Phil Grossfield's Blog

A LITTLE EXTRA…

Monthly Archives: March 2013

Happy Anniversary TravelMamas.com! Easter vs Passover

HAPPY 4-YEAR ANNIVERSARY TO TRAVELMAMAS.COM, TO MY WIFE COLLEEN, AND TO ITS +60,000 MONTHLY VISITORS!  |||  And scene!  The first quarter of 2013 has come to an end.  Have you accomplished your goals thus far?  Did you stick to your resolutions?  Me?  Yes, I have accomplished some goals, not all, but I’m on the right path and I’m working towards never ending improvement.  This quarter I have lofty goals as well…what about you, what are your plans for the second quarter?  |||  Being in a family that celebrates both Easter and Passover, I can truly relate to Jon Daily’s assessment of the two holidays. That is, Easter is awesome, and Passover, well, it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, Passover has its place and I love the tradition of it, etc. But let’s face it, if you’re a kid Easter is so much fun and kids can’t wait, and Passover, well…. Jon Stewart’s Faith-Off.  Have a wonderful weekend!!

jonstewart_faithoff

My Market Watch:  Pricing is slightly worse in some spots by 0.125 from yesterday.  The markets close early today and trading volume is expected to be low.  Our Lock Desk is open online all weekend.  Remember, if you plan to lock this weekend, then wait until Sunday…that way you pick up a couple days on your lock expiration.  My Disclaimer.

My Schedule:  Today I am working all day.  Please keep in mind I rarely answer my phone before 10:30a as I use this time to catch up on emails from last night and prepare the remainder of my day….

My Fun Stuff:  Amber sings “I Believe In You and Me”  —  Amber sings “Lately”  —  You gotta laugh!  I watch this almost every day — All My Fun Stuff

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Whitney Revived?

Whitney was on American Idol last night, what?  It’s that time of the week…American Idol recap baby!  If you don’t like American Idol, but you can appreciate talent, then read this and watch the videos, trust me.  Last night there were three performances that stand out, and each was pretty good.  Candace was fantastic and the country girl Janelle was better than expected.  But Amber Holcomb is amazing…it’s like the universe knew that Whitney was leaving us so Amber was brought in to replace the void…she’s that blanking good.  Watch this:  Amber sings “I Believe In You and Me”; and this from last night Amber sings “Lately” (warning! Mariah Carey is as annoying as could be at the end of this performance).  |||  Turn-Times at Interbank are a bit off lately…half the staff is out because of Passover and it’s month-end but we’re working through it….

amber_whitney

My Market Watch:  Pricing is exactly the same as yesterday.  Cypress reopened it’s banks but no more than 300 Euros ($400) is permitted to be withdrawn by an account holder…can you imagine?  What’s interesting is the U.S. markets didn’t really react to this, nor did they react to the announcements about the bailout.  It’s so unlike U.S. traders to ignore serious financial international news.  But that’s why predicting market trends is a tough business.  As of now, the market is flat.  My Disclaimer.

My Schedule:  Today I am working from home and available all day.  Please keep in mind I rarely answer my phone before 10:30a as I use this time to catch up on emails from last night and prepare the remainder of my day….

My Fun Stuff:  Amber sings “I Believe In You and Me”  —  Amber sings “Lately”  —  You gotta laugh!  I watch this almost every day — All My Fun Stuff

Cheesecake Success

Our Passover Seder was a success.  My friends brisket was unbelievable, the company was fantastic, the kids were well-behaved for all intents and purposes, and my son even won the game of finding the hidden afikoman matzo (to my daughter’s dismay).  Good times!  AND, my cheesecake lived up to its reputation, although it’s definitely better with a graham cracker crust rather than the almond-macaroon crust I had to substitute for Passover.  Also, I added one extra secret ingredient…as the Jews have learned over thousands of years, you have to use what you have and make the best with what G-d gives you.  Therefore, I used what G-d gave me the last couple weeks…here’s a picture of my cheesecake:

ratcake

My Market Watch:  Pricing is the same as yesterday with 0.125 improvements in some spots.  Bond prices this morning are on the positive side up +9bps since rates were published this morning.  Continued improvement in bonds could lead to a mid-day reprice for the better barring any unforeseen news.  Did you see the news on the Cypress bailout?  I’m really confused by how this is working…did you read that any account over 100k euros is being partially confiscated?  Holy crap.  Anyway, economic reports this morning are pushing stocks higher and bonds lower including new home sales which were reported strong. When bonds are sold off pricing typically gets worse…as of now things are stagnant with a slight edge towards a bond price improvement.   My Disclaimer

My Schedule:  Today I am available with one conference call scheduled this morning at 10:30a.  Keep in mind I rarely answer my phone before 10:30a as I use this time to catch up from the previous day….

My Fun Stuff:  You gotta laugh!  I watch this almost every day    All My Fun Stuff

EU Approves Cypress Bailout; Happy Passover

tencomThe Passover story is terrifying.  On Passover the Jews have a Seder where everyone gathers around a dinner table to discuss and remember their escape from Egyptian slavery.  We remember how Moses, after being approached by G-d in the form of a burning bush, led his people to freedom with G-d’s help. This assistance consisted of 10 plagues, the last being the slaughter of Egyptian first born sons, which was only fair since the Pharaoh had previously attempted to kill all the Jew’s first born sons to control the Jewish population. Lovely times eh?  To avoid G-d’s wrath you had to smear goat blood on your door…then G-d would pass over your home and no harm would come to your son.  Moses told Pharaoh, “LET MY PEOPLE GO!” and Pharaoh finally relented. Then Moses told all the enslaved Jews to pack it up fast…he didn’t want to waste a minute so they didn’t even let their bread dough rise…they just took it flat (enter the Matzo portion of the story), and he led the Jews out of Egypt and across the split sea to freedom. Of course, over the years the story has likely been slightly exaggerated, but the point is to remember the story of freedom from oppression and the story as told definitely makes it memorable.  But as a kid, it scared the crap out of meThe Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston had me sleeping under my sister’s bed for a week when I was little.  Man, the power of G-d scared me to no end…I remember the feeling of watching it and then being sent to bed…ALONE?!  No way man!  In fact, it still kind of creeps me out.  Tonight we go to my best friend’s house for Seder…I’m going to make sure my kids don’t watch The Ten Commandments.  |||  My cheesecake came out nice, but I haven’t tasted it yet…I’ll let you know if it was a success tomorrow….

My Market Watch:  Pricing is the same as Friday after the reprice.  I’m relieved since I thought for sure pricing would come out much worse after the EU approved a Cypress bailout.  As expected the U.S. stock market enjoyed the news early this morning as bonds took a hit, but then things quickly reversed.  Fed chairman Ben Bernanke speaks this morning and this could move things significantly depending on what he wears, what he says, and what he is reluctant to say….   My Disclaimer

My Schedule:  Today I am done early for the holiday and will be difficult to reach after 3:30p.

My Fun Stuff:   You gotta laugh!  I watch this almost every day ||| All My Fun Stuff

Your Cheesecake Sucks! Fed Meeting Recap and Forecast

cheesecakeMy Schedule…and A Little Extra:  Whatever you think you know about cheesecake is false, wrong, incorrect…grossly incorrect.  My Mom makes the best cheesecake on the planet.  Now don’t start sending me hate-email because you have some sort of delusional belief that your cheesecake can even compare to my Mom’s cheesecake because it just makes you look and sound sad.  Simply put, your cheesecake sucks and my Mom’s cheesecake kicks your cheesecake’s butt, yes I said it, butt. Now, with that introduction, I am going to try and make my Mom’s cheesecake for Passover dinner on Monday…I call it the Great Cheesecake Endeavor. Mom sent the recipe…now I have to buy the ingredients and spend the afternoon tomorrow in the kitchen (it has to be made 2 days in advance of serving).  I’d ask you to wish me luck but my introduction to this post is probably not a great way to ask for well wishes…. 🙂

My Market Watch:  The Fed meeting this week resulted in a big bond sell-off resulting in 3 reprices the other day and with little relief since. I thought I’d share my understanding of this and ask you to send me your comments and/or corrections. Ben Bernanke, the Fed Chairman who replaced Alan Greenspan, has been steadfast on a continued monetary strategy of buying bonds. This strategy has created and maintained an artificial bond market of low rates we continue to enjoy.  Many Fed members disagree with this strategy…they don’t want the Fed to keep buying bonds in large quantities and they site all sorts of reasons why they feel this strategy has long-term adversarial effects.  Yet Bernanke has pushed on and has said he is dedicated to maintaining this strategy into 2014.  That commitment wavered at the meeting on Wednesday. Bernanke introduced the idea of dimming spending…that is, he stated that the Fed may alter theamount of spending.  From what I understand this is the first time he has back off even a little bit.  Traders upon hearing of this sold off bonds and bought stocks instead, despite the Euro drama with Cypress’s financial troubles.  The Fed meeting minutes will be released April 10th and that is going to be a very interesting day as we get to see how much discussion and focus was given to this new concept.I hope all this makes sense…let me know your thoughts….  My Disclaimer

My Schedule:  Available all day. Keep in mind I rarely answer my phone before 10:30a as I use this time to catch up from the previous day….

My Fun Stuff:  Wall Street Monkeys  |  I watch this almost every single day  |||  All My Fun Stuff

She Came In Sixth

aubreyMy Schedule…and A Little Extra:  How good is the talent on American Idol this year?  Aubrey Cleland didn’t make the top 5 girls…and she’s good…real good.  However, she was voted a fan favorite and won the privilege of touring with the top 10 contestants this summer.  She’s absolutely stunning, and she can sing.  This should give you a good idea of just how talented the girls are this year….

My Market Watch:  After 3 reprices for the worse yesterday rates came out this morning worse yet in some spots and a little better in others .  My Disclaimer

My Schedule:  Available all day.

My Fun Stuff:  Wall Street Monkeys  |  I watch this almost every single day  |||  All My Fun Stuff

Rat Rejection; Fed Meeting

My Schedule…and A Little Extra:  Many of you have sent me emails asking what happened to the rats in my grill.  Well, I was rejected by the rats.  Yes, the rats decided they want no part of me and who can blame them.  After all, they were poked at, screamed at, almost grilled, and didn’t even get a good chunk of the exterminator’s finger.  Alas, they moved out, babies and all.  The exterminator came yesterday and reported that not only did he not catch any rats, none of the bait was taken and there was no sign rats anywhere.  They got out of town.  According to him, he’s never seen anything like it.  I’ll try not to take it personally….

My Market Watch:  Pricing is worse by about 0.125 from yesterday.  I’ve hinted that pricing might worsen…hopefully bonds will bounce back.  Today is the second day of the Fed meeting…a statement will be delivered at 11a and Bernanke will speak after that.  I’m reading there could be a statement regarding the improved state of the economy…if so this would throw bonds under the bus and pricing would be subject to torture.  But there is also an expected statement on the continued strategy of Quantitative Easement monetary policy, that is, continued buying of bonds by the government.  If both statements are delivered, and neither is interpreted as intentionally more robust than the other, then it should be a wash today.  Watch what happens…it should get interesting.  My Disclaimer

My Schedule:  Today I am traveling to L.A. for a brief meting and then headed back…I will be on the train so working during the commute.  Sorry Gita and Silva but I can’t get to Encino today.

My Fun Stuff:  Wall Street Monkeys  |  I watch this almost every single day  |||  All My Fun Stuff

Wall Street Monkeys

geniusappleMy Schedule…and A Little Extra:  4 hours and 6 Genius employees at the Apple store yesterday…that’s how long and how many people it took to buy my wife a new iPhone5 and get her Outlook with calendar, email and contacts synced.  Granted I’m no expert when it comes to technology but I’m no dingdong either. Yet I have tried to get her iPhone synced for 2 years to no avail…the number of hours spent trying is countless.  I even camped out at an Apple store once before trying to get it to work.  The only solution I could reasonably come up with was to buy a Mac so everything would talk to each other seamlessly. And so this was my last attempt…if it didn’t work this time, I’m chucking out the $2,500 for a Mac. Before I left it seemed to be working…everything synced and functioning perfectly, UNTIL I got home.  Then I spent another hour or so tweaking things to make it work.  And I’m not convinced.  I’m gonna need some more loans people…Daddy gots to buy a new computer me thinks!  |||  Watch this…amazing and true:  Wall Street Monkeys

My Market Watch:  Rates/pricing is improved from Friday on troubling news out of the European financial markets.  Bonds are on a roll!  This week is the Fed meeting which starts tomorrow…depending on how traders interpret the mood of the meeting will likely drive rates/pricing this week.  With such a boost in the economic outlook over the last few weeks it should be an interesting meeting with lots of commentary on the future of Quantitative Easing. If recent history repeats this is what will happen…one of the Fed members will speak out against continued buying of bonds by the Fed and will vehemently opine that the Fed should back away from QE as soon as possible. Traders, after hearing this statement will immediately sell bonds and buy stocks which will drive bond pricing down/worse. Then a different member or maybe even Bernanke himself will make a responsive statement that the Fed has no intentions of changing monetary policy anytime soon.  This of course will reverse the previous actions and bond pricing will go up/improve.  It’s a little cat and rat game they like to play…yeah rat, not mouse. My Disclaimer

My Schedule:  Today I am available all day.

My Fun Stuff:  Wall Street Monkeys  |  I watch this almost every single day  |||  All My Fun Stuff

Biting Rat and Lovely Suggestions

My Schedule…and A Little Extra:  Here is an update on my posts that there are Rats In My Grill and there are Still Rats In My Grill.  There are no longer rats in my grill.  The exterminator guy who came out yesterday was bit by the rat…yes the rat bit him and put a hole in his glove but no harm done.  So they called in the specialist to take care of the rat bastard.  By the time the new guy came the rat took off…it grabbed its babies and headed to a safer place…probably under the built-in grill structure. So, now it’s a bait and trap strategy.  I loved all your bits of advice (pun intended) you’ve been sending me the last couple days.  I’ve been advised to take a skewer and stick the rats…I’ve been advise to buy a pellet gun and shoot them…I’ve been advised to get Bounce laundry sheets and stick them in the grill…and I’ve been advised to eat the rats.  All lovely suggestions but I’ll stick to the pay-someone-else-to-do-this-nasty-job method if you don’t mind.

My Market Watch:  Rates/pricing improved twice yesterday and came out strong this morning improving by another 0.125.  Nice. Hopefully the markets will hold today.  If so, I would advise to take the gains…you never know what Monday will bring.  My Disclaimer

My Schedule:  Today I am available all day.

My Fun Stuff: I watch this almost every single day  |||  All My Fun Stuff

I WANT THE RATS OUT OF MY GRILL; Alicia Keys Concert

turtleman_aliciaMy Schedule…and A Little Extra:  Here is an update on my post from yesterday that there are Rats In My Grill.  There are still rats in my grill.  I called an exterminator company called Antac that got good reviews on Angie’s List.  I clearly explained a cowardly mama rat built a nest in my grill and had babies and I want them to be gone.  I think my specific words were something like ‘I want a rat-free grill…I want no more rats in my grill…I want all rats removed from my grill so there are no rats in my grill.’  So they sent Roger…after inspecting the rats in my grill Roger told me he cannot remove the rats from my grill because he does not know how to do that. That does not help me Roger.  Let me be clear, I WANT THE RATS OUT OF MY GRILL!  Now he is sending someone else to get the rats out of my grill. I hope he’s one of those Reality TV guys like the Live Action Turtle Man.  |||  Simply put, Alicia Keys was awesome.  Our seats were too far away but the energy and performance was fantastic!

My Market Watch:  Rates/pricing are the same as yesterday morning.  Despite my correct prediction that pricing would improve yesterday afternoon with a mid-day reprice, pricing was down this morning after some economic reports were released.  But bonds are trading well again this morning since rate sheets were published and there is hope for another reprice improvement this afternoon.  I’ll keep you posted if possible….  My Disclaimer

My Schedule:  Today I am available all day until 4p and then I have an appointment.

My Fun Stuff: I watch this almost every single day  |||  All My Fun Stuff

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