Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Oh and also, the Russians are hacking Google again

Oh and also, Google is slow today, so I guess the Russians are trying to hack them again.

Well there's two great contrary indicators for you

BI - American investors just went pessimistic on the market. And you know what this has always meant in the past? Great time to buy stocks.

Also, Business Insider has an article on Albert Edwards being pessimistic, which isn't as perfect a bottom-tick indicator as worthless idiot Raoul Pal but it's close.

Strangely, though, BI expects people to want to pay for Albert Edwards' worthless fucking nonsense. I guess they aren't making money on advertising anymore so they have to go the paywall route and hope for enough stupidity to keep them in business.

All is not lost for John McAfee

If you don't remember, anal-application-of-synthetic-stimulants pioneer John McAfee offered to eat his own dick on national TV if Bitcoin doesn't go to $500,000 by July 2020.

Given that bullshit "alternative currencies" are proliferating like bunnies, there is literally no way that this can happen.*

But all is not lost, John McAfee!:

BBC News - US soldier gets first penis and scrotum transplant.

* - well, it can happen if these people are somehow able to use their existing crypto holdings as security on loans to buy more crypto. And actually, I'd love to see that happen, just to see how much they bleat when they lose more than 100%.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Back online

Had to study for exams, and was otherwise bummed at having fucking ice and snow in April, but now that everything has more or less worked out I'm back online!

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. Rail is still fantastic, tax withholding is down due to the Trump tax cuts, and Baltic Dry seems to be spiking with resources.

Speaking of which, a late-cycle thing to look out for is a spike in commodities. Seems we're getting there now. That might be nice for miner stocks....

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Bespoke news

BIG is always a fantastic dose of reality:

Bespoke Investment Group - jobless claims streak of 162 straight weeks.

Bespoke Investment Group - AAII bullish sentiment collapses.

Add that to the $VIX finally collapsing below its EMA(20) and you've got a fantastic reason to buy, not sell.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Flurry of Daniela activity

Was checking my blog stats in the first time in forever, and saw a flurry of hits yesterday on my "Is Daniela Cambone married?" post from years back.

That always means Daniela's just put up a video on YouTube where she's interviewed someone. Usually it's someone utterly reprehensible like Peter Schiff or Doug Casey who drives the hits to this blog.

But today, it's the only mildly reprehensible, but also in this case funny and loveable, Mark Cuban:

Daniela doesn't manage to get Mark to show her where on the doll the bad goldbug touched him.

At least he can get uproarious laughs out of her, which means he has ten times the charm of her typical guest.

And you can tell he thinks she's hot.

Where goes the Republican party now?

Reuters - older educated voters shift away from Trump. Quote:
The 12-point swing is one of the largest shifts in support toward Democrats that the Reuters/Ipsos poll has measured over the past two years. If that trend continues, Republicans will struggle to keep control of the House of Representatives, and possibly the Senate, in the November elections, potentially dooming President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda.

“The real core for the Republicans is white, older white, and if they’re losing ground there, they’re going to have a tsunami,” said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist who closely tracks political races. “If that continues to November, they’re toast.”
A year ago I would have called bullshit on this, given it's mainly House incumbent Dems who are up for reelection in November. Then again, if Alabama can swing Democrat, that's possibly indicative of a major shift to the world of American politics, no?

Though obviously I know a lot of this commentary comes with a hidden undercurrent of Democrat wishful thinking.

Where goes the market now?

WSJ - leverage will determine if China or the US comes out on top. The problem China faces in a "trade war" is that a country with the large trade surplus and low exports doesn't have much room for retaliatory tariffs. If the US imposes $150B in tariffs on China, that's a greater amount than China's entire US imports: so what are they going to do in retaliation?

China’s $506 billion worth of exports to the U.S. last year equaled 4% of its gross domestic product, while the U.S.’s $130 billion worth of exports to China equaled just 0.7% of GDP. This makes Chinese growth more at risk in a trade war. It also means that if both countries carry through on their threats to apply tariffs to $50 billion of the other’s exports, the U.S. has way more targets left to hit afterward than China.

Tariffs on Chinese imports raise costs for Americans but they would be easily manageable given the size of the U.S. economy. Indeed, perhaps the biggest risk to China from a trade war is that global manufacturers no longer regard it as a reliable base from which to supply the U.S. and shift operations elsewhere. If China retaliates by punishing U.S. companies’ operations in China, for example with health or safety violations, it aggravates that risk. Foreign investment has been key to China’s acquisition of technological and industrial know-how.

China could attempt to roil U.S. markets by selling, or buying fewer, U.S. Treasury bonds. But global trading in those bonds is so heavy the consequences may not be great; and it would push China’s currency higher, further endangering exports.

U.S. exports to China are not easily replaced. Several bloggers have observed that China imports so much of the world’s soybean supply that it has few alternatives to the U.S. Brazil, the only other major supplier, is already reaching its capacity. That means China would have to keep importing American soybeans while its tariff rippled through to the price of tofu, bean curd, animal feed and thus chicken and pork. “Chinese tariffs would no doubt hurt US farmers, but likely hurt Chinese consumers more,” Brad Setser of the Council on Foreign Relations said on Twitter.

So I think all this "OMG China trade warz!!!!" nonsense is going to melt away, and the market will suddenly remember Trump's tax breaks to corporations as earnings season progresses.

Friday, April 6, 2018



Bitcoin's trading at $6584 now?

Y'know, with price action like that, I'd be dumping what I have and buying something else.

Friday videos: The Go Gos, but not as you know them

Fun fact: Terry Hall from Fun Boy Three actually co-wrote this song, so it's not even a cover.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Bitcoin keeps on sucking

Now bitcoin is at $6747.

I suggest DaYvan Cowboy buy more. Lots lots more.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Wakanda and economics

Tim Taylor - Wakanda and economics. How exactly do you get to be the world's most technologically advanced economy on nothing but vibranium?

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Hey, remember Bitcoin?

Hey, so why is bitcoin down to $6910?

Zerohedge says "it would be unfair to be totally dismissive of what the Blockchain technology has brought about", but how is it unfair to note that Visa can process a million times as many transactions per second as crypto, yet crypto is supposed to be taken seriously as a payment method? Or is it not really a currency? Cuz, y'know, currencies are payment methods.

Then Zerohedge says "One must remember that the aftermath of the dotcom bubble also affirmed that truly innovative organizations and technologies could weather the storm", which is true if "innovative" means blathering libertopian nonsense. I mean, we all know that'll always weather the storm.

Then Zerohedge says "Whether or not crypto ventures will share a similar fate to dotcoms remains to be seen", which kinda sounds like their Russian paymasters are throwing in the towel and want to move on to their next scam.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Friday videos: Bananarama, but not as you know them

Bananarama and Fun Boy Three, and you understand this if you know that Bananarama were roomies of Steve Jones and almost got managed by Malcolm McLaren:

Monday, March 26, 2018

And by the way....

Bush Jr. and Obama both brought in tens of billions of tariffs on things, and nobody freaked out about them.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Calm words from Liz Ann Sonders

My favourite market commentator has some calm words to get you through the "OMG can an idiot president really cause a collapse in world trade" fears:

Liz Ann Sonders - quit piddling your frilly little pink girl-panties.

Unfortunately Jeffrey Kleintop is still around, shitting all over her reports with his fucking unqualified idiot free-trade nonsense that he got from his BA in business admin and his MBA - neither of which are an economics degree, or even a political economy degree.

But you can just ignore his crap, which is easy to find in her write-ups because it's always hyperbolic emotional nonsense, and focus on Liz's sensible commentary:

With the recent myopic focus on tariffs and trade over the past several weeks, investors might have forgotten that the underlying foundation of the U.S. economy remains solid, although the softer retail sales report caused the Atlanta Fed GDPNow model to dip under 2% for the first quarter, which now has only a couple of weeks left. In spite of these weaker first quarter growth projections, business sentiment remains very optimistic. The NFIB small business optimism index is at its highest level since 1983, with a record-high reading for its “good time to expand” component. In addition, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Non-Manufacturing Index (covering about 88% of the U.S. economy) dipped only slightly to 59.5, while the forward-looking new order component rose to a quite robust 64.8. The accompanying ISM Manufacturing Index (covering the other 12% of the U.S. economy) rose to a robust 60.8, while orders remained strong. And actions are increasingly backing up these positive surveys, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that according to FTR Transportation Intelligence, heavy truck orders were up 76% in February relative to the year ago period.

Additionally, the labor market remains strong, with forward-looking jobless claims recently hitting their lowest level since 1969 and the latest monthly jobs report showing a surprisingly strong 313,000 jobs were added in February. The unemployment rate remained at a low 4.1%; with its flat reading reflecting a jump in the labor force participation rate from 62.7% to 63.0%. Perhaps most calming to the markets was that average hourly earnings were up only 2.6% year-over-year; down from the downwardly revised 2.8% in January, and calming some fears about more aggressive Federal Reserve policy after the prior month’s hotter wage reading.

Read her every week, it's free and Liz is a genius.

Uber is just a scammy gold exploreco, here's why

Getting into annoying discussions about Uber at school in a transport policy class, so I'm going to unload here.


Uber really just gains traction by being another genocide-of-the-proletariat story: hey, wouldn't it be great if we just got rid of 4% of the US workforce that make a living driving? It's a totally bourgeois story.


Hey, remember when Uber was a taxi company? Yeah, that worked until the London cabbies put an end to it.

Fact is, Uber was only "revolutionizing" taxi service by inventing a poorly-thought-out workaround for labour laws, where they asserted their drivers were private contractors. Once they had to treat drivers like everyone else treats drivers, they had to get out of the taxi business.

I think there might have also been a problem in Uber not owning plates. See, taxi services get regulated with a plate system, which is an enforced restriction of supply. That is needed for their industry to stay profitable: in an unregulated libertarian free market, driving becomes a zero-entry-cost perfect competition environment, and by definition nobody can make money in one of those. I'd like to know if there was ever a suit against Uber for operating in a market without plates.

And in any case, Uber shows how fucking stupid they were by trying to operate in a perfect competition market: that is not where you start a new business, ever, and hopefully they're fucking teaching this in first-year business school.

So, now they pivot out of the taxi industry to become a "self-driving car" company.

No, self-driving cars will not be allowed onto the road until tort law catches up. That's what makes this Arizona case so important: it will establish who has liability for tortious injury caused by a self-driving car.

And I'm sorry, but no trucking company is going to dump their driver Sanjeet for a robot, because Sanjeet is the guy who can take the blame for a fatal collision. With Sanjeet replaced by a robot, either the trucking company will have to assume total liability as owner, or they'll be renting from Uber who will then have to assume liability as owner.

And no, you don't make money by creating a business that just buries you in liabilities. And no, existing companies absolutely never change their mode of business to increase their liability. Ever.

So Uber can't make money in self-driving logistics.

So now Uber falls back on the idea of taxis... just that now they'll be self-driving ones.

Which is stupid. Gwynne Dyer (who is generally fiercely intelligent in the field of political economy, but is way out of his fucking wheelhouse here) repeats the vacuous crap that

The long-term impact of autonomous vehicles on private car ownership will be just as great. A recent KPMG survey of car industry executives found that 59 per cent of chief executives believe more than half of today's car owners will no longer want to own a car by 2025 — just summon a cheap self-driving taxi whenever you want to go somewhere.

It's Uber on stilts. Self-driving taxis will be everywhere, and respond to the summons in just a minute or two. No parking problems ever again, and far less congestion on the roads because a taxi fleet one-quarter as big as the current total of private cars would suffice to meet even maximum rush-hour demand.

which ignores the fact that we fucking have that now. Right now you can hail a car that takes you anywhere you want to go. It's called a taxi. And nobody takes them. I know for a fact that during the day, my urban neighbourhood only has 3 cars in my dispatch area from one of the three taxi companies. Those taxis ain't replacing more than 0.01% of my neighbourhood's car fleet, and it's not going to change.

Again, the only way Uber could increase usage is by reducing cost to patrons, which can't be done profitably otherwise taxi companies wouldn't need licensing systems to constrain supply.

And Uber has never been profitable - even when they were running their cab service all over the western world in violation of labour laws, they still needed a constant influx of cash from printing shares just to stay in business. If you can't make money in that paradigm, you're not going to make money in a new paradigm that just copies it.

Uber is nothing but a bullshit gold exploreco, spinning bullshit stories to people who don't know anything, so they can print more shares and sell them to suckers. Their real business is eating share capital.

And the fact they just handwave their way through liability issues and labour law issues and the fucking iron rule of perfect competition markets shows they have no fucking clue what the real world is.

Friday videos: there was still good music after Nirvana

Fun fact: after the whole grunge scene exploded, and suddenly you had shit acts like Helmet and Cell getting million-dollar advances to put out nothing but fucking garbage, there was nevertheless still a small piece of the original US noisecore movement that was still alive.

Like Superchunk:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Pooty-Poot's election was a sham, you say?

No kidding? An election in Russia turns out to be a sham?

Reuters - Pooty's so nice, they voted for him twice! It was swell of him to provide free bus rides for all his voters.

And then provide free bus service for them to vote all over again down the street.

And so on.

Monday, March 19, 2018


The hayseeds dumping SPY and QQQ today don't realize they're reacting to a fucking ex-div.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Ha ha, reality intrudes yet again on the Bitcoin wankfest

Ha ha!:

Daily Express - Bitcoin crashing again, as reality intrudes on the libertopian fantasy. Quote:

The drop comes after it was revealed cryptocurrency investors could face hefty tax bills as the IRS closes in.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, anything purchased using a digital currency is liable to be taxed as a capital gain.

So anyone who has cashed out or paid for anything using cryptocurrency may have capital gains to report to the IRS.

One Reddit contributor earlier this week claimed they had discovered they owe the IRS $50k because they traded in cryptos.

Fucking libertopian buffoons. "Oh, reality doesn't matter to us! We're the future! Fiat currency is dead! Long live the new flesh!"

New computer - thoughts

Had to buy a new computer this semester - the old one was still running Vista, and was 32-bit, and since I'm taking a load of GIS classes, I needed something new and powerful to run ArcGIS Pro. So I dropped $1200 on a high-end gaming tower.

Two thoughts:

1) I dunno why people are so down on Windows 10. It works fine. It boots up in fricking 5 seconds, man. That is fast. Yes, it looks a bit chintzy with all its "hey, let's install paid apps like you're a dumbass Chromebook user!" schtick, but with that in mind it's still better than Vista. It's almost as good as Win98.

2) I dunno why people are so down on Edge. I'm in the middle of a browser file upload right now and Edge is taking up like 0.6% of CPU to do it: the same work in Firefox would take three entire fucking chips and 2GB of RAM. I certainly would prefer being able to install loads of ad and script blockers, but I'm not going to install Firefox's worthless bloatware to do it, and I had a bad experience with Chrome.

Friday, March 16, 2018

How screwed the US is

Two articles on how screwed the US is right now:

Calculated Risk - Larry Kudlow is usually wrong. The guy completely screwed the pooch on the US housing bubble. Read how.

Bonddad - Real M1 and M2 growth lowest since 2010. Hello imminent recession! Especially with another Trump clown in charge of the Fed.

Friday videos: yup so I'm back to pushing limits here

In honour of the UK's National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day, here's Gary Glitter's "Do You Wanna Touch Me":

And what's funny is, this isn't even remotely the most inappropriate thing I've ever posted on my blog.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Lesson about explorecos

I guess the lesson is that even if a company's got a really great deposit, it can still fuck over all the shareholders and be worth zero fuck all.

On this day....

On this day in 1781, songwriter William Herschel discovered your anus while in his bath.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The blockchain pipedream

Nouriel Roubini - the blockchain pipedream. Wherein he tells everyone that bitcoin and blockchain are just bullshit. Not that anyone's going to listen to him if they're invested, of course.

You're telling me...?

Wait, isn't the Nasdaq at an all-time high again?

Friday, March 9, 2018

Friday videos: a song about the Chromatics covering Joy Division or something

And you don't see anyone cool in the entire world covering songs by fucking Kiss, do you? But Joy Division, everyone covers them:

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


In the US, Congress has the power to regulate trade, including tariffs.

Not Trump.

Monday, March 5, 2018

NDD triple-shot of dooooomery

Three from NDD:

New Deal Demoncrat - is the secular trend changing? I'd point out that the last time bond yields and stock prices both went up together, the US market was a completely different animal, with much more manufacturing, much less services, and a completely different demographics.

New Deal Demoncrat - significant deterioration in M1 & M2. Bears watching, because money supply is a no-bullshit indicator. Then again, so much American money is used overseas that it might actually signify something else, depending on whether or not the Fed follows domestic M1 & M2 or worldwide M1 & M2.

New Deal Demoncrat - the march of demographics and the 2018 midterms. Really interesting take on US voter demographics, with some interesting ideas like how people actually don't generally change their political stripe as they age.

The Trumpening entrumpens

BI - Mueller's leaked hit list shows he's targeting Trump like a criminal enterprise.

Ha ha, bye Trump.

Remember the PDAC curse!

Remember, PDAC is almost over.

Every year, all mining stocks collapse right after (or sometimes during, as in you're going down the Convention Centre escalator Friday morning and you check your stocks and go "holy shit, why am I here?") PDAC.

You have been warned.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Josh Brown on trade war

The Reformed Borker (Bork Bork Bork!) - trade war.

Follow the links for more detailed commentary.

But this bit:
Needless to say, markets hate this idea, because it’s dumb, and the Dow Jones immediately vomited up 500 points as the impromptu declaration was made in front of an audience of steel CEOs.
is probably the part that the press should have been telling you, but which they haven't.

Thus, fear bullshit.

Aw, good ol' Trump, creating massive market volatility

Aw, good ol' Trump:

BI - Trump: "trade wars are good!!!!1"

For the record:

a) 25% on steel and aluminium are no big deal.

b) Sure, there is far more American manufacturing using steel and aluminium as inputs, and thus the tariffs are a net negative for the US economy.

c) Maybe Trump knows this, but really primary metals tariffs are just an indication that the primary industries are bribing Trump more than secondary manufacturers are.

d) Doesn't matter anyway, because manufacturing is a piddling small part of the US economy.

e) And US-listed manufacturers whose plants are in other countries won't see the tariff.

f) But yeah, it indicates Trump is willing to do other stupid things in the future.

g) I'm still waiting for someone in the press to point out whether or not Trump has the power to pass this without Congress. I doubt you can get a majority in the House or Senate to go along with this.

h) Though it'll be interesting to see which side the Democrats from steel districts are on. Trade wars are always popular in the Rust Belt.

i) In any case, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out at the international level. The US doesn't technically have the power to impose these tariffs under WTO, though of course the US does have the power to say "fuck you bozos".

j) Off to do more homework now. Wondering if we see $SPX 2600 again.

Friday videos: a song about Twin Peaks or something

Good to see the Chromatics have finally pulled their thumbs out their asses and released another song:

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

And by the way, on TA

By the way:

I'm taking spatial stats, and we're doing things like kernel estimates and Moran's I and so on.

Basically, with spatial data, you can generate these sorts of things to create maps that easily illustrate spatial variation in data.

One of my teachers was saying that he's been able to publish all sorts of stuff with a positive response just by doing a kernel analysis of a point pattern. It's a trivial exercise from a spatial stats perspective, but people in academia feel they get an awful lot of information from a picture.

I was thinking about this. Humans' brains are high-level visual computers: you can see how much so by looking at how fucking hard it is to train a computer to recognize a face, which we can do instantly.

And so, if you can present data in a visual pattern, you'll see what's subjectively a vast amount of info in that picture, that you'd never see in a list of numbers.

TA, then, is just applying simple heuristics to visual data, in order to access extra information visually.

And that's exactly why it looks like Tarot card reading, even when done properly.

market comment with 2 charts


The is the best of US market ETFs, and it looks like it doesn't want to break thru to a new high.

So what you should want to know right now is, will we stall here, or have another waterfall 10% collapse?

Well, since absolutely everything got correlated in the last spike and subsequent collapse, let's look for a clue in the reach for yield space:

And in this case, China failed at the Bollinger mean and has now dropped below its SMA(50) and gone Bollinger negative.

So either China diverges from the US in the next bit, or the failure in China yesterday means an upcoming failure in the US equities.

Sorry, having too much fun at school

Sorry, been having far too much fun learning spatial analysis at school, so haven't been posting.

New Deal Demoncrat is on the job, still keeping an eye out for a turn in the economy:

New Deal Demoncrat - a change in economic seasons? Part 2 will be coming soon, I hope.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Well duh

Market is selling off late this afternoon (Tuesday) simply because people are scared of the result of the Fed minutes released Wednesday.

And because the selloff began after 3PM, you know it's the instos that are doing the selling, not retail.

Which just goes to show that instos are fucking pathetic moronic lemmings with no intelligence.

Which you would have learned already, simply by seeing the quality of ignorant fucktards taking business and economics degrees at universities.

Really, these people are just taking rubber-stamp degrees to signal to the kleptocracy that they have the breeding required to associate with the other entitled ignorant fuckwits in banking.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Some Friday noos

Here's some fun reading for Friday:

New Deal Demoncrat - why I'm piddling my frilly pink panties. Real nonsupervisory wages are rolling over, and when you combine that with the constant increase in consumer credit, that means a credit-constrained consumer is right around the corner, and that means a recession eventually. Thankfully it only means an old-fashioned one.

Calculated Risk - LA port traffic increases yoy in January. Which is good, it means consumption is still happening.

Polemic's Pains - the diary of a messed up market day. It's nice that someone who knows what he's talking about is being caught flat-footed by the market. Oh, and he bought gold miners.

BBC News - Navalny's name shifts snow. Why isn't Zerohedge all over this story of how people are fighting back against a corrupt government by using censorship to force public workers to do their jobs? Maybe it's because Daniel Ivandjiiski is a paid stooge of Vladimir Putin?

Friday videos: a chart-topping song about meth

This song is apparently about meth. It also went top-10 for 14 weeks.

Also, do you remember Hanson's "Mmm Bop"?

Cos that was a big hit right before this came out. And though it's structurally a lot more simple than this one, it does darn well kinda hit the exact same musical themes. I mean, you could do a mashup of the two.

Just one of them weird things.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Zerohedge didn't carry this story....

I wonder why Zerohedge isn't all over this story about the infringement of people's free speech rights, the banning of websites for critical content, and yadda yadda wharrgarbl?

BBC News - Russia bans YouTube and Instagram. Quote:

YouTube and Instagram face being blocked by Russian internet service providers as a result of a standoff between one of the country's richest businessmen and an opposition leader.

Russia's internet censor blacklisted material on both services after a court ruled that it violated billionaire Oleg Deripaska's privacy rights.

My god! What kind of horrible things were people posting about this fine upstanding Nazi?

Mr Navalny's Anti-corruption Foundation posted a video to YouTube last Thursday in which he presented footage that allegedly showed Mr Deripaska meeting Russia's deputy prime minister Sergei Prikhodko aboard a yacht.

The material was said to have been sourced from a woman's Instagram account, where it had been posted in 2016.

Mr Navalny also uploaded a photo of the "secret meeting" alongside a post detailing corruption claims, to his own Instagram account.

The next day, Mr Deripaska obtained a court order demanding the removal of 14 Instagram posts and seven YouTube clips.

And on Saturday, the government's internet watchdog Roskomnadzor issued the two tech platforms a take-down notice giving them three business days to comply.

Google subsequently wrote to Mr Navalny's team saying it might be forced to block the videos.

But to date, neither it nor Facebook has censored the material.

And given Zerohedge is a paid part of the Russian anti-west disinfo campaign, you'd damn well expect they'd never write an article on this. Right?

Quick point

If you're going to read some blogger's opinion on this morning's CPI reading, better make sure it's a blogger who's not fucking illiterate.

technical analysis

It's amazing how perfectly $VIX intraday is governed by the EMA(10) during a fear spike, like from January 16th to today, and how perfectly it breaks thru the EMA(10) the minute fear subsides.

Too bad there's no ETF to trade this sort of behaviour:

I mean okay there was an ETF, but now some fuckstick trader has wiped it out.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

And a quick market comment

Polemic's Pains said he's bought into the market, with a close trailing stop.

Therefore, I assume everyone has done this.

And, I assume anyone with half a brain knows everyone has done this.

Therefore, I assume someone is going to run the stops, probably today.

Therefore, I'm not going to get worried when this market pukes 5% with an empty book.

There are benefits to sex

This is just freaky:

NYT - this mutant crayfish clones itself without sex. Star Trek fans suddenly all click through.

Monday, February 12, 2018

All the doomy news that's fit to doom

OMG! Sell everything! here's why!:

Calculated Risk - record port traffic at Long Beach in Jan 2018. The consumer is desperate to buy! Therefore sell everything, stocks are worthless!

Calculated Risk - best January ever for intermodal. OMG! Sell sell sell!

Bonddad - interest rates haven't done anything. OMG! There are interest rates! Sell sell sell!

Bonddad - quit being pussies, you fucking pussies. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Polemics Pains - every fucking stupid reason for the dump. OMG there are reasons! Sell sell sell!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Trying to gain more perspective on what broke

So, after the panic has apparently subsided, or at least gone into a short-term lull (hard to tell with volumes the way they are), let's try and puzzle out what broke.

Obviously the $VIX system broke. XIV is dead, and that means that a major market mover of the front 2 months in the $VIX futures option market has died.

$VIX futures are a signal for bots. I mean hell, I'd program a bot with a $VIX futures input. But the signal today means something completely different than what it meant a week ago, because XIV is no longer trading the front 2 months. That is a really big change; of course, eventually the big boys can switch to implementing in-house front-month CBOE $VIX futures strategies to replace the XIV mechanism they had been outsourcing to Suisse.

So the US equity market mechanism won't fully recover until all the bots are reprogrammed to take into account the change in $VIX futures participation.

Bitcoin? Yes, that broke too, but who fucking cares? I cannot see why any serious market participant would buy or sell based on the goings on in an OTC Ponzi scheme, which is what bitcoin is. That won't move pensions, and it won't move Goldman's prop desk unless they're morons.

US economy? Nothing wrong with it right now. The Fed even under Powell won't raise rates so high that they kill investment, and investment ultimately is what drives the economic cycle.

Do stocks need to come down to a lower P/E for prices to be sustainable? Maybe, but if so, why aren't Republicans still puking stocks today? I don't think that asset inflation has suddenly stopped; in fact, giving more income to the working class through minimum wage raises will actually provide a hell of a lot of support to consumption at the bottom end of the Keynesian cross. Earnings growth may actually come, though unfortunately the timing of that is different than it's ever been before because the bourgeois rentier sector has already had their own recovery.

Yabut, if interest rates keep rising, won't that hurt anyone? Well, rising US interest rates should kill emerging markets, if the past is any indication. They haven't been murdered yet, despite the US having gone into a bull market. Maybe a year or two of higher rates will bring about some major crisis in EMs, which this time around will kill the world economy much worse than it ever did before. But for now, all is swell.

It's hard to tell what to make of the lull that's seized the market by noon today, except perhaps that everyone is done doing whatever they wanted to do and are now busy retooling the bot army.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Just heard on CBC: the bottom in the market is in

Just heard on CBC:

"Stock markets around the world are in free-fall. Are we headed for a correction? Tonight on The National!"

Because the story has now made it to CBC, which used to be a decent news service but now has become a laughingstock in Canadian news, with a stated policy of ensuring every radio news broadcast has at least one story on fucking native people that nobody cares about, I hereby call the bottom in the S&P.

SPY comment

$267.50 is the SPY -2SD Bollinger.

In crashes below -2SD, I've seen a recovery to -2SD then a return to crashing before.

Might happen again. Who knows. Around $267 is a critical number.

By the way, do you guys holding gold stocks still feel all smug? Y'know, with them being hit in the broad equity selloff?

Ha ha

This is only Zerohedge-level news, but apparently XIV's drop extended to beyond 80% after the bell, which means the short volatility ETF is going to liquidate.

I knew this sort of thing could happen, because I bothered to read their prospectus.

But if people were in XIV just to make 5x the return on SPY, and if people had piled into XIV in the past month as the stock market assploded upwards, then there will be true carnage today if XIV really is being liquidated. Lotta people going to $0.

That'll mess up the $VIX futures market for a bit.

Which also would suck because, had XIV survived, it'd be a fantastic buying opportunity right now.

By the way, $VIX intraday premarket right now is around 50.

UPDATE: I just checked my trading account, and apparently, the Canadian version of XIV, still exists. Which is funny cos that means the US XIV collapse is just because of a panic selling run. As of 9:33 though, I can see no trades having gone through, and Bid=Ask, so it looks funny.

No, I wouldn't buy right now, cos I have no idea (haven't checked) if it's tethered in any way to XIV.

UPDATE 2: XIV is officially terminated. So long to a great beta machine! You were warned in the prospectus, people.

UPDATE 3: is not terminated yet, just halted (as of 9:52 AM). They're going to have to figger out whether they're still alive, I guess. This proves the XIV collapse was just bots selling into nonexistent bids. Which, again, we all knew could happen in all sorts of things.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Some berserkazoid news

And some evening reading:

FT Alphaville - someone on the internet was wrong. Apparently the idiots talking about US debt were wrong! This has never happened before!

Jared Bernstein - guess who's getting the raises? Yeah. The rich. Who don't consume as much as they buy assets. Factor that into your "inflation" estimates, Jerome Powell!

WaPo - bitcoin is my retirement plan! Yup... fork, done. By the way, this bit:
Three years earlier, Melin had been attending Indiana University Southeast, commuting from his mother’s house. He could not shake the feeling that he was paying for something that was not worthwhile. He was learning more from economics podcasts than he was from his classes.
is entirely reasonable, because I've realized that all undergrad economics is nothing but a rubber-stamp degree for the idiot entitled children of the bourgeoisie who are too stupid to graduate in accounting. No undergrad economics is worthwhile, and you really can learn more just by reading a few blogs.

So he dropped out and pulled the remaining $22,000 from an education fund his mother had set up for him. He invested in cryptocurrency.
That's where this guy's cunning plan starts to go wrong. Oh well... the little right-wing cuntbro will learn a lot about libertarian economic theory over the next 60 years as he works as a fry cook in Kentucky for $7.25/hr. because he blew all mommy's dough. Hey, maybe one day he can graduate to coal mining?

Undark - OMG POLE REVERSAL! The Earth's magnetic poles are about to reverse! Buy bitcoi-
Solar energetic particles can rip through the sensitive miniature electronics of the growing number of satellites circling the Earth, badly damaging them. The satellite timing systems that govern electric grids would be likely to fail. The grid’s transformers could be torched en masse. Because grids are so tightly coupled with each other, failure would race across the globe, causing a domino run of blackouts that could last for decades.
...okay, don't buy bitcoin then. Buy... um... gold?

Vanity Fair - the Mooch recalls his ten days in the swamp. Yes, Trump's White House really is that fucked.


End-of-day charts, then I'm off to do schoolwork:

$VIX is +4SD up. It's dumb to think it can go higher: an 80 intraday is the most I've seen in the past few years. So there may be another day of carnage, but eventually this has to exhaust itself.

SPY is -3SD, and this is half a week's volume in just one day. All those bozos who flooded into US equity ETFs in the past month now have to flood back out, so I dunno if this is actually done yet.

And the $VIX term structure is fucked all to shit now. There is no not-backwardated month. If this was like the past ten years, you could make a lot of money shorting $VIX futures from a starting point of 23 on the March. Wait til the front two months move back to even, wait for a last dry-retch, then short $VIX and profit.


The S&P is still trading at a high multiple and a low yield, and starting today that means something. No, not because of bonds.

Money market apparently makes you 1.5% now. That's an asset class that's been dead for ten years, and it's an asset class that should easily be the size of bonds or more.

I'm wondering if we're starting to see the market realize this.

So I want to sit and wait, cos I'm not sure I want to buy until everyone out there knows whether or not this is what's going on. Cos a major rotation into money market would take a hell of a long time to digest. Hell, just the port allocation strategy changes would be a bitch.

My perspective

My perspective on the market is this:

1. If you were kicking yourself because you were out of equities at the start of January and missed the pop, you should be happy right now because you have a chance to earn that money all over again.

2. If you are tooting your own horn because you got out on Wednesday or Thursday and locked in your gains, you should be happy right now because you have a chance to earn that money all over again.

But crucially:

3. Everyone else out there with half a brain already is thinking the same way you are.

4. Big drops cause big doubts.

5. It's about time the Republicans who piled into the market over the past year get washed out.

And as for the day to day:

6. The $VIX is +3SD daily and weekly, so expect big upmoves intraday. Longer-term, though, the regime has changed and you have to get a handle on the new flows before you can say you know what's coming next.

Perspective of Josh Brown

Reformed Borker (Bork Bork Bork!) - what the President doesn't know about equities. Here's the important point:

In 1994, there was a rate shock when Alan Greenspan recognized that the Fed was too easy given the boost in economic growth coming out of the 1990-1991 recession (Desert Storm, S&L Crisis, etc). Greenspan addressed this with a 25 basis point hike in February 1994 and then continued to push overnight rates up by a combined 225 basis points over the course of the year. Yields on the 30-Treasury jumped 175 basis points to 7.75% in the first 9 months – which helped destroy the finances of Orange County, CA, push Mexico into a financial crisis and wreak havoc across Wall Street. It became known as the Bond Market Massacre, and the stock market wasn’t immune, with a huge correction occurring that spring.
Here’s what it looked like, for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (in percentage terms from the start of that year):

The lessons:
* The Massacre in the bond market spilled over into the stock market as participants adjusted to the growing pains that come along with a faster economy than they had been expecting.
* Good economic news does not equal more stock gains.
* Every asset class is in a competition with every other asset class for investment dollars. When the dynamics in one asset class change (you can now earn 1.5% in a money market account, as opposed to zero), investors in the other asset classes will make changes to their portfolios. This is happening now, as REITs, Utilities and other high-yielding sectors of the equity markets see investor interest walk out the door – there are now less risky ways to earn income thanks to higher nominal interest rates on Treasurys.
* The recovery for stocks as investors grew accustomed to the new environment of faster growth / higher rates did not take long. Within a year of Greenspan’s February hike, the Dow had bottomed. Enormous stock market gains from 1995 through 1999 were on their way, though no one could have known at the time.
* All things being equal, an accelerating economy with increased wages and rising business spend is a positive for America, especially when coupled with a mirror image scenario happening in countries all over the world. But that doesn’t mean every day is a picnic for the stock market.
* We’ve grown accustomed to slow growth, low rates, high multiples. Now the game is changing.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Quick snark

No kidding? Someone finally clued in that a multi-trillion dollar tax cut to the rich, financed entirely with debt, would be massively inflationary and screw yields?

a brief note on SPY and $VIX


It's important to keep in mind that a 15 intraday $VIX is nothing, in the broad scheme of things.

And if it gets above 17, that'll be a fear level that people haven't seen in over a year. Wonder how they'll react?

Will they blame Trump?


It's lost the Bollinger mean, so maybe it drops all the way down to 270, to test the SMA(50).

But even if it does that, that only means that some of the January froth will have been worked off.

You'd have to wonder what it would take to drop SPY back down to a MACD of 1 or 2.

Friday videos: where EMF got their riff from

Here's where EMF got the riff for "Unbelievable":

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


This morning, I watched a 5-minute feature on bitcoin on TV.


Fork in it, done.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Is it:

Business Korea - US asks Korea to examine crypto transactions. Well, yes, insofar as this will shut down North Korean, Chinese and Russian demand, and it's not like there are any other backward countries who only discovered banking a decade ago who are now willing to buy Bitcoin en masse.

But no...

BBC - Facebook bans all cryptocurrency ads. Well, getting rid of an avenue for finding really stupid people to sucker with your shitty coin IPO does help.

But no.

The sign of the ultimate top and coming hypercollapse of crypto is this:

BBC - Really, no honestly, I'm not shitting you. This is not a joke. There really is... no honestly, I'm not making this up... there really is a fucking J-Pop band that have based their entire fucking image on crypto. You don't believe it?

Here's fucking song lyrics translated already:

And more bitcoin news

Daily Express - South Korea shutting down Bitcoin. Or, rather, they're getting rid of its only source of demand:

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Taylor continued: "I’ve seen various estimates that between 20 and 30 percent bitcoin trading has been through South Korea at some point. Same for Ripple and some of the other key currencies.

"They were holding currency on behalf of anonymous actors. What South Korea has now said is ‘we think there could be fraud, we think there could be money laundering.’ All kinds of bad activity could be happening.

"If we prevent anonymous people from being on these exchanges then maybe we can reign in some of that."

New regulatory noise emerging from New York will concern wallet holders with Fortune reporting that Federal judges in Brooklyn, New York, are about to rule on the question of what exactly bitcoin is and whether it can be regulated.

Don't they understand that criminals are the only demand out there for cryptocurrencies?

Well... and stupid libertarian idiots. But mostly criminals.

More Nouriel Roubini bitcoin doomery

FFS, just read Roubini's twitter feed.

Mashable - a little-known token may be fueling bitcoin's rise. Apparently, the bitcoin price is being gamed.

Bloomberg - SEC freezes a $600M crypto IPO. Its creator is on probation for felony theft... ok, we can get past that, but why would you name your crypto ArseCoin?

Fiat and seigniorage

Dr. Doom weighs in on Buttcoin:

Nouriel Roubini - bitcoin is bullshit. Here's the relevant quote:
As a currency, Bitcoin should be a serviceable unit of account, means of payments, and a stable store of value. It is none of those things. No one prices anything in Bitcoin. Few retailers accept it. And it is a poor store of value, because its price can fluctuate by 20-30% in a single day.

Worse, cryptocurrencies in general are based on a false premise. According to its promoters, Bitcoin has a steady-state supply of 21 million units, so it cannot be debased like fiat currencies. But that claim is clearly fraudulent, considering that it has already forked off into three branches: Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Gold. Besides, hundreds of other cryptocurrencies are invented every day, alongside scams known as “initial coin offerings,” which are mostly designed to skirt securities laws. So “stable” cryptos are creating money supply and debasing it at a much faster pace than any major central bank ever has.
If you don't know why that's important, go read the Wikipedia article on seigniorage, and maybe see if you can learn something.

Cryptocurrencies are just private seigniorage: they are printed, and then the printers accept goods and services (or, ha ha, real currency) for them.

In fact, it's blindingly obvious that a world with one private currency will quickly turn into a world of many private currencies, as long as the market offers more than the cost to produce. It is impossible to limit the total private currency money supply without hard-limiting either the cost of production or the going price.

Any idiot with a basic understanding of micro should know this.

And thus the only fair cost for any crypto is the cost of production: anything higher is just a seigniorage markup.

Market comment, now with charts again

Let's see if I can post a chart, now that I have a new computer running Edge in Windows 10:

Yay! Now I can post charts on my blog again!

So, as of this sec, SPY has broken thru its EMA(10), which was support twice in December. Again, rule of threes.

MACD is way high, and is about to trigger down.

RSI was way high for a month, but is now back below 70.

And everyone knows this. And also everyone knows that the market needs to correct. And also everyone with half a brain knows that Trump's tax breaks, on an earnings basis, were already baked into the market 10 times over back in the fall, thus this market has zero support.

And we know everyone knows this, cos I mean just look at $VIX:

Everyone's been buying downside protection since the start of January, because they knew things wouldn't hold. Hell, even $TRAN was telegraphing a change for the past week.

So everyone should sell like the fear of god is in them, and I'd not be surprised if the Bollinger mean didn't provide more than just intraday support in the next week.

Some US economic news

With the market crazy high, and $VIX popping, let's see what we can dig up for US economic news:

Reuters - US consumer spending rises, savings at 10-year low. The low savings just means consumers aren't protected in anticipation of the next downturn... which is fine as long as there's no downturn.

New Deal Demoncrat - is the economy partying like it's 1999? Sure, and yet 1999 was the best year to invest in the last half century. So it doesn't mean too much, if 2000 doesn't come for another few years.

WSJ (paywalled? I get their RSS feed for free so I dunno what the problem is) - 4Q GDP. It's important to note the US has only just now closed the output gap, and you wouldn't expect output gap closure to happen just a year before the next recession.

Calculated Risk - chemical activity barometer increased in January. So we know industrial activity will be growing. So there is at least another year of growth ahead.

Remember, even the MBS crisis took a few years to go fubar.

So god knows. Maybe the market goes even higher to a really crazy forward P/E before something eventually happens.

Or maybe governments start redistributing to the poor, supporting consumer spending with a new 1950s-style boom, while curtailing giveaways to the rich that only end up inflating asset markets.

Ha, ha.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday videos: another one bites the dust

Mark E. Smith died this week, age 60.

Here's the Fall from about the pinnacle of their career, basically:

But he still got a one-hour documentary done on him:

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Why gold went down

Trump killed gold!:

Reuters - Trump talks up US dollar at Davros. Quote:
“The dollar is going to get stronger and stronger and ultimately I want to see a strong dollar,” Trump said in an interview with CNBC, adding that Mnuchin’s comments had been misinterpreted.
Well ffs it's not like any idiot would trade based on the crap coming out of this clown's mouth-
Following the president’s comments, the dollar pared losses against major currencies.
I stand corrected. People really do think this fucktard is smarter than them, and many of these people work on Wall Street.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

And John Quiggin comes along to put the boots in....

John Quiggin - the quicker Bitcoin reaches its true value the better. You won't click on it, so I'll just give you this:
In the time since bitcoin was launched in 2009, it has become evident that design flaws make it useless as a medium of exchange. A design feature called the block size limit means that bitcoin can only handle around seven transactions per second. Under current rules, those who want their transactions handled rapidly (mostly speculative traders) must pay a premium to have this happen.

As a result, anyone wanting to use bitcoin for buying and selling faces lengthy delays and, currently, a cost of around US$20 per transaction. Obviously, no one will pay such a charge for day-to-day transactions. The handful of merchants who announced a willingness to accept bitcoin in the early days have since dropped it. Even a bitcoin conference was recently forced to announce that it would not accept bitcoin for registration fees.

For a while, bitcoin was favoured by users who wanted to transact anonymously, sometimes for legitimate reasons and sometimes illegally. But while bitcoin transactions are anonymous in the short run, they are anything but untraceable. The whole point of the bitcoin blockchain is that it is a complete ledger of all transactions. So, if someone else gains access to your bitcoins (for example, if a law enforcement agency compels you to hand over the keys), they have access to your entire transaction history.

Various means have been proposed for making cryptocurrencies untraceable. But all of them run up against the fact that the blockchain operates on the basis of contributions from a set of servers. If someone can get control of a majority of the servers, he or she controls the blockchain. Because the great majority of these servers are in China, the Chinese government is in a position to do this at any time it chooses. In fact, because mining is organised into relatively small “pools,” it would be sufficient to take control of four of them, something that could be done overnight.

Similarly, although various suggestions have been made for improving efficiency, there’s little to suggest that a decentralised blockchain can outperform a central intermediary like a bank or credit card company.

Even if blockchain technology turns out to be the basis of a new digital currency, it’s clear that bitcoin will not be that currency. What about the thousand or so other cryptocurrencies out there? The ease with which cryptocurrencies have proliferated supplies the answer.

Suppose that some government and its central bank decided to replace their existing currency with a digital system based on a blockchain. Adopting one of the existing currencies would involve a massive transfer of wealth to the owners of that currency. The obvious choice would be to start a new one and capture the value of issuing it (known as seigniorage).
And so on.

Bitcoin Schadenfreude

the Sun - panicky Bitcoin investors struggle to withdraw cash. Ha ha!:

THERE are mounting fears that Bitcoin investors will struggle to get their cash out after the cryptocurrency's value fell 40 per cent in a single month.

Many are looking to put their money in gold instead, with some European gold traders reporting a "five fold increase" in demand amid fears Bitcoin could collapse entirely.

And before you say "oh, it's just the Sun", remember this is the kind of newspaper that potential new Bitcoin investors would be reading.

Stick a fork in it, Crispin!

Anchored expectations and wage stagnation?

It's a tremendously common-sensical explanation for wage stagnation in the face of massive economic growth, which explains why economists are only fucking stumbling onto the idea right now:

Jaren Bernstein - anchored expectations and wage stagnation. Quote:
Sen’s argument is that even employers who need new workers are avoiding raising their wage offers because they don’t want to have to raise the pay of their incumbent workforce.

When an employer in the Boston district was asked why the company didn’t raise wages as a way of attracting more workers, it responded that if it had done so, it would have had to pay all the existing workers more, which would be uneconomic. And another contact in the Boston district said that when a worker departs, the replacement typically ends up earning 10 percent more than the departing worker made.

This implies that incumbents could do much better if they left their jobs paying well below what they could get elsewhere given current conditions. That would show up as more labor-market churn, which has, in fact, been down in recent years (the economist Betsey Stevenson has long emphasized this development).

If so, then perhaps incumbent workers are just too used to a labor market market characterized by stagnating pay so they don’t bother looking for a better job elsewhere, under the assumption that, pay-wise, their next job would be no better than their current one. It’s “well-anchored expectations,” applied to a job market long characterized by wage stagnation. And just like with the Fed’s inflation problem–undershooting their inflation target for years on end–it takes a long time for expectations to change.
And, of course, the elephant in the room that no economist dare mention:
US employers have just thoroughly forgotten how to raise pay, and they don’t have too much by way of unions to remind them.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Wow, Branko Milanovic is getting to be quite the bolshie

I'm proud....

Branko Milanovic - dutiful dirges of Davos. OK, he just spoiled it with the alliterative title:

Thousands of people will gather next week in Davos. Their combined wealth will reach several hundred billion dollars, perhaps even close to a trillion. Never in world history will be the amount of wealth per square foot so high. And this year, for the sixth or seventh consecutive time, what would be one of the principal topics addressed by these captains of industry, billionaires, employers of thousands of people across the four corners of the globe: inequality…

Only in passing, and probably on the margins of the official program, will they get into the tremendous monopoly and monopsony power of their companies, ability to play one jurisdiction against another in order to avoid taxes, how to ban organized labor in their companies, how to use government ambulance services to carry workers who have fainted from extra heat (to save expense of air conditioning), how to make their workforce complement its wage through private charity donations, or perhaps how to pay the average tax rate between 0 and 12% (Trump to Romney). If they are from the emerging market economies they can also exchange experiences on how to delay payments of wages for several months while investing these funds at high interests rates, how to save on labor protection standards, or how to buy privatized companies for a song and then set up shell companies in the Caribbean or Channel Islands.

Still poverty and inequality which are, as we know, the defining issues of our time will be permanently on their minds.

It is just that somehow they never succeeded to find enough money, or time, or perhaps willing lobbyists to help with the policies they will all agree, during the official sessions, should be done: to increase taxes on the top 1% and on large inheritances, to provide decent wages or not to impound salaries, to reduce gaps between CEO and average pay, to spend more money on public education, to make access to financial assets more attractive to the middle and working class, to equalize taxes on capital and labor, to reduce corruption in government contracts and privatizations.

Since they have been singularly unsuccessful in convincing governments to do anything about rising inequality--will they lament-- it is not surprising that nothing has been done. Or rather that the very opposite policies have been conducted: Trump has, as he promised or threatened, passed a historic tax cut for the wealthy while Macron has discovered the attraction of latter-day Thatcherism. Nothing positive of note seems to have been done in the emerging market economies either (with perhaps the crackdown on corruption in China the only important exception).

This return to the industrial relations and tax policies of the early 19th century is bizarrely spearheaded by people who speak the language of equality, respect, participation, and transparency. None of them is in favor of “Master and Servant Act” or forced labor. It just so happened that the language of equality has been harnessed in the pursuit of structurally most inegalitarian policies over the past fifty years, or more.

All very true, but then again it's not like we can end it with a well-placed armed terrorist attack on Davos or anything.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday videos: forgotten 1991 UK dance

Nobody remembers Bizarre Inc., but this is pretty historic for its effortless switching between hard techno and Balearic in the same song.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Still no news, some theory instead

Did my seminar, it might have been good, I dunno.

No real news on the market front: despite yesterday, people are still in a loading-up-the-truck mode in the US equities. $USD has been dropping precipitously, which you should expect when the US government is generating massive new future deficits with their tax plan when the rest of the world is eating away at their deficits through economic growth. Of course, a drop in $USD is great for US businesses with a lot of foreign sales, and a drop in $USD means stocks have to rise in $USD terms to maintain real value.

Gold should go up because the other commodities have gone up. Although the scuttlebutt is that the rise in the price of oil is just being engineered by the Saudis to get the best possible price for their float of Saudi Aramco, in which case you should expect the price of oil to go back down in a year or so to kick US shale back out of the market.

Have been trying to consolidate my view of stock markets:

1. A stock price doesn't rise as a reward for booked earnings, because investors don't buy stocks to reward companies: they buy stocks in expectation of future appreciation.

2. If prices move because of expectations, then your most important factors in generating an algorithm for "fair price" should be expectation functions, not empirical values from the past (ignoring the idea of temporal correlation in time series, since after all that tends toward zero as t increases).

3. So the market is a mechanism for averaging over the expectation functions of all market participants. Importantly, expectation functions of non-participants are worth nothing (except to try to predict when they may change into participants), and expectation functions of participants are weighted by their size of participation.

4. Then, the job of the investor is to try to predict the inflection points for the expectation functions, not the inflection points for prices - though the latter will influence the former, obviously.

5. So basically, your job is to try to calculate E(E(x)).

Seems like the above is even beyond Shiller, so that's probably a pretty decent theory for now.

Friday, January 12, 2018

And some real news....

It's very problematic to put together a policy seminar in one week that's worth 30% of your total grade, in a 4th-year class that you really want to get an A+ in, taught by a prof whose reccie you want for grad school, just saying.

I'm dumbfounded and stupefied by the continued strength in SPY and QQQ: they've gone way too far, you shouldn't make this much money in a month, their technicals are very overextended.

Then again, the big Trump tax breaks are going to put a lot of new money into the pockets of buyers of equities, while simultaneously allowing companies to buy back shares to shrink the equity pool. So while the behaviour is abnormal, the environment itself is abnormal.

And of course this is going to blow one hell of a bubble, because Republicans believe in bubbles. But it can take years to play out: recessions happen for reasons, not because of disturbances in the quantum foam.

I disbelieve the inflation hype, by the way, because (1) nobody can measure inflation anymore, it's all been politicized; (2) price inflation is not asset inflation is not commodity inflation; (3) the institutional monetary system of the West has been successfully fighting "inflation" for 35 years now, they aren't going to stop anytime soon.

But with all that in mind, The Cookie Monster Himself laid out a few years ago why there's a good case to invest in gold... eventually. Now might be that eventuity.

But, with that in mind:

WSJ - the global economy's output gap has closed. This is a big thing. I'm not interested in explaining this to you: go read Wikipedia on the topic, and then get 3 years of an economics degree.

New Deal Demoncrat - JOLTS confirms November payrolls strength.

New Deal Demoncrat - a US economic boom in 2018? Then again, what's important for the US is whether there's a global boom, not a US one.

All the Trump news you can Trump

Just popped into Business Insider, and it seems they feel Trump stories are sufficient clickbait:

Business Insider - Botswana asks, 'are we a shithole country?' Dude, if you don't have a Trump tower, you're a shithole country. Russia, on the other hand, is a fantastic country.

Business Insider - Paul Ryan calls Trump's 'shithole' comment 'unfortunate'. Quote:

"I thought about my own family. My family, like a whole lot of people came from Ireland on what they called 'coffin ships' and worked the railroads," Ryan said. "It is a beautiful story of America, and that is a great story. That is the story today, and that is the story we had yesterday, and that is what makes this country so exceptional and unique in the first place."

See, Ryan is what you get when you let fucking Catholics into your country.

He continued: "We've got great friends from Africa in Janesville who are doctors, who are just incredible citizens. And I just think it's important that we celebrate that."

"Some of my friends are black!"

Business Insider - Trump asked if he's a racist at MLK address. The answer? He wouldn't let them touch his money, he leaves that to the Jews. Seriously, you had to ask?

And, of course:

Business Insider - Trump's lawyers paid a porn star $130,000 in hush money. Cuz if you paid her and she's a porn star, then it's okay.


Yeah, I'm still here... I'm just working on a seminar that I have to present on Tuesday.

Here's two interesting articles from Jojo on gold and gold miners:

Get Back Jojo! - five reasons gold stocks will break out in 2018.

Get Back Jojo! - here are the key levels in gold and miners.

Friday videos: Medicine

Note to all the indie rock kids: Brad Laner was ten times the mad guitar god that Kevin Shields was.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Proof that "fiat" isn't what you think it means

Reuters - South Korea to ban cryptocurrency, raids exchanges on tax evasion charges. Quote:

South Korea’s government said on Thursday it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil as the nation’s police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion.

The clampdown in South Korea, a crucial source of global demand for cryptocurrency, came as policymakers around the world struggled to regulate an asset whose value has skyrocketed over the last year.

Justice minister Park Sang-ki said the government was preparing a bill to ban trading of the virtual currency on domestic exchanges.

And of course it's more complicated than that, but the point remains:

"Fiat" doesn't mean "worthless money". "Fiat" means "stuff that the government declares to be money". Thus, anything that the government declares to not be money ends up not being money.

Because the government says so.

Thus endeth the lesson.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Three problems with James Damore's lawsuit

There's three problems with James Damore suing Google, alleging they fired him for being a "white male conservative":

1. His original memo isn't very "conservative" at all. It seems that he's only gotten that way recently out of bitterness over being fired.

2. Your company can fire you for causing trouble at work.

Oh... and most importantly,

3. Google is worth $771 billion. James Damore isn't. Ergo, he can never win a lawsuit against them, which makes you wonder how much of a tard he has to be to sue for this nonsense.

It's hilarious, by the way, that conservatives are in favour of fire-at-will legislation that gives an employer blanket right to terminate anyone for any reason, and yet the minute Google does this they're evil or something.

I guess conservatives admit after all that we need the heavy hand of government to force employers to hire people that they don't like.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

No, don't worry, Trump's actually a very stable genius

CNN - Trump: "I'm a very stable genius". Well, I guess we're all okay then:

"Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart," the President continued. "Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star ... to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius ... and a very stable genius at that!"

Darn right! And there's nothing that screams stability more than still fixating on Hillary Clinton a year after the election!

Or desperately trying to defend your mental status on Twitter!

Friday, January 5, 2018

All the Trump news, mental instability edition

Ha ha, turns out Trump is an incompetent retard who didn't even want to be president, you Republicans are idiots:

BBC - Trump seen as a child by staff. Quote:
Mr Wolff has hit back against White House attacks, saying the president has no credibility and that "100% of the people around him" question his fitness for office.

He added that White House staff described the president as childlike because "he has the need for immediate gratification. It's all about him... This man does not read, does not listen. He's like a pinball just shooting off the sides".
To be fair, the Republican party's god nowadays is a B-movie actor who was senile while in office.

CNN - book hits Trump where it hurts most: his ego. Quote:
But as Washington consumes a sensational West Wing exposé by journalist Michael Wolff, Trump is being forced to watch as his prized image is ripped to shreds.

When a presidency is anchored so fundamentally on an image, as it is with Trump, rather than a long history of political achievement or ideological consistency, any deterioration of that image can be especially perilous. For Trump, who may be more conscious of how he is perceived than any politician in history, the mockery is likely to be especially painful.
To be fair, most of the Republican insiders got heir start in politics working for a short balding sweaty man who was so paranoid that he recorded his own illegal schemes on audio tape.

BBC - everyone's talking about Trump's mental illness. Quote:
In his book, Fire and Fury, journalist Michael Wolff writes that President Donald Trump is showing worsening signs of mental decline.

"Everybody was painfully aware of the increasing pace of his repetitions," he writes in Hollywood Reporter.
To be fair, um... shit I already brought up Reagan. OK, the Republican party's ideological leader is a son of a goldbug who worships a Russian immigrant sci-fi author who hated socialism while spending her entire old age collecting welfare.

Vox - even psychiatrists are saying Trump should be evaluated by force. Quote:
Yet there is a growing call from a group of psychiatrists — the best medical experts at interpreting aberrant human behavior — for exactly this: an emergency evaluation of the president’s mental capacity, by force if necessary.

Leading this call is Bandy Lee, an assistant professor in forensic psychiatry (the interface of law and mental health) at the Yale School of Medicine who has devoted her 20-year career to studying, predicting, and preventing violence.

She recently briefed a dozen members of Congress — both Democrats and Republicans — on the president’s mental state. And this week, she, along with Judith Herman at Harvard and Robert Jay Lifton at Columbia, released a statement arguing that Trump is “further unraveling.” In October, a collection of essays from 27 mental health professionals that Lee edited, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, was published.
Come on! Everyone in the Republican party is a narcissistic psychopath with delusions of conspiracies. You'll have to do better than that!

The Guardian - Donald Trump eats McDonald's for fear of being poisoned? Quote:
Trump’s answer to the poisoning threat is to eat McDonald’s, by preference, all the time; the burger chain never knows he’s coming, and it’s all pre-made. This has the distinct ring of post-hoc justification – it would be much more reliable to get a nine-year-old to sit next to him and pre-taste his food. Besides which, even if the staff of McDonald’s don’t in general know who’s coming, it would be unusual for them to feed the president without a heads-up. Much more likely, Trump fears poison and he really likes McDonald’s.

This, too, was an open secret from the time of his trip to the Middle East, when his trailer requests read like the death row meals in a dystopian movie about 100 people all getting electrocuted on the same day.
OK... she wins.