The Fed is getting all jiggy with the markets today and the markets seem to like it. First Ben Bernanke's number one henchman, the honorable Donald L. Kohn who in 40 years of service at the Fed never saw a market he couldn't inflate, announced he is resigning from his position as Vice Chairman of the Fed in order to pursue other ventures more productive to society like finding out where the all the bees went, calculating Pi to the 1 billionth decimal (hint: 7), or figuring out how to get a money shot in lesbian porn (and squirting is not an acceptable answer). When asked why he was retiring, Kohn cited his age, his family, and his annoyance at always having to leave the seat down for Janet Yellen in the Federal Reserve bathroom (and I am told the right stall still contains the graffiti from 1934 of former Fed Chairman Eugene Black stating "Once you go Black, rates will never come back," which helps explain why he was only in that position for only 1 year). Journalists have begun speculating on who Obama will nominate to fill Kohn's seat at the Fed with leading candidates being the esteemed former President of Harvard Larry Summers who was forced to resign from that position due to a vote of "no confidence" (and seeing how the Fed is supposed to help instill confidence in to the economy, Summer's "no confidence" vote may be a bit of a red flag), some lady named Christina Romer who actually looks a bit like Larry Summers in drag (no really, check it out, this is Larry Summers, this is Christina Romer, have you ever seen them in the same room?), and of course When Genius Prevailed's own Money McBags (and Money McBags will certainly turn down the nomination as it would impede on his time at his not safe for working at the Fed, yet imminently important, hobby of guessing muffs (NSFW)). Not only is Donald Kohn retiring, but rogue Federal Reserve Board Member Thomas "T-Ho" Hoenig who is the yin to Bernanke's yang, the Mary Kate to Bernanke's Ashley, and the turd to Bernanke's punchbowl, is out again saying rates need to move up sooner rather than later. While Benny B seemingly dissed T-Ho last week when congress axed him about rates and he said they would be kept low for an extended period of time, T-Ho got all upitty on Benny B and went on CNBC to air his grievances about indefinite low rates, inflation, and Benny B not keeping it real (rates that is). T-Ho said: "You are inviting future problems" and then removed his gold teef, took a swig on his 40 of Mickeys, and reiterated that a zero percent fed-funds rate is "inviting future excesses, and we all know my baby momma ain't need no more excesses." But he didn't stop there, T-Ho took it one step further, opining "I think we shouldn't be guaranteeing markets a zero rate for an extended period." Rates "could be higher, and the effects would be minor" and "We should start that process sooner rather than later." He then lamented that that "Bitch ass Benny B better recognize and check himself before he wrecks himself, because this aint no round the way girl he's messing with, this is Uncle fucking Sam."
In international news, continued hopes of a Greek bailout and a rally in India hepled the US market today. Greece was expected to release their austerity plan which was to shave $3.5B off of their deficit and was to include an increase in their value-added sales tax on things such as Ouzo, saganaki, and greek sodas. India's government reported increases in manufacturing and exports, which along with strong sales from leading auto producer TaTa Motors (who are now said to beoffering lube jobs with their TaTas), helped send the market to it's high for the month.
In US stock news, Ford became the top auto seller for the month with a 43% increase in sales thanks to the Toyota recall and consumers apparently not giving a shit about buying crappy cars. This was the first time in 12 years Ford has outsold GM in a month which means they are 3 years ahead of their 15 year plan. In earnings, Staples Q4 profit dropped 18% as a result of restructuring and disappointing sales of big ticket items like furniture and oversized checks for lottery winners. The stock dropped 10% as their guidance of $1.23 to $1.33 per share was worse than Rosie O'Donnell's girlfriend's breath after downing a lipsmacking day old tuna fish sandwich. Estimates were for $1.40 per share and anytime a company lowers earnings by greater than 10%, nothing good happens. Also, QCOM was up 7% after taking shareholder friendly actions of raising their dividend, announcing a big share buyback, and booking Hannah Hilton as the lunchtime entertainment for their next shareholder meeting (and Money McBags wishes she would hold his shares).
In small cap news a flurry of companies reported today with QCOR shaking off their string of bad quarters while NTRI and NLS helped their shareholders lose weight by making them hurl after each company put up craptastic quarters. Money McBags will dive into NTRI and NLS a bit later in the week, though he welcomes NLS supporter and long time When Genius Prevailed reader Matty McSacks to chime in and help Money McBags understand which of the 4 earnings from continuing operations numbers realeased today is best to use to evaluate NLS's business. Money McBags hasn't seen a release so confusing since he hit puberty and shot his first load to the imagined Lisa Whelchel-Nancy McKeon tryst which would have redefined Edna's Edibles. As for QCOR, Money McBags broke them down in December concluding that "they could have real upside if they continue to penetrate the MS market and can get on-label IS approval." Money McBags was waiting to see some more results though before buying as they had run in to reimbursement issues and some sales hiccups and today they certainly put up some strong results with 223% growth in their MS segment and 56% growth in their paid commercial IS segment, plus they had some sales into the nephrotic syndrome market. Money McBags will break QCOR down later in the week as well as he is pressed for time today but today's 18% rise was likely a short squeeze (and Money McBags realizes he said that about the last time QCOR rallied, but there is something to say about consistency), that said, if they are now back up to a $.52 annual eps run rate with their $.13 eps quarter today, there is no reason they shouldn't trade at 15x that and thus put their value at around $7.50 per share. The company has been well run and is shareholder friendly, but they need to continue to execute.