Monday, June 06, 2011

Wild week

So it's been a pretty rough week as the markets try to shake their Memorial Day hangover. Major sectors like tech, energy and banks weighed heavily on the markets today. We also broke through some levels that will have the Ouija board readers... I mean "technicians" freaking out. This isn't advice but it feels a little overdone here and when everyone is zigging (and everyone is clamoring for the exits right now), I like to zag.

While you'll hear lots of market commentators speculating on the next move step back and look at the markets today as an objective observer. Did you know that the NASDAQ (despite it's recent 100pt drop) is basically where it was in Sept 2007 at the peak of the economic cycle? Does it feel like the economy is cranking along like it was in the midst of the housing bubble days? It may in some places (Ferrari dealerships in Greenwich for example) but I suspect the average joe is far worse off today than he was four years ago despite the relatively strong stock market performance.

This won't come as a surprise to many people that are actually out in the field but according to this survey of small businesses "job creation is collapsing".

"The two NFIB indicators—job openings and hiring plans—that predict the unemployment rate both fell, suggesting that the rate itself will rise.

“Twelve percent (seasonally adjusted) of small-business owners reported unfilled job openings (down 2 points). Further indications of minimal future growth include the fact that in the next three months, 13 percent plan to increase employment (down 3 points), and 8 percent plan to reduce their workforce (up 2 points)."

Oh FUKushima me..... Japan has now doubled the estimate of the amount of radiation that was released from Fukushima just after the earthquake.

"NISA on Monday more than doubled its estimate of the radioactive material ejected into the air in the early days of the Fukushima nuclear crisis to 770,000 terabecquerels."

As a point of reference - Chernobyl released 1.8 million terabecquerels. The original estimates for Fukushima were around 100,000 terabecquerels. Again, this is just the estimate of the initial radiation release, there are reports of many scary scenarios that I'll let you research on your own because I can't judge their validity.

A run of the mill farm mutation (a bunny without ears) became international news today as the Japanese people began circulating the video around the web.

Yawn - this is pretty standard genetic oddity on farms but in a country with a fragile emotional state like Japan's this video can cause a bit of panic. Call me when this bunny grows to over 50 feet and starts crushing cars with its hind legs :)


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