Daily Investment Interpretations

July 17, 2009

2009-7-17:  The markets marched in place today.  The NASDAQ Composite gained 1.58 points (0.08%) to 1,886.61, the Dow added  32.12 points (0.37%) to close at 8,743.94, and the S&P 500 fell 0.36 points (-0.04%) to end at 940.38  Oil ended the day up slightly at $63.37 a barrel, while gold lost $2 to $938. The VIX fell 1.08 to 24.34.
The volume during this market advance has been good but not great. (My technical advisory service this morning pointed that out.) At this point, the market could go up or down. My Chinese stocks jumped a percent or two today. 
    The next problem area is tipped to be in commercial real estate. Apparently, this is returning to the news.
    In Boiling the Frog, Paul Krugman observes that the U. S. managed to sidestep a second Great Depression by pouring money into the banks. Now that the initial crisis has passed, though, the government seems to be leaning back in the saddle at a time when it's become evident that a second stimulus package is going to be needed to keep the economy afloat.
    This situation is even worse when it comes to climate change. The forecasts are becoming catastrophic. Meanwhile, the nation drifts.
    This brings up a point: the same disinformation strategies mounted by powerful industrial lobbies that were so successful in postponing the linking of cholesterol intake with heart disease, and the linking of smoking with lung cancer are now being used by companies like Exxon Mobil to discredit the connection between global warming and the burning of fossil fuels. It's very easy to run a calculation of the total amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (about 387 parts per million, or 3 trillion tonnes) with the buildup of carbon dioxide since the first measurements were made in 1958, and to compare the total amount of carbon dioxide generated by deforestation and by the coal and oil that have been burned over the past two centuries (about 1 trillion tonnes). You find out in a hurry that the carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuels roughly matches the carbon dioxide added to the Earth's atmosphere. 
    The "experts" who are testifying that global warming isn't real include the same "experts" who testified years ago that smoking wasn't harmful to your health. (Half a century ago, I had a rude awakening with one of these "experts". We didn't have any conflicts... I was a lowly graduate student... but I got a close-up look at what he was like.) In Permanent Link to Opinions for sale, Paul Krugman warns,
"Despite everything thatís happened, I donít think many people grasp just how raw, how explicit, the corruption of our institutions has become."