Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Headline Template Secrets Exposed!

October 30, 2012
Dollar Death $piral: 5 Secrets of Marketwatch Headline Writing Now

Marketwatch, a WSJ web site, has sunk to the lowest awful denominator in headline writing. The formula seems to be "5 ways/secrets/moves BLANK is playing EVENT now" OR "How a bull/bear/trader is reacting to EVENT". The key is to motivate pure speculation based on how other speculators are speculating right now.

This reminds me of an article I was going to heckle a few days ago but other things came up. Note that the following link very nearly fits his template. Excellent!

October 24, 2012
10 Surprising Facts About Treasuries You Probably Didn't Know

The BLANK is [Stagflationary Mark]!
The EVENT is [his own treasury ignorance]!

Let's try it!

10 Surprising Ways Stagflationary Mark Is Playing His Own Treasury Ignorance!

Yes! Fantastic! Let's see what I say, shall we?

1. Treasury bills are shorter-term investments. They come with maturation rates from a few days to one year (52 weeks). They are sold at a discount, or coupon, of 1% off face value; when the bill matures, the seller receives the interest rate and the principal in the form of the face value.

I can't believe I said that. This REALLY surprises me. Why? They are NOT sold at a fixed 1% off face value. As seen here, it would have cost us $99.989889 to buy 11-01-2012's 4-week treasury bill. That's right. The government gets to keep $99.99 of our money for 4 weeks and all we get is a penny for our trouble (to bring us to $100 of face value). That's 100x less than the article claims. If that's how I am supposed to be playing treasuries, then I sure am ignorant! Well done!

5. As investments go, they're safe. "They are widely considered to be a risk-free asset on the shorter maturities," Hill said. "Interest rate volatility won't affect them."

I can't believe I said that. Seriously? While it is true that I think TIPS may be safer than many investments, I don't remember claiming they were safe. If a tire leaked 1.37% of its air for every mile we drive, would we call it safe? 5-Year TIPS currently yielding -1.37% leak 1.37% of their purchasing power each and every year. How is that safe? I should also mention that we have to pay tax on the inflationary gains too. Where's that money supposed to come from? Some other risk-free asset yet to be determined?

This article sure doesn't seem to know me. I don't get it. It specifically says "You" right in its title. Am I not me? It's certainly a conundrum! Or is it? If I can't figure it out, then that can mean only one thing.

Stagflationary Mark Is Playing His Own Ignorance

Genius! It really is surprising! Be sure to check out the EIGHT other surprising facts about treasuries. They're right up there with finding Jimmy Hoffa buried in a bank vault, lol.


Stagflationary Mark said...

6. Fun fact: China is the world's largest holder of Treasuries, precisely because the investments are so safe and because of the volume of trade that country does with the United States.

That is a hysterically fun fact.

Nothing is more fun than watching us all buy cheap goods, using them, and then sending them off to our landfills while simultaneously giving jobs to Chinese workers instead of our own. And what do the Chinese want from us? More paper dollars! They can't seem to get enough of them.

I'm guessing the picture in the center of our dollars make them especially suitable for framing.

dearieme said...

You may laugh but my wife and daughter are going on a few days jolly to one of those countries that may leave the Euro at any moment. I've given them some USD to take for emergency use. But I've kept back my two-dollar bills because I'm not sure that anyone will recognise them. Am I out of touch on two-dollar bills?

Stagflationary Mark said...


You are not out of touch. It's been at least a decade since I've seen a two-dollar bill. The public apparently loves to hoard them, probably under the probable misconception that they're a great long-term investment.

Two-Dollar Bill

Since the $2 bill makes up such a small percentage of paper money in circulation, the public sometimes mistakes $2 bills for being counterfeit when used in financial transactions. There have been cases where arrests have been made, with the Secret Service later stepping in and stating that the bills are in fact legal tender.