For many, the collapse of the housing bubble was the trigger that began the era of economic slowdown Americans find themselves mired in. But recently there have been growing reports in the media of a housing "recovery." So we've invited Patrick Killelea, founder of the popular housing site Patrick.net and author of The Housing Trap: How Buyers Are Captured and Abused and How to Defend Yourself, to clarify the situation. The short answer is this: While there are some markets where home prices are back in line with both fundamental and historic norms, buyers still need to exert caution when making a purchase. Patrick also shares insights from his analysis of years of national home purchases. These include: don't sell too often (the transaction costs will kill your returns), don't upgrade too frequently (it's more costly than you think), and it's worth it to transact without an agent if you're able to do so.
With everyone's attention focused on the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, some may have forgotten that the Middle East is the proverbial powder keg, just waiting for an Archduke and a lit match, not necessarily in that order. Moments ago, Israel's military reminded us of just that when it reported that 3 Syrian tanks have entered the Golan Heights DMZ. Because it appears that the absolutely deranged and insane (or at least that's how it will be portrayed) Syrian regime is not satisfied with provoking the humanistic Western media with "offensive" measures taken against both Turkey and Lebanon, it now has decided to enter the lion's mouth, and is begging, just begging, for a UN-endorsed retaliation. How soon until Syria floats a submarine into New York harbor where it explodes but only after leaving a convenient note saying "Death to the Infidels, Love Syria." Or something just as realistic.
On October 30, the day after the worst natural disaster in New York history struck and flooded virtually all of downtown, Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted the following dramatic picture of Whitehall station, which was then completely submerged underwater. A few days later, Whitehall station is almost dry. Watch this MTA video to see how they did it in 3 short days.
Mitt Romney has a credibility problem. He changes his beliefs like laundry (abortion, medical insurance, whether Bin Laden was worth killing, attacking Iran), refuses to disclose his tax returns, and won't explain how he could possibly pay for the tax cuts he proposes. But there is another scandal in Romney's campaign -- namely Glenn Hubbard, Romney's chief economic advisor, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under George W. Bush, and is now Dean of Columbia Business School. I interviewed Hubbard for my documentary film Inside Job, and analyzed his record again for my book Predator Nation. The film interview became famous because Hubbard blew his cool after I interrogated him about his conflicts of interest: "This isn't a deposition, sir. I was polite enough to give you time, foolishly I now see, but you have three more minutes. Give it your best shot." But the really important thing about Hubbard isn't his personality; it's that as an economist and an advisor, he is a total, unmitigated disaster.
Perhaps the reason why AAPL is having its biggest daily tumble in recent history on the day it officially launched the iPad mini for retail sale, is because all the people who otherwise would be waiting in line in front of FAO Schwartz and inhaling the smell of fresh horse excrement, are doing all they can to obtain gas. Any gas. Because iHeater, iShower and iFridge just lack that little "oomph" when dealing with people who are cold, smelly and hungry.
Supposedly this is big news, so we probably have to report it. Just out from the NY Mayor's office:
We have decided to cancel the NYC marathon. The New York Road Runners will have additional information in days ahead for participants.
— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) November 2, 2012
... and just as the residents of some NY boroughs were eagerly looking forward to the New York version of the hunger games.
From the ECB's Virtual Currency Schemes, aka the "Bash Bitcoin Boondoggle" (p. 27): "A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors. Ponzi scheme organizers often solicit new investors by promising to invest funds in opportunities claimed to generate high returns with little or no risk. In many Ponzi schemes, the fraudsters focus on attracting new money to make promised payments to earlier-stage investors and to use for personal expenses, instead of engaging in any legitimate investment activity." Considering that this elucidation comes from the very same entity that launched the SMP, LTRO, OMT, EFSF, ESM, oh, and of course, TARGET2, and whose head said to not short the EUR as there is "no risk" whatsoever in holding said currency, one would expect that this definition is absolutely spot on...
What a roundtrip! After starting off November with a bang, and after nearly retracing all October losses in the aftermath of the NFP headfake in less than 2 trading sessions, the S&P futures literally imploded, and dropped 23 points from the intraday high, the same distance traveled as it crossed yesterday, only to the downside and on very strong volume for the second day in a row. While the 1400 support in ES is once again in play (ES closed literally on the lows of the session at 1405.5), as we suggested earlier, the far more ominous news is that the AAPL bubble appears to have popped (but, but, it is so cheap on forward multiple basis: guess what - forward multiples are based on forward earnings, which may very well never materialize! and thanks to the dividend, not even AAPL's cash hoard is the bastion it one was) and is now close to entering bear market territory, down just shy of 20% from its all time highs of $705.07 hit on September 12. Now with the 200 DMA taken out, the next support is the 20% retracement from the high which is at $564. After that it is freefall for a long time as a very deep gap needs filling. It is unclear just how much of the selling was there to cause max pain for Dick Bove and Rochdale, for whom every tick lower in the stock means a bigger margin call.Finally, news hitting literally seconds ago that MSFT may be launching its own phone if its partner strategy falters, means there go even more margins.
Moments ago AAPL broke the 200 DMA. Whether or not this was due to the earlier news from Rochdale getting caught with its pants down, and supposedly losing tons of money due to a rogue trader "buying" the stock as its proceeded to tumble from its all time highs less then 45 days ago (during which time it has lost more than 10 years worth of dividends in market cap), is unclear. What is quite clear, is the moment when the general market realized what had just happened. Sure enough, the jobs number came and want, and ES largely faded that move in under an hour. It remains to be seen if a technical indicator for the world's most widely held stock is more important to the general stock market than how many 60 year old workers the US economy added in October. Oh, and as for that whole iPad mini launch spectacle? Sorry. Time for the iPad Mini Magnum launch... or maybe even the maxiPad.
Bloomberg has an update on the most amusing story of the day, namely that Rochdale appears to have blown daytrading Apple. And guess what: taking a cue from SocGen, UBS, and JPM, it's all a "rogue trader's" fault. Of course, if the trade had gone the "other way", Rochdale would not be needing a bailout, and the rogue trader would be looking forward to a generous holiday bonus.
- Rochdale bought more Apple shares than the brokerage’s management intended around the time of the technology company’s Oct. 25 earnings report, two people familiar told Bloomberg’s Hugh Son, Saijel Kishan and Zeke Faux.
- Rochdale officials told employees a rogue trader amassed the position, one of the people said.
We wonder how many more such "rogue traders" who dabbled in AAPL, and blew up after leveing the house in hopes to make their year on AAPL soaring into year end, will emerge before the next week is over...
Nearly two years ago, and progressing to this day, we first observed (and subsequently even the mainstream media caught on) that America's labor force is slowly but surely converting itself from a full-time to part-time worker society. The reasons for this are obvious: to corporations, the benefits associated with employing part-time workers are countless: avoiding substantial benefits-related costs, evading long-term job contracts, hourly basis wages, and many others. In fact, as long as there is slack in the economy, and there will be for a long, long time as the shift in labor demand is now secular, regardless of what the Fed wants to admit, employers will have ever more leverage, while workers have less and less (and are forced to agree to any employment terms, as long as they get some paycheck at all). This much has been known. What has gotten far less prominence is that of the much trumpeted 4+ million jobs added since the trough in late 2009, virtually all the job additions have gone to (part-time) workers 55 years and over. Indeed, as the chart below shows, starting since the official NBER end of the recession in June 2009, the US has cumulatively added 2.9 million jobs. However, when broken down by age cohort, 3.5 million of these jobs have gone to US workers aged between 55 and 69. Another 729K have gone to recent college grads aged 20-24. What about those workers in their prime years: between 25 and 54 years of age? They have lost a total of 886,000 jobs since June 30, 2009!
And it was shaping up to be a slow news days. From Bloomberg:
- ROCHDALE SAID TO SEEK CAPITAL INJECTION AFTER TRADING ERROR
- ROCHDALE EXECUTIVES SAID TO TIE CAPITAL SHORTAGE TO APPLE TRADE
- ROCHDALE SECURITIES ANALYSTS INCLUDE DICK BOVE
By that logic, can one imagine the epic bailout Rochdale would need if Bank of America trades back to its rightful price well over 50% below current levels? Also, why is Rochdale trading on its own account? According to an unverified rumor, a Roch trader was supposed to be buying 125 shares every half hour, and instead bought 125,000. If correct, oops: that's a $74 million margin call. Finally, the question of the day: How many more funds will claim they bought AAPL due to an "error" and now need a bailout?