The market is down again today as Europe's sovereign debt problem keeps rearing it's ugly head like Mayim Bialik on the ABC Family network. The big news in the US markets is that the unemployment rate fell to a measly 9.7% (though if you include people who stopped looking for work and those working part time, it was 16.5%, but that is just a minor detail, like needing to keep your eyes on the road when you drive or not crossing the streams). The economy lost 20k jobs in January while totals for November were revised up by 60k (to 64k jobs created) and the totals for December were revised down by 65k (to 150k jobs lost, or as they say on the streets, a "fuckload"). While the revised numbers essentially cancel each other out, it does leave us wondering if any of these numbers are reliable at all, like the brakes on that shiny new Prius you just bought. Money McBags will wager Alan Geenspan's credibility and Eliot Spitzer's dignity (and since both of those are non-existent, it may be a bit of a sucker's bet) that the 20k number released today is not within 20k of the actual revised number to come out in two months when no one will really care. The point is, people are not working regardless of what made up number Hilda Solis and her No-Labor Department release.
In international news, potential sovereign debt defaults in Greece, Portugal, and Spain have investors questioning the viability of the Euro like people with working auditory canals question Heidi Montag's singing career. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet (or as he's known in investment circles, "deluded") has said there is nothing to worry about as the budget shortfall will be smaller than that of Japan and the US. He then called Haiti and said not to worry because their recent earthquake was smaller than the Chile earthquake in 1960, and later was heard telling NBC President Dick Ebersol not to worry because ad revenue is way overrated. With the debt of Greece, Spain, and Portugal all forecast to be near or above their GDPs by 2011, investors are questioning if/when the EU will bail them out. The good news is that the Greeks are trying their best to help out in all of this mess by going on a two day worker's strike, which means they will be working three more days than they usually do (though to be honest, a worker's strike to protest an economy in the shitter is like the state of Alabama burning books to protest their high illiteracy rates or Noise Free America blasting anything by the Black Eyed Peas to protest noise pollution).
In business news Toyota is apologizing for selling you a car that could kill you but reminding you that even if your brakes went out causing you to plummet to an early death, at least you would have cut down on your carbon footprint while you were alive by owning a Prius. Berkshire Hathaway is selling $8B of debt to finance their acquisition of BNI and outfit executives with their own conductor caps (of course those conductor caps will be made 100% from the shards of Giaocometti's "The Walking Man I"). Finally, AETNA missed on earnings as their medical costs grew 14% as a result of increased brain aneurysms for those who sat through an entire screening of Avatar (that joke was brought to you by the Jay Leno Appreciation Society, making comedy dull and unfunny one observation at a time).
In small cap news TSYS beat their quarterly esimates thanks to 15% revenue growth and 17% EBITDA growth to $10MM. For the year EBITDA was $50MM and 2010 guidance was for $80MM-$85MM EBITDA with revenue guidance for over 40% growth (though they are an acquisitive company so that is not all organic). The company is now trading at around 7x 2010 EV/EBITDA and continues to be in growth markets and consistently beats estimates. Of course it is down 5% today despite the solid Q and the good backlog because apparently people hate owning businesses that work. Some analysts are concerned about their long term net interest margins but the company is getting cheap enough for those concerns to be less worrisome than a back hair on Marissa Miller. Money McBags is not yet an owner of TSYS, as he is going to let the market creep down a bit before he gets his invesment on, but this company is worth all of you digging in and trying to get a better feel for their organic growth and competitive advantage in the location based software and military businesses.
Money McBags is off until Monday, so enjoy the Super Bowl.