The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not
SVB Financial Group.
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and
pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer
- Nat King
Fridays in the summer on the trading floor are a time for
reflection and a time to catch up on the week's work before heading home for the
weekend. But this past Friday, I was presented with a challenge in the form of
CNBC's Apple "antennaegate" coverage (Steve Jobs' label, not mine).
ever-present live video feed of the spewing gulf well was replaced with constant
video of Steve Jobs in his Apple uniform (remember the "Sprockets" skits on
Saturday Night Live?) falling on his sword in a most elegant fashion. For the
two hours I could stand it, CNBC had upwards of eight (yes, eight!) individuals
in their own little window boxes providing commentary and viewpoints on what
apparently was the biggest story of the day, week or possibly month!
I fully understand how slow the financial markets can get on Fridays when the
Brooks Brothers suits are exchanged for bathing suits and New Yorkers head to
the Hamptons (or wherever they go), but surely there was more to talk about this
week than bias against the left-handed.
Take the financial regulatory
reform bill that passed the Senate, for example. With the goal of "reforming"
and "adding regulation" to the banking industry so that we won't ever have to
bail out Wall Street again, this seems like pretty big news. But perhaps it had
already been digested in the years that led up to its passing.
about the capped well itself? The media is quick to report negative events and
agonize over the failures of some poor soul or corporation. Why not celebrate a
little now that the well has been capped earlier than expected? It might be
interesting to learn who the engineers are who came up with the solution and how
they did it.
Or — and I know you know this is my favorite — what about
the news regarding mortgage reform? Specifically, the contradictory indicators
of the Treasury stating they will put off until 2011 any serious debate on what
to do with the beleaguered twins Fannie and Freddie while Chairman of the House
Financial Services Committee Barney Frank announced plans to begin drafting
legislation on this topic in September.
Nope. Instead we are subjected to
the marketing genius of the man in black (with apologies to Johnny Cash, of
Of course, you may be wondering why we wouldn't just switch the
channel or even turn off the monitors on the trading floor.
changing the channel would only provide a different angle on the same story (by
the way, did you know the antenna problem can be fixed with duct tape? No,
seriously!), so this would provide no respite.
And you can forget about
hitting the "off" button on any trading floor television. It's my understanding
they are specially made without such an option, or if they do indeed have such a
button, the wrath of insults and physical items surely to be hurled in one's
direction offsets any expected peace of mind one seeks.
In any case, such
an action would be pure sacrilege to the true investment manager who is an
So, instead, we must survive such slow periods
through the summer months, realizing that even market prices at this time don't
mean much for the long run.
Sales at U.S.
retailers fell in June for a second month, indicating the pace of economic
recovery moderated heading into the second half of 2010. Purchases decreased a
more-than-projected 0.5 percent following a 1.1 percent May drop, Commerce
Department figures showed. Excluding auto dealers, demand fell 0.1 percent,
matching the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg
Wholesale prices in the U.S. fell in June more than forecast,
pulled down by lower energy and food costs, providing further evidence inflation
is not a worry at this time. The 0.5 percent decline in prices paid to
factories, farmers and other producers compared with a 0.1 percent drop median
projection of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and followed a 0.3 percent
decline in May. Excluding food and fuel, so-called core prices climbed 0.1
percent, matching the median estimate.
Industrial production in the U.S.
unexpectedly rose in June as higher temperatures across the nation led to
increased utility use. Output at factories, mines and utilities increased 0.1
percent last month after a 1.3 percent gain in May. Economists had forecast a
0.1 percent drop in June, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News
survey. Utility output rose 2.7 percent, while production at manufacturers
declined 0.4 percent.
The views expressed in this column are solely
those of the author and do not reflect the views of SVB Financial Group,
or SVB Asset Management, or any of its affiliates. This material,
including without limitation the statistical information herein, is
provided for informational purposes only. The material is based in part
upon information from third-party sources that we believe to be
reliable, but which has not been independently verified by us and, as
such, we do not represent that the information is accurate or complete.
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