Showing posts from November, 2007

Tactical Nukes

The fundamental case for a bull market died a long time ago and has not terribly sound in a long, given the combination of high valuations, slowing growth and a significant portion of earnings that were an outright illusion. Strategically speaking, the last time the bull case made any sense was in early 2006. That has not prevented tactical factors from pushing an overvalued market still higher in the interim. The primary tactical focus has been "liquidity" which readers of this blog will recognize as simply a synonym for growing debt.

The UDB threw off a tremendous amount of this "liquidity" as debt expanded rapidly. The serial collapse of mortgage finance, CDOs, MBS, asset-backed CP and other debt markets has reversed the flow as outstanding debt/credit shrinks. But how is this affecting stocks, you might ask? Well, there is the obvious collapse of profits in the building and financial sector as well as similar impending action in the consumer sector. But these ar…

Sea Change on the Street

Guys, there was a huge change of tone over the last two weeks and especially this week. The denial that has ruled Wall Street for so long is beginning to show major cracks. We're finally seeing grudging admissions that this is a much bigger problem than they were willing to admit. What used to be just a "subprime" crisis is now a "mortgage" crisis.

The terrible reports from major retailers like Pennys, Macys, Kohls and the spectrum of apparel shops along with restaurants like Starbucks, PF Chang, Chipotle, Brinker and Panera are causing the Street to question the "resilient consumer" thesis. They should since it is based on the ability of the consumer to dig themselves into an every deeper hole of debt. But McDonalds and Target did well and Walmart OK. What does it tell you when spending is switching from department stores to discounters and from premium or sit down restaurants to the golden arches?

We don't hear the word "contained"…