Both sales for the day and the holiday season are likely to grow at least 2 percent to 4 percent, according to a survey.» Read More
Significant Terror Attack in Moscow [Wall Street Journal] "A powerful suicide-bomb blast at Russia's busiest airport Monday killed at least 35 people just outside a high-security passenger-arrival zone, again raising questions about the government's ability to contain an Islamist insurgency rooted in the country's southern Caucasus region."
"How ‘Distressed’ Home Sales Are Fuzzing the Numbers" [CNBC] CNBC's Diana Olick teases through the home sales data: "After talking with Thomas Popik over at Campbell, I was struck by how much the sales volume in December was skewed by this surge in distressed sales. The normal seasonal pattern should have home sales flat between November and December, but that certainly wasn't the case, with sales up 12.3 percent seasonally adjusted and up nearly 14 percent not seasonally adjusted, according to the National Association of Realtors."
"Rising Commodity Prices Won't Cause Inflation" [CNBC] CNBC's Steve Liesman reports: "It’s not that inflation is not a significant worry. It’s that commodity prices are not enough to make it happen. "
SAC Orders A Large Pizza [SEC.gov] SAC Capital Advisors is buying to Domino's Pizza. Big Time.
It would be easy to make light of the current chaos in Tunisia.
“Carthage Makes Bid For Global Attention After 2000 Years Of Obscurity,” would probably make a great headline in the Onion.
One reason jokes come readily is that not many of us have given much thought to Tunisia. If it is familiar at all, it is probably as the real-life setting of George Lucas’s Tatooine, the home planet of Luke Skywalker. Steven Spielberg filmed parts of Raiders of the Lost Ark there. And students of the classics know that it is where Rome’s arch-nemesis, Carthage, once existed.
But there’s a serious lesson for Americans in Tunisia’s current struggles, although it’s a lesson many Americans may have trouble digesting.
CEO of a large entertainment company—Just call him "MAX"—in business class, en route to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, tells me "I think Eric Schmidt will be Apple's next CEO.
Makes total sense. Maybe that's why he and Jobs had coffee together a few months back."
Satisfied with his prediction, he proceeds to sink into his seat, and pull out his binder of research "in preparation for my forum." What, no movie during the flight?
"Oh, no, that screen is way to small. You need a MUCH bigger screen."
Kerima Greene is in Davos.
Two failed subprime mortgage lenders are trying to convince federal bankruptcy judges in Delaware today that they should be able to destroy thousands of boxes of original loan documents.
A market correction probably won't be coming any time too soon, and when it does, it will be a moderate correction, according to Vince Farrell and Michael Farr.
Put on your Monday big girl/boy long underpants and get on with it. Here's what you need to know to start the week out right:
TIPS Top 17 Percent Return Over Two Years [Bloomberg] Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities returned 17 percent the last two years, compared with gains of 1.9 percent in Treasuries, Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes show. Yields on 10-year TIPS show bondholders expect the consumer price index to increase 2.18 percentage points a year on average over the life of the debt. The rate rose 1.5 percent in 2010 and is forecast to climb 1.7 percent this year, based on a Bloomberg survey of more than 60 economists.
Fannie & Freddie Legal Bills Cost Taxpayers $130+ Million [NY Times] "Since the government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, taxpayers have spent more than $160 million defending the mortgage finance companies and their former top executives in civil lawsuits accusing them of fraud. The cost was a closely guarded secret until last week, when the companies and their regulator produced an accounting at the request of Congress. The bulk of those expenditures — $132 million — went to defend Fannie Mae and its officials in various securities suits and government investigations into accounting irregularities that occurred years before the subprime lending crisis erupted. The legal payments show no sign of abating."
This is an op-ed from US Senator John Barrasso.
In the new Congress, the American people will give Republicans further opportunities to govern. Unlike our predecessors, we will lessen the burdens on the American people. In economic times like these, Washington should be doing everything it can to tighten its own belt and focus on private sector job creation. The Democrats have not only failed to do this; they’ve actively made it harder for Americans to make ends meet.
There are three areas where I see opportunities to help Americans. First, the Senate must follow the House and repeal the health care spending law and replace it with common sense reforms that will lower the cost of our health care. Second, we must lower the cost of energy by encouraging American energy and innovation; not by discouraging it. Third, we must reform Washington’s culture of spending now and paying later.