Skip to main content

Opening Bell: 3.4.08

Citigroup May Need Cash as Losses Mount, Dubai Says (Bloomberg)
Speaking at a private equity conference in Dubai (that must be sorta fun), the head of Dubai International Capital suggested that Citigroup would likely need more cash to stay solvent: "It will take a lot more than that to rescue Citi and other financial institutions." The that refers to an investment from neighbor Abu Dhabi. According to Bloomberg, banks and securities firms have raised a total of $105 billion from SWFs, governments and other investors, as part of their recapitalization projects.
Dem Pres. Primaries (Intrade)
Another election morning, another look at the betting markets. Let's say this: Hillary had a good few days. Polls suggest that the late-breakers have gone her way and she appeared on some comedy shows, which, in our opinion, is good for a candidate like her, even if she still a little stiff. Obama, who once held a commanding lead in Texas is down to $.58 on the dollar. In Ohio, where it was once a split, Hillary has about $.80. You could argue that a split decision isn't good enough for her. But if she can win OH, TX, RI and lose VT (Obama has the Ben & Jerry's endorsement) then she's back in the game, at least for awhile.
Companies Are Piling Up Cash (NYT)
Americans are depleting their pocketbooks, spending and going into debt on the most frivolous vanity purchases you can imagine. But their corporate brethren are socking money away like good little soldiers. And they're reducing leverage ratios as well -- despite the fact that investors are always hectoring management about upping leverage. But anyway, the good news is that broke Americans own these cash rich firms. There's really no such thing as a company -- just assets owned by various people organized as one. So despite the suggestion that it's either/or or us-against-them, we're all one.
Intel Lowers First-Quarter Gross Margin Forecast Due to Lower NAND Flash Memory Prices
Hard to say how much impact this little ditty from Intel will have. They announced after the bell last night that margins would be lower than expected, but then they didn't change any other forecasts (sort of strange how that can work). Of course, in our margin-obsessed world, sometimes folks overlook stuff like actual profits. Probably all depends on the mood of the day. And then of course, whatever today's direction is may or may not be ascribed to Intel's announcement.

SEC Orders Changes to Form D Filing (AP)
Venture capital investments would seem to have a justification for not being transparent, since there aren't public investors to be hurt. But ultimately, transparency is a good in its own right these days. For a long time, VCs had to file with the SEC regarding their investments, but they actually got away with doing paper filings. No more. Well, as of next March no more. Private startups raising money will have to file their raises just like anyone else. But: they won't have to list the investor. Not sure whether this is any better than the old system. But it ends the exclusivity held by PE Hub, which is always the first to report VC investments.
Hard Assets an Easy Call? (WSJ)
We've asked this question before, but is there the equivalent of Dow Theory when it comes to commodities? You know, like, how various measures making new highs at the same time confirm each other? Anyway, fresh highs for gold, platinum and oil all at the same time, or at least close to it. The big multi-year oil chart is the most amazing, though they're all pretty staggering.
Google dresses up job listings for crappy jobs (Valleywag)
Apparently Google has a penchant for talking up lame CSR (customer service rep) positions, so it can lure the best and the brightest to them. This is just Valleywag tipster talking, but don't disbelieve them. And seeing as Google tends to rank pretty highly on lists of most desired places to work, it probably doesn't take much to fool gullible top-tier grads not eager to work for a more typical corporation.
FCC Is Urged to Investigate Alabama TV Station (WSJ)
Apparently some TV station in Alabama just happened to go completely black during a 60 minutes segment critical of some Alabamian political shenanigans. Good timing. Now the FCC is investigating, though from a 1st amendment standpoint, we sorta think they should have the right not to air whatever they want. But then there's all this stuff about the "public's" airwaves, so we wouldn't be shocked to see an FCC slap on the wrist.