The Ticker


March 2009


Another Bad Quarter Comes To A Close

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CNBC runs down the sixth straight quarter of market declines. The damage incurred in the latest quarter is below:

Major Indices

  • Dow Industrials -14.29%
  • Dow Transports -24.98%
  • Dow Utilities -12.57%
  • S&P 500 -12.81%
  • Nasdaq Composite -4.77%
  • Russell 2000 -16.71%
  • S&P 500 Sectors

    • Tech +1.92%
    • Materials -3.58%
    • Telecom ...
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      3 Ways Consumers Win In Obama's Auto Bailout

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      In his speech today on the auto bailout, President Obama outlined how the government will help consumers looking to buy a new car. The highlights:

      1. Tax breaks. If you bought your car after Feb. 16, the IRS will notify you that you can deduct the cost of any sales and excise taxes, and the same goes ...
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        GM Sinks Stocks As Obama Pans Auto Plan

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        As General Motors goes so goes the market, at least today. With the clock started on a new 60-day deadline for Detroit the threat of bankruptcy in the auto sector remains a distinct possibility. Meanwhile, the decision by the Obama Administration to force out GM chief executive Rick Wagoner sets ...

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        Market Optimism Roaring Back

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        For the first time in a long while it's OK to get (a little) excited about the stock market.

        The Dow is up more than 2 percent today and on top of Monday's 7 percent surge we could be heading for the best monthly gain since 1987. Happily, the bulls are also running in the most troubled sectors ...

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        Jake DeSantis: Dear AIG, I Quit!

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        The best example yet of the perils of the AIG bonus witch hunt:

        From The New York Times:

        The following is a letter sent on Tuesday by Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of the American International Group’s financial products unit, to Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G. It ran in ...

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        Jim Chanos On AIG, Or Why We Need Shorts

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        Short-seller Jim Chanos warns on CNBC that the immediate response to the collapse and Bear Stearns was a push in Washington to loosen accounting standards, repeating his belief that the push to change mark-to-market rules are simply pleas to "bubble-wrap financial statements."

        He writes in the WSJ

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        Toxic Assets And TARP, Together Again

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        Give Tim Geithner credit for his latest shot at fixing the banking system: At least the name is getting more sophisticated.

        Six months after Treasury and the Fed rushed through the original $700 billion "Troubled Asset Relief Program" to buy up "toxic assets" held on bank balance sheets, they ...

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        Who Will Buy iShares?

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        Now that Barclays has said it is shopping its iShares exchange-traded fund business, bets are mounting as to who might be buying.

        First, what is iShares really worth? A few initial reports put it somewhere around $7 billion, though that's likely a high (other analysts put it closer to $3 ...

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        Cisco Flips Out

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        Somebody was going to buy Pure Digital, maker of the hugely popular Flip Video camera, which has become one of the most exciting consumer gadgets of the past few years. The surprise  here is the buyer.

        Cisco Systems is paying $590 million in stock for a company where the value is essentially its ...

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        Fed's Bond Buy Signals Crisis

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        Stocks are rallying, bonds are soaring, and your mortgage rate could fall again now that the Federal Reserve has agreed to take on billions worth of new Treasuries and other securities to support the ailing economy. 

        Don't be fooled: The Fed's decision is a reason to worry.

        The decision today to buy ...

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        AIG Bonuses: 'Distasteful' . . . And Dangerous

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        AIG's Edward M. Liddy says he finds AIG's $165 million bonus payout to executive level employees "distasteful." He's right, and now Congress could try and take the money back after placing Liddy's head on a figurative pike today.

        Too bad it won't matter if they succeed or not.

        Bonuses are simply a ...

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        Ben Bernanke On '60 Minutes'

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        It takes an extraordinary set of circumstances to get a sitting Fed chief into the interview chair, but these are extraordinary times. Ben Bernanke's appearance on "60 Minutes" Sunday night was a great public relations move. Calling a lack of "political will" in stabilizing the banking system the ...

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        American Household Wealth Slumps 18 Percent

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        It's official: We're poorer by almost a fifth.

        The Federal Reserve reports American household wealth fell by $11.1 trillion, or nearly 18 percent, during 2008, with a huge $5.1 trillion drop occurring in just the last three months of 2008.

        The drop, the largest ever quarterly decline on record at the ...

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        Iceland's Long Melt

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        Michael Lewis, chronicler of baseball and financial collapse, has a great piece in Vanity Fair about the economic disaster in Iceland, the tiny nation that more than any other represents the reckless abandon of the credit boom. Read the whole thing. Some highlights:

        Global financial ...

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        Madoff Heading To Jail

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        In his own words, Bernard Madoff today explained the inner workings of his $50 billion Ponzi scheme and the details are shockingly simple.

        Step 1: Get investors to give you cash. Pretend to trade. Lie about your returns.

        Step 2: Put the cash in a bank account (his was at Chase Manhattan).

        Step 3:

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        Forbes' Billionaire List Shrinks By Nearly A Third

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        It's Bill Gates again! The Microsoft legend may have lost $18 billion from last year's list, but he's still worth a hefty $40 billion. Investors Warren Buffet and Carlos Slim landed in the second and third spots even after losing a whopping $25 billion each (they're still worth $37 billion and $35 ...

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        Banker Bailout From The Bottom Up

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        Times are tough, what with the raging financial crisis and rising unemployment. Everyone is concerned about the future of the American economy and how it affects our day-to-day life.

        So, like me, I'm sure you're asking, "Who will help the downtrodden investment banker?"

        Don't worry! The ...

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        Uptick Rule Coming Back?

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        Barney Frank says he's "hopeful the uptick rule will be restored within a month" and that the SEC's Mary Schapiro is on board. The uptick rule basically stopped shorts from betting against a stock as it falls by requiring a move up in price before a short trade. It was removed in July 2007, and ...

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        Cramer Responds To Stewart, Critics

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        Jon Stewart has been blasting CNBC and Jim Cramer in particular lately, and Cramer (who isn't shy about jumping into the conversation) is responding. Specifically, he's touting his call to get out of the market back in October (or, as he puts it, 35 percent ago).

        His MSNBC appearance is here:

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        Google, Cisco May Be Dow Candidates

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        Speculation over new candidates to join the Dow Jones industrial average is always a bit of a horse race since adding or removing companies in the index is a relatively arbitrary choice (Dow stocks are chosen by the The Wall Street Journal, which is published by Dow Jones). Deciding who to cut from ...

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        Landlord Nation: Detroit To Cleveland

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        From Cleveland to Detroit, with home ownership is devastatingly cheap, vulture investors are swooping in to pick up huge chunks of American cities for pennies on the dollar.

        First to Detroit, from the AP:

        Welcome to Landlord Nation, where foreclosure notices are plentiful and for-sale ...

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        Stock Losses Outpace Stimulus

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        Bespoke Investments makes another uncomfortable point today. Losses in the stock market since the stimulus plan was announced are now far larger than the size of the actual stimulus. They say:

        While Washington has lauded the $787 spending bill as the medicine that will help bring the ...

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        Bond Data Point Of The Day

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        From Bloomberg:

        Buying 30-year Treasuries is returning more than stocks for the first time since Jimmy Carter was president.

        For three decades, owning equities in developed countries earned more than “on-the-run” 30-year government bonds. The advantage reversed after $36 trillion was ...

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        Madoff May Be Prepping Guilty Plea

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        The world's biggest Ponzi scheme could end with a guilty plea. So says the AP:

        Prosecutors have filed a motion indicating that Bernard Madoff may be ready to plead guilty to a sweeping financial fraud.

        The U.S. Attorney's office indicated Friday in a brief court that Madoff is ready to ...

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        4.4 Million Jobless Is A Lot

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        Since the recession started in August of 2007, the U.S. economy has shed 4.4 million jobs, including more than two million in just the last three months. For comparison's sake, the growing army of job losses for Americans is larger than the population of New Zealand, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico.

        A ...

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        Tim Geithner's Bad Week

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        Tim Geithner is having a tough week. Wall Street obviously isn't confident in Washington's nebulous plan to fix the banking sector, and the pundits are losing patience with both the Treasury Secretary and the Obama Administration. Consensus is building that Geithner still hasn't owned up to the ...

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        Dollar Stocks Everywhere!

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        It's almost impossible to draw any positive conclusions regarding stocks right now. Instead, we're mostly left with haunting statistics showing just how damaged the trading environment is, and how frightening and weird it's getting for Wall Street.

        For example, what's one to make of the fact ...

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        Andrew Lo On New Challenges For Investors

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        Andrew Lo, hedge fund manager and director of MIT's Laboratory for Financial Engineering, is a long-time student of investor behavior, especially the sort that belies the notion that markets move with cool efficiency. Particularly today, he sees animal spirits lurching about in some worrisome ways ...

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