Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

Nifty FAANG

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If in early January, you’d have described to us everything that was to happen with the world and global economy and then asked us to guess where the stock market would be, we would not have guessed it would be at today’s level.

Looking at the stock market today, the first thought that comes to mind is that it is divorced from economic reality. The S&P 500 is only a few percent away from where it started 2020.

On the surface it looks like stocks discount one incredibly rosy version of the future. In that version everything goes back to normal like nothing happened; we basically just entered and quickly exited a sharp recession and earnings came back to pre-coronavirus normal. Though that is a possible outcome, it is not a probable one, judging by what is happening right now. We’d like to note that, in any scenario, we’ll exit with close to $10 trillion of additional debt on the government’s and the Fed’s balance sheets

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The Street Where I Live

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Since I’ve managed to wade into the waters of politics and religion in the past without mortal harm, let me up the ante and go where no one sensible has gone before…………race. Fellow Sloper TNRevolution has a much longer (and better) post than this one waiting in the wings, but I’ll probably publish that one Thursday afternoon.

This has obviously been a big topic in this country since, oh, about 1620, as well as quite recently. I’d like to comment on it by way of a personal experience. I’d like to use this to offer an idea about a distinction I see between prejudice and bigotry.

For all its progressive pretense, Palo Alto is no saint. It wasn’t that long ago that there was a specific street in my otherwise very rich neighborhood where the black people were expected to live. There’s was nothing subtle about it. It was the one black street of Crescent Park. That’s where I live.

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Dash for Slash

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I’ve been involved in financial data for my entire adult life, and I’m well acquainted with its many peculiarities. One of the key ones is symbology, which varies from market to market, and is especially insane in the world of commodities (and don’t even get me started on futures options).

SlopeCharts is not immune to these vagaries, and until now, it was impossible to create a custom symbol with any commodity data, because the futures charts begin with the slash (“/”) which also is obviously the symbol we all use as the division sign. If you wanted to chart the S&P 500 futures versus the long-term continuous gold contract, you might have tried to enter /ES//GC (that is, /ES divided by /GC), and it would have just barfed all over the place.

But those days are over! Now you can make use of futures symbols (well, Diamond members can, since they have access) to your heart’s content. I thought I’d share a few example charts to illustrate this in action. For you Gold/Diamond premium members, please note I’ve added these charts to the Pairs shared watch list.

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Money Maps

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I was driving one of my kids over to a friend’s house the other day. The destination was Atherton, which is adjacent to Palo Alto and a very rich town. The houses tend to be 10, 15, 20 million dollars, or much more, and the lots are vastly larger than those in neighboring communities.

As I was driving there, what was striking to me was the map on my display. Where I was driving, the streets were very far apart, whereas just on the other side of a particular road (the proverbial “wrong side of the tracks“) the density was far greater. Here is what I mean:

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