Trifecta — A trifecta is a particular type of bet that is very difficult to win, but it yields very high returns. To successfully win a trifecta bet, you need to specify the horses that finish in the top three spots in the exact order in which they finish. So if the horse you selected to show (3rd) actually places (2nd), you don't win anything...
The term "trifecta" is making its way into colloquial speech... and people are using it more generally to refer to any three successes. A student studying for final exams, for example, may say "I did well on my first two exams, and now I am going for the trifecta!"
As November approaches and the nights turn chillier, giving us our first glimpse of the coming winter, Americans with nothing to lose are going for the trifecta, to wit—
- The BEA will unveil the advance estimate for Gross Domestic Product tomorrow morning. Our benevolent and caring government will try to maintain the statistical recovery myth. Of this, an anonymous friend tells me—
I spoke yesterday with [so and so] of [well-known website] fame, and he firmly believes that the BEA targets the "consensus" media numbers in their "Advanced" report — eventually revising those to some peculiar version of reality at their leisure (recently up to 24 months later). Add in some not-so-mild political ramifications this time around and you have a formula for "Consensus PLUS" numbers (2.3% to 2.7%).
Consensus PLUS! Sounds good to me. The consensus is for 2.1% growth (annualized rate).
- On Tuesday (November 2nd) Americans will go to the polls to choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The outcome of this momentous election will guarantee a political stalemate in the Congress until 2013. The gridlock will be accompanied by endless rhetorical flourishes and accusations because none of our elected representatives will actually be doing anything except collecting their paychecks and taking advantage of their generous benefit programs. The only "ordinary" Americans who will benefit greatly from all this nonsense are Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. In this context, this news item should be of interest—
Spending in this year's midterm election will approach $4 billion and "obliterate" the previous record, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics said Wednesday.
The group, which has tracked money and politics at the federal level for 27 years, said total spending — by parties, candidates and independent groups — will be about $1 billion more than the previous midterm record, set in 2006...
Perhaps we could schedule some harmless but entertaining leisure activities for our soon-to-be restless elected representatives. For example, we could see how many of them can find Bolivia on a world map. [Hint: it's in South America.]
- As Americans go to the polls, the FOMC will be kicking off its QE2 extravaganza. The consensus is that the Fed better not disappoint us—anything less than printing another $1,000,000,000,000 (trillion) may cause a setback in the markets.
Financial analyst Jeremy Grantham has captured perfecty the spirit of this new burst of Central Bank activity.
By this time next week everything will have changed and yet everything will be the same, or much worse, depending on your outlook. I do recommend Grantham's article, which lists every reason why you should despise the Fed as he does. And it contains some useful stuff, like this graph—
Tomorrow I'll kick off Trifecta Week with a commentary on the advanced GDP number. Keep your head high and your chin up.