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  • Attorney General Holder puts a $5B-plus target on how much S&P (MHP -6.5%) defrauded investors through faulty ratings on MBS, and says the DOJ is going after all of it. "S&P misled investors ... causing them to lose billions of dollars." S&P alone? (earlier: Even $3B seems far too high) [View news story]
    But that's not the product that they sell. The way the language of the ratings are worded, it is nothing more than an opinion. People choose to take those ratings and make it more than an opinion/assessment. Why is that their fault? Plenty of regulated (and respectable) investment houses issue upgraded to AAPL at $750 and downgraded to NFLX at $60. All worthy of having their heads cut off by the same standards.
    Feb 5, 2013. 05:22 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Attorney General Holder puts a $5B-plus target on how much S&P (MHP -6.5%) defrauded investors through faulty ratings on MBS, and says the DOJ is going after all of it. "S&P misled investors ... causing them to lose billions of dollars." S&P alone? (earlier: Even $3B seems far too high) [View news story]
    But that is not what they are selling - their approval that you can invest based on their ratings. They are just selling a personal assessment. What you choose to do with it is your own decision. When people buy a house, they can bring along someone to assess the value of the home. But there is no guarantee that the home is worth that much. Stop condoning laziness and irresponsibility. It's ok to buy research to support your own work and personal research. But you still should do your own homework and have the character to stand behind your own decision. Everyone makes mistakes.
    Feb 5, 2013. 12:28 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Attorney General Holder puts a $5B-plus target on how much S&P (MHP -6.5%) defrauded investors through faulty ratings on MBS, and says the DOJ is going after all of it. "S&P misled investors ... causing them to lose billions of dollars." S&P alone? (earlier: Even $3B seems far too high) [View news story]
    This is ridiculous. The rating agencies did not ask people to rely on the ratings for the investment decisions. Many people (and funds) put in place the rating requirements as an additional way to tell people that their investment choices are supported. How is this different than I like a stock and then C or BAC analysts came out with upgrade and then I purchase but it turned sour. I can't go and sue them for that. Hind sight is 20/20. If the MBS is so "obviously" terrible why are we not suing all the analysts, managers and everyone person, including public pension fund managers, who bought them? It's obvious and they did not look. Just as guilty as the rating agencies. The exception is that they rating agencies just express their opinions, just like many of us here on SA. They do not have the burden of investing (and due diligence as a result) of a portfolio manager. The information that is provided to the rating agencies are also available to all money managers who bought them. Unless sometime tells me that rating agencies have access to additional information that investors do not have.

    Everyone is at fault for greed and laziness.
    Feb 5, 2013. 12:24 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Treasury violated its rules on executive pay as it went 18 for 18 in approving raises for AIG and GM execs over the past few years, according to SIGTARP. Treasury was warned of this a year ago, but disputes the report's findings. [View news story]
    @Ted Bear: any data regarding the comments on BAC or just a random negative rant and assumption? I cannot find any info online regarding why they did it. However, the way I understand it, many banks set up subsidiaries in these offshore havens (Ireland, Luxembourg, Cayman etc...) because of the less regulated nature (and also less sophisticated regulation) of these jurisdictions which allow them to take more risks as well. So by moving it to London, it is actually a more conservative move and shine more light on these trades. So more transparent. Not obscuring like you suggest.
    Jan 28, 2013. 03:54 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia (NOK) reverses course sharply after being higher earlier and is now -5.2% following its Q4 release. Despite net earnings of €202M - the company's first profit in six straight quarters - sales of €8.04B missed expectations of €8.12B and the company suspended its dividend. [View news story]
    Actually, not sure if that is legal tho. Bordering on insider-trading/manipu... no? I am sure someone would sue if that is the case. Just to employ some lawyers.
    Jan 24, 2013. 09:21 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia: Positive News Followed By What? [View article]
    Not sure I understand you. You want to know why they do not have their own OS? Like what they used to have with Symbian and was planning with Meego? Their decision to abandon it was because they do not have the resources to create a competitive platform to compete with iOS, Android and WP. They could not catch up with the competition and so they have to let it go and consolidate their resources around their strength as a premiere hardware company. They strategically allied with WP (and get paid for supporting the new ecosystem). Or if you are referring to creating apps for different ecosystem - they sort of doing that with the HERE app in iOS, the stripped down version of Nokia Maps.
    Jan 16, 2013. 09:23 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia: Positive News Followed By What? [View article]
    They do write their own apps. Nokia collection such as Nokia Pulse, Nokia Music, Nokia Transit, City Lense etc....
    Jan 15, 2013. 02:55 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More on Nokia: Lumia shipments totaled 4.4M, up from Q3's 2.9M and generally above forecasts. Stephen Elop says Lumia 920 sales were supply-constrained. Total smart devices sales were 6.6M, -64% Y/Y (withering Symbian base), but thanks to a higher Lumia mix, ASP jumped to €182 from Q3's €155. Mobile phone units were 79.6M, -15% Y/Y, ASP roughly even Q/Q at €31. 9.3M Asha phones sold, up from 6.5M in Q3. NOK +17.6%. (PR[View news story]
    I guess Elop saw your article about don't expecting any surprise and he says "surprise!"
    Jan 10, 2013. 10:22 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Treasury announces an offering for its remaining stake in AIG. The government currently holds a 16% stake in the company - 234M shares - and will continue to hold some warrants following the sale. Shares -0.8% AH. [View news story]
    You must have missed the news the Maiden Lane has been unwounded. And Fed made money on them.

    "August 23, 2012: Maiden Lane III LLC sold all remaining securities. Subsequent to the repayment of ML III LLC’s liabilities to the New York Fed and AIG, net proceeds from sales of the securities, as well as cash flow the securities generated while held by ML III LLC, provided a net gain of approximately $6.6 billion for the benefit of the U.S. public."
    Dec 10, 2012. 05:13 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Qihoo (QIHU -1.1%) and Nokia (NOK +2.1%) will partner to offer a custom phone for the Chinese market, a source tells Marbridge Consulting. Qihoo, which could integrate its browser, antivirus software, and search engine with the phone, is no stranger to partnerships with phone OEMs. Neither is rival Baidu, which is teaming up with Lenovo to offer a phone leveraging its Android-based OS. Nokia, whose Chinese sales have plunged, just launched the Lumia 920T and 620 for China Mobile. [View news story]
    Lumia 900 has handwriting input in Chinese. Both simplified and traditional character. I just checked again to make sure that I am not crazy.
    Dec 7, 2012. 04:53 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia (NOK) signs a deal to sell its headquarters in Finland to scrounge up more cash. The home for Nokia's top execs sold for $221.9M. A statement from the company acknowledges it needs to continue to sell non-core assets as opportunities arise. [View news story]
    My favorite comment on SA so far!
    Dec 4, 2012. 09:12 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Initial reports of sellouts for Nokia's (NOK) Windows Phone 8 Lumia hardware are "misleading," thinks Deutsche's Kai Korschelt, since they have much to do with supply issues. "Anecdotal evidence suggests that many stores have only received 5-20 devices/store with wider carrier distribution delayed in some countries," Korschelt writes, while speculating 28nm chip shortages are to blame. He also claims U.K. retail survey and Google search interest data for the Lumia line is underwhelming. (Raymond James[View news story]
    My guess is that they becausse none of them have ready inventory and need to compete with Walmart and other competitors to book revenue by locking in new contract customers. So even tho there are high demand, if they can lock in these contract, send the order into AT&T (and the customers can wait for however long to get their phones due to shortages), they can recognize their referral fees. It's a game of chicken.

    Further, if the price is the same as AT&T, why should people buy from Amazon or Walmart when they can buy from AT&T. Especially if the wait time to get the phone is the same? They can probably charge the same price if the wait time is shorter, which I do not think is the case (can be wrong on this). Further, if Amazon holds out and not give discount, and Walmart decides to give the $30 discounts, Amazon would lose the sales to Walmart. The reason why AAPL is able to keep the iPhone undiscounted is by controlling the distribution of the subsidized contracts. You can only get the iPhone with contract price from AAPL store or ATT/Verizon etc...(believe this is still the case).

    In short, the current available stock of Lumia phones may be short versus current demand (hence the required wait). But when compared to what they can produce in the future, obviously you can have infinite supply. And this is the case here. You are locking in current demand and meet them with future supply. Those who must have the phone now can go on craiglists or eBay and last I check they are only available off contract and more expensive than price charge by AT&T (which is $450).
    Nov 30, 2012. 09:35 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • After ten years in the wind industry, GE (GE -3.3%) celebrates with its 20,000th wind turbine installation. Altogether, GE's 20K-turbine fleet has the capacity to power the cities of Hong Kong and London for an entire year. In the U.S. and Europe over the past four years, nearly 40% of new power generation installations have been wind. [View news story]
    Thank you for pointing out the silliness of the statement. Does it takes 20k turbines 10 yrs to generate the equivalent of 1 yr power consumption of London and HK? 100 yrs? or 1 yr?
    Nov 14, 2012. 04:47 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Listening to Dimon, one almost feels sorry for bank executives and their shareholders given the regulatory foot they're under. Asked about share repurchases, Dimon wants to get back to them in 2013. Though little changed in the bank's underlying business or capital strength, JPM was forced to suspend buybacks at $32 share in wake of the London Whale, and now will resume them at a far higher price. [View news story]
    The London Whale story sunk their stock to $32. They were trading around $46 before it hit or rumor of it hitting. So no, they did not suspend their stock repurchase at $32 only to buy it at much higher. If the London Whale story did not happen they would be buying it around $46. Distortion.
    Oct 12, 2012. 02:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Legal settlements often ease investors’ minds, but the size of BofA's (BAC -1.5%) $2.34B tab for settling claims it misled investors about Merrill Lynch’s financial health before its purchase was an unwelcome surprise. Some analysts worry BofA’s legal exposure doesn’t seem to be tapering off; it's the bank's 11th settlement totaling $29B since the start of the financial crisis. [View news story]
    So what is the benefit of this implied guarantee? Prop up the equity? Cheap debt financing? Take more risks? If equity, FNMA actual operates with an implied guarantee of the government, not a suggested theory perpetuated by the media like the big banks. And their stocks are trading at 0.28 last I look. Cheaper debt? You said they can borrow at zero - "interest free loan" - and I am pretty sure Bank of America bond rates are higher than zero. Take more risks? The way I understand it, banks are now requiring more down payments and toughening up lending criteria and the reserves keep going up despite being encouraged to lend more with zero interest rate by the fed. So they are taking less risks. The people who bought Merril, Countrywide have been booted out. Not people who are running it. So how is the supposed implied guarantee are being abused? Not that I agree there is an implied guarantee. Go rant at people like Ken Lewis if you want to but this constant righteous hectoring of the banks by regurgitating the clueless and hostility fanning media is getting old.

    As to the zero interest rate policy, you may believe it is to help the bank but I am proned to believe that it is driven more to prop up the real estate market which benefits most home owners as well FNMA, Freddie and the local government who will have to deal with a housing blights. There are more beneficiaries here than just the banks. Whether I think it is fair is an entirely different opinion. But no, I don't think the tax payers are actively bailing out BAC right now.

    Disclosure: I do not work for BAC or any of the big banks.
    Sep 29, 2012. 01:36 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment