Tuesday, January 13, 2009

W's News conference: Reflective or disingenuous?/Pickens on Oil/TECH TITAN VALUATIONS/LLTC /cramer

W's continued effort to rewrite history does offer an interesting glance into the man.  NYTimes.com  Most of the mistakes that he is willing to recognize are classified as PR mistakes rather than mistakes in judgment or a lack of intelligent decision making. For example, he says that the "Mission Accomplished" flag on the aircraft carrier was a mistake.  He is really just saying it was a PR mistake rather than proof that he was just clueless at the time about the developing quagmire in IRAQ.  

W said that the failure to find WMD was a serious disappointment to him, and he just grins sheepishly when saying that things did not go according to plan. Dan Froomkin - Bush's Last Press Conference I had to think about that one for a just a second because I found it so infuriating. Was the failure to find any WMD the mistake, or Bush's advocacy of their likely existence based on the actual intelligence known by him to be false or misleading, and his false representations made to the American public on such issues as the aluminum tubes, the Niger yellow cake, or his reliance on the ruminations of a former alcoholic cab driver known as Curveball by German intelligence about mobile biological weapons labs.   

The economy in its current state is met with another shrug of the shoulders as he refuses to acknowledge that few gains were made during his eight years, the budget deficit is out of control, the stock market is in the toilet, and the jobless rate is at its highest levels in decades and rapidly accelerating. CBS News   

JOB growth was the worse, at a mere 2% growth, since data had been collected by the federal government.  Income growth during the last eight years was the worst since the 1960s other than the equally tepid rate of growth under daddy Bush. Many of the jobs created were part of the housing boom which was nothing but a mirage and a delusion, and have since been lost. When a W acolyte talks about job growth during his reign, ask them about the number of construction jobs that were included in that number (600,000 to 800,000 connected to the housing boom), how many of those are still in existence, and whether that had anything to do with the President's policies as distinguished from a improvident expansion of credit that was never curtailed by either the administration or the Congress.  Real Time Economics : Bush On Jobs: The Worst Track Record On Record 

(A comment to that article in the WSJ blames the Democrats for not extending W's tax cuts for the wealthy beyond their current expiration in 2010 for the current economic problems. I would not waste my time trying to disabuse the author of that comment from such a preposterous opinion that is devoid of any factual basis. True Believers are impervious to factual information or cogent reasoning based thereon) I would agree with Krugman's analysis that most American's are aware of the disconnect between politicians pronouncements about economic growth and the realities of their situations. New York Times 

Thanking Brownie, who was appointed by W even though he had no emergency management experience, for his good job during Katrina's aftermath is just an example of his rhetoric being a mistake. Now, in his mind, all of the facts have become twisted into some alternate universe scenario, where the federal response to Katrina was rapid, organized, coordinated, and brilliant with nothing that could be done to improve on it, he would change nothing.  

Unfortunately for the version W is peddling now, millions of Americans watched the drama unfold on television, as  a relief column of national guard trucks  finally arrived without trouble or incident with supplies to those suffering souls holed up at the Superdome and most of the rescues made were by civilian volunteers as a hapless FEMA occasionally interfered with the civilian efforts. Criticism of government response to Hurricane Katrina - Wikipedia 

 W believes that he has advanced the peace process in the Middle East.  Is this delusional?  When he starts talking about torture, W sort of sounds a bit like Jack Bauer when Jack justifies the things he must do.  Maybe W needs to undergo some waterboarding and other "enhanced" interrogation techniques by some unfriendly people before belittling claims that his administration condoned the use of torture. W has not produced any evidence that his torture program saved lives.  

It is merely assumed by his supporters, the party acolytes and apparatchiks who parrot the party line without attempting to verify anything-ever, accepting any and all assertions made at the top as true and that is the sum total of their argument-a declarative assertion by the brain dead repeated over and over again until it has the force of one of the Ten Commandments.    

I am still trying to figure out why someone is a liberal for opposing torture and the indefinite imprisonment of an American citizen without a charge or access to an attorney.  I understand fully why many who call themselves conservative support it.  I read their disturbing posts all of the time. 

While the media calls W reflective during this news conference, I would say it is just more comments from someone who is incapable of any true self reflection, whose decision making process was always driven by laziness, preconceptions or misconceptions or just plain ignorance, and ideology formed without much reflection or thought- a true simpleton in every sense of the word. W will never be critical of any of the countless decisions made by him that were obviously in need of a great deal more critical analysis and thought at the time of their making than W would ever be capable of doing.   He was a disaster as President and I am just amazed at the puff questions posed to him by the media even now.  I do miss Tim Russert. 

Pickens is predicting $75 oil within a year and $140 when the global economy recovers. CNBC.com

I lost focus today and meandered around several topics. I spend a fair amount of time just reading the news. I remember Katie asking Sarah which newspapers she read and that questioned just stumped her.  CBS News It probably would not look good to some independents saying that she only read the local Frontiersman from Wasilla, whereas many of her tribe would castigate her for reading anything at all.  Enough said on that issue, I was trying to decide whether or not to buy a position back in Pepsi today that I sold at over 70 Time to Sober UP, and then I noticed the market had closed without reaching a decision on anything including the second buy of Spectra Energy. I would be better off just buying Pepsico but prefer to invest in some small caps. Another wild goose chase was looking at Campbell Soup (CPB) which had fallen some after their last earnings report.   

I did finish my research on one of the small caps and will move to another tomorrow.  I may buy one tomorrow since I still have some cash flow left over from Monday, for GPX did not require much, and much more coming into the account on Wednesday. 

I was further distracted by some new small cap names that I picked out of the screen at Greenblatt's Joel Greenblatt - Wikipedia web site on the magic formula.  I am always interested in new names but I am just one person with no staff, let alone a pet MIT graduate running new models for me or a legion of peons and peon minions gathering information or a research staff.  Here are the small cap names that I pulled from the latest magic formula screen:

Greenblatt says in his book to avoid thinking about making individual selections, just pick ten or so, whatever the number was that he recommends, and stay with them for a year, and sell the losers before the 12 month capital gain period kicks in.  I am not mentally equipped to follow that recommendation,  so I will look at each of those five names and then pick just one for now.  Maybe I will give this chore to one of the young ones.

I do not view the joint venture between Citi and Morgan Stanley to be positive for CITI shareholders. I do view it as a much better deal for Morgan's shareholders than  Ken Lewis' acquisition of Merrill at a steep price for such damaged goods.  I really think that it is debatable whether there is any equity left in Citi. This is the latest article about efforts to try and save something. NYTimes.com

I have never owned Adobe (ADBE) 

The stock fell 7% today after an analyst from FBR downgraded it to underperform saying it had risen too much.  MarketWatch

The analyst was forecasting a greater decline than the company in revenue for the next quarter. Tech Trader Daily - Barron’s Online I then looked at the chart and saw that Adobe was actually just hovering above its 52 week low, down from a 52 week high of over 46. The consensus estimate for the next fiscal year ending in November 2009 is at 1.99 or just over 10 times forward earnings. The company is cash rich with around 2 billion on its balance sheet with 350 million of long term debt. ADBE: Analyst Estimates for Adobe Systems Incorporated - Yahoo! Finance  The upshot is that I will now include it in my list of tech titans that I may buy at my typical glacier pace, having only added in the last four months a grand total of 50 shares of Microsoft and 70 shares of Intel.  But I am moving and have been looking at the other names on the list which includes Oracle, Cisco, Hewlett Packard and Nokia where my positions are still zero.  All of these companies look very tempting to me at the current prices but none are showing signs/proof of life either. 

I saw that Cramer recommended Dryships (DRYS). Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: A Dose of Reality | Page 2 of 2 | Mad Money Recap | Financial Articles & Investing News | TheStreet.com I do not own it but will take a look.  I do own Bristol Myers (BMY) which he also recommended.  I also heard him rant about the double short ETFS.  I thought an article on the www.thestreet.com  web page rebuts one of the points that Cramer makes, about these products causing volatility.  TheStreet.com I have only a position in TBT but did use effectively several double short ETFs as hedges in 2007 and 2008 including SDS, TWM, MZZ, QID, and SKF. 

A report claimed that hedge fund assets fell by more than a trillion in 2008.  MarketWatch

Linear Tech, which is a company that I have owned in the past and only monitor now, reported earnings at $.38 vs. $.41 but above estimates of $.34. MarketWatch  Revenues slumped by almost 40 million.  Linear does pay a good dividend for a tech company and increased its quarterly payment to .22 from .21.  It also expects a further fall in revenue for the next quarter which may cause a further slide in price. Reuters  Cash is at 900 million with convertible senior notes at 1.5 billion.  At some point and at a lower price, I may have some interest since I view the company as having upside potential for the next economic recovery.

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