Archive for August 2014

Weekend Open Thread   Leave a comment

Reminder: U.S. markets will be closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday.

Time for the long weekend open thread, where you can talk about whatever you like.

For the last of this summer’s one-hit wonders, I am going to push the limits a little. Murray Head originally reached #14 on the U.S. charts in 1969 with Superstar, from the play Jesus Christ Superstar:

Head played Judas Iscariot in the play. But he had a much bigger hit 25 years later, in 1984, with One Night in Bangkok, from the play Chess. The song reached #3 on the U.S. charts, and #1 in 10 other countries:

The music for One Night in Bangkok was written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA (who knew a little bit about writing international hit songs), while the lyrics were written by Ulvaeus and Tim Rice. Rice is known for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber (i.e. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Evita). So One Night in Bangkok has a good artistic pedigree.

Unfortunately, this song also gets a William Shatner award for worst cover, from Mike Tyson (yes, THAT Mike Tyson) in the movie Hangover 2:

However, there is a runner-up for the Shatner award: Robey, an actress (best known from the syndicated Friday the 13th tv series) who thinks she can sing:

At least Tyson’s version was mercifully short, and played for laughs. Robey doesn’t even have that excuse.

Enjoy your long weekend folks, and I’ll see you next week! I am outta here!

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Posted August 29, 2014 by edmcgon in Blog stuff, Music, Open Thread

August 29th: Ed’s Daily Notes and Traders Corner   34 comments

The S&P 500 levels to watch today:

UPSIDE: 2001-2002 (2 data points), 2005 (August 26th’s high and the all-time high), and 2020 (top of the Bollinger Bands).
LAST CLOSE: 1996, inside the 1993-1998 (5 data points) range.
DOWNSIDE: 1982-1990 (July’s high and 5 data points), 1977 (August 20th’s low), 1971-1972 (2 data points), 1968 (June’s high), 1965 (50 day moving average), 1964 (August 15th’s high), 1959 (20 day moving average), 1958 (August 18th’s low), 1955 (August 14th’s high), 1947-1948 (2 data points), 1944 (August 11th’s high), 1941 (August 15th’s low), 1927-1939 (July’s low and 9 data points and the 100 day moving average), 1924 (May’s high), 1921 (August 4th’s low), 1916 (August 1st’s low), 1909-1913 (3 data points), 1904 (August 7th’s low), and 1898 (bottom of the Bollinger Bands).

S&P 500 Daily Momentum: Bullish (weakening)
S&P 500 Daily Overbought/oversold: Neutral (leaning overbought)
S&P 500 Weekly Momentum: Bearish (weakening)
S&P 500 Weekly Overbought/oversold: Neutral (leaning overbought)
S&P 500 Futures: Positive
Overall: Light volume with only small movement has left the technicals almost stalled this week. Momentum indicators for the S&P 500 seem headed to neutral, while overbought/oversold indicators still read about the same as they did at the beginning of the week.

And now for the news…

The Daily Beast: Why Obama Backed off More ISIS Strikes: His Own Team Couldn’t Agree on a Syria Strategy

After lots of bluster about striking ISIS on Syria, President Obama threw cold water on the idea Thursday, disappointing those who wanted him to take the fight to ISIS in Syria.
After a week of talk of eliminating the “cancer” of ISIS, President Obama said Thursday that he was not planning to significantly expand the war against the Islamic extremist movement anytime soon.

His remarks came after days of heated debate inside the top levels of his own national security bureaucracy about how, where, and whether to strike ISIS in Syria. But those deliberations – which included a bleak intelligence assessment of America’s potential allies in Syria — failed to produce a consensus battle plan. And so Obama, who has long been reluctant to enter into the Syrian conflict, told reporters Thursday that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for confronting ISIS on a regional level.

Only 875 more days of the lamest presidential administration ever…

Yahoo News: Nokia will have its revenge on the smartphone industry

Bobb posted this article yesterday in the comments:

Business Korea has just published a very provocative piece that depicts a monstrous troll attacking its home country’s pride and joy, Samsung. That troll, you’ll be surprised to learn, is Nokia.

The reason for this is easy to understand: Samsung may be forced to pay one of the history’s biggest patent royalty sums to Nokia, and fellow Korean electronics titan LG is not scot free, either.

What unleashed the beast in the Finnish company was its decision to sell its handset division to Microsoft a while back. As long as Nokia was a phone company, it was bound by a web of cross-licensing deals limiting how much it can charge for its thousands of handset-related patents. Nokia needed to use both essential and non-essential patents held by Samsung, Apple, Motorola and other industry giants, which put a rather severe cap on how much it could charge other phone vendors.

But when Nokia got out of handset business, the need for those cross-licensing deals vanished and Nokia emerged as a Non-Practicing Entity (NPE). Or as Business Korea defines the term, a patent troll.

This means the already competitive smartphone business just got a little more expensive.

Posted August 29, 2014 by edmcgon in News, Politics, Stocks, Technology

August 28th: Ed’s Daily IRA Summary   3 comments

Ed’s IRA: -0.22%
DJIA: -0.25%
Nasdaq: -0.26%
S&P 500: -0.17%

Posted August 28, 2014 by edmcgon in Open Thread, Portfolio

Traders Corner   35 comments

The S&P 500 levels to watch today:

UPSIDE: 2001-2002 (2 data points), 2005 (August 26th’s high and the all-time high), and 2016 (top of the Bollinger Bands).
LAST CLOSE: 2000.
DOWNSIDE: 1993-1998 (4 data points), 1991 (July’s high), 1982-1988 (4 data points), 1977 (August 20th’s low), 1971-1972 (2 data points), 1968 (June’s high), 1964 (August 15th’s high and the 50 day moving average), 1958 (August 18th’s low), 1956 (20 day moving average), 1955 (August 14th’s high), 1947-1948 (2 data points), 1944 (August 11th’s high), 1941 (August 15th’s low), 1927-1939 (July’s low and 9 data points and the 100 day moving average), 1924 (May’s high), 1921 (August 4th’s low), 1916 (August 1st’s low), 1909-1913 (3 data points), 1904 (August 7th’s low), and 1896 (bottom of the Bollinger Bands).

S&P 500 Daily Momentum: Bullish (weakening)
S&P 500 Daily Overbought/oversold: Neutral (leaning overbought)
S&P 500 Weekly Momentum: Bearish (weakening)
S&P 500 Weekly Overbought/oversold: Neutral (leaning overbought)
S&P 500 Futures: Negative
Overall: With the S&P 500’s bullish momentum weakening, and the futures pointing down, it looks like a day for the bears today.

Ed’s Daily Notes for August 28th   3 comments

Bloomberg: Gold-Price Indicator Fading as ETPs Tumble by $71 Billion

Gold-backed funds that heralded record prices in 2011 and last year’s biggest sell-off in three decades are becoming less useful as market predictors.

After a decade of changing mostly in tandem, gold prices and holdings in exchange-traded products backed by bullion have the most-negative correlation since 2004. Investment in ETPs are headed for a fifth straight week of moving in the opposite direction of New York futures, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That would be the longest stretch since 2012, before investors began dumping gold.

Global ETPs that accumulated more bullion than France’s central bank in 2012 saw their influence wane as equities surged and the Federal Reserve took steps to ease economic stimulus, signaling higher interest rates that erode the appeal of gold as an alternative asset. As investors exited the funds, erasing about $71 billion of value, unrest from Ukraine to Gaza this year revived demand for the precious metal as a haven, boosting prices that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says aren’t sustainable.

“There is a disconnect” because “a lot of money has left,” said Mark Luschini, the chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. in Pittsburgh that oversees $65 billion. “For gold, this year has been all about the Federal Reserve and political tension, and at the moment, the rate-increase worries are overshadowing the safe-haven buying.”

The bloom is off the golden rose. That doesn’t make gold ETP’s a “sell”. It just means the actions of retail investors in equity markets is far less relevant to the price of gold now.

Business Insider (via Yahoo Finance): This Illustration Posted By Eric Schmidt Shows How Google Thinks About Innovation

Google is one of the largest, most influential technology companies in the world. But it didn’t start out that way, and it’s not easy to maintain that status. Google Executive Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt has shared some insight as to how Google views innovation and the competition.

Schmidt and Google’s former SVP of Products Jonathan Rosenberg are publishing a book next month called “How Google Works.” The book dives into what Schmidt and Rosenberg learned as they helped build Google into what it is today.

Schmidt has been teasing the book by posting excerpts of illustrations and various tips from the book to his Google+ and Twitter page. His latest post emphasizes that tackling the market with different angles rather than simply trying to be better than your rival is crucial for success.

“It’s important to understand what’s going on around you, but the best way to stay ahead is a laser focus on building great products that people need,” Schmidt posted to Google+ along with the illustration.

This_Illustration_Posted_By_Eric

Posted August 28, 2014 by edmcgon in News, Precious Metals, Stocks

August 27th: Ed’s Daily IRA Summary   Leave a comment

UPRO: -0.14 to $122.14 ( -0.11% , -0.38% overall)– bought at $122.60

Ed’s IRA: -0.11%
DJIA: 0.09%
Nasdaq: -0.02%
S&P 500: 0.00%

Posted August 27, 2014 by edmcgon in Open Thread, Portfolio

Traders Corner   17 comments

The S&P 500 levels to watch today:

UPSIDE: 2001 (August 25th’s high), 2005 (August 26th’s high and the all-time high), and 2011 (top of the Bollinger Bands).
LAST CLOSE: 2000.
DOWNSIDE: 1998 (August 26th’s low), 1993-1994 (2 data points), 1991 (July’s high), 1988 (August 20th’s high), 1986 (August 21st’s low), 1984 (August 22nd’s low), 1982 (August 19th’s high), 1977 (August 20th’s low), 1971-1972 (2 data points), 1968 (June’s high), 1964 (August 15th’s high), 1963 (50 day moving average), 1958 (August 18th’s low), 1955 (August 14th’s high), 1954 (20 day moving average), 1947-1948 (2 data points), 1944 (August 11th’s high), 1941 (August 15th’s low), 1927-1939 (July’s low and 9 data points), 1926 (100 day moving average), 1924 (May’s high), 1921 (August 4th’s low), 1916 (August 1st’s low), 1909-1913 (3 data points), 1904 (August 7th’s low), and 1897 (bottom of the Bollinger Bands).

S&P 500 Daily Momentum: Bullish
S&P 500 Daily Overbought/oversold: Neutral (leaning overbought)
S&P 500 Weekly Momentum: Bearish (weakening)
S&P 500 Weekly Overbought/oversold: Neutral (leaning overbought)
S&P 500 Futures: Slightly positive
Overall: The S&P 500’s bullish momentum is starting to flatten. This could indicate a bullish pause, or a reversal. On the other hand, the Bollinger Bands are still expanding, which would seem to indicate this bull has more room to run. The overbought/oversold indicators still have some bullish room left.