Slight of Hand

When the market moves in a big way, either way, its a sure bet that the news of the move will trump other important stories.  Here are a few that may have gotten lost, but are worth noting.

Bits and bytes:

Graham Shows S&P 500 Still Too High as Buffett Loses
Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing and mentor of Warren Buffett, would find most U.S. stocks expensive even after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 56 percent in 17 months.
Alexis Xydias and Michael Tsang, Bloomberg, March 9, 2009

Libor Creep Says Credit Markets Risk Freeze on Policy Distrust
The cost of borrowing in dollars is rising as the global recession deepens and central bank efforts to prop up the financial system fail to prevent a growing number of banks from requiring government bailouts.

Gabrielle Coppola and Liz Capo McCormick
, Bloomberg, March 11, 2009

Pimco Predicts Inflation, Joining Buffett, Marc Faber
“Inflation will rise in the medium term,” Pimco said in a report today on its Web site written by Chris Caltagirone and Bob Greer. Treasury securities that give investors protection against rising prices for goods and services are “attractive now,” the report said.
Wes Goodman
, Bloomberg, March 11, 2009

Nobody Says Mark to Market Doesn’t Matter as GE Falls (Update3)
The world’s biggest maker of jet engines and power turbines told shareholders last week that 2 percent of GE Capital Corp.’s assets are being valued based on market prices. The remaining $624 billion is being carried at levels that GE, the last original member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, established in many cases years ago, according to CreditSights Inc.
Michael Tsang and Rachel Layne
, Bloomberg, March 10, 2009

SEC May Reconsider ‘Uptick Rule’
The Securities and Exchange Commission will consider as soon as next month restoring a rule that puts the brakes on short-selling in falling markets.  The SEC is expected to propose bringing back the “uptick” rule, which prevented traders from initiating a short sale unless the price of a stock in its most recent trade was higher than the previous price. In a short sale, investors borrow shares and sell them, hoping for the price to fall.
Kara Scannell, Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2009

Gold Sheds 2.4% to $895.60 an Ounce

The price of the thinly traded gold futures contract for March delivery shed $22.10, or 2.4%, to settle at $895.60 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell to as far as $892.10 in electronic trading shortly after the floor session closed. That marked the front-month gold contract’s softest point since Feb. 10.
Matt Whittaker, Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2009

Foreclosed Houses Haunt Home Builders
As the normally hot spring selling season begins, two houses in the Inland Empire region of Southern California sum up the big problem facing many of the nation’s largest home builders.  One of the houses, a four bedroom built in 2006 that was seized by a lender in a foreclosure action, is listed for sale at $229,900. Meanwhile, in the same housing development, D.R. Horton Inc. is trying to sell a new house that looks nearly identical for $299,000, or 23% more.
Michael Corkery and Dawn Wotapka, Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2009

Even Solid Firms Feel Pinch as Lending Remains Tight
“Loans are being replaced as they mature,” Standard & Poor’s fixed-income analyst Tanya Azarchs recently wrote, “but little new growth is occurring. That could mean that the slowdown in lending is just the opening act.”
Matthias Rieker, Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2009

US companies pull out of retirement contributions
A wave of US companies are suspending payments to their staff 401(k) retirement plans in a bid to cut costs amid the economic downturn.  Saks, General Motors, newspaper group McClatchy, clothing company J.Crew, FedEx, UPS, Coca-Cola Bottling, Reader’s Digest, Motorola, Regions Financial and Sprint Nextel are among the growing list of companies which have suspended contributions in recent months.
Deborah Brewster, FT, March 10, 1009

Living in Motels, the Hidden Homeless
As the recession has deepened, longtime workers who lost their jobs are facing the terror and stigma of homelessness for the first time, including those who have owned or rented for years. Some show up in shelters and on the streets, but others, like the Hayworths, are the hidden homeless — living doubled up in apartments, in garages or in motels, uncounted in federal homeless data and often receiving little public aid.
Erik, Eckholm, New York Times, March 10, 2009


One Response to Slight of Hand

  1. When Warren Buffet is losing money, we’re all in trouble. The stock market is so unstable right now.

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