Thursday, May 8, 2014

Noontime market noos

I have a number of small things:

Bespoke - no dividends? big problems. Apparently, this most recent market reallocation has gone in favour of dividend-paying stocks. R1K stocks in the top 30% for dividends have gone up an average of 2%, while the 30% of R1Ks that pay no dividend are down 7%. Actually... Treasury yields have gone down too, no? If so, that tells a kind of story, no? One of people rotating out of bullshit and into solid stocks, no?

Bespoke - stock yields versus Treasury yields. The aggregate S&P 500 yield is 1.96%. Should that be higher? Then again, if you buy the S&P you're buying capital gains, while if you trade USTs you expect a capital loss over the next few years, no?

Calculated Risk - initial claims decrease. So everything is still not collapsing!

Bloomberg - again with the hope of China saving the mining industry through M&A. Well, at least someone still wants these crappy companies.

FT beyond brics - Pooty-Poot's tightening of the screws. Russia's sliding back into authoritarianism:
At a recent conference in Moscow, participants – most of them activists, regional-level politicians, journalists and academics from across the country – told of civic organisations threatened with closure, alternative media outlets being shut down and professors threatened with the sack. Speakers made presentations about the failing state of Russia’s economy, the rise of nationalism and the demographic crisis facing the population.

One man – a sociologist from St Petersburg – said things had got to the point where people would happily inform on their friends and neighbours, if only they had the option. Someone else chimed in that people are already doing so, using online forums.
Oh goodie. Of course, there's a limit to Russia's power: its intellectual class has already fled, births are below replacement levels, the population that's still there is weak due to endemic tuberculosis, alcoholism and AIDS, and Russia's hit the limit of how much oil and natgas can prop up their economy. So how much do we have to worry about Russia in the future?
For Russians who are better-informed and critical of the regime, repression will increase. Alternative media sources will continue to be shut down and the slightest sign of dissent – in a local paper, on a blog, in a Facebook post – will be immediately removed and punished. The crackdown on freedom on the internet will continue. Opposition politicians and activists will continue to be hassled and harangued.

For the less well-informed and less interested sections of the population the Kremlin will ramp up its propaganda machine. State television channels and the mainstream media will present an ever-more radical vision of reality. Any people or groups that present or represent a different view will be summarily besmirched or shouted down. Already today, Ukrainians fighting for an independent Ukraine are worse than fascists, while the West is a place where paedophilia is taught in schools.
So, it'll turn into Hoxha's Albania. Strong enough to still provide some financial support to anti-Western agitprop sites like ZeroHedge or Russia Today, but weak enough to do little more than pull a Kim Jong Un every few years.

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