Five Things to Watch... After the Apocalypse
Looks like we can raise the "all clear" sign here on Earth, though it didn't seem like the Oklahoma City Thunder got the memo when they forgot to play the first third of Saturday night's NBA playoff game. Markets try to get their groove back, the IMF looks to announce its next leader and the Treasury Department gets ready to unload some AIG. Here's what we're watching…
LinkedIn to Markets: Traders have had the benefit of a weekend to reflect on LinkedIn's skyrocketing shares. Following its public offering Thursday, the social network turned in the fifth highest first-day trading gain since 2001. The implied value of the company is now more than $8 billion. LinkedIn reported profits of $15 million in 2010. Sounds like dodgy math. The focus on the bubble-esque float obscures the bigger picture as major indices turned in another choppy week.
Who's Next at the IMF?: Dominique Strauss-Kahn is looking for a place to live (under house arrest) and finding himself the subject of expected ridicule, notably including the opening skit in Saturday Night Live's season finale. But, as that skit reminded, Europe has a host of problems that continue beyond DSK's resignation. So, who's steering the ship? France's finance minister Christine Lagarde is emerging as a leading candidate to succeed the embattled Strauss-Kahn. A consensus of European nations is building behind Lagarde, compounding the historical precedent of naming a European chief.
The Greece-y Wheel: Speaking of the various Euro crises, none is more prominent than Greece at the moment. Last week's downgrades of Greek debt by the major ratings agencies were the latest crack in the country's already reinforced finances. Over the weekend, a chorus of European leaders including Greece's own finance minister argued that the nation must avoid just restructuring its debt and push ahead with further austerity measures and asset sales. Sounds like a plan that will play well... except in Greece.
Anticipating AIG: The collapse of AIG in those fateful days in September 2008 could've been the really big straw that broke the camel's back. But, two and half years later, the company's been subject to quite the makeover under government watch. Now, it's time for the US taxpayer to start shedding some of its 92% stake in the insurer. The re-IPO should price Tuesday afternoon, though any updates on the deal size could come sooner.
Apple's China Problem: On Sunday, Taiwanese tech production company Foxconn announced a third death following a large explosion at a planet in southwestern China. Apple shares came under pressure Friday after the initial news, since Foxconn serves as its primary contract manufacturer. In its quarterly earnings, Apple allayed fears that supply chain disruptions caused by the Japanese earthquake would be material. But, what about this?