Davidson Kempner continues to make money by focusing on beat up loans—despite the general perception that bonds have little to offer investors.» Read More
Over the weekend, we learned that the federal government has gone into panic mode over insider trading. It is using the kind of tactics developed to fight mobsters, and later, terrorists, to root out and punish the use of non-public information by hedge fund traders. It's the equivalent of TSA Rapiscan body scanners or invasive pat-downs at airports.
Does this make sense? Mobsters and terrorists have genuine victims, often easily detectable by their corpses; while the victims of insider trading are far harder to detect. That should be the starting place in any story about government enforcement; who is the victim? When it comes to insider trading, the victim is so hard to detect that it's far easier to suspect that it may not exist. The victim of insider trading is a Snuffleupagus, someone visible only to the Big Birds behind government desks.
During this time of year, we'll read and hear lots of stories on the pulse of the consumer with interviews from retail CEOs as well as analysts. But another indicator on the overall health of the retail sector is the REITS that acquire, own, develop, redevelop, manage or lease regional and community shopping centers.
The occupancy of these REITs tell you just how robust the industry is performing—is it contracting or expanding? One of companies in this space is The Macerich Company \(MAC\) which owns approximately 73 million square feet of gross leasable space with primarily interests in 71 regional malls throughout the United States. Art Coppola, Chairman and CEO of the company tells me this holiday season could be a very merry one for the retail industry.
World markets are sharply lower this morning. The selloff appears to have been triggered by two principal factors: Worries about a worsening debt crisis in Europe, and North Korean shelling of a South Korean island.
Here are the raw data: (From Yahoo Finance via AP) "In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 35.77 points, or 0.6 percent at 5,645.06 while Germany's DAX fell 16.76 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,805.29. The CAC-40 in France was 30.16 points, or 0.8 percent, lower at 3,788.73."
"Wall Street was also poised to open lower—Dow futures were down 61 points, or 0.6 percent, at 11,104 while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 futures fell 9.2 points, or 0.8 percent, at 1,188.70."
North and South Korea Fire Artillery in Anger
North Korea and South Korea have exchanged artillery fire after the North shelled a South Korean island with artillery rockets near the two countries disputed maritime border. This is an international incident of a serious magnitude, with ramifications for both the regional markets in Asia, as well as for the broader global financial markets.
The New York Times provides a timeline, as well as a context for the hair-trigger potential for escalation on the Korean Peninsula:
Are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the enormous Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) that purchased about three quarters of the total single-family mortgages in the United States, about to step into the repurchase litigation fray ?
If so, it might be very frightening news indeed for the lenders potentially on the hook to repurchase the securities they sold to the GSE's.
First, a little background.
From the RealtyTrac article, a primer on Fannie May and Freddie Mac:
Don’t be so sure that the European Union’s emergency aid package for Ireland will stop the spread of debt concerns to other euro zone countries. In fact, it may accelerate it.
After Greece was bailed out of its own debt troubles this year, the various European government officials all voiced confidence that the stabilization programs put in place would probably not need to be drawn down. Just the existence of the programs—the expression of the will of European government’s to stabilize the markets—would be enough to stabilize markets. Indeed, the Eurocrats insisted that the point of constructing the bailout programs was to avoid ever having to use them.
Diamondback Capital Management, one of the three firms that was raided Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, says that its cooperating with the FBI's investigation .
"We received an inquiry this morning from the FBI," the hedge fund firm said in a statement that was emailed to MarketWatch . "Diamondback is voluntarily cooperating. The firm is fully operational and we, along with our team, continue to manage the portfolio and Diamondback's business for the benefit of our investors," it added.
Law student Samuel Jaffe won’t be standing in line in the wee hours of the night hoping to score a Black Friday deal.
"I'd rather be in a bathrobe at 3am ordering my discount gifts or buying gift cards than being in a stampede," says Jaffe.
A Mercator Advisory Group study finds $70.5 billion was spent on store gift cards last year versus $40 billion in 2003. Even though the amount has nearly doubled in the last six years, the growth pace has begun to stall. Purchases of gift cards were up just over two billion dollars from 2008 to 2009.
"Gift card growth over the past two years has slowed down because of the economy. People have been getting deals. So, why give cash when you can get something 50 to 60 percent off for something impressive," says Eric Beder, Brean Murray, Carret & Co. Retail Analyst.
The American media magnate and CEO of News Corp, Rupert Murdoch and Apple CEO, Steve Jobs worked secretively to create a tablet-based news outlet operating out of the 26th floor of the News Corp building.
The tablet-only news outlet called “The Daily” will contain what is being described as “highly visualized” and interactive content.
During the process of creating the project, the 27th and 25th floors were "quarantined" for purposes of secrecy.
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.