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  • Simon Johnson's opinion that the US will face a funding crisis is shared by many. A competing view says since the US creates its currency, treasury issuance is not a government finance operation, but simply a tool for influencing the money supply. The US is not reliant on China or anyone else to purchase its debt.  [View news story]
    Awesome there's a few of the "competing view" folks here on SA can't wait to see the debate!
    Dec 23, 2010. 12:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sales at Sears (SHLD) lag its major competitors, and many of the company’s 2,200 Sears and Kmart stores are run-down and in undesirable locations, according to a NYT profile. Many stores are in older malls, and Sears has invested much less in store improvements than Macy’s (M), Target (TGT), Wal-Mart (WMT) or J. C. Penney (JCP).  [View news story]
    Sears also suffers from an absolute lack of marketing and a busted organization.

    Recent call to Sears for service resulted in SIX transfers among customer service "departments" while they each tried to figure out who's responsibility it was.

    Sears is in dire need of better management. Their locations are not bad in my area though, and their products and prices are competitive. Their service...
    Dec 22, 2010. 11:15 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • For the 2nd day, the reality of Europe's debt crisis wins out over supportive statements from China (I, II). The euro gives up earlier gains to trade lower against the dollar and near a record low against the swissie. Bond spreads on the periphery continue to widen.  [View news story]
    China wants Euro high versus dollar so Europeans buy Chinese products, so they will "talk" up the Euro however they can, but markets seem to not be buying it....
    Dec 22, 2010. 11:12 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The impact of the tax compromise may not be as large as some believe, Dean Baker says, since the potential stimulus it brings to the economy has been greatly exaggerated. "The net stimulus for the economy from this package in 2011 will be in the range of $70B... not likely to provide a substantial boost to growth."  [View news story]
    Not sure I buy this - preliminarily looking through my own tax liabilities I can't say I'm not surprised as how large the difference is under the tax "stimulus".
    Dec 22, 2010. 11:10 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QE2 gets a less-than-impressive report card, as a survey of economists, traders and analysts suggests the bond purchases have been mostly ineffective at lowering interest rates or unemployment. QE2's one area of success: boosting stock and commodity prices.  [View news story]
    Higher commodities and interest rates are both an unfortunate consequence, as are fewer mortgages, but I think QE was stealth bank recapitalizing more than S&P pumping.
    Dec 22, 2010. 11:07 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Mark Hurd wants the letter that resulted in his departure as Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ -0.9%) CEO kept private. But a Delaware judge presiding over a shareholder lawsuit against H-P is considering a motion to unseal the letter. The SEC is also investigating Hurd's H-P exit.  [View news story]
    He may have been good for HP but the shenanigans surrounding his departure and Ellison's cheerleading are smoke, and where there's smoke, there's something...

    His willingness to jump into competitor's ship doesn't speak much to his character.
    Dec 22, 2010. 11:05 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Toronto-Dominion (TD) has no plans to slow down following its Chrysler Financial purchase. CEO Edmund Clark says "we’re not deal junkies... but we keep saying what we’re looking for: We want $10B (in assets) or less deals; tuck-ins that add to our franchise and meet our strategy."  [View news story]
    TD has made some good deals and it looks like they are taking advantage of loonie-Dollar to buy up some american assets. I wonder if they expect loonie to fall looking forward against dollar.
    Dec 22, 2010. 11:03 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • MBA Mortgage Applications: -18.6% vs. -2.3% last week. Thirty-year fixed mortgage rate increased to 4.85% from 4.84%.  [View news story]
    The number is for last week, the numbers on Bloomberg/Yahoo are for more recent.
    Dec 22, 2010. 10:56 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A mystery trader holds 80-90% of the copper in London warehouses, a stake worth ~$3B and equal to roughly 50% of the world's exchange-registered stockpile. Copper's not the only metal where single traders are getting aggressive, and investors are worried.  [View news story]
    First it was chocolate, then silver, now copper...
    Dec 22, 2010. 08:02 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Meredith Whitney defends her 60 Minutes claim that a wave of municipal defaults will spark a selloff in muni bonds, hurting economic growth and causing "a lot of social unrest." And there won't be any bailouts, she says: "Who in Nebraska's going to want to bail out someone in Florida?" These 16 cities face bankruptcy without big cuts.  [View news story]
    The losses a lot of companies and individuals took over the last few years will leave tax receipts busted for at least a couple of years, compound that with everyone filing tax challenges on their property taxes to get them reduced, the "unemployed" working for cash, the growing barter economy, and I think it gets much more complicated.

    Pensions and gov't employment are good places to look at to cut spending, but if it doesn't go deeper we'll be right back here tomorrow.
    Dec 21, 2010. 08:00 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Net neutrality rules are hardly a "threat to freedom" - they're a toothless compromise crafted with the goal of winning the approval of corporate interests, Timothy Karr writes. Indeed, nearly all affected stocks rose today. ISPs and wireless carriers: CMCSA +1.5%, VZ +0.6%, T -0.2%, TWC +0.9%, S +0.9%. Content streamers: NFLX +4.6%, GOOG +1.3%, AMZN +0.8%.  [View news story]
    "Instead of a rule to protect Internet users' freedom to choose, the Commission has opened the door for broadband payola - letting phone and cable companies charge steep tolls to favor the content and services of a select group of corporate partners, relegating everyone else to the cyber-equivalent of a winding dirt road."

    It doesn't appear to be a net neutrality rule effectively at all.

    Another step backwards as the US favors the oligarchs. China becomes more US as US becomes more Chinese.
    Dec 21, 2010. 07:56 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • To protect homeowners seeking loan modifications, California banned payment to lawyers before the work was done, but many of those homeowners now can't find a lawyer at all, a NYT report says. The unintended consequence of a new California law to stop swindles is that honest lawyers can no longer afford to help homeowners deal with lenders.  [View news story]
    Nice, political, and uninformed opinion wyostocks.

    The state of mods is a mess, if you think this was "liberals" promoting their "agenda" as opposed to good policy reaction to an honest problem, you are confused.
    Dec 21, 2010. 07:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Doug Kass expects gold to plunge 25% next year, counting the metal among the worst performing asset classes in 2011. It's a simple matter of a frothy market that has too many bulls and not enough bears, he says. But note that Kass' annual predictions haven't fared too well.  [View news story]
    Dollar-gold and gold-oil are so broken, among other things, a lot of risk in it now.

    I've been in gold since $700~ and I've been lightening up lately.
    Dec 21, 2010. 07:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Meredith Whitney's fear of "50-100 sizable defaults" of municipalities doesn't dissuade Gary Kaminsky from seeing municipal bonds as a "buying opportunity." Even if Whitney is correct, the muni market is measured in trillions, not billions, so those defaults would represent just a sliver of the overall market. Also: "if Citigroup is too big to fail, logic would dictate that so too is the state of California."  [View news story]
    People aren't just getting out of Munis because of fears of default, if that's what Kaminsky thinks he needs a new job.
    Dec 21, 2010. 07:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The FCC is poised to pass net neutrality regulations today. If so, consumer advocates will rejoice while phone and cable corporations will balk. But expect lengthy court fights and uncertainty around web regulation for some time to come.  [View news story]
    Separating out wireless from wired is additonally problematic in that as 4g becomes more prevalent, and internet pipes increase due to advances in tech, more folks will end up having wireless as their only connection.

    And eventually it is feasible that wireless and wired will be equivalent in speed, so FCC is cutting its own legs out from under itself.

    Clearly yet another compromise deal cut in order to "pass" a regulation in the face of opposition, that ends up so watered down as to be irrelevant.
    Dec 21, 2010. 07:25 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment