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Tacoma’s Kiss of Death? December 24, 2007

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Russell Company considering relocating Tacoma, WA headquarters. 

Article here.

 “The chance that Tacoma could lose Russell has triggered a civic commotion best described as both scramble and strategy with one goal: Keep Russell in Tacoma.”

I should hope so.  My question: what the eff are those JO’s on the council and the EDC AND the City Manager doing?  This is what happens when you get a bunch of fat, 0ld, rich dudes entrenched in political ex machina whom are either complacent or, worse, actively opposing development for the sake of some romanticized bull-shit about “the way the city should be preserved”. 

Whatever the case, they dropped the ball and it is going to result in nuclear fallout to Downtown Tacoma IF Russell leaves.  Which I happen to think is likely for one simple fact: Tacoma drastically lags behind Seattle in vibrancy.  Perhaps if the founders were still at the helm, Tacoma might have a chance, but their not and it doesn’t.  But fear not Tacomans (??), your council was quick to recently cut a $180,000 check to an out of state consulting firm to analyze this problem.  Not only did they drop the ball, but now they’re dropping 200G’s on a study?  Good work guys.  Everybody wave good-bye to 1,100(!!!) local, high-paying jobs (est. $70mm in wages and income to Tacoma and those employees) and wave hello to a glut of empty office space that local brokers estimate will take 5+ years to clear.  Wow.

“Further, building heights downtown, now limited to 400 feet, might have to go higher to accommodate Russell’s growth, Baarsma said.”

Tacoma development groups have been blowing all this hot air about economic redevelopment for years yet there is still a 400 feet building height limit?  Heads need to roll.  Tacoma has so much potential that it actually pains me to see this kind of news.  You’d think someone would have learned from history (Weyerhaeuser relocated from Tacoma in the 70’s).  I guess its too much to ask for politicians to get off their ass to work on meaningful things that are critically important.

In the short term, Tacoma’s growth hopes are f*cked without Russell.  Perhaps the long term.  Easily avoidable tragedies are the hardest to watch.



The House of Cards that American Financial Habits Built December 23, 2007

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This is why I am cautiously, and increasingly, bearish.  I just  don’t think that this kind of stuff (along with everything else see “Market, Trades & Watches 12/18/07”) can be ignored forever– there HAS to be a correction.  Doesn’t there???  I don’t want to be a downer-bear, but more stories like this and I’ll soon be shitting in the woods.

Part of me thinks that this house of cards HAS to come down and will come down soon.  But another part of me says, who cares–don’t worry about trying to catch it before it happens; just party till the keg runs out and be ready to change direction as soon as the proverbial-shit hits ze fan.  This second strategy would be fine if I could avoid, potentially catastrophic, losses if I were in substantial positions when the market takes a hard look at the data and realizes “Uhh…Houston, (*psscchhh*)we have a problem.”

 I don’t want to see people lose money or the economy slip into a negative state but I think the longer data/behavior like this is ignored, the greater the damage is going to be.  I don’t really care which way the market is moving as long as I feel comfortable in taking an educated guess.  Anywho, just thought that was a cheery story for the holidays.

You mean you have to pay back credit card balances?

Hmmm December 21, 2007

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Poll from CNBC here.  When I cast my vote, there were around 1800 votes and I’m trying to figure out what to take from the survey results and how much weight to give it.

One way to look at it is that 80 out of 100 voters see flat or “surprising” gain.  The other way to look at it is that 58% see flat or negative for the YEAR–meaning a loss of at least 7% to drop into negative for the year.  By the numbers, bulls win.  Buttttt, how much weight should be given to the results? 

On one hand, the poll is a blunt instrument and who knows what Springer-fans pried themselves away from the tube to cast a vote.  On the other, 1800 people could be a roughly accurate representation; there has to be some value in a sample size of 1800 CNBC readers.

 Two things I can take away.  First, a flat/lame duck market seems to be on the market’s mind.  Second, these last few trading days of ’07 will likely have a large impact on market psyche and how ’08 kicks off.  Fourthly, I need to go to bed.

Personally, I’m short Christmas.  Bah-humbug!

Used without the expressed written consent of the NFL

(Update: 10:30 am Friday, 2400 votes counted now with the exact same distribution.  Hmmm???)

Weird Search Traffic of the Day: 12/20/07 December 20, 2007

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I like trying to generate interesting traffic and sometimes tags produce bizarre results.  As a service to my tens of individual readers, I’ll try to find time to share some of the funny ones from time to time.  I’m really busy these days.  Really.

Term of the Day: Vincenzo Ricardo

Someone Googled “vicenzo ricardo” and my site popped up.  Awesome. I’m a targeted traffic-generation god.  Or not. But wait a tick???  Who, might you ask, is Vincenzo Ricardo?  The answer eluded me until I googled it myself.

The results suggest, as if it wasn’t permanently acid-etched in stone already, that I am headed straight to hell.  To learn about exactly who Ol’ Vinny is I kindly refer you to one of my old posts titled “Blind People Watch TV?” on the “Oldies but Goodies” tab at the top of my home page.  I know what can save me from hell…a funny picture!

The timeless question, WWJD?, answered. Finally!

Sonnuva beeeep! December 20, 2007

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Forgot that Google was waiting for approval on the Double-Click buyout.  Good one dude.  I’m still bearish GOOG as long as the MACD and the STO don’t roll over on me, but that could change real quick.  This is what happens when you bet against Google.  Never doubt Google.  Never.

Due ONLY to the fact that I’m short, I hope that EU blocks the deal over there.  Objectively, I would probably tend to side with the lone dissenting FTC regulator that saw the negative potential of this merger.   But considering that FTC approval is B.S. anyways, I’d love to see Google buy out whoever they want.  Duhhh they’re a pretty cool company duhhhh.  I hope the founders of aQuantitative remember to send Larry and Sergey a fruit basket over the holidays;  maybe something from Hickory Farms or Harry and David.  Anywho,I love to see MSFT write checks with 9-zeroes; stickin it to the man…kind of.

(Update: Just looked at trading data for Goog today.  WEAK ASS VOLUME– not even 40% of avg.  “Bam! There it is!” (name the movie).  Time decay still knows who it works for…for now anyways.  I’d use today as a buying op but I’m only cautiously bearish and thus will exercise my iron will and abstain from more profits.)

Everyone loves a Beef Stick Holiday Extravaganza!

Cool venture: West Chester, PA December 19, 2007

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Article here.  Bam Margera, of Jackass and Viva La Bam fame, is moving into commercial real estate development.  At least the ownership side anyways.  I dig the concept and I appreciate community pride and investment.  A venue with flexible show options (music, stand-up, theater) is a great way to increases the chance of turning a profit; let alone it’d be cool to have your own venue.  Not too far from NY, I’m sure Bam can talk the right people into making a short detour. 

No doubt, Bam is a crazy sonnuva gun, but he managed to leverage and develop his image into a successful career in a tough business; only Knoxville and Bam built upon their early success into something sustainable (if there is such a thing in Entertainment).  I dig success stories.  Also, Bam, via Viva La Bam, introduced me to a band that I like HIM.


Market, Trades & Watches 12/18/07 December 19, 2007

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Long-term Market Outlook: Uncertain–lame duck to bearish???; looking at 5-yr MA for $INDU (weekly time frame), flat and flirting with the edge?  $NDX (same view/time frame) still positive slope; so…uncertain/ lame to bearish???

Short-term MO: I think all the negative pressures are starting to concentrate (inflation, recession?, housing, SubPrime, credit crunch, ridiculous P/E ratios…).  I think the little rebound we saw today across the indexes and stocks that got hammered yesterday is either half-assed optimism over Euro Central Banks‘ multi-billion cash injection or maybe just a slow down to yesterday’s free fall.  GS had earnings “surprise” and lost 3.5%???  Maybe the dak cloud hanging over the announcement; “horrible November”!  How about a little spin-control buddy?  Less-than desireable month or decrease in normal performance but horrible?  Come on man, help meeee help youuu.  If the smartest guys on the Street are struggling, I’m scared…or maybe just cautiously bearish.  

Bear Calls (vertical spread) on GOOG; underlying @ ~674.00. Looked like a good credit spread play, ~5% adverse movement cushion.  Time decay is my bitch.

Short EDU; underlying @ ~77.00. $SCHOOL is, as Paris would say, hot (98 on the Big Chart).  But its overpriced (EDU P/E=66) and I’m cautiously bearish near-term.  Technicals: bear MACD, bear STO, bull on the MA today but I think its a fake out pumped by todays news and that fact that despite overwhelming data– the market jumps at any bullish news like a begging dog lunging for a Scooby Snack.

Watches: Was thinking of short AAPL below 180, but I think the holiday numbers could redraw computer/DMP battle lines.  Drastically.  MSFT’s Vader-like chokehold is fading faster and faster. AAPL  P/E is inflated either way but I don’t want to bet against the star player going into OT.  FCX got rocked into a short-signal yesterday, but I don’t know if its best to short a Mining company with gold at 800/oz. 

Next, PALM.  Haven’t analyzed the stock yet, but saw the headline and the picture of the new TREO; if that’s their answer to iPhone and Blackberry, they should change the name of the company to Rosie Palms to more accurately reflect what they’ve been doing over there. 

Lastly, Solar.  Irrational bulls have high-jacked the bus.  Jump on or bet on 27-car pile up?  I know it could be “the” future of energy, but 170+ P/E ratios.  How about a little restraint before we put up the farm?  Ben Graham calls from the grave.

Overall: Uncertain, but saw some technicals that gave me enough of a feel to try to make some money.  No one likes sitting on the bench.  I don’t think SubPrime/credit crunch can be fixed with band aids and cash injections but I’m no Dylan Rattigan…yet???  NBC contact my agent if you’re interested; I have some Glamour Shots ready to go.

Question: Could Rudolph and the others bunker-down with the Writer’s Guild?  Will Yogi and Boo-Boo scab it?

Answer: “I don’t knowwww, Margohhh” (Name the movie)

Merry (insert PC term for December Holiday) and a Bearish New Year?