Friday, August 31, 2007

Uruguay vs. The States this is not about olympic b-ball qualifiers. this is the aforementioned promise to follow up with my thoughts regarding the differences between the US and our adopted home Uruguay.

it had been a year since I'd left South America, so I'd forgotten a lot of things that I like (and that annoy me) about the states.

We flew Delta which meant that we flew through Altanta...We arrived around 6 a.m. and had a layover of about an hour and a half to fly back to the Left Coast.


Everyone speaks English! While this is convenient for getting around, you have to put up with listening to people speak English! (UGh!) I've become accustomed to sitting in crowds or restaurants and being able to just tune out Spanish conversations, since listening actively is the only way I can understand conversational Spanish. It just turns into pleasant background noise. At the gate I had to listen to some woman talk about her real estate speculative prowess (think shoe shine boy with stock tips) and how her husband and her were going to clean up on some upgrades they were doing to a second home. If I wasn't so tired, I think fuBarrio would have gone off on a rant.

Everyone is FAT! ugh. Husbands and wives were HORFing down bags full of fast food (the choices were amazing IN the airport) as they waited for the airplane at the gate. They were doing this STANDING. That is just something you'd never see in Uruguay. Some kids got onto the tram with some kind of *crazy* sweet smellin waffle cone the struck some sort of 1970's carnival memory in my head. Again, this was at 6 a.m.

Once we got on the plane to PDX, it was like we'd stepped into the future! My coach seat had TV on demand (live CNBC), good cheese in the snack box, and "CDs on demand" (a bunch of'em)instead of really bad commercial free radio the planes used to have. I listened to Christina Aguilera's "newish" CD and skipped over songs I didn't like.

When we got to PDX everything was slick and clean and "modern". Kids were browsing in a "mobile electronics/entertainment kiosk" (in the airport on the "inside" of security). We walked across the skybridge to the multi-level parking lot covered by a huge glass roof to let light in and keep us from havin to deal with any rain that might fall. We were driven from the airport in a Lexus SUV.

Now, what I've described is just the first few hours. We hadn't even left the airport at this point, but the trip was basically more of the same:

  • Many more choices of products/food/entertainment/ways to spend your money
  • Much more convenient (part of this is the lack of language barrier obviously)
  • More expensive (with the exception of gasoline, electronics, skin care, nuts, ethnic foods, some clothes, and a fender statocaster :) )

ciao for now,


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Meanwhile back in the States....

After a few weeks back in the US, I have a renewed perspective on what it means to live in Uruguay as a US native. There are definately some things I've missed from the States....and some things I haven't. More on that later. For now, just a few pics from the "greater" 48.



Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Rule of Page One

The rule of page one states that once a story gets to the front page, the trade is over (in a nutshell).

Although this story hitting the mainstream media outlets hard signaled a (short term) end to the trade, I think the carnage still has a couple more legs down. As I've said before, it's either housing or the dollar (or both). It depends on how many times the Fed is going to "blink" I guess.


Monday, August 20, 2007

The fuBarrio Index

The fuBarrio index = The Fed's Unlimited Borrowing Appearing in the Real Rate of Inflation Observations....

I don't have a picture from 1999 but my memory is it jumped in 2002 from 4.59 to $5.49 for the Halibut and Chips. You can see in the picture above what has happened in the last five years (whisky tango foxtrot?!?!?!?)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Emerald City - Strat Heaven

Golden Lotus sat patiently as fuBarrio played nearly each and everyone of the pictured guitars in search of the perfect fit.

Of course, after trying out about 40 strats, fuBarrio's paws warmed up enough to play a riff without fumbling the pick -- no small feat for someone without opposible thumbs -- and fuBarrio's strat had been found.


Friday, August 10, 2007

CarryTrade and Global Liquidity

It's been my belief for a long time that global liquidity was really the only thing floating the leaky boat, aka, the US stock market.

Unfortunately, there is so much inflation built into the system that one can feel compelled to continue trying to "pick up nickels in front of steam rollers" -- nickel and diming the market, playing a dangerous game that works really well -- until it doesn't.

I've been looking for some indicator of global liquidity flows as a more reliable predictor of when the faucet is being turned on and off.

below is an idea that i stole from a currency trader posting as "hoz" on Interesting stuff. He believes that the marginal money coming into the US stock markets only after a series of carry trades is being carried out. The trades go something like this (according to him)

1) borrow moneys in Japan from bank
2)buy Euro sell Yen =EuroYen
3) buy British Gilts
4) buy US stocks with Gilts as your margin requirement

This url is to a graph of the EuroYen vs the SP500 for 1 yr.
The correlation is 0.94, from a practical viewpoint if the EuroYen is higher than the previous day the stock market is going up - no matter how much bad news is out there.

fwiw, i think we are very very close to a serious problem in the markets or the dollar. if/when the problems happen it could even take down the safe havens in the immediate term as leveraged players look to raise cash.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

GLQ.TO (again)

Just a quick note this a.m.

It's an hour before the market opens and one of the promoters of this stock recommended his clients back away from GLQ.TO last night (along with a whole host of other base metal plays based on the call of an immenent pullback in base metals).

I don't think anyone was speculating with me, but in case you were and haven't already closed out your position, I thought you might want me to tell you this.

It closed at $3.82 CAN last night. His recommendation to sell base metals could cause a minature rush to the exits this a.m. So if you're selling, as I like to say, "if you're going to panic, panic early."

Go cool.


Eddie Murphy's Grandma

"it's cold...i'm so cold in here......eddie.....what time is it?"

I know I sound like Eddie Murphy's Grandma complaining about the cold every 2 or 3 posts.....not very compelling copy.

But, finally there is a source (with statistics!) to back up my assertion that it's been damn cold here. Apparently this is the coldest winter on record.....

The story below and the attached graphic to the story says it all:

Uruguay News on the weather.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Buceo, Montevideo in the a.m.

A picture of Buceo, with Malvin, the coastal neighborhood to the east of Buceo in the foggy background.