Joe Weisenthal

Posts by Joe Weisenthal

Opening Bell: 10.02.08

houseofcommons2.jpgHouse girds for second try on financial rescue (AP)
So now it goes down to the House of Commons, where all the principled right-wingers who voted against the first package, can now explain their desire to see a way more bloated, ridiculous bill pass. Yeah, that should be real fun. No doubt the Republican leadership Boehner and the other guy and Cantor are going to have one hell of a time whipping their base on this one. We’re not convinced it passes.
Futures pull back after Senate bailout plan vote (AP)
2008 Presidential Election Winner (Intrade)
Now this is starting to hold fairly steady — McCain has stayed at around .35 on the dollar for awhile, as his chances slip away every day the Iraq War is not the central issue of the election. That being said, we’ve totally bought into the “Palin can’t lose” notion for tonight’s debate. You know, cause of lowered expectations. It also signals what media wonks we are. As soon as we’re done with this, flippin’ over to some MSNBC.
UBS Has `Small’ Profit, Reduces Mortgage Holdings (Bloomberg)
We wish we could say this felt like an “end of the tunnel” moment. But unfortunately it feels more like a “cracks in the tunnel” moment, and the light is shining in where it shouldn’t be. Anyway, UBS (UBS!) actually reported a profit. Not a profit once you factor out the losses, but a small, sliverish profit. Ostensibly that means they ended the quarter with more money than they started with. The company said it’s reduced its exposure to the US mortgage market. It was UBS’ first profitable quarter in over a year. Sidenote: despite all of this, more layoffs are still coming.

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Opening Bell: 10.1.08

weekendatbernies.jpgMost Asian markets recover on hopes for US bailout (AP)
Really, do we even need a bailout anymore? We had an awesome day yesterday, the Asian markets did great last night, consumer sentiment is back on track, the rate of home price declines is slowing, and Christmas shopping is right around the corner. It’s starting to look like we can just tighten the belts, get a few folks to stay in their homes, and then that $700 billion can be used on other stuff. Like bombers and spaceships and weird science projects. Or even just dedicate it directly to inflation, with no specific purpose. By the way, October already? Really?
U.S. Stock Futures Drop on Economy Concern; GE, Citigroup Fall (Bloomberg)
On the other hand, we may not be able to follow through. After paring some losses yesterday, today might be about paring that paring. It’s all very geometric and Fibonacci. Still, nothing too major or drastic at this point. Just like a percent or so for the major indices.
WWE Maintains High Dividend Yield
Some vital info here: World Wrestling Entertainment would like you to know that it won’t be chopping its dividend anytime soon. Got that? Some weaker companies, like banks, can do whatever they want, saving their money for purposes of capital preservation. But not so the WWE. If it may say so itself, in an actuall press release that came out last night: “The more than 9% dividend yield on WWE stock is 280% higher than the S&P average. WWE considers itself a safe harbor in the current volatile marketplace.” From their lips to god’s ears.

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Opening Bell: 9.30.08

backfromthedead.jpgFutures indicating rebound after historic sell-off (RTT News)
Oh, see. We’re still here. The world hasn’t gone anywhere. In fact the stock market is looking up this morning. A few hundred points. Sure it’s just a sliver of what we lost yesterday. But did any banks fail last night? (Don’t answer). Seriously though, Wall Street better cut out this “buying” stuff if it wants a deal to happen (just kidding!). Of course, others will say that the market is only up on high expectations of a deal. See: Next story.
Senate May Try to Revive Bank-Rescue Bill by Tomorrow (Bloomberg)
Ah, the swift discipline of the markets. Despite the “death” of the bailout bill, the Senate plans to vote on something tomorrow, and pundits increasingly expect a deal by the end of the week. Basically, conviction is one thing, but it’s no match for diminished 401(k)s.
Market Drop Pressures Hedge Fund Managers (WSJ)
As part of that ideological gun being held to dissenting Republicans was the threat of end-of-quarter hedge fund redemptions, triggering a “cascade” of selling. Well, we’re getting to the end of the quarter here, so we’ll see if there’s anything to it. Though we can confirm to you that some dude on CNBC just said he didn’t think it was a real big deal.
2008 Presidential Election (Intrade)
Besides stocks, the other big loser in the markets was McCain. He’s not at 37 cents on the dollar. And just look at the state-by-state map. He’s basically losing everything that might be considered a tossup, from Florida to Ohio. We’re talking Reagan-Monday here. Ok, not that bad. Prediction: This will tight up. Were we betting, we’d be more bullish on McCain’s chances.

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Opening Bell: 9.29.08

freefalling.jpgWorld markets fall as US bailout seen taking time (AP)
Look, we’re going to pass it, alright. Just hold your horses, and stop it with these nightly selloffs. We’re spending like $1 trillion of our own money here. And it’s pretty much a done deal. And after that the markets will be stablized. Pressuring us into passing it faster by selling off each night isn’t going to help. Unless. Unless the market is saying that even a bailout won’t help matters. Eh. Nah.
Credit Crunch Squeezes Franchisees (WSJ)
Sorta gotta feeling that the “Credit Crunch Squeezes _________” article could be a staple of business journalism for a while. You can pretty much fill in the blank with whomever you like: shipbuilders, farmer, sommeliers, basketball players, whoever. Anyway, today its franchisees, of all people.
Merkel’s Bavarian Allies Lose 50-Year Grip on Power (Bloomberg)
A little politics note that has nothing to do with the two candidates here: Angela Merke’s conservative majority in Germany has suffered a major blow, losing its grip on parliament. The news comes as the German economy (and the rest of Europe) pretty much goes to the tank. All around the world, parties in change are going to get whacked.
2008 Presidential Election Winner (Intrade)
And on the domestic politics front, Barack Obama now holds decisive leads in the polls and in the Intrade market he’s up almost 60-40. So, two questions then: What’s the October surprise, and how does he inevitably blow it? And if you really love the “Mac” here’s William Kristol on how he can revive his campaign. We’re not convinced that the answer is really “straight talk”.

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Opening Bell: 9.26.08

downononeknee.jpgWild day, no deal (Politico)
We’re still really confused by what’s going on. They keep saying the deal is dead (fair enough), but it’s the Republican reps who are recalcitrant, but the Democrats have enough votes to pass it on their own, right? So why don’t the Dems — if they believe in it — just pass the damn thing. You know, man up. Anyway, apparently Treas. Sec. Hank Paulson actually got down on one knee in front of Speaker Pelosi. How odd.
Asian markets drop amid reports of U.S. bailout plan stalling (CBC)
Yeah, nobody in any market is going to be happy for awhile until they just go ahead and do something. Asian markets fell last night, as it became obvious that they’re farther away from a deal now than they have been yet. It’s a good thing McCain suspended his campaign, so politics wouldn’t interfere. That sounds sarcastic, though actually, we’re happy that they haven’t ramrodded some nonsense through all the name of bipartisanship, and the need to wreck the rule of law in times of crisis.
Sarkozy Stresses Global Financial Overhaul (NYT)
The Europeans are LOVING all of our problems, which is fine, since we’ve been known to laugh at them from time to time. Like, did you know that in Germany, because of socialized medicine, some dentists office have equipment from the 70s? HAHAHA. Anyway, Sarkozy says the age of global unregulated markets was over. Good for him. Also in Germany, a Minister said the age of “Anglo-Saxon banking” with its “fixation on returns” is over.
Money-Market Rates Rise Globally as U.S. Talks on Bailout Stall (Bloomberg)
Of course, they’re having their own problems over there, in the land of the Third Way. Interbank lending rates in Europe have spiked to their highest rate since the Euro was formed. One analyst called it a total breakdown of interbank lending. It’s like Warren Buffett said on CNBC the other day: The economy is like a bathtup: Can’t have warm water in the back and cold up front.
Survivor: theoretical physics (Information Processing)
Wall St. has long been a home to physicists that are more interested in dollars than reconciling quantum and astro physics. So with Wall St. jobs growing scarce, will we suddenly get some breakthroughs in the realm of the theoretical physics? It seems tough. Positions are still hella scarce — particularly the cushy tenure track ones at prestigious universities. A hedge fund still seems like a more promising career choice, after reading this.
Beavers ride Rodgers’ 186 yards to stunner over No. 1 Trojans (ESPN)
One word: Awesome. One other word: Hook ‘em.

Opening Bell: 9.25.08

geturbine.jpgGeneral Electric revises 3Q, full-year outlook (AP)
It’s a good thing they’re on the no short list, cause GE has just lowered its quarterly and full year outlook. The predictable reason: gyrations in the financial market. The good news though, GE says it’s committed to maintaining its AAA credit rating — so presumably it won’t be reluctant to raise capital at the first signs of rain.
Buffett Drove Hard Bargain With Goldman (WSJ)
Oh gosh, the Buffett the mythology lives on: “For six months, as the credit crisis deepened, billionaire investor Warren Buffett turned away a string of Wall Street firms that came hat in hand looking for help. On Tuesday, Mr. Buffett says, he was sitting with his feet on his desk in Omaha, drinking a Cherry Coke and munching on mixed nuts, when he got an unusually candid call from a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment banker.” Really? Like, really? He was actually drinking Cherry Coke, his beloved soft drink, right when they called? It’s only surprising that he wasn’t eating See’s candies as well, but then that would’ve just been too ridiculous.
Initial Thoughts On MySpace Music (AVC)
Fred Wilson’s been advocating music sharing and social discvoery services for long than anyone, so he’s as good a person as any to give his impression of the new MySpace Music, which just launched last night — going head to head with Apple, and other big music sites. We saw a demo, it looks potentially interesting, but obviously we’ll need to sing our teeth in it some more, to know.
Marc Faber: 14% S&P 500 Rally Post-Paulson (Paul Kedrosky)
It sounds like Mr. Gloom, Boom, Doom, is predicting a short end to the gloomb, a decent-sized boom… but then a return to doom (that’s always how it is in th end). Should the Paulson plan go through (and it probably will… now that McCain is coming back to Washington, the Dems want to rush it through so it can’t look like he’s taking credit), he’s predicting a 14 percent S&P 500 rally. Not sure where he pulls that number out of, but doesn’t really matter? Doom lies just beyond that.
Short-Sale Ban Fails to Save Ambac, Farmer Mac From 50% Plunge (Bloomberg)
Yep, even with the no shorting rule, some financials have been getting absolutely crushed, Farmer Mac chief among them. It’s just the curse of the Macs really. Nothing can save ‘em. Ambac though, we were sure they were strong and can’t believe that the stock might actually be falling on fundamentals.

  • 24 Sep 2008 at 6:43 AM

Opening Bell: 9.24.08

jiterbugstamp.jpgAsian Markets Are Jittery as US Bailout Doubts Persist (CNBC)
By jittery, the article must mean “not every single stock on the market soared”, cause for the most part, it seems the Warren Buffett injection actually brought some cheer to the other side of the earth. Financial shares were up, and generally the indexes ended in the green. In Europe it sounds like stocks are up marginally.
Pickens Funds Down About $1 Billion (WSJ)
Spending too much time filming commercials advocating wind? Apparently T. Boone Pickens hasn’t done so well at his fund, having lost $1 billion on the steep decline in energy. Personally, he’s lost $270 million, and he admits that this is his worst run in 10 years. Like many money losers, Pickens has an explanation for the decline in energy that makes him feel better: “I’m not willing to accept that [the downturn] was due to a global slowdown” reducing energy demand, he says. “When there’s deleveraging in markets it will affect everything.” We’ve all been there on that one.
Exec pay limits gain support as bailout questioned (AP)
We’ll see if this is just posturing, or if this is something the Dems are really able to stick with. The opposition is right, but you still have a hard time making the case politically that firms who might be dead but for the largesse of the American taxpayer, ought to be paying multi-million bonuses to top brass. In the end, it’s hard to see something like this going through. But it’s also hard to see a plan going through that doesn’t have a lot of strings. And it’s also hard to see a plan not going through at all. So there you go.
China Withdraws Milk as Fonterra Decries Sanlu Delay
There’s some joke in here about China scrambling to withdraw tainted milk and comparing it to money market redemptions. At the moment, we don’t know what that joke is, exactly. Too early.

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Opening Bell: 9.23.08

christmasshopping.jpgWeakest holiday sales since ’02 seen (CNNMOney)
Well this is really predictable… The National Retail Federaton predicts weak holiday growth this year, just 2.2 percent. Hey at least it’s up. But apparently it usually grows by about 4.4 percent per year. Growth of 2.2 percent would represent the most anemic growth since 2002. And realistically, with these things, doesn’t the final number usually come in weaker than all the forecasts. At least gas prices might be down (well, before yesterday they might’ve been).
Bristol-Myers launches sweetened bid for ImClone (AP)
At least someone out there is getting paid. It’s not anyone you or we know, but rather some folks working for and investing biotech ImClone, which so far has successfully resisted a takeover attempt from Bristol-Myers. It’s paid off at this point, as the big drugmaker upped its offer from $60 to $62. That being said, ImClone claims it has an offer of $70 out on the table from some unspecified gentleman caller.
How close was the financial system to melting down? (Megan McArdle)
Remember last Thursday night? When Senators and Congressman got to meet with Bernanke, Paulson and Cox? Apparently their jaws just dropped, though it was never completely clear what was said at the meeting. Well it was probably something like this. Though we’re still skeptical that armaggedon was truly right around the corner, here’s an explanation of how it might have been.
Bailout Prevents Great Depression 2.0 (USNews)
While Megan’s post is excellent, this guy explaining how sans-the bailout, we’d have spend $30 trillion, sounds a little more off the rails.
Stocks in Europe, Asia Drop; Barclays, Macquarie, Vedanta Fall (Bloomberg)
Not a good night overseas while you were sleeping, though nothing to get too worked up about. Europe slipped a couple of percent (you can’t blame ‘em, since they were following our lead). Asia fell just .6 percent.

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