Howard Marks thinks that the drop in oil prices could finally expose low lending standards and provide better value in the markets.» Read More
"Sure, Stocks Are Rallying, But Are Investors Too Bullish?" (CNBC) CNBC's Jeff Cox handicaps the rally in equities: "The stock market's path to prosperous times ahead is unlikely to be smooth, with increasing volatility along the way and hazards both domestic and foreign. While the new year begins with most strategists expecting big things, a recurring theme is that investor complacency is nearing an end. The market's main fear gauge, the CBOE Volatility Index is just above its holiday season lows and around a level last seen in April 2010, before sovereign debt concerns drove a summer-long slump in stocks."
Dow at 24 Month High (Wall Street Journal) "Stocks started 2011 with a bang Monday, reaching fresh two-year closing highs as improved manufacturing and construction data boosted investors' outlook for the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 93.24 points, or 0.8%, to 11670.75, its highest close since Aug. 28, 2008. The climb represented the measure's biggest move since Dec. 3, the third time in a row it rose on the first trading day of the year and its seventh gain in the past nine sessions."
Manufacturing Numbers Rise for 17th Straight Month \(Financial Times\) "The US manufacturing sector grew in December for the 17th straight month, boosting hopes that the economic recovery is gathering pace following other upbeat reports about manufacturing in the eurozone, Taiwan and South Korea. The Institute of Supply Management’s purchasing manager’s index rose to 57 from 56.6 in November, slightly below the 57.2 expected by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Readings greater than 50 signal expansion."
Betting on when old people will die is creepy.
It was also, until recently, big business.
And now, it seems, that everyone who participated in this morally repulsive game is suing everyone else.
Investing in 2010 was even easier than it looked: All you really needed to do was own 12 stocks out of the 630 that make up the three major indices. But if you didn’t have them in your portfolio, you whiffed big time.
While the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 11.5 percent, the Dow Jones industrials rose 10 percent and the Nasdaq was up 15.8 percent, most of the gains were concentrated in just a handful of stocks.
Congress is back in session this week and the brawl on the hill over health care reform will officially be on once the GOP takes control of the House.
Talk of rescinding the health care law to starving funding for it are rampant in the new Congress. So what does that mean for investors who are investing in the health care sector?
I decided to ask Wilbur Ross, Chairman and CEO of WL Ross & Co.
In July of 2010, Ross along with Edwin “Mac” Crawford, former chairman of CVSCaremark , teamed up to form a joint venture looking to invest in the health care sector with a focus on service providers rather than products. WL Ross committed more than $1 billion to the partnership.
I got right to it asking both of them if this cloud of uncertainty hanging over the sector is dampening his optimism on investing opportunities.
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."
The surging power of activist investors is bolstered by a growing ally: public pensions and other big institutions.
Crude oil futures fell sharply, signaling traders that the selling is not over.
The Fed gave banks more time to meet a provision in the Volcker rule that bans them from betting with their own money through investments in risky hedge and private equity funds.