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Mark's Market Blog

4-2-11: More radiation, more earthquakes, more arab revolts.

By Mark Lawrence

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The news continues to get worse about the Arab revolts - it seems now to be spreading into Kazakhstan. Europe's banks are going to require massive bailouts soon as Greek, Irish and Portuguese bonds will almost certainly be renegotiated. Fukushima is starting to look seriously bad and has clearly had some sort of meltdown. But our abbreviated market correction is now over, Bernanke and his helicopter is seeing to that. Remember, the party is all scheduled to end on June 30. You should be home, off the roads and safely in bed a day or three before that.

S&P 500 October 8 2010 to April 1 2011

Unemployment continues to improve, now it's at 8.8%. Note that we're holding to the curve below, no sudden change in slope or direction. Most of the new jobs are going to women; the new jobs are split between people 25 to 35 and people over 55. People 16 to 25 and 35 to 55 year old men are out of luck. At the current job growth rate, we'll be back to "normal" in about two to three years. Presuming there are no new recessions in that time period caused by, say, European bank collapses, oil shipment interruptions or price spikes, or large radioactive monsters climbing out of the Pacific and eating Tokyo. I'm not worried: this world has the very best politicians money can buy, and they will keep us safe, warm, and happy. . .

Home ownership rates in the US are declining from a peak of 69% a couple years ago to around 60% and dropping today. Lots of homes are standing empty, hoping, wishing, wanting an owner.

Ford was bigger than GM last month. A couple years ago I would have bet real money that that would never happen. Several plants are temporarily closing due to running out of Japanese parts. Japan will continue to have rolling power blackouts for at least another month, and their priority is getting the couple million people displaced by the tsunami back on their feet, not making sure that US car factories have uninterrupted parts supply.

March auto sales
General Motors up 11.4%
Ford up 19.2%
Chrysler up 31.4%
Nissan up 26.9%
Toyota down 5.7%
Honda up 23%
Subaru up 17%

While housing lost 31% of its value from 2006 to 2009, property taxes went up by 27%, over $100 billion. We may expect that property tax rebellions will be starting soon.

Fukushima is now wildly spewing radioactives into the ocean, with legal limits being exceeded by over 100,000. Plutonium has been found in nearby soil. There has been a loss of containment, aka a meltdown. The area around the reactors has already been evacuated for a 20km radius, but that is no longer enough. This just keeps getting worse.

Malte Spitz, a German politician, recently learned we are continually being tracked whether we volunteer to be or not. Mr. Spitz went to court to find out exactly what his cell phone company, Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile in the US), knew about his whereabouts. The results were astounding. In a six-month period, from Aug 31, 2009, to Feb. 28, 2010, Deutsche Telekom had recorded and saved his longitude and latitude coordinates more than 35,000 times. That's every 7 minutes, 24/7. It traced him from a train on the way to Erlangen at the start through to that last night, when he was home in Berlin. Phone geeks will tell you if you don't want to be tracked, you have to take the battery out of your phone - turning it off isn't enough. Personally, if they ever track me, they're going to wind up feeling sorry for my miserable life: business owner, single dad of 4 teenage boys, no girlfriend. To say I live a boring life is to do a grave disservice to decent, honest boring people the world over.

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