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On Root Cause

My engineering background is no doubt responsible for the discomfort that is experienced when listening to others talk about root cause (i.e., in the peer reviewed world of hard sciences, you can’t just say you’ve found the root cause) and the latest example of this comes from the White House via this Friday Funny at reason.com.

Other examples in the world of economics and finance involve “the lack of aggregate demand” being the proximate cause of our recent malaise and you can take your pick of many root causes (which are highly dependent upon your world view and who signs your paycheck) for the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression that, almost uniformly, reject the view that, as so eloquently noted by Pavlina Tcherneva in this item at New Economic Perspectives, “We live in a casino economy driven by serial asset bubbles”.

Big Data Missing Big

Via this story at CBS MoneyWatch come the latest readings for the Citigroup surprise index showing how things may not be so hunky-dory in the U.S. economy.

Granted, prior episodes of this index moving sharply higher or lower have failed to provide any meaningful information about where both the U.S. economy and stock market were headed – and, lately, economic difficulties overseas and the plunge in energy prices have complicated things a bit – but sometimes it works…

Cramer Says “Sell” (No, Not Really)

Haven’t watched or heard CNBC’s Jim Cramer in some time, but, just the first few seconds of this clip from yesterday, after what can only be described as a monster rally sandwiched between two monster sell offs (the latter coming today, apparently) just seems so dated.

What does he have to say? CNCB puts it thusly:

Mad Money host Jim Cramer preps investors for the next blitz down.

I could only take it for about two minutes – he seemed pretty sincere.

For those looking for something more highbrow, see The Bear Case for Stocks at Barron’s

Error! Error! Error!

My apologies in advance if this takes too long to load or is overly annoying (if so for the latter, just check back on Friday morning and the next links post will displace this post from the top spot), but I felt compelled to share the animated .gif that Bloomberg is using to alert readers that it can’t find the requested file during what can only be described as an “exciting” (if ultimately unsuccessful, so far) makeover of its website.

Money managers trailing U.S. index fund returns by double digits over the last few years no doubt share some of the sentiments expressed by the gentleman above when looking at their Bloomberg terminal … and that’s what kind of makes the graphic fun.

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