Spotlight On Subprime: With subprime lending Wall Street’s issue du jour (and indications are it may be a lot longer than just “du jour”), our Breaking News Antennae are firmly tuned in to anything subprime.
I wish I could say I knew with 100% certainty the impact that every piece of breaking news will have on the financial markets. But if I were that good a prognosticator, I’d probably be day trading from poolside in the Bahamas.
That being the case, we have to take any piece of news we think might be significant, cast it out upon the waters, and let the chips fall where they may. (And in doing so, set a CNBC.com record for the most clichés in a single sentence.)
We received word just before noon that California-based subprime lender People’s Choice Home Loan had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
People’s Choice is relatively small and not publicly traded, but these days, you can’t ignore a subprime story, and you can’t anticipate the effect it will have on the markets. We put the story on the air - and I also alerted CNBC’s Scott Cohn via e-mail to the news - as he’s currently on assignment covering a subprime lenders’ conference in California.
Remember what I said a few short paragraphs ago about my prognostication skills? The news had no effect on the markets whatsoever. What that means, exactly, I’m not sure, but I am feeling confident that on a different day, the very same story might have had a different effect. Perhaps the two-day rally put investors in such a good mood that a small subprime hiccup couldn’t spoil the party. Still, our job is to get the news on the air, which we did. We’ll polish our crystal ball and try again tomorrow.
Where Were You When The Lights Went Out?: You may have been watching CNBC Monday morning and suddenly seen a TV magic trick: someone or something made “Squawk Box” disappear.
We were sitting in the control room going about our business when all of a sudden, all the TV monitors, all the computers, and some of the lights went out. It was as if someone had suddenly plugged in one space heater or one hair dryer too many.
We had no idea what caused it but one thing was clear: we were no longer on the air.
After the initial surprise, our fabulous reflexes kicked in - the dozen or so of us in the control room rose as one and scurried to the alternate control room - only to find that it, too, was dark. We thought it might not be, because most of the newsroom still had normal lights on.
Thanks to quick work by our technical staff, normal power was restored and we were able to get back in the air in 18 minutes. But it’s funny how all those little problems that we deal with each day - late guests, computer glitches, and the like - suddenly seem a lot less important when you’re not on the air!
I’ve not yet heard what caused the problem, but I’m pleased to report our hamster stayed firmly on the wheel today.