Friday, December 23rd, 2011
Here are this week’s reading diversions for your personal enlightenment. Have an Excellent, and Merry, Christmas Weekend!
How many gifts do your kids get under the tree each year? Two? Five? Ten? A dozen or more?
Even though you’re likely baring less skin during the winter months, it’s still important to pay attention to your skin. As a registered dietitian and associate nutrition editor of EatingWell magazine I know that what you eat can provide a powerful line of defense against dryness and UV damage, minimize wrinkles and promote smooth skin. Even better, many of these foods are ripe and in-season now. Here are nine of the best winter foods for your skin.
“This means in practice that older people who eat a Mediterranean diet live an estimated 2-3 years longer than those who don’t,” Gianluca Tognon, scientist at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, said in a statement.
7 Signs Santa Has Alzheimer’s | Caring.com
Only a doctor, of course, can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. But Mrs. Claus would do well to take a closer look at the following warning signs, which warrant a cognitive evaluation and medical exam in order to rule out other possible causes of dementia or — though it seems impossible to imagine in someone known for his ho, ho, ho — depression.
Plant based foods, like fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seed are packed with nutrients that promote good health. They contain essential anti-oxidant nutrients, good oils and lots of fibre. While not all of the cultures with long lifespans were vegetarian, all ate diets with a high proportion of plant foods.
27 Foods That Can trigger Migraines – Migraine
All kinds of beans are potential food triggers – string beans, navy beans, kidney beans, lima beans, all of them. The tannin in beans may be the culprit.
Best iPad and iPhone Games for Little Kids – Educational iPhone Apps – Parenting.com
Stuck waiting in line or plodding through a long-haul car trip? App developer Peter Evan Ginsberg rounds up the best iPhone and iPad apps to entertain (and maybe even educate) toddlers and preschoolers. Plus: Check out more great iphone apps for kids of all ages.
Spectacular Christmas Trees, From Warsaw to the White House (Photos) – The Daily Beast
The Christmas tree tradition seems to get stronger each year, with even some countries like Thailand, which is overwhelmingly Buddhist, getting into the spirit. From Singapore to South Carolina and the White House, see some of the most elaborate—and enormous—Christmas trees from around the world
Christmas Toy Fads From Cabbage Patch Kids to Rubik’s Cube – The Daily Beast
In the spirit of holiday nostalgia, The Daily Beast combed the records of Christmases past for a look at the top-selling toy crazes over the last three decades, including the ones on this year’s wish lists.
Tags: Beautiful Skin, Causes Of Dementia, Christmas Weekend, Diversions, Fruits Vegetables, Lifespans, Medical Exam, Mediterranean Diet, Merry Christmas, Mrs Claus, Nutrition Editor, Oxidant Nutrients, Personal Enlightenment, Registered Dietitian, Sahlgrenska, Smooth Skin, String Beans, University Of Gothenburg, Uv Damage, Warning Signs, Winter Foods
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Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
The Economy and Bond Market Cheat Sheet (May 23, 2011)
U.S. Treasury yields changed little for the week, generally falling slightly even with weak economic news.
April housing starts were released this week and came in well below expectations. As can be seen in the chart below, housing starts have been roughly unchanged for more than two years. Housing data has been very weak, from housing starts and building permits, to new and existing home sales, and prices continue to fall in many parts of the country. Housing remains mired in a slump and for the near future it appears unlikely to boost the economy.
- Mortgage rates fell to the lowest level of 2011, hitting 4.61 percent.
- Initial jobless claims fell 25,000 in the week ended May 13 to 409,000 and appear to have broken the recent trend of higher claims.
- California tax revenue is now expected to be $6.6 billion higher than previous estimates through June 2012.
- Manufacturing data, including U.S. industrial production and two Fed manufacturing indices, flashed several warning signs this week, potentially signaling a global industrial slowdown,.
- Japan’s economy shrank 3.7 percent in the first quarter.
- U.K. inflation rose 4.5 percent in April on a year-over-year basis while eurozone inflation rose 0.6 percent on a month-over-month basis.
- In an interesting twist, higher oil prices may actually act as a deflationary force if they materially slow the global economic growth.
- Greek default risks continue to rise as the idea of a “soft restructuring” of Greek debt was floated this week.
Tags: April Housing Starts, Bond Market, Building Permits, California Tax, Cheat Sheet, Economic News, Existing Home Sales, First Quarter, Global Economic Growth, Industrial Slowdown, inflation, Initial Jobless Claims, Japan Economy, Japan S Economy, Mortgage Rates, Oil Prices, S Industrial, Slump, U S Treasury, Warning Signs
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Wednesday, October 6th, 2010
by David Rosenberg, Chief Market Economist, Gluskin Sheff
I LOVE GOLD, BUT….
….The recent surge is the same chart as in March 2008, November 2009 and May 2010 … followed by meaningful corrections … that were to be bought. This market is long overdue for a near-term pullback, in our view.
It would seem as though investors are putting down their money on a big inflation bet.
- Gold is up 20% this year alone.
- The gap between the long bond yield and the 10-year note yield has widened to an eight-year high of 129bps from 92bps just six-months ago. This is the third highest spread in the past three decades.
- Since the end of August, 10-year TIPS breakevens have risen from 1.5% to 1.8%.
There is no doubt that we have commodity prices firming, a weaker U.S. dollar and a monetary policy that seems aimed at reloading the gun. These are inflationary tailwinds. But we also have contracting bank credit, a 6% (and rising) personal savings rate, a 6.5% output gap and core inflation already south of 1%. These are warning signs, and the Treasury market refuses to sell off, which has thus failed, to ratify the great inflation trade.
There are now, according to the latest Commitment of Traders report, 79,796 short contracts on U.S. Treasuries on the Chicago Board of Trade, and there are 78,361 long contracts. So how is that a bond bubble exactly?
There are now 70,638 speculative long contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for the euro, versus 35,308 net short positions. Come again? There are twice as many bullish positions on this piece of you-know-what as their bearish contracts? Yikes! The dollar is hugely oversold here.
And there are now 297,272 net speculative long positions in gold on the COMEX compared with 39,623 net shorts. This has become a very crowded trade, my friends. Silver is far less on the radar screen.
There are also nearly twice as many speculative bulls as there are bears with respect to copper. The global boom trade is on.
This note is an excerpt from today’s Breakfast with Dave. A free and worthwhile registration is required.
Copyright (c) Gluskin Sheff
Tags: Bond Yield, Chicago Board Of Trade, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Chief Market, Comex, Commitment Of Traders, Commitment Of Traders Report, Commodity Prices, Core Inflation, David Rosenberg, Gluskin Sheff, Great Inflation, Market Economist, Output Gap, Personal Savings Rate, Radar Screen, Silver, Tailwinds, Three Decades, Treasury Market, Warning Signs
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Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
This article is a guest contribution by David Rosenberg, Gluskin Sheff.
Much of the pledges made are standard fare. The key takeaway is the acknowledgment of fiscal restraint, which will be the dominant macro theme for at least the next three years. This confab was in stark contrast to the pro-growth stimulus theme of a year ago. No mention of currencies in the aftermath of the Chinese announcement to revalue; at least moderately.
All in, the stress on fiscal consolidation implies the need for policy rates to remain at ultra-low levels for a prolonged period of time. This in turn limits the chance of any sustained rise in government bond yields.
In terms of any goals established, there is an objective to shave fiscal deficits in half by 2013, and to stabilize debt-to-GDP ratios with a 2016 deadline. But specific timelines are at the discretion of each government. Ditto on the issue of bank taxes and global financial regulations.
“THE THIRD DEPRESSION”
That is the title of today’s spirited column by Paul Krugman in the NYT’s editorial section. His arguments can be debated as we are sure the entire Austrian school (along with Robert Barro) would take him to task on the efficacy of even more government intrusion at this point. However, Krugman’s view on what this cycle is all about is right on the mark: a deflationary depression. In our view, the best medicine from governments is to prevent credit bubbles from occurring in the first place – it’s not as if the U.S. didn’t have warning signs once Fannie and Freddie morphed into de facto hedge funds. In any event, here are some snippets from the Krugman piece that the perma-bulls should consider (especially with the consensus still north of $96 on 2011 EPS projections):
“Recessions are common; depressions are rare. As far as I can tell, there were only two eras in economic history that were widely described as “depressions” at the time: the years of deflation and instability that followed the Panic of 1873 and the years of mass unemployment that followed the financial crisis of 1929-31.”
“We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression … primarily by a failure of policy.”
“There is no evidence that short-run fiscal austerity in the face of a depressed economy reassures investors. On the contrary: Greece has agreed to harsh austerity, only to find its risk spreads growing ever wider; Ireland has imposed savage cuts in public spending, only to be treated by the markets as a worse risk than Spain, which has been far more reluctant to take the hard-liners’ medicine.”
“The Fed seems aware of the deflationary risks — but what it proposes to do about these risks is, well, nothing. The Obama administration understands the dangers of premature fiscal austerity — but because Republicans and conservative Democrats in Congress won’t authorize additional aid to state governments, that austerity is coming anyway, in the form of budget cuts at the state and local levels.”
“In the face of this grim picture, you might have expected policy makers to realize that they haven’t yet done enough to promote recovery. But no: over the last few months there has been a stunning resurgence of hard-money and balanced-budget orthodoxy.”
“… both the United States and Europe are well on their way toward Japan-style deflationary traps.”
As we said before, this is a powerful indictment against the current policy stance. But many other entities do not share Mr. Krugman’s view, or that more government intervention will do much good. The BIS (Bank for International Settlements) just published a report that came to different policy conclusions (cited in today’s FT):
“A programme of fiscal consolidation – cutting deficits by several percentage points of GDP over a number of years – would offer significant benefits of low and stable long-term interest rates, a less fragile financial system and, ultimately, better prospects for investment and long-term growth.
Tags: Austrian School, Best Medicine, Bond Yields, BRIC, BRICs, Canadian Market, Confab, David Rosenberg, Deflationary Depression, Economic History, Editorial Section, Fiscal Consolidation, Fiscal Deficits, Fiscal Restraint, G20, Government Bond, Government Intrusion, Nyt, Paul Krugman, Prolonged Period, Recessions, Robert Barro, Warning Signs
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Monday, November 16th, 2009
Doug Kass, of Seabreeze Partners, who called the generational low in the market in March 2009, says the market is complacent about bad news now.
I do believe with some certainty that the market’s vulnerability to disappointment and/or exogenous events has been elevated and that many apparent warning signs — for instance, a 17.5% underemployment rate, weak consumer and small business (National Federation of Independent Business) sentiment, the unrelenting increase in the price of gold, a steadily declining U.S. dollar, the specter of cost-push inflation from higher commodity prices and so forth — are too comfortably being ignored or are being rationalized away in a tide of rising world stock prices.
These days bad news is what is keeping interest rates at zero, and the stimulus flowing, so as long as bad news is good news, market ignorance is bliss.
Read the whole article here.
Tags: Bad News, Business Sentiment, Commodities, Commodity Prices, Disappointment, Doug Kass, Exogenous Events, Federation Of Independent Business, Gold, Ignorance Is Bliss, inflation, interest rates, National Federation Of Independent Business, Price Of Gold, Seabreeze Partners, Specter, Stimulus, Stock Prices, Tide, Vulnerability, Warning Signs, World Stock
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Saturday, August 1st, 2009
One of the more fascinating things about a crisis and its resolution is the post-mortems: The after-the-fact analyses that some folks do to explain what occurred.
These analyses are fascinating for what they reveal about the beliefs, methodologies, biases and cognitive failures of the many crisis watchers.
Human fallibility being what it is, we can divide this universe into 3 buckets of observers:
(1) Those who get it mostly wrong.
(2) Those who can correctly describe a small slice of what happened.
(3) Those who understand the full boom and bust – how all the moving parts came together to cause the crisis.
The first bucket is the easiest to both understand and dismiss: It contains the ideologues and market worshipers, as well as the perma-bulls – none of whom have much in the way of methodology. They are believers who know that in the long run stocks (and houses for that matter) will come back, whether we are dead or not. For the most part, they missed all of the warning signs of recession, credit crisis and boom and bust of the housing collapse. They called it a “mental recession”.
This motley crew says it was all the fault of too much regulation, no it was CRA/Fannie Mae – Why do we even have a Fed? That was the cause – No its mortgage interest deduction – No its all Barney Frank’s fault, no wait, it was caused by too much minority home buying – No, it goes back to FDR – No, its all the Government’s fault, there should be no State – All hail John Galt, we should be free without any government intervention whatsoever – Bababooey!
As you might imagine, their ravings throw off a lot more heat than light. They provide no insight into the what actually occurred – But hey, its great theater.
The second group is a lot more instructive and interesting. They accurately detail a tiny aspect of the crisis in great detail. These observers are like the six blind men describing an elephant: Partly correct, yet mostly incomplete. Their individual descriptions accurately describes various body parts (trunk, tusk, ear, etc.) but they never describe the creature in its entirety.
This group includes those who blame the entire debacle on derivatives or the formula for Value at Risk. The original concept of securitization. Wildly misaligned compensation incentives. They blame the ratings agencies and/or the deification of markets via EMH [efficient market hypothesis], or the massive increase in use of credit since the 1950s. Some blame allowing Lehman to fail as the cause; others blame bailing out Bear Stearns, yet still others say it was all Goldman Sach’s fault. Fill in your own blank.
In the hunt for the unified field theory of the economic crisis, these observers may accurately describe a single aspect of what happened, but they fail to capture the fullness of what caused the debacle. They miss the crisis’ gestalt.
Lastly, we have the Big Picture observers (no pun intended). These folks try to put all of the moving pieces together. They look for proximate causes, not abstract theories. They try to see how one event led to the next event and the next and so on down the entire cascading collapse. These folks understand complexity, causation, risk, statistics and cycles. They are pragmatic, not ideological.
They are unfortunately, all too rare.
I only can wish that more of the people trying to repair what happened, and prevent the next crisis, were in the third group ….
Source: Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture, July 30, 2009.
Tags: Bailout, Barney Frank, Barry Ritholtz, Biases, Boom And Bust, Buckets, Cra, Credit Crisis, Fannie Mae, Fdr, Government Intervention, Hail John, John Galt, Mortgage Interest Deduction, Motley Crew, Moving Parts, Post Mortems, Second Group, Warning Signs, Worshipers
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