Dragon-sized Profits in China - 75% in less than two weeks!
Get first-hand investor intelligence from an experienced
speculator and score profits of 75%, 700%, even 4,000%. You'll
join an exclusive circle of investors who are alerted to
spectacular opportunities within 15 minutes of their discovery.
To find out how you can cash in on three "special situation"
bargains poised for mind-boggling profits: http://www.agora-inc.com/reports/CASE/WorldWideProfit
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
*** Christmas is over...but not the Christmas season...and
probably not the Santa Claus rally that began at the end of
*** I had been expecting Mr. Bear to take a little break
during the holidays. Finally, on Friday, he bade Merry
Christmas to all and gave out his good tidings.
*** Both the Dow and the Nasdaq rose. The former by 148
points; the latter by 176 points. 2035 stocks advanced on
the NYSE; only 891 declined. And more than twice as many hit
new highs as hit new lows.
*** Even Amazon rose on Friday - up 3/8th, but still below
*** The Wall Street Journal presented what is sure to become
the standard interpretation of market's late autumnal
performance. The problem, said the distinguished financial
daily, was a combination of bad news all at once: poor
earnings, the tech bust, the election hang-up, and
Greenspan's rate hikes finally catching up to the market.
*** And yes, there did seem to be a lot of bad news in the
last 8 weeks. But the real cause of the market's weakness is
something else. After years of very loose credit...money is
becoming very expensive. Remember, the real, net cost of
borrowed funds depends on what you can do with the money. If
you just stuck it in growth stocks - in any year of the
1990s - you would have gotten about a 20% return. Subtract
your interest costs, say, about 8%, and the real, net cost
of the money is a plus 12%. In effect, it paid to borrow.
*** This, of course, encouraged people to borrow recklessly,
for which they needed little encouragement in any case. The
result was a huge buildup of debt - a load so heavy that it
has become hard to carry.
*** While most of the tech world bounced on Friday, Lucent
went down. The company announced a 20% decline, year-to-
year, in revenues...and a larger-than-expected loss in the
4th quarter. Lucent's balance sheet shows $20 billion in
*** Xerox has even greater liabilities - $24 billion. Xerox
is now being forced to sell assets to raise money - it has
exhausted its lines of credit. Bloomberg reports that
Chase/JP Morgan is the biggest creditor - with $375 million
on the line.
*** The situation among the automakers is not much
different. The WSJ reports that GM is cutting 15,000 jobs in
North America. GM has 265 billion in liabilities. Ford has
only slightly less - $263 billion. And a Bloomberg report
tells us that "DaimlerChryler May Run Short of Cash."
*** "We have been borrowing an average of $1 million per
hour," says Gordon Smith, President of Pacific Gas &
Electric, "to pay for the power we deliver to Californians.
No company can continue to operate under such conditions."
PG&E is threatening to go bankrupt unless it is allowed to
pass along power costs to consumers.
*** Speaking of consumers, it is any wonder that those at
the bottom of the economic food chain are hurting too?
Thanks to the good graces of the credit industry - notably
credit card and mortgage companies, especially Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac - they too partook of the great feast of
free credit during the `90s. They gorged themselves as
though at Christmas dinner everyday - refinancing their
homes at 125% of their value to keep the cash coming in. But
now it's diet time. The cost of borrowed funds this year has
been nearly 30% - interest plus stock losses. If you had
invested exclusively in Nasdaq stocks, it would have been
closer to 60%.
*** The Consumer Sentiment Index dropped from 107.6 in
November to 98.4 in December. "I'm going to watch my dollars
next year," said a typical consumer quoted by the WSJ, "and
play it month by month to see what's going on."
*** Most likely, he's going to watch his dollar fall. The
euro rose again on Friday, to over 92 cents, and ended the
week up 3%. March futures contracts have the euro at 95
cents. And I will let you in on a little secret - the euro
is headed back above $1. The dollar is doomed.
*** Richard Russell had a good recommendation. Ask your
broker to buy some euro-denominated bonds from Freddie Mac.
Freddie Mac's stock is almost sure to decline in the months
ahead - a victim of declining credit quality. But as a
Government Sponsored Agency, it is unlikely to default on
*** Bonds have run up nicely as investors expect lower
rates. Ten-year T bond yields fell 54 basis points in the
last 3 weeks.
*** The Dow rose 2% in the week before Christmas. The S&P
500 fell 1%. And the Nasdaq dropped 4%. TheStreet's dot.com
index sank 16% for the week. But gold stocks rose 6%. More
on that tomorrow.
RETIRE OVERSEAS Learn about the world's six best places to
Live like royalty on $14 a day. Own an exotic beachfront
getaway for $35,000. Or romantic pied-a-terre for under
$60,000. Enjoy fine restaurant dining for $7 per person.
Employ a maid or gardener for $2 a day. Buy comprehensive
health insurance for $20 per month. Get the details in your
FREE report now. http://www.agora-inc.com/reports/il/daily15
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
We enjoyed a very quiet, and unseasonably warm, Christmas
here in Poitou. The festivities began with a party for the
English speakers in the area. We invited the five or six
families we know - English, South African, Scottish...and,
of course, our own American bunch. Among them was a doctor
and her husband...and a farmer whose wife is named Looney. I
am not making this up - just reporting it to you. Looney is
an avid horsewoman, like my wife, Elizabeth. Eventually,
every serious rider is kicked in the head, trampled, or
thrown from his horse onto his head. So, I assume that the
name is descriptive...or perhaps predictive.
Kurt, meanwhile, does underwater construction work. It is a
difficult career, but he seems to enjoy it. He is leaving
today for 6 weeks in Iraq - where I presume he is working on
oil equipment. Richard manages a local Bed-and-Breakfast,
frequented by English tourists. And Kim is restoring a
chateau in an even more remote little hamlet.
Of course, there is no reason why you should be interested
in our Christmas - especially, since nothing out of the
ordinary happened. But the Daily Reckoning is a free
service, and I feel entitled to bore you from time to time.
Plus, it is the day after Christmas and I am not ready to
address trivial matters.
Not that I haven't been thinking about stocks and the
economy. Not in my waking hours, of course - when I have had
had more important things to think about. But I woke up this
morning with an unsettling thought on my mind: What if the
developing downturn included not merely a bear market and a
recession - but an historic breakdown of the entire world's
Never before has the world economy relied so heavily on a
single currency - the dollar. And never before has a
currency been so heavily freighted with debt. And never
before have the debts been so goulashed up - by
securitization, derivatization and globalization (to coin a
The embers of my nocturnal unease were fanned this morning
by Doug Noland of the Prudentbear.com: "At this point, the
overriding issue comes right down to the solvency of the
entire U.S. financial sector, and the Federal Reserve and
the leveraged speculating community are playing with fire.
Or, stating it differently, they are "betting the ranch" by
perpetuating absolutely reckless financial sector leveraging
and an historic accumulation of foreign liabilities,
especially in the face of mounting credit and economic
problems. To be candid, I see this as nothing less than the
absolute worst-case scenario developing - the unrelenting
self-destruction of our financial system."
Rest assured, I think about these things too. So you will
not have to do so. And tomorrow, I will take them up as
economically as possible - beginning at the end! I will look
at what could be the best way to protect your money and your
But let me leave you in suspense today...and return to my
The purpose of our get-together at the house was to sing
Christmas carols in English. Caroling has been a family
tradition for many years - it is something we miss out here
in the French countryside.
The tradition began in Baltimore more than 15 years ago. We
lived in a formerly Jewish neighborhood, of elegant houses
built in the last century. But the Jews had moved out...all
that is left is the synagogue on Eutaw Street - which is
still in use. By the time we arrived, in the mid-80s...it
looked as though the area might be ready for an urban
renaissance. So we bought a house for $27,000 - and joined a
small group of white homesteaders in a predominately black
It was an uphill battle, and ultimately, a complete defeat
for the forces of gentrification. But it had its comic
moments. Among them was our futile attempt to bring American
bourgeois culture to the ghetto. One effort was the annual
caroling - in which a little band of earnest homeowners
would parade up and down the inner city sidewalks singing
The spectacle was almost as foreign and absurd to the local
drug dealers and welfare addicts as though aliens had landed
in front of the corner liquor store. But at least one woman
tried to make sense of it:
"What's this?" she asked the carolers, rolling one white
tradition in with another, "Chantikah?"
After giving up on the city, we moved out to the country,
near Annapolis. There, our caroling took on a new dimension.
Along with other members of the church group, we would drive
around to `shut-ins.' It was fun for the carolers, but the
shut-ins were - in some cases - so tightly shut-in, and deaf
to boot, that they didn't hear a note or a word...and
actually slept right through the whole show while we
shivered in their front yards.
But here we were on this Christmas Eve, drawn up around the
fire...a small outpost of Anglo-Saxon Christendom in remote
Elizabeth had made fruitcake, cookies and homemade eggnogg -
to which we added rum or whiskey depending upon our tastes.
The eggnog was so frothy that by the time we began singing,
we all had traces of white mustaches. Now, it turned out
that while we all knew the same carols, the English had
different melodies. That is the way with the English...they
can never quite get in tune with the rest of the English-
speaking world. But it didn't seem to matter anyway. After a
few rounds of eggnog, we were surprised at how good we
The party ended in the early evening. But there was more
singing ahead. Elizabeth, Maria and I rushed over to the
church - where we had been welcomed onto the choir in the
spirit with which a fat girl might be invited to enter a
beauty pageant...it is always nice to have someone around to
whom you can feel superior.
The little church at Bourg Archambault was packed on
Christmas eve. We were late getting there, but fortunately
Pierre has saved a seat for me and had begun to worry that I
wouldn't show up. We are the only two basso profundo voices
in the choir. We don't sing very well, but when we feel sure
of ourselves we really belt it out and chuckle to ourselves
after the fact. But we drown out the rest of the choir on
these occasions...and Pierre's two daughters - Anne Sophie
and Elisabeth - turn around and frown at us. My own
daughter, meanwhile, took a seat on the other side of the
church. At 14, she fears embarrassment more than death. And
I'm afraid I give her plenty of cause for mortification.
But Anne Sophie and Elisabeth are both in their early 20s -
and beautifully turned out. Pierre seems to find it a
pleasure to catch their eyes, as I do - even if it is to
draw a look of disapproval.
Then, after church - at about 11 PM - we returned home and
gathered around the fire again, partly for intimacy...but
largely just for heat. The fireplace is the only source of
heat out in that wing of the of the house. The children were
soon sent off to bed so that Mr. And Mrs. Santa could fill
the stockings hung by the chimney with care...and finish
wrapping a few presents. Actually, Mrs. Santa did the
work...while Mr. Santa helped himself to what remained of
the eggnog and put on a CD of holiday music.
And so, our Christmas eve came to a close much as it
began...with carols. I dozed in my chair in front of the
fire...perhaps dreaming of the Depression of 2001...as Tammy
Wynnette sang `Silent Night'.
In the holiday spirit,
The Daily Reckoning:
The Daily Reckoning... "more sense in one e-mail than a month of CNBC."
That's what readers are saying about The Daily
Bill Bonner, recognized internationally as a brilliant writer, entrepreneur
and publisher of The Fleet Street Letter, offers you his daily market
commentary absolutely FREE. For the first time, outsiders are getting a peek into his powerful and profitable investment insights. Bill's practical
contrarian advice empowers even average investors to protect their hard-earned wealth and achieve amazing gains.
Bonner writes his email letter from Paris, France, each morning --
describing the wacky, wonderful world of investment, politics and everything remotely related. Irreverent. Sharp. Honest. Thoroughly, unabashedly
contrarian. It's also among the fastest growing e-letter on the Internet.
It's a brand new service... but it has a distinguished history..
For nearly 62 year, The Fleet Street Letter, the oldest investment
advisory letter in the English language has consistently delivered
invaluable economic and political foresights to savvy investors. Current readers regularly enjoy impressive investment gains even as the market
falters. Here's more from his online readers...
"My small portfolio has followed true to my wife's description of my
investment philosophy, "buy high and sell low." However, that has changed since I started religiously reading DR... I credit this reversal of fortune
directly to The Daily Reckoning" (Timothy)
" Your Daily Reckoning is the best in business commentary... mixing
serious warnings and the state of the market with gentle humor" (Makram)
"It is actually better than some of the newsletters that I pay to
"Your statements and philosophy have kept me from storming into the market and in fact [I'm]
making some money in put options" (Frank)
Open your mind with the most stimulating e-mail newsletter that you'll ever read, The Daily Reckoning. To receive this free daily email newsletter
Copyright � 1998-2002 Tulips and Bears LLC.
All Rights Reserved. Republication of this material,
including posting to message boards or news groups,
without the prior written consent of Tulips and Bears LLC
is strictly prohibited. 'Tulips and Bears' is a registered trademark of
Tulips and Bears LLC
Last modified: April 01, 2001
Published By Tulips and Bears