201404.20
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The Expectations Gap

The stock market had a good week, up all four trading days, despite the continued mixed picture from the economy and earnings. Last week’s economic reports continued the recent pattern of some seemingly strong reports mixed with some pretty obviously weak ones. Retail sales were better than expected but the year over year core growth…

201402.07
0
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Finally Some Numerator

The official unemployment rate has been moving downward almost exclusively as the labor force shrinks so dramatically in proportion to the population. That wasn’t the intent for the design of the statistic, but the state of economic commentary being what it is has left most observers to draw their own conclusions (I think most unbiased…

201401.05
4
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Do You Feel Lucky?

Well, 2013 is in the books and it was a stellar year for anyone who had the moxy to ignore all the rules we’ve been taught about investing. Diversification? Didn’t need it last year. All you had to do was buy US stocks, the more speculative the better, and let it ride.  Bonds to reduce…

201312.02
1
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Policy, Fallacy and Marx

There is something very much broken in the media, particularly with regard to economic reporting. I have already commented more times than I care about the overemphasis on logical fallacies, but the proportionality of the disconnect only grows with share price inflation. Under the headline, Bull Market Shows No Sign of Death With Yellen Support,…

201311.10
2
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Extraordinary Times

I’ve been laid up the last week after a minor surgical procedure and while I haven’t been that productive at getting any actual work done, it has given me a lot of time to watch CNBC and Bloomberg. The portfolio managers, strategists and assorted market soothsayers stream across my screen, talking about markets the way…

201310.23
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No Second Half CAT Magic

Following up on yesterday’s inflection narrative, Caterpillar seems to have fallen prey to the same blindspot as economists. Everything with regard to economics and the economy is always assumed to move in a straight-line, forever. Linearity is a feature of the predictive economic model, and it is such an obvious weakness. In the earning’s release…

201308.26
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Earnings And Sales Continue To Run Below Great Recession

Last week it was Target’s turn to turn in a disappointing quarterly report. While being quite unique in blaming Canada, even the results in the US segment were lackluster, at best. Earnings expectations for the fiscal year were dimmed back in May, from a range of $4.85 to $5.05 down to $4.70 to $4.90. The…

201307.28
4
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Bear Out On A Limb

Like most investors, investment advisers are a consensus seeking lot. Most of them are not willing or psychologically able to do anything that is outside the accepted current trend. That doesn’t make them evil or dishonest or anything else bad; it just makes them human. It is always hard to stick out from the crowd…

201307.23
1
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No Hiding From Revenues

Earnings season is in full bloom and markets care little about the details as long headlines continue to provide optimism. That’s a pretty low bar since “beating” estimates is a rigged game. However, revenues are much more difficult to tailor by accounting conventions, so they offer a more reliable (not perfect) window into the fundamental…