Monday, May 30, 2011

Fun on Twitter with Joan Jett + upcoming posts

Just a fun, candid shot of Joan Jett (then of The Runaways) backstage in 1977.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm spending a lot more time on Twitter lately than on the blog. Twitter is fun, it's easy to post quick thoughts & links (on any subject), and with the efficient grouping (via lists and follows) of market participants and favorite bloggers on the stream, it's become my "RSS feed you can talk to".

I'll be posting on the blog a bit more (after hours, or during the day when time allows) in coming weeks. You'll probably start to see more market and trading-related commentary which mirror our real-time discussions on Twitter and StockTwits, as well as our more recent posts on stocks and futures markets.

PS, be sure to visit some of our favorite bloggers in the meantime (see our sidebar "Blogs" list), and check out Brad Elterman's fantastic photo blog while you're at it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Austrian economics and financial markets: Kevin Duffy interview



Mises Institute's Jeffrey Tucker interviews hedge fund manager, Kevin Duffy (Bearing Asset Mgmt.) to discuss Austrian economics and navigating the financial markets with an Austrian perspective.

This is a must watch, must hear discussion on basic economic principles and the problems of crony capitalism and the "political economy" that have grown out of the bailouts and stimulus-fueled responses to the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

QE and QE2 have helped spur a two year rally in the stock market, but Duffy argues that these easy money policies have created many harmful unintended consequences. Check out the full interview for insights into how Duffy and his firm use their Austrian viewpoint to analyze economic trends and invest in the capital markets.

Related articles and posts:

1. Marc Faber at Mises Circle: final crisis is yet to come.

2. Navigating the Financial Markets with an Austrian Compass (w/ Kevin Duffy).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stock watch: Social media, oil, and uranium

All anyone wanted to talk about today, it seems, was the LinkedIn (LNKD) IPO and whether or not there is a bubble in social media and tech startup valuations.


It was interesting to see the strength in LinkedIn spread to some of the other names in the social networking arena, such as SINA and QPSA, today.



We'll let you decide whether the LinkedIn IPO marks a Netscape-type event (1995) for social web or a fin de siecle reminiscent of the 1999-2000 dot com bubble peak. One thing is certain, easy money policies did a great deal to fuel deals and share prices in both cycles.

Meanwhile, I decided to look at some of the charts in the beaten down energy and resource sectors. Here are a couple names that caught my eye (no current positions in highlighted names and no personal investing/trading recommendations are intended. Do your own research & manage your own trades wisely).

Hathor Exploration (HAT.TO) is one of the only uranium names in my watchlist showing any strength. The sector has been extremely weak overall in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, so score one for HAT.TO on the relative strength meter at least.


Also been revisiting the smaller oil & gas names in my watchlist. Most of these momentum-driven shares took a big hit once crude oil turned down from its highs in April. Hercules Offshore (HERO) is one name from my oil & gas list that's held up quite well in that time.


One last chart: Pyramid Oil (PDO) is a more thinly-traded O&G stock that was beaten down from its March highs. There might be more downside for this stock in the near-term, but a shelf of support in the 4.50 to 4.70 area is evident on the weekly chart. If we see a bit more volume and follow through on this trendline break, it could signal a much-improved picture ahead for PDO.


So hopefully that gives you an added look beyond the web stocks and fuels some ideas for your own stock screens. As always, make the ideas your own and manage your risk. See you soon & in real-time on the stream.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Michael Bigger on Starting Over

I'm revisiting Michael Bigger's post on the things he'd do differently if he were to start all over again, professionally. This is a great essay and thought experiment and I wanted to share it with you.

Here are some excerpted ideas from, "Starting Over":

  • "Education: I would learn from the money makers not the teachers. I would not get an MBA. I would not get a CFA. Actually, through my experience I would plant the seed to develop an education platform at a very early stage in my financial career. Here is what John Templeton had to say about the education system before he passed away. The traditional is toast.
  • I would learn to write better.
  • I would start trading my money right away.
  • I would start a business as early as possible.
  • I would not build a career; I would build a platform."
If you've read Michael's blog and trading ideas on Twitter, or watched this interview on Michael's "trading recipes", writing, and technology, you'll know that he is constantly incorporating many of these ideas into his trading and business approach.

Go check out the full post at the link above, especially if you are a young person starting out in life or someone who is looking to rethink and start over.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on Charlie Rose


Caught Netflix CEO and founder, Reed Hastings on Charlie Rose the other night.

Great interview, with some very interesting insights on new media business models and the future of "the cloud". In fact, Hastings' comments on the cloud and Amazon's online services seemed to echo this short and sweet post on the cloud's bullish future from Phil Pearlman.

It turns out Hastings was a guest at Charlie Rose's table before, back in late 2005. It will be interesting to check out that interview as well to compare how Netflix and streaming media have evolved since that time.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Commodities rout: evening update

So by now, I'm sure most of you have digested much of the news surrounding this week's commodities rout.

What started out as a noteworthy plunge in silver, helped along by an 84% increase in margin requirements over the past two weeks, quickly spread across the commodities complex. From gold and crude oil to natural gas and heating oil, few were left unscathed.

Here's a quick summary of the day's events from Bloomberg:

"
Commodities plunged the most since 2009, led by oil and silver, and stocks posted the biggest three-day drop since March as selling of energy futures drove down equities. The dollar strengthened and Treasuries jumped.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 commodities sank 6.5 percent at 4:32 p.m. in New York and has lost 9.9 percent this week. Oil tumbled 8.6 percent, the most in two years, to $99.80 a barrel. Silver dropped 8 percent, extending the biggest four- day slump since 1983 to 25 percent."

The article's quoted source went on to describe the selling as a "classic liquidation move in a crowded trade". Indeed, I've seen a fair bit of talk suggesting that margin increases in silver and the accompanying plunge led to forced selling of other assets, including stocks.

I posted this Finviz 1 week relative performance chart of commodities on Chart.ly earlier tonight.


As you'll see, orange juice and 30 year Treasury bonds held their own during this recent decline. Most of the other commodities were not as fortunate, with silver and crude oil leading the declines so far this week.

So far, we're hearing a lot to suggest that this is the start of a needed correction in an overheated commodities sector, rather than a harbinger of a longer-term bear market. We'll keep our eyes peeled and focused on the futures complex in the weeks ahead.

Related articles and posts.

1. Flash crash commodities edition with Greg Simmons & Co. - MissTrade.

2. What does Jim Rogers think of the silver crash? - Credit Writedowns.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Stockbee interview with Mark Minervini

Pradeep Bonde at Stockbee has posted an interview with "Market Wizard", Mark Minervini.

For those who don't already know, Mark is something of a present-day all-star stock trader and, more recently, a stock trading educator. In 2000, Jack Schwager profiled Mark in his book, Stock Market Wizards, thanks to his largely self-taught skill and the trading record he had amassed up to that point.

Here's an excerpt from Stockbee's interview with Mark:

[SB]: "You often say the individual investor/trader has a great advantage over the Professional manager. What gives the individual investor the edge?

[Mark Minervini]: The biggest advantage that the individual investor has is control. With today’s technology, most traders can have the same tools as a pro. However, the individual trader has a tremendous advantage over professionals like mutual fund managers, mainly because they have greater liquidity and speed. 

This enables the individual to be more concentrated in a smaller list of well-selected names at lower risk because the individual can utilize stop-loss protection with little or no slippage. The individual, with a faster response time, can be more patient and strike at only the most opportune moments, which is the best advantage of all.. " 

After reading Stockbee's interview, be sure to check out Joe Fahmy's interview with Minervini for additional insights into Minervini's trading philosophy and what Fahmy learned from working with him. Excellent stuff.