Monday, April 30, 2012

This Trade could Turn $2,000 into $8,000 by September

The financial sector has led the way in 2012 with gains of nearly 20%, double the S&P 500's performance.  The boys in Banking know how to make easy money with no end in sight.  With interest rates all but guaranteed to remain at record lows, basically free money, the cash machine will be busy spitting out money for these institutions.
My favorite way to trade financials is through the Financial Select Sector SPDR [2] (NYSE: XLF [3]) ETF. Half of XLF's top ten holdings are bank stocks, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase.  These three banks, which make up more than 20% of XLF's valuation, reported upbeat earnings [4] last week.
XLF is up 35% in a few short months from the $11.50 base formed in December.  The question now is how to profit [5] from this sector's strength while limiting risk on any pullback.

And there's plenty of upside potential. Just a halfway retrenchment from the 2009 lows to the 2007 highs targets an objective at $22, a 40% gain if you bought shares [6] at current prices.

An aggressive investor could buy shares and place an exit order on any brake below the established trend line at $15.  All too often, however, a short-term fluctuation forces out positions before then moving in the desired direction.  (more)

Getting Technical: Weekend Update

The S&P 500 broke a resistance, on strong momentum but on 2% above-average volume only.

The lack of volume coupled with the divergence between the two momentum indicators (ROC still trending down while RSI is trending up) make it hard to believe that the index would have enough power to break the resistance of a sideways trading range dating back to Feb. 13, 2012.



Getting Out, Part One: Americans Renouncing Citizenship

Capital, like information, wants to be free. The idea that it should be limited to one country has always struck rich people as silly, which is why Swiss bank accounts, offshore trusts and Caribbean beachfront condos have been perennial big-sellers.

But lately, the legitimate reasons for investing overseas have been joined by a couple of new ones: disgust with a ridiculously intrusive US tax system and worry that the country is becoming something different and less predictable.

As the Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn reports below, a small but growing number of Americans aren’t just moving money offshore, but are renouncing citizenship altogether: (more)

The Silver Megathrust


From Silver Seek / By Stephan Bogner / April 27, 2012
History does not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.“ (Mark Twain)
Between 1970 and 1979, the silver price was increasing steadily from $1.50 to $6, before taking off in September 1979 from $10 to $50 within 5 months. During that bull cycle, demand for silver did not increase but actually declined (sharply in 1979). It was as late as 1983 when demand increased confidently from 12,000 to 27,000 tons per year until 2000 – yet the silver price was in a 20 year bear market during that time. In 2003, when silver started its new bull market, the demand actually dropped to 23,000 tons until 2005 – during which 2 years silver almost doubled from $4.50 to $8. Since 2005, demand is rising stronger than ever, having reached 33,000 tons in 2010, whereas the silver price is rising strongly as well.
The initial comparisons indicate one important phenomenon in the silver market, namely that (industrial) silver demand is “price inelastic”: that is, changes in price have a relatively small effect on the quantity demanded. The demand for other commodities is known to be “price elastic”: that is, changes in price have a relatively large effect on the quantity demanded (if tomato prices blow up, go bananas). This basically translates into: no matter if the silver price crashes or explodes, demand – unimpressed – will keep its own dynamic pace, because demand does not respond to price changes. Firstly, silver is the most broadly used metal, because of its unique characteristics, such as highest thermal and electrical conductivity of all metals. In most of its few thousand application fields, silver is considered a non-substitutable product. In contrast for example, when the platinum price increases too strongly, automotive demand traditionally substitutes for cheaper palladium thus potentially driving down the platinum price. Secondly, silver typically makes up only a relatively small component in the total of the product and the total of its costs. Both these demand characteristics/inelasticities (not substitutable and small cost component) are crucial to understand the silver price, because they remind that no matter if price explodes or crashes, (industrial) demand virtually does not care, but keeps on consuming as per its own factors/fundamentals. Notwithstanding, an increased demand principally has a positive effect on the price, of course (GFMS expects fabrication demand in 2012 to rise by approx. 3-5% to around 29,000 tons silver, whereas fabrication demand accounts for more than 80% of total demand; fabrication demand includes industrial applications, photography, jewelry, coins and silverware).
READ MORE

An Update on a Classic "Boom and Bust" Sector

There's a classic low-risk, high-reward trading setup in one of the market [2]'s biggest "boom and bust" sectors.

The latest bust was bad. Prices fell nearly 50%. But the big-picture trend is in your favor. And the gains could be extraordinary.

Let me explain...

Since 2001, global food prices have surged over 130%. Take a look...



This chart shows two decades worth of the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) "Food Price Index." This index [3] measures the change in international prices of food commodities, like meat, dairy, and grains.  (more)

US Weekly Economic Calendar

time (et) report period Actual forecast previous
MONDAY, April 30
8:30 am Personal income March   0.3% 0.2%
8:30 am Consumer spending March   0.4% 0.8%
8:30 am Core PCE price index March   0.2% 0.1%
9:45 am Chicago PMI April   60.8% 62.2%
TUESDAY, May 1
10 am ISM April   53.0% 53.4%
10 am Construction spending March
0.5% -1.1%
TBA Motor vehicle sales April   14.4 mln 14.4 mln
WEDNESDAY, May 2
8:15 am ADP employment April   -- 209,000
10 am Factory orders March   -1.5% 1.3%
THURSDAY, May 3
8:30 am Weekly jobless claims 4-28   379,000 388,000
8:30 am Productivity 1Q   -0.9% 0.9%
8:30 am Unit labor costs 1Q   3.0% 2.8%
10 am ISM nonmanufacturing April   55.5% 56.0%
FRIDAY, May 4
8:30 am Nonfarm payrolls April
165,000 120,000
8:30 am Unemployment rate April
8.2% 8.2%
8:30 am Average hourly earnings April   0.2% 0.2%

Saturday, April 28, 2012

5 South African Stocks To Consider For 2012 :EZA, SSL, SPP, HMY, GBG, GFI

The BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China - often dominate headlines, and for good reason. With over 2.8 billion people between them (more than 40% of the world's population), the room for growth in these developing economies has businesses salivating at any opportunity to put their products in the hands of new consumers brimming with cash. Investors too have been watching these emerging economies as dominant forces in the next 50 years. The recent admission of South Africa gives the group presence on three continents (Africa, Asia and South America), as well as a looming presence in Eastern Europe, thanks to Russia.

At first blush, South Africa seems like a strange addition to the group. It isn't ranked in the top 10 countries in terms of population as its fellow members are, its land area isn't as large, and its gross domestic product (GDP) is a quarter of Russia's ($1.45 trillion to $357 billion). The move may be part of a greater BRIC strategy to get on the good side of a country in a rapidly developing continent, since Brazil, Russia, India and China all have economic ties to Africa that they want to entrench. The population in the Southern Africa region, in which South Africa is considered the gateway country, represents 20% of Africa's current total population of nearly 1 billion people. Among its peers, South Africa is considered to be the most developed country, has greater political stability and is considered less corrupt (according to Transparency International).

Getting exposure into South African equities is possible through the iShares MSCI South Afica Index ETF (ARCA:EZA), which contains 50 individual holdings. However, for those looking for individual positions, you may want to check out the following South African stocks for 2012 that have been down for 2011:

Company

Market Cap

YTD Performance %

Sasol Ltd.(NYSE:SSL) 31.9B -0.15%

Sappi Limited(NYSE:SPP) 1.9B +24.13%

Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd.(NYSE:HMY) 4.2B -16.24%

Great Basin Gold Ltd. (NYSE:GBG) 389.7M -23.16%

Gold Fields Ltd.(NYSE:GFI) 9.3B -15.28%



Bottom Line
While South Africa's addition to the club may be considered premature by some analysts, it is clear that emerging markets will continue to play an important role in the world economy. As exporters of commodities to the rich world and importers of goods made by more developed countries, BRICS represent a giant influx of both industrial workers and cash-flush consumers.

Jim Sinclair has something to say


by Daniel P. Collins FuturesMag:
Jim Sinclair is not simply a gold bug; he successfully has called every major move in the precious metal — both up and down — over a generation. But he is not merely a market guru either. Sinclair has had a love affair with markets for 50 years. He has owned brokerages, clearing firms, mining companies and a precious metals dealer. His Sinclair Group of Companies, founded in 1977, offered brokerage services in stocks, bonds and commodities operating in New York, Kansas City, Toronto, Chicago, London and Geneva until he sold them in 1983. At one time he was considered the largest gold trader in the world, but today he is running his African-based Tanzanian Royalty Exploration Company and the MineSet web site that provides unique macroeconomic information to his loyal followers. Sinclair is a good person to listen to.

Futures Magazine: You have been right on gold for years. How?Jim Sinclair: Gold has been a primary focus of mine for 50 years; I’m 71, if you put enough time into a subject you probably ought to get to know it. It became obvious to me that gold had performed extraordinarily well as a currency vs. the dollar; it performed very well in the 1980s and it performed very well on the downside. It was obvious to me that a turn was coming in 2001 and we reached a high in the U.S. currency and accordingly I felt we reached a low in gold.
Read More @ FuturesMag.com

Using RSI To Identify Waning Momentum

So there are a couple of bearish patterns going on within the Nasdaq Advance Decline Volume chart. The head and shoulder top is the obvious one, but the one I want to draw your attention to is the stair stepping pattern of the RSI.
It goes from very overbought to the 50 level where it finds support. From there it attempts to get back over 70, but stalls and proceeds to roll over and visit the 40 level where it finds support. After a quick visit back to 50 it finds support and retests the 40 level. Now we are in a position where this could break down and really start to sell off. It doesn’t have to happen, but it’s in a position too…and that’s what is key here. It’s also interesting how all of this bearish RSI action corresponds with a negative MACD and a chart that is holding it’s head right above the neckline.

These Widely Overlooked Securities Yield up to 16%

Exchange-traded products (ETPs) are wildly popular. Their assets grew more than 30% a year during the past decade, compared to just 5% to 6% for mutual funds [1], according to McKinsey & Co. The management consultancy projects ETP assets will more than double over the next five years to $3.1-$4.7 trillion, from a little over $1.5 trillion today.

Most of the growth is in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), a subclass of the exchange-traded product family. But a handful of exchange-traded notes (ETNs) are also a small part of this market [2].

 And while there are ETFs for everything from copper to cocoa, ETNs offer [3] a unique type of exposure to mainly two high-yield groups: master limited partnerships (MLPs) and business development companies (BDCs).

Readers of my High-Yield Investing [4] newsletter know that I'm a big fan of MLPs and BDCs. These unique businesses allow investors to capture higher yields than many blue chip stocks and bonds [5].
MLPs are in the pipeline business, transporting oil and natural gas from the drilling site to the "downstream [6]" facilities such as refineries and storage facilities. They earn a fee based on the volume [7] transported, and in turn are not as sensitive to energy prices as drilling companies, for example. This provides a reliable stream of income, much of which is passed right on to investors in the form of sizeable dividends. (more)

U.S. Homeownership Hits Decade Low

The 62% of Americans who say they own their own home marks a new low since Gallup began tracking self-reported homeownership in 2001.
U.S. Homeownership Rates, 2001-2012 Trend
The current level of homeownership marks a decline from 68% in 2011. For most of the prior decade, roughly seven in 10 Americans reported owning their own home. While the recession and financial crisis took place in 2008-2009, homeownership rates didn't begin to reflect the bursting of the housing bubble until 2010, when 65% of Americans reported owning their own home -- the lowest level recorded before this year.
Record-Low 53% of Americans Say Their Home's Value Has Increased
Fifty-three percent of Americans believe their house is worth more today than when they bought it, down significantly from 80% in 2008 and 92% in 2006. It confirms that many Americans are underwater in terms of the value of the home they currently own.  (more)

Trading Range Screen for the 30 Largest US Stocks

The S&P 500 has now bounced 3.05% from its April clos­ing low on the 10th.  The index now needs to gain 1.48% to take out its bull mar­ket clos­ing high of 1,419.04.  Below is an update of our trad­ing range screen for the 30 largest stocks in the S&P 500.  The dots indi­cate where the stock is cur­rently trad­ing, while the end of the tail shows where the stock was trad­ing one week ago.  A green dot means the stock has moved higher within its trad­ing range over the last week, while a red dot means the stock has moved lower.
For each stock, the neu­tral (N) zone rep­re­sents between one stan­dard devi­a­tion above and below its 50-day mov­ing aver­age.  The light red shad­ing rep­re­sents between one and two stan­dard devi­a­tions above the 50-day, and vice versa for the light green shad­ing.  The dark red shad­ing rep­re­sents between two and three stan­dard devi­a­tions above the 50-day, and vice versa for the dark green shad­ing.  Moves into the red shad­ing are con­sid­ered over­bought, while moves into the green shad­ing are con­sid­ered oversold.
Just 5 of the stocks shown have moved lower within their trad­ing ranges over the last week, while 25 have moved higher.  John­son & John­son (JNJ), AT&T (T) and Ver­i­zon (VZ) have had the biggest moves higher since last Thursday's close.
At the moment, 8 of the 30 largest S&P 500 stocks are in over­bought ter­ri­tory, while 4 are over­sold.  Four stocks are in extreme over­bought ter­ri­tory — AT&T (T), Pfizer (PFE), Coca-Cola (KO) and Ver­i­zon (VZ).  The 4 over­sold stocks are Wal-Mart (WMT) — which was over­bought last week, Cisco (CSCO), McDonald's (MCD) and Cono­coPhillips (COP).
Look­ing at year to date per­for­mance, the biggest stock in the S&P 500 (and in the world) — Apple (AAPL) — is up the most out of all the stocks listed with a gain of 50.54%.  Bank of Amer­ica (BAC) ranks a close sec­ond with a YTD gain of 49.19%, fol­lowed by JP Mor­gan (JPM), Cit­i­group ©, Microsoft (MSFT) and Wells Fargo (WFC).  Google (GOOG) has been the biggest loser out of the 30 biggest stocks so far this year with a decline of 4.44%.  McDonald's (MCD) — which was one of the best per­form­ing stocks in 2011 — is down the sec­ond most at –4.43%.
Inter­ested in run­ning your port­fo­lio through the Bespoke Trad­ing Range Screen?  Become a Bespoke Pre­mium Plus mem­ber today.


If you Own Shares of Apple, Then You'll Want to Read This

In the mid 1980s, my favorite band was R.E.M. At that time, they were the kings of college radio and snotty rock critics. But high school kids were still using Van Halen, Loverboy and Journey as their soundtrack for getting in trouble. When classmates would kid me about listening to the weird, minimalist music that they didn't play on commercial radio, however, I would simply reply, "Yeah. Just watch. There'll be an R.E.M. tape in your collection by the time you come home for Thanksgiving break of your freshman year of college."
I was at a party during Thanksgiving break of my freshman year of college. One of detractors came up and thumped me in the sternum. "You were right about R.E.M.!"
The herd had caught on.
R.E.M. went on to a major label, multimillion-dollar deal and became mainstream. I still liked R.E. M., but it had grown beyond being an outlier band from Athens, Georgia. Their output changed, perhaps dictated by a much bigger audience. (more)

AMGN broke from bull channel and triggered new buy signal

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) — This independent biotech company has been a leader in the development of genetically based research and treatment for cancer, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis and a host of other major illnesses. It markets five of the world’s best-selling biotech drugs.
The Trade of the Day first recommended AMGN on Dec. 19 at $60.25 when it broke from a huge cup-and-handle formation. We recommended it again on April 3 while the stock was consolidating within a bull channel with a target of $75.
On Monday, AMGN broke from its channel, and on Wednesday, the company reported Q1 earnings of $1.59, beating analysts’ estimates of $1.43, and posted higher-than-expected revenues. Analysts raised their target to $79.
Technically the break from the bull channel is a strong indication that prices are headed higher. The MACD triggered a new buy signal, and we are raising the trading target for AMGN to $80.
Trade of the Day – Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN)

Friday, April 27, 2012

22 Red Flags That Indicate That Very Serious Doom Is Coming For Global Financial Markets


From the Economic Collapse / April 24, 2012
If you enjoy watching financial doom, then you are quite likely to really enjoy the rest of 2012. Right now, red flags are popping up all over the place. Corporate insiders are selling off stock like there is no tomorrow, major economies all over Europe continue to implode, the IMF is warning that the eurozone could actually break up and there are signs of trouble at major banks all over the planet. Unfortunately, it looks like the period of relative stability that global financial markets have been enjoying is about to come to an end. A whole host of problems that have been festering just below the surface are starting to manifest, and we are beginning to see the ingredients for a “perfect storm” start to come together. The greatest global debt bubble in human history is showing signs that it is getting ready to burst, and when that happens the consequences are going to be absolutely horrific. Hopefully we still have at least a little bit more time before the global financial system implodes, but at this point it doesn’t look like anything is going to be able to stop the chaos that is on the horizon.
The following are 22 red flags that indicate that very serious doom is coming for global financial markets….
READ MORE

Interest Rates Have Nowhere To Go But Up

The Federal budget deficit will drive our financial future
Jim welcomes back Bud Conrad, Chief Economist at Casey Research. Bud sees large and growing demands for credit from the federal government, which will require the Fed to continue to create a large and growing supply. This will lead to debasement of the dollar, higher inflation, and higher interest rates, all long-term negatives for the US economy. As government debt grows, the interest to be paid grows as well. If rates rise, the scenario becomes much worse.
As well as being chief economist for Casey Research, Bud is also author of the book Profiting from the World's Economic Crisis. Bud holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Yale and an MBA from Harvard. He has held positions with IBM, CDC, Amdahl, and Tandem. Currently, he serves as a local board member of the National Association of Business Economics and teaches graduate courses in investing at Golden Gate University. Bud, a futures investor for 25 years and a full-time investor for a decade, is also a regular lecturer for American Association of Individual Investors. In addition, he produces original analysis for Casey Research, including unique charts and research on the economy and investment markets. Bud's commentary may be found in The Casey Report every month.


click here for audio

Marc Faber on the Cycles of Gloom, Boom and Doom




Marc Faber : 'Over the last few months, the market has acted very badly. There are less new hires, the volume has dried out, insider sales have picked up, and this is the beginning of a downward trend. We may easily have a correction of 10-20% here. Most stocks are already down 10% from their highs. Markets have more than doubled from the lows in 2009. The global economy has actually deteriorated. 'It has optically improved because of huge government spending but in principle we are in a worse position today than we were in 2008 and 2009. There will be more money printing and if your are hyper bearish, maybe you are better off in equities than you are in government bonds and cash. I also advocate to own some gold'.

What Next For Canadian Real Estate?

For the past half-century, real estate itself has amounted to an average of 5.8% of the national economy. Today it’s nicely above 7%. So what?
So, every time the 7% mark has been breached, the housing market’s taken a dive two or three years later. There is no reason to suggest this time it’s different, says finance professor and economist George Athanassakos. Expect a “severe correction.”
He even has a handy chart. Copy, paste and email it to your 25-year-old daughter about to buy her first condo with 5% down and daddy’s co-signature. This could save Christmas dinner next year:

In fact the Canadian housing market, one of the few in the western world still supported by endorphins and hormones, is gaining the attention of a few academics who think we’re, well, nuts. Like Neville Bennett, of Canterbury University in New Zealand, where they’ve had a bubble of their own. Cheap rates, lax lending standards and $85 billion in mortgages to people with dodgy credit spell disaster, he suggests:  (more)

Student Loan Debt Slaves In Perpetuity – A True Story Of “Bankruptcy Hell”

From Zero Hedge / By Tyler Durden / April 26, 2012
The numeric implications as well as the magnitude of the student loan bubble have been discussed extensively before. Yet just like most people’s eyes gloss over when they hear billions, trillions or quadrillions, so seeing the exponential chart of Federal Student debt merely brings up memories of a math lesson from high school, or at best, makes one think of statistics. And as we all know statistics are faceless, nameless and can never apply to anyone else. It is the individual case studies that have the most impact. Which is why we would like to introduce you to Devin and Sarah Stang – student loan debt slaves in perpetuity.
First, for those who are still unfamiliar with the brush strokes, here is the big picture, courtesy of AP:
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimates 37 million Americans have student loan debt, totaling $870 billion. The average balance is around $23,000 (though that partly reflects a relatively small number of very large balances; the median is $12,800). Only 39 percent are paying down balances. An estimated 5.4 million borrowers have at least one student loan account past due.
Roughly 85 percent of outstanding student loan debt is owed to the federal government. The remaining 15 percent that’s counted as private student debt is owed to various non-federal lenders, ranging from banks to loan companies like Sallie Mae Corp. to non-profits and state-affiliated agencies (under the Durbin bill, loans from any government-funded entity still wouldn’t be dischargeable, only those from truly private lenders).
Generally, it’s these private loans that bring borrowers to the door of bankruptcy lawyers like Barrett. Private student loans often lack the protections of federal ones, and have rates that typically start higher and can shoot up. A recent survey of bankruptcy attorneys found 81 percent reporting more clients with student debt in recent years, and roughly half reporting a significant increase.
READ MORE

Chart of the Day - Tim Hortons (THI)

The "Chart of the Day" is Tim Hortons (THI), which showed up on Wednesday's Barchart "All-Time High" list. Tim Hortons on Wednesday posted a new all-time high of $55.42 and closed up 1.75%. TrendSpotter just turned Long again last Wednesday at $55.08. In recent news on the stock, company management on March 6 provided FY12 EPS guidance of $2.65-2.75 versus the consensus of $2.77. The company said it expects to open 100 stores in the U.S. in FY12 and 155-185 stores in Canada. Tim Hortons, with a market cap of $8.6 billion, is Canada's largest quick service restaurant chain and features coffee, fresh-baked goods, soups and sandwiches.

thi_700

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The United States Has Plenty Of Oil: 10 Facts About America’s Energy Resources That Will Blow Your Mind


The United States is not running out of oil. In fact, nobody on the entire globe has more energy resources than the United States does. The truth is that we are absolutely swimming in oil and natural gas and we have so much coal that we have no idea what to do with it all. At current consumption rates, America has enough energy resources to completely satisfy all of its needs well into the 22nd century. If we would just access those resources, we would not have to import a single drop of foreign oil. But most Americans don’t realize that we have plenty of oil. In fact, our education system has brainwashed most Americans into believing that our energy resources are rapidly being depleted and that we will soon enter a great energy crisis. We are all constantly told that we must transition to “green energy” before it is too late. But the reality is that America is an energy rich nation and new discoveries of oil and natural gas deposits are being made all the time. Shouldn’t someone tell the American people the truth about these things?
Read More @ EndOfTheAmericanDream.com

Dr. Copper - Is the Spot Price Signaling a Slowing Economy?


The commodity metal copper is known in the financial world as “Dr. Copper,” because, historically, the copper spot price has predicted the health of the global economy, as it is an important input resource to a huge number of industrial processes.
With all of the bad news coming out in the last few weeks, after a seemingly upbeat start to the year, and the Fed’s take on the economy out today, it seems a good time to check in on our trusty time-tested bellwether.
It is an opportune to discuss the metal as Cesco Week, the leading series of events in the world copper industry, just wrapped up in Santiago, Chile. According to the FT:
“The consensus at Cesco week, from within the mining industry and beyond, was that much of the supply would not arrive on time.”
Supply problems facing the industry are many. Eric King interviews many heads of mining firms, and has identified a pattern; a dire shortage of mine engineers and contractors. The CEO’s tell him that mining professionals are in demand and are being paid far more than in the past and in many cases, must be flown to locations. Costs of labor of all types are rising rapidly, and strikes are becoming more and more common.  (more)

So Long, US Dollar

by Marin Katusa, Casey Research:

Signs the Dollar Is Going the Way of the Dodo
The biggest oil-trading partners in the world, China and Saudi Arabia, are still using the petrodollar in their transactions. How long this will persist is a very important question. China imported 1.4 million barrels of oil a day from Saudi Arabia in February, a 39% increase from a year earlier, and the two countries have teamed up to build a massive oil refinery in Saudi Arabia. As the nations continue to pursue increased bilateral trade, at some point they will decide that involving US dollars in every transaction is unnecessary and expensive, and they will ditch the dollar.
When that happens, the tide will have truly turned against the dollar, as it was an agreement between President Nixon and King Faisal of Saudi Arabia in 1973 that originally created the petrodollar system. Nixon asked Faisal to accept only US dollars as payment for oil and to invest any excess profits in US Treasury bonds, notes, and bills. In exchange, Nixon pledged to protect Saudi oilfields from the Soviet Union and other potential aggressors, such as Iran and Iraq.
Read More @ CaseyResearch.com

ZeroHedge Blogger outlines how Bernanke and the Fed could finally go Bankrupt!

Jay Taylor: Turning Hard Times Into Good Times



4/24/2012: Juggling Dynamite Set off by Government Market Manipulation

Impatience Will Lead to Our Demise


From Financial Sense / By Lance Roberts / April 24, 2012
It seems that political leaders in Europe, particularly Germany, may be giving up on the idea of austerity measures to reign in the excessive debt levels that have run amok in these countries, as well as in the U.S., over the last 30 years. Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, has been a driving force on the insistence of tough debt cutting measures and fiscal targets in exchange for bailout funds since the beginning of the Greek crisis. In a NY Times article published yesterday Jordi Vaquer i Fanes, a political scientist and director of the Barcelona Center for International Affairs in Spain stated: “The formula is not working, and everyone is now talking about whether austerity is the only solution. Does this mean that Merkel has lost completely? No. But it does mean that the very nature of the debate about the Euro-zone crisis is changing.”
What is both disturbing and disappointing are the lack of foresight that is being exhibited by both the media and the leaders of not only Europe but the U.S. as well. It should not be a surprise to anyone that the austerity regimen, agreed to last month as a long term solution to Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, is going to cause economic growth to slow. We have been very vocal about this point in past missives. Austerity measures cannot be imposed when an economy is saddled by rising debt costs and high unemployment. Austerity, by its very nature, will reduce economic output and therefore requires a strongly growing economy to offset the drag of the reduction of government spending.
READ MORE

McAlvany Weekly Commentary

Dire Expectations for Late 2012


A look at This Week’s Show:
-Earnings beat “low bar” expectations
-Asia buying 60% of all gold
-Portable Property in the age of participatory fascism

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How to Get Some of the Highest Yields in the World for as Little Risk as Possible

Here's an old Wall Street [1] saying that investors should "Sell in May and go away." While there's no identifiable rationale to explain why that should be good advice, there is an element of empirical truth. A study by Plexus Asset management shows that since 1950 the returns for the S&P 500 in the months of November through May were 8.1%, compared with just 2.4% for the period from May through October. [James Brumley, one of our talented analysts, recently warned investors about putting too much stock in this, though. Go here to read his take [2].]
The MSCI World Index, a popular index [3] of global stock market [4] performance, shows a similar seasonal pattern. In fact, returns for the MSCI World Index in the months of May through October over the same post-1950 era are negative. The old adage to sell in May has gained even more prominence over the past two years, as stocks have endured gut-wrenching corrections in the summers of 2010 and 2011, only to enjoy powerful year-end and New Year rallies.
I'd never recommend managing your portfolio using simplistic seasonal rules, but it's only prudent for investors to contemplate the potential for at least a short-term correction [5] in global equity markets.  (more)

THE OUTLOOK FOR HOUSING IS STILL DISMAL

The growing optimism on housing is not justified. Not only is the recent data disappointing, but the overhang of shadow inventories threatens to keep the housing market depressed for some time to come. We’ll begin with a look at the data. Existing home sales were down 2.6% in March, the second straight monthly decline. Sales remain depressed, and are still 37% below the peak during the boom. The purchase index for the latest reported week was down 11%, and is down 15% from a year earlier. New housing starts dropped for the second consecutive month to a paltry 654,000. It topped out at 2,273,000 in January 2006. The NAHB housing index for April dropped back to its early January level. It remains at 25, compared to a peak reading of 70. The latest Case/Shiller report show year-over-year national average price declines of 4% To find anything encouraging in these numbers is quite a stretch. In addition to the data already reported, it is difficult to be optimistic about the period ahead. Although the bulls talk a great deal about the decline in inventories of homes for sale, keep in mind that the official inventory numbers include only homes that are now on the market, and ignores the importance of the so-called “shadow inventories” that loom over the industry like the sword of Damocles. The shadow inventories include houses that are not now on the market, but are either delinquent on mortgage payments, in default, owned by banks or are in some stage of the foreclosure process. Estimates of the number of houses in this category vary anywhere between 2 million and 10 million. (more)

How to Profit from the Bakken Oil Shale Boom

Did you ever wish you'd been around for the California gold rush of 1849? Or the Texas oil boom of the early 1900s?

Maybe you can't go back in time, but you don't have to.

The Bakken oil shale boom going on in North Dakota right now is just as big-if not bigger.

Just take a look at what's been happening in Williston, ND, the epicenter of the Bakken oil shale boom.

In Williston, it's like the recession never happened.

Unemployment is under 0.8% -- that's right, less than 1%, far below the national average of 8.2%. And the new oil jobs pay well, too. The average oil worker is making more than $90,000 a year.

The flood of jobs has made Williston the fastest-growing small city in the United States.

Consequently, there was no collapse in home prices in Williston. The inrush of new employees to work the Bakken oil shale boom has actually created a housing shortage.

A one-bedroom apartment that went for $500 in 2005 costs at least $2,000 now. Builders literally cannot build homes fast enough.

The rapid population growth from the Bakken oil shale boom has left many people sleeping in cars and tents. Williston just this week was forced to pass an ordinance that makes it illegal to live in a camper within city limits.

And while other states have been cutting services, shedding jobs and raising taxes, North Dakota is building up the state trust fund and reducing property taxes. All that, and still it projects a $1 billion surplus for its two-year budget.  (more)

Martin Armstrong: Happy Tax Day Welcome to America - Land not of the Free - but of Economic Slaves





Happy Tax Day Welcome to America -
 Land not of the Free - but of Economic Slaves



click here to read in PDF

The Income Investing Chart You Don't Want to Miss...

Sometimes it takes guts to be an income investor.
A few weeks ago, the S&P 500 closed above 1,400 for the first time since May 2008, before the Lehman Brothers collapse led off the financial crisis. In total, the index [1] has gained a remarkable 11% so far this year (compared with 0% for all of last year).
That's good news, right?
Well, lower-yielding financials and tech stocks have led the move higher, while defensive high-yield utilities and master-limited partnerships (MLPs) have lagged to the downside.
For instance, the Alerian MLP Index is up less than 1% year-to-date, while the utility sector, down more than 3%, is currently the worst-performing sector in the S&P 500.
Last year, these two groups outperformed as nervous investors sought safe dividend [2] returns amid volatile markets. This year, however, the reverse started taking place. Financial and technology companies listed on the S&P 500 have risen about 17%.
Investors have taken more chances on increased signs of economic recovery in the United States and easing concerns about Europe's debt crisis. As a result, some are investing their capital into riskier sectors, such as energy, that can benefit from economic growth.  (more)

Vehicle Miles Driven And the Economic Contraction

The Depart of Transportation's Federal Highway Commission has released the latest report on Traffic Volume Trends, data through February. Travel on all roads and streets changed by 1.8% (3.9 billion vehicle miles) for February 2012 as compared with February 2011. The 12-month moving average increased by 0.14%. This is the third month of increase after nine consecutive months of decline (PDF report).
Here is a chart that illustrates this data series from its inception in 1970. I'm plotting the "Moving 12-Month Total on ALL Roads," as the DOT terms it. See Figure 1 in the PDF report, which charts the data from 1987. My start date is 1971 because I'm incorporating all the available data from the DOT spreadsheets.



The rolling 12-month miles driven contracted from its all-time high for 39 months during the stagflation of the late 1970s to early 1980s, a double-dip recession era. The most recent dip has lasted for 50 months and counting — a new record, but the trough to date was in November 2011.  (more)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Four Defensive Stocks for a Market Pullback: MCD, MO, CAG, JNJ

If you looked at just the first-quarter results you could be forgiven for thinking that everything in the stock market is rosy.

The Dow Jones Industrials and the S&P 500 turned in their best performances since 1998, rising 8.14% and 12.0%, respectively.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq was even stronger, riding a tech-stock rally to a gain of nearly 19% - its best yearly start since 1991.

But as every seasoned investor knows, the markets never go straight up or straight down.

Prospects for continued strength may seem bright, but the recent five-day slide that took the Dow down almost 550 points might be pointing to something else entirely.

That's why now is the perfect time to consider shifting at least some of your funds into "defensive" stocks.


How to Shop For Defensive Stocks

The following criteria generally describe defensive stocks:

  • Those in non-cyclical industry groups, meaning they are capable of maintaining or increasing their revenues and earnings regardless of whether the overall economy is growing, flat or even slumping.
  • Companies that provide products or services in fairly constant demand, even when the economy slows. Examples include producers of consumer staples; food packagers and distributors; healthcare and pharmaceutical companies; suppliers in certain addictive "sin" markets, such as tobacco and alcohol; and essential utilities.
  • Those that have a recognizable brand name (or names) that consumers look for first, even when times are hard and cash is short.
  • Stocks that pay steady - and historically increasing - dividends, which can provide both income and a cushion against short-term drops in share prices.
  • Stocks with below-average volatility (beta) relative to the overall market, or a negative correlation with the primary business and/or market cycles.
  • And companies that have at least some international exposure, providing access to emerging markets that offer growth even when developed nations may be struggling.  (more)

Bracing for Bondageddon


by Kathy A. Jones, Vice Pres­i­dent, Fixed Income Strate­gist, Schwab Cen­ter for Finan­cial Research
Key points:
  • Dire warn­ings about an immi­nent spike in bond yields have been mak­ing the news lately, but we believe some of them are overly dramatic.
  • Nev­er­the­less, inter­est rates clearly have more room to rise than fall, and as the econ­omy recov­ers, rates are likely to move higher.
  • In our view, investors should man­age their bond port­fo­lios to mit­i­gate the risk of ris­ing rates, rather than aban­don­ing the asset class altogether.
  • You can try to lower interest-rate risk by reduc­ing the aver­age matu­rity of bond hold­ings, using lad­dered port­fo­lios and focus­ing on higher-coupon bonds.
"Bondaged­don" now?
Dire warn­ings about the com­ing col­lapse of the US bond mar­ket have grown in fre­quency and vol­ume over the past two years. Some of these warn­ings have come from very promi­nent voices: War­ren Buf­fett was quoted say­ing that bonds are "dan­ger­ous" and "should come with a warn­ing label," while Pro­fes­sor Bur­ton Malkiel of Prince­ton sug­gested in aWall Street Jour­nal edi­to­r­ial that bonds are no longer appro­pri­ate for "pru­dent" investors.
We believe warn­ings like these are dan­ger­ous and impru­dent because they may lead investors to aban­don diver­si­fied port­fo­lios and unwit­tingly take more risk. Let's put the sit­u­a­tion into per­spec­tive: Bond yields have been falling for more than 30 years. The 1.8% low in 10-year US Trea­sury yields reached at the end of Jan­u­ary may be the low­est level we see for a while. How­ever, the "spike" in rates from those lows has been pretty modest.
Ten-Year US Trea­sury Yields Trend Steadily Downward
Ten-Year US Treasury Yields Trend Steadily Downward
Source: Bloomberg, as of March 29, 2012.
In our view, cur­rent eco­nomic con­di­tions don't point to a risk of a sig­nif­i­cant increase in rates in the near term. Although the US econ­omy has shown signs of stronger growth, Europe has tipped into reces­sion and lead­ing indi­ca­tors for some major emerging-market economies such as China and Brazil are slow­ing. As a result, cen­tral banks around the globe have been low­er­ing inter­est rates. Infla­tion pres­sures have actu­ally eased since late last year despite the recent rise in energy prices. Finally, we see longer-term demo­graph­ics point­ing to ris­ing demand for fixed income as the pop­u­la­tion ages.  (more)

Crocs starting to show signs of life again and resistance may give way

Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX) – This stock is starting to show signs of life again. Besides an interesting top-line growth story on the back of turning the company into an actual shoe manufacturer, the chart has stabilized.
After falling off a cliff in October 2011, the stock stabilized and found support in the $14-$16 range. CROX then put in a breakaway gap on Jan. 11, which gave way to a move into the high teens/low $20 range where it has been consolidating for a couple of months. The $22.50 area has served as resistance since late March, but looks to have potential to give way to a first stop near $24 if it breaks.
A partial starter long position here with a price target at $24 and a stop at $21 looks like a good setup. The stock has a beta of 1.27 versus the S&P 500. Should the broader market bounce and retest the 2012 highs, this may allow for some alpha to be generated with the stock.
The company is scheduled to report its Q1 earnings on April 25 after the close, and as such, any long positions in the stock are subject to potential severe price movement if the news is not as expected.
Trade of the Day – Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX)
Click to Enlarge

Car Sales, Gasoline and Demographics

It's no secret (at least it shouldn't be) that gasoline sales have plunged. Here is a chart from my April 6 post Another Plunge in 3-Month Rolling Average of Petroleum and Gasoline Usage for Jan, Feb, March 2012
Jan-Feb-March 2012 petroleum and gasoline usage vs. the same three months in prior years.
click on chart for sharper image
Every month for quite some time, the rolling average of petroleum and gasoline usage has been trending down. The question is "Why?" Some pin this on car mileage improvements but that answer is easy to discredit. Fuel efficiency has been rising for more than a decade, but the plunge did not start until the Great Recession in 2007.
However, the Great Recession is over, yet gasoline sales have not rebounded. Is this an indication another recession is on the horizon? That the recession never ended? Something else?  (more)

These Three Companies Are In 'Full Scale Collapse' And Are Never Going To Recover


Whitney TilsonWhitney Tilson was just on CNBC talking about how investing in BP — and other stocks in free fall — are great value buys.
But Tilson said that he would avoid three companies that have been selling off sharply this week because he doesn't see a cap to their downfall.
Those companies are Nokia, Research in Motion, and First Solar. Tilson is short all three.
"This week, Nokia, RIMM, First Solar are all in the headlines. The businesses are in full scale collapse," Tilson said. "The stocks are down 60 to 80 percent, yet we are short those three companies because we don't think their businesses will stabilize. We see lots more bad news coming. So the key is you have to invest in businesses that are at least going to stabilize their operations and the bad news will fade. If the bad news continues you're in a value trap."
Issues at Research in Motion and Nokia have widely been discussed over the past few years. Mainly, since the launch of the iPhone, Apple (and to a great extent Google) has eaten their lunch.
The two have bet their businesses on new product launches: at Nokia it's the Windows powered Lumia and at RIM it's the upcoming Blackberry 10 OS.
But First Solar, once a darling of the green energy industry, has seen sales collapse as highly subsidized markets like Germany have seen government funding cut.
First Solar this week said that it would cut its workforce by some 30 percent, eliminating 2,000 positions across the company's global operations.
The solar giant plans to close all of its operations in Frankfurt, Germany and indefinitely idle some production lines in Malaysia, adding to reductions already taking place in Europe and the U.S.

Top 4 Things Successful Forex Traders Do



Trading in the financial markets is surrounded by a certain amount of mystique, because there is no single formula for trading successfully. Think of the markets as being like the ocean and the trader as a surfer. Surfing requires talent, balance, patience, proper equipment and being mindful of your surroundings. Would you go into water that had dangerous rip tides or was shark infested? Hopefully not.

The attitude to trading in the markets is no different than the attitude required for surfing. By blending good analysis with effective implementation, your success rate will improve dramatically and, like many skill sets, good trading comes from a combination of talent and hard work. Here are the four legs of the stool that you can build into a strategy to serve you well in all markets.

Leg No. 1 - Approach
Before you start to trade, recognize the value of proper preparation. The first step is to align your personal goals and temperament with the instruments and markets that you can comfortably relate to. For example, if you know something about retailing, then look to trade retail stocks rather than oil futures, about which you may know nothing. Begin by assessing the following three components.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Eric Sprott : China big Buyer of Gold and Silver



GoldSeek Radio's Chris Waltzek talks to ERIC SPROTT - April 17, 2012 . Eric Sprott, Chairman of Sprott Asset Management, and Chris Waltzek of GoldSeek Radio, talk about the outlook for Precious metals . They comment on how increasing interventions by central banks, from zero interest rates to money printing and bond buying have completely distorted the financial markets.

Paper money has NOT been around for 'hundreds of years'. Paper money after the American Civil War could be traded in for gold or silver. That ended for gold in the 1930's and for silver in the early 1960's. Paper currency that has an intrinsic value, 1 dollar silver certificate meant you could exchange it for silver coins. Holding the paper money was like holding the physical metal. Fiat money has no intrinsic value. It is paper!

MAKE SURE YOU GET PHYSICAL SILVER IN YOUR OWN POSSESSION. Don't Buy SLV, or Futures or Pooled Accounts or any other BS paper silver product .Remember anything on paper is worth the paper it is written on. Go Long Stay long the bull market have even started yet

Turk - The Most Important & Extraordinary Chart for 2012

With continued volatility in global stock and commodities markets, today King World News interviewed James Turk out of Europe. Turk exclusively sent KWN what he calls "the most important and extraordinary chart for 2012."

But first, here is what Turk had to say about the action in gold and silver, and what investors should expect going forward:

"The spring is already coiled, Eric, but it is being wound tighter and tighter by this relentless testing of support. For more than a month, gold and silver have been confined to a very narrow trading range.

... The precious metals bend a little with these bouts of selling pressure being put on them. But they come right back, which is why I describe them like a spring being wound up. So when this spring starts to unwind, which it will, look out above.  (more)

Russia Could Completely Run Out of This Rare Metal by 2014

I like to consider myself a contrarian [1] investor. Zigging when others are zagging is usually the surest way to find underpriced stocks and avoid overheated ones that are due for a pullback.

But this time, the crowd just might be right.

As it turns out, analysts and investors have been singing the same tune -- at least when it comes to the outlook for a certain rare metal.

Let me explain...

Back in January, I made a bullish call on platinum in my Scarcity & Real Wealth [2] advisory and pointed out a few reasons why it was likely to bounce in 2012. At the time, the metal was trading for $1,360 an ounce -- today, it sells for about $1,600 an ounce.

Meanwhile, the ETFS Physical Platinum Fund (NYSE: PPLT [3]) has already climbed about 15% for the year.

So far, so good.

As a close sibling, palladium shares many of the same traits and uses, most notably as a key component in automobile catalytic converters. The main difference is that palladium has historically been favored in gasoline engines, whereas platinum is more common in diesel.

But diesel makers are increasingly turning to palladium because it's cheaper.

Global carmakers are widely expected to roll out 80 million vehicles this year. Those cars and trucks will leave the assembly lines with 6.24 million ounces of palladium -- 6% more than what was consumed last year and a new record high, according to Barclays Bank,.

Where will the metal come from?

Russia's main mining giant is more concerned with nickel production (which accounts for 90% of sales). And South African producers have been plagued by energy shortages and labor disputes. The country's output is expected to be the thinnest in years.

This will likely be the sixth consecutive year of falling global mine production.

To cover the shortfall, palladium suppliers have been dipping into secondary, above-ground sources, namely a strategic stockpile in Russia. But this key source is running dry and may almost be depleted.

With more cars on the road and fewer supplies coming out of key mines, market forecasters are bracing for a palladium shortage of 215,000 ounces this year. And thanks to the introduction of commodities-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs), it's pretty easy to gauge the investment community's appetite for specific metals.

Russia shipped just 500,000 ounces of palladium ingots and powder to Switzerland (one of Europe's two main storage hubs) in 2010, the lowest amount in 15 years. Barclays says Russian shipments will plunge to just 300,000 ounces this year and may be exhausted altogether by 2014.

Right now, people are clearly hungry for palladium.

This deficit [4] is a big reason why ETF investors from New York to Zurich are suddenly hoarding the metal.

There are 58.9 metric tons of palladium stockpiled in ETF bank vaults, according to Bloomberg. This total represents a healthy 14% increase in palladium fund holdings since the start of the year -- the strongest quarterly increase since 2010.

Palladium prices on the London Metals Exchange have been essentially flat, but fund assets have been rising sharply, thanks to new inflows from shareholders -- cresting at $1.23 billion last week.

It's no coincidence that 11 top metals analysts are forecasting palladium to surge to $850 an ounce by the end of 2012.

This implies a 33% increase from current levels near $640, which easily bests the price appreciation [5] outlook for silver (13%) and gold (15%).

Action to Take --> In 2001, the last time we saw a major supply shortage, panicked buyers went on a binge that pushed palladium spot [6] prices to a record $1,100 per ounce.

There may not be a repeat of that, but there are sound reasons why palladium remains a good long-term bet. The metal exhibits many of the characteristics that I pound on the table in my Scarcity & Real Wealth [2] advisory -- it's a scarce (and dwindling) resource with growing global demand and real tangible wealth. In a world of crooked politicians, paper money and ballooning government debt, it's essential that investors own investments exactly like this one.

First Trust Global Platinum (Nasdaq: PLTM [7])
is an ETF that offers undiluted exposure to platinum and palladium producers. The fund enjoyed a nice 8.3% bounce in the first quarter, but I think there are more gains in store for shareholders through the remainder of 2012.

Traders may want to make financials their go-to sector if we see a more meaningful correction

U.S. stocks had a wonderful start to 2012, and currently the S&P 500 is still up around 10% for the year. In Europe, however, things look much different. The Euro Stoxx 50 was up 12.5% at its best this year, and now is in the red, down 1.4% for the year.
While there are somewhat different dynamics at work in Europe, I would like to point out the historical spread between the S&P 500 and the Euro Stoxx 50 indexes.
 SPX vs Euro Stoxx Chart
Click to Enlarge

The middle of the chart shows that the spread is at historic highs, which either means the Euro Stoxx 50 has to rise in relation to the S&P 500, or the S&P 500 has to fall and catch up with the Euro Stoxx 50.
At the bottom of the chart, also note the historic correlation of the two indices is always positive. There certainly is the off-chance that “this time it’s different,” but as traders we must focus on the higher probability setups and that means giving a mean-reversion trade such as this the benefit of the doubt.
SPX Chart
Click to Enlarge

On April 10, the S&P 500 held the uptrend dating back to the Oct. 4 low, and over the past few days continued retesting that very uptrend. The 50-day simple moving average has been useless as support and resistance, as I always point out to subscribers. Yet from a broader perspective, if the S&P 500 were to break below the macro uptrend, then 1,340 and 1,300 should be the next viable downside targets.
SPX 60-Minute Chart
Click to Enlarge

If we look at this a little closer on the S&P 500 15-day 60-minute chart, note that we have retraced 61.8% of the move from 1,422 down to the recent lows at 1,357. In addition, we are now seeing a bear flag formation that also has a first target at 1,340.
SOX Chart
Click to Enlarge

The semiconductor complex as measured by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) put in a lower high, and by so doing, failed to confirm the higher high that the S&P 500 has given us.
Of course, individual stocks such as Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) have done great this year, in line with the S&P 500 making new highs. Either way, a confirmation by the SOX would be one checked box that would make me feel more at ease if I were net long stocks at this juncture.
XLF Chart
Click to Enlarge

That brings us to the financials, which were the best-performing sector in the first quarter. Even after some profit-taking in individual names following their first-quarter earnings announcements, on the whole they remain healthy looking. Yet the sector is very much disliked even after having been on the bench for the better part of the past four years. If and when we get a more meaningful price correction  in U.S.equities this year, the financials remain my preferred go-to sector at such time. 
While the bears had a real chance to make a statement yesterday, they again gave in to the bulls who bought into the market during the last hour. Nevertheless, the above charts of the S&P 500 show that we are very close to potentially seeing 1,340. Should yesterday’s lows or thereabouts hold, we still have a shot at revisiting 1,420 and possibly above, but the bulls have to fight hard.

Chart of the Day - Chubb Corp (CB)

The "Chart of the Day" is Chubb Corp (CB), which showed up on Thursday's Barchart "All-Time High" list. Chubb on Thursday posted a new all-time high of $72.46 and closed up 2.15%. TrendSpotter has been Long since April 2 at $69.80. Chubb on Thursday reported Q1 EPS of $1.70, well above the market consensus of $1.52. Chubb on Feb 23 increased its quarterly dividend by 5.1% to 41 cents per share from 31 cents. Chubb Corp, with a market cap of $19 billion, is a leading provider of property and casualty insurance.

cb_700_01

The 10 Best Interview Questions to Ask

When your interviewer wraps up your job interview by asking if you have any questions, you might think that he or she is finished assessing you, but that's not quite the case. Interviewers draw conclusions about you based on the questions you ask--or don't ask. You don't want to give the impression that you're not very interested in the job, or that you're only concerned about the compensation. Instead, ask about the work, company, and team. Here are 10 great questions for your interviewer:

1. What are the biggest challenges the person in this position will face?

This question shows that you don't have blinders on in the excitement about a new job; you recognize that every job has difficult elements and that you're being thoughtful about what it will take to succeed in the position.

2. Can you describe a typical day or week in the position?

This question shows that you're thinking beyond the interview and that you're visualizing what it will be like to do the work itself. This is different from many candidates, who appear to be focused solely on getting the job offer without thinking about what will come after that.

3. What would a successful first year in the position look like?

Asking this shows that you're thinking in the same terms that a manager does--about what the position needs to contribute to the team or company to be worthwhile. You'll also sound like someone who isn't seeking to simply do the bare minimum, but rather to truly achieve in the role. (more)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Is Paper Money Constitutional?





Is Paper Money Constitutional?



click here to read in PDF

To tame Toronto’s housing ‘bubble’, ban foreign buying

Nearly three times’ more condo high-rises are being built in Toronto than are being built in New York City and nearly seven times’ more than in Chicago, according to Bloomberg News.

This development boom, and accompanying price increases, is not about housing to meet a sudden surge in population. It is not about an economic boom. If it was, Calgary and Edmonton would have 128 cranes, like Toronto does, building housing and pushing up all prices. Instead, this is taking place in Toronto and Vancouver where economies are moribund.

Conventional wisdom is that this is the market at work. This is not the market at work. This is manipulation of a government system of open-ended mortgage insurance that is poorly supervised. What is going on here is a deluge of hot money from abroad that is creating an artificial and potentially dangerous real estate bubble. This mania happened in several other countries — where it was shut down — and has spread to Canada. Officials here have been urging restraint but that is not the solution. A ban on foreign buying of residences is the only solution.  (more)