Friday, February 26, 2010

Introducing a BETTER US Currency
By MrArbitrage

The media and analysts are mystified as to why gold is suddenly going up in tandem with the US Dollar because they traditionally have an inverse relationship. This buttresses what I have been contending here for years. Whether the dollar is up or down versus other world currencies is about as relevant as a step ladder on the Titanic. Better yet, remember (in the movie) all of those people who rushed to one end in the ship so when the opposite side sank first, they were momentarily lifted high in the sky as though they were at the top of a sinking sky-scraper? Well, that’s the global currency situation and it’s still too soon to say which nation will have the luxury of drowning on the “upward” end. If you haven’t guessed yet, gold and other precious metals are the proverbial lifeboat and as with the Titanic, few people had a lifeboat in the end because of negligence in preparing.

It always amuses me how "economists" view situations and often come to erroneous conclusions. Some fallacies like the Sun and planets revolving around the Earth have a deceptive allure to them because of appearances. Other fallacies, like the notion that “gold is being quite the rebel lately” as one headline at reads today, have additional help from those who have a vested interest in the notion.

It’s mainly the persistent prodigality and plunder of our elected scoundrels that is driving up the price of gold. It’s not just gold; you see oil here at $80 per barrel in a horrendous economy because of the counterfeiting of our elected scoundrels. It is all related. These criminals have for the past year been trying to further con us by outwardly scoffing at the notion of “inflation” and are “warning” us about what they absurdly predict will be “deflation”.

Swindlers like Charlie Rangel, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd have to lie to you in order to prop up their scam. You want me to believe in DEFLATION? Ok, I will say here and now that we have RAMPANT deflation – in our currency- but CERTAINLY not in food, energy, and products that are essential to human sustenance. Sure you can get a great price on a 60 inch plasma TV – because most people cannot afford the plasma right now, nor do they NEED it.

I honestly don’t understand how people actually fall for this nonsense. I live in the real world. I buy my gasoline and see what is happening at the pumps. I buy my groceries and it is nothing short of stunning what their counterfeiting has done at the stores. I was at Sam’s Club yesterday and an average size container of blueberries was $8.00 and an average container of strawberries was $6.00! My generic, store brand gallon of “purified” water is up 30% in a two month period. What items haven’t –technically-gone up in price (like ice cream and soda) have shrunken in quantity by 30%.

So I was waiting in line at the grocery store yesterday. Rather than read more about the sordid Tiger Woods exploits, I took a look at the candy isles that surrounded me and remembered that not so long ago I could buy 2-3 candy items for a buck. Sensing an inflation tirade coming on, I took out my Blackberry camera and took some pictures. I was amazed at how little that dollar can now procure in the way of sweets. The photo below pictures the reality of where we are. The Hershey bar, the M&M’s, KitKat, Twix... are all $1.05 with Florida tax

See all the gum: My US Dollar cannot even buy me the cheap, second tier singled pack- of "Freedent" gum! Deflation??? Where are the pitch forks?

Ladies and gentlemen, this is serious. These illustrations may seem trifling to some but these are the foreshocks of hyper-inflation to come. As you can see, serious damage has already been done. But it isn’t over. As we witnessed on February 25, 2010 – the elected scoundrels met to devise a way to further plunge our nation into the abyss. What they are trying to promulgate with their government healthcare scheme is unmitigated economic jihad on the US dollar and will absolutely require trillions in additional counterfeit dollars. If you –own- debt (bonds) and cash/equivalents – you are unprotected.

Let’s suppose you already own gold and/or silver but you want to add something to your hedging program that can easily be traded as –currency- in smaller denominations.

I have an idea for you. To set the table for this one, I think we agree it is an axiom that our dollar is secured by little more than the empty rhetoric of elected swindlers. Due to their profusion, the dollar has lost over 90% of its value over the past century and they are on their way to 100%. Because they took us off of the gold standard, there is no measurable valuation for our currency and the same goes for our Treasury Bills, Notes and Bonds.

By thinking a little outside the box, the realization came to me that the US Government currently issues an overlooked vehicle that COULD easily function as a cash-like currency –and- an investment. Unlike the Federal Reserve Notes we use, this vehicle is backed by something with measurable, intrinsic value. The best part is that it could also go far higher in value than the broad inflation rate.

Without further ado, the idea I bring you is none other than the US Postal Service’s recently introduced “Forever Stamp” (Pictured below).

The US Postal Service is not going away regardless of their balance sheet. They should make major adjustments but regardless, mail will continue to be delivered and this stamp is a GUARANTEE by the US government. It is not an empty guarantee giving you a claim to mere “thin air”. As it is written on their website (linked below) – “The Forever stamp will always be valid as First–Class postage on standard envelopes weighing one ounce or less, regardless of any subsequent increases in the First–Class rate.”Source:

THINK about that. That little stamp currently GUARANTEES you that you can transport a standard envelope weighing 1 oz or less – all the way across the continental United States. That takes gasoline friends. Not only does it give you claim on energy, it also gives you a piece of “manpower” regardless of wage inflation. If the dollar continues to plummet, causing gasoline to go to $500 per barrel and minimum wage to $50.00 per hour, you still have the right to transport that envelope from Key West to Seattle if you want. Now that’s a great deal more than what Little Timmy Bonaparte at Treasury is guaranteeing! Going forward in a hyper-inflationary environment, the USPS will have to raise prices on postage dramatically, creating a secondary market for “Forever Stamps”. Any difference in the spread between new stamps and the old Forever Stamps would be what I dub henceforth as “stamp arbitrage”. Efficient markets wouldn’t allow for that spread remaining wide for long.

Yes this idea is bordering on the tongue-in-cheek side but you never know. It could sweep the nation if enough people and business owners gradually participated. If it hit the proverbial fan, this would be easier than bartering with the gold dust you might have to grind up from your bullion (for smaller purchases). Item prices could be quoted in terms of the quantity of stamps for smaller items and in “books” (currently $8.80 for a book of twenty) for larger items. I don’t expect Wal-Mart and McDonalds to accept stamps as currency anytime soon but if you are a business owner who doesn’t mind holding some stamps and you are fed up with the financial jihad being waged against you by your elected swindlers - put a little sign in your window that says “We accept Forever Stamps” or “Forever Stamps are same as Cash”. You may even offer a little discount initially to get attention. If enough businesses and consumers started participating, it could take off. If we forced the government to eliminate the Forever Stamps due to the coming losses – at least we would have done something.

Just please don’t share this with China or they may bid up the stamp market while dumping their Treasuries. Wink.

Footnotes: Now before you start tell me how ineptly run the US Postal Service is – let me just say – I AGREE! But so is the US government overall and if I had to decide whether I wanted the folks at the USPS managing my healthcare or the Congress, Senate and President, I would opt for the USPS. They actually were the ONLY branch of the federal government to turn a profit until email came along. Back in the 90’s they were turning profits of over $500 million a year. I do not sell gold and this is not a commercial. My goal is to bring value in the quality of my columns because writing is one of my singular greatest felicities and my goal is to eventually leave the business of investment banking and do this full-time. If you would like to use material from the columns, feel free, just please use proper attribution. Contact:

Friday, January 15, 2010

January 15, 2010

MrArbitrage on Wall Street & Intel: "This one goes to eleven"

Marketwatch featured a column today regarding the fall of Intel’s stock price in spite of beating the consensus in a strong quarter. The concern is that although Intel is executing perfectly, they may be “peaking” and there are signs that margins are eroding.

The column is full of statements like “analysts had expected…” “analysts currently project…”

There’s the problem right there. Although I’ve been in this industry of “Wall Street” for a long time, it got me thinking - why even have analysts when all of these companies provide such guidance? Who knows better of what to anticipate than the people running the company? And the executives seem to be held to more scrutiny than the analysts. How many Wall Street analysts do you see going away in handcuffs versus CEOs? I laugh when I see the numbers analysts “expect” versus the company guidance because it’s usually within a few cents. I would LOVE to see how FAR OFF Wall Street analysts would be if they were not given guidance from these companies. I would love to see their raw due diligence and how they came to their numbers (I’m smirking).

It’s a farce. I mean, we all know the companies like to under-promise and over-deliver so they can “beat expectations” – but I think we are smart enough to figure that out and just round up a few cents to come up with our own expectations.

It reminds me of a scene from the cult classic film “This is Spinal Tap” where "Nigel", the metal guitarist is showing off his custom Marshall amplifier to the interviewer (played by Rob Reiner). In this scene, Nigel boasts about how most amplifiers only go to 10, while -his- "goes to 11". Reiner asks “Nigel” the question “why not just make 10 louder and make 10 be the top number?” Perplexed, Nigel pauses and answers “but this one goes to 11”. (Here’s the scene if you haven’t seen it.

This scenario is analogous to Wall Street analysis. Why not make the template adjustment to the corporate guidance yourself instead of paying an overpriced analyst’s salary? The answer to this rhetorical question is that they create an illusion of complexity that helps sell their services.

One of the quoted analysts wrote "Although we believe Intel is executing flawlessly, we are seeing several signs of a peak in the stock in terms of gross margins and earnings,.

I wrote a piece eight years ago on Intel that is relevant to this situation:

DATE: 1/16/2002 TITLE: “To the Pollyanalysts” (time-stamped verification)

"Letter to the Analysts":

It's a tragedy that people still listen to you charlatans. Do earnings mean anything to you?
Does market cap mean anything to you?

When a company like Intel has its earnings drop 80% and it is still priced not for perfection as some like to say, but rather for stupidity, what do you do? You stick to your guns in order to save face and declare it a strong buy! It is typical of human nature to mitigate as you do in order to save face; however, it is disgraceful when your saving face is at the expense of millions of people. With INTC currently near its 52 week high and a market cap of about $240 BILLION DOLLARS, Intel will need to reach a market cap of about $1 trillion dollars in order to live up to the premium by which it now trades.

If Intel's near term future was so rosy, they would be increasing capital spending - not decreasing it. They should also be pumping up R&D spending because they are going to need to open new industries if they are going to reach the new highs from here which you predict. The actions of Intel don't seem to match the zeal priced into the stock, after all, as I have been challenged over the past several months for propounding the notion that the nature and history of technology is attrition in profits and margins despite the improvement of technology, the contention was that Intel would spend money fervently in order to create new markets. That was the justification I was given for such an extraordinary premium for diminutive earnings.

It will be absolutely necessary for Intel to re-invent itself to warrant this price because during their glory years, most people didn't yet own computers so naturally sales would be quite strong. It was the same way with automobiles, radios, televisions, VCR's etc.

The Calculator business was once a highly profitable growth industry. Now that so many people already own computers, there needs to be a pretty compelling quantum leap in technology for most people to keep that extraordinary growth rate of the 1990's going.

There is no such incentive at this time. Unfortunately, Intel is priced at the 50% EPS growth rate at this time while growth rates have actually been receding by the double digits! The price doesn't make sense.

I'm not saying that Intel is a bad company. There is nothing wrong with Intel. There is something wrong with Intel's price. I might add that it is through no fault of their own, unless Arthur Andersen is doing their accounting. The current egregious error in Intel's price in my opinion is directly attributable to the charlatanism of the Wall Street analysts coupled with the excessive credulity of the investors and fund managers. I believe we have a castle in the air my friends. Remember $240 BILLION Dollars is a lot of money, even in this day and age. In order to be willing to pay $240 bills for this company, one has to believe that Intel is heading to at least a half of a trillion dollars in market cap while jobs continue to be obliterated...

As I predicted in December, the new wave of cuts are coming after the major new cuts in automotive firings. We are in recession. Unemployment is going to the double digits and there is no compelling technology out there to start a massive wave of upgrades in tech spending.

So, all of you pseudo-analysts out there, sit back and have another hit of the old peace pipe."

In retrospect, not only did people scoff at my Intel price target, they also ridiculed my double digit unemployment prediction.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 22, 2009

The Diabolical Genius of TARP
by MrArbitrage

David Weidner of wrote a column regarding the issue of banks hoarding the TARP money and not passing it on to consumers in the form of loans. The title of Weidner’s column is “Your credit is no good here”, in which he makes the case of why banks need to pull back from lending.

In his column Weidner points out a strange dichotomy in the position of Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis who has been talking publicly about how they are lending as if the good times never ended. Yet on a recent conference call Lewis said “credit is bad and we believe credit is going to get worse before it will eventually stabilize and improve.” Also on that conference call Lewis described a “deep recession that's going to be here for months.”

Unfortunately it may be here for YEARS thanks to our government prolonging the agony instead of letting nature run its course. It’s funny how much these kooks supposedly believe in “nature” when it comes to their desire of not interfering with the eco-system. If only they could make the correlation between their tampering with the laws of economic nature and realize it is very much analogous to the former.

Weidner wrote that “six months later, it's fair to say TARP has helped prop up some banks, but it hasn't flowed into the consumer credit markets the way the framers intended.”

That’s because those “framers” are blithering idiots at best, otherwise complete scoundrels. Just watch and listen to Chris Dodd and Barney Frank; enough said.

THANK GOD it hasn’t flowed through “the way the framers intended”. It stands to reason that credit would dramatically abate. It’s called going back to generally accepted underwriting procedures. The way these elected swindlers designed TARP was apparently not to fix the problem but rather to keep the Ponzi going until they are dead and gone.

While pondering the question of whether or not banks should open the proverbial spigot, just ask yourself this question: Would I personally make these loans from my own savings account? It’s a great question because under “Obamunism” - if the loans are bad – you are making them.

That’s the diabolical genius of Obama and little Timmy’s (picture Dr’ Evil’s “Mimi-me”) scheme to convert the Preferred Bank Shares to Common stock. It would appear that if they could take control of the management of these institutions by gaining control of the Boards and a large percentage of voting shares, they would essentially be able to engage in the type of reckless spending i.e. wealth re-distribution without having to bother with Congressional approval. It would be a minor technicality that they would be calling the redistribution “loans” instead of “spending”. This new spending could essentially be viewed by the recipients as “forgivable loans”. That’s chicanery at its finest! It would be a lousy deal for shareholders because any profits from the -good loans- made by the bank would be wiped out by all of the bad loans. If these preferred shares do get converted to common, don’t look for much in the way of dividends if you are a shareholder because any “profits” will end up in the hands of organizations favored by the administration that is controlling the Treasury Department. Looked at from this perspective, this would undoubtedly be the biggest bank heist in the history of the world. Instead of the tax-payers getting paid back with the present high yielding Preferred dividends, we will own equity positions in banks that will never pay dividends again as they become a piggy bank for governmental pet projects and corruption.

If you want to see the disingenuous motivation behind their proposal to convert the Preferreds to Common, let’s require that the conversion only take place if 100% of the Common is placed in -private- Social Security accounts for “Generation X” to be systematically divested over the next eight years with all voting rights diluted by the individual recipients of these accounts. (I chose Gen-X because they have paid into SS for decades, will continue to do so to fund the Boomers retirements – but will never receive anything close to what they’ve paid in.) That would take away the true motivation, which is control.

Subsequently, I’ve never heard of anyone converting Preferred stock to Common stock –without- the “convertible” feature being in the Indenture or Prospectus upon issuance. If these shares were indeed convertible, WHY was this considered NEWS as it was a few days ago when the trial balloon was floated?

In his conclusion Mr. Weidner wrote that “taxpayers fuming about the banks' unwillingness to loan government money into the system might reconsider, given that the banks are actually being prudent with taxpayer cash.”

That is absolutely correct; however, one cannot help but wonder what might have been if these prodigals had just returned the capital, all of these trillions of dollars, to its rightful owners, the people who created it. That would have been too radical, too “unfair”. So grab your popcorn, sit back and enjoy the deliberate destruction of western civilization. Don’t forget to thank your treasonous scoundrel in DC and your indoctrinated grandchildren for electing our Hussein.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

March 3, 2009

O'Reilly doesn't get it
by MrArbitrage

O'reilly doesn't get it. He's telling Brit Hume that the market pulling back 1,200% must be shaking him up... the American people may turn against him...”

O'Reilly doesn't get the fact that Hussein doesn't CARE. The media have not yet gotten what I've been saying for many months – he WANTS to tear it down. He WANTS to destroy our economy. He WANTS to tear apart our country.

It is not a coincidence that he, from the day he declared his candidacy, has been setting himself up before the nation as a form of Abraham Lincoln. It is marketing expertise. He stood in front of that state house where Lincoln served with a picture of Lincoln behind him as he declared his candidacy. He did so throughout his campaign announcing Biden as his running mate. He did so when he was sworn into office on Lincoln's Bible and even put the same freaking MENU Lincoln had served at his inauguration.

There is much more than symbolism going on here. There is a subliminal thought association game taking place and it isn't because Hussein is a history buff.

Watching the insane legislation he is promulgating and to listen to the fear incitement in his speeches by the deliberate and incessant usage of words like “crisis” and “disaster” - to conclude that he is setting out to do anything other than bring this country to our knees would be an egregious demonstration in credulity.

The Lincoln word association game is planting psychological seeds in the minds of the masses because this guy is so cunning that he is anticipating months or years down the road. By than he will be seen as the “modern Lincoln” and the masses will be convinced of his rectitude as Pavlov's dog is convinced on cue without any rational thought.

This is all unprecedented. He may well be expecting civil war and it looks like he's doing everything he can to prompt states with any ethical standards to secede. The creepy thing is that this year is Lincoln's 200th birthday.


Monday, March 2, 2009

The Devil's in the Details but they don't matter when You've already followed him to Hell

by MrArbitrage

There goes twelve years of gain. This debacle could have been avoided with a dramatic, 25% across the board tax cut with commensurate spending cuts. There is enough pork to accomplish this. Everyone is announcing lay-offs to try to stop the bleeding; where’s the announcement that the IRS will be laying off a percentage of its workforce? If you’ve ever called them to try to fix any of their screw ups, I don’t need to tell you that most of them are useless “dead weight”.

Marketwatch featured a column today referring to this market as a “Darwinian Market”. This isn’t a Darwinian market nor is this a traditional correction. It is more like a Marxist or Stalinist market and the bottom could be zero at the rate this "home grown" economic terrorism is playing out.

I was listening to a Fox News panel this evening as Mara Liasson was critiquing this administration. She was being slightly objective. Her criticism of Obama and Geithner was that they didn't elucidate upon the details as promised because they didn't know what they were themselves. She concluded that "Wall Street" simply "doesn't like uncertainty". I completely disagree with the overall premise. It is true that Wall has never liked uncertainty; however, it is quite erroneous to assert that Wall Street will suddenly be pumped with confidence when Obama and Geithner get more specific on how the bailouts are going to work.

I think the market got the picture late last week when the Obamunist Manifesto was released in its fancy blue book form proclaiming "the new era of responsibility". They say the "Devil's in the details" but details don't matter once the Devil has taken you to hell. The market doesn't like Marxism - no matter how lucid the prospectus.

As a student of market history going back as far as the "South Sea bubble" of the 18th century and the "tulip bulb craze" of 17th century Holland, having been a financial professional through peaks and troughs, I used to have confidence in the market. There was an invariable "reversion to the mean" to which astute investors could look forward.

We have our own Bolshevik revolution taking place. The key ingredient of capitalism is in the process of being eliminated from our equity markets overnight.

What did these people EXPECT would result from stacking the deck with tax cheat scoundrels like the one running the Treasury and plundering the responsible people of this country to bailout the deadbeats????

The Boomers and X’ers have failed. Overcome by selfishness, they have failed as parents by allowing the government school teachers, Ward Churchill and Hollywood to raise their children. All of the sudden, they are in college idolizing communists murderers like Che Guevara and electing Barack Hussein Obama.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Time for Healing? It depends on what their meaning of "healing" is

by MrArbitrage

After 8 years of the venomous vilification of George W. Bush, liberals in the "mainstream" media, some of whom actually called for Bush’s assassination (veiled as a joke) – now say they want a new tone! “It’s time for the healing. they say” How magnanimous.

Marketwatch columnist Marshall Loeb wrote a piece today titled “How Obama Can Inspire a Nation” – in which he offered some suggestions: “The new president may seek to bind up the nation's wounds after a divisive election campaign. Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural in 1801, declared of the two major political parties of the time: "Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We are all Republicans. We are all Federalists."

That is a great quote and it was then true as the primary beliefs were the same among most Americans. The differences that currently divide our country are fundamental. To forget about our differences and unite with the left would be a compromise that any God fearing person -who actually believes in the words of the Declaration of Independence- would be unwilling to make. To the left, the word “Creator”, the One from Whom our inalienable rights were endowed is just an affectation, an inconvenience that they would expunge like the 10 Commandments from an Alabama courthouse and our children’s classroom walls - if they could. In the midst of all the sophistry, they want us to forget who they actually are and from whom they take their orders (ACLU).

I –want - to support Obama because he is the President and quite a charming, affable one at that. However, despite the elegant rhetoric, if he actually does the things he has said he is going to do policy wise, he must be regarded as far from a true friend of liberty as he and his party have for the last 45 years labored to subvert the great pillars of this country expatiated in Washington’s Farewell Address (co-written by the great Hamilton).

It cannot be genuinely stated (reminiscent of Jefferson’s quote) that today “we are all Democrats. We are all Republicans”. To say so would be delusional. Our foundation, our worldviews are polar opposites. We are as two different countries from two different continents.

If reconciliation and “healing” means that I must allow the government to teach my children their brand of “tolerance”, if it means that I must stand by and let these people make a mockery of the institution of marriage – if it means that I must give approbation to the millions of innocent human lives being taken with the sanction of our federal government or the harvesting of human embryos for demented "scientific" experiments, then may God Strike me dead before I ever have the chance to make so egregious a compromise.

It would be better that they tie a millstone around my neck and to be thrown into the ocean than to cause even one of God's children to stumble.

I'm concerned as I hear Christian leaders handle this important subject because there will be a time when even the very elect will be decived. They are acting as though we don't have a clue what he's going to do. I have heard many say that he's our President and we need to pray for him.

As a Christian, I am and will be praying for President Obama. I will be praying that God will not allow him to do the things to this country that he has already promised that he would do.

If Obama is able to fulfill his campaign promises, I am praying that God will have mercy upon us and deliver us from this evil.

This past Sunday was “Sanctity of Life Sunday,” a day in which we prayed for God's mercy on us for the now 50 million innocent human beings whose blood is on our hands. When put into that perspective it testifies to God's mercy and patience. How reasonable is it to expect MORE patience from God, especially when we have a new President who has pledged to expand the atrocities through stem cell research.

It's a sick world out there and I get the feeling that Christian leaders are obtuse to the notion that maybe, just maybe God as he did with his CHOSEN PEOPLE Israel – has handed us over to our enemies. I certainly pray not but time will tell.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

February 13, 2008

China's Accounting: The Next Debacle?
by MrArbitrage

Speaking of China, I’m going to tell you now, long before all the media experts tell you that - THEY – “told you so first”. China is a ticking ACCOUNTING time bomb. You think we’ve had accounting scandals, wait till you get a load of China.

Within the next few months to a year, sagacious media “experts” will be telling you about how the warning signs were on the wall well in advance - as we saw how these Chinese companies were all to willing to sell our children toys with toxic paint in order to make a few extra bucks. They will bring up the thousands of houses in the USA that are now vacant as they were found to have toxic Chinese paint all over the walls, making their former inhabitants ill.

The “experts” will tell you how that was a portent of things to come. After all, if they are willing to sell you toxic toys and house paint - why should you trust the integrity of their balance sheets and income statements???

The Chinese government is either ignorant or complicit; either way common sense says that something isn’t right. I find it difficult to believe that the chi-com government doesn’t regulate enough.

Remember the 90’s? How did the mafia make fortunes pumping bogus stocks? They knew from the beginning that their companies they pumped and dumped were bogus. They knew their schemes couldn’t last forever. They knew they would suck so much money out of people that it wouldn’t matter by the time everyone caught on. They would be set for life. I’m talking about a brutal regime that as recently as in 1996 was selling the organs of their political prisoners to finance the Red Army. I don’t think they would have any qualms about doing the largest pump and dump in history to suck the money out of their old buddies the USA.

The communist Chinese government is not our friend and they never will be. We have been duped. We have financed their regime and the joke is on us. By the way, is it still legal for me to say negative things about communists in the USA?

I just thought I’d share this with you now in case you are long Chinese securities. If you read, you get these kinds of tid bits at a time when the analysis is actually useful or “actionable” as opposed to reading the many journalists who ruminate on them after all hell has broken loose and it is too late.

I don’t know if China will be the NEXT financial debacle – because our government and their cronies are doing a fine job creating so many here – but I believe China will a fairly near term disaster.