Watching the Congress grilling Goldman yesterday, you can almost see the fear in Goldman employees. Finally fear is striking home.
I have not blogged on any of the greatest financial frauds in this century because I am simply too disgusted by all the Wallstreet & banking industry. I think this matter is extremely simple, and my arguments go like this:
1. Stated income loans or Liars’ loans are frauds.
2. Banks, mortgage, and investment brokerage houses knowingly facilitate the frauds without doing much diligence, and in fact knowingly to avoid doing any due diligence.
3. Anyone who is complicit in fraud should be punished.
It does not matter whether it was an acceptable practice and/or accepted by the marketplace or not, which is the argument that Goldman Sachs tries to make. Fraud is fraud. If many people are stealing, it still does not justify that stealing is acceptable.
Of course, the root cause of the crimes in housing market goes all the way to Greenspan & Bernanke & Geithner. And we still have the biggest fraudsters reigning over our money creation. That goes to show how much faith I have in this Congress, president, and the financial industries in general.
For those who are not aware of eye-fi, it’s an SD memory card that has built-in wi-fi, allowing automatic uploads of your photos to your PC & designated websites. I have held off buying eye-fi for the longest time since this great product first came out. Finally I yielded to my necessity of just saving 15 to 20 minutes per picture download. What I was doing for all of my pictures were simply not working. I kept buying another cheap 4GB or 8GB SD memory card when it got full (after some 1000 or 2000 pictures at 4MB per photo). But my pictures stay on SD card “forever”.
Right now you can get 4GB Eye-Fi for $44.99 – 7% off via Bing Cashback + local taxes or about $41.85 + local taxes, assuming you choose store pickup option at OfficeDepot.com (2nd link in the Bing search result). The smallest eye-fi is 2GB and it costs about $40 also. So this 4GB is a pretty good deal. I never really love anything from Microsoft, except its Bing cashback. Anything that I buy online now, I always search it through Bing cashback first, and see if I could shave off additional 5% to 10% on an already cheap price.
This price is only valid until May 1st, 2010. There is a temporary price reduction of $5, which is not even reflected in Bing search. If you want to get your hands on this, act now. But do make sure that you check the camera compatibility list at eye-fi site, so that you don’t run into any problems.
(Easter) Holiday tends to allow markets to advance in lighter volume, and this week is no exception. I’ve never imagined the stock markets to advance to this point in the last year. But I’m glad that I covered all of my short positions but one, right at the bottom of the last dip in February. Sure, I’ve lost some money on those, but it’s not enough to break my bank yet.
On the other hand, I’ve been slowly exiting my long positions on my company stock options. It has been a great ride up, and it has been quite obvious that high-tech is slowly re-taking the market lead since 2000 tech bubble. Don’t expect NASDAQ to be back at 5000 for maybe another 8/9 years, but the continual reshuffling of the tech leadership attests to the power of capitalism & innovation. My options do expire, and unfortunately there is no time to wait for possibly several more profitable growth years down the road in my company.
While everything in stocks looks terrific, bond markets are at the juncture of breaking the inverse head & shoulder pattern, both in 10-year and 30-year treasury markets. This time with Fed exiting the mortgage market (supposedly), finally mortgage rates are rising along with treasury yields. Especially on 30-year bond markets, it almost looks like this year is going to be a down year for people investing in bonds. I have been parking my cash in the stupid 0% to 1% money market fund, for the fear of a rising rate in bonds. If we do break 5% on the 30-year treasury bonds (currently at 4.843%), the prognosis won’t be good for both stock & housing market. In fact, 30-year bonds have only been above 5% for just about 4 months (2006 & 2007) in the last 5 years. I’ve locked my refinancing rate back in the middle of March, right near the last low of the mortgage rates. Good rates may not come back for awhile, and possibly a long while.
If I have any positions in the general stock market, I would sell. I’ve sold all of my general stock markets long time ago or several months ago. My only (big) position & exposure to the general stock market is through my company stock options. While I’m still nervous on this stock rally, my opinions are changing as I observe the strength in this stock rally. I’ve said that this may be the last leg of rally in my last post on market, but I’m indeed impressed by the stock market advances. Possibly my forecast drop in this year won’t be as big as I have feared.
For now, I will just keep a close watch over markets. I don’t know whether this is a head fake during light trading of this spring break week. Although both DIA & QQQQ have their short-term MACD chart turned down, SPY turned down and then turned back up in MACD through making new high. If this is so, then SPY can probably make new marginal high, and the pullback may not be as severe either.
The ARM option mortgage reset wave for now has been held back by Fed’s massive money printing. Eventually the “solution” to the old problem becomes the new problem. The day has not arrived yet, but we shall see.