Thursday, April 17, 2008

Understated spreads?

The WSJ has an interesting, slightly scary article about LIBOR. It includes a nice chart showing the three waves of the financial crisis as indicated by the TED spread, and the failure of even the Fed’s huge interventions to bring things back to normal:


But the big news in the WSJ piece is that LIBOR may be higher than reported, and the spread even worse than it looks, because banks aren’t honestly reporting the interest rates they have to pay:

The concern: Some banks don’t want to report the high rates they’re paying for short-term loans because they don’t want to tip off the market that they’re desperate for cash. The Libor system depends on banks to tell the truth about their borrowing rates.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

The latest in Financial Infotainment--Minyanville

A friend of mine sent me a link to this website, Minyanville. The site is will worth visiting. Informative and entertaining. The stuff on China, subprime loans and trading is thought provoking. Chances are good you will be sending this link along to your freinds.

Some examples of the headline stories.

Fire in the Hole!
Todd Harrison yesterday’s false alarm once again proved, structural smoke won’t matter until someone actually sees a fire.

Testing the Waters of Intel
Jeff Macke
Plucking at the strings of lunacy, trying to find something valid enough to trade off, thus becomes a somewhat futile exercise...

Stocks To Watch: Dell, eBay, Ford, IBM, Sysco
Minyanville Staff
Today's top stories and some stocks with potential to move...

Bear Stearns' Hedge Fund Mess
Bennet Sedacca
Brokerage paper has been widening relative to Treasuries of late, but so has everything else, as perhaps it should.

The Market's Remarkable Symmetry
The market may have an agenda higher in terms of time and price, but... there are many clusters of time, price and pattern projecting a turning point in this neighborhood.

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hedge funds, infotainment, investing, minyanville, subprime loans, trading

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Case-Shiller Home Price Index

CNBC Portfolio Challenge Bonus Bucks Answers for Friday, May 11, 2007 and CNBC Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge

Case-Shiller Home Price Index

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More blogs about href="" rel="tag directory">According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, home prices in Seattle are up how much from a year ago?.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

CNBC Portfolio Challenge Bonus Bucks Answers for Wednesday

CNBC Portfolio Challenge Bonus Bucks Answers for Wednesday, May 02, 2007 and CNBC Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge

Blockbuster sold its UK video game retailer, Game Station, for how much?

The Royal Bank of Australia has decided to keep interest rates on hold at what percent?

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Friday, April 20, 2007

CNBC Portfolio Challenge Bonus Bucks Answers

CNBC Portfolio Challenge Bonus Bucks Answers for Friday, April 20, 2007 and CNBC Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge

Google reported that it's quaterly net profit rose how much?

Shareholders of Firstgroup will meet today to close a 1.8B pound takeover deal of what major U.S. services company?

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Robert T DeMarco Weblog: CNBC Portfolio Challenge Bonus Bucks Answers

CNBC Portfolio Challenge Bonus Bucks Answers for Wednesday, April 18, 2007 and CNBC Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, borrowing costs on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged how much last week?

The European Patent Forum kicks off today in which major European city?

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Friday, March 30, 2007

CNBC Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge

CNBC Portfolio Challenge Bonus Bucks Answers for Friday, March 30, 2007 and CNBC Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge

How many new stores did Home Depot open in the U.S. in 2006?
The FDA-approved drug Provenge is used to fight what disease?

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Monday, March 19, 2007

CNBC Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge

All American Investor: CNBC Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Robert T DeMarco Weblog: Ethanol inflames grain market

Robert T DeMarco Weblog: Ethanol inflames grain market

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

The CareGiver: Huperzine A Factsheet (Alzheimer's)

I recently read about Huperzine A. The following page contains a fact sheet about the herb. Huperzine A may have cognition-enhancing activity in some.

Source Huperzine A


Huperzine A is available from numerous manufacturers generically. Branded products include Memorall (PharmAssure), Huperzine Rx-Brain (Nature's Plus).


Huperzine A is a plant alkaloid derived from the Chinese club moss plant, Huperzia serrata, which is a member of the Lycopodium species. Huperzia serrata has been used in Chinese folk medicine for the treatment of fevers and inflammation.

Huperzine A has been found to have acetylcholinesterase activity. Huperzine B, also derived from Huperzia serrata, is a much less potent acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Natural huperzine A is a chiral molecule also called L-huperzine A or (-)-huperzine A. Synthetic huperzine A is a racemic mixture called (±)-huperzine A. Huperzine A is also known as HUP, hup A and selagine. In Chinese medicine, the extract of Huperzia serrata is known as Chien Tseng Ta and shuangyiping. Huperzine A derivatives are being developed for pharmaceutical application.


Huperzine A may have cognition-enhancing activity in some.


Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with neuritic plaques that affect the cerebral cortex, amygdala and hippocampus. There is also neurotransmission damage in the brain. One of the major functional deficits in Alzheimer's disease is a hypofunction of cholinergic neurons. This leads to the cholinergic hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease and the rationale for strategies to increase acetylcholine in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients. Two FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, tacrine and donepezil, are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors.

Huperzine A is also an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor and has been found to increase acetylcholine levels in the rat brain following its administration. It also increases norepinephrine and dopamine, but not serotonin levels. The natural L or (-)-huperzine A is approximately three times more potent than the racemic or (±)-huperzine A in vitro.


There are limited pharmacokinetic studies with huperzine A. It appears that huperzine A is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and transported to the liver via the portal circulation. Some first-pass metabolism takes place in the liver, and huperzine A and its metabolites are distributed widely in the body, including to the brain. Following ingestion, the time to reach peak blood level is approximately 80 minutes.


Huperzine A has potent pharmacological effects and, particularly since long-term safety has not been determined, it should only be used with medical supervision. It may have some effectiveness in Alzheimer's disease and age-related memory impairment. It has been used to treat fever and some inflammatory disorders, but there is no credible scientific evidence to support these uses.


Numerous studies, most of them from China, suggest that huperzine A may be as effective as the drugs tacrine and donepezil in Alzheimer's disease. This is not so surprising since in vitro and animal model tests have demonstrated that huperzine A effectively inhibits acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that catalyzes acetylcholine breakdown. Tacrine and donepezil work in the same way to conserve acetylcholine in the brain--the mode by which they presumptively improve memory and cognition in those with Alzheimer's and age-related cognitive impairment. Huperzine A may prove superior to tacrine (dose-limited due to its hepatotoxicity) if long-range studies, yet to be conducted, demonstrate its safety.

In one double-blind, randomized study, huperzine A, in injectable form, was tested against a saline control in 56 patients with multi-infarct dementia or senile dementia and in 104 patients with senile and pre-senile simple memory disorders. Huperzine A produced significant positive effects as measured by the Wechsler Memory Scale. Dizziness was experienced by a few of the huperzine A-treated patients.

In another study, this one multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomized, 50 subjects with Alzheimer's disease were given huperzine A or placebo for eight weeks. Significant improvement was noted in 58 percent of the patients in terms of memory, cognitive and behavioral functions. Research is ongoing.


None known.


Huperzine A should be avoided by children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Because of possible adverse effects in those with seizure disorders, cardiac arrhythmias and asthma, those with these disorders should avoid huperzine A. Those with irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease and malabsorption syndromes should avoid huperzine A.


Adverse effects reported with huperzine A include gastrointestinal effects, such as nausea and diarrhea, sweating, blurred vision, fasciculations and dizziness. Possible adverse effects include vomiting, cramping, bronchospasm, bradycardia, arrhythmias, seizures, urinary incontinence, increased urination and hypersalivation.


Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors: Use of huperzine A along with the acetylcholinesterase inhibitors donepezil or tacrine may produce additive effects, including additive adverse effects. Other acetylcholinesterase inhibitors include neostigmine, physostigmine and pyridostigmine, and use of these agents along with huperzine A may produce additive effects, including additive adverse effects.

Cholinergic Drugs: Use of huperzine A along with cholinergic drugs, such as bethanechol, may produce additive effects, including additive adverse effects.


Use of huperzine A with choline, phosphatidylcholine, CDP-choline and L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine hypothetically might produce additive effects, including additive adverse effects.


There are no reports of overdosage with huperzine A.


There are various forms of huperzine A available, including extracts of Huperzia serrata, natural (-)-huperzine A and synthetic racemic (±)-huperzine A. Natural (-)-huperzine A is approximately three times more potent than the synthetic racemic mixture. The doses of natural (-)-huperzine A used in clinical studies ranged from 60 micrograms to 200 micrograms daily. Huperzine A should only be used with a physician's recommendation and monitoring.


Capsules — 50 mcg

Tablets — 50 mcg


Cheng DH, Tang XC. Comparative studies of huperzine A, E-2020 and tacrine on behavior and cholinesterase activities. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1998; 60:377-386.

Cheng DH, Ren H, Tang XC. Huperzine A, a novel promising acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Neuroreport. 1996; 8:97-101.

Quian BC, Wang M, Zhou ZF, et al. Pharmacokinetics of tablet huperzine A in six volunteers. Chung Kuo Yao Li Hsueh Pao. 1995; 16:396-398.

Tang XC, Kindel GH, Kozikowski AP, Hanin I. Comparison of the effects of natural and synthetic huperzine A on rat brain cholinergic function in vitro and in vivo. J Ethnopharmacol. 1994; 44:147-155.

Xiong ZQ, Tang XC. Effect of huperzine A, a novel acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, on radial maze performance in rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1995; 51:415-419.

Xu SS, Gao ZX, Weng Z, et al. Efficacy of tablet huperzine-A on memory, cognition and behavior in Alzheimer's disease. Chung Kuo Yao Li Hsueh Pao. 1995; 16:391-395.

Ye JW, Cai JX, Wang LM, Tang XC. Improving effects of huperzine A on spatial working memory in aged monkeys and young adult monkeys with experimental cognitive impairment. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1999; 288:814-819.

Zhang RW, Tang XC, Han YY, et al. Drug evaluation of huperzine A in the treatment of senile memory disorders. [Article in Chinese] Chung Kuo Yao Li Hsueh Pao. 1991; 12:250-252.

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Thursday, July 15, 2004

Instant Message Deal Leaves Consumers Out in the Cold

The big three of instant messaging, AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo announced a deal today that will allow their instant messaging systems to interact by early 2005.
Read this original content on the All American Investor weblog.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities

Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, often called TIPS, are government issued securities whose value is linked to the inflation rate.
This is the first in a series of articles on Treasury Inflation Protected Securities.

Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, often called TIPS, are government issued securities whose value is linked to the inflation rate. Like Treasury bills, bonds and notes, TIPS are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. This make TIPS an ideal investment for those concerned about safety when investing. Treasuries are considered to be the safest investment in the world. TIPS are liquid securities that can be bought and then resold at any time on the open market or directly to the Treasury Department.

TIPS are very different than standard bonds. TIPS pay a stated interest rate like a typical bond (fixed interest rate); however, the principal is adjusted every six months based on the changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). If inflation rises the principal of the bond increases, if deflation occurs your principal decreases. Just like all government securities you can never receive less than par (100) if you hold the TIPS to maturity. One of the best features of TIPS is you receive the inflation adjusted principal or the original principal, whichever is greater when the bonds mature.

TIPS pay a fixed rate of interest. However, the interest is applied to the inflation-adjusted principal of the security. If inflation as measured by the CPI increase over the course of ownership of the TIPS every interest payment would rise. If deflation occurs then the interest payment would decline. The amount of interest paid is calculated by multiplying the inflation-adjusted principal (regardless of whether it is greater or less than the original face value) by one-half the fixed annual interest rate (TIPS pay interest every six months).

Unlike typical bonds where you pay a broker a fee, you can buy TIPS direct from the US Treasury. This means 100 percent of your investment goes to work from day one. It is not unusual to suffer a 25-50 basis point drop in yield when purchasing a bond from a broker (the commission you pay reduces the yield, something investors often fail to take into account). And, if you are purchasing a small amount of bonds, the “real” yield on your investment can be reduced by one or more percentage points. The ability to buy TIPS direct from the Treasury is certainly a feature that makes the bonds more attractive.

You can purchase TIPS with 5, 10 or 20 year maturities. This is accomplished by setting up an account with the Treasury online or through the mail; and then, by submitting your non-competitive bid amount at the time of the next auction (the amount you intend to invest). Since most Treasuries are purchased with non-competitive bids you can feel assured that you will receive a fair price at the time of the auction. If you are too busy to set up your own account your broker or bank will do it for you, but they will charge you a fee.

Next time, how to get started buying TIPS.

About the Author

Robert T DeMarco is CEO of IP Group in Herndon VA. IP Group offers software communication tools for use on the Internet. These include: PowerTools, Watch Right, Always on Time and IM Frame. Mr. DeMarco is the author/editor of several Weblogs and is also a member of the High Tech Crimes Industry Association (HTCIA). Mr. DeMarco has university level and corporate training and teaching experience, spent 20 years on Wall Street, acted as CEO of a small software company, and is currently discovering the world of blogging.

Robert T DeMarco
IP Group Inc.

Other Blogs and Resources

All American Investor Weblog
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Friday, June 18, 2004

All American Investor: Inflation on the Horizon?

I am old enough that I lived through the big inflation in the late 70's. And right now it appears to me that we are embarking down a similar road.

The thing that surprises me most is that most analysts I read and see on CNBC say the same thing, 'inflation is not a problem.' They must not do any of their own shopping.

Read the entire article at All American Investor: Inflation on the Horizon?

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