Nielsen

Activist Hedge Fund Goes Postal On Jim Cramer

After last night's marvelous Bloomberg profile of Bill Gross' last days at PIMCO, we were confident that no written material today could surpass Mary Child's fascinating narrative of the fallen bond king. And then we read Cannell Capital's activist letter to one James J. Cramer, of CNBC and TheStreet director infamy, which is hands down the blockbuster reading material du jour.

Frontrunning: December 3

  • Fall of the Bond King: How Gross Lost Empire as Pimco Cracked (BBG)
  • Hong Kong 'Occupy' leaders surrender as pro-democracy protests appear to wither (Reuters)
  • Ashton Carter, Ex-Pentagon No. 2, Emerges as Obama Favorite for Defense Secretary (WSJ)
  • Oil, the Ruble and Putin Are All Headed for 63. A Russian Joke -- for the Moment (BBG)
  • New U.S. oil and gas well November permits tumble nearly 40 percent (Reuters)
  • Swedish government on brink of collapse (AJ)
  • China says Britain has no moral responsibility for Hong Kong (Reuters)
  • Indian Labs Deleted Test Results for U.S. Drugs, Documents Show (BBG)

Frontrunning: November 19

  • Yellen Inherits Greenspan’s Conundrum as Long Rates Sink (BBG)
  • West African Mining Projects Take Hit From Ebola Crisis (WSJ)
  • Saudi oil policy uncertainty unleashes the conspiracy theorists (Reuters)
  • Senate Rejection of Keystone XL Measure Sets Up 2015 Showdown (BBG)
  • Ferguson, Missouri, remains on edge ahead of grand jury report (Reuters)
  • Putin Said to Stun Advisers by Backing Corruption Crackdown (BBG)
  • Italian ‘Invasion’ Has Swiss Fuming as Immigration Vote Looms (BBG)
  • Apple and Others Encrypt Phones, Fueling Government Standoff (WSJ)

In Defense Of Peter Schiff

Economic forecasting is a dangerous job. As Mark Twain put it in his novel Pudd’nhead Wilson, “October. This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February.” Every wrong prediction could doom a career, or a bank account. Prudence and humility are the only sound tools for building one’s reputation. The talking heads on CNBC appear to know neither. They pledge allegiance to the flag of the tinkering bureaucracy. It explains the loss of ratings, and loss of confidence in the ability of “experts” to see what’s coming down the tracks. Refusing to learn from mistakes will lead to future blunders. Pundits that don’t heed this message are doomed to fail.

Frontrunning: October 14

  • No Happy Ending for Investors in Central Bank Fairy Tale (BBG)
  • Ebola Response Strains Hospitals (WSJ)
  • Obama, foreign military chiefs, to thrash out Islamic State plans (Reuters)
  • Draghi’s ‘Whatever It Takes’ Plan on Trial at EU Court (BBG)
  • Too-Big-to-Fail Banks Face Up to $870 Billion Capital Gap (BBG)
  • Iran’s Message to World: You Need Us to Fight Islamists (BBG)
  • Facing new oil glut, Saudis avoid 1980s mistakes to halt price slide (Reuters)
  • Ukraine Grannies Outprice Banks on Hryvnia Black Market (BBG)
  • HK police use sledgehammers, chainsaws to clear protest barriers, open road (Reuters)
  • Gazprom Quarterly Net Rises 13%, Misses Estimate on Ukraine Debt (BBG)

CNBC Viewership Plunges To 21 Year Lows

The punchline: this was the lowest rated month in the core demographic since February 1993! In fact, in CNBC's entire Nielsen-rated history, there is only one month in history when demo viewership was lower, back in November 1992, when demo viewership was just 1000 less at 27,000.

Frontrunning: August 7

  • Russia bans all U.S. food, EU fruit and vegetables in sanctions response (Reuters)
  • Snowden receives three-year Russian residence permit (Reuters)
  • Headline of the day: Europe's Recovery Menaced by Putin as Ukraine Crisis Bites (BBG)
  • Americans worry that illegal migrants threaten way of life, economy (Reuters)
  • Almost 90% of Uninsured Won't Pay Penalty Under the Affordable Care Act in 2016 (WSJ)
  • Germany’s Bond Advance Sends 2-Year Note Yield Below Zero (BBG)
  • Gaza War’s Critics in Crosshairs as Israelis Back Offensive (BBG)
  • The 1% May Be Richer Than You Think, Research Shows (BBG)
  • Bank of America Near $16 Billion to $17 Billion Settlement (WSJ)
  • Deep Water Fracking Next Frontier for Offshore Drilling (BBG)

Hillary's Book Sales Crash After 1st Week; Reviews Disastrous

While Piketty's book was divisive, the reviews of Hillary Clinton's new book "Hard Choices" are downright one-sided - and terrible. That likely explains why, as AP reports, sales have crashed 44% after an already disappointing first week. "Hard Choices" sold just 48,000 copies in its 2nd week; and following the same dismal path as Greenspan, Cramer, and Geithner; has been discounted 40% on Amazon already.

CNBC Viewership Drops To Lowest Since 1997, Cramer Has Worst Month Ever

According to the latest Nielsen Media Research data, in the second quarter of 2014, CNBC viewership for all viewers just dropped to 162,000 - a new (and depressing for Comcast) low, on par with CNBC's viewership from Q2 of 1997! Where things get funny is when one looks at the ratings of that consummate entertainer, that self-appointed "voice of the people", Jim Cramer. Sadly for Cramer, the people are now gone. Because also according to Nielsen Jim Cramer's Mad Money show just had its lowest ever rated month in the 25-54 demo, and is about to have its second lowest rated month ever across total viewers.

Social Media Advertising A Dud: 62% Of Americans Say "Social" Ads Have No Impact On Purchasing Decisions

One of the great "paradigms" of the New Normal tech bubble that supposedly differentiated it from dot com bubble 1.0 was that this time it was different, at least when it came to advertising revenues. The mantra went that unlike traditional web-based banner advertising which has been in secular decline over the past decade, social media ad spending - which the bulk of new tech company stalwarts swear is the source of virtually unlimited upside growth - was far more engaging, and generated far greater returns and better results for those spending billions in ad bucks on the new "social-networked" generation. Sadly, this time was not different after all, and this "paradigm" has also turned out to be one big pipe dream. According to the WSJ, citing Gallup, "62% of the more than 18,000 U.S. consumers it polled said social media had no influence on their buying decisions.

Frontrunning: June 3

  • At least 74 dead in crashes similar to those GM linked to faulty switches (Reuters)
  • Obama Calls for $1 Billion Europe Security Fund; Will Increase U.S. Military Presence in Eastern Europe (WSJ)
  • Euro Inflation Slowing More Than Forecast Pressures ECB (BBG)
  • China accelerates as euro zone stumbles (Reuters)
  • Russia says Ukraine situation worsening, submits U.N. resolution (Reuters)
  • Secondary Sales Squeeze Investors (WSJ)
  • Barclays Said to Start Cutting Jobs in Investment Banking Unit (Bloomberg)
  • Backlash Grows on Release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Taliban Prisoner Swap (WSJ)
  • For fallen soldiers' families, Bergdahl release stirs resentment (Reuters)
  • PIMCO's Gross stares at record outflow (Reuters)

Guest Post: U.S. Gasoline Consumption Plummets By Nearly 75%

As the U.S. Greater Depression progresses, depicted most vividly in the collapse in the “civilian participation rate” (the number of people working in the economy) and the “velocity of money” (the heartbeat of the economy) - indicating an economy which is not merely in decline, but rather is being sucked downward in a terminal (and accelerating) death-spiral. There is another even more concerning statistic: U.S. “gasoline consumption” – as measured by the U.S. EIA itself – has plummeted by nearly 75%, from its all-time peak in July of 1998. A near-75% collapse in U.S. gasoline consumption has occurred in little more than 15 years... "recovery"

Frontrunning: May 14

  • Vietnam mobs set fire to foreign factories in anti-China riots (Reuters)
  • Recession-Baby Millennials Scarred by U.S. Downturn Spurn Stocks (BBG)
  • U.S. Agents Start Hunting for Sanctioned Russians’ ‘Shiny Toys’ (BBG)
  • Russia moves to oust US from International Space Station (FT)
  • China Central Bank Calls for Faster Home Lending in Slump (BBG)
  • Geithner Must Give S&P Documents in U.S. Fraud Suit (BBG)
  • Samsung's 'crown prince' in focus as father hospitalized (Reuters)
  • Yahoo buys mobile 'self-destruct' messaging app Blink only to shut it down (Reuters)
  • Goldman’s Twitter banker joins hedge fund (FT)
  • Keyword being "unexpectedly": Sony Unexpectedly Forecasts Loss Amid PC Restructuring Costs (BBG)

The Latest Flight MH-370 Shocker: A Two-Ton Cargo Mystery

At this point it is clear that Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 which has been missing for two months will almost certainly never be found: whether due to the nature of the disappearance, or because it is a cover up stretching all the way to the very top (recall that it was disclosed by none other than NBC that the released air traffic control recording with the plane was edited, suggesting that the government itself is complicit in whatever happened), the plane will forever be entombed in the annals of history, alongside CNN's Nielsen ratings, and its final resting place will remain a mystery. However, over the past 24 hours, another mystery surrounding the final voyage of flight MH-370 has emerged,  one which this time involves the plane's cargo.