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 Post subject: Re: The stimulus beneficiaries
PostPosted: 2/22/09 19:24 
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Soros Says Financial Crisis Marks End of a Free-Market Model
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By Walid el-Gabry

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire investor George Soros said the current economic crisis has its roots in the financial deregulation of the 1980s and marks the end of a free-market model that has since dominated capitalist countries.

Liberalization of the financial industry begun by the Reagan administration has led to a series of breakdowns forcing government intervention, Soros told economists and bankers last night at a private dinner at Columbia University in New York. The global recession, triggered by the collapse of the U.S. housing market, has “damaged the financial system itself,” he said.

Regulators are in part to blame because they “abrogated” their responsibilities, Soros, 78, said. The philosophy of “market-fundamentalism” was now under question as financial markets have proved to be inefficient and affected by biases rather than driven by all the available information, he said.

“We’re in a crisis I think that’s really the most serious since the 1930s and is different from all the other crises we have experienced in our lifetime,” Soros said.

Soros, founder of New York-based hedge-fund firm Soros Fund Management LLC, said last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that the Obama administration’s plan to buy toxic assets from U.S. banks won’t be enough to get financial institutions to start lending again.

A more effective approach for restarting the economy would be to inject capital directly into the banks and cut minimum capital requirements, Soros, whose firm oversees $21 billion, has said.

Soros’s Quantum Endowment Fund returned 8 percent last year. That compared with an average loss of 18 percent by hedge funds, according to data compiled by Hedge Fund Research Inc. of Chicago.

To contact the reporter on this story: Walid el-Gabry in New York at welgabry@bloomberg.net



 
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PostPosted: 2/22/09 19:31 
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Baosteel to Take Over Rivals in China Stimulus Plan (Update3)
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By Helen Yuan

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Baosteel Group Corp., China’s biggest steel producer, will take over two rivals as part of the nation’s plan to create bigger steelmakers to gain bargaining power for iron ore, according to the China Iron and Steel Association.

Baosteel will take over Ningbo Iron & Steel Group and Baotou Iron & Steel Group, Chi Jingdong, the association’s secretary-general, told an industry group in a closed meeting yesterday. Bloomberg News received a copy of the speech today.

China, which produces one-third of the world’s steel, is pushing for consolidation in the industry to boost its competitiveness and raw material purchasing power. The government is implementing a 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus package to boost flagging economic growth as it faces the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

“The global recession will help speed up industry consolidations,” said Luo Wei, a Shanghai-based analyst with China International Capital Corp. “Boosting the concentration will increase steelmakers’ profit and their pricing power.”

Chinese steelmakers are seeking the first reduction in seven years for benchmark contract iron ore prices as demand from carmakers and builders falls.

The government will also push Anben Steel Group, China’s fourth-biggest, to merge with Panzhihua Iron & Steel Group, while Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group, the biggest stainless steelmaker, will combine with rivals in Shanxi, Chi said. Chi was not immediately reachable for comment.

Consolidation

The nation’s top five steelmakers will lead the government’s consolidation plan with their capacity eventually making up more than 45 percent of China’s total output in three years, Chi said.

Baosteel set up an alliance in July 2007 with Baotou Steel to help the Inner Mongolia-based mill improve production and develop iron ore, rare earth and coal resources, in preparation for a takeover. Baosteel had also been in talks to buy stakes in Ningbo Iron & Steel Co., the China Business News reported Feb. 9.

The plan, approved by the State Council on Jan. 14, is pushing industry consolidation more aggressively than a government guideline announced in July 2005 after contract iron ore prices gained for six straight years to a record because of Chinese demand. The aim is to create steelmakers with annual capacity of 50 million tons a year by 2011, Chi said.

Capacity Expansions

The biggest producers are already expanding capacity at plants along the coast including Zhanjiang, Fangcheng Port and Rizhao, Chi said. Steel plants in coastal areas should make up 20 percent of the nation’s total capacity by 2011, Chi said.

China will also shut down 25 million tons of obsolete steelmaking capacity and 72 million tons of iron making capacity, the document said. Blast furnaces smaller than 400 cubic meters should be closed, it said, raising the cut-off threshold from 300 cubic meters the government had set in July, 2005.

China had asked its top ten steel producers to account for 50 percent of domestic output by 2010 and 70 percent by 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission said in 2005.

To contact the reporter for this story: Helen Yuan in Shanghai at hyuan@bloomberg.net



 
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PostPosted: 2/22/09 20:00 
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- Tucker Report - http://tuckerreport.com -

Resources

Posted By Doug Tucker On July 6, 2007 @ 12:57 am In Uncategorized | Comments Disabled

Here is a list of useful resources. I have no affiliation with any of the following links.

[1] Barron’s Econoday Calendar
[2] Briefing Economic Calendar
Before each week begins I make a list of reports to be released. If a fed announcement is imminent it is foolish to step in front of it as they will run stops in both directions even if there is no change in policy. From being in chat rooms it amazes me how few people are aware of when reports are to be released. I prefer the Barron’s Calendar as it is a little more complete. Some prefer the Briefing list as they post results quickly as they come in. Check out both.

[3] CBOT Market Profile Education
There is an excellent home study course pdf manual available for free to download. There are also some video seminars that are a good introduction to this way of looking at the markets.

CBOE Options Institute
There are many free option education resources here. There are many online courses. Of special interest are the educational webcasts. There are 83 free videos as of the day I post this. There is a section of webcasts by Dan Sheridan that are excellent. They are each about an hour long. You only have to create a user name and password to access all this information. If you are interested in option trading and strategies this site is one of the best resources on the internet in my opinion.

[4] Tradestation
For data and charts it is hard to beat Tradestation. They also offer excellent brokerage service despite the badmouthing you hear in some chat rooms that promote other services. With a brokerage account and a minimum of trading activity the platform is free. It’s hard to understand why some traders prefer other services with unstable data and a minimum of features when they can get the best for free. Even if you clear your trades through another broker you can still get the platform for free currently with only ten round turn futures trades, or a certain number of option or stock trades. I have no affiliation with Tradestation other than having been a customer continuously for the last eight years.

InvestorFlix/INO TV
Why is INO TV is the Logical Choice? [5]
Click Here
There is a little known but huge library of video and audio presentations called INO TV (previously called InvestorFlix). Many of these are audio presentations, along with a PDF workbook, of TAG conference and seminars in the 1990’s. One can print out the PDF and for those lectures you want to listen to over and over you can easily copy the audio files to your computer. Of special interest for me were the many presentations by Linda Raschke. She is an excellent educator. Whenever I feel in a slump I listen to one of her presentations and I snap right out of it. Also of interest were the Walter Bressert and Hank Pruden presentations. There are hundreds more to choose from. Click the link above for a preview.

[6] Linda Raschke’s Web Site
Linda Rashcke is one of the best educators for short term traders. In a business filled with wanna be gurus who promote a certain indicator or a closed black box system, it is refreshing to find someone willing to share so much knowledge and experience. Her web site is filled with information you can take for free, after registering for free. She also offers a paid chat room for daytrading if you need that sort of thing. I’ve been in the chat room in the past and it is excellent, but distracting if you are trading. But if you are new and want some guidance it’s an excellent place to start. But her concepts and methodology are freely discussed in the articles for free. And I recommend the InvestorFlix audio presentations in the above link as well.

[7] John Ehlers
[8] Walter Bressert
I recommend studying the information on the two sites above. Of special interest to me are the papers by Ehlers on adaptive cycle lengths. I will have articles on this subject. And check out the books on the book tab. Both these guys are worth studying if you are technically inclined. There’s lots of free stuff on both sites.

[9] Terry Laundry T Theory
[10] Hank Pruden 
[11]
Pimco - Bill Gross
If you’ve read Marty Schwartz’s Pit Bull you’ll notice much reference to the T Theory. Here’s the web site where you can learn about it. Hank Pruden is an educator in the Wyckoff method and well worth studying. It’s always interesting to read what Bill Gross is saying.

[12] Warren Buffett - Berkshire Hathaway
Must read articles by the Oracle of Omaha.

[13] 3-2-1 Gold
[14] 3-2-1 Energy
321 Gold and it’s sister site 321 Energy are mainly links to articles on those subjects. Beware the relentless promotion of penny stocks and the permanently one sided bullish views on those markets, especially on the gold site. However, there are many links and articles worth browsing.

[15] Yahoo Earnings Schedule 
If you are a stock trader, or even an index trader you should know when the earnings are to be released on the stocks you are trading or on key stocks in the index you are trading. So many people ignore this, and so many people lose.

[16] ProShares
Here is a group of fairly new ETF’s that allow you to go either long or short the market, with or without leverage. If you want more flexibility in your index trading and don’t want to use futures or options this might be something to check out. Also, here is one way you can get a long term capital gain tax advantage if you have a long term bearish perspective, that is if you think the market could be lower out 12 months or more, you can be long the short ETF. Many possibilities with these new products.

[17] Sector S&P SPDRs
Here’s where you can learn more about the very liquid and tradable S&P sector SPDRs.

The following are some basic utilities to keep your computer running without problems. Get the spyware out at least once a week. Both AVG and Ad-Aware offer free versions for personal use. When using Spy Bot don’t forget to use the immunization feature. First click on immunize and it will check to see how many definitions are available, then click immunize on the button above to actually immunize your computer. Some people forget this last step.
[18]
AVG Free Edition Virus Checker
[19] Ad-Aware
[20] Spy Bot


Article printed from Tucker Report: http://tuckerreport.com

URL to article: http://tuckerreport.com/resources/

URLs in this post:
[1] Barron’s Econoday Calendar: http://online.barrons.com/public/page/barrons_econoday.html
[2] Briefing Economic Calendar: http://www.briefing.com/Investor/Public/Calendars/EconomicCalendar.htm
[3] CBOT Market Profile Education: http://www.cbot.com/cbot/pub/page/0,3181,1184,00.html
[4] Tradestation: http://www.tradestation.com/default_2.shtm
[5] Click Here: http://www.ino.com/info/216/CD3379/&dp=0&l=0&campaignid=13
[6] Linda Raschke’s Web Site: http://www.lbrgroup.com/index.asp
[7] John Ehlers: http://www.mesasoftware.com/
[8] Walter Bressert: http://www.walterbressert.com/
[9] Terry Laundry T Theory: http://ttheory.typepad.com/
[10] Hank Pruden: http://www.hankpruden.com/
[11] Pimco - Bill Gross: http://www.pimco.com/TopNav/Home/Default.htm
[12] Warren Buffett - Berkshire Hathaway: http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/
[13] 3-2-1 Gold: http://www.321gold.com/
[14] 3-2-1 Energy: http://www.321energy.com/
[15] Yahoo Earnings Schedule : http://biz.yahoo.com/research/earncal/today.html
[16] ProShares: http://www.proshares.com/
[17] Sector S&P SPDRs: http://www.sectorspdr.com/index.cfm
[18] AVG Free Edition Virus Checker: http://free.grisoft.com/doc/2/
[19] Ad-Aware: http://www.lavasoftusa.com/
[20] Spy Bot: http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/



Last edited by forest on 9/6/09 01:50, edited 1 time in total

 
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 Post subject: Re: The stimulus beneficiaries
PostPosted: 3/8/09 18:13 
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  ON THE MARKET

Correction Seems Close at Hand

Why this rally may be getting long in the tooth and what to look for in the major indexes in terms of a correction.

By Mark Manning

TheStreet.com Contributor
May 18, 2009

 

 

  • The S&P 500® Index has broken above 800 and the intermediate-term market trend is up, but we need more proof before calling an end to the primary downtrend.
  • The indexes are running up against major resistance, while many of my indicators are giving concerning signals. In addition, trouble for the U.S. dollar may be on the horizon.
  • I believe at these resistance levels it pays to be very cautious and raise cash to take advantage of a correction that could produce some appealing bargains.

 

Well, we’ve certainly had a wild ride since my last column in April, as the sharp rally has continued to power higher. In my March column, “Bracing for a Turnaround,” I explained the telltale signs that investors would need to see for a rally to take place and for the intermediate-term market trend to turn up.

I said we could move sharply higher if the economy stabilized some and financial problems improved. I also said that the S&P 500 would need to rise above 800 and hold that level.

I believe those things have happened, and the intermediate-term market trend is now clearly up. However, I think the long-term primary trend is still down and we need to see some more proof before we call an end to the primary downtrend or bear market.

The trouble with V moves

In my April column, I talked about the recent V upward move in the indexes and how this is not the type of bottom I like to see. V bottoms have a high failure rate and often sharply reverse and resume their prior trend.

However, I explained that there was a lot of cash on the sidelines and I would expect a strong move up if these assets started coming out of the safe allocations and into more growth situations. The charts showed that there was certainly more room to move higher before hitting significant resistance, and that is exactly what has happened.

The rally has had no rest since it began in March. We’ve also seen positive rotation into other areas of the market, like commodities. If the economy were really turning around, I believe you would start to see accumulation in this area.

However, strength in technology small- and mid-caps and retail has weakened substantially while the market has been moving higher off financials and commodities. These were the weakest sectors during the brutal turn of the bear market in September 2008, and my view is that past leaders do not normally guide a new bull market. I believe we need new leadership with substantial increases in earnings from those leaders, which has yet to appear.

Rally has gone on for long enough

The lack of new leadership makes me believe that this rally is long in the tooth and, now that the indexes are up in serious resistance levels, I believe a correction or pullback probably isn’t very far off. In situations like this, normally I aggressively take profits and use sell stops on remaining positions to help protect myself in the event of a downside reversal.

The reason I am becoming skeptical here is that many of the stocks that have been leading this rally are now moving up on lower volume, while the volume on down days is surprisingly strong. I am also not seeing leadership stocks with strong earnings breaking out of sound bases, as normally seems to be the case after a significant bottom is formed.

I have studied the characteristics of all of the modern-era bull and bear markets, and although they develop differently, they do have many of the same characteristics. This recent move is missing some key ingredients that typically appear before a significant long-term bottom can be called.

Hopefully, we will see better earnings—and growth sectors as well as new leadership stocks breaking out of sound bases—after the next correction. I believe this will signal that economic conditions are improving.

Possible scenarios in the indexes

Let’s look at the major indexes and a couple of possible scenarios that I think could develop over the next few weeks.

In the weekly charts below, I have drawn a red box where I think the major resistance lies. I have also drawn a yellow box where a correction might find support. The two areas I would watch closely are 822 and 777, which would represent corrections of 33% and 50%, respectively.

A move down into this area could possibly lead to the head-and-shoulders bottom, which could be a very positive formation. If that happens and we break back above the January highs, we could possibly have a new primary uptrend on our hands. However, a break below those levels could mean the downtrend continues.

 

Source: TC2000, as of May 15, 2009.

The Nasdaq and other technology stocks have certainly been the leaders over the past few months. There have been confirming volume and support from the money stream (which may indicate participation from institutional investors) at the bottom of the chart. However, recently the technology area has weakened significantly.

At the same time, the index is right up against major resistance. The key now will be to watch how the pattern forms on any correction. If we see a technical head-and-shoulders bottom here also, it could certainly add to the validity of a continuing uptrend.

If and when we do get a correction, I would want to see the 1,509 level hold what would be a 50% retracement of the rally off the March lows. If we break below that level, I believe it will not be a good sign.

 

Source: TC2000, as of May 15, 2009.

You can also see that the S&P SmallCap 600 Index has made a sharp V move up and may be close to entering an area of significant resistance. Again, I believe we need to see some of these overbought tensions worked off through a correction before we can evaluate whether the recent move out is valid or just a bear market rally.

 

Source: TC2000, as of May 15, 2009.

More worrying indicators

One indicator that gives me some immediate concern is the current percentage of stocks above the 40-day moving average, which is at historic highs. When this happens, in my experience it’s not normally a good time to be aggressively buying—an extended high level like this often precedes a sharp correction. I prefer to be initiating or adding to positions when the indicator is down in the high teens to the low 20s.

 

Source: TC2000, as of May 15, 2009.

Another indicator I watch closely is the Smart/Dumb Money Confidence Indicator from sentimentTrader.com, which attempts to track what the good market timers are doing with their money compared to what the bad market timers are doing. Bad market timers are the ones who usually get bullish after the market goes up and bearish when it goes down. By the time they catch the trend it is usually too late and about to reverse. The confidence of the bad market timers is moving sharply higher while the so-called smart money is quickly declining.

 

Source: sentimenTrader.com, as of May 15, 2009.

Manipulation at the banks

I don’t agree with the Fed allowing banks to value assets at whatever they think they are currently worth while moving toxic assets off of their books to give the illusion that they are in better shape than they really are. It wasn’t much of a surprise to see these institutions producing better-than-expected earnings.

However, I believe the problems in the financial sector are nowhere near over, and further weakness in the economy could lead to more home foreclosures, major problems with commercial real estate loans, and the final shoe to drop: consumer, auto and credit card delinquencies.

The weekly chart of the banking sector below shows that there has been a very strong rally that exploded higher off of the expected news that the government stress tests did not show any major collapses. However, I believe this is a classic bear market rally and it’s quickly nearing major long-term resistance. I would be very cautious as the market nears this resistance level.

 

Source: TC2000, as of May 15, 2009.

Dollar problems ahead

In my column in March, I said that the U.S. dollar had been extremely strong over the last year. However, it was nearing significant resistance in the $92.50 area. I said if the dollar fails at or near this resistance level, commodities could start to move up again. I believe that could signal that we are in the beginning process of moving from a deflationary environment to an inflationary one.

The U.S. Dollar Index didn’t quite make it to that level before it failed at a high of $89.62. You can now see from the weekly chart that it appears to be forming a major head-and-shoulders technical top. You can also see at the bottom of the chart that the money stream indicator has broken its uptrend.

This weakness in the dollar has certainly spurred increased strength in all of the commodity areas, and if a new intermediate- to long-term downtrend develops in the dollar, I think we will likely see commodities continue to benefit. With the current administration flooding the market with money as fast as it can be printed, I believe we will likely see long-term problems for the dollar developing.

 

Source: TC2000, as of May 15, 2009.

Commodities depart the base

The two-day chart of the CRB (Commodity Research Bureau) Index tells me that commodities are coming out of a very attractive long-term base. They are now slightly extended and nearing some intermediate-term resistance levels. The key will be how well they hold up after a pullback occurs.

I believe the deciding factor will be whether the economy stabilizes or whether we fall back into a deflationary environment. If the latter happens, I think commodities will either decline or stay in a holding pattern. If not, we should see the trend continue higher.

 

Source: TC2000, as of May 15, 2009.

Oil inventories are at all-time highs, and all of the recent news has been very bearish. However, oil has been ignoring all of this and trending sharply higher in the face of dire economic conditions. When stocks or indexes move up in the face of bad or bearish news, it’s often a signal that the major trend is in the process of bottoming or changing from down to up.

The chart below of the Light Sweet Crude Oil Index shows that the price broke out of its base in March, has consolidated for two months and now is again moving higher. This movement can also be seen in most of the oil and gas stocks across the board. Again, I believe the key factor determining the industry’s strength will be whether we re-enter a deflationary stage again or not.

 

Source: TC2000, as of May 15, 2009.

Hold for a correction

There are certainly a lot of undercurrents developing in the market, and I think at these levels it pays to be very cautious and to make sure you are raising cash to take advantage of any correction that could produce some appealing bargains. Remember, I think that the key to being a great trader or investor is to have a solid risk-management strategy and take profits when stocks or indexes are nearing major resistance levels.

If stocks or indexes break through these resistance levels and continue higher, there could be time to reposition. If not and they break down, at least you’re not stuck with losing positions.



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 Post subject: Re: The stimulus beneficiaries
PostPosted: 3/9/09 03:25 
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Short Interest Release Schedule check out short interest  
2009
Month Sett Date[2] Due Date[3] Release Date[4]
Jan
15
20
27
Jan
30
2/3
2/10
Feb
13
18
25
Feb
27
3/3
3/10
Mar
13
17
24
Mar
31
4/2
4/9
Apr
15
17
24
Apr
30
5/4
5/11
May
15
19
27
May
29
6/2
6/9
Jun
15
17
24
Jun
30
7/2
7/10
Jul
15
17
24
Jul
31
8/4
8/11
Aug
14
18
25
Aug
31
9/2
9/10
Sep
15
17
24
Sep
30
10/2
10/9
Oct
15
19
26
Oct
30
11/3
11/10
Nov
13
17
24
Nov
30
12/2
12/9
Dec
15
17
24
Dec
31
1/5/10
1/12/10

option book


Attachments:
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Barron's Online  
Monday, June 8, 2009
0
 
UP AND DOWN WALL STREET  

No Bottom in Housing

By ALAN ABELSON

Housing faces another big wave of foreclosures. Jobs report: no cause for celebration.

LAST WEEK, MR. OBAMA VOYAGED TO EGYPT and delivered a truly remarkable speech. It wasn't so much the nicely crafted rhetoric or deftly glossed content that stirred our admiration. Rather, it was that he could speak for nearly an hour and verbally cover the globe, with its profusion of combustible hot spots threatening conflagrations that might consume continents, without once uttering the word "terrorist."

Guess from now on, we'll have to call those guys in Iraq and Pakistan who get up the in morning, brush their teeth and proceed to blow up themselves and everyone else who happens to be within spitting distance "misguided pyrotechnists" and the 9/11 bunch "malign tourists."

While Mr. Obama's trip to the land of the Pyramids got most of the play (for some reason, he neglected to take Joe Biden along and introduce him to the Sphinx to show him what a model vice president is like), the week was also newsworthy as providing still another example of a CE0 failing to follow the iron rule to never send an e-mail and never destroy one.

The culprit in this case is Angelo Mozilo, the man who founded and ran the infamous Countrywide Financial, which made a real contribution to the decline and fall of housing, the deep freeze of the credit market and all the calamitous things that issued from them. After the roof fell in, he walked away with $130 million, the fruits of opportune stock sales. That's not a record for being compensated for making a mess, but it still represents a decent payday.

Mr. Mozilo made the mistake of properly referring in e-mails to the loans his company was making as "toxic." And the SEC awoke long enough from its slumbers to charge him with fraud.

Mr. Obama, as it turns out, couldn't have picked a better week to be abroad, since his absence coincided with release of the May jobs report. It showed a leap in the unemployment rate to 9.4% from 8.9%, the highest in a quarter of a century. Apparently, that stimulus program unveiled with so much hoopla isn't doing much in the way of stimulating employment.

While payrolls slid by 345,000, much below the consensus guess, it was the usual hokey number, getting a lift from the wonderful birth/death model, which somehow summoned up 220,000 jobs and did so, magically, out of thin air.

The harsh truth is that, using the regular payroll data, a rather formidable 14.5 million people are out of work. Moreover, if we look at the category we feel gives a more accurate picture -- the so-called U-6 tally -- which includes people too discouraged to keep looking for a job and those working part-time because they can't find full-time slots, the unemployment rate shot up to a new high of 16.4%. That means that something around 25 million folks are effectively on the dole. Ugh!

CALL US ORNERY (it'll probably shock you to learn we've been called worse). Or, if you're in a forgiving mood, call us grumpy, mulish, obstinate. But, with a willful tenacity that we fear approaches obsession, we find ourselves clinging to the notion -- in the face of the mounting insistence in Wall Street, Washington and other seamy precincts that less bad is the equivalent of good -- that the impaired economy is still a long way from anything worthy of being called a recovery. And what's more, it will stay in that sorry state until housing, whose collapse triggered the chain reaction that threatened to all but demolish the economy, pulls itself up from the depths.

Ah, we can hear the fluttering flocks of cheerful chirpers scolding us for not opening our eyes and catching the luminous signs of a turn in housing's fortunes. Well, our eyes are wide open, and what we see is something quite different: the mother of all head fakes.

Our dour perception coincides with that of Whitney Tilson and Glenn Tongue of T2 Partners, from whose latest tome -- on housing, mortgages, meltdown and all that -- we've filched that superlative. And we couldn't be in better company. For, as perhaps you recall, we've used this space to quote extensively from their earlier warnings, which proved right on target.

Their latest effort runs a mere 75 pages and is adorned with an array of attractive graphics that help make its reading not only informative but relatively pleasurable. In it, they argue persuasively that recent indications of stabilization in housing are the product of some short-term and seasonal factors, and emphatically not, as the wild bulls have been snorting, a true bottom.

In particular, the lifting of a temporary moratorium on foreclosures has prompted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the other usual suspect lenders to move quickly to save homeowners who can be saved -- but foreclose on those who can't. Tilson and Tongue see this as necessary if we're ever going to lay to rest what the bubble and its dreary aftermath have wrought. But it also seems destined to produce exactly what we need least -- a surge in housing inventory later this year. And, alas, that in turn means further pressure on prices.

As any poor soul who has been trying to peddle his abode can mournfully attest, prices are plenty weak already, having declined for 33 months in a row. They're down some 40% from their peak, the T2 pair reckons, and have at least 5%-10% more to go, with a real risk of falling even further than that, owing to homeowner frustration and despair and a continuing ample oversupply of shelter because of the tidal wave of foreclosures, millions more of which they think are in the cards over the next few years.

Tilson and Tongue don't see housing bottoming until the middle of next year, and the recovery, they suggest, will be conspicuous by its lack of vigor.

One of the scarier charts in the report -- but which, we think, brings into jarring focus mortgage credit's current perilous condition -- lists how much each of the various types of loans is severely underwater. To wit: 73% of option ARMs, 50% of subprime, 45% of Alt-A and 25% of prime mortgages are in that uncomfortable category.

T2 posits five waves of losses, two of which have crested, while the remaining three have yet to peak. In the first two waves, the losses of which appear largely behind us, the chief causes of distress were rooted in fraud, feckless speculation and payment shock induced by mortgage resets.

The last three waves, the big losses of which have still to come, include prime loans (mostly owned or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie); jumbo primes, second liens and home-equity lines of credit (most of these are on banks' books), and loans outside housing, notably the tidy $3.5 trillion of commercial real estate.

Toward the end of their report, as a kind of second opinion, the T2 duo cite some observations last month by Mark Hanson of the Field Check Group, a seasoned research outfit that specializes in real estate and mortgages. And not surprisingly, he's at one with their downbeat analysis. In fact, if anything, he's even more bearish and puts a lot of the blame squarely on ill-conceived attempts to ease the plight of troubled homeowners by tinkering with their loans.

More specifically, he cites all of those "terrible kick-the- can-down-the-road modifications that leave borrowers in five-year teaser, ultra-high leverage, 150% loan-to value balloon loans" that when they start adjusting upward will "turn millions of homeowners into overlevered, underwater, renters, and ensure housing is a dead asset class for years to come."

Field Check's data, he says, show "that the mid-to-upper-end housing market is on the precipice of the exact cliff that the market fell off of in 2007, led by new loan defaults. What happens to the economy when you hit the mid-to-upper-end earners the same way the low-to-mid end was hit with the subprime implosion? We will find out soon enough."

And he concludes on this grim note: "When we look back at the end of 2009, anyone that made positive predictions this year will not believe how far off they were."

WE EARNESTLY HOPE THAT SHOULD he chance to glance at these scribblings, Timothy Geithner isn't disconcerted to the point that he's unable to give his undivided attention to the serious business of running the Treasury. We'd feel just awful if we thought that something we've written had distracted Mr. Geithner from formulating another way to reward the banks for their gross imprudence.

Our concern here springs from a report by the AP last week that Mr. Geithner, who has a house in a posh part of Westchester County in New York, has been unable to sell it, even though he cut the price below the $1.602 million he paid for it in 2004.

Since he has new digs in Washington, but has to shell out $27,000 a year in property taxes, plus the payments on $1.2 million in two mortgages on his old home, he likely figured if he sold it, at the very least he could begin to have a decent lunch instead of the baloney sandwich his missus has been preparing for him to haul to the office.

He was able to rent out the five-bedroom Westchester Tudor for a mere $7,500 a month, but we're afraid, given his mortgage payments and all, he'll probably still have to make do with baloney for quite a spell. Oh, and don't be surprised if the administration unveils a new program to aid those deserving upper-end homeowners whose suffering has gone largely unremarked.



 
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