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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Weekly Newsletter -- Obama Burned at the Pedestal

The Well-Timed Strategy


Economic & Stock Market Analysis for the Discerning Investor & Executive



Read it and Reap!


Week Ending  August 1, 2008                         Volume10, Number 12    

This Week: Obama Burned at the Pedestal


The Markets


All three major U.S. indices remain in a technical sell position.  The fundamentals dictating this include an inflation constraint on the Fed, slow growth (if not a technical recession), and a deteriorating global economy – both in Europe and Asia.  Having your portfolio in a significant cash position has (and will likely continue to be) the best way to preserve capital.  The only silver cloud is the bursting of the oil and commodities bubble.   That can help down the road.


As for the financial sector, I outlined my strategy to find the bottom.  Buy small shares of Wachovia and/or Fifth Third and build to a full position by doubling down as price falls or adding as price gains.  I’d like to also offer this idea: I’ve begun to build a position in Washington Mutual amidst the talk of bankruptcy.  Downside risk is minimal in dollar terms on a four-buck stock, and I view this venture more as an option strategy than a stock strategy.


The other strategy I have showcased and adopted in my own portfolio is to focus on business-cycle insensitive biotechs.  I’m doing well with SNTA and HALO.   MODG is an interesting stock.  I’m under water with NGSX but think it is undervalued.


Presidential Politics


Ran across the July 2nd edition of Time that featured an article about Obama as a poker player and McCain as a craps shooter.  This caught my eye because in my If It Rains In Brazil investment book, I make a big deal about the difference between intelligent speculation and stupid gambling. 


The intelligent speculator works the odds and only bets when the odds are in his favor.  That’s what poker is all about.  The undisciplined gambler plays games of chance in which the odds are clearly in favor of the house – games like roulette, slots, and, yes, craps.


The only way to justify playing craps is to assign some positive value to the thrill of winning and losing large enough to offset the inevitable long term losses.  Otherwise, playing craps is just plain stupid.


As for who you want in the White House, you would generally prefer a poker player to a craps shooter – but then again, the last real poker player in the Oval office was Nixon.


On another note, it’s damn fascinating to see Barack being burned at the pedestal.   While his adoring fans adore him, it seems to piss a lot of other people off.   In this vein, and as for his recent trip, Obama should have left it at Iraq and Afghanistan and skipped Europe.  The specter of all of France gushing over the “black Kennedy” only feeds into his elitist baggage.   This is all why the polls get closer and closer the more seemingly “positive” press Obama gets.


This is all very familiar to me.  It’s not unlike what happened to me when I ran for office in San Diego years ago – and I wrote a clear warning about this months ago. 


At this point, I think McCain wins, but there’s a lot of slips to be made yet between the cup and the lip.


Quick Takes


  1. Wal-Mart has agreed to unions in China but remains Pinkertonesque in its non-union strong-arming here in the U.S.   Go figure.
  2. And speaking of China, it’s been cutting visas for businessmen to control the flow of visitors to China during the Olympics.  The odds of some really ugly public demonstration dustups continue to increase.
  3. A buddy of mine went to China this month and had his room rifled and a copy of my China Wars book stolen.  Plus, he couldn’t access my website from China, even at places like foreign hotels where access is easy.  Tongue in cheek, he informed me that the only things he couldn’t access were porn, the Falun Gong, and peternavarro.com
  4. The Barron’s cover story on prostate cancer neglected to mention a treatment for prostate cancer that is safer and cheaper than robot snipping.  Endocare (ENDO) uses a method to freeze the prostate that is far less invasive.  The company is undervalued because of some shenanigans by a past CEO.




Please see my latest You Tube report. 


Readers Write (unedited and uncut)


First, thank you for taking the time to read this email.  After reading  your book "The Coming China Wars" I was very discouraged.  I graduated with a degree in Asian Studies and spent two years living in China.  I thoroughly enjoyed living in China and have yet to found an experience to compare it to. 

I hold no animosity towards the Chinese people whatsoever.  Teaching those students brought me pleasure that I have yet to find working back in the States.  However after reading your book I want to become active in making Americans aware of the situations you discuss in your book.
With your permission, I would like quote certain statistics and information from your book.  I plan on handing this information out at a local Wal Mart. 

If you find this to be a bad idea or if you do not want your name or publishing associated with this project, please let me know.  If you have any suggestions I am also very much open to them. 

Once again, thank you for your time.


Jim K


You belong to the Western imperialism NEVER forget to colonize and enslaved the Chinese.  Nonthing new at all have you ever ask yourself why should we Chinese Race to forget and welcome the Westerners bully and supressed forever ???

Oversea Chinese
(Definitely no a Communist)


Please forward this newsletter to a friend!

7:05 pm edt 

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

China stirs over offshore oil pact

By Peter Navarro

In yet another skirmish over oil rights in the South China Sea, China has fired a stern warning shot across the bow of ExxonMobil Corporation. China is miffed that Exxon is seeking to enter into a deal with PetroVietnam to explore for oil in waters surrounding the disputed Spratly and Paracel island chains.

China has warned Exxon to pull out of the exploration deal, describing the project as a breach of Chinese sovereignty, according to the South China Morning Post at the weekend, citing unnamed sources close to the US company.

Chinese diplomats in Washington had made verbal protests to ExxonMobil executives in recent months, and warned them the company’s future business interests on the mainland could be at risk, the report said. The protests involved a preliminary cooperation agreement, it said, without indicating when it was signed.

There is much at stake in this latest dispute, and much to be learned about China's growing blue water navy strategy. According to the US Energy Information Agency, the South China Sea has proven oil reserves of around 7 billion barrels while the US Geological Survey has estimated there may be another 20 billion barrels to be discovered. For its part, China optimistically claims the undiscovered reserves could top 200 billion barrels. This latter amount would be enough to provide China with one to two million barrels of oil a day, or as much as 25% of its current daily consumption of close to 8 million barrels.

Much of the undiscovered reserves are believed to be beneath the disputed Paracel and Spratly island chains. The Paracels are roughly equidistant from China, Vietnam and the Philippines; and both China and Vietnam as well as Taiwan lay claim to the islands. However, to Hanoi's outrage, it is China that actually commands the Paracel turf.

CLICK on link for full article  http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/JG23Cb01.html

3:09 pm edt 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weekly Newsletter -- Week Ending July 25, 2008

The Well-Timed Strategy


Economic & Stock Market Analysis for the Discerning Investor & Executive



Read it and Reap!


Week Ending  July 25, 2008                             Volume10, Number 11    

This Week: Will The Latest Rally Take Root?


The Markets


Two weeks ago, I wrote in this column: “If you are a short seller, the oil market will undergo a cyclical downturn soon. “  Well, last week, we got that downturn, and it helped provide the U.S. markets with a nice rally.  The question, of course, is whether this rally is just another dead cat bounce or one that is likely to have legs.


To answer that question, it is useful to review our history.  For much of the year, I offered up three scenarios.   One scenario described a world in which a U.S. recession dragged down the global economy (U.S. as locomotive).  The second “decoupling” scenario had Asia and Latin America prospering and Europe ok as the U.S. fell into decline.  The “stagflation” scenario is self-evident.


Eventually stagflation has won as decoupling has gone by the boards.   The question is whether the stagflation will morph into a more benign global recession amenable to monetary and fiscal policies or whether it will be persistent.  If the stagflation proves to be persistent, last week’s rally will be short-lived.


On the other hand, if the downshift in the global economy now taking place does moderate both food and fuel prices along with wage demands, that will set the world up for the standard, classic recovery.  In such a world, financial markets will anticipate a Keynesian-type recovery driven by policy and off we will go again.


It is this, then, that macrotraders need to keep an eye on over the next six months.  As this fundamental story unfolds, trading should be dominated by more technical considerations.  At this point, all three major U.S. indices are technically shorts, not long.  Thus, jumping back into the market on last week’s action would be an attempt to hit a bottom.  So if you are so inclined, you may consider waiting another week to see how the technicals further develop.


In the meantime, if you must trade, consider my “dollar cost averaging” strategy for the financial sector.  Several weeks ago, I suggested that buying small bites of Wachovia or Fifth Third and then adding to the position as it went down dollar cost averaging could be a relatively painless way to find the financial sector bottom.  I like this strategy and would add Washington Mutual to the mix and be a little careful with Wachovia, as Fifth Third is behaving much better.


Bon chance!

Presidential Politics


Here’s a question for you: What is the only presidential election since the Great Depression that was determined by the choice of a Vice President?  What were the two particular qualities of the presidential candidate that needed shoring up by the Vice President’s qualities?


Oh, think a little bit longer than that about answering the question.  I raise it because this particular election will likewise be heavily influenced by the VP choice, at least on the Democratic side.


That election in question was JFK in 1960.  Like Obama, JFK was young and relatively inexperienced (although far more experienced than Obama).  LBJ provided the necessary gravitas and also carried Texas and JFK eked out a very narrow victory over Tricky Dick.


So who should Obama choose?  Obama’s “short list” continues to shrink in a way unlikely to cast a positive light on Obama.  The problem here is that really qualified people keep bailing from the ticket.   It started with John Edwards.  Jim Webb, Mark Warner, and Ted Strickland joined the list and now Gore has likewise demurred.


Possibilities left include Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, former Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia, and Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed – a West Pointer.  In addition, there are Governors Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas and Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia – both in Red States that could come into play with their choice.


Two other possibilities include Joe Biden and Chris Dodd – but neither distinguished themselves running for President and Biden, who would likely be a very good VP, has too loose a tongue on the campaign trail for Obama to trust.


Finally, Hillary waits in the wings.


My lottery pick at this point would be Evan Bayh.  I appeared at a U.S. China Committee hearing that he showed up at and after listening to him, I was so sure he was a Republican that I accidentally identified him as such on a CNBC segment.  I mention this because the guy is absolutely polished and would be an interesting attack piece right in McCain’s Independent sweet spot.


As for Hillary, I continue to believe she would be the best choice because of the dream ticket dynamics and his superior stature relative to all of the other possible candidates but in saying so, I’m just inviting some more hate mail.  (Bring it on.)


Quick Takes


  1. California is going to solve its budget woes by raising sales taxes.  Stupid is as stupid does.
  2. And speaking of hate mail, I got blistered for claiming that Stella was a better beer than Bud by some guy whose argument was not that Bud was better but that Pabst was better than Stella.  Go figure….




Please see my latest You Tube report. 


Readers Write


“Thank you for your work and energy.  Very few people understand that China has (relatively) quietly taken over Africa, and is on the way to establishing a major foothold in South America, for the reasons you lay out in your most recent Asia Times piece.  I only wish the last two presidential administrations had been more wise and forward-looking, instead of focused inordinately upon Middle Eastern resource acquisition.  I am not a China-phobe, but I admire how they operate similarly to how we used to operate when we were cash-rich.”


Steve S.

And this from Fan X. from Beijing:


You said you are not hostile to China and you only see "problems", really? Your blind hostility toward China is clearly displayed in your book which I have no interest whatsoever to read, and again vividly in the piece titled "China's veto just part of business" which is published on today's Atimes. It is a load of bullshit, excuse my American, Mr. Navarro!
Amoral foreign policy? Funny that you are accusing China of having such, after all you are an American, a citizen of the country that is mostly known for its amoral foreign policy which saw the US supporting dictatorships across the globe throughout the years SIMPLY because doing so advances American interests. Seriously, when it comes to using foreign policy as a vehicle to further interests, the US is truly the master, the guru, whatever you call it. No other country even comes close. So before you point fingers at China take a good look at yourself and your own country in the mirror first! The US is the most hypocritical country in the world, often pursuing its interests in the name of "freedom", "democracy". BS.


Please forward this newsletter to a friend!

10:48 am edt 

Monday, July 14, 2008

China's veto just part of business

This article appears in the July 15 edition of Asia Times Online.  Click here for the full story or paste http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/JG15Cb01.html

 By Peter Navarro

China last week once again demonstrated its willingness to opportunistically trade diplomatic favors for access to African riches. Joining with Russia, the People's Republic vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have imposed tough sanctions on Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and other members of his illegitimate regime for rigging the country's presidential election.

China has in the past "sold" its UN veto power to protect Sudan from sanctions over the killing of people in Darfur in exchange for access to Sudanese oil. China is now Sudan's biggest customer. Beijing has also provided Iran with diplomatic cover at the UN for the Middle East country's nuclear development program in exchange for access to its huge natural gas reserves.

In Zimbabwe, it's not petroleum that China covets. Rather, the African nation is the world's second-largest exporter of platinum, a key input for China's auto industry. China is also the world's largest steel producer, and Zimbabwe controls more than half of the world's known chromium reserves, used in making stainless steel.

On the agricultural front, China has long coveted Zimbabwe's rich tobacco fields. As the world's largest cigarette producer, China produces roughly 2 trillion sticks a year (which annually kill about a million Chinese). Over the past decade, by providing Mugabe with diplomatic cover at the UN and by lending his regime huge sums, China has been able to gain control of much of Zimbabwe's valuable tobacco output.

China's Zimbabwe gambit is symptomatic of a broader brand of Chinese imperialism that would have Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong turning in their graves. 

Click here for the full story

3:44 pm edt 

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Weekly Newsletter -- Week Ending July 18, 2008

Announcement: The Coming China Wars has been selected as a 2008 entry tino the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year.

This Week: Barron’s Goes Bullish, Part Deux


The Markets


Barron’s continues to dig itself deeper into a bullish hole.  Several weeks ago, Barron’s went bullish on the broad markets making the argument that a slowing U.S. economy eliminates the need for interest rate hikes by the Fed while a slowing global economy bursts the oil market’s bubble and brings a barrel back down to a c-note.  Anybody who went long into that market on that advice is now underwater.


This week’s Barron’s cover story has effectively called a bottom in housing prices.  The primary catalyst for this call is government intervention into the market – both a Congressional bailout of homeowners and a government takeover of Fannie and Freddie that will allegedly deliver lower mortgage rates.  Well, I might not take the other side of that trades.  But I’m certainly not going to bet the farm on housing stocks.


More likely than the Barron’s scenario, the housing market has at least another two legs down.   (1) In the housing market, there is another wave of foreclosures coming as adjustables reset.  (2) In addition, there a very pernicious effect now hitting the Sunbelt sprawl areas that no one anticipated.  Higher gas prices that make more expensive commutes are being discounted in home prices.   The worst part here is that a lot of homeowners who fled to the hinterlands and endure two to three hour commutes went because they couldn’t afford something closer in.  Every buck increase in their gasoline bill is a buck not available for their mortgage. 


As for my last take on Barron’s, there is much to learn from perusing Barron’s Report Card this week on page 19.   In particular, in both of my investment books (If It Rains in Brazil… and When the Market Moves…), I warn about going long in a downward trending market.  Well, of the roughly 60 stocks that Barron’s wrote bullish stories about, more than two-thirds went down. 


Now here’s the really funny part.  The report card story is pitched in such a way that Barron’s actually did “beat the bear” .  The argument: Barron’s picks “only” lost 4.2% while the benchmark lost 4.5%.  Forgive me, but as a big fan of Barron’s, this kind of stuff is just plain crap.


The fact is: Most of the best traders in the world right now do not live and think within the Wall Street equivalent of the Barron’s beltway.  Good traders pay a lot more attention to the market and sector trends and don’t compete against the benchmark.  They simply try to make money.


Nuff said.  My cash call continues to hold.  My major longs continue to be in biotech.   Buys include HALO, MODG, NGSX, SNTA, and VVUS.


Presidential Politics


John McCain may be watching too many reruns of the Ali-Foreman fight in which Ali whupped Foreman via the “rope a dope” strategy.     This last week, McCain found himself on the ropes getting hammered over everything from social security and the economy to medical reimbursements for Viagra but not contraception. 


 If there is a silver lining to this for any McCainites out there, it is that one of McCain’s top advisors, Phil Gramm, got the boot for saying the recession was in America’s head and that we are a nation of whiners.  Gramm, as the econ cognoscenti know, is an unabashed supply sider who never saw a tax cut he didn’t like.   Good medicine sometimes, but this guy is from the wrong century to deal with the complexities of today’s global economy.  Ditto for McCain’s other dinosaur – Jack Kemp.  Neither of these guys were ever the brightest bulbs, and McCain can do a lot better.


As for Barack Obama, his manna from heaven last week came from Jesse Jackson.  You’d almost think the whole damn thing was staged because even Jackson must realize his loud vocal support of Obama would lose a lot more whites and jews than it would gain black voters (remember “Hymie town?)


Interestingly, the latest Newsweek poll shows the race in a virtual dead heat.  This is consistent with my call in this newsletter that the race will be very close and that the VP choice will be critical.   Latent racism will take its toll for Obama as will his obvious inexperience.


Quick Takes


  1. China and Russia used their UN vetos to prevent any UN action by the Security Council.  An abomination to say the least.
  2. Three cheers for InBev and its takeover of the Budweiser empire.  What we have is a merger of the best beer in the world (Stella) and one of the most mediocre.  Perhaps some of Stella will rub off.




Please see my latest You Tube report. 


Readers Write


you have a knack of reducing the most technical and difficult economic situations to an easy to comprehend and understandable answer. keep it up, for all us. do you still like cyd? thank you,

willard s.”

PN replies: Williard, I took my profits in CYD on basis that China market is down and diesel prices are up.


“To my knowledge you were the first and only one to accurately call the “stagflation” scenario for our current economic state.  What I would like to know now is how long you believe the situation will last (i.e. your best guess) and what signs will indicate to us when a turn for the better has begun?”


Best wishes,

Perry D.


PN replies: Great question Perry.  Just keep watching the newsletter…



11:23 am edt 

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

China's Pollution Olympics

Special to Asia Times Online

By Peter Navarro

Sometimes it's the little stories that tell us the most. Consider the news of a keel-crippling algal bloom covering a third of the Olympic sailing course in Qingdao, China. While a small army of workers, a large armada of boats, and a full battalion of dump trucks and bulldozers are desperately trying to clear up this embarrassing counterpoint to China's claim of a "green games", international competitors desperate for practice are forced to stew in dry dock.

In fact, this kind of event is far from atypical in the world's most polluted nation. Today, fully 70% of China's seven major rivers are severely polluted, 80% of its rivers fail to meet standards for fishing, and 90% of the country's cities suffer from some degree of water pollution. As a result, over 700 million Chinese drink fetid water of a quality well below World Health Organization standards. Meanwhile, liver and stomach cancers related to water pollution are among the leading causes of death in the countryside, while 21 cities along the Yellow River are characterized by the highest measurable levels of pollution.

CLICK HERE for full story or paste http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/JG10Cb01.html

1:12 pm edt 

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Weekly Newsletter -- Week Ending July 11

The Well-Timed Strategy


Economic & Stock Market Analysis for the Discerning Investor & Executive



Read it and Reap!


Week Ending  July 11, 2008                             Volume10, Number 9       

This Week: The Domino Noose Effect


The Markets


Well, let’s chalk June up as the worst June for the Dow and S&P 500 since the Great Depression.  While many analysts and pundits remain focused on this sorry situation, I remain painfully enthralled by the slow motion train wreck taking place in the global economy.


In Asia, New Zealand has emerged as the canary in the coal mine.  It was one of the first to hike interest rates to fight inflation, it has grappled with a soaring value for its currency that has killed exports, and now it’s contractionary monetary policy has put it on the verge of negative growth and an official declaration of recession.  Surely, Vietnam won’t be far behind as inflation as run rampant (over 25%) and the country is desperately raising interest rates to bring some semblance of order to chaos.


As for other countries hiking interest rates, it’s a long and growing list – that doesn’t yet include the U.S.  Countries hiking rates to fight inflation range from Australia, China, Indonesia, and the Philippines to Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden to Nigeria and South Africa and Hungary, Latvia, and Russia. What’s coming clearly is a wave of contractionary monetary policy effects that will act as part domino effect and part noose on the global economy.


In Europe, the situation is both tenuous and schizoid.  While Germany continues to worry about inflation, Ireland, Great Britain, and Spain are being dragged down by a burst housing bubble while Denmark officially has joined the recessionary ranks.


Of course, if you are a short seller, you are as happy as a shark in a baby seal preserve.   If, however, you are like most investors – only a buyer with perhaps most of your retirement nest egg stuck in underwater stocks – this is not a fun time.


My advice has been to be in cash and that advice continues to hold.  The only stocks I’m buying these days are biotechs which are driven not by the business cycle but by drug trial results.  I’m also beginning to nibble around the edges of the financial sector in the (perhaps illusionary) hope of hitting the bottom of that pitiful sector.  (Wachovia and Fifth Third are two targets.)


Last take: If you are a short seller, the oil market will undergo a cyclical downturn soon.  With the global economy getting ready to tank, this downturn is as inevitable as death, taxes, and mudslinging in presidential campaigns.








Presidential Politics


The abiding fact of this upcoming election will be the perverse closeness of it in a year when the sitting Republican president is saddled with the worst public opinion in modern times.  The nature of the electoral beast is the closeness of the race is likely to persist and McCain will remain within striking distance right up until November – unless he makes a really bad VP choice. 


Funny isn’t it: McCain is the ONLY guy the Republicans could have put up this year that stands a chance precisely because of the independent streak he has demonstrated.  Plus, Obama’s “out of Iraq in 16 months” position is fundamentally at odds with a majority of the American people – most of whom regret that we are in Iraq but understand that a unilateral retreat would turn the region over to an increasingly bellicose Iran.


RCP Average

06/16 - 07/02




Obama +5.7

Gallup Tracking

06/30 - 07/02

2641 RV



Obama +4.0

Rasmussen Tracking

06/30 - 07/02

3000 LV



Obama +5.0


06/26 - 06/29

906 RV



Obama +5.0

Democracy Corps (D)

06/22 - 06/25

2000 LV



Obama +4.0


06/19 - 06/25

805 RV



Obama +4.0

LA Times/Bloomberg

06/19 - 06/23

1115 RV



Obama +12.0

Franklin & Marshall

06/16 - 06/22

1501 RV



Obama +6.0

Source: Real Clear Politics




Quick Takes


  1. “Staycations” are clearly in now with gas heading towards five buckeroos.
  2. China’s “pollution Olympics” gained more ground this week as a massive algal bloom has effectively closed the Olympic sailing course at Qingdao.





Please see my latest You Tube report. 


Please forward this newsletter to a friend!

11:09 am edt 

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Health support for China investors

By Peter Navarro

Investment guru Jim Rogers recently issued a "buy" call on the beleaguered Chinese market, where the mainland's benchmark CSI 300 Index is down more than 50% from its all-time high last October. The obvious question is whether this market has hit bottom and is now the time to buy?

The best way to analyze any market is to put it through both a fundamental and a technical analysis. On the fundamental side, China's economy remains robust. However, inflationary pressures continue to build, and the twin specters of higher interest rates and a strengthened currency hang over both the Hong Kong and Shanghai exchanges.

The Chinese government has yet to raise interest rates this year


CLICK HERE for full article or paste http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/JG01Cb01.html

7:42 pm edt 

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DISCLAIMER: This newsletter is written for educational purposes only.  By no means do any of its contents recommend, advocate or urge the buying, selling, or holding of any financial instrument whatsoever.  Trading and investing involves high levels of risk.  The authors express personal opinions and will not assume any responsibility whatsoever for the actions of the reader.  The authors may or may not have positions in the financial instruments discussed in this newsletter.  Future results can be dramatically different from the opinions expressed herein.  Past performance does not guarantee future performance.

DISCLAIMER: The newsletters and blogging on this page are written for educational purposes only.  By no means do any of its contents recommend, advocate or urge the buying, selling, or holding of any financial instrument whatsoever.  Trading and investing involves high levels of risk.  The authors express personal opinions and will not assume any responsibility whatsoever for the actions of the reader.  The authors may or may not have positions in the financial instruments discussed in this newsletter.  Future results can be dramatically different from the opinions expressed herein.  Past performance does not guarantee future performance.

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