Wednesday, June 22, 2011

These are a few of my favorite blogs...

OK, I won't hum a few bars from Rodgers and Hammerstein, but I will get right into today's post. 

In Monday's wrap up of the AR blogger quiz, I mentioned that one of the desert island quiz questions asked us to name our favorite blog. The exact question was, "if you could only read one blog (not Abnormal Returns) which would it be?"

If you read that post, you know that I picked Kent Thune's blog, The Financial Philosopher, as my desert island pick. What you may not have known is that I had a very hard time picking just one blog to read, and in fact named several blogs as favorites in my original response! 

So getting right to it, here are a few of my favorite, "must-read" blogs:


1. First off, if you haven't read The Financial Philosopher, I highly recommend it. 

Not only will you find the more recent posts a joy to read, but I think you'll also find that the archived material holds up very well and includes a great deal of original insight and wisdom not only on financial matters, but on life as well. I've learned a lot from Kent's blog and it's a great place to occasionally reflect and exchange ideas (in the comments section) with Kent and his readers.


2. You might have noticed some links to Joe Fahmy's trading blog in recent months, here and on Twitter. 

While Joe doesn't have as much time to update the blog as he used to, I still check in for his thoughts on the stock market and on trading. There are some great posts (and videos) on his stock selection methods and trading philosophy here. You'll also find some key interviews with pro traders like Joe's mentor, Mark Minervini.

3. The Tischendorf Letter is another great resource in the world of stock trading blogs. 

Not only does editor, Olivier Tischendorf combine technical analysis with macro and fundamental themes, he also serves up some great quotes and excerpts from his favorite trading books. Don't overlook his public chart lists and key interview posts as well.  



4. Last, but not least, is the excellent Mises Institute blog

A font of information and insight on economics and liberty, the Mises blog is also a gateway to the vast library of resources (ebooks, audio, and video presentations) found on the main Mises.org site. Keep this one bookmarked; you will need it (trust me). 

And of course, as a student of the markets and of writing, I'm always checking quality blogs whenever I can to get the best available info from my chosen filters. Please visit our blogroll ("Blogs") in the sidebar to find more of the excellent bloggers in our network. 

I learn something from all of these sources and I'm pleased to count some of them as my friends. Pay them a visit, read their posts, and if you like what they have to offer, subscribe and let them know!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Abnormal Returns: financial bloggers Q&A

Last week, while Tadas Viskanta at Abnormal Returns was on a week-long "blog break", AR ran a series of Q&A posts with some key independent finance bloggers. 

Since I enjoyed participating in, and reading, the quiz responses, I thought it'd be fun to share these with you here. 

1. Desert island blogger quiz - Book recommendations.  

Finance bloggers pick their favorite trading and investing books. One of my all-time favorites, Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, garnered the most top choice picks, but I highlighted another trading book.

2. Blogger quiz - Recent book recommendations

This time, Tadas asks the group for their favorite recently published (post-crisis) book. 

There are some interesting selections here. Still, I was a little surprised that no one picked Greg Zuckerman's The Greatest Trade Ever, an excellent account of the subprime mortgage crisis that centered on Paulson & Co.'s subprime CDS short trade.

3. Desert island blogger quiz - Blind trust edition

Bloggers decide who they'd turn their money over to if they had to put their portfolio into a blind trust. There are some great answers to this question.

4. Blogger quiz - Favorite blogs

If you could only read one blog (besides AR), which would it be? Tough question. I had a hard time naming just one and offered up several favorites, in spite of the one blog limit. Tune in tomorrow to find out which others I consider essential reading.

5. Desert island blogger quiz - Career change edition

There was a real common thread among finance bloggers running through this discussion topic. Check out the answers and Tadas' intro explanation to understand why. 

6. Blogger quiz - Tadas Viskanta responses

Turnabout is fair play, right? Tadas answers his own blogger quiz questions in this Q&A wrapup. 

All in all, this Q&A was a fun read and a great idea for a post series during AR's brief linkfest hiatus. Thanks to Tadas for including us, and to all the bloggers for their thoughtful answers. Go check out their blogs while you're at it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

MSFT and AAPL: a tale of two tickers



Who would have thought 10 years ago that Apple ($AAPL), then valued at an $8 billion market cap, would meet, then exceed Microsoft's ($MSFT) $200 billlion market cap by 2011? 

We could say so many things about Apple's historic transformation from tech also-ran to re-emergent industry leader in that time. You could also write a book describing Microsoft's eroding dominance and its stagnating shareholder returns in the post-PC world. 

Or we could just look at the chart above and know that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Howard Lindzon interviews Mark Cuban

 

Could have sworn I posted this StockTwits TV interview with Mark Cuban months ago, but maybe I just retweeted it. In any case, enjoy this laid-back and excellent discussion with the highly visible (and vocal) Mavs owner and entrepreneur. 

Entourage guest spots, investing, free agent talks with Lebron, the birth of Broadcast.com and the rise of user-generated web video... it's all here in this interview. 

Plus, more from Mark and Howard in this long/short interview segment.

Oh, and congrats to Mark and the Dallas Mavericks on their first NBA championship. The victory is well-earned

Related articles and posts: 

1. 10 Questions for Mark Cuban - Forbes interview.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Features of the Week

Get set for Friday links in our, "Features of the Week". 



1. Jim Rogers: only a crisis can solve US debt problem - WSJ.

2. What Keith Richards' 'Life' as a Rolling Stone tells us about economics - Forbes.

3. An example of why Illinois is screwed up - Points and Figures.

4. The ultimate China fraud linkfest - Abnormal Returns. 

5. Was it a "There it was" stock? - Crosshairs Trader.

6. Jeff Bezos on innovation: Amazon is "willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time." - Geekwire.
 

7. Another story on hedge funds "grabbing land" in Africa - BBC.

8. Ron Paul: more people have died in the drug war than from drugs - Liberty Underground. 

9. 2010 Oil story: drawing down the inventories - Gregor Macdonald. 

10. Why comedians make great investors - Financial Philosopher.

11. Learn to overcome your obstacles - Kirk Report.

That's all for this week. Enjoy your weekend and keep us on your RSS and real-time radars for more to come.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Thinking out loud

Funny how Paul Giamatti's career arc has spanned Pig Vomit, Miles, Harvey Pekar & Ben Bernanke. All slightly mad.Thu Jun 09 19:45:08 via web

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Stealth bull market leader: DTG

Here's one some of us may have missed in the great Bull Market of Disbelief (2009-present): Dollar Thrifty Auto Group (DTG). 

Check out the 3 year pattern on this stock, from the collapse of '08 to the bull market recovery of 2009 and beyond. Yes, you see that chart right. DTG has risen from its early '09 lows below 80 cents to over $81 today. That's not a "10-bagger", it's a 100-bagger, or a 10,000% gain. 


I happened to notice this chart while scanning through some names in the diversified services sector today on freestockcharts.com. When I backed up from the daily chart to view DTG on a weekly timeframe, the phenomenal rise and long-term recovery pattern were staring me right in the face. 

Here was a name I had totally lost track of for at least the past year or more. I wondered if anyone else was long DTG or even tracking it, as I couldn't recall many mentions of it in my Twitter stream or in the trading blogs I read. 

While glancing through the archived $DTG tweets on StockTwits, I noticed some interesting things. 

First off, the stock is not one of the hotly followed securities on StockTwits, with only 8 people following the ticker (some hot stocks or futures contracts will boast over 1,000 followers on ST). It is under-followed and probably under-owned among retail investors, although it is very widely held among institutions.

Secondly, the stock has been lifted higher in recent months thanks to a protracted bidding war among major car-rental chains Avis and Hertz. In fact, the two firms have been fighting for DTG since April, 2010. Here's a funny little tweet from Leigh Drogen, way back in September of 2010, which illustrates that fact. 

Finally, many of the archived tweets seem to highlight the fact that many of us just plain missed it, or were reluctant to go long after witnessing the first 1,000% advance. A great many also seemed to want to play DTG short-term for swing trades on the long or short side, but few traders offered a verified account of their ownership of DTG over the long haul. 

So here's a stealth bull market leader that many of us seem to have missed. Something I found interesting on a day when many of the stocks in my watchlist are chopping around or breaking down. I guess it really does pay to take note of the market leaders, go long, and acquire the wherewithal to sit tight (with proper risk management in place).

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Felix Zulauf interview: storm clouds ahead

FT.com interviews Swiss investor, Felix Zulauf, who sees storm clouds ahead for world markets. 

Always worthwhile to hear Zulauf's views on the economy and investment markets. He feels we are entering a rough period ahead for emerging markets as they work to tighten inflation. He also anticipates a double dip in Europe, as well as a "tremendous slowing" in China. 

Felix also makes some interesting forecasts on the US dollar, bonds, commodities, and the shape of quantitative easing (QE) to come, which he believes will be global in nature.

Great response from Zulauf when asked about recent boom conditions in Germany: "I like to look forward not backwards". An excellent reminder that markets are forward looking in nature and "always run ahead of the fundamentals".

Friday, June 03, 2011

Did the recession ever really go away?

"Their stupid and profligate stimulus did not work." 

That's the verdict of Jeffrey Tucker's new Mises.org article, "Did the Recession Ever Really Go Away?".

As Tucker points out, the massive stimulus programs and bailouts of the past three years (under Bush and Obama) haven't amounted to a hill of beans in terms of actual economic improvement. 

Has the average American's lot in life been improved due to these measures? No, but they have helped save some politically-connected institutions (banks, unions, insurers) and given the appearance of government doing something to "help" matters. 

Here's an excerpt from that piece: 
"The screaming pleas from the political class in 2008 weren't really about finding a cure. They were about saving the top players (banks, unions, insurers) in a system that was built on illusion.
According to official dating, the recession lasted only 18 months, and then recovery began. The belief that we are recovered then became the new illusion, mostly fostered by the injection of phony money and massive spending built on debt. As college grads faced a hostile labor market, as retailers dramatically shrunk inventories, as businesses have closed and closed, as income has shrunk, and as prices have pushed higher and higher, the feeling on the part of most people has been: something is not right...". 
Do have a look at the full piece. You'll find some skillfully woven intro paragraphs, thoughts on why the stimulus simply won't work, and a list of suggested reading material on Austrian economic principles and freedom. Pass it on.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Commodities update: May futures performance

An infographic look into the dark heart of the commodities complex, via Finviz' 1 month futures performance chart (period ending June 1, 2011). 

As you can see, May has been no picnic for much of the commodities world. We saw a notable sell-off in crude oil in early May, coinciding with the reported killing of Osama bin Laden. 

Speaking of energy, natural gas has shown some strength in recent days. While it was slightly down on the month, the relatively clean energy option for electricity, heating, and transport has moved higher since the recent nuclear catastrophe in Japan.

Some soft commodities, such as cocoa and coffee, sold off or remained depressed. 

However, orange juice futures were able to post some nice gains for the month. In fact, along with oats, OJ was one of the top performers among the Finviz-tracked futures performers (up 8.7% for the month).

Of course, anyone keeping up with the markets knows of silver's recent plunge off its April highs. While silver may have to consolidate a bit more before resuming its long-term upward trend, gold weathered the early May rout quite well, and is now within striking distance of its early May high of $1,577.40 an ounce. 







That's a wrap. Thanks for checking in. You can follow Finance Trends on Twitter and StockTwits for more real-time info on the precious metals and investment markets.