Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Bigger Picture

I had a cool treat this morning as I brought up The Reformed Broker site and yours truly made the Hotlinks list for the day!

In kitchen news, the counter tops should be installed Monday and my contractor is firm that by Thursday all will be complete! I have lost about 6 pounds over the past weeks due to not eating dinner much. I hate microwave food and getting a cook set up is really a hassle. When all is normal I think it will be a Big Steel Keg marathon.

A couple of financial thoughts tonight.

Rough Day for Markets
I am used to the futures being down big, it actually happens plenty. What the norm is a big gap down on heavy volume followed by a merciless melt up on about 5 shares traded to close the day either even or a little positive. Today was ugly going in and a late day high volume selloff closed the show (yes Mr Pisani, plenty of volume!). Ugly all around.

Culprits? Always a few:
-Markets throwing a hissy fit at Bernanke's "pittance" of help announced yesterday
-A memo somehow made the rounds that the on track recovery was perhaps more of a pipe dream and smoke and mirrors that anything substantial
-In a game ,understood by many that play, is built on confidence the rush to the door is always going to get a little crowded

In the end I of course have no idea exactly why the big drop today. I think a combination of the first and third reasons are most applicable. It is likely the markets want more action out of the FED, but what if the FED wants more action from Washington (as I wrote a few posts ago)? If a hack like me can see low volume ramp ups and headline euphoria trading then you can be sure the big boys (ha ha, I am inserting SMART MONEY tag here!) know sentiment can change in a hurry. Either way, this could be the start of a moderate sell off in an effort to pressure policy makers to do more "stuff" whatever shape that takes. I would not get too worried until S&P 1040 if you are playing in this sandbox, but that is quite a drop from here.

Can You make Do with Less?
Everything I see and everything I think can be summed up in the following question, the answer to which will dictate your wants for things going forward:
Can you make do with less?
Poor investment has created a supersized financial sector of the US economy that generally benefits very few. Poor investment turned homes, once a long term saving plan for those unable to save otherwise, into scratch tickets and ATMS. The acceptance of absolute maximum consumption has resulted in a service sector filled with lower paying jobs geared mainly at food and entertainment. Government salaries and pensions are massive pits for future capital that will have to be filled or renegotiated on. These are all structural issues that cannot be resolved quickly or easily.

The policy thus far has been to prop things up and hope all returns to "normal" but this expected recovery is running slow and running late (hat tip to "Ending" by Gavin Ewart). Wow, here at Economic Disconnect you even get poetry!

One of the reasons I have had the long term belief that we will see some kind of insane actions out of someone (D.C, FED, Treasury; take your pick) is the recognition of this fact. The bond market has been happy to go along with things so far, and I have my questions (and ideas) as to why this is so. This adds to the probability that something dangerous will be attempted as it has worked so far.

This post got a little big on the macro type view, but that is what I am putting together right now. The key idea to take home is time is an important factor here. The acknowledgement by the FED that things have slowed down after a year of saying how good things were is a punch in the face to the millions that never saw any recovery at all. Summer is almost over.

Have a good night.


Lurker said...

In the spirit of today's post, my Friday night music pick is "Cruel Summer" by Bananarama. I'd also like to have a shout out on Friday for actress Patricia Neal, who succumbed to cancer last weekend. Thanks.

getyourselfconnected said...

You are fast Lurker!

getyourselfconnected said...

A friend of mine asked me a few time when I would want to sell gold, this is making me sick right now!:
Goldman Goes Goo-Goo For Gold: "Gold Market Poised For A Rally As US Real Rates Head Lower"
Oh man!

Jeff said...


Nice post!

Was talking to my Wall St buddy about the bond market's weak reaction to all this stuff.

He basically said they have no choice. Doing nothing is the lesser of two evils.

If they take rates higher they risk blowing themselves up in the process.

Scary times.

getyourselfconnected said...

Mutually Assured Destruction? The conerstone for a sound economy!

Anonymous said...


Matthew Simmons.

Lt. G

End of Line.

GawainsGhost said...

You're doing the right thing upgrading your kitchen, GYC.

To increase the value of a home, there are two things to do: upgrade the kitchen and upgrade the bathrooms. Then give it fresh interior and exterior paint. Double the cost of those renovations, add it onto the fair market value, and list it at that price.

Generally, you'll get that price on the open market. But if you have to come down a little, you've still covered the cost of renovation and recovered equity. But the important thing is that you have a nice house to live in. So I applaud your efforts.

I'm leaving early tomorrow to drive to Dallas. My good friend, Ween, has moved there from China. He came in on Monday. So I'm going up there to break him in.

He's been to Dallas, but he's never been to Texas. I'll be taking him to Austin on Saturday. We'll be staying at the Driskill Hotel downtown. It's a historic landmark. Right there on 6th Street, just a few blocks from the capitol, not far from UT. It'll set this boy's mind right.

I won't be here for Friday Entertainment, as I'll be on the road. But I'm wondering why you never post any Grateful Dead. Here's a list of songs to choose from, unless you have something against the Dead like you do against The Band That Shall Remain Unnamed.

New Speedway Boogie
Sugar Magnolia
Box of Rain
Dire Wolf
Friend of the Devil

Just to name a few.

CT-Hilltopper said...

Road to Nowhere by the Talking Heads.

It's a song that just fits to a "t" where America is at this point.

We don't know who's running the country, we don't know who's pulling our strings. We go our entire lives (most of us) without really movingvery far from our starting points, like a hamster on a wheel. Someone else gets much more out of out work than we do, unless we are very very lucky, and the one that gets the most out of our work doesn't hesitate to make us look like an ass if it is to their best advantage.

Happy times. I love David Byrne.

getyourselfconnected said...

Good stuff guys!

We are redoing the kitchen for us, we will not be leaving here I imagine until we are very old or hit it big and retire to the bahamas. Either way, we just needed a kitchen a little more updated than 1968!