Doomed to repeat it, slowly and ponderously

I’ve just finished a very funny book on how Wall Street works, published in 1940 and written by someone who worked in the markets through the crash of 1929. Where Are The Customers’ Yachts was reissued as a paperback a few years ago, and almost every page is relevant to today — perhaps even morecontinue reading

V for Volatility

Last summer I drew your attention to the CBOE Volatility (VIX) index, which at the time was, like the Baltic Dry Index, a relatively low-profile stock market metric that had started to look very odd. (My own familiarity with the VIX index is the legacy of two years of early morning meetings with a acontinue reading

The blame game gets more interesting

Come October, the Toronto Real Estate Board will have a new bogeyman to blame for sliding sales: the federal government. The government is reining in mortgages, at least the insured ones it guarantees, scrapping the 40-year amortization period in favour of a maximum of 35 years, requiring a minimum credit score and downpayment and imposingcontinue reading

But Brooklin is booming!

Could the communications team at the Toronto Real Estate Board be the worst in the city? Granted, TREB is the lobby group representing realtors, know most for erratic capitalization and repeated punctuation marks. And, OK, it’s hard to put out press release after press release about a deflating market after years of hyperbolic boasting aboutcontinue reading

From Great Unwind to Greater Depression?

While thoughts of deflation are rippling through the Anglosphere, the European Central Bank is still more concerned about rising prices, hiking interest rates again today. There are a couple of reasons this makes sense: one, the ECB’s only mission is to contain inflation, while the US Federal Reserve, the shadow of which hangs over allcontinue reading

Anglo agony

You’ve probably been ignoring it, enjoying the summer instead, but in case you’re wondering how the economy in the Anglosphere is looking these days, on this first business day of the second half in Canada, and first official day of a bear market in the U.S., two words: pretty bad. Here in Canada, even BMOcontinue reading

Peaking skepticism

A recent Economist article highlights some of the questions over whether we’re experiencing peak oil now or not. There have been a number of stories recently alleging that oil prices are artificially high right now in part because there are vast quantities of crude sitting on ships offshore. Another issue is limited refinery capacity. Accordingcontinue reading

The Price is Right

Shocking news from our friends at BMO: Canadian shoppers are still paying 18 per cent more on average than Americans for the same items, BMO Nesbitt Burns says in a study that suggests consumers aren’t reaping the benefits of a strong dollar. The rest of the article seems to indicate that, in fact, the reportcontinue reading

The longest post in the last five minutes

Business reporters are constantly under pressure to quantify whatever they’re writing about. Unfortunately, there’s so little context associated with this that the reader is left with absolutely no idea as to whether the information is significant or not. Case in point: the dreaded “in XX period of time” construct. First example, from today’s Pricescontinue reading

Food and oil prices

The Guardian on yesterday’s fuel protests in Europe: Long queues formed at Spanish and Portuguese supermarkets after truckers said shops could run out of fresh food in days. Even before the strike began thousands of people formed long lines outside petrol stations and supermarkets. Supermarket chains Eroski and Carre-four said they had stocked up oncontinue reading