She can blow a park bench through the windows of the New York Fed, flood all of downtown Manhattan and rustle the papers on Maria Bartiromo’s desk but come Monday morning? That bell is getting rung. Read more »
GM Reports Preliminary First Quarter 2008 Financial Results
What, did GM become a Wall St. bank? The company lost $3.3 billion in the quarter, related to various things including GMAC stuff and a strike at American Axle. The good news: on an adjusted basis, it only lost $350 million, which is at least believable. If they’d reported an adjusted profit — as these companies are sometimes prone to do — we wouldn’t be buying it. The automaker also reduced its units sold forecast in light of the economy.
Shortages Threaten Farmers’ Key Tool: Fertilizer (NYT)
All of the sudden, fertilizer is hot hot hot? What was it that Cramer said the other day? He said Monsanto was the new biotech stock (or something like that) and that fertilizer players were the new Pfizer or some such — basically fixing the issue, but not curing it. Is the fertilizer shortage a big problem? We have no informed opinion other than to say that eventually this endless cycle of shortages (grain, land, water, energy etc.) will probably snap at some point in some way.
Fed expected to cut key interest rates one more time (AP)
Has anyone one made a “hit me Bernanke one more time” joke before? Surely. But anyway, the markets are expecting one more cheap hit of cheap money and Bernanke is, in all likelihood, going to deliver. Why can’t he be firm and just say no? Who knows, but he just won’t. If you’re a hawk, the good news is: this may be the last one. Right.
Microsoft’s Next Move on Yahoo is Imminent (WSJ)
The report says Microsoft’s next “move” is imminent, though it really sounds like a non-move more than anything else. Rather than decide what it wants to do (go hostile or walk), Microsoft is expected to do a time-buyer, nominate a slate of its own directors, but not really bring a case to shareholders. Good: more delay.
Toll Brothers Swings to Loss (WSJ)
The big homebuilder, whose properties you sometimes see in NYC, reported a loss of $96 million, down from $54.3 million. Net signed contracts in the quarter fell 50 percent to $375.3 million. None of this sounds too surprising. The company did do a $153.3 million after-tax writedown, so it sounds like they would’ve otherwise been profitable, which may be the biggest surprise, unless we’re misinterpreting. Here’s the announcement. Here’s one of the reasons the company is having a rough go of it, according to Robert Toll: “Ceaseless talk of a recession continues to dampen the mood of consumers in general, whether or not a recession actually occurs. For home buyers, we believe this drumbeat, coupled with concerns over mortgages, the direction of home prices, and foreclosures, has kept pent-up demand on the sidelines.” Hey Rob, want us to stop talking recession? Make some money! See it goes both ways.
2008 Dem Nominee (Intrade)
If the markets are to be believed, HRC didn’t do anything to help her case at last night’s Dem debate. The former first lady now trades at a mere $.16 on the dollar — Obama trades at $1.00 minus that. We didn’t watch, suffice to say, past the first two minutes, since we had an unwatched episode of The Wire on the on-demand deck. Man, The Tribune Co… where will they cut costs next?
Sustainable Industrialized Food? (Check Out)
Ok, so we’re totally addicted to a new blog. It’s the Check Out blog and it’s a group blog written by product buyers at Wal-Mart — officially sanctioned of course. And it’s actually provocative, which is unheard of for a corporate blog, save a few. It was the first source to disclose that Wal-Mart was dropping HD-DVD, and today it talks about the book The Omnivor’s Dilemma, and how that relates to Wal-Mart’s items. Is it all a lot of PR? Concievable, but it’s got a certain fresh quality to it. Other recent posts have to do with toy safety and Apple TV.
Roubini: Recession May Last Up to Six Quarters (Big Picture)
Whenever they trot out a real bear, you know, a bear’s bear, it’s Nouriel Roubini, who’s been calling for a deep recession for some time. Over at Big Picture, a video of him predicting that a recession will last for six quarter. Okay, that’d be rough, but that’s just like a year and a half. We can get through that, no? By the way, the prognosticators at a buyouts conference also put the credit crunch end at about 18 months, so maybe there’s some wisdom of crowds going on here. Or maybe this just seems like a safe number. Not too long, not too short.