Sunday, November 12, 2006 | 05:30 PM

Heckuva job, Karl: The GOP "thumping" barely gave markets much of a pause this week. After a strong start -- helped by a bevy of private equity and M&A deals -- the markets paused a bit to digest the extent of the politcla realignment. Equities floundered towards week's end.

So far, the first big loser (aside from those pols who lost their jobs) has been big Pharma and health care, which took it up the wazoo on the chin once it was clear the Senate was changing hands also. 

Making the rounds through Wall Street's echo chamber is that investors had "priced in" a GOP loss in the House of Representatives, but not the Senate. I suspect that is an overly narrow view of the political realignment that took place. Also repeated ad nauseum: Gridlock is good.

Maybe. If the situation were desirable, than perhaps gridlock can hold that in place. However, where the environment and trends are weakening, then maybe gridlock isn't an ideal political scenario -- at least if you hope to get anything accomplished.

As we head into the middle of November, we can look forward to Retail Sales numbers, PPI and CPI (inflation), Industrial Production, and Housing Starts. We also get the FOMC Minutes, and some Fed speechifying.

But none of that is til Monday -- its the weekend, and you know what that means: Linkus Festivus!


• The papers are chock full of fingerpointing:  Who deserves the credit — or blame — for the Democratic rout? And who wins and loses after the GOP fall? My own post-mortem is here; and we pulled together a good cross section of Blogger's Take on The US Elections here

• Barron's Alan Abelson says the GOP got Bushwhacked (if no Barrons, go here); Barron's did forecast a GOP sweep; their mea culpa was wanting

Astonishing: Just how bad was the rout? Using Senate numbers only, the Dems, with 31,591,495 votes, took 55%, versus the GOP's 45%. This is a much bigger shit than 1994 in terms of votes percentages. How did this happen? A combination of Voters in the center, and surprisingly, The Rich -- many of whom aren't Republican anymore; Across the pond, FT observed US voters in resounding call for change.

• Caroline Baum hopes that Divided Government will mean Less Economic Meddling; However, Business may face greater Congressional scrutiny    

Price-Earnings Ratios on U.S. Stocks Drop, Aiding Bull Market

• Very cool tool: Annualized Growth Rate between any 2 days of the DJIA from 1896 to 2006; Also GDP, CPI, wages,  population, gold, and more.

SEC Chief, No 'Cox in Henhouse,' Defies Skeptics

Anonymizing Bad Analyst Coverage by rewriting history: nearly twenty thousand "pervasive and non-random" changes of an unusual nature in I/B/E/S/ analyst coverage suggests that firms are losing analysts' names -- on purpose -- on bad stock calls. The research suggests that particularly embarrassing recommendations are most likely to be anonymized.

Is There a Gene for Business?

Five 401(k) mistakes to avoid

Bonus Pay for Wall Street Big Five Surges to Record $36 Billion



The Wall of worry continues to build:

Its Still the Economy, Stupid

• Morgan Stanley's Stephen Roach says Wrong Time for Gridlock   

• The Short View: US payrolls random statistics: Don't Believe the Hype)

BLS NFP Margin of Error is +/- 430,00: -- per month! (via Sy Harding) 

•  The NYPost's John Crudele wants to know why U.S. TREASURY IS DOING THE FED'S WORK

• There's less to the employment data than meets the eye (if no Barrons, go here)   

The global middle cries out for reassurance

• A Bloomberg video twofer:

Rubin Sees Risk of `Severe Difficulty' in U.S. Economy

former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin Says U.S. Government Will Focus on Budget


• Paul Kasriel asks Are We Near a Bottom in Housing?   

Toll Brothers sees no end to home slump; Beazer Homes reported a 44 percent decline in profit

• Most Realtors haven't been in the business long enough to see anything but a boom market, and the current slump is new to all but a handful of industry veterans

Foreclosures continue to accelerate nationwide

• Its not all bleak:  Home loan demand rises as mortgage refinancing surges

• Trading in housing prices reflects pressure, not panic

For Sale, By the Owner's Ego Why do some homes sell faster than others -- even the same models on the same block? EGO 

• Chief target for many critics has been the NAR's Chief Economist David Lereah is being cyber-stalked by some unhappy Home buyers:  There is now a blog tracking him, (David Lereah Watch) and some mashups on YouTube (Is Florida's this century's California?). Someone even set up a MySpace page for him; 1st friend?  Satan;



• Bernanke say Fed does not rely on money growth;

• ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet and Bernanke differ on Strategy, Money Supply   

•  Fed's Moskow Says Inflation Is Greater Risk Than Slower Growth

Fed Warns Of Illicit Bond Activity as Traders Manipulated Supply


What Drives Investor Sentiment?

• Mark Hulbert notes that top-performing newsletters aren't bullish on U.S. stocks: An underwhelming vote of confidence

Dollar, gold move on China's diversification talk 

• A $5 painting found at a thrift shop may be a $9 million Jackson Pollack


• Want to see a surefire way to guarantee a windfall profit tax?  Oil Industry Barely Boosted Investment in Production; See also: IEA calls for investment to avert global energy shortage

Bush signals change in Iraq policy

• Iraqi official: 150,000 civilians feared dead

MarketWatch nominates Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to be Time magazine Person(s) of the Year. 

•  The Great Media Shake-out is upon us

Technology & Science

• I've played with this and its way cool: Microsoft debuts Google Earth killer  be sure to use birds eye view 

Experts say U.S. must act on next-generation Internet 

Good riddanceRebates on the Way to Expiring   

Ultra-mobile Windows PC    

•  Divide and Conquer: Cringely writes that the Microsoft/Novell deal is more about disruption than cooperation

• Gartner:  Zune not in the Christmas race with iPod


Music Books Movies TV Fun!

• Great debut albums: I mentioned the Pretenders disc last week; This week, lets include Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced? as another of the  one of the  of all time.

• I received Diane Ackerman's An Alchemy of Mind: The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain as a gift -- its a fascinating (non market) read.

Fascinating artwork via Christophe Vorlet

• I finally got around to watching Kill Bill 1: Awesome bloodshed! 

• Great airplane viewing:  1st season of Entourage

Colbert Calls it QuitsMr. Colbert gets mad over the recent election results and says good bye america

• Sculptures -- made of toothpicks!

Norway keeps the streak alive, ranked best place to live. (U.S.? 8th)

• An Onion twofer:  Politicians Sweep Midterm Elections and Rumsfeld: 'My Half-Assed Job Here Is Done'; see also Andy Borowitz: Democrats, Republicans Agree to Take Two Years Off; the Two Parties Find Common Ground in Decision Not to Work

•  "Office Space" recut into a slasher/thriller trailer.

• An unintentionally funny video clip!

That's all from my corner of the NorthEast, where Thanksgiving is but 10 days away. Do I even bother dieting before hand, or is this a lost cause?

Sunday, November 12, 2006 | 05:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) add to | digg digg this! | technorati add to technorati | email email this post



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"No COX in the Henhouse"

The level of market manipulation since Cox has been at the SEC has been unbelievable. Insider trading by companies pumping their stock with stock buyback programs at the behest of invested hedge funds was the type of fraudulent practices that William Donaldson had in mind.

The SEC under Cox is almost as ineffective as the CFTC. Backdating options is a bad thing that should be prosecuted. The real scandal is the concurrent stock and commodity manipulation in the resource sector.

RTP, for instance, has been pumped up nearly 50 % in the last four weeks in an apparent company led short squeeze with speculator banks and hedge funds piggybacking the pump and dump scheme.

There is no regulation of the financial markets under Cox and the current administration.

Posted by: blam | Nov 13, 2006 7:36:34 AM

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