Wednesday , January 27 2021
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Gregor Samsa

Gregor Samsa

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Articles by Gregor Samsa

NorCal Women Rising [To Power]

16 hours ago

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is set to preside over the impeachment trial of former President Trump, was taken to the hospital Tuesday, his office said in a statement. 
Leahy, 80, “was not feeling well” in his Capitol office and examined by the attending physician, said David Carle, a spokesperson for the Vermont senator.  – The Hill
Suppose Senator Leahy has to relinquish his duties or retire for health reasons (we certainly hope not). In that case, Senator Diane Feinstein of California (San Francisco) will become president pro tempore of the Senate, third in line to presidential succession.
Think about that, the first three government officials in the line of succession to the presidency will be women from San Franciso, as will be the fifth in line.
Four for five is incredible

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Is Peak COVID In?

3 days ago

We think so.  The daily new case curves are turning down and though the death curve will lag for a few weeks, it will also start to turn down soon.
Thank, God, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Back to normal?  Far from it.

In recent days, coronavirus cases have been dropping steadily across the United States, with hospitalizations falling in concert. But health officials are growing increasingly concerned that quickly circulating variants of the virus could cause new surges of cases faster than the country is managing to distribute Covid-19 vaccines.
…“We’re definitely on a downward slope, but I’m worried that the new variants will throw us a curveball in late February or March,” said Caitlin M. Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public

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The Trail of Two GOATs

5 days ago

H/t Carol K.
The following video was really touching and reveals the divergent path of the two GOATs.  Can there be two GOATs?  See the tables below.
One, facing retirement, seems to be dealing with the reality by playing catch with his kids for what might be the last time as an NFL player on his home field.   The other, most likely on his way to his 10th Super Bowl and 7th World Championship but gotta get through Aaron Rodgers and Cheeseheads first.
Long Tom Brady.

As Tom Brady and Drew Brees hug and say goodbye after a long talk on the field, Brady throws a touchdown pass to Brees’ son. One walks off to play in the NFC championship, the other stays to play with his kids.
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) January 18, 2021

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Presidential Stock Market Returns

5 days ago

Comparative presidential stock market returns are  always interesting and makes for good political fodder but pretty meaningless.  I am not arguing policies don’t matter but the initial conditions or valuation when a president takes office has, in the past, seemed to matter the most on how the market does during that president’s term.   Context, baby.
President Obama,  for example inherited a collapsing stock market, which bottomed about 7 weeks after he took office.  Bush #43  inherited the bubble, which began to collapse about nine months before he took over, and then existed office with a collapsing credit bubble, handing the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) off to President Obama.
Trump took office with record high valuations and commenced to pump the market higher with his

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The Best MLK Weekend Of All-Time

11 days ago

We are reposting this for the holiday and in honor of Dr. King, one of our greatest Americans, a patriot, and a true saint.
I exchanged emails with Reverend Senator-elect Raphael Warnock after posting it.
Originally Posted on January 21, 2019
During my Lehman days as a bond strategist, the firm’s research group would do a January roadshow in many of America’s major cities to present our ideas to institutional investors.   One particular year, we were in Atlanta at the end of the week and scheduled for another “greatest show on earth” in Chicago the next Tuesday.
A Weekend In The Peachtree Hyatt
Rather than flying home to New York, I decided to stay over in Atlanta and migrate north on Monday evening.   It was MLK weekend and I wanted to attend services at the Ebenezer Baptist

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Comfortably Numb: Are We There Yet?

12 days ago

Almost there, baby?  Markets certainly are.

OKJust a little pinprickThere’ll be no more aaaaaaaah!But you may feel a little sick – Pink Floyd

Hard to say what the pinprick will be. 
My bet is higher inflation and higher interest rates.   
On the other hand, it could be a form of Structured Criticality.  Just one more grain of sand will be all it takes to trigger the avalanche.

Structured criticality is a property of complex systems in which small events may trigger larger events due to subtle interdependencies between elements. This often gives rise to a form of stratified chaos where the general behavior of the system can be modeled on one scale while smaller- and larger-scale behaviors remain unpredictable.
For example:
Consider a pile of sand. If you drop one grain

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Peak Euphoria & Bat Shit Crazy Markets

14 days ago

[t]here is no denying that there’s been a shift in market structure over the past few years. Whether it be in the proliferation of free trading platforms, the rise in market share of passive investment strategies, or the ease with which social media can fuel speculative manias further, it does feel like something is different. – FT Alphaville

Yikes, “it’s different this time.”  
Same words to rationalize another bubble,  different rodeo.

Hey all you cool cats and kittens,Carole Baskin mentioned penny stock Zomedica $ZOM in a video last week.Since, it’s up 230% and yesterday more than 1 billion shares traded— Sarah Ponczek (@SarahPonczek) January 12, 2021


I will also tell you my definition of success for a bear market call.

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My Two Most Enduring Memories of Tommy Lasorda

15 days ago

I have to share with you two of my favorite and most enduring  memories of Tommy Lasorda, who passed last week.  In earlier posts, I have written about my Walter Mitty life growing up in L.A. as a kid working for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tommy was the Dodger’s third-base coach and later manager when I worked for one of baseball’s most legendary teams.   He was loud, entertaining,  larger than life, and was a master and very good at his craft, which would eventually land him in Cooperstown, home of baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Tommy was always ready, able, and willing to put on a good show in The Show.

1) The Benedict Arnold Show
I had just left the Dodgers during mid-summer of my gap year.  Taking a gap year was not very common back then.  USC wasn’t exactly kicking down my door with

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QOTD: Algos Exploiting Tribalism

15 days ago

QOTD = Quote of the Day
I’ d like to think that this is the beginning of the end of Big Tech as we know it. I think this is another example that when you have algorithms that are profit-driven, and these algorithms are different, and figure out the tribalism, and dividing us, is very profitable. And it ends up in an overrun or a seizure of the U.S. Capitol. – Prof. Scott Galloway, NYU
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The Moment I Knew America Was In Trouble

15 days ago

We are reposting a piece from June 1st as we were very concerned about the stability of the American Street and where the country was headed.  We were worried about a future full of “peril,” and after the events of last Wednesday, some of which illustrated below,  the times are now pretty damn perilous.
The mob came to hang the Vice President.  

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Originally Posted on June 1, 2020
The Conversation:  When I Knew America Was In Deep Shit 
In early February,  I drove to San Diego to attend a trade show.  I stayed overnight in the beautiful beach town of San Clemente, the home of President Richard Nixon’s Western White House.
I awoke on Super Bowl Sunday and headed down to the ocean to grab some breakfast before driving down to San Diego to pick up my good friend and

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Inflation Cometh And So Is A Big Market Correction

16 days ago

It was hilarious, no, sad actually, to see a piece last week by some market strategist mocking the “inflation truthers.”   Kind of like “election truthers?”
Of course, he surely knows the one thing that can knock the markets on their ass and keep them down is accelerating inflation.
Guess what, folks?  It’s here.
I just finished reading through at least 50 country PMIs (purchasing manager index) and almost all report accelerating inflation due to supply shocks and higher demand.  It’s not just a weak dollar thingy.

A positive second derivative of prices will tie the Fed’s hands in rescuing the market for the umpteenth time, and this dude, no doubt realizes, his year-end bonus would suffer.  Just sayin’.
Man, I dig Upton.

Call me a skeptic, because I am, and a contrarian, because I

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Straight Flush: The Taiwan Straight Beats The Straight Of Hormuz

20 days ago

As the stock market and the FOMO chasers remain unhinged from reality (3 standard deviations above mean valuations) about as much as the crowd we watched in horror invade the Capitol yesterday, it’s time to revert to a fundamental story that is consistent, logical, and will probably make you some money that you will be able to keep and bank over the medium-term. No, not Bitcoin.
It’s also an interesting story full of geopolitical intrigue.  We will keep it short and sweet with some pictures.
Short Straight Of Hormuz
The U.S. didn’t import any Saudi crude last week for the first time in 35 years, a reversal from just months ago when the Kingdom threatened to upend the American energy industry by unleashing a tsunami of exports into a market decimated by the pandemic. – Bloomberg,

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Top Emerging Tech Trends In 2020

22 days ago

As we look to 2021 and the anticipated global economic recovery, we see continued interest in topics related to emerging business risks, digital transformation and cybersecurity. As a result, integrated risk management (IRM) topped our list in 2020.
We also continue to see increased interest in the wider adoption of digital technologies to support an employee base that is now physically separate due to stay-at-home mandates across the globe. Technologies such as smart spaces, digital risk management (DRM), secure access service edge (SASE) and zero trust network access (ZTNA) are emerging as critical needs in this new working environment. – Gartner

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Welcome to 2021, Y’all!

23 days ago

By Carol K.

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope everyone had a happy and relaxing holiday season – or as happy as can be in the midst of a global pandemic.  I’ve been fighting a bout of pneumonia and was officially diagnosed with “The Covid” (as it’s known in my neck of the woods) last week. I am blessed in having access to a fantastic team of doctors and my family taking excellent care of me. 

After the holiday hiatus, I was eagerly anticipating getting back to work in my home office this morning — markets are my passion, so it’s not really work.  Things started out promising, the three major indices in the green in the pre-market.  I messaged Gregor saying it appears we’re picking up where 2020 left off.  I checked my Twitter feed an hour or so later to see what’s going on

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At Least Some Things Never Change

December 23, 2020

With the markets unmoored from historical reality (along with half the country, by the way) and valuations at historic and unprecedented extremes, it’s refreshing to see some things don’t change, such as the painful short squeeze taking place in the 50 most shorted stocks.
We don’t miss those days, not one bit.  So painful to be caught in a nutcracking short squeeze.
Market valuations do not regress to their means until they do.  And they will.  Someday.
Our favorite stock market valuation metric —  market capitalization to nominal GDP — has stocks currently almost 3 standard deviations above their mean valuation, and that even assumes a new era of valuations that began after 1996.
Moreover, the average valuation for the stock market at the beginning of a new bull market is a market

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The Real Pro-Lifers versus The Seniciders

December 10, 2020

I spy the real Pro-Lifer.  Can you?
The ignoramuses are, in effect, engaging in a form of senicide whether they know it or not.
Modern Senicide in the Face of a Pandemic
Senicide is the killing of older persons, or their abandonment to death. The practice of senicide existed in many cultures. Senicide is an extreme form of ageism, defined as stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination against older adults (Ayalon & Tesch-Römer, 2018). Ageism can be positive and negative, but growing older today is often associated with deterioration, vulnerability, and morbidity, and older adults are perceived as a homogenous group that is mostly sick, dependent, or incompetent.
…The present study aims to examine public discourseand sentiment regarding older adults and COVID-19 onTwitter and to

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Stocks On A Long Monetary Leash

December 7, 2020

M2 Money Stock – Weekly % Year-on-Year Change 
Stunning to see the weekly monetary aggregates (M2) continue to grow at an unprecedented 25 percent year-on-year rate.  Not so stunning to see the stock market mania being led and fueled by the money supply growth.
Yet, it is stunning, actually frightening, to see stocks need the 25 percent money growth to sustain its momentum.
This is unprecedented and unsustainable as inflationary pressures are and will surely continue to build even in the flawed official measures. Recent data now show M2 grew north of 1 percent in November month-on-month.  The challenge mounts in March when the moving prior 12-month stock of money will be at a much higher base.
The monetary aggregates are also subject to the creation of engodenous money and the

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The Paradox Of Value & The Water-Diamond Paradox

December 7, 2020

Times they are a changin’.

Water is joining gold, oil and other commodities traded on Wall Street, highlighting worries that the life-sustaining natural resource may become scarce across more of the world.
Farmers, hedge funds and municipalities alike will be able to hedge against — or bet on — potential water scarcity starting this week, when CME Group Inc. launches contracts linked to the $1.1 billion California spot water market. According to Chicago-based CME, the futures will help water users manage risk and better align supply and demand. – Bloomberg
While you grapple with the water-diamond paradox,  I am wrestling with one of my own:  the Bitcoin-J&J Stock paradox.   Which is more “valuable?”
Can someone help me out here?
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Amazon Set To Become The Fastest Growing Healthcare Co

December 4, 2020

Healthcare will be the most disruptive sector in history, what’s about to happen to healthcare in the next two years in the United States. – Professor Scott Galloway, NYU Stern School of Business
Michael Smerconish‘s opening segment in last Saturday’s show is a must view, folks.
It also parrots what Carol K. has been pounding the table about and beating into me over the past year.  The COVID crisis has accelerated the trends, both good and bad, and the tech disruption party is just getting started.
Amazon took 25 years to get to half a million employees. It’s now — it’s added half a million in 12 months.
Apple took 42 years to get to $1 trillion in market capitalization. It went from $1 trillion to $2 trillion in just 20 weeks. Take any trend in society and in the business sector,

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Be Thankful!

November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving, folks. Be kind and help someone in need.

Found this Thanksgiving gem by Natalie Cole. Dedicated to the one I love.

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Janet Yellen Now Favored To Become Treasury Secretary

November 23, 2020

President-elect Biden is expected to name some of his Cabinet picks on Tuesday,

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s transition team will officially announce its first cabinet appointments on Tuesday, said Ron Klain, Mr. Biden’s incoming White House chief of staff, although he declined to say which ones.
The names of at least three expected cabinet appointments were released on Sunday night by people close to the decision process, including Anthony J. Blinken for secretary of state, Jake Sullivan as national security adviser and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations. – NY Times

Since our post on the market bets at for President-elect Biden’s Cabinet picks,  Janet Yellen has soared to become the favorite for Treasury Secretary.  Lael

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How COVID Has Turbo Charged Big Tech – FT

November 20, 2020

What happens when a pandemic collides with technological change? Covid-19 has shaken business to its core. The FT’s Lex maps how the landscape is changing – FT
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The Biden Cabinet: Prediction Markets Making Big Bets On XX Chromosome Set

November 19, 2020

This post is dedicated to our very loved colleague and friend, Carol K., who has been bravely fighting a relapse of ovarian cancer.  She received the results today she is cancer-free.  She is a true warrior and we never had any doubt she would beat the beast.  
Disclaimer:   The prediction markets are the worst forecaster except for all others.  Though they nailed the presidency, they were way off on many Senate seats.  For example, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was only priced at around a 30% probability of being re-elected the day before election day.  Big Fail!
Line Of Succession
Markets are betting five out of the top six in the line of succession to the presidency are going to be from the XX chromosome set, and number three is an 87-year white male Republican with COVID, who,

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Can Low Inflation Withstand The Pandemic Recovery Effort?

November 17, 2020

We’ve always maintained inflation is not measured correctly just as the video assets as is the supply of “money.” We’ll go further, and have several times, and say “money“ cannot be even defined today. Stay tuned.

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