The market is flattish today, likely taking a breather to fill out its NCAA bracket while trying to sleep off the headache caused by Dick Vitale's pontifications yesterday on how loving Mike Krzyzewski is post-coitus. That said, Moody's is out warning that major economies such as the US, Germany, the UK, and Vivid Video may be closer to having their debt ratings lowered as growth may not be enough to "resolve an increasingly complicated debt equation." Hey Moody's, Money McBags has your increasingly complicated debt equation right here and it equals "go fuck yourself." No really, do it. Money McBags is going to sit here and wait until you take your credit scoring model and shove it right up your asset backed security and wherever else the CDO doesn't shine. Here's the deal Moody's, you are not very good at what you do, you are as good at your job as Bernie Madoff is at investing or Kirstie Alley is at dieting. You completely missed the whole fucking sub-prime collapse and you know what? That was your only fuckng job. It's like if Robert Newman forgot to bring lanterns to the steeple of Old North Church on 4/18/1775 or US intelligence never found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (umm, ok, scratch that one). So pardon Money McBags if he doesn't give two shits about what you have to say, even if those shits are from a homeless AIDS patient with diarrhea and a massive anal fissure. Having you continue to rate debt is like if Ford re-hired the guy who designed the Edsel to produce a follow up called the Edsel Deuce or if Alan Greenspan were put back in charge at the Fed. The point is, even a blind microeconomist can see that the world economy might go to hell, so shut your fucking yaps and go crawl back in to the financial hole which you created. While Moody's is rating credits, Senator Christopher Dodd is set to announce a tougher financial reform bill today. Unless that bill requires Moody's and other credit rating agencies to put a disclaimer saying "We suck at our jobs" on every report they release, requires companies writing CDS to actually hold reserves on those CDS since, you know, they're fucking insurance policies, and requires current and former Goldman Sachs executives to win popular elections before running the country, the reforms will simply be more government lip service (though if it's lip service from Raven Alexis, then that is the kind of government action Money McBags can support). In other US macro news, industrial production rose .1% in February signaling a continued demand for computers and communications equipment. It doesn't take a genius like Bill Gates or the guy who created the next great Olympic event (though NSFW) of muff guessing, to understand that technology is going to continue to grow and regardless of the global economy, people are going to continue to use it. Cell phones, computers, iPads, etc. are going to keep driving the way people interact with each other until we finally all just get chips put in to our brains (which is sometime in the next 30 years according to Ray Kurzweil) so being long technology even if this recession double dips is not the worst idea one has ever had (though it is slightly worse than taint tickling Tuesdays or the theory of general relativity).
In stock news, Phillips-Van Heusen acquired Tommy Hilfiger for $3B cash and stock as they apparently woke up thinking it was still 1991. PVH CEO, Ripped Off Van Winkle, said "Well we wanted to buy JAMZ and the company that makes those awesome Hammer Pants all the kids are wearing these days, but if we could only buy one of the three it was going to be Hilfiger. We just want to let people know that PVH is down with OPP." Also, AIG is talking about cutting their previously announced bonuses by 30% in order to hopefully quiet controversy while still keeping the employees who almost caused a total global economic collapse. Whew. How would AIG ever operate without the people who fucking ruined it? In other news, LA county just retroactively gave Marcia Clark and Cristopher Darden bonuses for their handling of the OJ Simpson case while Tara Reid rehired her plastic surgeons. Siemens is shooting themselves in the face today by pulling the sale of their hearing aid unit. There is absolutely no reason you should care but Money McBags just wanted to see if he could type Siemens while keeping a straight face (and if you're keeping score at home, he didn't). Finally, WMT is up after a C analyst upgraded them to buy based on the potential for WMT to gain share from supermarkets and their pending world domination.
In small cap news today, FHCO is getting some national press as the city of Washington DC is handing out 500k of the new and improved FC2 which is not only cheaper to produce with higher margins, but it also tastes great. Money McBags wrote about FHCO about 2 months ago and all they have done since then is go up like a 45 year old virgin's johnson after viewing this delightful NSFW shot of Money McBags favorite Alice Eve. The company has probably run a little too much but good things are still happening with a potential retail partner still out there and country specific AIDS programs just getting traction. Plus there is that little thing about AIDS not going away. In other small cap stocks, IBKR got downgraded today by KBW due to the ratio of actual to implied volatility in the options market showing no rebound and due to another little thing called "having no actual control over your business model revenue stream." IBKR is both a market maker for options (though taking on no counterparty risk) and provider of a trading platform for day traders. The problem they have been running in to is that the options market requires them to hedge the volatility and when the actual vol differs greatly from the implied vol, they can find themselves in a situation where they don't make any money as their margins get thinner than John Edwards' excuses. Their CEO claims they have $2 in annual earnings power and over a long time horizon their earnings should be smoother than Olivia Munn after a cocoa butter bath, but that long time time horizon may be 100 years at this rate. The fact is they have lumpy quarters and less ability to control the lumpiness than Michael Jackson has the abilty to moonwalk ever again. So if you believe over the long run that those quarters will even out and there really is $2 of earnings potential, buying this stock at 8x those earnings on a down day due to a downgrade is not a terrible entry point. That said, value investors have loved this stock all the way down from $35 and it's one of the few companies not to have participated in the rally.