Wednesday, December 23, 2009
In his MarketWatch column, Hulbert gives data on how market timers have performed during the past five to 20 years.
“There is today virtually no difference in the consensus stock market forecasts among the best stock market timers and among the worst. That is, the market timers who have successfully timed the market in the past are neither more bullish on balance than the worst timers, nor more bearish,” he said.
Hulbert said the difference is merely two percentage points “between the average recommended exposures of the market beaters and market laggards.” (more)
For the first quarter ever, the number of homes in foreclosure with mortgages serviced by U.S. national banks and savings and loans topped the 1-million mark, according to figures released Monday by the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
The percentage of prime borrowers whose loans were 60 or more days past due doubled from the July-to-September period a year earlier. And more than half of all homeowners whose payments had been lowered through modification plans defaulted again. (more)
The shortfalls are putting pressure on governments to either raise taxes or shrink the aid payments.
Debates over the state benefit programs have erupted in South Carolina, Nevada, Kansas, Vermont and Indiana. And the budget gaps are expected to spread and become more acute in the coming year, compelling legislators in many states to reconsider their operations. (more)
- Ben Bernanke has been a bigger disaster than Hurricane Katrina. But the senate is about to re-up him for another four-year term. What are they thinking? Bernanke helped Greenspan inflate the biggest speculative bubble of all time, and still maintains that he never saw it growing. Right. How can retail housing leap from $12 trillion to $21 trillion in 7 years (1999 to 2006) without popping up on the Fed's radar?
- Bernanke was also a staunch supporter of the low interest rate madness which led to the crash. Greenspan never believed that it was the Fed's job to deal with credit bubbles. "The free market will fix itself", he thought. He was the nation's chief regulator, but adamantly opposed to the idea of government regulation. It makes no sense at all. Here' a quote from Greenspan in 2002: "I do have an ideology. My judgment is that free, competitive markets are by far the unrivaled way to organize economies. We have tried regulation, none meaningfully worked." Bernanke is no different than Greenspan; they're two peas in the same pod. Everyone could see what the Fed-duo was up to. (more)
If you google “recession easing,” you will find articles all the way back to April quoting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as saying that the recession is easing, and that the economy is “improving modestly.” Newspapers and TV news programs too, on their own, have run rose-tinged stories about how things are bad but getting better.
Spins get put on every hint of good news, as when last month “only” 11,000 jobs were lost (a story that was quickly followed by an “unexpected” jump in new unemployment claims by 474,000 in early December).
What didn’t get widely reported was a report by the Association of Financial Professionals, a trade association that includes CFOs, treasurers, comptrollers, and risk managers of mid-sized and large corporations, which asked over 1000 of these executives the question: “When do you expect your company to begin hiring again?” (more)
In this comeback year for investors, David Tepper may have scored one of the biggest paydays of all.
Mr. Tepper's hedge-fund firm has racked up about $7 billion of profit so far this year—with Mr. Tepper on track to earn more than $2.5 billion for himself, according to people familiar with the matter. That is among the largest one-year takes in recent years.
Behind the wins: a bet worth billions of dollars that America would avoid a repeat of the Great Depression.
Through February and March, Mr. Tepper scooped up beaten-down bank shares as many investors were running for the exits. Day after day, Mr. Tepper bought Bank of America Corp. shares, then trading below $3, and Citigroup Inc. preferred shares, when that stock was under $1. One of his investors insisted more carnage loomed. Friends who shared his bullish beliefs were wary of aping his moves amid speculation that the government was about to nationalize the big banks. (more)