Most analysts on the Street have rarely met an S&P 500 stock they didn't like, or at least weren't willing to hang out with for a while.» Read More
Although single-family home prices fell for a fifth straight month in November, the latest numbers out of Case-Shiller’s composite index weren’t as bad as expected.
The consensus was for a decline of 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in the 20-city index. But the decline from October to November was just 0.5 percent. (Unadjusted for seasonal impact, the index fell 1 percent in Novemeber, a slowdown from the 1.3 percent in October.)
I’m sure you will hear lots of happy talk today about how the double-dip in housing prices seems to be decelerating. I don’t believe it. I think it was a head-fake.
The economic numbers out of London this morning are dismal.
Instead of the 0.5 percent growth in GDP that was forecast the British economy contracted by 0.5 percent—a total swing of negative 1 percent growth.
The open question is this: What is the cause of the drop?
It’s never as good as the first time. I’m talking bonuses here—get your head out of the gutter and into the Street. Too big or too small, Wall Street workers are getting paid billions of dollars in bonuses. And while first time bonuses are not the biggest, they are often the most meaningful and memorable.
"UK economy shrinks 0.5%" [Financial Times] UK economy shrinks a 0.5 percent: Austerity model questioned: "The Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday that the nation's GDP fell by 0.5 per cent in the quarter, rather than rising by the 0.5 per cent rate that was the average forecast of a poll of economists conducted by Thomson Reuters. The economy expanded by 1.2 per cent and 0.7 per cent in the second and third quarters of the year respectively."
Paulson Makes a Killing on Citi [Bloomberg Businessweek] "Paulson & Co., the $35.9 billion hedge fund run by John Paulson, told clients that it made more than $1 billion on its Citigroup Inc. investment in the past 18 months. Citigroup, which surged 43 percent last year, was the fund's most profitable bank holding last year, Paulson said in a letter to clients this month."
Happy hump day eve—c'mon, I'm trying here. Here's what you missed while I was manning the graveyard:
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.
Most analysts have rarely met a stock they didn't like, or at least weren't willing to hang out with for a while.
Some energy-linked stocks have sold off unfairly, presenting a good buying opportunity, according to a renewables pro.
The U.S. may not be as strong as investors think because it is growing overly dependent on the consumer for economic growth, Jim O'Neill tells CNBC.