Wednesday, July 25, 2007
1) Why was it such a surprise that Countrywide earnings were disappointing: given the underlying state of its market, surely the confidence interval around the consensus forecast must have been pretty wide?
2) Aussie hedge fund Basis Capital has hired Blackstone to dispose of its subprime turds: could it be that they want to flog their ropy assets to Voldemort?
3) Who will with the battle for ABN Amro: the RBS consortium, or Barclays, backed by financing from Voldemort and Temasek? And if the latter, does this mean that Voldemort will eventually morph into Vinny the loan shark, the place to go for financial institutions who need cash, and quickly?
4) How soon can one refer to the plotline of the final Harry Potter book without being called out as a spoiler? (Hint: not yet, as Macro Man will be reading the book on his August holiday.)
5) What is the best way to play the ongoing secular boom in food prices?
6) How much of the current bout of yen strength is down to uncertainties surrounding the LDP’s forthcoming trouncing in Sunday’s Upper House elections?
7) Why has the service on Japanese railways remained superb after privatization while the UK railway network is in a diabolical state after the breakup of British Rail?
8) How much do equities need to sell off before the DOTW (non-housewife branch) scurries for cover?
9) Where is risk positioning the biggest, relative to one’s ability to exit at a non-knee trembling rate?
10) Did you realize that the BRICs are all in the list of the world’s top 10 largest economies if one counts the Eurozone as a single economy?
11) How does one measure the strength or weakness of a currency? Macro Man could not help but observe that a new Porsche 911 turbo advertised on Yahoo (for $107,800) appears very substantially cheaper than the same car in Germany (€137k), UK (£97.8k), Japan (Y18.79 mio), or even China (R1.95 mio). (Disclaimer: Macro Man drives a late 90’s VW, but Macro Boy’s consuming interest in all things automotive forces him to know things like the cost of a 911 turbo.)
12) Why is the coffee machine in Macro Man’s office always broken?
13) What level of GDP growth will encourage the ECB to stop tightening rates?
14) Is there anything more annoying for a commuter than the moment you realize that you’ve left your iPod at home?
15) Kuwait’s currency revalued again (by 1.7% this time) while the Argentine peso is getting shellacked: is the emerging market wheat finally getting separated from the chaff?
16) Did you know that Wednesdays are the best day of the week for US stocks: over the last two years, the cumulative price return for the S&P 500 on Wednesdays has been an impressive 23.1%? (Monday is the next best day, at 7.7%, although Monday returns are actually negative since 1950!)
17) How can last year’s hot, dry summer in the UK and this year’s cool, wet summer in the UK both be down to “climate change”?
18) As an adjunct, why is carbon the only emission that people try to offset when it is only a small part of the greenhouse gas issue (and why does no one offset particulate emissions, i.e. pollution)?
19) Was last month’s impulsive move above the long term trend line at 5% the mother of all false breaks in the US bond market?
20) Why is it that counties with high private sector savings rates are scrambling to set up sovereign wealth funds, while in counrties like the US with low private sector savings, the concept of a nationalized equity investment scheme can get no traction (despite the long term funding gap of the social security program)?
and a bonus question .....
21) WHY OH WHY DIDN’T MACRO MAN SLAP ON THAT EQUITY OPTION HEDGE YESTERDAY?