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3/24/10 Midday Report: Port-Ugh-al

|Includes:Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (IBKR), MFGLQ, RICK, SBUX

The market is down a bit today on news that some country in Europe named Portugal has had their debt rating lowered by a whole minus sign (yikes, imagine if it had been a minus sign and a frowny face) and slightly negative US macro news.  New home sales came out today and boy were existing home sales surprised by that, though it does explain why their come-ons were never returned and why new homes have so many closets.  Sales in february fell to a record low partially due to blizzards and partially due to people not having any fucking jobs.  Puchases were down 2.2% and were projected to moderately increase, so once again, nice job economists, don't let the assumed door hit you on the way out.  In other macro news, US durable good orders rose by .5%, but less than expected by economists.  However, exlcuding aircraft, military orders, and wrecking balls to demolish foreclosed upon houses, durable goods were down .6%.  Once again the economy is putting out marginally good data followed by marginally bad data and thus remaining at more of a stand still than a value destruction debate between John Meriwether and Bernie Madoff.  It's good that we appear to be at a new equilibrium, though it's bad that that equilibrium appears to be stagnant growth and no dessert after dinner.

In international news, Japan passed a $1T budget to stimulate growth while hoping to avoid fiscal hari kari as their debt is twice the size of their economy.  As part of the legislation, the government is trying to create more jobs by building more pachinko centers (they are now required to have three on every block instead of just two), hiring Mr. Miyagi to help train youngsters on how to paint fences, and by requiring 10 "shooters" in all future bukakke films as opposed to the usual 5.  In Europe, Portugal was downgraded by Fitch ratings from a country to I guess a principality.  Their debt moved from AA to AA- and we all know how drastic that - is from Fitch ratings, in fact Money McBags has nightmares about getting a - from Fitch like he has nightmares about losing his Michelin Star or about waking up next to Lady Gaga with the Ellen Degeneres show blasting on his TV.  So now we're going from Greece to Portugal, with their tasty sweet bread, their delicious salt cod, and their lovely export Vanessa Marcil.  Look, what Money McBags knows about Portugal can fit into an empty bottle of Taylor Fladgate or a small Portuguese hot plate, in fact, though he is a world traveler, Money McBags has never actually been to Portugal or it's capital Lisbon (though he hopes to find it's mythical sister city of Lesbian one day), but he does know that Fitch ratings are about as relevant as the Know-Nothing party, the steady state theory of the universe, or Robert Guillaume, so who cares.

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Disclosure: Long RICK
Stocks: IBKR, MFGLQ, SBUX, RICK