The Independent Market Observer

Life on Mars

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA®, CFP®

Find me on:

This entry was posted on Aug 8, 2012 3:55:16 AM

and tagged Yesterday's News

Leave a comment

As far as I am concerned, the big news today is yesterday’s successful landing of the NASA rover on Mars. We haven’t had all that many space triumphs recently, so here’s to the engineers who made it happen! The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had it on page A1—where it belonged—with “Rover Probes Secrets of Mars,” the Financial Times (FT) had it on page 1 with “Curiosity sets out to answer mysteries of Mars” and on page 5 with “Mars robot puts US back on the map,” and the New York Times (NYT) had it all the way back on A9 with “After Safe Landing a Rover Sends Images From Mars.” What was the NYT thinking?

The other big story is the ongoing lobster roll investigation. I went up to Linda Bean’s in Freeport, across from the L.L. Bean store there, to check out one of the WSJ best, and I am sorry to say that I was disappointed. The roll was only so-so, as it was overtoasted and needed more butter. There were lots of large pieces of firm lobster, which was excellent, but there was not enough seasoning and mayo. You don’t need a lot, but you do need some. Overall, probably a 7 or 8 out of 10, which is definitely not bad, but not best in class, either.

In other news, the banking scandals continue. Standard Chartered Bank was accused by the State of New York of helping Iran hide deals, and it made the front page of the papers. The NYT led with “Regulator Says Bank Helped Iran Hide Deals,” the WSJ with “Big Bank Examined Over Iran Dealings,” and the FT with “StanChart accused of hiding Iran transactions.” The Bloomberg headline, “Standard Chartered Bond Risk Soars by Most in 4 Years on Iran,” means that the risk now is perceived to be above that during the worst of the financial crisis. In addition to the obvious huge implications for the bank itself, we now have one more major financial institution that apparently is completely unable to keep its own people operating within the law. We have the Libor scandal, in which the banks are starting to choose to hang separately rather than together, per yesterday’s post; we have the HSBC money laundering scandal for the third time in 10 years; and we have the J.P. Morgan trading debacle. At some point, maybe lawmakers and regulators will decide there is a pattern here.

Other news suggests that the U.S. economy needs more help—“Fed Officials Underscore Divisions Over Action” on B1 of the NYT and “Fed Official Calls for Bond Buying” on A2 of the WSJ —or that perhaps it is recovering—“Mortgage Demand Increases, Banks Say” also on A2 of the WSJ. Take your pick.

Off to do more research here. In addition to lobster rolls, I will also be looking into which beaches have the best tidal pools with crabs for a four-year old to look at.

Have a great day!

Subscribe via Email

New call-to-action
Crash-Test Investing

Hot Topics

New Call-to-action



see all



The information on this website is intended for informational/educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice, a solicitation, or a recommendation to buy or sell any security or investment product. Please contact your financial professional for more information specific to your situation.

Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.

The S&P 500 Index is a broad-based measurement of changes in stock market conditions based on the average performance of 500 widely held common stocks. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly in an index.

The MSCI EAFE (Europe, Australia, Far East) Index is a free float‐adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI EAFE Index consists of 21 developed market country indices.

One basis point (bp) is equal to 1/100th of 1 percent, or 0.01 percent.

The VIX (CBOE Volatility Index) measures the market’s expectation of 30-day volatility across a wide range of S&P 500 options.

The forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio divides the current share price of the index by its estimated future earnings.

Third-party links are provided to you as a courtesy. We make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided on these websites. Information on such sites, including third-party links contained within, should not be construed as an endorsement or adoption by Commonwealth of any kind. You should consult with a financial advisor regarding your specific situation.


Please review our Terms of Use

Commonwealth Financial Network®