60 Minutes on the Explosion of Disability Enrollees

60 Minutes this past Sunday did a piece on a story that has been talked about in these pages for a long time – the rapid increase in disability enrollment since the recession half a decade ago.  It is quite remarkable that effectively 5% of the working population is now enrolled. [Apr 7, 2011: Nearly 1 in 20 Working Age Americans Are on Disability, a Doubling Versus 1990]  [Dec…

Read More

WSJ's Hilsenrath on Janet Yellen

With the demise of Larry Summers, all eyes point to Janet Yellen as the next Federal Reserve head.  Frankly it is a bit surprising she was not the leading candidate all along.   Earlier this year, we posted a NY Times piece on the woman [Apr 25, 2013: NY Times Does Janet Yellen] from a more personal level and now we have one on the Fed whisperer himself, Jon Hilsenrath…

Read More

The Most Overbought Point in 2013

Quite an explosive rally yesterday at the 2 PM mark, in fact about 70% of yesterday's gains came in a minute or so per Bespoke Investment; the power of algos.   Obviously the Fed, by surprising just about everyone with "no taper at all", lit another fire under the market but coming off a near vertical rally since late August it is still a bit surprising to see the…

Read More

Apr10

Apple (AAPL) actually is down after that last flush of heavy selling in the past 30 minutes, a shocker in and of itself in 2012.  Still its a minor flesh wound of -0.3% at the moment.  Earlier in the morning the stock hit the magical $600B valuation, only the second company in U.S. history to do so – the other being Microsoft in 1999.  Ironically, as Apple teetered on the brink Microsoft actually gave the company a loan to survive, many eons ago.  Talk about full circle!

Disclosure Notice

Any securities mentioned on this page are not held by the author in his personal portfolio.

Read More

Apr10

While the index I now call NASDAPPLELINE (Apple + Priceline) exists in a different universe at the moment, there is a lot of damage in the broader market outside those 2 stocks.  The Russell 2000 has (aside from 2 days in March) now given back all gains since late January.  A test of the March lows is close…

Disclosure Notice

Any securities mentioned on this page are not held by the author in his personal portfolio.

Read More

Apr10

Gary Shilling has been more dour than most on the underlying economy the past 3-4 years, and that could be argued was a relatively good call.  Despite never before seen levels of federal government and central bank intervention, the economy continues to limp along at what I call a "meh" pace.  Normal recoveries sans massive intervention should have had some sustained periods of 4-5%+ type GDP growth; we're happy with 2-3% nowadays.  Gary's long U.S. Treasuries call has been against the grain, and mostly right the past few years, and he's had quite a few other prescient calls as well.  Shilling posted 2 articles on Bloomberg, stating the case for a recession in 2012 – which is now again an outlier view.  We'll look at part 1 today, and look at part 2 which focuses on the labor market tomorrow.

Disclosure Notice

Any securities mentioned on this page are not held by the author in his personal portfolio.

Read More

Apr10

In case you missed it, word broke yesterday that Facebook was buying mobile photo sharing app company Instagram for a stunning $1 billion.  Some of the metrics under the surface are stunning – such as the 13 employees… many hired within the past 6 months, and the lifespan of under 2 years.  With no revenue.  The company had been valued at $500M based on a round of funding… last week!

All based on a simple premise – creating a very simple way to share photos via mobile devices.   Perhaps a crazy valuation but a fascinating story either way.

Disclosure Notice

Any securities mentioned on this page are not held by the author in his personal portfolio.

Read More

Apr09

More on the vastly lowered expectations for Q1 earnings growth in S&P 500 in this WSJ story.  We can see how far expectations for the quarter have dropped since October even as the stock market has surged.  Usually you'd want price and earnings growth to be going in the same direction.  Now to be fair, back in September/October the thought process was Europe was going down the toilet AND the U.S. had a great chance of recession, but strangely as both those were put off the table, earnings expectations DROPPED.  You'd think it would be the opposite no?

Disclosure Notice

Any securities mentioned on this page are not held by the author in his personal portfolio.

Read More