Investors have been all but ignoring a fairly miserable earnings season as hopes proliferate that it's only a blip on the profit radar.» Read More
Update: 11:41 A.M EST
Bank of Americaannounced agreements with Fannie Mae & Freddie Macthis morning: Parsing the details will likely require days—but the broad takeaway is this: BofA's agreement appears to settle the vast majority of GSE legacy mortgage repurchase claims assumed by Bank of America after their purchase of Countrywide.
The agreement involves a total of $2.8 billion in payments from Bank of America to the two GSEs (Government Sponsored Enterprises).
A Bank of America press release from this morning explains:
Various members of the NetNet crew are in and out this vacation and snow-filled week, so we've asked a few friends to fill in. The following is from hedge fund manager and financial columnist James Altucher ...
1. The bullish case in 133 words.
2. Why I became a professional psychic for a day .
3. Great summary of all the top value stocks for 2011 from every pundit.
4. Why China is a freak economy and can take down the rest of the world.
5. Great article in Slate on why we get addicted to Google , Twitter, texting, etc.
6. Love the stock picks in Howard Lindzon's predictions for 2011
9. Jim Cramer's top 2 Dow picks for 2011 . (Alcoa , Bank of America )
10. My New Year's resolutions for 2011 including my desire to perform standup comedy by year's end.
Bank of America to Take $2 Billion Charge on GSE Repurchases (Yahoo Finance via AP)
"Bank of America Corp. will take an approximately $2 billion charge in its fourth quarter as it settles buyback claims on home loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bank said Monday that it also expects to take a provision of about $3 billion in the quarter related to repurchase obligations on the home loans. Bank of America shares jumped 4.4 percent in premarket trading on the news."
Goldman Invests in Facebook (CNBC via New York Times) "Facebook, the popular social networking site, has raised $500 million from Goldman Sachs and a Russian investor in a deal that values the company at $50 billion, according to people involved in the transaction. The deal makes Facebook now worth more than companies like eBay , Yahoo, and Time Warner."
Political Showdown over Deficit Ceiling Looms \(CNBC via Reuters\) "A top aide to President Barack Obama warned of catastrophic consequences if Republicans follow through on threats to reject an increase in the nation's borrowing limit. Republicans, who will take control of the House of Representatives this week, are demanding spending cuts to curb the $1.3 trillion budget deficit and several have said they would oppose a higher debt ceiling if Obama does not agree to a range of painful cuts. White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee accused Republicans of 'playing chicken' with the nation's financial credibility."
A former Goldman Sachs executive, now working with the NFL Players Association, is crying foul against his former employer's negotiating tactics .
As a labor dispute between NFL owners and players drags on — and the viability of the 2011 season grows questionable — the rhetoric between the two sides is becoming more heated.
Nicole Lapin, of CNBC's Worldwide Exchange, explains what she's long and what she's short this week.
"Stock indexes headed lower on last day of year" (Yahoo Finance via AP) "Investors are taking profits after a strong year in the stock market. The Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average are both up 14 percent for the year, including dividends, as a result of solid corporate earnings. The Nasdaq composite index, meanwhile, is up about 18 percent for the year after dividends."
Unexpectedly Strong Manufacturing and Labor Numbers Surprise Investors (Financial Times) "Hopes of an acceleration in the US economic recovery in 2011 received a boost as fresh data on the health of the manufacturing sector and the labour market were strikingly better than forecasters had predicted. The Chicago purchasing manager’s index, — a measure of manufacturing activity in the Midwest — soared from 62.5 to 68.6, the highest level since the late 1980s and way above economists’ expectations. Meanwhile, the outlook for the jobs market brightened as the number of Americans filing to receive jobless claims unexpectedly dropped below the 400,000 mark for the first time in more than two years." And yet all major U.S. indices close down for the day. Interesting.
"Who's Afraid of Rising Rates? Pros Get Ready For Move" \(CNBC\) CNBC's Jeff Cox talks interest rates and market impact: "Though historically low interest rates have been at the core of much of the rally across asset classes in 2010, that doesn't mean anticipated higher rates in 2011 will stop investors from making money. Strategists remain bullish on the stock market, with forecasts of 10 to 20 percent gains abounding. But market pros remain mostly sanguine about bonds as well, even though rising rates and accompanying inflation usually eat away at the value of fixed-income instruments."
Hedge funds have seen the worst start to the year since the financial crisis, as returns in January and March were both in the red.
The Fed indicated to Citi that it would get more time to fix "stress test" planning problems before rejecting its capital plan.
Goldman Sachs reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped analysts' expectations on Thursday.