The market is bouncing around today even though GDP grew 5.7%, the fastest pace in 6 years and beat estimates of 4.7% growth. The upside was led by a restocking of inventories from their depressed levels (and inventories were more depressed than Kathy Griffin's bikini waxer the time she ran out of rubber gloves). The change in inventories accounted for 3.4% of the growth with purchases of equipment and software up 13%, negating the 15% drop in commercial construction because building cardboard boxes is so much cheaper than actual homes. So the question becomes is this a one quarter inventory rebuilding and stimulus induced anomaly or are we really on the way to a recovery? In the delightful Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's model on the stages of grief (and for those who missed Ms. Kubler-Ross's induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2007, the finger sandwiches were to die for), the economy has passed steps one and two by moving past denial (we are definitely fucked) and anger (openly calling for Dick Fuld to have his dick folded) and is now in the bargaining stage (please hire me, please, please). Unfortunately the next stage is depression, which hopefully isn't caused by another market crash when inventories fail to turn and/or by China's bubble bursting like Christina Hendricks' bustier. Of course the last stage is acceptance and with any luck we will be accepting growth and recovery and not the realization that we are Japan circa 1989 or Taylor Rain's lovely backside in her brilliant performance in 2004's much overlooked film, Apprentass.
What is most concerning to Money McBags is that the market has been selling good news and is trading down now that the expected results are coming in much better. Of the 195 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings since Jan. 11, 154 have beaten analysts’ estimates, according to Bloomberg data. That is an amazing stat and yet the market rally seems to have fizzled out like Lindsay Lohan's singing career (and acting career, and pretty much anything other than her whoring career, which actually makes us all winners).
The other big news of the day is that Ben Bernanke was confirmed by the Senate for another 4 year term by a 70 to 30 vote. The thirty who voted against him also voted for Mountain Dew in the Pepsi challenge, Curly Joe as their favorite of the 3 Stooges, and Anna Karenina as their favorite Tolstoy novel. Money McBags is a Bernanke supporter and thinks he has done a perfectly reasonable job as Fed Chairman, so kudos and huzzah for the Senate who took a wide stance and voted bi-partisanly on this one.
In stock news, MSFT earnings were up 60% thanks to Windows 7 and a little something they refer to as a "monopoly." They beat estimates by $.15 by earning $.74 per share and promised that with earnings like this Bill Gates may finally be able to move out of his mother's basement. Amazon also put up a huge quarter with sales rising 43% and earnings coming in at a robust $.85 per share, well ahead of the $.72 estimates. They also announced a $2B share buyback which boggles the mind considering that they are trading at 50x next year's earnings and with the iPad coming in to the market and potentially taking share away from the Kindle. Why a commodity business with low barriers to entry should trade at 50x is beyond me, but then again, so is M-theory and all of it's absurdly thought out 11 dimensions.
In small cap news.....read more.....
Disclosure: long crus, no other positions