Although the US market broke to lower (recent) lows Monday, our optimism about America seems likely to be buoyed. At least, so say the early futures.
I’ve discovered a new method of investing, lately. It’s called the guillotine trading method. Works really simple: You invest, market promptly heads the other direction, and you’re account balance screams “You’ve lost your head!”
Notwithstanding, the market is a data-driven place and data (along with news) is our stock-in-trade. We never offer financial advice and have no plans to do so before making our first several million trading. Still, I love reporting financial news because money is not just the “root of all evil.” It’s also the root of all relationships, weight gain, vacations, exotic dinners at high-end restaurants and…hmm…seems like I’m overlooking something…
Oh yeah. Dom Perignon. Try picking up a bottle of, oh, the 2012 brut, luminous for less than three bills in decent setting.
For reasons unknown, the saying “Money is the root of all [good] champagne” didn’t take off like Evil. Which ought to tell you something about markets and wealth accumulation. Given a choice between “evil” and bubbly? Not a difficult choice.
Meanwhile, at the Guillotine
In pops an email from my deflationist pal Jas:
““Trade of the Decade: Short Tech and Long Commodities”
That is from Ruchir Sharma who appeared on CNBC. He said that long-term decline in tech is already underway.
I am Short Tech and my friend George is Long Commodities. If we hit recession soon then commodities might not do well for a while. “
Long commodities we grow – like trees. Sequester carbon, qualifies as ag for tax purposes and can supply four-legged protein in a pinch.
Been mulling over the idea of building an electric sawmill to run off the solar. No telling how it would work, but it would give us finished product to sell. “A couple of 2-by-4’s with those tomatoes today, buddy?”
The National Federation of Independent Business has its month Small Business Optimism report just out. Not good enough to act as super glue after Monday’s guillotine trading adventure. The “sticking point” is inflation:
“In February, the NFIB Optimism Index decreased by 1.4 points to 95.7, the second consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98. Twenty-six percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business, a four-point increase since December and the highest reading since the third quarter of 1981.
“Inflation continues to be a problem on Main Street, leading more owners to raise selling prices again in February,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Supply chain disruptions and labor shortages also remain problems, leading to lower earnings and sales for many.”
On the other hand, we are seeing signs of a recovery in many areas; store shelves are filling up again. And the “American moodset” doesn’t seem so grim as during the lockdowns.
International Trade Data…
…is also just out. With America’s energy independence vanishing in the rearview, here’s how it laid out:
“MARCH 8, 2022 — The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced today that the goods and services deficit was $89.7 billion in January, up $7.7 billion from $82.0 billion in
- January exports were $224.4 billion, $3.9 billion less than December exports. January imports were $314.1 billion, $3.8 billion more than December imports.
- The January increase in the goods and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of $7.1 billion to $108.9 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of $0.6 billion to $19.2 billion.
- Year-over-year, the goods and services deficit increased $24.6 billion, or 37.7 percent, from January 2021.
- Exports increased $29.9 billion or 15.4 percent. Imports increased $54.4 billion or 21.0 percent
One thing to consider (and I don’t mean this as a cheap shot) BUT are we the only ones who are asking “How does all the exporting of war materiel impact the numbers?
A couple of weeks back, National Defense Magazine reported that Foreign Military Sales was down last year: “The agency reported $34.8 billion in total FMS transaction value for 2021, down 31 percent from fiscal year 2020 when the total reached $50.8 billion.”
Granted, $34.8 billion isn’t much money (*in terms of government accounting – our checkbook is a little lighter). But there may be a silver lining to defending Eastern Europe from its two worst enemies: Us and Them.
Meanwhile, of course the deficit will grow with increased imported energy costs. How hard is that to follow?
After the data, stock futures went negative – so don’t stand too close to the falling blade, there.
The ex-president of Ukraine – who was ousted in 2014 for asking for Russian aid to overcome western “help” in Ukraine’s previous contentious blow-up. Ukraine’s Deposed Leader Urges Zelenskiy to ‘Stop the Bloodshed’ – The Moscow Times.
By the way, dude’s name is Viktor Yanukovych and you get 10-bonus points toward your Junior Reporter Merit Badge if you can spell it flawlessly first time. (Spelling has always been a bother. Which is why I loved doing radio news. When things just have to sound right. If no paper, simply ad libbing a five minute newscast was doable since most stories are easy to template.)
Also in the war propaganda flow: Russia says West arming Ukraine will cause ‘global collapse’ in chilling warning – Mirror Online. We expect the markets to be momentarily brave today, but trading the guillotine is bloody awful.
What Putin can’t blow up this week, the Fed meeting will next week.
Drone and Missiles
We’ve been kicking around how drones have changed the face of modern warfare. Old leaders (Putin) tend to fight with yesterday’s tools. While the young *(and not wedded to welding up tanks down the road from the steel plant) take a lighter view and come up with disruptive warfare.
As in Ukraine Army uses Bayraktars to stop four enemy columns in Sumy region (ukrinform.net). Gas powered drones, four missiles and more…yeah, you can betchertass China is watching and thinking things through…
In a Food Mood
Caught an interesting read over on Fast Company today about perception management internally at Google:(My food all seems to go to waist…)
Really an interesting topic to explore. As Pappy once taught me: “If you are served a beer in a very, very thick, heavy glass, it will seem like more beer than it really is…”
Not sure how much research has been done on the optics and sensory-appetite linkage. But Elaine says she gets “…full just looking at food.” At the other extreme, I get famished just thinking about it. (Only workable solution found is be too busy to eat…)
Let’s assume you remember MPD is short for multiple personality disorder. I’m sure you’ve read the books of seen the movies. DID is dissociative identity disorder.
While we’ve been contemplating how Social Media makes people crazy (mass media manias), along comes a brilliant article in the new First Monday exactly on point. Have a read of Contiguous identities.
“We then argue that the virtual self is not a singular entity per se but forms a contiguous connection between the lived experience of VR and data gathered through social media about the identity associated with said experience.”
Hell of a topic for either of the Kings (Stephen or Tabitha) to write as a new genre of horror. Since, in traditional MPD/DID, one persona is dominant at a time and memories may not transfer. In this other construct (after Saker and Frith’s paper) virtual personalities (and potentially identities) begin to sound very similar to a dissociative/MPD state but with memory transfer between personas... (Persona A on social, persona B in VR, persona C in chat, persona D on Zoom, persona E on phone, persona F in email, and so forth…)
Somehow, I have a feeling that this virtual personas has already bloomed in real life. As multiplicities of genders and other aspects of self are rising. Would mass gender-change marketing have ever occurred without social media?
Mr. Ure #6 is looking bewildered by the thought, but Ure #2 has it all sorted out. Yes, insanity is quite entertaining! Which explains the psychotopology of the web.
ATR: I Need Greenhouse Help!
I’ve run into a technical question in fine-tuning the automation of our semi-automatic veggie greenhouse.
On the far end of the room (20 x 10 remember?) is a screened hot air exhaust port. up at the roof line (heat rises) about almost 4 square feet worth. Today or tomorrow I will get a door cobbled up to close over this when the weather gets cold. We may hit freezing going into this weekend.
Rather than “build myself a job opening and closing this heat cover” I figured I’d just use an automatic greenhouse window opener. (See where this is going?)
Here’s the design question: Will said automatic opener/closers work when mounted horizontally or do they work only in the vertical orientation?
Your immediate reply as a comment with this arcane bit of greenhouse knowledge would be appreciated! (No telling me from the other vegetables, anymore…)
Write you get rich,