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  • Visa (V +2.3%) and MasterCard (MA +1.4%) shares rise after settling with the Justice Department in its investigation of anti-competitive practices in the card business, and American Express (AXP -2.1%) sinks again as analysts are pessimistic about its chances of success in winning the fight. Meredith Whitney endorses V and MA, not AXP.  [View news story]
    Well, there goes her Centurion card.
    Oct 5, 2010. 03:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Even in a severe scenario, the taxpayer cost for Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB) won't exceed $400B, says acting FHFA head Edward DeMarco in House testimony. In his prepared remarks, DeMarco expressed concern about transitioning to an explicit mortgage-guarantor role for the GSEs.  [View news story]
    If he is publically admitting to 400B, the actual exposure is scary. Even if he's right, to the clowns running the show in Washington, what's another 12 figure bailout? After all, it's not their money.
    Sep 15, 2010. 12:04 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jim Miekka has never worked on Wall Street and doesn't hold any financial degrees, but he has developed a cult-like following for his Hindenburg Omen. The DJIA has dropped 2.5% since the market indicator was triggered the first of three times on Aug. 12, but its long-term track record shows many more misses than hits.  [View news story]
    A product with a catchy name and spotty track record. Seems kind of common these days. Wonder if someone will develop a "Lusitania Oscillator" or "Chernobyl Indicator" to make a few bucks.
    Aug 26, 2010. 04:52 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Obama stimulus was “a big gamble and it doesn’t look like it’s paying off,” Joseph Stiglitz says, calling for another round of “better designed” stimulus which “needs to be focused more on returns on investment, education, infrastructure, technology." This kind of stimulus, he says, would lower the long-term debt and boost growth in the future.  [View news story]
    Wasn't the original stimulus sold on "shovel ready" projects such as infrastructure? Perhaps the Democrats' slogan in the upcoming elections should be: It's not working, so let's do more of it.

    No wonder the new talking point is the "Bush Recession" since apparently nobody got the "Obama Recovery" memo.
    Aug 6, 2010. 11:19 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Treasury approves mortgage-assistance proposals submitted by North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and South Carolina, and will be sending the states $600M to help up to 50K unemployed homeowners avoid foreclosure.  [View news story]
    Alvin Greene's influence pays off already.
    Aug 4, 2010. 09:07 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The recession was deeper and the recovery slower than the government originally believed, the Commerce Department reports, as it downwardly revises earlier GDP estimates for each of the past three years. Of the 12 quarters in 2007-09, GDP is revised down in seven, as consumer spending grew more slowly and home-building fell more sharply than previously estimated.  [View news story]
    I would be willing to bet Obama's Commerce Department will upwardly revise figures for 2009 - 2011 sometime late summer / early fall of 2012. Probably right before the Democrat Convention so Obama can give his acceptance speech on the stronger than expected "recovery", and naturally, the mess he inherited.
    Jul 30, 2010. 01:35 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Geron (GERN) shares surge as the FDA allows it to proceed with the first human clinical trial of embryonic stem cell-based therapy. The Phase I trial will study whether the cells can help restore function in patients with acute spinal cord injuries. GERN +13.5% premarket. (PR)  [View news story]
    I do not have a position in Geron, but I wish the company (and the study subjects) the best of luck. Amazing to think how many billions of dollars could be made by even the slightest wiggle of a finger or toe.
    Jul 30, 2010. 09:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Obama's rhetoric tends to "lay all the blame for our difficulties" on big business and big banks, Mort Zuckerman writes, and is widely seen in the business community as resorting to "economic populism" to stem the growing weakness in his political standing. Obama's remarks are "taken out of context," Paul Krugman counters - "typical of the whole argument."  [View news story]
    Why haven't Obama and Krugman both moved to Europe? I would be willing to chip in on one way plane tickets. Maybe Obama can play golf all day and let someone else run the country.
    Jul 27, 2010. 03:43 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • No individuals named, no one called out, no actions taken - Ken Feinberg's review of pay practices at banks that received government bailout money was a disappointing bore.  [View news story]
    Only the federal government could pay six figures for an unelected "czar" to report that executives are overpaid, but then do nothing about it.

    Now if we could do something about the millions of overpaid bureaucrats at all levels of government wasting taxpayer money.
    Jul 23, 2010. 02:35 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Geithner says the administration plans to allow tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to expire, despite calls from a growing number of Democrats to delay any tax increases, and to extend estate taxes at 2009 rates. He also says Elizabeth Warren would be an "enormously effective leader" if chosen to run the new consumer finance agency.  [View news story]
    Listening to Geithner discuss tax policy makes me nauseous. Even Kennedy realized that cutting taxes (or at least not raising them) would spur economic growth.
    Jul 22, 2010. 02:57 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Elizabeth Warren is a top contender to become the new consumer czar, but Geithner apparently opposes her despite her advocacy of consumer financial protection for a decade. This would be a mistake, Simon Johnson says, and might use up the last of Geithner's nine political lives. A Supreme Court-style battle may be brewing.  [View news story]
    Any consumer advocate who pushes for a complete and accurate version of Turbo Tax will probably draw Geithner's ire.
    Jul 16, 2010. 04:02 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • So the Goldman Sachs (GS) fine is the biggest extracted from Wall Street, but not the biggest the SEC has gotten: That would be $750M from WorldCom. The rest of the top five: Fannie Mae, Time Warner (TWX) and Qwest (Q).  [View news story]
    Impressive company. The publicly stated number for Goldman's fine doesn't include the required contribution to the Obama 2012 fund.
    Jul 16, 2010. 12:08 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NY Times reports that Goldman Sachs' (GS) settlement with the SEC will include $300M in fines and $250M in restitution for a total of $550M. GS +2.6% AH.  [View news story]
    They may have to serve PBR at the holiday party rather than Hennessy. The bonus pool is probably still untouched. Naturally, there will be no admission of any wrongdoing
    Jul 15, 2010. 04:41 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Goldman Sachs (GS +3.7%) shares spike on nearly a half-million shares in a minute after the SEC says it will make a "significant" announcement at 4:45 this afternoon. Speculation centers on a possible settlement, but the SEC did not mention this.  [View news story]
    They probably bought in right before making the pre-announcement.
    Jul 15, 2010. 03:50 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Illinois successfully sells $900M in taxable municipal bonds, despite weak tax revenue, persistent fiscal problems and gaping pension hole. Foreign buyers were particularly interested in the bonds; "If someone is a non-U.S. investor, and they are thinking Greece versus the state of Illinois, they might want Illinois."  [View news story]
    Nice to see Illinois in such fine company. Interesting there was the interest by foreign buyers; perhaps domestic investors know better.
    Jul 14, 2010. 04:37 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment