Monday, June 28, 2010

6/28/10 Midevening Report: Finance ministers come together as G-20 hits the spot

Stocks were bouncing around today as macro data came out, courts made some rulings, and the Unicorn meat industry took a hit.  Consumer spending numbers were reported and shockingly, income grew faster than spending which means that either the numbers are going to be adjusted later, consumers had their credit card lines lowered significantly, or common sense has crept back in to the US consumer after a 30 year Dionysian spending orgy (and Money McBags will vote for 1 or 2 before he votes for 3).  Spending was up .2% which beat the median guess, while incomes were up .4%, pushing the savings rate to its highest level in 8 months since back when people were snowed in and couldn't overconsume.

The bigger news on the day though was a couple of court rulings which brought slightly positive news to the markets.  First of all, the Supreme Court decided not to listen to the federal racketeering case against the tobacco industry because it would have interferred with their daily viewing of Judge Judy (and Money McBags is told Justice John Paul Stevens would like to drop his case load onto Judy Sheindlin's thin docket).  The decision is a positive for both the tobacco industry and the health care industry as tobacco companies are now unlikely to face large industry crippling fines and instead will be free to continue bringing cancer to people everywhere while also helping the top line growth of health care companies.

The other big news of the day of which Money McBags could give a fuck about (right up there with the World Cup, General McChrystal's dismissal, and anything having to do with Miley Cyrus), the Supreme Court upheld the Sarbanes-Oxley law except it allowed the SEC to now fire members of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (known better as the acronymly challenged PCAOB).  So now the SEC, an institution that was so fuck awful that they promoted the person who ignored Bernie Madoff's machinations despite evidence gift wrapped for them, and an institution so incompetent that they spent their days investigating tranny porn instead of securities fraud (when we all know the night time is for tranny porn, the day time is for NSFW guessing muffs which thankfully is back up and running and its return has truly made Money McBags understand how Pamela Smart's family felt when they found her alive), has the ability to fire the members of some board that supposedly does something to track public auditors.  Well thank you for that Supreme fucking Court, really.  Money McBags is glad you are wasting your time on shit like this instead of abortion, gun control laws, and banning Ray Romano from network TV.  But hey, it's great that the SEC can now fire any of the five board members of PCAOB for any reason and not just incompetence, especially as THERE ARE ONLY 4 CURRENT MEMBERS of the PCOAB board.  So hoo-fucking-ray that a board which does absolutely nothing based on the fact that no one has ever heard of them and is not even at a fully staffed level, can now be better regulated.  Perhaps if we got our panties out of a bunch and stopped regulating regulators (especially ones as irrelevant as PCOAB) and instead tried to stop fraudulent activity, the economy would be a wee bit less fucked.

Internationally, world leaders are still coming down from the G-20 summit which likely featured as much excitement as a summer theatre production of Pride and Prejudice.  Finance leaders seem to have come to an agreement to cut deficits by 2013 yet made it clear the deficit reduction is an "expectation" and not a firm or binding deadline.  In a similar vein, Money McBags has agreed to marry Brooke D Williams by 2012 but that is also just an "expectation" and not a firm deadline (he'll give her until 2095 if she really wants).  So basically, all that happened at the G-20 summit is that no one fucked anything new up and everyone agreed to keep the staus quo until the the status quo causes the next major downturn, whew.  Not only were fiscal policies less changed than Michael Vick after a prison sentence and rehab, but banks avoided new regulations as policy makers said any regulations won't be finished until the next G-20 summit in November, will take longer than two years to institute, and will be just as bad as current regulation but in a different way.  So now we wait until Basel  III for new regulation which will likely be the worst performing sequel since Karate Kid III: The Puberty Years or Speed III: Runaway Segway.

In stock news, tobacco companies were up due to the previously mentioned supreme court ruling and BA dropped 44% before the markets opened  in trades that were cancelled and were either the result of a fat finger (as always, known on WGP as the Portia De Rossi) or the fact that the market structure is more broken than John Edwards' wedding vows.  The market continues to ponder circuit breakers to avoid manipulated fluctuations like BA had before hours (even though only 1k shares were traded).  The fact that 50% of volume is made by non-fundamental investors should make fixing the market structure a priority for all 1,800 regulatory groups looking in to Wall Street, including the now can be fired board of the PCAOB where four out of five members exist.

In small cap news, ISLE dropped 14% today as they announced their intention of issuing 9MM shares to raise $100MM (or at this rate, $75MM by the time of actual issuance).  The shares should lead to ~22% dilution and Money McBags broke the company down after their last Q in which they put together a marginal quarter and yet were still burning cash.  The problem with this company is that their balance sheet makes Greece look like a fucking miser and they have run down casinos that need to be upgraded because even though gambling is essentially inelastic, it's not inelastic in shitty casinos with 1970s carpeting that smell of old men and despair.  So ISLE needs more cash to modernize their real estate and yet is already almost as highly levered as a Bernie Madoff fund (and his leverage was $50B to $1).  So there is room for this company to fall even more since the drop today didn't equal the dilution (32MM shares going to 41MM shares so owners now own ~22% less) and thus if you want a short term short trade, what better way to do it than jumping in on a shitty company with bad things happening?

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