stamps and unemployment insurance mask the real hurt out there. The stock market is no longer a leading indicator, it has become a casino. I (we) make money investing so it works for me, but not the average Joe.
    Sep 11, 2012. 01:22 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NFIB Small Business Optimism Index: +1.7 to 92.9, vs. consensus of 91.5, 91.2 in July. The employment indicators and capital outlays and expectations for business conditions improved substantially. The percent of owners viewing the current period as a bad time to expand due to political uncertainty reached a new record high of 22%.  [View news story]
    SanDiegoNonSurfer you hit the nail on the head.

    But, with the election coming, our politicians unwilling to define themselves in any material way, the stimulus down the drain, and many not qualified to work in the jobs that are out there, some 3-4 million by all accounts, it doesn't look like a recovery is in the cards anytime soon.

    A recent gathering in Rhode Island offered up a pretty solid idea. Why not pay unemployment benefits to the employer to retrain workers they need while giving both sides a chance to recover together. Never going to happen, but it was interesting to read about and is directly to your point.
    Sep 11, 2012. 01:16 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NFIB Small Business Optimism Index: +1.7 to 92.9, vs. consensus of 91.5, 91.2 in July. The employment indicators and capital outlays and expectations for business conditions improved substantially. The percent of owners viewing the current period as a bad time to expand due to political uncertainty reached a new record high of 22%.  [View news story]
    After clicking the link and reading the report it remains readily apparent that small business is still hurting tremendously. The so-called substantial improvement in business conditions read like this......we sank like whale waste and now we are ten feet higher and can see clearly again. No one is really hiring and isn't that the point of all the stimulus, etc.?

    Don't hold your breath waiting for this sector to bail us out of the jobless recovery anytime soon folks.
    Sep 11, 2012. 11:41 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Under-exposed to equities (and underperforming them) for some time, hedge funds are changing course, writes Todd Salamone. Options activity in key stock index ETFs shows falling buy-to-open call volume, a sign, says Salamone, hedge funds are increasing exposure to stocks by covering shorts (thus buying fewer calls to hedge). Earlier: Not a good move, says Hussman.  [View news story]
    Rushing right in since these hedge funds have been so on the markets for the last five to seven years. Everybody in the water. Thanks to folks like Mr. Hussman for sharing his view which makes much more sense.

    The hedge funds have been chasing the markets for a long time and how has that worked out for many of them? Follow them at your own peril.
    Sep 10, 2012. 08:53 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft, The Boring Returns Killer  [View article]
    Full disclosure I own MSFT. As an investor it pains me to read both articles as they clearly offer bias in both directions. Neither is objective, and many comparisons in this article are simply apples and pears. Intel is a complimentary investment to MSFT. Both are tech companies, but to draw a conclusion like that is to say that a mfg. of drilling parts is a comparative investment versus say Exxon. They are complimentary not alternative. GOOG, AAPL, MSFT.....that is the universe we are picking from because you are buying a platform. Anything else is noise.

    That said, I find nothing in this article to refute the clear value of MSFT. For that matter, AAPL is also a value. The difference is that MSFT has been providing growth in revenue, earnings, and now dividends for a long time. AAPL must convince the non user to adopt. They have secured the low hanging fruit and are now looking to China for the next big growth phase. One must believe the China narrative to buy into that scenario.

    MSFT is already a world player and I am betting that folks like me want bang for the buck in a tablet. After watching my kids go through IPods, Touches, etc. over the last 6 years I am betting that they see my Dell laptop with Vista (no problems for me, although I did like XP better) working great 5 years later and decide to mature. Besides, the bloom is off that rose and once the buzz dies and folks get sick of replacing/repairing their hardware they may just decide to do the same.

    Wish I could say that I believe AAPL will be growing like this in five years, but the last time Jobs was not present the company died. If AAPL TV is the answer I say look at that industry and tell me that is the place to be. It may just turn out to Apple's Zune.

    So, based on both articles I say the better upside will still be MSFT especially when the Apple ios is properly understood versus Windows 8. One last thought.....is it possible that MSFT has achieved the long term success outlined in the other article because it does value R&D? Funny thing is AAPL only started to recover once Jobs returned and jacked up the R&D budget. It worked for them and it will MSFT, the bet is on who can make it last a long time. MSFT has clearly done that and I like that track record.
    Aug 6, 2012. 02:44 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • July Employment Report Preview  [View article]
    Once again, the only numbers that really matter are the labor force participation rate (down again) which highlights the seasonal adj. farce, hours worked (unchanged again at 34+), and finally wages adjusted for inflation were down again. The revisions were negative so Mr. Miller's theory is that we are headed down again correct?

    The unemployment rate is a huge lagging indicator at best, and useless at worst. I lean toward the latter. Just look around and ask yourself these questions.....are storefronts empty, are too many folks milling around on the streets, is crime up, are teens employed, are folks digging out from upside down mortgages, etc.

    The honest answers are all indicative of a recession in bloom with no recovery in sight. Do all the analysis on this end you want, but in the end it will lead you to no investment gains. It is bunk.
    Aug 5, 2012. 09:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Gold Is Going To $10,000: Q&A With Nick Barisheff  [View article]
    Charles is correct. Had the author gone into the arguments that I made in another article to highlight the initial difference he states then we might have some meat on the bone. Without it this is simply an advertisement.
    Aug 5, 2012. 09:34 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • End Of An Era For Gold Investors  [View article]
    The biggest issue with this analysis is that it is totally focused on the utility of gold in the US market. We are not the only consumers or market makers of gold internationally. In China, India (big time), and many other nations gold is revered. It is a social, economic, and aesthetic value. Not everything is straight financial analysis, if it were we would all be doing great.

    The anecdotal component that gets left out of a lot of the analysis I peruse is often the small percentage of research that is the difference between investments performing well or not. Let's stop assuming all other nations operate as freely and openly as ours and then I will actually take this kind of analysis seriously.

    Right now, I will continue to use less conventional methods to reach my yearly goals. Oh, and I have met my goals on average over the last twenty years, including 2000-2010....in large part because I did not listen to this kind of stuff and bot gold in 2005. Still own it and will continue to do so until we get our financial house in order. Investing is personal, we all have different goals, so blanket approaches always make me smile when they reach strong conclusions based on analysis that is designed to make the point.
    Aug 5, 2012. 09:26 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • July Employment Report Preview  [View article]
    I think your analysis is very solid, however I do not have any faith in the government to get this correct at all. This is 2012 so states and the federal government need to step up and make this less of a volatile stat. The mere fact that the charts have two revisions and a benchmark tell you all you need to know about statistics......anyone can glean anything from them if you look at them long enough, especially when they get revised so often.
    Aug 2, 2012. 07:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why The Market Just Won't Fall  [View article]
    Sameer you did an excellent job of outlining your thesis. One comment. How did the USD fare over that time periiod and what does that erosiion do to your returns? The dollar is constant according to your analysis and we all know that Forex is a fairly new game given your timeframe. It makes a huge difference and you glossed over it. Over most of your timeframe the dollar remained constant. Today, the world does not see it that way and it is fundamental to your outcome.

    My questions to you.......are you correct more often than Roubini? And how do you stack up against the likes of Jeremy Grantham? Is he also a once in a generation lucky strike? The latter's analysis suggests you may be correct in the short term for different reasons, but in the long run the value of a dollar matters in financial analysis.

    Jul 25, 2012. 09:13 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A French magazine claims that it found trace amounts of alcohol in tests of popular soda drinks produced by Coca-Cola (KO -0.1%), PepsiCo (PEP -0.7%), and Dr. Pepper Snapple (DPS +0.2%) among others. At levels reported to be as low as 0.001% the phenomenon could be a natural occurrence tied to fruit fermentation, but the questions remains if Muslim drinkers would alter their habits if the results hold based on their religion's ban on alcohol.  [View news story]
    Not too worried about what the Muslim drinker will do with that info......if you read about the culture, it is forbidden to drink alcohol, but many do so behind closed doors so this is a non-starter on that point. I also question the validity of a study that comes up with trace elements to draw a conclusion. I would like to see it independently verified as well. This is not news.
    Jun 28, 2012. 02:49 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Shiller's Gloomy Report On The Stock Market Is Wrong  [View article]
    Fundamentally different...hmmmm...if you think this is your mother's stock market then you are not paying attention. 30 years in this business and nothing is the same.

    It moves way faster, accounting gimmicks abound, flash trading, Congress insider trading, M&A off the hook, and something we never thought we would see..........allmost $5 Trilliion in stimulous around the world.

    The only astonishing part of this story is with all of that given (I realize Congress changed its mind on insider trading recently) the market still has not shot up.

    The reason: Shiller is correct at the most basic of levels. Root all you want for equities, but most long term investments look very risky at this point. What a conundrum.
    Jun 27, 2012. 08:43 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week  [View article]
    Have to say I usually refrain from commenting on hardware that is still in development. However, I do think that the market bias toward Apple is way over done. I have teens and they are not so enamored with Apple and that goes for most younger folks I talk to these days.

    Apple hardware, perhaps not macs, tend to be brittle. They break, freeze, and the screen glass is a joke. All good things come to an end and this may Apple's time. It will take time, but it will end.

    I just can't think that MSFT is going to make the Zune mistake again. They make a boat load of money, have all the things techy46 mentions, and they are committed.

    As for Nokia, let's be honest here....that was a bailout. Nokia and MSFT were always suspected of a long term marriage and no one thinks that they are not going to be one and the same soon. That, along with the great advances and Samsung working with them gives MSFT the long term edge.

    The Apple "room to expand overseas" story is an ugly American idea that everyone wants American stuff. That just is not true and will bear itself out sooner than later.

    I am holding my shares and adding to them on the dips.
    Jun 22, 2012. 05:09 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment