Linkfest: Week in Preview

Sunday, July 08, 2007 | 06:30 PM

Yesterday, we looked at the week that was. Today, we preview the upcoming market events that may be stock and market movers.

Its a relatively quiet week in terms of economic releases, backloaded for Friday: Retail Sales,  Import/Export prices, and Consumer Sentiment are all set free the last day of the week.

78_econodayIts a busy week in terms of Fed chatter: Big kahuna Ben Bernanke chats about inflation on Tuesday, with a slew of other Fed officials scheduled to follow him; Philly Fed Prez Charles Plosser on Wednesday; Fed Gov Randall Kroszner and San Fran Fed Prez Janet Yellen both opine on Thursday.

Earnings season kicks off in earnest Monday, with several big names scheduled to report: Alcoa leads off the hit parade, followed by Yum Brands report Wednesday.

Several Retailers are reporting June sales on Thursday, with the outlook fairly mediocre. Look for 3 explanations as to retail weakness: Rising gasoline prices, slowing consumer spending, and a calendar shift, which moved Memorial Day into May (from June) this year. Macy's, J.C. Penney, Kohl's and Saks have all forecast a decline in June same-store sales. (We already heard from Target last week). The WSJ notes that "Weakness in June isn't a good thing for the industry, as June frequently ranks as the second-biggest month of the year for retailers behind December."

Genentech reports Wednesday, and Marriott releases earnings Thursday -- given the takeout of Hilton Hotels, you can bet the conference call will be chock full of questions about private-equity. On Friday, General Electric reports Q2 results.

Here's our roundup of interesting -- and actionable -- articles that can impact your investing in the coming months: Get busy!


Why we bet on stocks: Is historical performance the only reason for believing that stocks will always outperform other asset classes in the long run or is there a more solid basis for expecting that stocks will generate superior long-term returns?  (Money Magazine)

These Natural Gas Stocks Are Big-Time Bargains: What's the hottest energy play in the lower 48 states? It's not Louisiana. And it's not Texas.Try the Rocky Mountains.  (

Sears Responds to Its Critics With a Call for Patience:  Sears Holdings has prospered as a company, but the sales performance of its chains has continued to decline. As the retailing industry has grown increasingly competitive, Sears Holdings has poured relatively little capital into its stores and has cut back on marketing and other expenses. The low level of spending has been particularly vexing for mall operators, analysts say. Once the nation’s leading retailer, Sears has 861 mall stores, 518 of them owned and 343 of them leased. . . . During the fiscal year that ended on Feb. 3, sales at United States stores open for at least a year decreased 6.1 percent at Sears and 0.6 percent at Kmart, the company reported. During the first quarter of this year, sales were off 3.4 percent at Sears and 4.4 percent at Kmart. (New York Times)

Message in a Bottle: Thirty years ago, bottled water barely existed as a business in the United States. Last year, we spent more on Poland Spring, Fiji Water, Evian, Aquafina, and Dasani than we spent on iPods or movie tickets--$15 billion. It will be $16 billion this year. Bottled water is the food phenomenon of our times. We--a generation raised on tap water and water fountains--drink a billion bottles of water a week, and we're raising a generation that views tap water with disdain and water fountains with suspicion. We've come to pay good money--two or three or four times the cost of gasoline--for a product we have always gotten, and can still get, for free, from taps in our homes. (Fast Company)

A Challenge to Gene Theory, a Tougher Look at Biotech: The $73.5 billion global biotech business may soon have to grapple with a discovery that calls into question the scientific principles on which it was founded. Last month, a consortium of scientists published findings that challenge the traditional view of how genes function. To their surprise, researchers found that the human genome might not be a tidy collection of independent genes after all, with each sequence of DNA linked to a single function, such as a predisposition to diabetes or heart disease. Instead, genes appear to operate in a complex network, and interact and overlap with one another and with other components in ways not yet fully understood. According to the institute, these findings will challenge scientists to rethink some long-held views about what genes are and what they do. (New York Times)

Xerox's inventor-in-chief:  Xerox has become an innovation power again, producing new technologies that can read, understand, route, and protect documents, among other things. Leading that effort is Vandebroek, 45, the company's chief technology officer since late 2005. Her task is to keep Xerox at the leading edge of infotech progress in ways that make shareholders richer. (Fortune)

Calendar Effects & Trading: Full-year and month-by-month performance of the stock market  (CXO Advisory Group)

They never seem to learn, do they? Floyd Norris utterly demolished Donald Trump and the foolish backers of his publicly traded casinos: "All told, ignoring the warrants, a shareholder who invested $10,000 in Mr. Trump's empire when the casino company went public in 1994 would now have about $636. That performance came at a time when the casino industry was blossoming across America, as more states accepted more gambling as a way to raise revenues. I counted five other casino companies that went public in the mid-1990s. All made money for investors in the initial offering. The champion was Penn National Gaming, which will take your bets in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Louisiana and in Ontario. It went public in 1994, and a $10,000 investment would now be worth about $724,000. Over all, an index of casino stocks is up 268 percent since June 1995. Trump investors lost 93 percent. (New York Times)

Adjusting P/E Ratios for the Profit Cycle: Are the index profits earned over the most recent 12 months a true measure of the earnings power of the index? Or are the average earnings earned throughout the ups and downs of the business cycle a better measure? Arriving at the true measure of earnings power is important, Graham counsels, because that's the figure to use when calculating a proper P/E ratio. (Hester/Hussman)

As ETFs Seek Niches, Risks Rise: As exchange-traded funds have rocketed upward on the sales charts, far outpacing the sales growth of mutual funds, they also are showing up in disproportionate numbers on another set of charts: performance winners and losers. (Wall Street Journal)


The Wall of Worry continues to build:

 Oil, Oligarchs and Opulence: The "Red Ritz" is in many ways a metaphor for the New Russia. Built at a cost of $350 million by Kazakh and Turkish investors, it is probably one of the most expensive hotels in the Ritz chain, with some rooms at $1,000 a night and a suite that goes for a cool $16,000. Under the able direction of a German general manager, it is staffed by hundreds of eager, young English-speaking Russians. The driveway in front is stuffed with shiny black Mercedes, Audis and BMWs that shuttle global executives and minor Russian oligarchs, along with their security contingents, around the traffic-choked city. (Washington Post)

How Is Retail Doing?

Forget Florida; Central America the New Hot Spot for Retirees: Many Central American countries are betting U.S. baby boomers will be the generation that globalizes retirement. They're gearing up by offering financial incentives that could make retiring internationally a smart financial move for some individuals. The same advances that allow companies to do business across borders are making it possible for people to live out their golden years in another country. "Technology and travel developments have put us in the position to do more with our lives while still staying in touch," says Susan Black, director of financial planning for eMoney Advisor.  (   


•  Homes vs. Offices: Office space is hot as a pistol; Homes, well, not so much.

"The World's Most Hated Blogger"  interesting tale of the guy behind

Truly Al-ARM-ing "Based on the share of ARMs in some state of negative equity at the end of last year and the decline in home prices so far in 2007, a stunning $693 billion in mortgage loans are already in the red. Assuming lenders are able to recover 70% of those assets -- which seems optimistic given the massive amount of housing inventory yet to be unwound -- that means mortgage lenders are already grappling with $210 billion in outright losses." (Barron's)  if no Barron's sub, go here.

Florida foreclosure future shock: A tidal wave of foreclosures may be heading toward Florida, if you judge by the number of homeowners looking to get rid of their homes as fast as they can. (CNNMoney)

New Scheme Preys on Desperate Homeowners: With the housing market in decline, financial predators are finding yet another way to take advantage of people who fall behind on their payments. The schemes take various forms and often involve promises to distressed homeowners of cash upfront, free monthly rent and a chance to retain their houses in the long run. But in the process, someone else takes over the deed, borrows as much as possible against the value of the house and pockets the cash. And, almost always, the homeowners still end up losing their homes. (New York Times)


Today's Political links plays right into Doug Kass' warnings about a much less market-friendly Congress/White House in the near future:

Young Americans Are Leaning Left, New Poll Finds: Young Americans are more likely than the general public to favor a government-run universal health care insurance system, an open-door policy on immigration and the legalization of gay marriage, according to a New York Times/CBS News/MTV poll. The poll also found that they are more likely to say the war in Iraq is heading to a successful conclusion. (New York Times)

Ratings for Bush, Congress sink lower: In a remarkable span, the approval that people voice for the job Bush is doing has sunk to record lows for his presidency in the AP-Ipsos and other polls in recent weeks, dipping within sight of President Nixon's levels during Watergate. Ominously for Republicans hoping to hold the White House and recapture Congress next year, Bush's support has plunged among core GOP groups like evangelicals, and pivotal independent swing voters. (Associated Press) See also A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease (Washington Post)

Politics 2.0 is a fascinating look at how the internet is changing the political landscape in America (Mother Jones). I had no idea that PayPal was originally a conservative, anti-fiat monetary concept, or about their office religious practices. Rather amazing.


Is SV souring on India?: Across Silicon Valley, some technology companies, particularly start-up and midsize ones, are beginning to turn away from India for low-cost labor to do sophisticated tech work. The lure was the wage level: just a quarter of what experienced Silicon Valley computer engineers make. Then Indian salaries soared. Last year, some engineers in India made about half of Silicon Valley levels. By early this year, it was 75%. "Taking into account the time difference with India, we weren't saving any money by being there anymore." (free Wall Street Journal)

iPhone-Free Cellphone News: The other big news in the mobile telephone sector (New York Times)

CEOs Must Be Designers, Not Just Hire Them. Think Steve Jobs And iPhone: Innovation, design, and technology are all flowing into one another to form a single river of roaring change radically altering our culture, and especially business culture. (BusinessWeek)

EBay wants a fight, but Craigslist won't put up its dukes: Online auction site eBayThe Globe and Mail) launched a U.S. version of its Kijiji online-classified service this week, after more than a year of focusing on building that business in countries such as Germany, Britain and Canada (where it is the leading classified service, ahead of U.S.-based Craigslist). You might think that such a move would make the shareholder meetings at Craigslist a little awkward, considering eBay owns a 25-per-cent stake in the service. And no doubt it would make things uncomfortable - if Craigslist had meetings (it doesn't), and if founder Craig Newmark and chief executive officer Jim Buckmaster gave much thought to the competition (they don't). (


• For the Fourth of July, we present: The Stylistic Artistry of the Declaration of Independence   

• VERY FUNNY: Straight dope from Fake Steve Jobs: For months now, one of the best-read blogs in technology circles has been the starkly funny, pull-no-punches Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. Otherwise known as "Fake Steve Jobs (FSJ)," the author--who writes as if he is, in fact, Steve Jobs, uses his blog to poke vicious fun at anything Apple, technology or Silicon Valley, all the while claiming the mantle of the marketing genius that is Steve Jobs. His motto? "Dude, I invented the friggin' iPod. Have you heard of it?" (C/NET)

The 20 most annoying business expressions (Houston Chronicle)

Now he tells us, after the holiday weekend!  A new study finds that most sunscreens don't offer sufficient protection. How to find the right one.  Sizing Up Sunscreen (Newsweek)

How to CG food

How to Kill a Lobster   

That's all from what's been a gorgeous week out on the East End of Long Island -- and where continuing  connectivity problems means this is being beamed to you from Starbucks (SBUX)!



Got a comment, suggestion, link idea? Or do you just have something on your mind? The linkfest loves to get email!  If you've got something to say, then by all means please do.

Sunday, July 08, 2007 | 06:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) add to | digg digg this! | technorati add to technorati | email email this post



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That Casey Serin/foreclosure Wikipedia parody site is hilarious. That anybody would put that much effort into documenting the stupidity of a character like Serin is truly what the internet was made for.

Posted by: drsqueeze | Jul 8, 2007 7:28:31 PM

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