Greece's debt issues are once again scaring the market like the snake ridden visage of the famous gorgon from ancient Greek mythology known more familiarly as Lady GaGa. Rising debt, a spiraling deficit, and a massive bidding up of CDS by traders betting against Greece has created somewhat of a Foucault current around the Greek islands which is now threatening to pull the entire EU and global economy in with it. Greece hasn't been in such imminent trouble since the Battle of Thermopylae and they can only hope that the bankers whom they used for currency swaps did not run to the other side and push up the price of CDS with their inside knowledge of the obfuscated rising Greek debt and hence betray them like Ephialtes did in that same battle. Moodys is now threatening to downgrade Greece (perhaps to Jamaica, or maybe even Puerto Rico), so the global markets are very skittish today, since we all know how great Moodys is at predicting debt defaults (except when they happened to miss something called the entire global financial system meltdown). As if the Greek issue weren't bad enough, the EU came out today (luckily their parents already knew) and forecast 2010 to be a year of fragile growth, even more fragile than the tears of a newborn unicorn upon learning it is just the figment of someone's imagination.
In US macro news, orders for durable goods excluding transportation fell .6% which was below estimates of a 1% gain though they rose 3% when including the jump in aircraft orders. While durable good orders may have been down, non-durable goods orders or as their better known as, "shit made in China," appear to still be doing very well. The new claims for unemployment number was also out today and it was much worse than expectations as it was up by 22k to 496k people filing first time claims. Luckily the labor department shrugged it off as being partially inflated by poor weather in the Northeast causing construction jobs to be cancelled over the past few weeks and also partially being inflated due to something else called employers laying a lot of fucking people off. They said without the weather, new claims would have been down by a "healthy" 10k to 440k jobs lost and if 440k job losses is considered healthy, then the labor department must think Michael Jackson has "just a little breathing problem."
In stock news, CCE is up 33% on a takeout offer from KO, while KO is down 4% on that same news. KO's CEO and Chairman said the move was a way to convert "passive capital into active capital" and when asked to clarify what exactly he meant by that, he simply said "Chewbacca was a wookie." While Money McBags is an owner of KO, and thus 4% less happy today than he was yesterday, the global sales growth trends and brand equity have not changed at all by the deal and thus he is content to hold and potentially add a bit as soon as he can get a hold of some numbers on the deal. In other stocks reporting, SIRI somehow turned a profit this last quarter even if it was still less than $.01 per share. Subscriber growth in satellite radio has largely been stagnant due to the recession and the hundreds of other ways to get music for cheaper prices. With Howard Stern's contract ending at the end of the year, Sirius may be more fucked than Houston during her 500 man gang bang. This company sells a product that is becoming outdated faster than the eight track or Jennifer Aniston (and take a few seconds on that pun, it will hit you in a bit, but e-mail me if you need help) as the prevelance of iPods, smart phones, and internet radio make paying a monthly fee for that same content as bad of a financial decision as the Olympics were for NBC or plastic surgery was for Greta Van Susteren. Money McBags would stay further away from SIRI stock than he would a hemophiliac AIDS patient in the throes of leprosy.
In small cap news PALM annouced their smartphones aren't selling as well as they hoped as they have seemingly failed to put a dent in the duopoly that is the iPhone and the Blackberry (and honestly, taking on those two behemoths was about as smart of a move as introducing a soft drink to compete with Coke and Pepsi, a search engine to compete with Google and Yahoo!, or a cure for herpes to compete with Valtrex and staying 100 feet away from Paris Hilton). Palm also said their sales will be "well below" their forecasts like Vern Troyer is "well below" the clown's hand to ride the roller coaster as apparently even a color blind lepidopterist is better at his/her job than Palm's head of strategy is at his. Also Money McBags favorite WILC is up 10% today after a ridiculous and unwarranted sell-off over the past week. WILC remains the most ridiculous, cheapest name Money McBags has ever run across which is a bit worrisome because the last thing he thought was too good to be true was marriage, so buyer beware. And finally SMSI put up a decent Q and is up 14%. SMSI is a pretty interesting name in that they sell software that allows netbooks internet connectivity and net books continue to grow faster than a steroid user also suffering from pituitary gigantism. While the Board of Directors looks like they are waiting for the comet Hale-Bopp to hit the Earth, the company has done a decent job over the years of buying technologies in growing markets. SMSI is pretty much a one-trick pony right now with that one trick being connectivity and the pony having been purchased, but they are relatively cheap. Their wireless business grew 22% this year, though the pace slowed as the year wore on while overall topline growth was 9%. They guided to around 20% top line growth for 2009 and estimates are for them to earn in low $.70s per share which is about what they earned this year but their tax rate will be going up. The company has a nice balance sheet with $45MM of cash and no debt and is only trading at 12x estimates despite growing the topline 20%ish (again, profit growth may be negligible due to the tax rate increase). The issue with this company is that they have missed guidance before, have really only one product/area of focus, and rely on acquisitions to find the next new technology. While they have already wrapped up most of the big netbook producers as clients, competition is getting fiercer. So it's not the best business model but it is moderately cheap with good prospects. The jump today is likely short covering but it is worth reading the transcript of the call and figuring out if a good entry point will exist once the short covering is over.