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Amusing price action, really.

Amazon had earnings and their shares popped materially, now trading back to where they were around the beginning of December.  Between the day's change and after-hours the stock is up roughly 13%.

Here's the problem -- revenue was light due (largely) to FX.  There are plenty of people ignoring the FX, which is probably where the pop is coming from.  However -- net sales were really only up in North America.

The other problem is that free cash flow decreased against year-ago figures, and so did net income.

Further, first-quarter guidance is pretty awful.

How someone manages to sell you a stock for nearly $350/share when the company only manages to come up with $591 million in operating income on $29.3 billion in gross sales simply astounds.  I mean, really, a 2% operating margin merits a P/E of somewhere around 700 (assuming they manage break-even the other three quarters to come -- which is probably optimistic!)

No, that's not a bubble.

As for Google, watch the birdie.  You can't short a stock that refuses to decline into a no-bull**** revenue and earnings miss, but if there's a company out there that does advertising, including mobile, better than anyone else it's Google.

The bird is chirping in your ear folks; flush the damn wax out and pay attention lest you start crying about being "surprised" in another few months....

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From a journal dealing with the actual practice of nursing -- you know, the people who actually take care of 90% of the job when you get sick enough to require help?

Flu results in "about 250,000 to 500,000 yearly deaths" worldwide, Wikipedia tells us. "The typical estimate is 36,000 [deaths] a year in the United States," reports NBC, citing the Centers for Disease Control. "Somewhere between 4,000 and 8,000 Canadians a year die of influenza and its related complications", according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, adding that "Those numbers are controversial because they are estimates."

"Controversial" is an understatement, and not just in Canada, and not just because the numbers are estimates. The numbers differ wildly from the sober tallies recorded on death certificates -- by law every certificate must show a cause -- and reported by the official agencies that collect and keep vital statistics.

According to the National Vital Statistics System in the U.S., for example, annual flu deaths in 2010 amounted to just 500 per year -- fewer than deaths from ulcers (2,977), hernias (1,832) and pregnancy and childbirth (825), and a far cry from the big killers such as heart disease (597,689) and cancers (574,743). The story is similar in Canada, where unlikely killers likewise dwarf Statistics Canada's count of flu deaths.

In other words the claimed death risk from flu is a scam.

But it's even worse than the reported actual numbers -- you see, cause of death is often wrong.  It's especially wrong when "flu" is involved because, as is explained, few people who get the flu, even if they die from it, are tested to be sure it really is the flu!

So many people who die from the "flu" really had a heart attack and, while they were sick at the time it might not have been the flu they had -- they might have a common cold virus, for example.

So how does this happen?

Read the article for the process, but the simple answer is this: The CDC invented the "threat" for the purpose of selling flu vaccines.  In other words, the government intentionally lied (and continues to lie) about the risk of dying from the flu for the purpose of industry profit.

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This sort of "story"*****es me off.

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) — Speaker John Boehner credited a controversial government surveillance program on Thursday for helping uncover an alleged plot by an Ohio man to bomb the U.S. Capitol and kill government officials.

At a news conference at a retreat of Republican lawmakers, Boehner singled out FISA, an acronym for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows the FBI to obtain search warrants and communications intercepts in intelligence cases.

Oh please.

Let's look at the specifics of this particular bust, shall we?

First, the man was arrested when he purchased a gun and ammunition after discussing using it to shoot people at the Capitol.  Ok, fair enough, if you stop there.

But -- the accused had been "arranged" to meet (twice) with an FBI agent by another man who had criminal exposure on an unrelated case.  In other words, he didn't come to the FBI's attention organically, he was steered there.  And, of course, there's the usual trotted-out "connection" to Islamic terrorism (even though nobody will say that out loud in Obama's circle.)

There's a problem though -- the Cincinnati Enquirer tried to find someone who had seen him at the alleged mosque where he had been attending after his "recent" conversion to Islam.  They couldn't find anyone, never mind that the mosque in question is typically attended by African immigrants who speak no (or nearly no) English.  You don't think a white, 20 year old guy would stick out like a sore thumb at such a place, do you?

Second, this is a guy who is 20, unemployed, lives at home and spends his days playing video games.  There's no evidence that he has any sort of military training, knows how to use a firearm (even at a rudimentary level) or has any sort of skill when it comes to tactical thought -- well, ok, other than perhaps from playing Doom online.

And of course Boehner, quivering in fear, parades out how "effective" the FBI has been.

Really?

This guy sounds like a nut who was enticed to "make a name" for himself, but who had utterly no idea how to do so, lacked any sort of specific skillset enabling him to do so, and had he traveled to Washington DC with his weapon (which, I note, he didn't get to attempt) I suspect he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn at 20 yards.

Indeed it would not surprise me at all if he has never fired a gun in his life and couldn't even figure out how to load and charge said rifle absent active help by an FBI agent!

This isn't an anomaly either; the FBI in 2011 arrested, charged and ultimately obtained a conviction of three men who they tried to goad into committing terrorism -- going so far as to concoct the plot themselves and then, when that was insufficient they actually tried to bribe one of them with a quarter of a million dollars right after he became unemployed.  

While they did draw a big sentence the judge wrote an utterly scathing opinion of the government's acts, documenting that it was the government that concocted the scheme, decided where it would take place (to enhance the penalties available) and provided literally everything to be used in the so-called "attack."  Indeed, the judge said the defendant was "incapable of committing an act of terrorism on his own."  

Oh, and then they bribed one of the defendants after learning that he was destitute.

When you can't find people willing to commit suicide to attack our nation you have to invent some in order to keep your "funding" going.

What's outrageous is that we, as citizens, continue to tolerate this crap.

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Here's the problem: The durables number recently published, the fact that employment growth is not strong (as I pointed out in my interview on Stocks-n-Jocks) and now the collapse in energy that has roundly distorted the CPI, which the Fed claims they must follow (in terms of expectations) means that The Fed will both be behind and unable to respond when, not if, the trend shown in the durables report rears it's ugly head.

The equity market is on the wrong side of this folks.  The bond market, on the other hand, is not.

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"If you don't own Apple you're effectively short."

No you're not.

Apple remains a one-trick pony; the iPhone.  Yes, the earnings report was a blow-out, yes, the cult remains strong.

But it's still a cult, it still is predicated on one product while shipments of their other products missed and all cults eventually wind up with their Grape KoolAid moment.

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