Opening Bell: 6.12.08

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Citigroup to Close Hedge Fund; Blow to CEO (WSJ)
This makes for a good newspaper story: Pandit CEO, Citi closing his old fund Old Lane, cause it's just not worth it anymore, but essentially this story boils down to: hedge funds haven't exactly been stellar assets as part of the big banks, and their fall from glory has been swift over the last 12 months. Citi had been mulling whether to replenish the fund with its own capital, but Citi isn't exactly swimming in it. Oh and Pandit himself recused himself from the discussion. "The departures of Mr. Pandit and other high-ranking Old Lane officials for bigger jobs at Citigroup triggered a provision allowing outside investors to withdraw their money from the fund. In April, "substantially all" of them moved to do so, pulling nearly $3 billion, according to a securities filing."
Brewer Bids $46 Billion for Anheuser-Busch (NYT)
Jeez that took long enough to come about, didn't it. This newss has felt old for what, two weeks now? Anyway, finally the two sides can get to dealing, and beer protectionists can officially go to congress to express their outrage. It's going to be bad, cause people are addicted to this stuff. And the politicians: "Gov. Matthew R. Blunt of Missouri said in a statement Wednesday that he opposed any sale. "Today's offer to purchase the company is deeply troubling to me," he said, adding that he was directing the state's department of economic development to explore ways to keep Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis."
Housing Slump Helps the Draw of Fixer-Upper TV (NYT)
Awesome Brian Stelter piece explores the question: why are home shows still popular, weren't those simply a by-product of the housing bubble? Yes, they probably were. And they still might be some sort of indicator that's 12-18 months behind. Kind of like hiring. Or as one person in the article put it: "People loved comedies during the depression, too." The big change is that the shows are no longer so much about the transactions, the big sell, but about some other emotional message, or even the big non-sale "hahaha, you got screwed on your flip" makes for good TV, no?
Thornburg Mortgage Reports 1Q Results
This is why stocks that once traded like real stocks now trade sub-$1. From the announcement: "Thornburg Mortgage, Inc. today reported a net loss before preferred stock dividends for the quarter ended March 31, 2008 of $3.306 billion, or a loss of $20.64 per common share, as compared to net income of $75.0 million, or $0.62 per common share, for the same period in the prior year." We read through a lot of bad stuff in search of the silver lining. Eventually, we found it: ""While this market environment remains challenging, we believe our jumbo and super jumbo loan origination franchise provides unique value to our clients and lending partners and allows us to create an exceptional, high quality portfolio of mortgage loans. Despite the continued modest increase in loan delinquencies in the first quarter of 2008 and our expectation that delinquencies are likely to continue to increase modestly over the balance of the year, the credit quality of our originated and acquired loan portfolio continues to perform extremely well, and their performance is consistent with our current estimates."


Salmonella-Tainted Tomatoes Linked to Markets, Restaurants (WashingtonPost)
Question for readers: Should we have been giving more attention to the tomatoes/salmonella thing since it broke. The answer is no, right?
Thornburg Mortgage Reports 1Q Results
This is why stocks that once traded like real stocks now trade sub-$1. From the announcement: "Thornburg Mortgage, Inc. today reported a net loss before preferred stock dividends for the quarter ended March 31, 2008 of $3.306 billion, or a loss of $20.64 per common share, as compared to net income of $75.0 million, or $0.62 per common share, for the same period in the prior year." We read through a lot of bad stuff in search of the silver lining. Eventually, we found it: ""While this market environment remains challenging, we believe our jumbo and super jumbo loan origination franchise provides unique value to our clients and lending partners and allows us to create an exceptional, high quality portfolio of mortgage loans. Despite the continued modest increase in loan delinquencies in the first quarter of 2008 and our expectation that delinquencies are likely to continue to increase modestly over the balance of the year, the credit quality of our originated and acquired loan portfolio continues to perform extremely well, and their performance is consistent with our current estimates."
Dollar Rises Before Report Likely to Show Gain in Retail Sales (Bloomberg)
All this talk of renewed hawkism (which we don't believe, btw) has the dollar in rally-ish mode. And maybe (maybe) there's a good retail sales number about to come out, and maybe that'll make the fed comfortable about raising rates.
It's not theft, it's an homage (Megan McArdle)
Like blogs? Here's an interesting looking job at Dow Jones Newswires looking for someone who can: "mine publishable scoops and intelligence from the world of
blogs." Once done mining the person will: "(funnel) short, spirited and well-written items into "Market Talk" - effectively Dow Jones Newswires' running blog on corporate and market developments." Megan thinks this is all about "stealing" blog posts. There's something to that. If any of you get the job, let us know how it goes.
Congratulations to Mike Matusow, Champion of Event #18 (PokerNews)
Awesome: one of our favorite players, Mike Matusow, picked up a WSOP bracelet last night, as well as ($537,862). The win came in the No-Limit 2-7 Draw w/Rebuys tournament. Basically it's not No Limit Hold'em, so don't expect it to be on TV. Matusow embodies everything we like about pro poker -- gambling, going on tilt, lack of control, etc. So props to him and glad he's picked up another bracelet.

Related