Thursday, November 01, 2007


With the Dow down 342 points, I feel compelled to sent out a pep talk.

You do not own the Dow. The big drop in the Dow is coming from "roll over" stocks. Big oil is having to pay high prices but can't raise its selling price to compensate. Big finance, no longer able to raise the funds to do company buyouts, is suffering the heartburn from prior deals. All the while, Microsoft, one of the biggies of the big cap growth stocks, has made the turn.

This bucking bronco is doing its best to buck off the weak riders. It is time to load up this pack horse with so much weight that he can't even buck anymore. BUY, BUY, BUY!

The mid cycle stock market "bottom" is near. I know how silly that sounds with the broad averages still near all time record levels but it is just the way this cycle is working out. The big fall in the Dow and the market averages will be composed of "old cycle stocks" falling off. The NASDAQ will continue to out perform and then suddenly the US Dollar will start to climb. When the climb in the dollar gets going, the flood of investments will start coming home. Those who are loaded up in international stocks will feel pain and gradually decide that China is fun no more. Foreign investors will join the party. It is going to be a grand old party. Today's drop is big enough to have follow through in the days ahead but don't try to take advantage of short term moves. The next big move to the upside is going to break through long dated resistance. You do not want to be on the wrong side of the next move.

Those who shorted oil futures will eventually prove to be very right but very early. Those who are short must find oil to deliver. They are not having fun. Once the level of futures contracts comes back out of the stratosphere, the oil markets will return to rationality. It is pretty amazing that there has been such incredible levels of speculation that even Exxon Mobil can make no money off the refining of oil to gasoline, the crack spread is too low to cover the cost.

In the past, when I wrote about China's plan to build 40 nuclear power plants, my readers seemed to yawn. Last week, when I reported that China will build an average of one new coal fired electricity plant per week for the next 10 years, at least a couple of readers were impressed. The fact that the Chinese are using electric train engines to haul the coal was icing on the cake. At least one reader found a few extra dollars and purchased shares in GE. In case you are not aware, GE makes train engines, turbine blades for power plants and airplane engines. The company also is one of the top corporate tax managers. The failure of Congress to reform taxes does not hurt GE because it uses every technique know to man to reduce its tax burden. The same reader just took a huge profit on Baidu. He may have sold this one early but you never go broke taking profits.

A new coal train is under construction in Wyoming. The USA will build 150 coal fired power plants over the next 10 years. Yes, I believe a carbon tax should be passed as a way to reduce the tax burden on income and as a way to increase the costs of burning the dirtiest of fuels, however, the energy demands of the world are huge. The passage of a carbon tax would increase the mix of nuclear plants while reducing the mix of coal plants. A lot of coal plants would still be built but the incentive to use clean coal technology would or at least should be a part of the carbon tax law.

It appears that most of these issues could be left as fodder for electioneering purposes. It appears that Charlie Rangel will go along with the suspension of the pay-go rules so that a one year patch to the AMT can go through without the passage of much of the democratic tax plan. In other words, the economy is too strong to be hurt by minor changes to the tax code. THE MOST RECENT YEAR OVER YEAR GROWTH IN PERSONAL DISPOSABLE INCOME WAS OVER 7%! With no additional declines in the price of gasoline, the American consumer is ready to spend, spend, spend.

The Don Hayes group presented a neat chart today (subscription required). It shows the change in wealth by averaging the change in average home price with the change in stock market value. Of course, it showed a huge drop from 2000 through most of 2002. Since 2002, prosperity has returned to America. Even the recent decline in home prices has been off set by the climb in stock prices.

The site uses the story of the Chinese Piano to make a powerful point. The price of new pianos, available from China has fallen so much that there is no longer a market for used pianos. Auction houses, churches and charities have stopped accepting pianos. One auction house recently worked 15 minutes to get a $20 bid just so they would not have to pay to remove the piano. Those who continue to focus on oil and gold to suggest that inflation is still raging tend to ignore the price of goods such as pianos. The common comment by inflation hawks is that the price of the things they buy, including food and energy continue to cost more. The fact is that the average American spent 6.3% of his disposable income on energy in 1980 and this percentage has fallen consistently in all the years hence. The number is now down to 4.2%. In regard to food, the decline has been far greater. If memory serves, the decline was from around 18% to the current level of about 6%. The percentage spent on recreation is close to the mirror image of the food expenditures.

Never before has a piano or thousands of other goods been so affordable. We live in good times. The news is bad but the times are good. BUY, BUY, BUY!