In your opinion, what does this blog need more of?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

NDD twofer for Sunday

Some Sunday news:

New Deal Demoncrat - house sales plummet zomfg! Except they aren't. Quote:
The bottom line is that the positive trend in new and existing home sales remains, failing to confirm this month's softness in permits and starts. That housing continues as a positive in the face of higher interest rates is the biggest positive surprise story of the year.
So everything's okay.

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. Again, nothing really to see here.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Apologies btw

Apologies btw for not posting more recently.

The US equity market is doing very little, the US economy isn't generating much consequential news, and gold seems to be unable to drag GDX with it.

Meanwhile, I've been reading ahead for next year's classes. I'm very interested in taking transportation geography after reading the textbooks this summer, and I also want to get ahead of the curve in econometrics.

I've also been reading Kim Gordon's Girl in a Band, and have these thoughts:

1) It's never a good idea to write a book right after your marriage breaks up.

2) She talks a lot more about art and stuff than she does Sonic Youth.

3) Apparently Michael Gira is a cunt, well colour me surprised!

4) Goddamn it those chapters are short.

Generally, despite me liking Sonic Youth more than Everything but the Girl, I vastly preferred Tracey Thorn's autobiography and would recommend it over Kim Gordon's book. Girls to the Front was also a better bio on girls in bands.

Friday video: The Cure?

A Cure video from their third album ffs:

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The conservatives are firing up the bullshit machine again

Two days before the Conservative Party leadership election, the Conservative insiders have set it up so that the new leader can hit the ground running:

Fraser Institute - Prime Ministers and government spending: a retrospective (pdf).

You don't have to click through. The point is that the Fraser Institute is calling Justin the spendiest PM in the history of PMs.

Specifically, they say he's spending more than any other PM outside of wartime or a recession.

The puppet press of the Reform party picked the story authors' press release up:

Financial Post - Justin's the spendiest PM ever! Quote:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began to increase per person spending immediately after his election in October 2015. The Harper Conservatives originally planned for per person spending to reach $7,342 in 2015 but the Trudeau Liberals cranked up spending to $7,557. Put differently, the Trudeau Liberals increased per person spending in 2015 by almost three-per-cent more than the previous Harper government had planned.

Spending was further increased in 2016 and the federal government plans to spend $8,337 in the current fiscal year (2017–18). This is only $38 shy of the all-time-high level of per person spending recorded in 2009–10 by the Harper Conservative government ($8,375). The peak spending under the Harper government, however, was done during a significant global recession.

Conversely, the near-peak spending planned by the Trudeau government is done without any recession or large-scale military conflict, which are the two main characteristics of almost every other previous spike in federal spending.
Which is a lie, since Canada's qoq GDP was negative in Q1 & Q2 2015 (that's 2 consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth right before Trudeau was elected, which is a recession), plus borderline in Q4 2015, and negative again in Q2 2016.

You might remember there were these little things called an oil price collapse and the Fort McMurray fire. You might also remember Trudeau explicitly arguing for stimulus spending to counteract these two negative shocks to the economy.

The Fraser Institute doesn't remember any of that.

No, actually, they do, but mentioning any of that doesn't provide the next Conservative leader with a talking point.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is to let you know ahead of time that the new Conservative Party leader will be hitting the ground running, accusing Trudeau of "wwharrr spending more money than any PM before him!"
Which should be okay, since he gets to finance his spending at 1.458%.

But Conservatives don't know anything about finance. Even the study authors, one of whom supposedly has an MBA (from Windsor even!).

This may be a few years old, sorry

Siri finds out that Steve Jobs died:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Is this why Sandstorm Gold is dropping?

So Sandstorm's lost a third of its value since the story got out that it was buying Mariana.

Let's see if I understand this.

Mariana owns 30% of the Hot Maden project in Turkey, and Sandstorm is putting many eggs into one basket by taking Mariana's 30% in a buyout and then trying to convert that into a stream.

OK, so number one, if Sandstorm only wants a stream and not mine ownership, then I'd think they should have worked out the stream ahead of time. Otherwise, they're counting on their Maden partner's good nature to seal this deal after buyout. Otherwise, they'll be building a mine, which they don't have any expertise at, as the Colossus affair demonstrated. They're giving up stream negotiating power by buying into this project.

But hey, maybe their partners are good guys? Well, let's see what Google tells me.

Apparently, their partners are Lidya Madencilik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S.?

They're a subsidiary of Çalık Holding A.S.?

Çalık Holding's CEO from 2007 to 2013 was Erdoğan's son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, now Turkey's Minister for Energy and Natural Resources? Apparently Wikileaks asserts they published a bunch of his private emails, alleging that he was helping smuggle Islamic State oil into Turkey? But Turks can't read about this because Erdoğan has banned the media from reporting any of it, which isn't hard since he and Albayrak have bought much of the media anyway, via Çalık? And by the way, Berat's brother is still on the Board at Çalık?

As a junior mining investor, at this point I give up. I don't bother trying to corroborate or disprove any of this stuff. I don't care whether the Islamic State stuff is true or the other allegations about Albayrak are true: I only care that Mariana's majority partner was once run by the son-in-law of the president of a third-world country aligned with Russia. Given typical third-world political economy, that alone is enough to give this deal the cooties.

I liked this movie better the first time I saw it, when it was called Simandou.

And so Sandstorm is buying 30% of a mining project in Turkey, thinking that these partners, i.e. possibly the family of president Erdoğan, are going to happily cut them a fair streaming deal. And that they'll actually get paid for the life of the deal.

I don't own Sandstorm now, and I guarantee you I won't after reading this.

Nolan, if you wise up and cancel this offer, which you should if you love your company and its future, then please send me $50,000 for my consulting contribution. It's money well earned, it'll save you millions personally, and your shareholders even more if you're into that sort of thing. You can get in touch with me thru Daniela Cambone.

It's funny that just two weeks ago a guy who should know something about third world governments and mining was calling Sandstorm cheap at $3.40 and the Mariana deal a good one.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday noos

I guess people are selling S&P 500 today because they think Trump is about to be impeached? Is that it?

Anyway, here's some great reading for you:

New Deal Demoncrat - is the rental affordability crisis abating? If rents have quit increasing in the US, that'll mean more money in the pockets of the poor, which is how you build a sustainable economy. But I'm sure Trump will fuck that up somehow.

FT Alphaville - healthy pickup in capex predicted, again. Last time it was predicted, it didn't happen. Will this time be different? Not if you read some of the economic theory stuff I've been reading: the reason we're in capex stagnation is because more and more corporate earnings are being captured as rents by the power elite - the same reason government bond yields are at silly lows, btw.

Macro Tourist - the $VIX article no-one will like. Quote:

The narrative overwhelmingly embraced by most of the street is that there is a monster VIX short position out there, and that this volatility selling is a disaster in waiting. This camp has some impressive alumni. For the past year, the smart as a tack Jesse Felder, has been writing pieces about this risk. If you want to understand his point of view, check out the article from last summer - “The Short Vol Trade has gotten completely out of hand”. I love Jesse’s writing, and taking the other side of his trade gives me pause, but I respectfully suggest he might be wrong on this one.

He takes the "every seller is matched with a buyer" assumption and runs with it, arguing that there's a monster $VIX long position out there. The kill-shot comes when he notes it's actually the Vix long ETF that has built the monster position: apparently XIV's shares outstanding has been collapsing! That's convincing enough for me.

AEON - human capital theory was a cold war propaganda campaign. Really interesting long essay about how the Ayn Rand club invented the term "human capital" as a counterweight to Soviet communism. I'm skeptical of the whole Mont Pelerin Society conspiracy theory, but I also know that people like Milton Friedman were propagandists and not economists. In fact, if you decide to model human capital, you'll find that a monopsonist employer will use their market power to underpay for it - in which case worker exploitation simply becomes more obvious.

BBC - Avril Lavigne is dead again. The old "Avril Lavigne died in 2003 and was replaced by an exact replica" story has returned. Oh, and entirely parenthetically, her new album comes out this year.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

China hit by Wannacry, tech writers show they don't understand tech

Engadget - China hit hard by Wannacry because they use pirated software.

Yes, it was true as of Saturday that Wannacry spread so aggressively through China, India and Russia because those three countries are third-world shitholes where the entire nation runs off of one pirated copy of XP.

But then the killswitch got tripped. The worm stops spreading entirely if it connects to the killswitch website.

The reason the virus has continued to spread through China after Saturday was because their nation firewalls the killswitch website.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Microsoft has a point

The Register - Microsoft tells governments to quit hoarding exploits. Quote:

In the midst of the ongoing WannaCrypt attacks, Microsoft has issued an unusually strongly-worded warning to governments around the world to quit hoarding vulnerabilities.

The bug exploited by the attack was hoarded by the United States national security agency (NSA), leaked earlier this year and since patched by Microsoft – but patches aren't perfect, rollouts take time and WannaCrypt locked up a lot of machines in its first wave.

Microsoft is not pleased, and in this post, renews its call for a “Digital Geneva Convention”, and its long-standing demand that governments disclose vulnerabilities to vendors instead of stockpiling them.

“An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen,” writes Brad Smith, Redmond president and legal boss.

Noting the “unintended but disconcerting” link between nation-state activity and criminal activity, Smith adds that governments need “to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits”. The “Digital Geneva Convention” Redmond recommends would therefore require governments “to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them”.

With the caveat that these exploits are generally the result of poor programming, partially because Bill Gates would rather farm the work out to idiots in Bangalore instead of paying his domestic coders a decent wage, and the "Digital Geneva Convention" was probably written to benefit Microsoft and not the civilized world, I otherwise agree.

Exploits are potential weapons of mass destruction, very much like Tomahawk missiles. When a hack gets out into the wild, it can at least cause millions of dollars of damage, and at most bring down worldwide communications and commerce: we've seen that happen in the past.

We're okay with the military having weapons of mass destruction, because we expect them to have the tools to effectively attack national enemies. But we also expect the military to damn well keep them under lock and key, and not just let some contractor walk out the door with them to sell them on the black market.

We do this with plutonium, sarin and anthrax, so let's also do this with hack tools.

Oh, as an aside: when we find out some Russian is making sarin in his kitchen, we kill him and then lock up everyone he's ever met. We also don't let him sell it on the darknet and take payment in Bitcoin.

I think governments will take this seriously, and I still think Bitcoin's days are numbered.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ransomware attack news

Krebs on Security - NHS hit by ransomware attack.

Bleeping Computer - Ransomware using NSA exploit leaked by Shadow Brokers is on a rampage.

Avast - ransomware spreading aggressively, over 50,000 victims.

The big story going around right now is that a ransomware worm is locking up computers by the tens of thousands.

I haven't yet read anything that has clearly explained how it's spreading, so I don't want to fire up my old Vista even if I disconnect from the net and disconnect my data drive beforehand.

I've heard people say it gets into systems via good old-fashioned email attachments and website drive-by infections, and then spreads internally on a company's LAN via MS networking protocols, exploiting a MS networking security hole that I obviously don't have here at home. So I'd be competely safe. But I've also read that it sets up a bunch of processes to attempt connection to random IPs via port 135 and port 445, and that scares me.

I was hacked by the 135 worm long long ago, and I'm pretty sure my Windows system locks down those two ports nowadays and the exploits are long gone.

But still, I was hacked remotely by the port 135 worm long long ago, and I don't ever want to go through that again. Worms are a real bitch.

So I'll just keep my Vista shut off for now, thank you.

Too bad you lost another Windows customer, Microsoft! At least you can count on the Linux development community remaining so fucking stupid that they can't ever develop anything to replace you, since they don't even know how to fucking write a startup routine that can wake a fucking Dell LAN card.

As for the hacker who did this, if we are to believe Russia, they apparently made the mistake of making the Russian Interior Ministry one of their targets. So if that's to be believed, I'm pretty sure the guy is going to end up in a wood chipper by next weekend.

He went way too large with this attack, and he attacked the wrong people. Stupid.

But what I find funny are comments like these on Krebs' site:

So uk and world hospitals should buy now bitcoins.
then when attack comes then they are ready and it will save many lifes.
Goverments now should prepare their bitcoins reserves.

OK, so obviously Krebs gets a load of lowlife children on his comments pages; most of them are little hackers who have probably DDOSed him.

But really? Governments and hospitals should stockpile bitcoins? Really? To be prepared in case of future ransomware attacks?

How about this: MI6 tracks down everyone associated with Bitcoin and fucking kills them for being members of a terrorist organization. It actually makes better sense, fiscally.

And as far as the conspiracy theory that this was actually a targeted attack by the NSA, just look at the map, Russia is the biggest victim here?

Well, if that were so, then it's only so because all of fucking Russia is operating off one pirated copy of Windows XP that they've never bothered to update.

Some weekend news

Stuck in linux right now because with all that's going on I'm not sure I have the guts to fire up my Windows. More on that later.

Weekend market reads:

Calculated Risk - retail sales up 0.4% in April. And up 4.5% above last year.

Calculated Risk - LA port traffic increased in April. Container volumes way higher than last year. Unfortunately, unless there's enough demand to mop that up, we'll just head into another inventory correction. As an aside, why is meat 50% more expensive than it was last year?

New Deal Demoncrat - real wage growth set to resume. Don't worry, Trump will find a way to fuck the working class.

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. Geez, looks like the whole summer will be a low-volume boredom melt-up.

FT Alphaville - US too expensive? Consider Japan. That's not exactly positive on the surface. Then again, Japanese yields are also stupid low. And that hints at the real reason: all assets are expensive, because there's insufficient supply of assets, while demand is high because the kleptocracy has sucked tens of trillions of dollars out of the economy into their own pockets. It's really that simple.

FT Alphaville - panic and $VIX. Ex-Jesus and Mary Chain lead singer Jim Reid says this:
ultra low vol doesn’t necessarily predict bad returns going forward but returns are generally higher when vol starts at a higher point than current levels or when it is ultra high. Quite high but not ultra high tends to be the worst starting point. There is therefore some evidence that future returns from this starting point might be sub-trend but no particular evidence of an imminent big problem looking at the historical data alone.
Which really just boils down to "buy low sell high", which means Jim just wasted my fucking time with this crap. No wonder William can't stand being in a band with him.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ermagerd! Derrrrm!

Ermagerd! The S&P is down 0.63% this morning! $VIX popped to 10! Let's check Zerohedge to find a reason to sell!:

Ritholtz - yeah, $VIX is actually bullshit. He thinks Josh Brown has a good explanation for low $VIX: simply, nobody's that interested in buying downside puts anymore. Then again, they were just last fall, and with the subsequent Trump market pop most likely overdone they'll be likely to buy downside puts again in the near future. Since $VIX is ideally an index of the cost of a downside put, this is a good experimental setup right here.

So if Josh is right, $VIX should go back to its normal 12-14 range and XIV should lose a bunch of money for a while, the way XIV was a money-loser for about a year through 2015-2016, if I remember correctly. Which will be nice, cos then the XIV longs get punished for being suicidal idiots while the rest of us just sit thru a 10% drawdown in US equities. We need that.

Bloomberg - Ermagerd! Cherna Derlerverergerng cerntergern! Apparently, China is deleveraging, and that carries risk of contagion or something. Just like it did for the past 10 years, in fact. Me, I see a slight drawdown in ASHR and no move in FXI, so I'm wondering why everyone's suddenly piddling their frilly little pink girl-panties.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Troubled Wisconsin man goes on 50-state killing spree

Medium - Troubled Wisconsin man goes on 50-state killing spree.

With a helpful photo of what a troubled Wisconsin man on a 50-state killing spree looks like.

But it's America, we expect this kind of stuff from them.

$VIX noos

FT Alphaville - remain weirdly quiet as Satan laughing spreads his wings. Oh, lord yeah!:

The Vix — flawed measure of fear that it is — has fallen to another low, closing at its lowest level since 1993.

With a helpful picture of what the $VIX at its lowest level since 1993 would look like.

What freaks me out is that people who pass themselves off as institutional investors think it's perfectly okay to buy a synthetic short $VIX futures ETF like XIV - and then hold it.

Yes, holding XIV (or in Canada) makes a lot of money, and "all you're doing is shorting time premium". That is all true. But there's still a risk problem with this, and an even worse market structure problem.

If you hold XIV, you need to realize you've got a 50% intraday loss riding on your books. Because XIV can drop 50% in a day if you get a $VIX spike. Check the charts. It's already happened a few times. Have you run a simulation to prove that your position is small enough to clear it without moving the market? Do you keep track of how large everyone else's positions are too, or do you really think you can be first out the door?

You don't have to know how XIV even operates, just read the goddamn prospectus! Why do they have that big section in bold saying "The Closing Indicative Value will be zero on and subsequent to any calendar day on which the Intraday Indicative Value equals zero at any time or Closing Indicative Value equals zero"? Or the part under "Risk Factors" (nice title, wonder what it means?) that they put in bold AND italics that says "Because of the large and sudden price movement associated with futures on the VIX Index, and the daily objective of the ETNs (including inverse or leveraged exposure), the ETNs are intended specifically for short term trading"?

Because XIV is actually able to lose over 100% in a day. It can do that because it's a short $VIX future.

And so the minute you get a $VIX intraday spike, and the loss on the ETF explodes, Velocityshares will try to wind it down before it goes negative. Which will mean buying back all of XIV's $VIX near and second month short position, during the day, during a spiking market. All this at the same time as Horizons is also selling's $VIX futures. And while every other synth shop is selling theirs as well. And while the CBOE $VIX professional traders can smell blood in the streets.

That means an acceleration toward zero.

And because your position gets closed out right at the peak in $VIX, your loss gets capitalized. YOU DO NOT get to get back into the market to ride XIV back up, because IT'S CLOSED.

It doesn't matter what price you bought at, the potential of your XIV position going to $0 the next time fear spikes should wildly screw up your risk profile no matter who you are.

And these XIV holders are the people who bid down $VIX futures.

Then again, I do still think that if it were a true unbalanced elephant-in-a-kiddie-pool trade, someone would be able to make a bloody fortune on the other side. And there must be a few hundred quants out there that have already looked at this, it's a frickin' gimme.

Hopefully none of them have thought about starting an artificial run into $VIX near & second month to force XIV down and precipitate a loss. Hopefully it's not possible to sell a XIV position short. Hopefully there are no Russian quants who've read the Financial Times' XIV warnings over the past 2 years who work in an "economic warfare" subdepartment at the GRU, because it will only take a few billion dollars to spike $VIX to 80 and crash the S&P 500, as long as XIV as part of the market structure.

In fact, they could slowly build a $5B XIV position, then take $100B of the central bank's money and buy OOTM near puts on high-beta NYSE stocks when SPY's RSI is >70; then pull the trigger, dump the XIV position as a sacrifice to trigger a market run, and clean up on the puts like a mofo.*

And then Pooty-Poot will give them a fucking medal for bringing down American kapitalizm.

If you own XIV as a hold, you're holding a potential goes-to-zero-then-things-get-worse position. You are an idiot and should kill yourself right now for the benefit of humanity.

I do love trading (Canada's XIV): but I trade it, only after the intraday has spiked and the futures have gone back into contango, and once I get my first 10-20% I cut back, and once I've made 30% on the rest I sell and walk away.

If people keep piling into XIV, this will become the next financial weapon of mass destruction. You heard it here first.

* - Then again, maybe Pooty-Poot would be able to launch the same attack even if XIV never existed, just by selling $VIX futures directly at the CBOE? I'd be happy to hear an explanation of why he could, because that would make me sleep a lot better.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

John Mauldin is now sucking Bob Lefsetz's cock for business

It's not posted on Lefsetz Letter yet, but here's Casey confidante John Mauldin teaching us all what the smell of desperation smells like:

Subject: Thoughts on 700 new subscribers and Mauldin - from John Mauldin


I've been meaning to dictate/write this letter to you for some time. I've been reading your pieces for at least a few years, and while we are of the same age (more or less as I am almost 68), radically different growing up experiences. I have to apologize to you that you only got 700 new subscribers. I should've put a link in and it would have been much higher. Next time I will.

Will the new readers stick? Hard to say… I am not sure that your tribe and my tribe are all that different,

AHAHAHAHA no, John, your tribe is very different. They may be attitudinal coke-snorting washed-up 70s rockers, but they also follow Trump tweets, vote Tea Party, and accuse politicians of being in cahoots with an international conspiracy masterminded by the Rothschilds.

That's your tribe, John. You picked them, remember?

but then again I'm not sure who your tribe is.

Hopefully people who don't fall for permadoomer goldbug nonsense.

And that's where your writing speaks to me.

Oh god John. You're in way over your head here. Bob Lefsetz was a music industry lawyer. He's had his cock sucked by the best. You really think you can compete? You don't even know what to do with your tongue.

You talk about musicians finding listeners and giving them what they want. We think about expanding our investment information junkie tribe and making them feel included, feeding their information needs. We actually hired a person this year whose entire job description is to make new readers, who sign up for my free letter, feel appreciated and wanted. Hopefully they will buy something. Eventually. Like a musician, I appeal to a certain audience/tribe. It's an interesting business model and not unlike the music business.

Seriously? You're letting people behind the curtain here. So when you publish your permadoomer nonsense about the "coming crisis" and "end of the debt supercycle", you're simply giving people what they want?

Is that really all you are, John?

If we should ever find ourselves in the same ZIP Code, I think you might be fascinated to sit down and compare the experiences that I go through in Internet marketing investments and newsletters and the music business.

Oh yeah, he would be fascinated to read your articles from 5 years ago, where you were calling for hyperinflation, utter destruction, teh ebil sociamalist Obama's taxes on non-Sharia marriage, and other such Tea Partyist chickenshit.

I make my marketing team read your letter religiously.

Again with the amateur sex work, John.

It's lines like this from today's letter that inspire me: We don't need much, but we do need great.

This is just desperate now. Has Vladimir Putin got your wife and kids at gunpoint? Is your letter just an overly amateurish recruitment drive for the international Russian disinfo army? You trying to get Lefsetz onside with the Russky program?

Every week when I sit down as I have for soon to be 18 years, I look at a blank screen and say, "dear gods, don't let the magic stop now." I started with a few thousand names back in 2000 and the letter just took off. I did a few things right, got lucky on more things.

And now let me guess, you're finding your readership is disappearing because, with the Evil Kenyan Muslim Usurper replaced by Trump America Great Again, the right wing fools are no longer interested in your perennial short-S&P-buy-gold strategy, right?

You can no longer spin the narrative that the US will default on its debt, now that you have a president who is going to run up the debt and a Republican party in charge of that debt. US debt is awesome now because there's no negro in the White House! How can we possibly whine about the US debt? There won't even be any debt after 8 years of Trump! Because magic!

And you can no longer spin the narrative that the S&P is horribly overvalued, now that the Republicans are rushing into the market after 8 years of sitting on the sidelines as the S&P tripled, because now that Trump's in charge the American economy will grow at 3-4% per year!

And that's why you're suddenly cuddling up to Bob Lefsetz, right? Now that your senile Republican fear crowd is just buying SPY, your readership is dwindling, so now you realize you need a new group of clowns, and who better to sell snake oil to than the entertainment industry, right? And Bob's got the readership, and you have no clue why they read Bob, but you think you can get some of that magic for yourself now, right?

But mostly, your letter was the reason you got 700 new readers. People far outside the music business intuitively understand that attention is everything. And you seemingly effortlessly just let the words of wisdom roll off your fingers on the screen

Bob can do that, not because he's trying to hoodwink people, but because (like me, not you) he sees bullshit a mile away and can't stop himself from calling that bullshit out. Whereas you are the bullshit, John. Your newsletter is the throwaway Mariah Carey singles of the 90s.

Except at least Mariah was sexxay as all sin. You don't even have that going for you.

And also, Bob believes in truth in art. Whereas you believe in selling apocalyptic fantasy novels, John.

People love Lefsetz for the same reason they love Don Cherry: he might go way off sometimes, but we know he's always been the guy who'll drop the gloves and fight for his teammates at a moment's notice.

People love Lefsetz for the same reason my 6 readers still read me. 

And then you find yourself putting in a six-figure budget just for the ability to be able to send out millions of email addresses a week without being flagged as spam. Wasn't even in the budget line 4 years ago. Now we are spending mid-six figures just growing our list. Five years ago we grew organically. Then Boom, the world changed. One of my main competitors is down 80% on their deliverability and income. And these guys are pros, having been around 30 years. Early Internet pioneers and then everything just changed. And then changed again. My executive team fully expects to have to reinvent the entire business delivery model every 3 to 4 years now.

Yeah, it does sound like you're struggling, John. As I said above, maybe it's because you were selling a bullshit anti-Obama narrative as your investment thesis, and now that whole strategy has become obsolete because the people you were selling to are now in charge, and don't need you anymore.

Kinda like Alex Jones. Maybe you should retire like him.

I know I've only got 25,000 followers on Twitter. I find Twitter to be mostly noise as far as revenue production. But you're right, I will get somebody on my team starting to focus on getting more twitter followers. There's no reason I shouldn't have a hundred thousand with some effort.

Ask your buddy Vladimir. He can get you 100,000 Twitter followers instantly.

It's probably good for the branding and all, but still not sure how you make money out of it. We keep trying to figure out how to monetize Facebook. We know we have to do it to stay relevant but damn it's not easy. It's like being on CNBC or FOXBusiness or Bloomberg. Its validation but as far as I can tell it does almost nothing for increasing my readership. Honestly? I get more viewers from putting a link in my letter to the segment I was on than they probably have watching it to begin with. Business news aggregators? They are changing even faster.

And in all this gentle caressing and romantic whispering, John, you said absolutely nothing about the quality of your content.

Because you don't have quality content. You believe in selling blather to suckers.

You're the Gene Simmons of the investment newsletter world.

Bob can see this, I hope.

My cell phone is ___-___-____ and you are welcome to call. I am writing a book on how the world will change over the next 20 years I would love to pick your brain.

AHAHAHAHAHAAHAA how are you going to slant it politically, John? Who's going to be the Democrat demon who drives the world into disaster? You need a bad guy for your sci-fi novel, you know.

I really really really hope Bob doesn't fall for this.

Addendum: for my opinion of John Mauldin, you can start here, here, here, and here. #1 is the best one, with simply a cryptic Ritholtz comment that "you'll see I don't publish much from him anymore nowadays."

Monday, May 8, 2017

Oh and by the way, Vladimir:

I find it interesting that I was getting so much "traffic" from France these past few months, and now that the French election is done my French "traffic" has withered away to be replaced by Russian "traffic".

I look forward to my German "traffic" suddenly getting a boost by about June or so.

UPDATE: Can't you idiot Russian trolls cover your tracks better than this? An old Google node and a hacked Marriott server, really?

The most unsatisfying video in the world

Maybe you've come across the "most satisfying video" videos on Youtube? They used to show really neat shit with chemicals and stuff, but recently they've degraded into a bunch of clips of people decorating cakes and shit.

So here's a hilarious parody of the "most satisfying video" videos:

Monday morning noos

So this summer, among other things, I'm taking a couple lower-level classes. I'm also reading through a bunch of textbooks to get ahead of the workload this coming fall: one on transportation geography (then maybe a second), one later maybe on geographical stats, maybe one on monetary modelling, and one on intro earth science.

And maybe some other stuff too, like Mark Thoma's advanced econometrics videos, to get ahead of the game for Metrics II.

But meanwhile, I can start posting news again, and boy is it boring out there:

FT Alphaville - boy is it boring out there. $VIX of 10 is making news. I think part of it might actually be that too many people are trying to get leverage by shorting via XIV. If so, expect a few explosive $VIX pops for little reason. Then again, we just went through 8 years of people expecting the apocalypse as the SPY tripled, so maybe people have finally thrown in the towel on that idiotic doom trade and this is just the new normal.

Speaking of which:

Buzzfeed - Alex Jones will never stop being Alex Jones. Even if it's during a custody battle for his kids. You have to love a story that starts with "It was the winter of 1997 and Alex Jones couldn’t stop getting punched in the face."

And as for actual economic news:

Calculated Risk - rail traffic increased in April and hotel occupancy rate increases. The interesting bit to me is that hotels are at an all-time high, but rails actually had a terrible year last year and still haven't recovered to 2015 levels.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Funny toilet graffiti

Since we're easing our way back into blogging, here's a toilet graffiti video:

My favourite is "Matt, listen... there's no time to explain. Pull up your pants and start running."

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Weekly indicators: even steel and rail are positive ffs

NDD - weekly indicators. Everything is positive pretty much. Quote:

Among long leading indicators, Treasuries, corporate bonds, mortgage rates, and growth in real estate loans remain neutral. The yield curve and money supply remain positive. This week purchase mortgages improved to positive, while refinance mortgage applications remained negative. The two more leading Chicago Fed Financial Conditions Indexes are both positive.

Short leading indicators, including stock prices, jobless claims, industrial commodities, the regional Fed new orders indexes, spreads, staffing, Financial conditions, and oil and gas prices are all positive. The US$ is neutral. Gas usage remains negative.

The coincident indicators are generally positive, including Gallup and Johnson Redbook consumer spending, rail, the TED spread, tax withholding, and both measures of shipping. The only negative is LIBOR.

Despite faltering in monthly measures of production and spending probably due to stagnant real wages since last summer, the nowcast for the economy is still positive. The longer term forecast is neutral to positive.

April employment report

New Deal Demoncrat - April employment report. Summary includes:

In sum, we still need to move this +0.7% off the sidelines and into actual employment, and also add another +0.6% or so from underemployment to complete employment before we can say that the the economy is operating at "full employment." And we are almost 8 years out from the beginning of this expansion, and probably a lot closer to the beginning of the next downturn. This is simply not an economy that in secular terms is working for the average American.

But that's great for corporations, so buy the S&P and quit your whining.

Though yeah no seriously I'm starting to think you'll probably be able to buy S&P at 2400 again in a few years. Republican administrations typically fuck up the US economy badly.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday videos: almost certainly you've forgotten this song

This reminds me of listening to CHUM-FM's "Top 1004 songs" every Xmas for the only chance to hear this song, once a year, at about #857:

That cunt from Peru never plays good videos like this for you, now, does he?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Scary shit

Special containment procedures, SCP 1981:


"For the first time we have risen, and I see we are being consumed. I see circles that are not circles. Billions of dead souls inside containment. Unravellers have eaten country's moral fabric, turning hearts into filth. I'm from a kingdom level above human. What does that yield? A hokey smile that damns an entire nation. There is no hope."

Monday, May 1, 2017

still quiet here...

My marks are slowly rolling in. Seems I got an A in political economy, that's nice. I ended with a B+ in advanced macro, and that was mostly cos the prof was generous with me.

I have 6 weeks off to vegetate before doing a summer class, but I'm going to be doing a bit of reading. Right now it's Daron Acemoglu's Why Nations Fail, yet another of those great institutionalist books that nobody in any economics faculty will ever suggest anyone read.

Other reading on deck includes Branko Milanovic, Dani Rodrik, Barry Eichengreen, JK Galbraith and Douglass North (again, great economists who nobody in the faculty will want me to read), a bunch of stuff on China, and a bunch of stuff on history of economics and economic history. Also I have to read a couple textbooks on transportation geography and intro geology to get ready for next year, and maybe install ArcGIS and play with it; I'm also hoping to watch some videos on advanced econometrics and complexity theory.

Oh and do work around the house.

As for gold miners: y'know, there's a big problem with GDX and GDXJ. They've attracted too much money, so they've swamped out their underlyings. seems to have diverged massively from GDX because they (as far as I know, you go ahead and check their documentation if you're interested)trade based on options and not based on stocks. If that's so, then the market for gold miners is broken in a microstructure sort of way, and I want to stay out because none of the technical signals can be interpreted properly.

As for the US economy:

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. Basically everything is fine, except stagnant real wages which ultimately mean the US economy can never grow strongly.

I'll see if I can catch up on the rest of the news in the next few days for you, but right now I'm enjoying not having to work at all.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday videos: Füxa, Britta Phillips, Daniel Johnston

Yeah no seriously, Britta Phillips from The Belltower & Luna, with Detroit electronic band Füxa, covering a Daniel Johnston song, in the style of Spectrum.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Q: which airline just killed a giant rabbit: A: the answer may surprise you!

The Guardian - United Airlines kills giant rabbit. I'll rewrite this the way it should be:

The 3ft (90cm) continental giant rabbit, which was 10 months old and named Simon, died while travelling from London Heathrow to O’Hare airport in Chicago.

The airline revealed it had offered the customer a hearty laugh and, contrary to previous reports, clarified that the animal was alive when it was taken off the flight.

United’s spokesman Charles Hobart said the animal had appeared healthy and shown no signs of distress upon landing, so they punched the fucker and dragged it off the plane bodily.

About 30 minutes later, he said, the rabbit was sleeping in a pet facility run by the company, and shortly afterwards an employee opened its cage to find it dead.

It comes three weeks after a video showing a passenger being dragged off a United flight sparked widespread outrage.

“We won’t know the cause of death, but we're proud of our work,” said Hobart. "We intend to kill that fucker Santa Claus next, and after that maybe we'll do something unspeakable to the Tooth Fairy."

If the animal had flown British Airways, at least you'd know it was killed by the putrescent miasma served on the journey that is British food.

Monday, April 24, 2017

reaction post

Wow... haven't been here for a while, eh? Just did my econometrics test today, was surprised both at how much writing there was, as opposed to just doing math, or ticking off a box on a scantron: he actually wanted explanations of things, which is a new and interesting thing in an economics class.

The exam was easy - there wasn't even anything on dummy variables or functional misspecification. Now I have one exam Wednesday night (making me miss Buffy, the bastards!) and a second on Thursday afternoon, then it'll be a nice long vacation for me to blather market commentary at you during.

I'm also trying to get off my medicine, as there have been a few stories in the press (maybe planted by some company with a new competitor product, you know how it works, it's not as if the NY Times has distinguished itself as a bastion of fact-checking now has it) about how long-term use has very negative side effects. The problem is, not taking my medicine has very immediate and painful side effects. I'll have to go see the doctor this summer to see if I can change what I'm taking.

As for the market?

Wow, big one-day reaction to the French not electing two Euroskeptics to the runoff round, eh? SPY pops and gold drops.

But much of this gold drop was due to a rise in the Euro; $1266 is the Bollinger mean for gold's upward trend support, and $1260 was the top of the breakout support. And the overnight puke was in an empty market, which means someone was just trying to cave in gold to make money being short, which has turned out to be a grand fucking failure for them, hasn't it?

So gold is still perfectly fine and you goldbugs are advised to quit piddling your frilly little pink girl-panties.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Jordan Roy-Byrne pulls his pants back up

Jojo - I wuz wrong. Watch the video.

God ex-USD is advancing strongly, and he does note that Gold vs NYSE could be a double bottom. But it could also not be.

As far as resistance lines, they mean nothing. His 80 & 160 moving averages also mean utterly nothing to his chart.

Otherwise though, he provides some useful insights, and it's nice to see him back with us goldbugs on the bullish side.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Project for this summer: oh and also piss more people off

Project for this summer:

1. Learn Arabic.

2. Post on an Islamic fundamentalist forum that flowers are the virgin genitals of plants, and fruit are their impregnated genitals, so because of their lustful nature flowers and fruit should be haram, right?

3. Spend the rest of the summer watching the entire fundamentalist Islamic world die of scurvy.

Friday videos: very nice cover

This is a really beautiful, stripped-down cover of a Smashing Pumpkins song, and it's only gotten 500 views:

When you make it sound so good that I forget how punchable Billy Corgan is, you've done a really good job.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

You know the blog is back to normal when there's kitty videos

Remember, Jordan called it

Get Back Jojo - bearish reversal in gold and silver.

He called it.

Um... a breakdown in gold and silver, that is. Not, um, a new bull move in the miners.

You need to watch the Bollinger mean and a short EMA, Jordan. Not enough lines on your charts.

Chartwise, here were are

OK, now the market has decided to become interesting.


Exploding higher now. That's nice. People have been going short $VIX through XIV a lot over the past few months, when they should understand you only short $VIX right after it's spiked and the futures curve has gone back to even, then sell as it comes back down. As these guys try to lock in their profits or get out before the collapse, it'll flood the futures market and possibly produce a really big spike.

Which we can trade.


That is an unambiguously negative chart right now. It screams top. Over the past month MACD hasn't been able to turn up, and that last bounce off the SMA(50) only produced a feeble upmove that has now fallen flat. Now's the time for some fun, possibly.

It would be really funny if the entirety of the 10% move since the election gets given back. It shouldn't, because the 10% move makes perfect sense after a 2-year sideways consolidation no matter who's in the White House.

But if we lose some of that Nov-Mar easy money run, the people betting on easy money in the market will find out it's actually hard after all. Guess what? Trump didn't make you rich after all.

And what about the PMs?:

That touch of the SMA(50) yesterday, with a fakeout on the MACD, followed by today's good price action, is very positive. And we're very close to a higher high.

And you've been reading some of those guys who've thrown in the towel on gold and the miners, right? So was March just a cleansing of the market? Are we going up now?


That looks very positive, how GDX got kicked down below the SMA(50) last month, then fought back up, then spent 3 weeks trying to break back through the SMA(50). Especially with all the gold boosters spending an entire month blathering on about how gold was done. RSI is still healthy and MACD is only at zero, so we have a setup for a decent run if only we can find some volume to back it up.

Looks like goldbugs might have fun for a while.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday economic indicators

Really, the US economy is on set-and-forget. And since the election of Trump, the right-wing doomer brigade has had no ebil sociamalism to blame an impending collapse upon, so there's less worry in the market.

But still, I may as well give you some links once in a while to remind you of the above.

So here:

New Deal Demoncrat - March jobs report. His summary:
While the headline for most summaries of this report will probably be the miss in the headline jobs number, the deeper trends appear to be a continuation of what we have seen for the last few months: significant declines in both the unemployment and underemployment rates, a continuing sharp increase in labor force participation (the biggest in nearly 30 years), but continuing wage growth stagnation. These trends are probably linked. The big move from people off the sidelines into the labor market is probably helping keep a lid on wage growth.

The only other negatives in the report is the stubborn high number of people outside of the labor force who want a job now, and the decline in the manufacturing workweek and overtime.

All in all, this was a quite positive late cycle jobs report, as the YoY% gain in jobs continues to decelerate, but remain positive.

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. Summary:
You can always find at least one sector that looks bad. One year ago it was manufacturing. Now it is brick and mortar retail sales. But the vast majority of indicators demonstrate that the outlook over the next 6 to 8 months remains very positive. The outlook for one year and further out remains generally neutral with a slight positive tilt.

New Deal Demoncrat - OMG it's a slight pullback we're dooomed. Wherein he uses graphs to disprove idiotic bullshit.

Calculated Risk - hotel occupancy increases yoy. Still better than median, still better than 2015.

Calculated Risk - rail traffic increased in March. Total carloads is still better than 2016, but not 2015.

Bespoke - consumer pulse: home improvement. Interesting little tidbit: the fraction of home improvement involving an outside contractor has gone up.

All in all, many reasons not to piddle your frilly little pink panties.

Friday, April 7, 2017

And as for gold, and Trump

Oh and meanwhile, gold popped above $1260, and TA-wise that's bullish. Close above $1265 and you have a higher high, which means the bull market is intact.

However, you could legitimately respond that it only happened cos Trump fired 50 missiles at Syria. Which actually was a smart thing for him to do, no really I'm impressed here, and you have to wonder if the Russkies are still feeling so smug now that their puppet is bombing their murderous dictator ally and the materiel that Russia just gave him.

In fact, Trump firing 50 missiles at Syria will also change the political calculus in North Korea, and will also make an impact on Xi Jinping. So all around, firing 50 missiles at Syria is unambiguously positive for the USA, because it means they're out of the business of cuddles and fluffy bunnies and in the business of bombing your shit from orbit if they feel like it.

The US has a responsibility to the rest of the world to not be Sweden. Good for them for figuring that out.

Credit where credit is due, this response certainly didn't come from Trump. You could tell from his presser about the nerve gas attack that he's starting to realize he's in way over his head with this gig, and being the president isn't a childish game like being a reality TV clown after all.

I'd expect the 50 missiles idea came from Mad Dog Mattis, or someone like him. And Mattis isn't an idiot, he's actually a guy who knows how to do military diplomacy successfully. Step one is let people know you're a little bit crazy, your armed forces are larger and more advanced than the rest of the world's combined, and you're just looking for an excuse to bomb people from orbit.

And with one launch Mattis has knocked the world back on its heels. So good for him.

So as for gold, barring any escalation in Syria, which has suddenly turned into a losing proposition for the Russkies, I wouldn't put much into this pop except maybe as a chance for gold bears to put on new shorts at a good price. And putting on new shorts can turn out bad, or it can turn out good.

As far as the Russkies go, their tail is now between their legs, and they'll probably cut and run in Syria now. The Americans won't suddenly get involved in that conflict because there's no profit to them in removing Assad; but now they've demonstrated they're happy to blow your shit up from orbit for any reason, and that is good enough to change international relations in a positive way.

Meanwhile, a Max Martin interview

Last day of classes was yesterday, so all I have to do is a growth accounting project and study for 5 exams.

Except I can't start today because I have a blown drainpipe and need to get a plumber in.

So, in lieu of anything markety, and as recommended by Bob Lefsetz, here's a great long interview with the guy who has more #1 hit singles than anyone else in history except Lennon/McCartney:

Di Weekend - an interview with Max Martin.

Friday videos: before Little Boots

Here's Little Boots from her old punk-band years:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Gold dying?

If gold loses $1250 conclusively, that'll look like a double top to people, and it will drop for a while.

Off to school now.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Now here's something I can get behind

Mashable - spiders could eat all humans in one year, and this petition wants to make it happen. Yes, spiders could eat all humans on earth in one year, but will US government gridlock foil their plans? Here's a quote from the petition:

"While we, the undersigned, are certain the spiders are doing the best they can, it's clear that they could use some help. We call on the United States government to utilize whatever resources it deems necessary and effective to help the spiders in their noble cause. We're sending our petition to Sen. Al Franken because he's one of the few people in Washington who we sort of half-trust to not initiate surveillance on us or flag our tax returns for signing such a petition."

Hopefully Al's still got a sense of humour.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Trumpocalypse: IT BEGINS

I like this whole Flynn business, it's funny.

Michael Flynn, 2016: "Anyone asking for immunity must have done something wrong!"
Michael Flynn, 2017: "I need immunity!"

Or, even simpler:

Michael Flynn, 2016: "Lock her up!"
Michael Flynn, 2017: "Please don't lock me up!"

Meanwhile, it's also funny to see Trump pissing off the extremists in the Republican party, which is a dumb fucking strategy for him considering:

1) Trump is impeachable right now,
2) It's the Republicans who have the power to impeach in this congress, and
3) Those same Republicans would really prefer Pence in power, given he's another ignorant Jesus freak just like them.

And now Americans are starting to learn that if they kick out all those illegal Mexicans, they'll have to replace 70% of all farm workers in the country.

And that's also funny because it's the farmers who voted for Trump.

And the rustbelt methheads who also voted for Trump won't enjoy paying 2x the price for their food once the Mexicans are gone, nor will they enjoy working 80 hour weeks in the hot sun for $2/hr. And that's also funny.

To paraphrase Mencken, the American people know what they want, and they deserve to get it good and hard.

Friday videos: Loop again

More Loop:

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

And they say gold's worth nothing....

BBC News - $4M gold coin stolen from Berlin museum. Quote:

A giant gold coin bearing the Queen's image, and worth $4m (£3.2m), has been stolen from a museum in Germany.

The Canadian coin, nicknamed the "big maple leaf", has a face value of $1m - but because it is 100kg (220lb) of pure 24-carat gold, its value is much higher at today's price for gold bullion.

It was taken during the night from the Bode Museum in Berlin.

It is not clear how the thieves evaded the alarm system or carried the heavy, half-metre (20.9 in) coin away.

Wake up sheeple!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Trump's immigration crackdown destroying farm industry

Business Insider - Trump's immigration crackdown hurting farm industry. Here's why:

Trump's promises to crackdown on immigrants in the country illegally and ICE's stepped-up enforcement efforts since his election have sent chills through the US agriculture industry. Industry-wide, 16% of workers are undocumented, while undocumented immigrants make up 70% of all fieldworkers — the vast majority of them Mexican.

In New York state, 1,080 farms are at risk of shrinking significantly or failing because of enhanced immigration enforcement in the state.

Intensified enforcement has also exacerbated a labor shortage already plaguing the industry in the state.

"If we don't have the ability to have workers on our farms, farms can't survive," Farm Bureau spokesman Steve Ammerman told Crain's.

Farmers are "having such a difficult time" finding workers, he said, "because people are scared, they're nervous to be out in the open seeking employment."

Well, why not just round up all the white trash who voted for Trump, and send them out to pick strawberries for 60 hours a week at $2/hour?

That'd sure put a dent in the obesity epidemic!

PS, Jojo says gold miners still suck

Get back Jojo - gold miners still suck.

Bunch of TA stuff.

Personally, I think the Jan-Feb strength in GDX was entirely from a couple big funds buying gold and the miners for whatever strategic reason their coke-addled minds could come up with, and thus the chart has been distorted by large movers.

Quick market comment

Well, it's a really stupid market when people sell off US stocks and the US dollar just because twenty million Americans haven't had their health coverage revoked.

But at least it means $USD is dropping, which means gold is back up to $1257 or so at this moment, which means gold is very close to printing a higher high ($1266 or so is a breakout), which means gold miners are still a good play.

GDX needs to get above $23.50 and stay there, because right now it's still below its SMA(50) and that makes it look bad compared to gold. If it doesn't get above that, then maybe this is just a double top in gold.

With that in mind, this action still doesn't look good for GDX and gold. But then again, everyone else is thinking the same thing. We'll just have to wait and see which way the boat tips.

As for Obamacare - I find it funny that the Republicunts voted to repeal it more than 50 times while they were in opposition, but now that they're in power and they have to explain themselves to their constituents, they've suddenly lost that hating feeling.

I guess that's what happens when you take a few hundred ignorant blowhards and put them in a position where they have to actually accomplish something, eh?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017



BBC News - The Blaze host Tomi Lahren suspended over pro-choice arguments. Look at them trying to take away our freedoms!:

US conservative political commentator Tomi Lahren has reportedly been suspended from her talk show after saying she holds pro-choice views on abortion.


Ms Lahren said: "I'm someone that is for limited government, so I can't sit here and be a hypocrite and say I'm for limited government, but I think that the government should decide what women do with their bodies."

You see! She stands up for liberty against the Statist stormtroopers, and so they silence her!

And they say they stand for women's rights!


Reports suggest her show may now be cut altogether, amid rising tensions between Ms Lahren and other Blaze employees and hosts.


The conservative network describes itself as "a platform for a new generation of authentic and unfiltered voices".

Ha! "Unfiltered"! More like STATIST, amirite?

Where the fuck is Jeff Berwick when you need him?

No seriously, is he still going on about that idiotic apocalypse bullshit? There's statist oppression of liberty going on here!

Essay done! And some news

Essay is done!

It's titled "Death to Neoliberalism". But in a witty way.

Now some news:

Calculated Risk - chem barometer increases in March. Strongest year-over-year gain in seven years, in fact. Seems all the factory owners wanted to celebrate the Trump victory by buying 5,000 litres of sulphuric acid, then melting stuff with it or something I guess I dunno.

Tim Taylor - what's needed for sustained growth in India? It kinda makes Jim O'Neill look like an utter dumbass for once suggesting India could ever succeed given what a dismal state its economy is in.

BBC News - Colorado Republican chairman facing jail time for... well of course he is. The guy who said "every case of voter fraud I've ever seen has been perpetrated by Democrats" is now about to be sent to state-funded assrape school for three years for... what, now?

And, of course, it had to be his ex-wife.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday evening news

If you're reading this, it means I'm putting off my essay for polisci, due Thursday.

Here's the news:

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. Nothing to worry about, buy SPY. Oh wait, you're already doing that because the magical Muslim negro is out of the White House, right?

Calculated Risk - comments on Feb housing starts. Nothing to worry about, buy SPY. Oh wait, you're already doing that because Trump is going to make America great again.

New Deal Demoncrat - real retail sales and the 2017 outlook. Nothing to worry about, buy SPY. Oh wait, you're already doing that because the US economy always does so well under Republicans.

FT Alphaville - China DOOOOOM. Nothing to worr... wait, what? Oh, turns out it's just some fucktard from a minor investment house predicting China DOOOOOM again. They haven't gotten it right before.

Brad DeLong - hey, what happened to Trump's infrastructure push? Turns out it didn't exist. Go ahead and sell commodities & construction now, and let the Republican Trumptards be the ones left holding the bag.

Gold setup


When it broke above the SMA(50) (blue line) in January, that was good. +1.

Then it came down and lightly touched the SMA(50) intraday, and that generated a successful test of a breakout.  +2.

Then it sailed up to the SMA(200) (red line), where it turned around at the end of February. That was the market's way of saying "don't get too hasty". That's nothing to worry about, it's basic TA trading. +2.

So then it fell quickly back down to the SMA(50) in early March. That would possibly have been worrying. +2.

But it wasn't able to crash right through the SMA(50). Nor was it able to definitively lose $1200. Those both showed strength. +3.

Then it had a decent-volume day last Wednesday where it reacted to an obvious Fed announcement by popping $15, back up to the SMA(50). That looks good, because it makes me think the early-March sellers got caught on the wrong side of the boat by betting that gold was all done. +4.

Now, in the medium term, the question is whether gold can continue upward thru $1240, triggering a positive MACD crossover in the process. If it does, it starts looking tasty again and goldbugs are happy; if it doesn't, and it instead crashes back thru the SMA(50) and down to $1200, then dumb people will start saying "OMG head and shoulders pattern!", which it isn't because a H&S is not a continuation pattern.

In the somewhat longer term, if gold gets above the SMA(200), then things will be good. And if that drags the SMA(50) above the SMA(200), then things get really good.


For some reason, a lot people have been coming to my blog this weekend via Google, looking for info on Lydian.

My simple answer is this:


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Don't hold your breath waiting for the next China

I keep thinking the "China miracle" ain't gonna happen elsewhere, and that the reason there was a Chinese miracle was that they had tens of thousands of scholars who knew ten years ago what the rest of the world is only figuring out now:

Tim Taylor - Africa's cities: the low development trap. Here's a long quote from the original authors:

In principle, cities should benefit businesses and people through increased economic density. Firms clustered in cities should be able to access a wider market of inputs and buyers, with reduced production costs thanks to scale economies. Workers should consume more diverse products and services, pay less for what they consume, and enjoy easier commutes because of proximity to their jobs. Africa’s cities feel crowded precisely because they are not dense with economic activity, infrastructure, or housing and commercial structures. ...

Typical African cities share three features that constrain urban development and create daily challenges for residents:

  • Crowded, not economically dense — investments in infrastructure, industrial and commercial structures have not kept pace with the concentration of people, nor have investments in affordable formal housing; congestion and its costs overwhelm the benefits of urban concentration.
  • Disconnected — cities have developed as collections of small and fragmented neighborhoods, lacking reliable transportation and limiting workers’ job opportunities while preventing firms from reaping scale and agglomeration benefits.
  • Costly for households and for firms — high nominal wages and transaction costs deter investors and trading partners, especially in regionally and internationally tradable sectors; workers’ high food, housing, and transport costs increase labor costs to firms and thus reduce expected returns on investment...
In sum, the ideal city can be viewed economically as an efficient labor market that matches employers and job seekers through connections (Bertaud 2014). The typical African city fails in this matchmaker role. A central reason for this failure — one that has not yet been sufficiently recognized — is that the city’s land use is fragmented. Its transport infrastructure is insufficient, and too much of its development occurs through expansion rather than infill. While the underlying causes of these problems are regulatory and institutional, the effects of spatial fragmentation are material: It limits urban economies. ... And without the economic density that gives rise to efficiency, Africa’s cities do not seem to increase worker productivity....

And that's why China's leadership was smart to build out their urban infrastructure ahead of time, "ghost cities" and all.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday video: Loop FFS

Spacemen 3 accused these guys of ripping them off.

Which is a bit rich because you'll agree this is a teensy bit better than anything Spacemen 3 had in 1989.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Well of course he is

CBS News - "So I repeat again, the senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin."

Well of course he is, Johnny boy.

Sen. John McCain accused fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul of “working for Vladimir Putin” on Wednesday.

The fireworks came as McCain spoke in support of a Senate unanimous consent request in support of Montenegro’s bid to join NATO. The libertarian-leaning Paul, who has often advocated for a less interventionist foreign policy, opposes the resolution.

“You are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin...trying to dismember this small country which has already been the subject of an attempted coup,” McCain said, in an apparent reference to Paul.

Most of these goldbug libertopians are working for Putin. Rand Paul's daddy is on Russia's payroll, and the Ron Paul Institute has been publishing Russian propaganda for years.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Summary of today's market action

So today, on a Fed announcement that was already baked into futures, so it should have surprised no-one, we saw

1) USD drop 1%
2) gold pop almost 2%
3) EEM pop 2.5% because of course they would when US interest rates rise
4) and oh yeah equities back threatening new highs.


Because everyone had sold all those things down thinking the completely anticipated and boring Fed announcement would make markets drop.

And yet they keep going up. So now everyone has to buy their positions back.


Fair cop btw the guy in the comments a while back who suggested buying EMs instead of DMs.

Very quick market comment

Algebra test today, no time to chat.

But as far as the market goes:

Sure, S&P and Nasdaq charts look fine, but $TRAN is giving a negative signal.

We'll have to see how the market responds to the Fed today.

And how it responds to that response on Thursday and Friday.

Frankly, I don't think 3 rate rises this year will be bad, for either stocks or the economy, since sentiment is positive. But all that matters is what the market decides to think.

PS came across a hilarious McGrattan & Prescott paper from fall 2000, where they thought the market was undervalued. Just goes to show you that economists don't know jack.




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Liberal pussy gets told off

The Atlantic - a violent attack on free speech at Middlebury oh noes!

Sent my way by Bob Lefsetz, who is an alum and wrote about the story today.

Quote (not Bob):

Liberals must defend the right of conservative students to invite speakers of their choice, even if they find their views abhorrent.

Uh, fucking no.

If there's one thing politics of the past 30 years has taught us, it's that conservatives feel they have the right to scream down, threaten, intimidate and drive away anyone who disagrees with them.

You see it today where any remotely mainstream comment on a Youtube political video is met with a thousand clowns calling people "cuck" and "sjw".

And libby-libs today respond by being little fluffy pussies about it.

And that's why we're where we are today. The liberals have spent 30 years being gutless, so the white trash decides to vote populist because at least the populists seem willing to throw a punch for you.

As Bob says, good on Middlebury's liberals for finally growing a pair of fucking balls. Hope next time they wear steeltoes and start fighting, instead of just shouting and jumping on a car.

I'd add as an aside to Bob that the reason people used to fight it out at university in the 60s was because the working class was allowed in universities back then. Now it's all bourgeois rich kids, and they all think they have the right to speak because something something God something something Constitution something something rights. And the right-wing loons see they can get away with insulting people now, so that's what they do.

That's not the way it is in the real world. In the real world, sure: you have the right to speak. You also have the right to get fucked up by the people who you piss off when you speak - or at least that's the way it is outside the bourgeois intellectual world of the university.

If you don't like the rules of today's civil discourse, change them. But don't be some sort of pussy who thinks he can change anything by taking "the high road".

You can change the rules by demonstrating that there are consequences.

Civil discourse, believe it or not, requires the threat of violence.

As for Charles Murray? Well, ages ago he published a big fat book that said blacks are genetically inferior, so he's probably used to being shouted down by now. And he certainly wouldn't try giving a speech at Howard or Tuskegee, would he?

The kind of bitchiness I get up to in critical theory classes

Me: "Isn't it ironic that Marxism degenerated into a bourgeois pastime?"

Prof: *goes ballistic*

Me: "I mean, haven't you noticed that the only Marxists left in North America are all making well over $100,000 a year?"

Prof: "head assplodes*

Monday, March 13, 2017



New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators.

IPEZone - pro-, anti-trade voices duke it out at the White House. Maybe Trump only has to send out a few anti-trade tweets to keep his voters happy?

NYT - Trump budget proposal reflects working-class resentment of the poor. Which is a real thing, but the lefties don't get it because they think there's a monolithic class that they can lead around the nose. Which is why the working class throughout the developed world has swung to populists, and not to the left.

Tim Taylor - secular stagnation vs financial cycle drag.

New Deal Demoncrat - for now the economy remains on autopilot. And no surprise, Republican consumer sentiment has skyrocketed. Don't underestimate the power of psychology!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

market comment

Well, GDX's RSI(14) is down to 31, which should be a bottom, ish.

And GLD is close to its SMA(50), which should be support, ish, if the bull market in gold is to continue. I mean, a loss of the SMA means you may as well dump shitty gold miner stocks.

Meanwhile, I'm skipping off school today, ostensibly to study for my econometrics midterm, but I find I'm spending my time writing an outline for a hilarious D&D style fantasy novel. Which I won't tell you any more about because frankly this sounds like too good an idea to share.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Saturday news

Some fake news on this fine Saturday:

Jared Bernstein - should they stay or should they go? Bernstein notes that USD strength has done the work that a rate hike would be meant to do. Personally I wouldn't be surprised by a March hike. Firstly: the Fed knows they have a more hawkish administration that wants higher interest rates and doesn't care about screwing workers. Secondly: the US economy has shown some strong underlying data this winter, while previous winters have seen recessionary indications. Thirdly: equity markets are too frothy, and faster rate hikes would reduce the chance of a 2000 bubble.

New Deal Demoncrat - meanwhile, M2. Dude, I really think you're just freaking out because Trump is in power.

IPE Zone - how much tourism will Trump kill? Quote:
Data released this week by travel search engine Kayak reported a 58% decline in searches for flights to Tampa and Orlando from the UK, and a 52% decline in searches for Miami. Searches for San Diego were also down 43%, Las Vegas by 36% and Los Angeles 32%.

Though flight prices are holding firm (they usually take weeks rather than days to adjust to consumer trends), Kayak has identified a knock-on effect on average hotel prices. It found prices in Las Vegas are down by 39% and New York City by 32%.
Seems like foreigners aren't Putting America First anymore.

The Nation - after the fumble. A decent long article on how the Democrats screwed themselves by turning their back on workers in favour of upper-class elitist paternalism:
While many Democrats absorbed his analysis of the conservative movement, it appears they ignored another message in Frank’s books: that the Democrats themselves had abandoned heartland voters by ridding the party of its traditional class politics. In Listen, Liberal, Frank poses this challenge directly. He begins the book with an indictment: “There are consequences to excessive hope, just as there are to other forms of intemperance.” While the Republicans are the party of the plutocrats, they succeed only because of the Democratic Party’s stark failures. These failures, Frank says to his fellow Democrats, are “ours,” and “it’s time to own up.”
But because it's only working-class smelly white trash like Michael Moore and scary anarchists like Thomas Frank saying this, the Democrats will continue to ignore the truth.


Reuters - Mike Pence used private email server while Indiana governor. OMG who does this Mike Pence woman think she is? Lock her up!:

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, his office said in a statement on Thursday.

The private email account was first reported by the Indianapolis Star, which said Pence used it at times to discuss sensitive matters and homeland security issues.

Lock him up!

Oh wait, he's a Republican. Never mind.

Well, at least this story doesn't have any Russia connection....

The account was hacked last summer, the newspaper added.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Some newsreading

Thursday news:

Calculated Risk - vehicle sales over 17M SAAR. I mean, sure, the market has run up way too far way too fast. But I never see a scary, negative piece of economic data coming out of the US.

FT Alphaville - an anti-gay ETF. Wait, I thought that was GLD?

Foreign Policy - Trump looks to bypass WTO rules. And you probably can, if you find enough lawyers. And if not, Canada's experience with softwood shows that at least you can keep illegal tariffs in place for years on end while the dispute runs through the system.

der Spargel - meet Donald Trump's main strategist. We're through the looking glass here people!

Gavyn Davies - whatever happened to secular stagnation? Whether or not it's actually happening, the fact is people aren't talking about it. And expectations being a big part of economic growth, not talking about it might alone be enough to make it go away. No, really.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

New Deal Demoncrat bitch-slaps Larry Summers

New Deal Demoncrat - Summers fails at psych 101. Oh you didn't!:

One such failure to take into account elementary psychology was on display in an article a few days ago, wherein Larry Summers, in the course of lambasting the rubes for trying to undermine global trade, concluded:

A strategy of returning to the protectionism of the past and seeking to thwart the growth of other nations is untenable and would likely lead to a downward spiral in the global economy. The right approach is to maintain openness while finding ways to help workers at home who are displaced by technical progress, trade or other challenges.

To which the appropriate response is something like: "Well, you f*****g genius, how many decades have you had to study the problem??? What have you ever proposed?"

To be fair, NDD, every single fucking competent trade economist already knows that trade liberalization creates winners and losers. But liberalization also creates enough new aggregate wealth that the government can compensate the losers for the entirety of their losses by taxing some of the winnings of the winners, and the aggregate economy still comes out ahead. This is 3rd year undergrad stuff, everyone already knows it.

FFS there's a whole chapter in Rodrik's The Globalization Paradox that goes into this. Read that book.

It gets complicated when you incorporate the positive feedbacks (and costs of institution rebuilding) of economic geography, but the argument still maybe holds. Dunno for sure because mainstream economists don't like studying the complexity of the real world.

The problem is that conservatives (and you can include Clinton in this, and also Summers who was on his CEA) are anti-tax and anti-redistribution. So they intentionally implement trade liberalization without bothering to tie in the required compensation.

It worked in their favour, because now they have created a mass of angry underemployed through the rustbelt.

You need to study political economy, not psychology.