Monday, June 22, 2009
We were gone for nearly the entire day today on a round trip to Portland to buy a new car (just doing our part to help stimulate the economy), making a couple stops along the way and then catching up on the U.S. Open upon our return (damn, I was hoping that David Duval would pull it out at the end there - what a story that would have been).
What'd I miss in the market today?
It looks like everything went down again except for the dollar, Treasuries, and the yen. That seems to be a recurring theme these days...
Bloomberg notes, "Asian stocks fell, sending the MSCI Asia Pacific Index down by the most in almost six weeks, as concern an economic recovery will be delayed dragged commodity prices lower and spurred demand for the yen as a haven."
Oh, there's that "flight-to-safety" again, like in a game of musical chairs, when everyone looks around waiting for the music to stop, eyeing a chair, not fully appreciating how rickety those chairs really are.
Larry Kudlow was heard complaining about the World Bank on XM Satellite radio on our way back (pretty cool - my first time with this, though, it is not at all clear that we'll continue with paid service after the first few free months).
It seems the words "grim" and "bleak" when used to characterize the prospects for the global economy spooked investors today and Larry was none to happy about it. "Since when did anyone listen to anything the World Bank has to say?" Larry asked.
Not having listened to Larry for more than a few seconds at a time for a couple years now, it was something of an odd experience taking in almost a full hour in our new post-crash financial world. He sounds pretty much the same as before, it just seems more out of place.
You have to wonder what goes on inside that head of his...
Tomorrow is another day but, based on the downward momentum that has been building over the last week or so, it may not be a pleasant summer.
As I told a number of people last month, "If you have to sell some stock this year, May would probably be a good month to do it".
Anyway, what a difference buying a car in Oregeon versus California. Down below, you negotiate your best deal and then the gubment comes along and tacks on another ten percent or more, hitting you again every year with registration fees in the hundreds of dollars.
In Oregon, you pay no sales tax, which is a saving of thousands of dollars, and you pay $200+ to the dealer for four years worth of registration fees.
Though its tough everywhere, the cards are stacked against car dealers in the Golden State, where things seem to be getting worse by the day.
On our way back from Portland, we stopped in at the Timberline Lodge on the south side of Mount Hood. Knowing nothing about the place other than that it was something we should visit, it was a pleasant surprise to see a stately hotel adjacent to a ski area just down from a huge mountain peak.
It's funny how, after the events of the last year or so, you notice 1930s references more than ever before. This hotel was built during the Great Depression as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and we happened to spot the big photo of Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicating the Lodge in 1937.
Wikipedia has these excerpts from the speech made on that occasion:
This Timberline Lodge marks a venture that was made possible by W.P.A., emergency relief work, in order that we may test the workability of recreational facilities installed by the Government itself and operated under its complete control.With so many comparisons between the 1930s and the current period, you have to wonder what photos people will be looking at seventy years from now - what lasting reminders from the current era will survive.
Here, to Mount Hood, will come thousands and thousands of visitors in the coming years. Looking east toward eastern Oregon with its great livestock raising areas, these visitors are going to visualize the relationship between the cattle ranches and the summer ranges in the forests. Looking westward and northward toward Portland and the Columbia River, with their great lumber and other wood using industries, they will understand the part which National Forest timber will play in the support of this important element of northwestern prosperity.