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Opinion (155)

Upgrading Your Kitchen on a Budget

When updating your home, you should always start in the kitchen.  The kitchen is arguably where most of a homeowner’s time is spent, and therefore should be able to cater to all the needs of the homeowner, while keeping up with the latest décor styles.  Perhaps the most difficult part of updating a kitchen is the cost behind most necessary kitchen upgrades.  The expense is definitely enough to cause homeowners to give up on the project, but before throwing in the towel, there are several ways you can upgrade your kitchen without the hefty cost.  All it takes is a little time and effort.  Here are a few affordable kitchen upgrades that you should consider.  

Counters and appliances

Countertops and appliances are the most expensive upgrades to make in a kitchen, but they are a worthwhile investment.  If you can afford stainless steel appliances, or granite countertops, these upgrades with substantially increase the value of your home as well as keep your…

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Admin

Debt Doesn't Go On Forever

NYSE margin debt fell again during the month of February. After the selloff in stocks that kicked off 2016, this should come as no surprise. Investors are usually forced to reduce leveraged bets during these sorts of episodes in the stock market. In fact, this forced selling can actually exacerbate the volatility. And because margin debt is only now beginning to come down from record highs, surpassing those seen at the 2000 and 2007 peak, this should be of concern to most equity investors.

To fully appreciate this risk, I prefer to look at margin debt relative to overall economic activity. When leveraged financial speculation becomes large relative to the economy, it’s usually a sign investors have become far too greedy. As Warren Buffett would say, this is usually a good time to become more…

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Admin

The chart above tracks the broad stock market against the spread of lowest-rated investment-grade corporate bond yields. They normally track each other very closely as they both reflect broad investor risk appetites.

When investors are hungry for risk stock prices move higher and corporate spreads get narrower. When risk aversion takes over, however, stock prices fall and spreads widen.

Another reason they closely track each other is corporations’ ability to access credit is very closely tied to the overall demand for equities. When it’s very cheap for companies to borrow, it’s very easy for them to fund stock buybacks and acquisitions of other companies.

Certainly, these two factors have been very important to the bull market of the past six years or so. Ray Dalio recently said he estimates that…

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Admin

Weekend Reading

In addition to charts I uploaded (which there are many more but I'm short on time, it being a holiday) here are a few of my weekend email reads I found interesting. Enjoy - and Happy Easter.

  1. Variant sees commercial and industrial lending to continue to fall.  No, not a good thing.
  2. The top 20 reasons start ups fail.  Visual Capitalist
  3. Think renewables will gain usage over coal and crude oil?  You may be surprised.  McKinsey
  4. Domo origato mr roboto Visual Capitalist
  5. Here we go again…

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Admin

Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in California and the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, warns us of a insidious and pervasive new form of mind control: search results.

That’s right, search results. And not just any search results: Google search results. Since 2013 Epstein and colleagues have conducted a number of experiments in the US and India to determine whether search results can impact people’s political opinions.

Epstein points out that about 50 percent of our clicks go to the top two items on the first page of results, and more than 90 percent of our clicks go to the 10 items listed. And of course Google, which dominates the search business, decides which of the billions of web…

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Admin

Why Most People Fail At Trading

One item I completely agree with is the pundits and "know it alls" on entertainment news television.  They're there to entertain you; not make you rich.  I get my economic releases on them and *off* they go the rest of the day.  I trust my charts; charts don't lie.  People do.

Courtesy of Martinkronicle

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Admin

When Stocks Are On Sale

This caught my eye as I tend to look at stocks when they near a significant, long-term support such as a 100 month or 200 month EMA or SMA.  Of course I'm buying with a long term perspective in this approach but it got me wondering: Is is better to hold your breath and simply buy stocks when they've sold off 20%? The downside still terrifies me but looking at historical returns is intriguing.   From Awelathofcommonsense:

Large cap U.S. equities continue to hold up well with the S&P 500 down roughly 12% from its all-time highs reached last spring. To some degree, this performance has masked the global bear market going on in the rest of the world. Take a look at this list of country ETFs from Bespoke Investment…

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Admin

What Might Happen In China In 2016

In debates about whether growth is a percentage point up or down, we too often lose sight of the absolute scale of China’s economy. No matter what rate the country grows at in 2016, its share of the global economy, and of many specific sectors, will be larger than ever. My snapshot of China in 2016? An increasingly diverse, volatile, $11 trillion economy whose performance is becoming more and more difficult to describe as one dimensional.

The reality is that China’s economy is today made up of multiple subeconomies, each more than a trillion dollars in size. Some are booming, some declining. Some are globally competitive, others fit for the scrap heap. How you feel about China depends more than ever on the parts of the economy where you compete. In 2015, selling kit to movie theaters has been great business, selling kit to steel mills less so. In your China, are you dealing with a tiger or a tortoise? Your performance in 2016 will depend on knowing the…

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Admin

Byron Wiens Top 10 Surprises For 2016

Byron R. Wien, Vice Chairman of Multi-Asset Investing at Blackstone, today issued his list of Ten Surprises for 2016. This is the 31st year Byron has given his views on a number of economic, financial market and political surprises for the coming year. Byron defines a “surprise” as an event that the average investor would only assign a one out of three chance of taking place but which Byron believes is “probable,” having a better than 50% likelihood of happening.

Byron started the tradition in 1986 when he was the Chief U.S. Investment Strategist at Morgan Stanley. Byron joined Blackstone in September 2009 as a senior advisor to both the firm and its clients in analyzing economic,…

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Admin

End Of Year Liquidation Time For Hedge Funds In Peril

As Bloomberg warned in early December as BlueCrest Capital Management stated it would no longer oversee money for outsiders, one thing founder Michael Platt didn’t mention was that clients had already pulled billions of dollars this year............and now Jim Cramer has joined the club.  It's been a rough environment for hedge funds and end of year is do or die.  Winners few and far between it seems and they want their money now.

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Admin

How Markets Are Manipulated

There once was a series of interviews with Jim Cramer, as you'll see here where he talks about his days as a Hedge Fund Manager, and they were a wonder to behold.  It seems many have been 'scrubbed' from the web (nice job Jim) but I came across this one and it'll give you a glimpse into the games that are played behind the scenes.  CNBC and its cohorts are entertainment and easily swayed.  Get your economic data and hit the 'mute' button.  Opinions are swayed by the opinions’ of others but it doesn't make them fact.  Learn this early.

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Admin

Negative Growth. Thank You Deflation And QE

Investors may wade into unknown territory next month as the Federal Reserve readies the first rate hike in nearly a decade amid a corporate earnings recession.

S&P 500 earnings are on track to close their first reporting season of negative growth since the Great Recession and estimates call for sub-zero growth in the current quarter as well.

Even if the trend reverses next year, as expected, a Fed rate hike in December could mark an unprecedented conflict between a tightening cycle starting at the same time as earnings fall into recession.

"We can't think of any instances when the Fed was hiking during an (earnings) recession," said Joseph Zidle, portfolio strategist at Richard Bernstein Advisors in New…

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Admin

A Tech Bubble, An 'Everything' Bubble Or None At All

One Thursday morning in early June, the ballroom of the Rosewood Sand Hill hotel, in Menlo Park, was closed for a private presentation. The grand banquet hall appeared worthy of the sprawling resort’s five-star designation: ornate chandeliers hung from the ceiling; silk panels with a silver stenciled design covered the walls. Behind a stage in the 2,800-square-foot room, a large sign bore the name of Andreessen Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s most revered venture-capital firms.

As breakfast and coffee were offered, the company’s partners mingled with the men and women who endow their $1.5 billion fund. The investors were dressed…

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Admin

Chinas Desperate Attempts To Stabilize

Most of the time, weekly data published by the China Securities Depository and Clearing Corporation (CSDC) is as dull as the organization’s name would suggest. But of some interest this year has been the weekly number of people opening trading accounts that allow them to buy and sell stocks.

Earlier, Quartz reported that a record 3.3 million individuals had rushed to join China’s stock market in the single week ending April 17. That was far above this year’s previous average weekly sign-up rate of 800,000.

After that week the market continued to grow until June 11, when it began a dramatic, prolonged crash…

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Admin

(Edited 2:00pm)  I especially enjoy the part when the commentator withdrew his request for an interview after Schiff refused to blame everything on China.  Yes, MSM wants us to believe it's all China's fault.  Don't drink the koolaid.  Use your head.

Hat tip Ed

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Admin

And They Crawl Out Of The Woodwork

You know it's coming and it won't be any easier to take than when you were small and your Mother said "I told you so".  The blogisphere will now erupt with the force of an annoying snaggle tooth emphatically screaming "I warned you" and "I said it was coming.........now buy my plan so you're prepared"  and ca-ching, you cough up the coin like a kid at the carnival freak show.   Every smidiot and hack will now attack your inbox on how they could have prevented your losses and how (via in their premier plan) you would have benefited this week.......if you had only listened.

Puhlease

Markets correct.  On occasion, they correct…

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Admin

MLPs as Interest Rates Rise

I've long wondered about MLP's as interest rates begin to creep higher and crude oil, obviously, remains low.  After all, they're supposedly not tied to the price of crude oil, right?  Certainly 2015 has not been their "year" as the 10 year fluctuated, leaving me even more cautious but did this translate into a buying opportunity?  Consider this interesting piece here by TheReformedBroker

I’m sitting at the Strip House with a wholesaler from a large mutual fund / UIT sponsor two years ago. He’s a good guy but he’s there to sell. I’m there to eat…

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Admin

Doubts Begin Chipping Away At The Stock Market

In the stock market, until recently, just about any news was good news.

Company earnings stumbled? Investors shrugged them off, sending shares higher. Economic growth was disappointing? So what.

But now that is changing.

Consider the recent trading in Apple, the world’s most valuable public company and a certifiable stock market darling. Apple announced…

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Admin

While main stream media does their level best to keep us hugging our equities, they seem to ignore the fact that quantitative easing ran the market up from 2009 and while the economy has come a long way since the bottom, maybe, just maybe, it's strong enough to sustain us, but not equities at elevated levels.

Federal Reserve officials have signaled they think the economy is robust enough to withstand a round of interest-rate rises starting this year. But the bond market still seems skeptical.

While yields on short-term Treasury notes have started moving higher in anticipation of an interest-rate increase as early as September, yields on longer-term debt have remained stubbornly low. That is a sign that many investors are still doubtful about the health of the economy, and the ability of the Fed to keep raising rates without jeopardizing growth.

On Tuesday, yields on short-term U.S. Treasury notes rose…

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