Investor, There’s a Bug in Your Olive Oil (CGNX,BOTZ,TGT,LVNTA,QQQ)

Investor, There’s a Bug in Your Olive Oil (CGNX,BOTZ,TGT,LVNTA,QQQ)   In what might be considered a perfectly apropos metaphor for the state of investing these days, the Kansas City Star yesterday reported that Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Olive Trees’, painted in 1885 directly before the artist took his own life, has been hiding a secret for better than 125 years. Curators at the city’s Nelson-Atkins Museum report finding a grasshopper that was lodged in the paint all those years without anyone noticing, attributing it to the simple vicissitudes of painting outdoors.   The Bug in the Oil   And we wonder if, after the ‘suicide’ of the current bull run, this stock market’s ‘grasshopper’ will be so easily identified.   For we’re no doubt headed toward a structural event in the financial world.  And though many will point to their favorite bugbear as being responsible for the calamity-to-come, we believe that the larger cycles of human history – and particularly those related to finance and economics – make it all too predictable. No geniuses here.  Just keen observation.   The market cycle is essentially one of arrogance and humility.  It follows the larger course of human events and can therefore be…

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When Liberty’s the Target… (LVNTA,TGT)

When Liberty’s the Target… (LVNTA,TGT)   We’ve discussed the ‘winnowing’ process that occurs at market tops at various times over the last several years, explaining that in its final stages, a bull market will experience a drastic thinning of breadth, where only the biggest names, the market ‘stars’, as it were, garner all the attention and buying.   And that attention is sufficient to thrust the indexes straight upward in an asymptotic kaboom!, before, of course, the whole thing implodes and a general bear market ensues.   During those discussions, we also took the time to mention one stock in particular, Facebook Inc. (NYSE:FB), naming it the ‘poster child’ of the current bull market and the ultimate symbol of both the corporate and market reality in which we reside.   Facebook (which we’ve also dubbed ‘the world’s biggest time waster’) is an integral part of the statist security machinery that now profiles everyone with impunity and sells that information at a premium to both governments and retailers. According to our measure of things, that winnowing process is now entering what might be termed an ‘intermediate’ stage, with stocks like Apple, Facebook and Google, et al. attracting as much attention for…

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Single-family home starts up, Fed minutes released and Target (TGT) surprises beats expectations

Markets were heading lower on Wednesday after a report showed that single-family housing starts were on the rise last month. The Commerce Department announced that building permits on single-family homes were up 4.2% to a seasonally adjusted 696,000 unit pace. When combined with the data for both single and multi-family housing, the total was up 4.8% to 1.08 million units. This marks the highest information on record for the index since 2008. Richard Moody, a senior economist at Regions Financial, said, “The October report on new residential construction does not change our view of the underlying trends in the housing market – robust activity in the multi-family segment of the market with single family activity continuing to underperform expectations.” The Federal Reserves minutes were released from their October meeting on Wednesday. There was a heavy debate amongst policymakers over how much importance to place on signs that inflation expectations were slipping. Placing too much effort on those signs would counteract their goals to bring price increases up to their goals. The minutes said, “Many participants observed that the committee should remain attentive to evidence of a possible down shift in longer-term inflation expectations. Some of them noted that if such an…

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