Sunday Fun: The Credit Song

November 16, 2008

A song of overuse, lack of control and greed.

Oh, and I’ll be right back, need to go to the mall for something…

TDI Podcast 78: Barry’s Big Picture

October 12, 2008

Guest: Barry Ritholtz, CEO of FusionIQ and founder of the popular blog, The Big Picture. We discuss Cramer’s Monday sell-everything call along with market sentiment and the reasons it may be a good time to start thinking about the long side. Barry has held a bearish sentiment for some time and it looks as though he may be slowly coming out of his hibernation.


A frequent commentator on CNBC, Barry Ritholtz is a weekly guest on Kudlow & Company. He has guest-hosted Squawk Box on numerous occasions, and also appears regularly on Bloomberg, Fox, and PBS. Mr. Ritholtz was profiled in the Wall Street Journal’s Quite Contrary column (August 3, 2004; Page C3). His market perspectives are quoted regularly in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Forbes, Fortunes, and other print media. He is deeply honored to be the dedicatee of The 2007 Stock Trader’s Almanac’s 40th Anniversary edition.

Mr. Ritholtz performed his graduate studies at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York, where he focused on Economics, Anti-Trust and Corporate Law. He was a member of the Law Review, and graduated Cum Laude. His undergraduate work was at Stony Brook University, where on a Regents Scholarship, he focused on Mathematics and Physics, graduating with an Associates degree in Political Science.

Key topics discussed in this episode:

  • Watch a Demo/Tour of Fusion IQ HERE
  • Andrew will be speaking at The Money Show in Washington D.C. – November 7-8. If you want to meet for with a group of TDI listener/readers contact us – Click Here
  • We are looking for volunteers to help out with the BESPy Awards Show. If you have talent in the area of audio editing/production and want to help produce the show, please contact us.
  • Charts that look oversold – See the S&P 500 sectors and industry groups
  • Credit default swaps are continuing to be a thorn in the side of the markets
  • Barry’s recent update on the markets and why he is entering a few long positions
  • Watch for Barry’s book – Bailout Nation and for Andrew’s guest writing on The Big Picture
  • Capitulation? 3 positions we are addingClick Here

Stocks mentioned in the episode: Apple (AAPL), Mosaic (MOS), Potash (POT), Ultra S&P 500 (SSO), Proshares Ultra Oil & Gas (DIG), Proshares Ultra Real Estate (URE), Research in Motion (RIMM),
PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund (DAB), Lehman Brothers (LEMQ), JP Morgan (JPM), Goldman Sachs (GS)


Interested in The Disciplined Investor Managed Growth Strategy?
Check out the virtual online tour HERE


TDI Podcast 73: Tesla #16 – Fast Cars and Faster Markets

September 6, 2008

Guest: Jason McCabe Calacanis and Andrew discuss fast cars and faster markets. Technology to Tesla and back. We also have a hearty conversation about what is on the horizon for tech and how to benefit. Andrew also digs into the current situation with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and gives an update of the TDI Managed Growth Strategy (great week!). A few money making ideas are pack into this fun episode.


Jason Calacanis - Mahalo

Jason McCabe Calacanis is the founder and CEO of, a human-powered search engine. Prior to’s launch in May, 2007, he was an “Entrepreneur in Action” at Sequoia Capital, a position he held since December 2006.

Jason co-founded and was the CEO of Weblogs, Inc., a network of popular weblogs that was sold to AOL in November 2005. Upon joining AOL, he was appointed senior vice president. In addition, he was named general manager of AOL’s Netscape.Mahalo Horowitz

Prior to forming Weblogs Inc., Jason was the founder of Rising Tide Studios, which sold its flagship publication to Dow Jones.

By the way…Jason is waiting for his brand new Tesla. His is car #16 and is 100% electric and does 0-60 in 3.9 seconds. Check out the Tesla for yourself HERE.

Stock Discussed in this episode: MasterCard (MA), ExxonMobile (XOM), Proshares Ultrashort Oil (DUG), Capital One (COF), Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Valero (VLO), Yahoo! (YHOO), Fannie Mae (FNM), Freddie Mac (FRE), Proshares Ultrashort Financial (SKF)


Lynching Merrill – Suicide or Murder ?

August 4, 2008

It is really bad isn’t it? Even as we are being told that all is okay on Wall Street, the banks and brokers are so full of disease it can easily be compared to necrotizing fasciitis. You know, that awful flesh eating disease.

The latest shenanigans by Merrill Lynch (MER) is almost too much to Bear (pun intended) and now we are going to surely continue with a crisis of confidence as it seems impossible for this group to allow the truth to come out when they speak. Now Merrill is in a jam and they are trying everything to make it seem that all is just fine.

Bill Fleckstein had a few observations on this that just cannot be ignored:

So the question is: What changed in the past couple of weeks to cause a CDO — a package of loans known as a collateralized debt obligation — valued at 36 cents on the dollar to be “sold” last week at 22 cents? What did Thain know about this at the last conference call, and why was it not made clear to folks? (For more on the sale, click here.)

Of course, this is more a consignment sale than a true sale. Merrill is providing 75% financing on a non-recourse basis. That means it’s really receiving about 5 cents on the dollar. It may get the other 17 cents later, or it may get the securities back. In essence, Merrill wrote a put option “down 5 cents on the dollar” and gets a call option to get the other 17 cents.

Essentially, Merrill is putting up the funds to sell of the assets. Does that mean that the super-senior-debt they put up was sold for almost nothing? Why the payoff? What did Lone Star, Temasek or others have on them or even better, why did they unload the debt and lose the potential upside? Are they out of options?

The ugly factor is at an all time high. If Merrill goes down, it will not be because they were murdered, it will be because they kicked the chair out and hung themselves.

Jim Jubak’s feathers are in a ruffle over this and is mad as heck at the way CEO Thain has treated shareholders. The 38% dilution after this deal is appalling and shareholders should really take notice.

The games that are being played are the absolute worst thievery I have ever encountered. How do we invest in an environment in which the rules are continually changing – and we are not getting any of the updates. Something stinks on Wall Street. Perhaps it is the rotting corpses of the brokers that are still walking around like zombies, not knowing that they are already dead.

Jim Jubak on The Disciplined Investor Podcast is HERE.

Disclosure: Horowitz & Company clients do not hold positions (of this crap) as of the time of this writing.

Bill Gates and AN – The Most Charitable Man Alive

July 24, 2008

It is official! Bill Gates has to be the most charitable man alive. Now, he is providing a chunk of his assets to help out ailing Autonation (AN). Sure he takes a nice piece of the company and if you look at the history of this once darling/roll-up king, you will realize that this may be actually approaching a bottom.

Whether it is a brilliant move or a plan for a tax write-off is still not know, but it does appear that Autonation’s CEO Michael Jackson seems to have a plan for cost cutting and working within this difficult environment. Do we follow Gates into this without any thought? Do we then follow Lampert as he has been continuing to add to his holdings (40% now)? Maybe not.

How about a contarian play? Maybe… Whatever you think about the fate of the auto industry, this happens to be a well run company that is caught within a very bad situation. It is at a relative low and as oil prices seem to be turning and companies are waking up to the fact that they need to change their ways. This could give Autonation a boost. The biggest concern is still the consumer and their ability to buy or borrow to buy a new car.


Bill Gates Tunes Up With AutoNation Buys –

The stock has been driven down by the weak economy and consumer pullback, but Bill Gates has used the softness to raise his stake in the auto retailer to 5.5%.

On Monday, Gates’ personal investment vehicle, Cascade Investments, reported owning 5.3 million shares, or a 2.9% stake in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based AutoNation. Also, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation reported owning 4.6 million shares, or a 2.6% stake in the company.

At the end of the first quarter, Cascade had no position in AutoNation and the foundation reported owning 800,000 shares.

Both filed as passive shareholders and indicated July 17 as the date the ownership threshold was met to trigger the filing.

The investments combined give Gates, the world’s third-richest man according to Forbes, control of 9.9 million shares, a 5.5% stake. Gates is now the company’s third-largest shareholder. Edward Lampert’s ESL Investments is AutoNation’s largest shareholder, with a 40.4% stake. Lampert has been actively buying AutoNation shares since October.

Next Page »