Diary of a Financier

Top Newsstuffs (April 16-22)

In Bookshelf on Sun 22 Apr 2012 at 11:07

This was a frustratingly slow week in the markets and in business. Massachusetts celebrated Patriots Day this past Monday. It’s my favorite holiday for a few reasons:

  1. It’s a Boston-only thing.
  2. Red Sox have an 11am game that simulcasts with the Boston Marathon.

Unfortunately, markets were open on Monday, so I had to work… but I could’ve taken the whole week off. SPX unch for the week, and I’m pretty sure global business unch too: was every kid & parent on April vacation?!

I have little else to add that hasn’t already been said (see my last entry & my StockTwits). Here’s the top newsstuffs from the week…


Rail Traffic Continues to Turn Negative | Association of American Railroads (AAR)
Carloads -6.4% y/y and intermodal +1.6%. Overall, 12 of 20 segments posted gains:
Petroleum products +39% y/y, Metallic Ores +16.7%, Motor Vehicles/Equipment +15.3%.
Farm Products -28.1% (ex Grain), Coal -18.2%, Grain -16.3%.

Your EBT Card Has Been Denied”: 700,000 Are About To Lose Their Extended Jobless Claims Benefits | ZeroHedge
700,000 people will lose benefits by June, when Extended Benefits expire and states lose eligibility for Emergency Unemployment Compensation. All programs drop-dead at YE2012.

Indian & Portuguese problematic funding requirements | The Big Picture
India’s trade deficit worsened to 9.9% GDP, current account deficit forecast 4.0% GDP v. 2.6% in 2011. Translates to $120B financing need.
Portugal’s next bailout (~€76B) won’t arrive until June/July, because IMF requires a country to be self financing (access to international capital markets) in 12 months time. Portugal needs to repay a €9.7B bond maturing September 2013.

Survey: Big manufacturers likely to embrace “Made in USA” | Reuters
Labor costs and the quality of goods are top reasons for companies to “re-shore” [from China]. Some companies consider the United States a de facto low-cost country because of its high unemployment.

Capitalism is dead, Credit is new king | Richard Duncan
When the Gold Standard ended, economic growth became dependent on credit growth. ‘China’s federal debt/GDP ~70% will increase to 100%-200% 5-7 years just to achieve 3% growth.’

IMF Sees $2.6B European Bank Deleveraging | Financial Times
Forecast banks shedding 7% of assets, credit contracting by 1.2% by 2013.
[With no European CLOs left, it’s a terrific distressed debt opportunity for the Avenues and the Apollos of the world.]

Halliburton 1q2012 Earnings | Seeking Alpha
HAL beats: EPS $0.89 v 0.86(E), Revenue $6.87B v 6.77B(E).
1% decline in rig count understates dramatic shift from natural gas rigs (-19%) to oil plays (+10%) due to lower NG prices. CEO David Lesar: “While these moves are beneficial to us in the long run, they do not come without a short-term impact on our margins.”

Misunderstood China: Transition from Fixed Investment to Consumption Undervalued | US Global Investors & CLSA

Chinese Agriculture about to End Fertilizer & Potash Boom | Jefferies
China is 9 years ahead of schedule producing staple crops, and it’s running out of arable land… and other worries for fertilizer demand.

Liquified Petroleum Gas: Waterless Fracking Method Could Sidestep NY Gas Drilling Ban | Inside Climate News
LPG is a propane-based gel mixed with additives like sand. It naturally binds to petroleum, returning to the surface with extracted oil or gas instead of contaminating soil like water-based method.

Video: “Volatility at World’s End” Two Decades of Movement in Markets | Artemis Capital
A depiction of real stock market volatility (implied & realized) using trading data from 1990 to 2011.

Spanish Non-Performing Loans Soar to 8.2% | Business Insider

CRB Index 1749-Present | The Big Picture
Commodity prices tripled in 1970s and haven’t stopped rising since.
[… something to do with Gold Standard end, fiat disinflation since?]

1969: The Last Time The US Economy Faced A ‘Fiscal Cliff’ | Morgan Stanley
In 1969 President Johnson & Congress raised taxes to pay for Vietnam War and curb inflation. CBO estimates FY1969 fiscal tightening shaved 3.1% off GDP, creating a recession.

February Business Inventories | Seeking Alpha
Private Inventories +0.6% to $1,577.8B in-line with expectations and +0.7% last month. Sales +0.7% to $1,236.7B. Inventory/sales ratio rise to 1.28 from 1.27 prior.

Germany’s economic model: What Germany offers the world | The Economist


  1. […] benefits from 26 to 99 weeks, then they renewed it through 2013 during the Fiscal Cliff battle. [Previously] […]


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s