Monday, December 11, 2006

Market Tidbits

The National Association of Realtors has earned a real reputation around here for releasing housing sales numbers that are more marketing than honest data.

As far back as August we here at the Finance Wonk caught them changing the previous years numbers to report a price rise rather than a decline (link, see 3rd item).

This year they have steadfastly reported as housing declined that we were "at the bottom" and everybody should buy now before prices go back up. Well, today they finally threw in the towel on that idea and admitted prices have continued downward and that they probably would for at least the first half of 2007 as well (linkage). To keep their practices from imploding though they added that they see a recovery late in 2007 so that home sales should be higher by the end of 2007.

Frankly I think one can only realistically intepret news from NAR in the most unfavorable light these days :).

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We have a reader comment recently from Ramesh Shankar who asked for more buy/sell recommendations.

I understand completely.

Unfortunately if you've been reading here you know that I think the market is near a top, which makes it hard to find safe investments. I have tried to compensate by listing some stocks I almost picked and by calling out option selling/buying opportunities when I buy them. Meanwhile the recent ASFI call is an excellent defensive move.

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This should be a very merry week on Wall Street, the New York Post points out, as bankers will learn just how massive their 2006 bonus checks will be. According to estimates, the low end of the scale, given to newbie associates, will be the merely jaw-dropping sum of $250,000, while masters of the universe could rake in $25 million.

I'm in the wrong business...

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Raymond James strategist Jeffrey Saut writes in his weekly commentary that someone recently teasingly called him “Dr. Doom” for his relative bearishness on stocks in the face of a runaway rally (”in this business, if you are not forecasting ‘Dow 20,000,’ you are deemed a ‘bear,’ he observes). But he continues to believe the market has behaved unnaturally of late and lists a series of mysterious occurrences that have helped stoked the rally in recent months.
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