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Reviews – Comics, DVD’s, Books. Finance – FX markets, Stocks, Economics. Culture

Polish model Ania Jozwiak

Posted by Adrian on March 24, 2009

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US goverment creates hedge fund with tax payer money – market rallies

Posted by Adrian on March 23, 2009

So far the US tax payer has:

Bailed out the whole US banking system (tax payer funded bailouts)

Bailed out the car industry ( tax payer funded bailouts)

Propped up bonuses for AIG executives and help refurbish the offices for Citigroup (also US taxpayers bought Citigroup a private jet)

And now the US taxpayer will help fund a speculatively driven hedge fund created by the US Government, this tax payer funded hedge fund is so speculatively designed that it will need money constantly pumped into it via the Federal Reserve. Otherwise it will freeze up instantly as it will carry ALL the toxic junk (assets) that the US banking and yes other non US banks will offload onto it’s balance sheets.

So in other words this American taxpayer (who had no say in the creation of this fund) funded hedge fund will always run at a loss. It will never make money for the goverment or it’s forced investors (taxpayers), but it will be kept alive by Federal Reserve money printing operations.

But it will create money for Wall Street as Wall street will speculate from a distant via using Government and taxpayer money.

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Comic reviews March 2009.

Posted by Adrian on March 23, 2009

wolv070_dc21

This is good. Gritty. I mean Mark Millar enjoys breaking down character bases, especially iconic Marvel characters and their interactions. He destroys the continuity of good over evil in comics, in the case of Wolverine: Old Man Logan it’s evil that overpowered good.

Millar’s Wolverine is an old and wasted man. A terrible incident causes him to be a shell of the man he used to be. Old Man Logan is set in a mixed up future where the bad guys have won and carved up the US into zones. Millar’s scenario is based on a writer thinking about why there are so many more bad guys than good guys in the Marvel Universe.  So what would happen if they were to form a cohesive force? Well in this story the villains did form a united force and won. The good guys (what is left) are just scattered across a broken landscape. Depressing? It seems that popular culture in comics is looking at a bleaker landscape (a sign?). But the essence of a story is endurance and who survives, everyone likes a survival story right? The thing with Old Man Logan is how the hell is this going to end? To me Millar has embarked on a epic journey to turn all this around, so the good guys can come through it all and win. But will they?

Suffice to say it is compelling read and the art is great by Steve Mcniven

punmax068_cov

More grit. Garth Ennis is gone, Duane Swiercynski takes over and he is kicking out a good solid story with his own style. Keep the horrors of a shitty, exploitative reality of modern day society and mix in some vengeance and the Punisher will always ensure justice is served – with blood. Swiercynski is carrying the torch and he is running with it. Corrupt politicians, corrupt business people, corrupt police, spoilt idiots trying to make a quick buck (by fucking over each other). The Punisher has six hours to kill the lot of them (has a slow release toxin in his blood).

It’s bloody, depressive but rewarding. Art is good by Michel Lacomb, still Goran Palov (Ennis’s last artist) just captured that commercialized cess pool of life so well. Hope he comes back to the Punisher one day.

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Australia’s economic situation.

Posted by Adrian on March 23, 2009

After more than a decade of uninterrupted economic growth Australia is now in recession and with the help of government fiscal irresponsibility, it will be a deep one.

Governments in Australia enjoy giving millions of dollars to the tax payer sans appropriate social security and public health care. It’s vote grabbing initiative that the former conservative government embarked on with a terrible decision to give out a ‘baby bonus’ to couples, now the centre left goverment has guaranteed a severe deficit by throwing billions at the public in the form of first home owner grants. Australia’s revenue almost solely relies on a continuous export market of raw materials to China. Of course with China in recession the commodity markets have slumped, more so base metals and coal exports. Which makes up for 57% of Australia’s exports and Australia’s GDP got crunched in January 2009;  from 1.80% at the end of 2008 to the current 0.3% (Jan 2009). But the centre left goverment in Australia also has decided to bail out the car industry and under written bank debt and guaranteed bank deposits. As local Australian banks raise capital selling their goverment protected debt onto the market, this puts pressure and risk on Australia’s sovereign fund. Which in term will eventually be downgraded as risky assets on the the funds balance sheet grows. This in turn will make it almost impossible for Australia to sell short and long term goverment bonds onto the market. Combining the inability to raise capital and a possible credit downgrade of goverment funds, governments may have no choice but to raise taxes on everything. As the main revenue driver for government accounts was the GST (General Services Tax) tax. Already land tax (commercial property) is now being passed onto tenants of offices buildings, as local goverment try and reverse their deficits. This land tax being passed from landlords onto tenants of office buildings is at a time when office vacancies ate increasing at an alarming rate (due to the recession). Increased taxes on private business will ensure that job losses will mount.

Regarding GDP and Australia’s reliance of raw material exports, it could be a distinct possibility that the Australian mining sector could collapse, from junior miners to medium size miners all will have their profits squeezed as the Australian dollar becomes depressed and demand slumps from Asia. The mining sector and goverment were both winners when the Australia dollar was at an all time high and demand was strong from Asia, this of course has changed dramatically with the Aussie losing 35% since July 2008 and the global economy falling off the cliff mid last year. A strong AUD is unlikely in the short and long term as long as goverments are content at going to ground zero with interest rates and printing money, which in retrospective is a form of currency protectionism. As goverments then fall into major trade surpluses with swelling inventories. Australia may be no different, a cheaper currency could allow exports to pick up in mining but unfortunately profits also will shrink with a collapsing currency. A lower Australian dollar will not be viable for companies to survive especially in a recession environment. Also deflation in global currencies will ensure competition (deflationary) against other commodity producing countries to try and secure their export markets, minus their import markets. As discussed in Global currencies devaluing – protectionism end games, this is an alarming stage in protectionism on trade.

But as the Australia dollar is sold off and money supply increases plus a trade surplus expands, imports will be more expensive, exasperating a pullback in import purchases thus widening the recession. Inflation on imported goods will occur and goods become more expensive due to a collapsing dollar. But like Spain (now falling into a deep recession), Australia has an extremely over leveraged housing market and rental bubble. Due mainly to goverment cash incentives (grants) to buy property a housing bubble has ensured second to Spain’s and worst than the US housing bubble prior to the collapse.

Australia’s stock market and currency are good indicators of investors fears about the Australian economy; both the stock market and currency may slump further as the Australia economy falls deeper into a recession in 2009.

ALL ORDS (one year):

AUD/USD (note recent artificial rally of the AUD, due to the USD weakness, watch for Australian rate cuts and money expansion into 2009):

aud_usd

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Global currencies devaluing – protectionism end games

Posted by Adrian on March 19, 2009

Ok, my post here was essentially a caffeine (yes caffeine) induced conversation with a friend who trades in the market. Basically we were amazed (as was everybody) as US taxpayers paid AIG executives bonuses, although not entirely surprised. We tried to imagine the possibility of the US government reversing it’s ‘bailout everybody’ policies; to protect it’s own wealth (taxpayers monies). So it is a fantasy. Nothing more. The reality is that the US (with other countries already beginning the process) is now on a mission to destroy it’s currency. This quantitative easing (printing money) and buying up mortgage back securities and any other securities tied to the credit markets, is essentially a massive attempt at flooding the USA and world with cash. Courtesy of the Federal Reserve under a self confessed money printer Ben Bernanke.

This is of course will lead to inflation even in deflationary environments, but the other factor is the protectionist aspect as all global currencies are been devalued at the same time. So it could be wise to assume that a huge debasement in global currencies and their value is the first shot in a protectionist agenda.

As the US attempts to self capitalize, outflows of investment from USD and USD related assets will occur. Today I listened to an economist at a certain big bank explaining the benefits of the massive money printing exercises by the Federal Reserve, but again he missed the point that inflation will trump any internal inflows of cash into the US economy (hey like Zimbabwe!). But as discussed with all the global Central Banks attempting to do the same as the Federal Reserve like the Bank of Japan and Bank of England; by collapsing their currencies they will of course force import prices up. So it’s a terrible situation for the global economy. But expected.

So, from a trading perspective it’s time to look at inflation protective buys. Obliviously gold, oil and the few currencies that still show a degree of value, at this point the Japanese Yen although I would say short term. Stocks, such as bigger oil refinery and produces, some bigger mining companies. Pharmaceuticals, although debased currencies will kill the import market on drugs (hence effecting company profits) although depending if there is crisis such as a severe flu out break. Or watch for tariffs removed for flu drugs. Some ETF’s, say long term purchases on Japaneses stocks. Still if you trading short term, ETF’s on silver, index put warrants on all major indices. Short US banks.

The USD/YEN – notice the USD about to punch through 93 Yen support, then it will reside in the trading range of 83-92:

usd_yen

Oil:

wti_crude

Gold against the USD (self explanatory):

gold_usd

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Market rallies won’t hold up, watch the sell on bad news

Posted by Adrian on March 18, 2009

Technically the markets are very oversold, so rebounds can be found. But in light of the snowballing fiasco that AIG will turn into (bail outs and bonuses been paid with taxpayer monies). Ben Bernanke’s whimsical assumption that the US will pull out of recession in 2010. The loss of confidence in Treasury Secretary Tim Giethner who could get pulled the shortest straw very soon. The bank/toxic waste bail out (yes again by the tax payers) could become another one for the waste basket bin, as congress will now implode. European law makers will watch in earnest if the whole thing flops on it’s arse in the US, only because the bailouts are backfiring, as bankrupted giants like AIG and Citigroup start to pay out the top management as the businesses will at some point breakup. A delayed syndrome of free market purging thanks to terrible decisions by policy makers, all backfiring in an amusing and tragic way.

So if you charting the main US indices and looking for some indication where the market is going, say the Dow and S&P500; you can see a trading range occurring which is quite tight. But one thing is showing a concern for a pending sell off, is the rise of the market in Jan 2009 from it’s Nov 2008 lows and the new year selling all the way into March 2009. Although now an attempt for the market to see a bottom in March 2009 could be premature. The RSI index shows a similar patten just above 50, mirroring the 50+ the Dow and S&P 500 in Jan 2009 (before the sell off).

If you have access to charts you can tweak the indicators to be more precise, but it shows that a sell is on the cards, that could hit the lows early in March 2009 on the Dow and S&P 500

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Bear Markets, new year rallies, US treasuries and the China Syndrome.

Posted by Adrian on March 16, 2009

Global stock markets have rallied, mirroring the rallies in November 2008 that latter petered out into 2009. Oversold markets showed some life after banks Citgroup and Bank of American speculatively informed the market they may return to profit in the next quarter

refer to graph:

Still in fragile economies and negative market sentiment, the bad news just keeps coming. Can US markets maintain rallies out of a brutal bear market, or get sucked back down into new lows? Whether oversold or not, one thing remains is the terrible state of the global/US economy. I was discussing the rallies with a friend of my on the weekend, we both agreed that market would rally but agreed that the rallies showed investor caution, especially when the rallies were speculatively driven.

Yet our discussion kept going back into general human psychology and the mentality fear. We were trying to pinpoint the basis of fear and fear reaction, not so much regarding markets per se but generally. The idea of survival of the fittest kept coming up, not entirely biologically driven, but also not dismissing the idea of survival of the fittest in human instincts and survival. But also adding cultural/economic power structure of survival of the fittest. As I discussed in The wrongs of Government intervention in the free markets, biology and survival of the fittest – Governments may become totalitarianism based., the theory that was reached, which could be a shock in someways. Is with governments of the world trying to maintain asset prices from collapsing could actually allow them to collapse. This conclusion came out of the recent remakes from China’s Premier Wen, when he came out recently and said he was concerned about US Treasuries, since China holds 1 Trillion of US debt.

To me it still comes back to gain over pleasing the electorate, for example governments eventually protecting their wealth rather than intervening in markets to please the taxpayer. Even though market invention has been a complete fiasco (at the expense of the taxpayer), note AIG massive bonus payouts, and counterparties (overseas and local US investments backs) getting taxpayer dollars connected to the AIG bailout! It just gets worst and worst for the Obama administration. But the real fear is China’s concern of their US investment of US debt. If markets rally due to money printing and asset support and Treasures tank, with an added bonus of an absolutely deteriorating US economy. China may edge closer to selling or threatening to sell US Treasuries. This may cause the Obama administration to reverse it’s obsessive bailout programs and sink the stock indices to add weight back into Treasures. Thus keeping it’s (US) major investor (China) happy. Could Governments turn from asset support policies to deflation liquidating policies and hammer the private equity markets back down? All this to protect the inflows of investment into Government debt?

With a bottom in bear markets months away, concerns that tax payers are getting shafted and China thinking (not in a good way) about their investments in the US. A complete reverse in US government economic policy could occur. Only because the fear of a China sell on Treasures and the banks and private sector abusing taxpayer money; at some point the US taxpayer will want to see some free market failure.

The US government could allow the free markets to punish somebody (corporate). To keep faith both from the taxpayer and it’s main investor.

So we both felt, albeit speculatively that the US government may have no choice but to stop supporting asset prices and try and drive Treasures up. In other words allow for a massive deflation to occur, or simply put fall into a depression and hope it’s a sharp one.

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Energy shot drinks

Posted by Adrian on March 13, 2009

box-348x526

I don’t do drugs, but I believe in decriminalization of drugs and a possible goverment legalized (current illegal drugs) drug supervision program.

Still I drink caffeine, I like coffee and occasionally drink energy drinks. No, I am not sucked into the hype of energy drinks offering better performance. But caffeine does have it’s benefits, although coffee making is an artform that many cannot master sans the caffeine benefit, it’s the taste baby.

The other day I bought one of these energy shots (not this one in the picture above but I would say they are all the same). Foolishly I drank this prior to work and would you believe (a few days later) when I was leaving work. This would be as close to a line of speed as you could get (no I have never done speed, cocaine or otherwise). Terrible, for sports it would give you a 10min rush, probably effective in sprint maybe, but rapid heart rate and possible blood pressure effects would be significant.

Verdict: Well if you want a legal rush this will do the trick. But I you are some silly kid who just finished watching a MMA fight and then downed one of these, you could end up throwing yourself into a neck crank…with a street pole.

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Global markets rally on a Citigroup internal memo!

Posted by Adrian on March 11, 2009

Crazy trading in my opinion, still markets jumped mostly from bank related stocks. But a brutal bear market will remain, then will get the graveyard market. Bargains are there, still looking oil exploration and oil storage companies (long term as far as stocks go). But a bottom is months away, these are bear market rallies. Citi bank is a zombie, the price ($1.45) and bank are a joke – I’d still short that junk company.

China is going drag equity markets down with their terrible export/trade figures (news out today).

Check the Aussie (5min graph), what a sell off (although staging a slight recovery):aud

*morbius glass does not give investment advice. Trade at your own risk

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The morbius glass schlock, horror, 80’s, grindhouse, sex and violence movie marathon – Escape From New York (1981) Director: John Carpenter.

Posted by Adrian on March 10, 2009

I don’t like remakes, in fact most are terrible. There was a rumour that the classic John Carpenter flick Escape from New York was going to be remade, this may or maybe not true. Who knows, who cares. With the movie industry going to be sucked dry of finance not much is going be big budget, nor the luxury to remake stuff we have already seen. Or hope that a ‘cashed up’ population just wants to be entertained by big budget shit. Those days are gone for now.

Except for smart producers film makers like JJ Abrams, as I still feel that Cloverfield was one of the best releases of 2008. Somewhat of a review found here.

Maybe, just maybe Hollywood will break up into small underground type movies industries, where once porno film makers start to enter the non porn movie industry. As they upgrade to better digital cameras and begin to make schlock, horror crazy out there flicks. Is it possibly? (Ok you know I am being sarcastic). Just imagine Hollywood collapses and a 2nd wave of modern Grindhouse is born but goes straight to Bluray. Unless Sony goes belly up and they stop making Bluray movies (too expensive), then cinema, as far as originality, just might make a come back. But I kinda doubt that unless commercial real estate tanks to hell and cheap movie theaters are are reborn. Whatever the scenario, movie making might change forever with our current global recession.

Anyway, for it’s time (1981) Escape From New York was a (and I guess still kinda is) believable concept in a sci-fi kinda way (New York city becomes a maximum security prison, WW3, world gone mad etc etc ), with great characters and story. Some contemporary and modern day fears, especially the very real and tragic irony of a plane being hijacked by terrorists flying into New York. Although the portrayal of the terrorists or terrorist is an ultra militant political group (a suicidal communist terrorist – yes those evil people!), rather than Islamic. With the actual terrorist being a female. The hijacking scene sets the tone of the overall movie; there is just something so 1980’s about the opening scene of the hijacked (Presidents) plane. Great dialogue, you get the feel of the turmoil the world is in at that point in time (would you believe it’s 1997!).

Love this line from the script, Terrorist hijack scene (1st scene):

Tell this to the workers when they ask where your leader went . . .

We, the soldiers of the national
liberation front of America,

in the name of the workers

and all the oppressed of
this imperialist country

have struck a fatal blow to
the racist police stick!

What better revolutionary example
than to let the president perish

in the inhuman dungeon of
his own imperialist prison?

How cool is that line? Especially in light of how the overall scene unfolds (Plane crashes, but President escapes via escape pod and lands in NYC). Thus the movie begins.

Escape from New York kicked arse for it’s time, good action, dilaogue and has that overall 1980’s funky retro feel… yeah ‘retro’ feel. I dig it, so should you.

Check out the trailer:

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