Happy Holidays!

We wish all our readers happy holidays and a prosperous and healthy new year. As we announced last week, the blog will go on a one week hiatus over the holidays until year end – unless something especially noteworthy happens that requires immediate comment (asteroid strike, Greek presidential election going awry, etc.).

We also want to extend a special thank you to all readers who have helped us with our funding drive over the past week – we are greatly honored by your generosity.

 

santa

 

A Few Charts

In recent days we have come across a few charts that have struck us as interesting, but that weren’t really relevant to any of the posts of the past week. We are including them here, in no particular order:

 

  1. Federal Funds rate expectations over the years:

A friend pointed out to us that the market has expected the Fed to raise rates every single year since 2009 – as the year went on, these expectations were obviously altered toward expecting no rate hike. This is the “new normal”, so to speak – ZIRP forever and ever. Will 2015 be different? The chances never seemed better, but we’ll believe it when we see it:

 

fed funds1

Expectations of a Fed funds rate hike have been high at the beginning of every year since 2009, only to be revised to nada again – click to enlarge.

 

  1. The public’s view on marihuana legalization has changed radically. EWI’s “The Socionomist” publication recently showed a long term chart of a Gallup poll on the public’s opinion regarding marihuana prohibition starting in the late 1960s – there has been a startling evolution:

 

Gallup-Chart-revisedIn 1969, the heyday of the flower-power movement, 84% of Americans were in favor of retaining marihuana prohibition, and only 12% were in favor of ending it (the remainder are “don’t knows”). Today the ratio is at a startling 58:39 in favor of finally ending prohibition – click to enlarge.

 

  1. Leveraged Loans

Below is a chart that recently appeared at Bloomberg that shows the astonishing growth in leveraged loans outstanding. We have discussed leveraged loans in “A Dangerous Boom in Unsound Corporate Debt”, noting that they are as a rule actually safer than junk bonds, because they are secured by assets of borrowers and lenders tend to know a lot more about borrowers’ financial condition. Nevertheless, since they fund mainly LBOs and M&A activity, and borrowers often tend to have a limited track record, the huge growth in this type of financing is certainly noteworthy and worrisome – especially as the credit quality of borrowers must necessarily decline the more such loans are extended.

 

Leveraged loansValue of outstanding leveraged loans since 1996, via Bloomberg.

 

Reindeer Jokes

Lastly, here are a few inappropriate reindeer jokes. Something has always struck us as odd about Santa’s reindeer. There is evidently more to them than meets the eye.

 

bastard

Reindeer revenge

 

jokerWhy we haven’t heard about “Joker”.

 

if it gets outDangerous liaisons

 

prancerPrancer comes out

 

whip me hardSurprising reindeer proclivities

deer

 How the reindeer originally got the job

 

Funny-Santa-How-santa-really-finds-out-which-reindeer-can-flyReindeer job interviews

Funny-pictures-santa-security

  Reindeer mafia

 

Conclusion:

Keep the children away from the reindeer.

See you all next year!

 

The Acting Man Team

 

Charts by: Bloomberg, EWI / Gallup

 

 

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Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 12vB2LeWQNjWh59tyfWw23ySqJ9kTfJifA

   
 

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