Mr. Sensitive

January 25, 2013

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 16:43

U.S. stocks continue to set new multi-year highs and the rest of the world is joining the party; from the DAX in Germany to the Nikkei in Japan, global equity indices are reaching 3-, 4- and 5-year highs.  The Dow Transports—the Trannies, in Street parlance—are setting fresh all-time highs on a daily basis, and the Dow Industrial and S&P 500 indices are within a few percentage points of their 2007 record levels.  The Nasdaq Composite is closing in on the September 2012 high of 3196, which was the best level for that index since 2000.  The Nasdaq is nowhere near its all-time high above 5100, which was set in March of 2000 at the peak of the tech stock bubble—if we ever see those levels again, it won’t be for a long, long time.  It also doesn’t help the Nasdaq that its largest component—by far—is down 11% this week and nearly 40% in four months.  I’ve said enough about Apple, though; for a long time it was the lone bright spot in a narrow market, and now the opposite is the case.  What’s working in this market?  Well…everything, basically.  Financials, oil & gas, big pharma, biotech, homebuilders, industrials, media, railroads—you name it.  Tech has been more a matter of winners (Amazon, eBay, IBM, Google) vs. losers (Apple, Intel, Microsoft) and the same is true in the retail sector.  So is now the time to buy?  I sure don’t think so.  The S&P 500 isn’t cheap at 17.5x trailing earnings and the inevitable bursting of the bond bubble will create a whole new set of winners and losers.  That doesn’t mean it’s time to sell, necessarily; individual stocks and even some sectors have plenty of room to run.  The market overall is looking pretty overheated, though, and the longer this bull run lasts, the worse the correction will necessarily be.

Do traders call the transport stocks ‘trannies’ just so they can say things like ‘I love the trannies right now,’ and ‘I’m putting it all into trannies’?  Of course.

The Family Stock Index continues to shame the broader averages, posting a 1.1% gain on the week and extending the January run to nearly 1200 points, or +8.7%.  Friday’s closing level of 14,619 is yet another all-time high, and breadth (18-7) was stronger this week than last (15-10).  Seven FSX members made new 52-week highs (Brinkley, Dustin, Justin, Lee, Nicole M., Wilson, Zondro) and there were no new lows.  In fact, only one component (Republican die-hard Ed Winston) is nearer than 10% to his 52-week low.  Can we keep running?  The P/E multiple on the FSX is an above-market 20x, but that is admittedly skewed by losses posted by RJET, LEI and JNY, along with the sky-high multiples sported by REGN and LULU.  The median P/E is 17.2, suggesting that the FSX isn’t necessarily overvalued relative to the broader market.  All that said, a sharp pullback of 2-4% sure would sure hit the spot about now.


  • Ruby (RJET +9.7%) and Zondro (ZQK +4.6%).  Ruby (+61% in January) and Zondro (+51%) are in a dogfight (get it?) for the top spot in the FSX this month, and neither one of them is backing down.  The conventional wisdom is that it’s best to let a sleeping dog lie, but CW also advises against poking a bear.  In this scenario, Ruby is the bear, and while I don’t know what, specifically, Zondro did to anger the bear, it certainly doesn’t surprise me that he did something.
  • LULU +4.5%.  It’s real cold outside and Lulu isn’t handling it well.  She spends a lot of time inside now with me and Brinky, and there’s no love lost between us.  (Brinky does love Lulu, but he believes that love means never having to say you’re sorry for squeezing your friends and sitting on them.)  Three days ago I spent fifteen minutes getting Brinky to sleep and was settling in to work when I heard a thumping sound upstairs.  At first I suspected my son—eloquent as ever, he pounds on the door and/or wall when he’s done with his nap—but he hadn’t been down long enough to even call it a cat nap.  But it was not a cat nap, I realized—it was an anti-nap cat.   The cat was in Brinky’s room, and now it was trying to get out!   So I rushed upstairs to kill it, only to find it in my bedroom, smacking a dead bird into the wall like some ghoulish form of racquetball practice.  I tried to catch the cat but it slipped under the bathtub, so I picked up its feathered toy and tossed it outside into the bushes.  Twenty minutes later, Lulu brought the bird back up onto the porch and started knocking it against the front door.  I kicked cat and bird—separately—off the porch a final time.  Thus one of the most contentious issues of the day—where dead birds can and cannot be played with—was resolved, largely through chasing and kicking.  I can’t guarantee that this approach would help Congress solve its fiscal policy impasse, but it should absolutely be tried.  Just think of the ratings boost for C-SPAN.
  • Lee (TGI) +4.2%.  Stay on target…almost there.
  • Reagan (REGN) +3.9%.  Reagan got a fancy keyboard for her birthday and she’s taking it in exactly the direction you’d expect.



  • Brinkley (BCO) -1.2%.  He’s got a cold, courtesy of Reagan.   Reagan handles her illnesses like a champ; Brinky, not so much.
  • Katie (CATY) -1.7%.  Jenny beat her mother two times in a row playing Just Dance 4, and the rift may never heal.
  • Nicole E. (NICE) -2.8%.  It’s real cold up there.  If it comes down to a Han/Luke/Tauntaun scenario with Nicole, Justin and Icarus in the mix, who ends up with the Tauntaun end of the stick?


The market’s placed its bet.

  • Ghost Marisa (MOLXA) -2.8%.  Ghost birds just don’t make the same satisfying thump when you knock them into things.
  • Zero (ZAGG) -5.0%.  Charlotte had her wisdom teeth removed and she seems to think it all went well.  I guess she has no idea what she said when she was hopped up on pain pills.  In fact, no one knows but Zero…and the market.
Name Ticker 1/25/2013 Change
Brinkley BCO $29.90 -0.35
Charlotte ICE $134.82 +1.49
Dustin DST $64.53 +1.01
Ghost Marisa MOLXA $22.78 -0.66
Icarus FAST $48.96 +0.36
Jenny JNY $11.99 +0.30
Jodi Ann JOY $63.26 -5.75
Justin SCI $14.86 +0.03
Katie CATY $19.26 -0.33
Lee TGI $72.85 +2.92
Lisa LNCE $25.96 +0.31
Lucas LEI $1.65 +0.09
Lulu LULU $69.83 +3.03
Marcus MCS $13.15 +0.05
Mario T.E. MGEE $52.18 +0.45
Mario T.Y. MAR $39.56 +0.29
Namilita NL $12.88 +0.15
Nicole E. NICE $37.05 -1.06
Nicole M. COLM $51.21 +1.17
Reagan REGN $174.48 +6.51
Ruby RJET $9.18 +0.81
Wilson WILC $5.40 -0.07
Winston ED $56.51 +0.73
Zero ZAGG $7.24 -0.38
Zondro ZQK $6.41 +0.28

January 24, 2013

Rotten AAPL

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 14:11

Is the cult of Apple dead?  The company reported quarterly results on Wednesday and the numbers are staggering: record quarterly revenue and earnings of $54.5 billion and $13.1 billion, respectively, and record sales for iPhones (47.8 million units) and iPads (22.9 million unites).  CEO Tim Cook described the results as “extraordinary,” and he’s absolutely right.  Alas for Timmy, they’re also disappointing.  Earnings per share came in slightly higher than the Street expected, but total revenue was below expectations, as were other key metrics, including iPhone and iPad unit sales and gross margin.  The market crushed AAPL stock, driving it down $60, or 12%, after the earnings report.  After trading above $700 a share in September 2012 and becoming the most valuable company in history, AAPL shares have fallen 35%, wiping out nearly $240 billion in market value along the way.  To put that in perspective, only one other U.S. company—Exxon Mobil, at $415 billion—has a total market value greater than the market value Apple has lost over the last four months.  By any conventional measure, Apple is dirt cheap.  It trades at 10 times earnings, far below the market multiple of 17.  It trades in line with slow-growing tech giants like Cisco, Intel, and Microsoft.  At least it still trades at a higher multiple than struggling PC maker Dell’s 8.9; no one thinks Dell deserves a higher valuation than mighty Apple.  But hang on—strip out the $137 billion in cash on Apple’s balance sheet, and the earnings multiple drops to 6.9.  It even yields over 2% after the stock’s four-month swoon.  So what’s the problem?

The problem is that the market discounts future results; it only cares about past performance to the extent past performance bears out management’s vision for the future.  Tim Cook has not provided a compelling vision, only the most ardent AAPL bulls still believe he can.  Even more troubling is the mounting evidence that Cook thinks he’s got the vision thing down.  Any successful leader can tell you that it doesn’t matter if your vision is clear when no one else can see it.  If the people you’re supposed to be leading don’t know what your vision is, then you don’t have a vision—period.  Even if Cook doesn’t possess the marketing and product design genius of the Divine Jobs—and he doesn’t—he can at least convince investors that he has tangible, fruitful plans for the $137 billion(!) in cash his company is doing nothing with.  He hasn’t made a case for his plans for the cash hoard, either, and that’s why the market doesn’t assign it any value.  That’s a lot of cash for one man to render worthless.

Steve Jobs was an asshole.  Even his admirers understood that about him.  He wasn’t successful so much because he was a genius—and he was—as because he knew what to do with his genius, namely, wrap it in corporate power and beat your face in with it.  That’s why Apple’s ecosystem is closed and compatibility with non-Apple devices has been conceded slowly and grudgingly.  That’s why Apple outsourced production of everything it could—and some things it couldn’t (right, Foxconn?)—in pursuit of every basis point of gross margin possible.  That’s why the great artiste of the digital age proposed to the CEO of Palm that they collude against employees and, when the more ethical man balked, threatened to bury Palm in patent infringement lawsuits.

That’s collusion and extortion—it’s not art.  Could Jobs have built Apple in the world’s most valuable company without that combination of brilliance and ruthlessness?  Not a chance.  To this point, Tim Cook hasn’t demonstrated either quality, and today his shareholders are paying the price.

January 22, 2013

Super Bowl XLVII – Kali vs. Captain Comeback

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 08:19

Well, shoot.  That wasn’t supposed to happen.  I didn’t feel great about my pick of the Falcons over the 49ers, and if I didn’t detest Coach Captain Comeback (remember that crap?–I do) and Colin Kaepernick’s stupid chin-hair–don’t call it a beard–I’d have picked San Francisco.  Oh well.  I was very comfortable with my pick of the Patriots over the Ravens, though, only to find out afterward that God decided Ray Lewis should be in the Super Bowl (according to Ray).  Ray didn’t mention which God had his back in the AFC Championship game–presumably one with a lot of time on his/her hands and a morbid interest in robot-armed murderers.  I’m going with Kali.


Why?  Well, Ray’s not paying homage to Jesus here, is he?


Plus they both like to stab people.  Besides, if there’s not a robot arm in there somewhere


it’s not for lack of trying.

So now it’s Captain Comeback vs. Kali in the Super Bowl.  That’s just great.

I’m picking the 49ers.  Hopefully if Kaepernick wins a Super Bowl his teammates will stop pranking him by gluing scraps of roadkill to his face like that.


He seems like a nice guy, and the rookie hazing should have stopped by now.

January 18, 2013

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 16:52

Stocks rose to multi-year highs this week, the second straight week of solid gains in the 0.5%-1% range.  The S&P 500 has added 4.2% in the first 2 ½ weeks of 2013, a feat that is all the more impressive considering the slide in shares of its largest component, once-invincible Apple.  Over the past six weeks the S&P 500 has advanced 5% while AAPL has plunged 17%.  All told, Apple is now down 40% from the all-time high it reached in September, and the fundamentals are beginning to reinforce the dismal technicals.  Maybe Tim Cook knows how to run a big company, and maybe he doesn’t, but it’s becoming clear that he’s not 1/10th the inspirational leader his predecessor was.  Either he has no vision for the future of Apple or he’s unable to communicate his vision, and his shareholders are being punished for it.  AAPL bulls never argued Tim Cook was the second coming of Steve Jobs, but neither did they think he’d be the second coming of Steve Ballmer.

That’s not a good thing to be, in case it wasn’t clear.

The Family Stock Index doesn’t include Apple, and that helped us to outperform the major averages again this week; Friday’s closing level of 14,464 was the fourth record close in the last five days and leaves us up a whopping 7.6% in the first of half of January alone.  Even more incredibly, this bull run is taking place while Reagan and Lulu—two of last year’s top four performers—struggle mightily.  Yes, we’re overdue for a pullback, but we’re now so overdue that we could rally on for a while.


  • Nicole E. (NICE) +10%.  Justin supposedly spent his recent birthday rock-climbing with physicists; Reagan, assuming that Nicole wanted nothing to do with rock-climbing or physicists, speculated that she would be happy to have Justin out of the house.  Why?  So she could play Just Dance on the Wii, by herself, for hours.  (Reagan had a tough week in the market; I’m humoring her.)
  • Zondro (ZQK) +10%.  The next phase of Operation Hound-Howl was rain every day for a week.  If this level of inside-dogness holds, I’m liable to move into the doghouse myself.
  • Jenny (JNY) +8.2%.  The market is excited about Jenny being forced to read The Hobbit and doesn’t seem to care that Jenny not excited; we’re very alike that way, the market and I.
  • Icarus (FAST) +4.5%.  Did Icarus go rock climbing with Justin or did he go to Nicole’s dance party?  Maybe he just found some cat poop to eat and enjoyed himself without either master on his mind.  That’s certainly what I’d do, minus the cat poop.
  • Ruby (RJET) +3.7%.  Ruby needed a strong week to hold off Zondro, and she delivered.  If there’s anything Ruby knows how to handle, it’s dogs.
  • Lee (TGI) +3.6%.  Plan XIII is proceeding apace, and I’m considering using this weekend to push ahead of schedule.  I’m liking my new ticker, too; it just chugs along with no fireworks and no drama.  I’m up 7.2% this month and that seems excessive; but when I consider that Zondro’s up 44%, I have to admit that my relative valuation still isn’t that challenging.
  • Charlotte (ICE) +3.1%.  Did Charlotte get her wisdom teeth out yet?  Good for her if she did.  Wisdom’s overrated, and teeth are really, really overrated.
  • Lisa (LNCE) +3.0%.  Katie says Lisa’s been watching all the Best Picture nominees this week, something she evidently makes a practice of prior to the Oscars.  Maybe I should try something like that myself.  First, I’ll need Lisa to tell me which of the Best Picture nominees has the most scintillating opening—let’s say three to four minutes.  That’s about how much of a movie Brinkley would let me watch on the big TV before he shoved it over in a rage.
  • Justin (SCI) +2.6%.  Rock-climbing with physicists, Justin?  Really?  Let me know if you ever track down your biological parents.


Nicole M. (COLM) -5.6%.  If Mario adds a Brinky Bowl defeat to this season’s football misfortunes, it could be a dark February in Philadelphia.  Plus, you know Ed Winston is all riled up about his Republicans maybe caving on the debt ceiling.

LULU -5.7%.  Operation Hound-Howl is harder on Lulu than it is on me, and that’s saying something.  She’s angry at me because I let the dogs in, angry because I won’t do something about how cold it is outside, and angry because I won’t sleep on the couch so she can have my spot in the bed.  Investors priced in perfection, and Lulu will be the first to tell you it isn’t happening.

Reagan (REGN) -6.4%.  Did I mention priced-to-perfection?  Reagan finished 2nd in the school-wide spelling bee, narrowly losing to a fifth grader under dubious procedural circumstances.  It was a terrific performance; alas, terrific wasn’t enough for REGN bulls to justify paying 87 times trailing earnings.  What really matters is that Reagan appreciates that she did an exceptional job and is justifiably proud of herself, and I’m at least cautiously optimistic that it may, for once, be the case.


Name Ticker 1/18/2013 Change
Brinkley BCO $30.25 +0.09
Charlotte ICE $133.33 +3.97
Dustin DST $63.52 +0.09
Ghost Marisa MOLXA $23.44 -0.19
Icarus FAST $48.60 +2.10
Jenny JNY $11.69 +0.89
Jodi Ann JOY $69.01 +0.88
Justin SCI $14.83 +0.37
Katie CATY $19.59 +0.35
Lee TGI $69.93 +2.45
Lisa LNCE $25.65 +0.75
Lucas LEI $1.56 -0.03
Lulu LULU $66.80 -4.04
Marcus MCS $13.10 -0.09
Mario T.E. MGEE $51.73 -0.20
Mario T.Y. MAR $39.27 +0.39
Namilita NL $12.73 +0.21
Nicole E. NICE $38.11 +3.45
Nicole M. COLM $50.04 -2.95
Reagan REGN $167.97 -11.49
Ruby RJET $8.37 +0.30
Wilson WILC $5.47 -0.02
Winston ED $55.78 -0.13
Zero ZAGG $7.62 -0.06
Zondro ZQK $6.13 +0.55

The United States Is Bankrupt

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 10:37

Forget the debt ceiling.  The debt ceiling is nonsense, and is not a constitutional mandate in any way.  This is in contrast to the validity of the national debt itself, which, per the 14th Amendment, “shall not be questioned.”  It is far more illegal for Congress to force default on the Constitutionally-guaranteed national debt by refusing to raise the arbitrary debt ceiling than for the Treasury to bypass Congress and issue trillion-dollar coins to make interest and principal payments on the existing debt.  That’s what we’re talking about: not new spending—which Congress would, indeed, have to authorize—but payment of existing obligations, most of which were incurred as a consequence of policies begun under the previous REPUBLICAN president.  The budget was in surplus when Bill Clinton left office.  The Bush Administration waged two multi-year overseas wars and expanded Medicare with a multi-trillion dollar drug benefit program; naturally, Americans were asked to bear the burden of these necessary policies by paying higher taxes.  Ha ha, no.  Instead of raising taxes to finance our war of self-defense in Afghanistan and our war of insane Imperial overreach in Iraq, Bush pushed through trillions of dollars in tax cuts!  Now, let’s leave aside the question of justification or lack thereof for any or all of these decisions.  What can’t be disputed is that dramatically higher spending coupled with dramatically lower revenue created enormous budget deficits.  What also can’t be disputed is that when the government spends more money than it takes in, it has no choice but to make up the deficit by borrowing.  Thus the $16 trillion national debt is the result of a more than a decade of unfunded spending on a scale that dwarfs the Great Society/Vietnam War double-whammy Lyndon Johnson hit us with in the 1960s.  The Republicans want to make the debt ceiling issue a debate about spending going forward, when that’s not what it’s about, at all.  It’s about paying for the badly-managed Afghanistan War, the idiotic invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the backdoor subsidization of drug company profits that we call Medicare Part D.  Bush refused to pay for those things, and the Republicans said nothing.  Their arguments about cost-cutting now are dishonest and morally bankrupt.

Speaking of bankrupt, that’s where we now find ourselves, and it doesn’t really matter which party we want to blame for getting us here.  We owe $16 trillion dollars, and we don’t have $16 trillion dollars.  We have three options, as I see it: take the money from the evil multi-national corporations; print the money; or default.  The first option—my incendiary rhetoric aside—would be challenging from a technical standpoint, to say nothing of its political prospects.  U.S. multinational corporations have shifted their manufacturing capacity to low-cost Asian nations (China, Taiwan, Vietnam), preserved a hollow U.S. legal and marketing identity in order to sell into the consumer-driven, cheap-credit-fueled U.S. market, and reaped profits on the order of trillions of dollars.  The U.S., European, and Chinese governments are all complicit in this system and have used fiscal, trade, and monetary policies to support it.  We could, as a nation, demand that those policies be abandoned or reversed, using a combination of tariffs and taxes.  This would destroy the global economic system, and we could then, theoretically rebuild something more democratic and far more transparent.  But what would probably happen is something like what happened last time economically-interdependent world powers blew up an imbalanced system.


So we shouldn’t do that.

The second option is printing more money, lots more.  This would destroy the value of the dollar, shut down global trade (most of which is dollar-based), and produce staggering inflation in the U.S.  This is essentially what Germany decided to do in the 1920s when it was unable to pay the reparations it owed the victors of World War I, and you know what happened next.


So we shouldn’t do that, either.

What we should do is inform our creditors that we are unable to pay and will need to restructure our debt.  An argument could be made that much of that debt was incurred through policies that benefitted the rest of the world.  China buys our Treasuries in order to manipulate their currency—they’ve needed us to issue more and more debt so they can keep the value of the yuan low and their trade surplus high.  So Beijing has to play ball.  What about our military spending?  The eradication of al Qaeda is certainly something that benefits the entire civilized world.  The Iraq War is on us, sure, but what about all the troops we station around the world to hold rogue states (Iran and North Korea) and potential rogues (Russia and China) in check?  We’ve funded much of the distributed defense system that has provided the basis of security and prosperity in Europe and Asia for decades.  Let’s just agree—you don’t bill us for Iraq and we won’t bill you for the Cold War.

If we get $5 billion in write-downs from Europe, Japan and China, our position is suddenly much more tenable.   I say we start there.

January 17, 2013

Brinky Bowl Update #2

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 07:10

Results for the Divisional Round:

  • 4-0:  Nobody
  • 3-1:  Lee
  • 2-2:  Justin, Mario, Nicole, Tara
  • 1-3:  Jenny, Katie
  • 0-4:  Nobody

Nobody’s running away from the pack, at least through two rounds.  How did I win three games?  I picked the Ravens is how.  It’s true that I don’t care for the Ravens, and Joe Flacco has a terrible name and looks like a bird, and the thought of a Har-bowl is horrifying.  Also I think it’s curious that it was such a big deal for that Pistorius dude to be running on blade-legs in the Olympics this summer, but now Ray Lewis has a robot arm and nobody says shit about it.


Probably it’s because everyone’s scared of Ray Lewis; I certainly am, and the robot arm doesn’t diminish the menace.  I didn’t pick the Ravens because I was afraid, though–I picked them because I was disgusted.  Everyone in the world–and in the Brinky Bowl–picked the Broncos, and I hate that crap.  This game was never a lock for Denver; the Broncos played a weak schedule–the AFC West was god-awful–and Peyton Manning is strangely mediocre in the playoffs (his brother is the opposite: ho-hum regular season QB, playoff savant).  Of course I thought the Broncos would win, and I would have picked them if just one other Bowler had picked the Ravens.  So thanks go out to everyone for my Divisional Round lead.

And I am in the lead, though not by much:

#1 – Lee (23 points, 5-3)

#2(tie) – Mario & Nicole E. (22 points, 5-3)

#3 – Justin (18 points, 4-4)

#4 – Jenny (17 points, 4-4)

#5 – Tara (14 points, 3-5)

#6 – Katie (9 points, 2-6)

As a reminder, 1st round games were worth 4 points and 2nd round games were worth 5, so that’s why identical records can result in different point totals.  If you don’t like it, stop picking chalk (and Peyton in the playoffs).

I thought about picking the Falcons for the same reason I ultimately picked the Ravens, because the conventional wisdom was that the Seahawks were a lock and I hate conventional wisdom.  Alas, Justin and Nicole both picked Atlanta so I allowed myself to chicken out.  I was starting to really dislike the Seahawks, too; too bad they’re gone and I don’t have their slimy coach and roided-up cornerbacks to hate anymore.

Katie did a remarkable thing with her picks that I want to highlight: she picked the first game of the playoffs correctly (Texans over Bengals), she picked the last game correctly (Patriots over Texans), and she missed all six games in between.  So the lesson is that Katie knows whether the Texans will win or lose, but not much else.  It doesn’t bode well for her that the Texans aren’t on the docket this week.

Just two games this week, each worth 7 points.

  • Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots
  • San Francisco 49ers @ Atlanta Falcons

You can send your picks to Katie or leave a comment on this post; when you invariably do neither, Katie will collect your picks forcibly later in the week.



January 11, 2013

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 17:22

The markets were stuck in neutral this week, with the S&P and the Dow adding less than half a percent and the Nasdaq slightly outperforming.; after a 4% surge last week in response to the resolution of the cliscal fiff and with earnings season beginning in earnest next week, half-a-percent isn’t half-bad.  The Family Stock Index matched the broader market’s performance, adding 0.4% on the week.  For the FSX, however, that 0.4% was enough to produce a series of new all-time highs, with the index settling out at 14,271.  We’re undeniably overbought from a technical standpoint, and at this point, I’m convinced we’d benefit more from a 300-point pullback than another 300 points of immediate upside.  Ed Winston kicks off FSX earnings season on Monday; we’ll see what kind of tone he sets.  If I have to guess, though, I’m going with ‘shrill.’


  • Wilson (WILC +11.4%) and Zondro (ZQK +10%).  What’s going on here?  New 52-week highs for both Wilson and Zondro, year-to-date gains of 16% and 31%, respectively, and a 1-2 finish in the FSX for the week?  Well, the dogs are spending more of the day inside now than at any time in memory.  Why?  Not because of the weather, certainly; this winter has been a terrible disappointment so far.  The reason I let them in so often is because the alternative is to listen to them barking constantly at nothing.  I can’t put my headphones in and ignore them, not when there’s no one else here to pay attention to Brinky.  I’m effectively at the mercy of their infernal barkery, and I’m quite certain they know it.  Operation Hound-Howl is proving to be a resounding success.
  • Ruby (RJET) +6.2%.  On the road again.  In 2012, Ruby led the FSX with a 60% increase in the month of January; now up 42% over the first eight trading days of 2013, she appears to be turning in a repeat performance.  So each January, Ruby heads off to Atlanta and leaves the rest of the market in the dust.  Is that as catchy as ‘sell in May and go away’?  Maybe not, but it’s turning out to be a lot more profitable.
  • Jodi Ann (JOY) +3.5%.  As usual, I don’t have any insight into the whys and wherefores of the most newly-minted Mrs. Eure, so I asked my own Mrs. Eure to investigate.  All Katie could find was some pictures of Jodi Ann at what I assume is some sort of wildlife preserve, possibly on a class field trip.   (Do they have field trips in high school?  I honestly don’t remember.)


Although maybe these were taken at a petting zoo; I don’t think they let you take pictures with the fauna at a wildlife preserve.

  • Zero (ZAGG) +3.1%.  Gorgo’s having her wisdom teeth removed, and thus Zero will be deprived of her wisdom going forward.  Based on this week’s price action, it may be that he’s taken in all the wisdom he cares to.


  • Ed Winston (ED -1.7%) and Icarus (FAST -3.2%).  Maybe I’m overstating the effectiveness of Operation Hound-Howl in attempting to explain the rally in shares of WILC and ZQK.  Could it be that they’re planning a secret magic dog party and that’s what’s got them both so jazzed?  Ed and Icky would be missing the party, if indeed a party is in the offing, and that could explain why they had such a lackluster week.
  • LULU -1.5%.  So there’s definitely a secret magic dog party, and the only way Lulu’s getting in is if she’s on the menu.
  • Katie (CATY) -2.6%.  If Katie and I stick with the 30 Day Shred, she could end up looking like Jillian Michaels.  Would that be so bad?
  • Lee (TGI) -2.7%.  No, but it would be bad for both of us if I end up looking like Jillian Michaels.
  • Jenny (JNY) -6.7%.  Jenny reads a book a week these days, if it takes her that long, and many of the books she reads have strong fantasy elements.  And yet, my daughter—my daughter!—steadfastly refuses to read J.R.R. Tolkien.  The Lord of the Rings is the greatest fantasy series in existence—sorry, Harry—and Jenny won’t read it because she says she’s scared of Gollum.  I’ve tried every angle, going so far as to demand that she read The Lord of the Rings if she wants me to finish the basement for her (I’m not backing off that, either).  So this week Jenny learned what her next class book will be—and it’s The Hobbit.  Now, not only does she have to read The Hobbit, but she has to study it in depth and prepare to be tested on it.  I can’t imagine this is how Jenny hoped her 2013 would start out.
Name Ticker 1/11/2013 Change
Brinkley BCO $30.16 +0.08
Charlotte ICE $129.36 -0.24
Dustin DST $63.43 +0.71
Ghost Marisa MOLXA $23.63 +0.34
Icarus FAST $46.50 -1.54
Jenny JNY $10.80 -0.80
Jodi Ann JOY $68.13 +2.29
Justin SCI $14.46 +0.09
Katie CATY $19.24 -0.51
Lee TGI $67.48 -1.88
Lisa LNCE $24.90 -0.13
Lucas LEI $1.59 -0.05
Lulu LULU $70.84 -1.11
Marcus MCS $13.19 +0.14
Mario T.E. MGEE $51.93 -0.13
Mario T.Y. MAR $38.88 -0.35
Namilita NL $12.52 +0.23
Nicole E. NICE $34.66 -0.08
Nicole M. COLM $52.99 -0.41
Reagan REGN $179.46 -1.61
Ruby RJET $8.07 +0.47
Wilson WILC $5.49 +0.56
Winston ED $55.91 -0.99
Zero ZAGG $7.68 +0.23
Zondro ZQK $5.58 +0.51

Brinky Bowl Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 07:43

Results for the wild card round:

  • 4-0: Nobody
  • 3-1: Jenny, Mario, Nicole E.
  • 2-2: Justin, Lee
  • 1-3: Katie, Tara
  • 0-4: Nobody

So no one’s perfect, but neither is anyone singularly dreadful…so far.  Now that we’re a week in, I’ve finally decided what to do to determine a Brinky Bowl victor, having forgotten the system I was planning to use last year and being unwilling to look through my files to see.  I’m using a point system with a total of 60 points available (since everyone missed at least one game last weekend, there will be no Brinky Bowl perfection).  Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Wild card round: 4 games, 4 points per game, 16 possible points
  • Divisional round: 4 games, 5 points per game, 20 possible points
  • Conference championship round: 2 games, 7 points per game, 14 possible points
  • Super Bowl: 10 points

This week is the divisional round, with four games beginning Saturday at 4:00.  The games the Bowlers need to pick are the following (regular-season records in parentheses):

  • Baltimore Ravens (10-6) @ Denver Broncos (13-3)
  • Green Bay Packers (11-5) @ San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1)
  • Seattle Seahawks (11-5) @ Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
  • Houston Texans (12-4) @ New England Patriots (12-4)

Bowlers can comment on this post to make picks, or send picks to Katie, or ignore the whole thing until Katie asks you for picks.


January 10, 2013

I Told Charlotte To Be Careful

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 07:33


Now who’s going to feed her cats?  Who’s going to remind Zero to put on pants?  It’s too sad.

January 4, 2013

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 17:27

The stock market rallied all week—pausing to watch some really crappy bowl games on Tuesday—and when the dust settled the S&P 500 had reached its highest close since December 2007.  This despite a fiscal cliff deal that the talking heads on CNBC panned and a December employment report those same shameless shills held up as proof of lingering economic/Obamanomic weakness.  It’s clear that the Kernans, Santellis and Kudlows of the world don’t care about anything but taxes even though the financial markets they’re paid to cover aren’t paying any attention to the tax bills of the rich and famous.  Hopefully CNBC editorial will see fit to shift back to a professional, unbiased approach to financial reporting once Fox Business News has finally withered and died.  That can’t take too much longer.

The Family Stock Index dazzled this week, soaring 5.7% in the first three days of 2013 (doubling the gain for the S&P).  Including Monday’s 200-point gain—I can do that for the index, if not for its components—the FSX gained 1,000 points in just four trading sessions.  We topped the old all-time closing high of 13,615 and kept going.  We topped the 14,000 mark and kept going.  At the close of trading today, the FSX stood at 14,216.  I don’t know what to tell you, honestly; it’s like watching the Nasdaq in the spring of 2000.  Sure, that ended badly, but man was it fun to watch.

FSX breadth was as astounding as the headline numbers; the first three days of 2013 gave us 24 advancers and only one declining stock.  There wasn’t much hesitation, either; 19 of the 24 advancing stocks rose by 3% or more, and 13 of those added at least 4%.  That means an FSX member might have risen more than 4% yet still not merit mention in this week’s rundown; all in all, not a bad problem to have.


  • Ruby (RJET) +34%.  Thirty-four percent in three days?  I don’t know what New Year’s resolution Ruby made for 2013, but investors seem to think it’s a world-beater.  If she executes, Ruby could end Reagan’s stranglehold on the top spot in the FSX (Reagan’s resolution: don’t drink soda except on weekends—I kid you not).
  • Zondro (ZQK) +19%.  It’s taken him the better part of three years, but I think Zondro may finally be settling in here:

zqk 001

All I had to do was set a pillow down behind the chair in my office.  Who knew?

  • Lucas (LEI) +12%.  You know what?–I’ve got nothing to say about this, not yet.  I’m not going to jinx it…unless I’m jinxing it by saying I’m not going to jinx it.
  • Nami & Lita (NL) +7.3%.  I neglected to mention in December that Nami & Lita were celebrating the first year of rule over their people, Charlotte and Zero.  So nice of the market to remind me.
  • Lee (TGI) +6.2%.  This is an auspicious beginning for Toogie Time, yes indeed.  I’ve drafted a new plan of attack for the final leg of the 2nd draft; Plan XIII, styled after the system used by the French General Staff leading up to WWI, will deliver the book into Katie’s hands by March 31.  I consider my estimates to be conservative this time, and the market certainly seems to believe.  We should know by the end of this month whether that faith is warranted.
  • Reagan (REGN) +5.8%.  Reagan’s New Year’s resolution makes me wonder: how much soda has she been drinking during the week?  We don’t buy soda for the girls, so where does Reagan get enough carbonated joy that laying off it requires a resolution?  Could it be that Katie’s not the only one stealing my Cheerwine?
  • Brinkley (BCO) +5.4%.  His mother thinks he’ll be talking any day now.  I think the Chiefs are going to draft him with the first pick in the NFL Draft this April, and he won’t ever need to progress beyond growls and grunts.  Maybe he’ll be big and brilliant when all is said and done, but big and dumb was good enough for Brinky to take out his 52-week high.
  • Mario the Younger (MAR) +5.3%.  Here’s another new-ticker success.  With the holidays over, Mario can get back to work doing whatever it is he does—computer golf, I think.  More importantly, he can once again spend his morning commute talking to his sister about the girly shows they like to watch.
  • Ghost Marisa (MOLXA) +5.3%.  Looks like I’m three-for-three on new tickers so far.  (Zero’s +1.2% underperformance is really what the market looks for from him, so I’m calling that four-for-four.)  Now that I’ve taken down the Christmas tree, Marisa has gone back to making Brinky laugh at her spectral hijinks.  I can only hope she enjoys it half as much as he does.
  • Justin (SCI) +4.1%.  Justin is relieved to be back on Long Island, at least if his biographer is to be believed.  According to Reagan, Justy had to hide his toilet-life while he was travelling, and it was really hard for him.


  • Lulu (LULU) -5.6%.  Lulu tries to stay in Brinky’s room every night, and every night we make her leave before we shut the door.  Sometime thereafter, Marisa strolls right on through the door, or the wall, or the floor, and she and Brinky have a grand time together.  Presumably she opts to walk through the door so she can taunt her fleshy former nemesis.  That’s certainly what I would do.
Name Ticker 1/4/2013 Change
Brinkley BCO $30.08 +1.55
Charlotte ICE $129.60 +5.79
Dustin DST $62.72 +2.12
Ghost Marisa MOLXA $23.29 +0.97
Icarus FAST $48.04 +1.39
Jenny JNY $11.60 +0.54
Jodi Ann JOY $65.84 +2.06
Justin SCI $14.37 +0.56
Katie CATY $19.75 +0.22
Lee TGI $69.36 +4.06
Lisa LNCE $25.03 +0.91
Lucas LEI $1.64 +0.17
Lulu LULU $71.95 -4.28
Marcus MCS $13.05 +0.58
Mario T.E. MGEE $52.06 +1.11
Mario T.Y. MAR $39.23 +1.96
Namilita NL $12.29 +0.84
Nicole E. NICE $34.74 +1.26
Nicole M. COLM $53.40 +0.04
Reagan REGN $181.07 +10.00
Ruby RJET $7.60 +1.92
Wilson WILC $4.93 +0.18
Winston ED $56.90 +1.36
Zero ZAGG $7.45 +0.09
Zondro ZQK $5.07 +0.82



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