as part of our
Every Friday, I undergo a transformation: I switch from being
the boring professor - who specializes in droning, long-winded
lectures - to the nutty professor, who blows crap up.
That might be a bit of an exaggeration.
But instead of boring you with words, I mix it up and enlighten
you with a few striking charts.
Longtime readers tell us it's their favorite column of the week.
Let us know if you agree by dropping us a line at
Without further ado…
Who'll Flinch First?
Based on the latest National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB)
sentiment index, homebuilders are more cheerful than they have been
in a long,
The latest reading jumped from 51 to 57 - the highest in seven
and a half years.
The move caps off a two-month, 13-point rise, too, which hasn't
happened since "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred topped the music
charts. (That was in February 1992, in case you stink at pop
So are investors just as enthusiastic about homebuilding stocks?
Er… not so much.
Ever since mortgage rates spiked, they've run for the exits,
setting up one of the biggest divergences in recent history.
Homebuilders' sentiment and homebuilding stocks traditionally
move in lockstep with one another. But that's not happening right
now, setting the stage for the biggest game of "Chicken" on Wall
As Bespoke Investment Group notes, "Going forward, it will be
interesting to see if this recent divergence corrects itself -
either by housing stocks picking back up again, or homebuilder
sentiment pulling back."
My money is on housing stocks reversing course. Anyone care to
wager with me on that?
Yes, Mobile is Kind of a Big Deal
Occasionally, I get ridiculed for my over-the-top enthusiasm
regarding all things mobile and the runaway growth in the
But it's warranted. And here's the proof…
In the last decade, the number of mobile phone subscriptions has
surged from 662 million to 6.4
according to the International Telecommunications Union.
That translates into a 91% global penetration rate, making
mobile phones one of the most ubiquitous technologies in the world.
Only steel blades, cotton t-shirts, aluminum pots and plastic
bottles are more prevalent (if they actually count as
Even more staggering is the uptick in mobile internet usage. The
number of users recently topped two billion.
So forget Ron Burgundy… mobile
kind of a big deal. Invest accordingly. Or miss out.
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