Latest Articles

Housing Bust

Foreclosure: What it looks like

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Foreclosure on a mass scale is really stupid. Some obvious questions: Can’t we figure out some way to transition buyers back to being renters that saves the cost of foreclosure to the banks and the pain to the homeowner? Can’t the cities, state governments and non-profits work with the banks to keep perfectly good furniture […]

Worse Before Better – An Update

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Our financial markets update to clients (September 17, 2008): The usual caveats apply. Everyone’s financial situation differs. Consult your own advisor or do your own research. We have been wrong before. [Formatting problems at the bottom are known issue. Webmaster on the case.] ———————————————————————— Lehman is toast, Merrill’s in a shotgun wedding and AIG is […]

Worse Before Better

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Our financial markets update to clients (September 10, 2008): The usual caveats apply. Everyone’s financial situation differs. Consult your own advisor or do your own research. We have been wrong before. ———————————————————————— Shocking VP picks, Russian invasions and now a government takeover of Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC)… the news just won’t stop […]

Tax rebate plan: Good idea?

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

It looks like Congress will give the green light to mailing out rebate checks to most Americans this summer in an attempt to avoid a pre-election recession. The idea is for everyone to go do their patriotic duty and shop, shop, shop. The more we buy, the more we stuff we need to make. There […]

Housing inventory graph

Friday, December 28th, 2007

The demand for homes is fairly fixed. It is simply the number of households which is based on demographics. In the US, the number of households slowly increases because of immigration and more people getting married and having kids than people dying and not needing a house any more. That is why the statistics about […]

Whither E*TRADE

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

We sent the following note to our clients and those we have put on our “Friends of Alexis and Palmer” email list. If you would like to be added to this list, please send a request to with your name and affiliation. We are getting inquiries about E*TRADE, their financial future, and the safety […]

Citicorp: Risk managers?

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

If I were a Citigroup shareholder or a Citigroup employee (hopefully you know who you are), I would find this an unsettling exchange: (From the Citigroup Business Update Call on November 5, 2007 via Seeking Alpha) Guy Moszkowski – Merrill Lynch …Maybe you can comment for us as a follow up on the dependence or […]


Sunday, October 14th, 2007

I’ve spent the last few days on the couch, felled by some nasty virus my children brought back from their first week of school. The week has not been a total write off . I’ve had plenty of time to plow through the financial statements of companies at ground zero of the current financial crisis. […]

The story of downpayment assistance programs (DAP)

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

Here’s the scheme: You live in random Midwestern industrial city. The housing market is terrible. Finally, you find someone who wants to buy your house but they have no money. Zippo. If they could come up with 5%, they could qualify for a loan and buy the house. Hey – why don’t you agree on […]

Masco: Reckless endangerment

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Disclaimer: We are not single stock pickers, we generally do not use single stocks in our client portfolios and we base virtually all comments on a company’s SEC filings, information on Yahoo! Finance and information available on the company’s website. We are not offering buy or sell recommendations and you should not interpret any article […]

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