The release of the Special Inspector General of the TARP’s (SIGTARP) report on the Federal Reserve’s bailout of AIG’s counterparties to the tune of 100 cents on the dollar has triggered some debate among commentators. It seems clear that the Fed had the leverage to negotiate a better deal on behalf of the taxpayers, but utterly failed to do so. But just how horrendous was the Fed’s failure? - Ilene
"No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved, you know? For a little bit? I feel like the maid: ‘I just cleaned up this mess! Can we keep it clean for … for ten minutes?!’"
The indefatigable blogger and soon-to-be-published author is really showing the strain of commenting from the front lines of the global financial crisis, as she has done, admirably, from the very beginning. Today, she lit into Neil Barofsky’s SIGTARP post mortem on the New York Fed’s disbursement of billions of taxpayer dollars to cancel credit default swaps written by the pathetic boobs at AIG. AIG sold those swaps, you may remember, under the cheerfully naive assumption that, as long as you hold a AAA credit rating and employ a bunch of overpaid financial engineers in a fancy office on Curzon Street, you can write as many naked puts on as much toxic crap as you like with no consequences. Much as I would be delighted to learn otherwise, I believe we may safely consider that presumption to be dead, buried, decayed, mixed into topsoil, and completely absorbed into the Earth’s mantle via tectonic subduction by now.
In the meantime, however, the rest of us continue to live with the consequences of AIG’s tomfoolery, and Ms Smith remains understandably upset about this state of affairs. So much so, in fact, I think she rather unfairly pans Mr. Baroksky’s report as unacceptably timid and mealy-mouthed. I read her to say she would rather have the report blast the Fed’s mishandling of the AIG crisis in no uncertain terms, not sugarcoat its…
In trying to assess the trajectory of the US economy, one is struck by the recent divergence between the manufacturing and the services sectors. Manufacturing in the United States has picked up steam recently in spite of some weather-related headwinds (see chart). The service sector on the other hand took a turn for the worse, which is negatively impacting the labor markets in this service-oriented economy (see story). A couple of key indicators point to slower non-manufacturing activity:
OvaScienceSM (NASDAQ: OVAS), a life sciences company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of female fertility treatments, today announced the issuance of two United States patents covering its AUGMENTSM fertility treatment. AUGMENT is based on the Company's egg precursor cell (EggPCSM) technology and is being developed to improve egg quality and the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF). AUGMENT will be available in international IVF clinics this year.
“The new patents strengthen and extend the protection for AUGMENT in support of our efforts to offer a potential new fertility treatment option to women and families,” said Michelle Dipp, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of OvaScience. “We continue to aggressively pursue additional pate...
Before the market opened, the weekly unemployment report came in better than expected, although the reporting of new claims has skewed in both directions by weather (e.g., my home state). The S&P 500 rallied at the open and hit its morning high 30 minutes later -- one that it would beat by a tenth of a point during the noon hour, up 0.43%. The index traded lower in the afternoon and closed with a trimmed gain of 0.17%, but that's another record high.
Tomorrow's employment report for February will be closely watched by market participants, but the pattern of late has to write off weak economic news as weather-related and celebrate goo...
The Global X Social Media Index ETF (Ticker: SOCL) touched fresh record highs on Thursday morning, surprising no one given the top three holdings of the Fund are Hong Kong-based Tencent Holdings (12.678%), Facebook Inc. (12.506%) and LinkedIn Corp. (8.166%), which are up 130%, 160% and 22%, respectively, since this time last year. The SOCL reflects the performance of companies involved in the social media industry, including companies that provide social networking, file sharing and other web-based media applications. Shares in the ETF rose 1.3% today to a new high of $23.00, and have soared approximately 65% since this time last year.
Today brought three better than expected economic releases from Construction Spending, ISM Manufacturing, and Personal Income. The ISM figure was quite unexpected and Personal Income was well above expectations. If we ignore for a moment that the Final GDP reading for Q4 was lowered on Friday (which may or may not have been primarily caused by severe weather), we have had a week of better than expected economic numbers. Corporate earnings have also continued to exceed forecasts, albeit with a bit more cautious guidance.
Of course, none of that matters when the “war drums” start beating. Russia and the Ukraine are engaged in a serious game of “chicken” with a bear in the hen house. The Russian ruble has borne the brunt of the damage so far with a double digit drop today again...
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Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.
And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014? The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.
As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...
Welcome to the fouth update of the IRA Virtual Portfolio. First I am going to summarize the current state of the Portfolio then I will get into all the activity we had during September expiration.
Profit and Loss – Net of closed positions the portfolio is up a total of $769
Market Commentary – Last expiration I said, "I would like to put a total of $20,000 to work by the end of SEP expiration. If the VIX pops up to around 20 I plan to put about $50,000 total to work." The market didn't quite reach the goal but I did manage to deploy $15,000 of buying power. I still feel the market is too high and expect a correction during October. If the vix pops up to around 20 I still plan to put about $50,000 to work. If a correction doesn't happen I still plan to have a total of $25,000 in buying power put to work by October expiration. Now on to the act...
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