Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Stan O'Neal Is Retired, As of Like.....Now.

So it finally is finished. But what a weird way to go. Merrill Lynch announced that Stan O'Neal was not being fired, or that he was simply stepping down. No, Stan O'Neal retired...immediately. Like he is sooo retired. Do you think they threw him a retirement party? Do you think they got him a cake at least?

I think the $160 million will help ease those wounds. But I bet it still smarts that he didn't get any "over the hill" kind of jokes that come with retirement.

But lets get one thing straight...he is going to get $160 million for pissing off his company in general, making bad bets on sub-prime loans, and post a quarterly loss of $8 billion and he still has the rights to that money. I think I could handle a job like that.

$160 million for screwing up so royally that everyone from top to bottom is cheering you out the door. Where can I get a job like that? I have no problem with people not liking me for stupid decisions that I make and get paid handsomely for it.

And now the company has had a class action suit file against them for not being transparent enough with their bets on the sub-prime market. And poor Merrill Lynch is holding the bag while Stan is out there enjoying his immediate retirement.

Now certainly, Stan O'Neal was not the person making all the decisions in the sub-prime arena. But the buck does stop at the CEO. If he isn't aware or approving of what is happening, he shouldn't have been CEO to begin with. Be certain, that he is not the only one whose head is going to roll. How many other immediate retirements are coming out of Merrill.

What a mess.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Month Review...A Few Days Early

This may be a little bit early but I think it is an appropriate time to give a monthly recap of the site and some things of interest.

Earnings seasons has been in full swing. We have seen:

1) Google, Apple, & Microsoft post good gains and advance.
2) Amazon post good gains, but not considered good enough and get whacked.
3) Bad earnings reports from Merrill Lynch and Bank of America.

It looks like Stan O'Neal looks like he is just going to step down at Merrill after all. It is much smarter than getting shown the door, which was a foregone conclusion already. You just can't report a write off loss of $5 billion and report a loss of just shy of $8 billion a few weeks later. Mr. Market isn't a big fan of that type of performance.

The Fed meets this week...I'll definitely be posting more about this in the coming days. This cut, whatever amount it is, and subsequent notes from the Fed will give direction for the remainder of this year.

But on to the review. I have now had this blog for 3 full months. And traffic has increased each month. Still not setting the world on fire with hits, but progress is progress. Here is the list of my most popular blogs this past month.

1) Subprime is Gone, FHA, & Credit Unions was by far the most popular choice from this month. It was featured in the blog carnival at truthfullending.com. Thanks to truth and check out the other posters. It's always good to share.
2) One of my earliest blogs, Death of the 2/28 ARM continues to draw a good portion of traffic. I plan to go over steps individuals should take when facing ARM resets in November.
3) Repair Your Credit discusses what you can do to fix errors on your credit report and also a third party that can help you with issues if you are uncomfortable handling issues yourself.
4) Countrywide's Loss is Investors Gain, was just a post from last week, but my fellow Nesteggr Zach, linked it in his blog zachstocks.com. Thanks to Zach.

Remember, check out my dad's book, Cold Trail listed on the side of this blog. Doesn't the cover look cool? Like mysteries? This is the book for you. Help my dad out with his initial book, Cold Trail.

Again, I'm begging for comments. I will send a Financial Bullet magnet to the next three commentors. Make a comment, leave your mailing address and I will send you my beautiful logo magnet to you immediately. US only mailing addresses only. Sorry my international friends.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Next Up... The Fed

Of course the Fed makes their next interest rate announcement on Halloween. Seems appropriate. The market is spooky right now.

The big question is, .25 or .5% cut? Right now the market is pricing in 100% chance in a .25% cut and only about 20 percent for a half point reduction. Remember the Fed surprised us last time with the half point cut.

We did see the market boost Friday on rumors of an emergency rate cut of .5%. Didn't happen. And the timing seemed awfully odd. Why wouldn't they just wait the three business days? But that is Mr. Market for you. Just plain old weird.

Kind of like Microsoft paying $240 million for a 1.6% ownership interest in Facebook. That seems like a really steep price to me. That puts a value of $15 billion on Facebook. I know that Microsoft gets exclusive advertising rights...to what extent that really means, I'm not sure. But $15 Billion for Facebook? I can't get over that. Rupert Murdoch purchased MySpace in 2005 for $580 million. See my shock?

Did Google inadvertantly win this one too? Did Microsoft feel the need to make a splash after having it handed to them again and again by the Google goons? I think this is a good possibility. We will see if this transpired.

And by the way, I haven't heard if Stan O'Neal is gone from Merrill Lynch yet. I thought that was supposed to be a done deal? The stock rallied over 5% Friday based on that news. I'm guessing it will still happen. Too much stuff between the larger than expected write down and then the unapproved contact with Wachovia about a possible merger.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear some comments. In fact, first three to comment, get me your mailing address and I will shoot you a Financial Bullet magnet for your time. US only. Sorry my international friends.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Countrywide's Loss Is Investor's Gain

Ok, not really. The stock simply rebounded today based on comments that the company thinks this is an earnings trough and things look good for the fourth quarter and through 2008.

The stock rallied 15% today close at $17.03. Don't get too excited. It is still down from a high of $45 in February, and still below the $18 price target Bank of America had the right to buy common stock when BoA infused $2 billion into the company.

The company reported a $1.2 billion dollar loss, including losses from operations, loss due to the 10-12 thousand works it plans to lay off, and increasing it's provisions for loan loss over 2000% year over year. The loss doubled analysts estimates and the company still gain more than it has in over two decades.

I'm still not buying this. "No one can do what Countrywide can," is their famous motto. Maybe it should be more like, "Nobody claims what Countrywide can." Have you noticed not one other major bank is saying that the mortgage market is stable or that they see gains for the coming quarters? So how is Countrywide going to pull this off?

I'm really not sure. If they can really pull it off, my hat is off to them. But there are a number of problems.

1) The possible SEC investigation into Angelo Mozilo stock sales.
2) Consumer confidence in the company is at an all time low.
3) They are losing market share due to consumer sentiment and changing their style, focusing on more conventional/conservative lending guidelines.
4) Does the company realize that we are in the middle of the largest housing slump since the early 90's?

I know, I know, the company announced that they were going to aid some 82,000 homeowners to help them avoid foreclosure. Well, first of all, they should. It is more profitable to keep these loans performing and charge some closing costs as opposed to letting the homes fall into foreclosure and have to drop the properties onto market. But this won't be enough to really give the company a shot in the arm it really needs.

We will see what happens. But I'm not smoking what Angelo is selling...that is for certain.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Merrill's Bad Surprise, Countrywide, & A Sell

I know that I'm not alone on this, but I swear that Merrill Lynch had said just a couple of weeks ago that their write down would be about $4.5 billion. Then when they announced in their earnings report that they wrote down $7.9 billion instead.

What the, huh? Now this is just wild to me. How could they be that far off in their initial guidance? CEO Stan O'Neal said,

"As of the date we preannounced, the amount we were indicating was within the range of evaluations and as we looked at it and went back and examined it in the context of why -- where the markets are, we believe it's appropriate to be at the conservative end of the range," O'Neal said."

Well, that is great. But why not be conservative before now? A write down is just devaluing your own assets. No money has changed hands. Merrill just doesn't think their assets are valued as much as they used to.

This just goes to show that Merrill didn't hedge it's risks nearly as well as the other big investment banks. It also makes me think that the much bally-hooed bank bailout fund might not be as imminent as commonly thought.

If the bailout fund was a go, Merrill would not have written down this much. They would have had another outlet for their "bad" assets. Not good.

Countrywide, the downtrodden and beaten mortgage lender continues it's slide. Today the stock fell another 8%. If closed today under $14. The company reports their earnings (or the lack thereof) on Friday. If the company misses, which I have a sneaky feeling it will, look for the stock to around the $12 mark.

And it is getting to be that time of the year...I might be a little early but it's time to sell off your losers and hangers-on for tax purposes. My eyes are set on Quest Diagnostics (DXG). The company reported less than stellar earnings. It has gone nowhere overall and down over 4.5% today. I am selling the stock at a loss of 2.9% since I added it to my portfolio.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Apple Soars & Am Ex Surprises

Everyone was expecting Apple (AAPL) to post great earnings. And the company came through. The stock added over 3% during the choppy trading day and has packed on another 7% in after hours trading. I was really interested in Apple's earnings, not from the aspect of the company itself, but the mood of the market going into tomorrow.

Why? Apple is a tech bell-weather, much like Google. With both companies posting blow out earnings in the last week, investors in the technology sector will continue to pour the hot money in as the rest of the economy struggles.

But it isn't all rainbows. Texas Instruments issued guidance that the fourth quarter will be flat for them. The largest chip maker for cell phones doesn't see a rosy picture. The decision by Nokia to have other suppliers for their cell phones have clouded the picture for Texas. The companies issues (if you want to call it that) won't have a material effect on the overall mood with techs. Look out, they will continue to climb for the foreseeable future.

And just as a side note. It was good to see American Express put up a good quarter. The company was hammered the last time it reported as it raised it's loss provisions by 85%. No real news on that front means that the company is prepared to handle a more harsh climate as people struggle with house payments, lower equity, and inflation.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Zen of Manny Ramirez & Joe Torre

I'm a huge baseball fan. Anyone that knows me, knows this. So, how does Manny & Torre fir into a financial blog? This is how.

Manny Ramirez

Everyone has heard by now that Manny stated if the Red Sox lose and are out of the playoffs, "There's always next year. It's not like it's the end of the world." Some people got upset. Ramirez must not care by saying this. Some people resorted to the , "Manny being Manny," catch-all excuse. And others thought, like I do...Manny actually had it right.

It's not like he doesn't care. He works hard at his job and is good at it. He is going to go out and play the way he always does. If they win, they win and they keep playing. If they lose, well, we will try again.

Isn't that what investing is about? We try our hardest to make the best decisions that we can. Sometimes we succeed and pat ourselves on the back and think we are great. But when we make a mistake? It can shake our confidence and make us want to pull all of our money out of the markets and never come back. But remember, "It's not the end of the world." Manny said. Friday and this week in general, frankly stunk for the market but it's not the end of the world. Yes, you probably lost money this week, no matter where you had it. You probably lost more if you owned financials in your portfolio. "There is always next year," said the prophet Manny. Monday the stock market will open and we will try again. And if that doesn't work there is always Tuesday. But you stick with it. You don't let one day define you. There is always another chance in the market. You just have to have the confidence and coolness that it will turn in your direction.

Joe Torre

So Joe Torre turned down an offer that would have paid him a base salary less than what he was currently getting. The contract was laiden with team performance incentives and if the team reached the world series his next year was guaranteed for a much higher amount. And no matter how you looked at the contract Joe Torre was to remain the highest paid manager in baseball. But Torre turned it down and walked away. Why?

For one, it was a major paycut of $2.5 million. The incentives were based on the team reaching the playoffs, winning the division, and championship series, and reaching the world series. All of which, Joe Torre has only an indirect effect on. Torre does not throw a pitch, field a ball, swing a bat, or run the bases. He puts the lineup together and manages the game. Injuries, age, and players having a down season, he can't control. That is why the contract was insulting. But it was even more than just that. Ownership is changing hands. It's not just George now. It's George, his sons, Brian Cashman, and others calling the shots. The Yankees have changed.

How does this relate to the stock market? Say you have a stock that you have loved for years, like 12 years. And the stock has underperformed comparable to it's past performance for the last few years. And now image that management of your favorite stock is changing, and you're not sure that the change is positive. It's probably time to sell.

A future example of this would be when Steve Jobs plans on leaving Apple. How much premium does the fact Steve Jobs works there does the stock have? I would say at least 10%. That is why the option back-dating issues at Apple last year was a big deal. Remember how much the company tried to separate Jobs from that issue?

Torre left the Yankees for the same reason you may have to leave one of your favorite stock picks. It isn't what it used to be and the future isn't so great either.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bank America's Secret Is Out

I was wrong about JP Morgan Chase...I thought they were going to post numbers similar to what Bank of America posted today. But what I missed is that JP Morgan Chase was fantastic at spreading it's bets so that when the the sky came falling in mortgages that the bank was able to post a profit and bet the number game called "earnings season".

Bank of America and Washington Mutual...not so much. Both banks got slammed today when earnings fell well shy of estimates. In fact, the quarter was so bad for BAC that income from the firm's investment fell 93% year over year. Quarterly profit was down 32% overall.

Wa-Mu reported with much the same results. The company earned $210 million vs $748 million a year earlier.

This leads me to question that I have been asking for over a month....Why did these banks not release significant earnings warnings prior to reporting. Neither Bank of America or Washington Mutual were really close to the analysts expectations. Why not lower them earlier and avoid shocking the market even more?

And this will not be the last quarter these banks are going to struggle. Raising provisions for loan losses is inevitable in this enviroment but we haven't even reached 2008 yet when an estimated 2 million more loans will reset. These provisions for losses will increase.

And notice that Citi, Bank of America, and Wa-Mu all state something along the lines of, "We knew we had a tough quarter, but we are disappointed with the results." Really? No kidding huh? And also notice that none of them give any meaningful guidance for quarters to come. Why? Either A) they have no idea what is going to happen and are hoping for the best or B) They are hiding even more losses/secrets and are hoping rate cuts and other help from the government will make things all better.

Of course, making the Ultra $100 Billion Bank Bailout Fund lets you know the answer. When the banking industry comes together and make a fund to help ease the credit crunch...there can only be one explanation. There are some large potential losses out there and this fund will help mitigate the pain. It will allow the banks to control the sale of assets instead of just dumping them on the market to be priced accordingly. This way they still have the pricing power or price determining power for their "assets". While maybe this will help overall. It does not bode well for what is hiding on the big banks balance sheets.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

E-Trade & Mortgages...Not A Good Combo

Want more proof that some players should have never gotten in the game to begin with? We present to you E-Trade (ETFC) and their miserable third quarter earnings. I especially like the sentence referencing that they were going to allow their 2nd mortgages to "bleed off."

Yep, that is exactly what those loans are doing to E-Trade. Bleeding them and dearly. E-Trade would purchase 2nd mortgages up to 125% loan to value. They gladly to put you upside down on your home. See the problem?

E-Trade and so many borrowers thought that the good times would never come to an end. A 125% loan would be only 100% loan in 6 months and 85% loan in a year because home appreciation was out of control. And now, we see the trend reversing itself. So many of these 125% loans are now more like 140% loans in some markets. Not good.

And E-Trade can't sell their problems to someone else. Who is going to buy that? And borrowers, if they are in a jam would rather walk away than pay for a home that is worth only a fraction of what it was just 2 years ago. So E-Trade is left to "Bleed off" these loans.

The company is also closing their wholesale mortgage department and focusing on A paper mortgages. Just like everybody else. E-Trade should be an afterthought mortgage company, at best. The company should focus on their main brand and get out of areas they don't belong.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another Cut Is Coming Why Not Now?

Everyone knows that it is going to happen. Why wait? Ben and the Fed are going to cut rates again this year. It is a fairly well known rumor that will be fact. Bond legend Bill Gross is calling for a rate cut sometime before the end of this year and ultimately getting the Federal Funds rate to 3.75%, a full percent lower than where we currently stand.

Well, if we are going to see another cut...do it at the October 31st meeting. Don't wait. Earnings are coming in fairly low comparable to most seasons. This is going to continue. Cut now. Do it. Get it into the system.

Yes, I have had a change of heart. Ok, not really. I didn't think that the first cut was necessary. I would rather have the issues with liquidity now to avoid a MAJOR issue later with inflation at it's heart. But that isn't going to happen. So if this is how we are planning on fixing this issue...get on it now. Don't pause at the October meeting.

Every time I see a respectable company like Wells Fargo miss estimates and ratchet up their holdings for loan losses...it makes me nervous. Wells Fargo is a conservative lender comparable to most out there. If they are struggling, guaranteed other banks have some nasty earnings surprises out there. At the same time it kind of makes me happy. Every earnings miss by a major player, the closer we get to that next cut that is imminent anyway.

Get on with the cuts already!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Subprime is Gone, FHA, and Credit Unions

I work for a very small lender (credit union) at this time. We deal in only conventional financing with the two GSEs Fannie and Freddie. Anything else that we do that does not meet Fannie or Freddie guidelines are placed into our portfolio of loans. What does that mean to the average person? For one, it means that we have not done "subprime" loans. Every loan we do has the idea behind it...will the person be able to afford/pay us back.

Now before I worked at this credit union, I worked at Waterfield Mortgage, which was in turn bought by American Home Mortgage. Sound familiar? Yes, American Home Mortgage blew up just a couple months ago. I have a good idea what types of loans were being made in the market.

I have recently went to both the Indiana Mortgage Bankers Association annual meeting and the Northeast Indiana Mortgage Bankers associations meetings. What just stunned me in my tracks is how other lenders spoke about subprime lending. They talk about that it is gone. Just absolutely gone. Not that you can, "still do this or that," but just not available anymore. What a change in just a few months time!

Now all the lenders are trying to pile into FHA financing for their needs. Many lenders loving refer to FHA financing as "government subprime". It is somewhat true. Deliquency rates on FHA and subprime loans run about equal at just shy of 17%, but it is in the foreclosure rates where you see the big difference. FHA foreclosure is less than half that of subprime loans. Why is this?

For one, both FHA and subprime lending help those with less than perfect credit. FHA has no minimum credit score required. The difference really lies in the idea behind FHA. FHA is a "common sense" type of lending. The big question is, "Does it make sense?" and then document the snot out of it. Medical issues with documentation, interest rate increases (FHA Secure, even though many times you have to do a 203b instead) and any other documentable situation can be considered for FHA.

But make no mistake FHA is not subprime, nor will it ever be. FHA tracks lenders rigorously and make sure that they are making good loans comparable to other lenders in the same market. If a lender has a higher rate of foreclosures than the market, the lender comes under higher scrunity and possibly loss it's endorsement.

Subprime turned a blind eye to many issues. Self-employed? Do a stated income loan. How often did this happen? I skipped out on the last couple hours of the IMBA annual meeting because it was on "How to determine income from a tax return." No kidding. So many lenders got in the habit of placing individuals into loans of convenience such as subprime, stated income loans, no ratio, or no income no asset related loans that they had to spend time at the annual meeting either teaching those new to the industry to do it or remind the old timers how to do it again.

So what will happen to those who are facing rate resets, higher payments, and possible foreclosure to do? First, your their current lender and see what can be done. Ask to refinance. Ask to see if a loan modification is available (which will change the terms of your loan, such as taking an ARM and making it a fixed rate).

If these options are not available to you try refinancing with another lender. If you have a relationship with a credit union, it may be a good option when all else fails. Credit Unions value their members and if you have a long history with your credit union the more likely they are to make exceptions that other banks and lenders will not. If you're not part of a credit union, well frankly, you're probably paying too much for your banking services to begin with. Find one in your area. Most now have community charters that state if you live, work, worship, etc in their area, you can become a member. Not only will your banking services be cheaper. They can offer help to those who are loyal to them by being loyal to their members in times of need.

Friday, October 12, 2007

New Investments QQQQ & EWZ

I haven't given a weekly update in awhile. The S&P gained .72% this shortened trading week. My portfolio gained just.88% in that same period. My standout this week was Ford with over a 9% gain. The company gained on news that the UAW contract work may be easier for them as opposed to GM and Chrystler.

Pepsico. (PEP) underperformed this week on the back of good earnings news. Go figure. It happens sometimes. Look at McDonald's today. MCD stated that Q3 earnings would be better than what is expected (MCD didn't release Q3 earnings yet) and gained over 1% today.

Another quick update I wanted to give. I have also purchase another EFT. This time it is the popular Powershares QQQ (QQQQ) also known as the Cubes. This predominantly tech EFT gives me some exposure to large tech companies such as Microsoft, Intel, and Apple but also holds consumer services and healthcare stocks to the tune of 25% of overall holdings. Basically, it invests in everythings S&P excluding financials.

Since purchasing the EFT on September 24...ok, I haven't disclosed this to you before, the EFT has gained over 6% compared to the S&P 2.3% advance in that same period. I wrote about the Cubes over at Nesteggr this week. It is a good hold at least through the end of this year...and if techs continue to outperform, longer.

Next week I will be purchasing my first really "risky" EFT. I am going with the emerging market of Brazil with iShares MCSI Brazil (Free) Index. The EFT has gained over 70% this year to date and shows no signs of slowing down. And with the dollar low, overseas investments will continue to outperform domestic equities. I have to keep a little bit of a closer eye on this EFT (like I don't watch everything I own).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Countrywide Again

It's been awhile since I wasted my time talking about Countrywide. But they are in the news again. Today they announced they were cutting 5,000 jobs, which is part of the 10,000-12,000 already announced. That really wasn't the news. It was that NC Treasurer, Richard Moore, has asked that the SEC look into the timing of stock sales completed by one Angelo Mozilo.

Oh tell me it isn't so Angelo! Mr. Mozilo has stated that the trades were preplanned and has been doing such since 2004. Which is totally correct and some of the stock he was actually required to sell. But is what really is getting people upset is that the selling of his stock accelerated rate in October of 2006. And it changed (picked up steam) on a month by month basis.

Suspicious, absolutely. Consider that Countrywide's stock has gone from over $45 in early February (before New Century's demise)to under $18 in the last few months (CFC closed at $18.28 today). Mr. Mozilo has pocketed over $100 million in that time frame. You can see why people would be upset.

I will give Angelo the benefit of the doubt here. I think that his stock sales have been perfectly legal in all aspects. However, I feel that legal and ethical are two entirely different things. If Mozilo, who is already a very rich man, sold his stock to pocket even more money, in a conscious effort. Well, that is just sleazy. Which is what I call Angelo Mozilo consistently....a sleaze-ball.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Repair Your Credit

Do you have bad credit or need you credit repaired to it's former status? You're not alone. Here is what you can do.

As a mortgage loan originator I see a lot of credit reports and lots of errors associated with it. Many times, these once delinquent accounts such as judgments, collections, tax liens, and charged off accounts were actually paid off long ago but were still showing on the credit report. If they are on the credit report, these items will affect your credit score negatively. Making you look like you have bad credit. This can and does make a material impact on whether the lender approves or denies a loan. And if the loan is approved it can also have a major impact on what interest rate your lender may be able to offer you.

So what can you do if you have bad credit or if you have to have your credit repaired? You, as the consumer, can contact the creditors showing on the report and see if they will remove them the next time they report to the credit reporting agency. Or you can contact one or all of the three major credit reporting agencies to dispute the items in question. This can be a time consuming process and depending on how the request is worded (if you have to place your inquiry in writing, as many companies will require) the error may not be deleted from your report.

There are other options that are available to you such as a third party agency that can help you. One of such on the internet is RMCN Credit Services, Inc (www.repairmycreditnow.com). This company specializes in helping move erroneous information from your credit report. The company has been in existence for the last 10 years and has a satisfactory record with the BBB (yes I checked before recommending).

What RMCN basically does is request all credit lines (current and old) to verify the accuracy of the information that they have reported and request any incorrect information be deleted from your report.

You can see a number of testimonials and examples listed on their site. Notice that especially on the credit reports they have listed their is a few month difference from the beginning report and the end report. This is not a fast process. Your score will not go from 600 to 720 overnight. You will have to allow the requests and subsequent adjusts to the report to be made.

If you are just struggling to make your payments this type of service will not benefit you. RMCN works to correct errors on your credit report to improve your scores. If you are indeed behind on your payments and need help you may want to contact another agency such as CCCS that may be able to help you.

Again, this is something that you are able to do on your own at no cost. But if you are unsuccessful in your attempts or just want to have another party work for you (for a fee of course) RMCN is there for you.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Better Job Numbers Mean Rate Cuts on Standby

September job numbers showed an increase of 110,000 of non-farm payroll jobs. This was higher than analysts estimates of 100,000. But almost as important was that August's job numbers were revised to show a gain of 89,000 versus the -4,000 that was initially reported. Now while that number was surprise, most of the difference in jobs was due to Government hiring, which can be volatile.

Unemployment did edge up to 4.7% and personal income increased .4% to an annually amount of 4.1%. None of these numbers really speak to a weak employment sector.

The stock market is trying to price in lower earnings estimates for the third quarter in financials and retail but have already (within a period of about a week, especially in financials) started to eye the fourth quarter earnings thinking they will be better. If in deed they are better in the next quarter. If Q3 earnings aren't as poor as expected (which is what I fully intend on seeing) and employment remains strong...there is no reason for the Fed to cut rates anymore at this time.

The dollar has really faltered in the last month with other countries central banks either staying pat with rates as is or increasing rates (there were a couple of smaller economies that lowered rates also). A low dollar will put pressure on any imports we buy...including oil. So expect to pay a little higher at the gas pump just because our dollar doesn't go as far as it did just last month.

I also wrote about A New Way of Looking At Inflation over at Nesteggr. Check it out. Basically, we are in a global economy now that has a growing middle class that can afford a more varied diet than ever before.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Update & The Mortgage Czar

Ok, so it's been a week since I last write. Get over it. I am going to be reducing the number of posts now. Expect more like one to two a week instead of four to six. I just can't keep plugging away and giving you less than the best posts. Plus it is the baseball playoffs. I kinda sorta have to watch it. It's a compulsion.

Just one update in my stock picks/sells. I was starting to fell bad that LVS was still advancing along like it was going to break right on through that $163 price target, until today. It lost 11% today to close at $127, less than when I sold out. Why? News that income from Macau revenue pushed LVS to a gain of 55% from a year ago. And that was bad. Just like I stated when I sold the stock. The market was expecting a 75% gain. Talk about your moon and stars hopes. I told you so.

Today, Democrats wanted the Bush Administration to create a new position of Mortgage Czar to help cope with the wave of expected foreclosures. Bush's camp threw out, there already is one, Alphonso Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development (HUD). And Bush is right. What good is it to add another layer of government to mimic the job of another. The Mortgage Czar is a stupid idea pushed forward by democrats desparate to find an answer to the mess before election time. I say this, and proudly say that I'm a Dem but this idea is bad bad bad. But if it goes through, can I apply for the job?

I've always wanted to be a czar and then to put "mortgage" with it. Heaven