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Monday, February 28, 2011

Federal Subsidy for Anti-Poverty Development Goes Elsewhere

David Dietz documents the perversion of the New Markets Tax Credits program in his Bloomberg article, ' Rich Take From Poor as U.S. Subsidy Law Funds Luxury Hotels '.

Some excerpts :

The landmark Blackstone Hotel in downtown Chicago, which has hosted 12 U.S. presidents, opened in 2008 after a two-year, $116 million renovation. Inside the Beaux Arts structure, built in 1910, buffed marble staircases greet guests spending up to $699 a night for rooms with views of Lake Michigan.

What’s surprising isn’t the opulent makeover: It’s how the project was financed. The work was subsidized by a federal development program intended to help poor communities.

The biggest beneficiary of taxpayer help for the Blackstone revamp was Prudential Financial Inc., the second-largest U.S. life insurer. The company got $15.6 million in tax credits from the U.S. Department of the Treasury for helping to fund the project, according to Chicago city records, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its March issue.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the second-largest U.S. bank by assets, also took in money by serving as a lender and the monitor of Blackstone construction financing, city records show.

Since 2003, some of the world’s biggest financial companies, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., U.S. Bancorp, JPMorgan Chase and Prudential, have taken advantage of a federal subsidy that will cost taxpayers $10.1 billion -- and most of the public has never heard of it.

Investors have used the program, called New Markets Tax Credits, to help build more than 300 upscale projects, including hotels, condominiums, office buildings and a car museum, on streets far from poverty, according to Treasury Department records released through a federal Freedom of Information Act request.

Why the EU hasn't been more forthcoming re: the crisis in North Africa...

is the subject of a fascinating and provoctive article by the staff of DER SPEIGEL.

Some excerpts :

The upheaval on the other side of the Mediterranean has caught the Europeans unprepared. For decades, they have fawned over the despots of North Africa because they promised both oil and protection against African refugees and Islamist terrorists. Diplomats from Helsinki to Rome gave little thought to the fact that these rulers were also denying their subjects basic human rights. The subject generally only came to mind once a year, when they filed away the latest annual report from Amnesty International.

But now that dictatorships across the entire region are tottering, the Europeans are unsure how to regard the freedom movement on their doorstep. On the one hand, they see the youth of North Africa invoking exacting the same values of rule of law and democracy that Europeans supposedly feel are so closely tied to their own identity. But, on the other hand, they worry about how unfolding events could give rise to new economic uncertainty. And it obviously doesn't help that the unrest is hitting European citizens right where they are most sensitive: at the gas pump.

Whether it's between Germany and Saudi Arabia, France and Morocco, or Italy and Libya, when it comes to European ties to countries in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, national interests are more important than European ones. In the case of Libya, that means that, instead of taking immediate, concerted action, EU member countries took a long time before they could even agree on minimal sanctions.

The speed with which the UN Security Council acted only highlighted the EU's failure. On Tuesday, despite not being particularly known for swift decisions, the Security Council demanded that those committing atrocities in Libya be brought to account for their actions. Then on Saturday, the Security Council voted unanimously to impose an asset freeze on Gadhafi and some of his children, as well as a travel ban on the whole family and a number of their associates. The council also agreed to refer Gadhafi to the International Criminal Court for an investigation into possible crimes against humanity.

The EU is not only deeply divided in foreign-policy matters. The wrangling is at least as fierce when it comes to the issue of how the refugees from North Africa should be dealt with. In their public statements, EU leaders praise the Libyans' and Tunisians' battle for freedom. But, so far, they have shown very little inclination to help the very people whose lives and economic livelihoods are threatened by this same struggle.

At a meeting of EU justice and interior ministers last week in Brussels, Italy, Malta, Cyprus and Greece demanded solidarity from their EU colleagues. "This is a catastrophic humanitarian emergency," Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni told reporters. "We cannot be left alone."

Maroni also received some backing from Spain. But Germany, Austria and the other EU states don't want to hear about it.

This Stormy Monday, It's All About Oil

Whither Oil ? In her SEEKING ALPHA piece, Dian Chu tells us [emphasis mine] ...

expect a market correction at the next contract rollover around March 8. Technical indications suggest WTI crude could easily correct to the $90 levels, heating oil to the $2.60 levels, and RBOB to the $2.50 levels. From a trading and investor’s point of view, the size of the correction would be worthwhile to go in and short the April crude, RBOB and heating oil.
Fed’s QE2, a weak dollar, recent upbeat economic data and a cold winter season has provided support to crude product prices. However, as winter ends, QE2 expires in June with QE3 an unlikely scenario, and China cools off its economy to fight inflation, gasoline and distillates probably have already seen their highs for the year already.
Ian Bezek lists ' 7 Reasons Crude Is Going to $80/barrel ' : high current crude inventories ; slowing global recovery ; "geopolitical pressures should blow over" ; "geopolitics cannot drive the oil price in the long run" ; Oil historically overvalued compared with natural gas ; U.S. dollar is stronger than in 2008 ; Oil faces significant price resistance.

Erik Wright concurs that "oil prices cannot have too far left to go", and are due for a short-term correction, yet urges caution about taking short positions on oil. Even so...
As for bearish investors on oil, buying the following ETFs or buying calls for the following ETFs provides an easy way to make money when oil decides to pull back to reasonable levels.
    * PowerShares DB Crude Oil Short ETF (SZO)
    * PowerShares DB Crude Oil Double Short ETF (DTO)
    * ProShares UltraShort Oil & Gas (DUG)
    * ProShares Short Oil & Gas (DDG)
On the other hand, investors can also short sell the long ETFs to make money when oil falls. Many investors prefer doing this as many of the bull ETFs tend to be more liquid then the bear ETFs.
The following are a list of long ETFs that can be used to short sell or buy puts on to make money when oil pulls back. Investors may also consider taking a long position or buying calls for the following ETFs once the oil pullback has been completed.
    * PowerShares DB Crude Oil Long ETF (OLO)
    * PowerShares DB Oil (DBO)
    * ProShares Ultra Oil & Gas (DIG)
Meantime, Cliff Wachtel maps out the likely economic/market outcomes of the Libyan/MENA (Middle East/North Africa) political crisis and lists specific winners and losers 

Losers :
Most Libyan oil goes to the EU, so supply affects will be felt there most of all.
In short, 78% of that 1.7 million barrels/day, 1.33 million barrels, goes to Europe, over 540 million/ day just to Italy.
Therefore global stock indexes in general suffer, especially those with more Libya, MENA and EU exposure.
* Major Global Stock Indexes and their related ETFs: SPY, DIA, .N225, SSEC, BSE
* EU stock indexes and related companies, especially those with heavy Libya ties, including:
* Italy
* Stock Index: FTSE MIB Index, or its related ETF, the iShares MSCI Italy Index ETF (EWI), related stocks: UniCredit (NYSE: UCG), Fiat (FIATY.PK), Eni (ENI)
* Germany : Index DAX (.GDAXI), and its components with strong Libya ties
* Oil companies in Libya: ENI (ENI), BASF (BASFY.PK), Total SA (TOT), Marathon Oil (MRO), ConocoPhillips (COP), Repsol (REP), OMV AG (OMVKY.PK), Hess Corp (HES), Occidental Petroleum (OXY), Statoil ASA (STO)

Winners :
 * Stocks: Oil companies without Libyan exposure: Exxon Mobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX), Noble Energy (NBL). Anyone else without Libyan or MENA exposure too, but these are the obvious ones.
* Commodities & Related ETFs:
          o Oil: (USO, IYE, IGE, XLE, VDE) – NB: haven’t yet seen a really good oil ETF that actually tracks oil well. Ideas? Obviously those with actual commodity, option, or binary option accounts can trade this directly, same goes for the commodities below.
          o Gold (GLD, IAU, ABX, AEM)
          o Silver: (SLV)

Finally,  Steven Jon Kaplan argues that longer-term we should see much lower oil prices due to oil-states' need to placate their restive populations.
There is no way to know for sure whether or not there will be actual democratic governments in some countries like Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, or whether one form of autocratic or oligarchic rule will simply be supplanted by another. One thing, however, is for certain: the masses have made their voices heard and will continue to demand actual governmental intervention. The simplest form of intervention is to set up or expand social programs of various kinds, along with extended public assistance and related projects. All of these require government funding, and the only way that a major oil-producing nation can generate such funding is by producing more oil.

The key to the balance of power is that in past years, the necessity to maintain an oil-price monopoly trumped concerns about social unrest. This equation has now become inverted. Going forward, maintaining social order will be more important than ensuring the highest living standards for the ruling elite. In order to maintain their hold on power, they will have to make some concessions, and they must pay for those concessions from increased crude oil production. 
In support of this thesis Kaplan points to spending plans in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Therefore, over a period of one or two years, we are likely to see a huge increase in oil production in those countries which are either directly threatened by political unrest, or who believe they may be threatened and choose to act preemptively to prevent discord. As the OPEC cartel crumbles under this new world order, the price of crude oil will plummet. There is constant chatter in the media about when regular unleaded gasoline will once again exceed four dollars per gallon, as it had done in the late spring and early summer of 2008. The exact opposite will occur: the price of gasoline in many parts of the United States will sell for less than two dollars per gallon, as it did near the end of 2008 and for the first several months of 2009.
We are not likely to see such a dramatic plunge in the next year, since we didn't get as high in the first place. However, it is quite possible for crude oil to lose half of its value by 2012, thereby putting it close to 50 dollars per barrel. Especially with everyone looking up, a downside bet is almost certain to be highly profitable. It is like betting on a horse race in which the favorite has the longest odds.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tonight's Blogger DJ BLast - A Cure for the Presidents' Day Doldrums ?

WHAM !
Phil Collins - Easy Lover
Phil Collins - Take Me Home
Phil Collins - A Groovy Kind Of Love 
Phil Collins - Don't Lose My Number
Phil Collins - Sussudio
Diana Ross & Julio Iglesias - All Of You
Wham! - I'm Your Man
Fine Young Cannibals - Good Thing
UB40 - Red Red Wine
Duran Duran - The Reflex
Simple Minds - Don't you (forget about me)
A-Ha - Take On Me
Missing Persons - Give

How Badly Does the GOP Need the Latino Vote in the 2012 Pres. Election?

Check out Thomas F. Schaller's article, 'The Latino Threshhold', on Larry Sabato's CRYSTAL BALL  Website.

The bottom line ?
To win re-election, President Obama must close the sale again with Latinos during the next two years. But if recent numbers from Public Policy Polling in key swing states are any indication, at least in potential head-to-head matchups against Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and (most especially) Sarah Palin, Obama is in as good a shape if not better in all four of Latino-pivotal swing states.
Beyond Obama’s fate, in general if Republican candidates in statewide contests for governor or U.S. Senate in heavily-Latino states can maintain support in the mid-40s, the Democrats are in deep trouble. This is especially true in states where the African American and/or Asian populations are small—such as in the Southwest—because there the GOP’s white voter advantage is sufficient to win statewide.
Whether the 2012 Republican presidential candidate needs to get 40 percent or more, and what set of policy positions on the economy and immigration will bring GOP presidential or statewide candidates to that level. But the post-2010 bottom line is not much different from what it was before either Barack Obama or the Tea Partiers arrived on the national scene: Republicans don’t need to carry the Latino vote—yet—but in the near term, and particularly in presidential cycles, they need to stay reasonably competitive.

How do the Feds Tax ETF's, ETN's, and ETP's ?

Check out these two excellent, detailed articles on the SEEKING ALPHA website.

ETFs, ETNs and Your Taxes: Street One's Paul Weisbruch Explains All
Paul Weisbruch is the VP of ETF/Index Sales and Trading at Street One Financial surveys taxation of ETF's and ETN's.

ETFs and Taxes: Not All Exchange-Traded Products Created Equal, by Abraham Bailin of MORNINGSTAR.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Check out Philip Davis' Latest Post on Seeking Alpha.

Among the many useful, if not provocative, tidbits he provides is a pointer to the MIT Billion Prices Project, which offers more realistic inflation info than the B(L)S, and shows that the U.S. has experienced over 2% inflation just since Christmas. 

And what of the concurrent rise in the Stock Market ? Davis responds...
The rising tide of inflation can certainly lift all market ships. Of course we’re ignoring the relative value of stocks to real inflation but that’s a deep kind of discussion we have with Members over months, not in two paragraphs of a morning post. As a quick example, check out the S&P 500 priced in gold since the crash. If we assume gold is a real hedge against inflation and the real value of a dollar, then U.S. equities are STILL down 41% off the highs with a DECLINING 200-day moving average. In other words, we are losing ground to inflation and currency devaluation with our market plays

What's at Risk if Egypt Unrest Spreads ?

Clearly the supply of oil from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well.

And how much oil are we talking about ?  Dian Chu provides these numbers in her SEEKING ALPHA post, 'Crude Oil: Egypt Contagion and a Tale of Two Risk Premiums ' :

Among those countries, eight (Saudi Arabia, Libya, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, and UAE) are OPEC members. Should riots erupt throughout MENA, it would mean 35% of the world’s oil production, or about 29.6 million bpd, would be at risk. Not to mention these eight OPEC nations also hold about a 75% share of global oil reserves, and two more OPEC members – Nigeria and Angola—are just south of MENA.

Stock Market Not a Cradle of American Capitalism, says Felix Salmon

who in his SEEKING ALPHA post responds to the following statement by NY Sen. Chuck Schumer, commenting on the possible merger of NYSE Euronext and the Deutsche Börse :
The New York Stock Exchange is the cradle of American capitalism. It is a national treasure. In America, we start each day in our Congress and in our classrooms with the Pledge of Allegiance, and we also start it with the ringing of the bell on the floor of the stock exchange.
But as Salmon sees it--and says in his NYT Op-Ed piece

Today, however, stock markets, once the bedrock of American capitalism, are slowly becoming a noisy sideshow that churns out increasingly meager returns. The show still gets lots of attention, but the real business of the global economy is inexorably leaving the stock market — and the vast majority of us — behind.

Monday, February 14, 2011

For Valentine's Day, Blogger DJ Segues Eclectically from Friday's Entry with More Songs about Love

...in its various forms and phases, not all of them romantic.  

What can I say ?  C'est la vie.

Elvis Costello - Everyday I Write the Book
The Monotones - Who Wrote The Book Of Love
Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders - The Game of Love
Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders - Groovy kind of love
Phil Collins - Groovy Kind Of Love
Thurston Harris - Little Bitty Pretty One
Huey Lewis and The News - Little Bitty Pretty One
Huey Lewis and The News - But It's alright
J.J. Jackson - But It's Alright
Michelle Branch & Santana - The Game of Love
The Turtles - Happy Together
The Monkees - I'm a Believer
Smash Mouth - I'm A Believer
Judy Collins - Since You've Asked
Donovan    - Wear Your Love Like Heaven
Lucienne Boyer - Parlez-Moi D'Amour
Procol Harum - Too Much Between Us
Leonard Cohen - Hey, thats no way to say goodbye
Leonard Cohen - Winter Lady 
Sting - Shape of my Heart
Donovan - Laleña

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tonight's Song is a Blast from the Past

My Little Red Book, by Love.

A wonderfully representative song of the 60's musically.

And in terms of verse, a wonderful variant on the poetic form known as the priamel.

WikiLeaks Insider Blows Whistle : Assange Hypersexed AND Callous ?

A new book by a former WikiLeaks insider "portrays Julian Assange as a paranoid megalomaniac—an “emperor”—who cared so little about computer security and the anonymity of his sources that control of vast amounts of secret information leaked to the website was seized from Assange by WikiLeaks dissidents last fall. And never returned." So reports Philip Shenon, in THE DAILY BEAST.
The book by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Assange’s former spokesman and right-hand man, says that WikiLeaks functioned for almost all of its existence as a two-man operation—Assange and Domscheit-Berg—despite Assange’s claims of a large staff of paid workers and volunteers, and that Assange routinely lied to the public about the whistleblowing site and the extent of its support.
In his book, Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website, which is being published this month in the United States and Europe, Domscheit-Berg, a 32-year-old German computer scientist, says that he and others became so alarmed last fall by Assange’s disinterest in the website’s security and in protecting the identity of its leakers that they took control over the site’s software for submitting leaks, as well as the voluminous leaked material itself.
Apart from its ugly portrayal of Assange as acting like “an emperor or slave trader” in his management of WikiLeaks, the book could also create new legal headaches for Assange as he fights extradition to Sweden on sexual abuse charges, involving allegations that rebuffed demands that he wear condoms during sex and, in at least one case, ripped a hole in a condom.
In the excerpts that appear on Cryptome, Domscheit-Berg writes of Assange’s efforts during his travels around the world to seduce young, pliant women – preferably under the age of 22—and of Assange’s boasts “about how many children he had fathered in various parts of the world. He seemed to enjoy the idea of lots of little Julians, one on every continent.”

Weekly Politics Part III : Obama, START, Brit Nuke Secrets, and WikiLeaks

Did the U.S. deliver British nuclear weapons secrets to the Russians as the price for START ? That's what Andrew Roberts contends in THE DAILY BEAST, based on information from newly-disclosed WikiLeaks cables :

The reports that the Obama administration has told the Russians certain British nuclear secrets in order to secure a New START promotes him from being a mere irritant for the Special Relationship to a downright menace. It is bad enough the president arrogating to himself the decision as to who should rule in Egypt, but it is completely unacceptable for him to undermine the whole basis of the British nuclear deterrent, which has always been to keep the Russians guessing about how many warheads the United Kingdom has.
...the leaked cables show that the Obama administration lobbied the British Foreign Office and Ministry of Defense in 2009 for permission to simply tell Moscow this data about the number, age, and performance capabilities of Trident.

Needless to say, the U.K refused, because not letting the Russians know the full extent of its deterrent has long been key to its success. Yet astonishingly—and in my view despicably—the Obama administration seems to have simply rode roughshod over British objections and—according both to WikiLeaks and the Daily Telegraph of London—“The U.S. agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain.”
Now, in his desire for a disarmament treaty that will boost Obama’s image as a peace-monger, the president has blurted out that number to the Russians. Any Briton caught doing such a thing would be immediately arrested under the 1911 Official Secrets Act, tried, and imprisoned for up to 60 years. When Obama does exactly the same thing, however, for short-term political gain, it’s called statesmanship. Small wonder that there has been an outcry in Britain, with the anti-American left instancing this as yet another example of the one-sidedness of the Special Relationship.
Supporters of that Relationship, who truly believe that it continues to be a mainstay of global civilization, are now being mocked for putting their faith in an alliance where the other side can behave so high-handedly. And where are the American friends of Britain who should be outraged at this treatment of the ally which has contributed the largest number of NATO troops—and thus casualties—to the American-led operations in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Weekly Politics Fix, Part II : Simply Repealing ObamaCare Won't Wash

argues Jeffrey H. Anderson in THE WEEKLY STANDARD :

House Republicans are now confronted with their greatest challenge—and opportunity—in the whole span of the health care debate. They need to show the American people that the choice is not between Obamacare and nothing. They need to provide a meaningful, sensible alternative to Obamacare’s comprehensive failings.
The American people want three main things out of health care reform: They want health costs to drop. They want the number of people with insurance to rise. And they want to make sure that people with expensive preexisting conditions aren’t going without medical care. Republicans can deliver on all three counts.
There are also many things that Americans don’t want out of health care reform: the loss of their health care plans; reductions in medical innovation; a decline in the quality of care; massive increases in federal spending and debt; the government injecting itself into the doctor-patient relationship; eventual federal rationing. Republicans can avoid following in Obamacare’s ominous footsteps on each of these counts.
The Republican plan should emphasize three relatively simple things: lowering health costs, stopping the tax code from discriminating against the uninsured, and funding state-run community (“high-risk”) pools. A GOP plan that did these three things would be scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as cutting costs and adding on the order of 10 million people to the ranks of the newly insured.
What should the GOP plan contain, accordng to Anderson  ?  Read on. 

Weekly Politics Fix Part I : Maine Goes Red, and Rhode Island Deep in the Red

MAINE SWINGS REPUBLICAN IN 2010.  WHY ?

In 2010, For the first time since 1964, Maine Republicans captured the governorship, the senate, and the house​ for the first time since 1964. Was it the anti-Obama tsunami at work ? Acutally, it was the maturing of antitax groups that had been organizing for the better part of a decade, as private sector job growth stagnated and the percentage of personal income from government sources reached 36% (compared to neighboring New Hampshire's 24%).  Maine's citizenry was also activated (or aggravated ?) by the legislature's 2009 proposal for tax reform, which, while lowering the state income tax to 6.5% from 8.5%,  would have created 102 new taxes.

For the details, read  Conrad Kiechel's 'Downeast Is Red : The revival of the Maine GOP'  in THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

RHODE ISLAND'S SINKING DEEPER INTO DEBT, according to Steven Malanga in REAL CLEAR MARKETS. 
Rhode Island's long-term obligations compare unfavorably with just about any other state, and that's saying a lot. An evaluation of state finances by the Daily Beast recently ranked Rhode Island the state most likely to go bust because of the combination of its budget deficit, outstanding debt and unfunded pension liabilities relative to economic capacity. Moody's, which recently issued a report on combined municipal debt and outstanding pension obligations for the states, ranked Rhode Island among the most troubled states on a variety of metrics, including combined liabilities as a percent of GDP and as a percent of state revenues.

The state's spendthrift political culture infects its local governments. A recent audit revealed that Rhode Island's biggest city, Providence, has been spending more than it budgets throughout the recession and depleting its reserve funds in the process, to the point where the city is almost out of cash. Last year alone the city overspent its budget by $13.9 million, bringing its reserve down to just $3.5 million, barely one-tenth of where it should be. The city council has approved borrowing some $48 million this year to cover its deficit.
If you listened to Chafee's inaugural address last month you didn't get much of a sense of these manifold and urgent problems, including a $300 million deficit on a $7.8 billion budget and an 11.5 percent unemployment rate. Vaguely referring to challenging times the state faced, the governor mentioned prominently only two specific initiatives, his rescinding through executive order of a program requiring employers to check whether new hires are eligible to work in the United States, and a bill to allow gay marriage in the state. Chafee touted these moves as part of his prescription for reviving the Rhode Island economy by creating a ‘civil state' of diverse interests. That, he said, would "do more for economic growth in our state than any economic development loan."
A member of the Providence Journal editorial board observed that the governor did not use the words ‘jobs' or ‘deficit' once in his inaugural speech and "did not spend much time expressing concern for the middle class struggling to get by."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tonight's Playlist - Blogger DJ Yearns to Escape to the Heat

Hawaii. Wish I was there...
The Beach Boys - Kokomo
The Beach Boys - California Girls
The Beach Boys - Fun, Fun, Fun
The Mamas & The Papas - California Dreamin'
Scott MacKenzie - San Francisco
Jimmy Buffet - MargaritaVille
Peggy Lee - Fever
Power Station - Some Like it Hot
Elton John - Island Girl
Buster Poindexter - Hot, Hot, Hot
Smashmouth - Walking on the Sun   

Monday, February 7, 2011

Save the Bees !

It's a matter of global food security, says colmunist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at THE TELEGAPH.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tonight's Playlist - Blogger DJ's Escape from the 70's

Queen & George Michael - Somebody To Love
Queen & Elton John - Bohemian Rhapsody
Queen & Paul Young - Radio Ga-Ga
Queen, David Bowie & Annie Lennox - Under Pressure
Cheap Trick - I Want You To Want Me - from Budokan
Cheap Trick - Surrender
Blue Oyster Cult - Don't Fear the Reaper
ELO - Strange Magic
ELO- Livin' Thing
Traffic - Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys
Traffic - Rock & Roll Stew
Traffic - Light Up or Leave Me Alone
Blind Faith (Clapton and Knopfler Cover) - Can't Find My Way Home
Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing 
Allman Brothers Band - In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
Allman Brothers Band - Ramblin Man
Allman Brothers Band - Midnight Rider
Allman Brothers Band - Whipping Post
Steely Dan - Do It Again
Steely Dan - Reelin' In the Years
Steely Dan - Any Major Dude Will Tell You
Steely Dan - Rikki Don't Lose That Number 
Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run
Bruce Springsteen - She's The One
Bruce Springsteen - Hungry Heart
Gary Wright - Dream Weaver
Gary Wright - My Love Is Alive (Midnight Special, 1976)
War with Eric Burdon - Spill the Wine

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tonight's Playlist - Blogger DJ's Stuck in the 70's Groove

Candi Staton - Young Hearts Run Free
Bill Withers - Just the Two of Us
Bill Withers - Use me
Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine
Bill Withers - Lean On Me
Stevie Wonder - Superstition
Stevie Wonder - Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing
Earth Wind & Fire - Evil
Earth, Wind & Fire - Shining Star
Earth, Wind & Fire - Boogie Wonderland 
The Trammps - Disco Inferno
Alicia Bridges - I Love The Nightlife
Kool And The Gang - Lady's Night
Al Green - Let's Stay Together
Billy Paul - Me and Mrs. Jones
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell - Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Isaac Hayes - Shaft
Isaac Hayes - Never Can Say Goodbye
Barry White - Can't Get Enough Of Your Love Baby
Barry White - You Are The First, My Last, My Everything
Wild Cherry - Play That Funky Music, White Boy

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blogger DJ's Way to Deal with All This [EXPLETIVE DELETED] Snow ? Magic !

Steve Miller Band - Abracadabra
Sting And The Police - Everything Little Thing She Does Is Magic ('77 Demo)
Pilot - Magic
Olivia Newton John - Magic
Heart - Magic Man
Eagles - Witchy Woman
Santana - Black Magic Woman
Jeff Beck & Joss Stone - I Put a Spell on You

and for a change of pace...

Judy Garland - We're Off To See The Wizard (Cornfield Version)
Judy Garland - We're Off To See The Wizard (Forest Version)
Judy Garland - We're Off To See The Wizard (Dark Forest Version)

Which ETF's or ETN's Are On Ron Rowland's Current ETF DEATHWATCH ?

Click here to see !

Who's got the most products on this list of endangered funds ?  
The three sponsors with the largest number of products on the list are ProShares with 21, Invesco PowerShares 19 (20 if you include the BLDRS brand), and iShares 18.  The PowerShares quantity would have been much higher, but it closed and liquidated 10 funds in December.  All three sponsors have a large number of listed products, so while they may have many struggling funds, these funds do not represent a majority of their product lines.
On the other hand, all of FaithShares and Grail's ETF's are on the watchlist, and the "eight ETNs from ELEMENTS on ETF Deathwatch are perpetual members of the list."  And Guggenheim has 10 entries on the list,  but they're marketed under three different brand names (Guggenheim, Claymore, and  Wilshire).

What's an ETN, and how does it differ from an ETF ? Check out this Money Zine article.

Want more ? Check out the SEEKING ALPHA's Guide to Commodity ETFs and ETNs and Guide to Currency ETFs and ETNs, as well as SEEKING ALPHA's ETF Selector.

Is China Reaching a Lewis Turning Point ?

In his recent SEEKING ALPHA post,  'China in the Midst of a Lewis Turning Point, Coupled With Nasty Inflation',  blogger Russ Winter argues that such is the case :

Clearly China is smack in the middle of a Lewis Turning Point, which marks a time in the development of an economy when the surplus of cheap labor runs dry. In response, (surviving) employers push up wages and benefits, creating demand-push inflation. The nation is losing much of its original low-cost competitive advantage. China will be a much weaker growth story (if at all) under this evolving model. And customers, such the U.S., are facing diminished supply and rapidly rising prices on Chinese goods.
For previous articles on this subject, check out Bloomberg/Business Week's 'China Reaches Lewis Turning Point as Labor Costs Rise'  ,  Aoyu Bai's SEEKING ALPHA post, 'China's 'Lewis Turning Point': Twilight of an Era' , and Yueqing Jia's post on the World Bank's blog, 'Lewis turning point and China's FDI prospects'.

(FDI = 'Foreign Direct Investment')