Tuesday, July 20, 2010

7/20/10 Midevening Report: Republicans fail to stop unemployment benefits from being extended, next up, trying to outlaw wheelchairs for quadriplegics

The market was moderately down today like a dysthymic after downing a plate of sugar coated prozac and a 2 liter of Jolt Cola before it ran up in the late afternoon due to the Senate extending unemployment benefits.  Earnings were the biggest disappointment early on with IBM, TXN, and GS all putting up subpar topline numbers (see Money McBags' prescient headline from yesterday) as if they were a Jerry Bruckheimer film or Greece.  That said, macro news also disappointed which is about as surprising as learning that BP may have more problems or Hilary Swank is really a man.

The main US macro news out today was that home construction declined because, well, because people don't even have enough money to build confidence, much less houses.  Construction of new homes fell 5% in June led by a 20% drop in the construction of condominiums and apartments but helped out by the increase in the construction of shanty towns and modern day Hoovervilles (and hopefully soon, Hootervilles, which will be made out of plenty of wood and pure awesomeness).  On the positive side, there was a 2.1% increase in the demand for new building permits though the Commerce Department listed it as "wishful thinking," and on the slightly more positive side Russian spy Anna Chapman may pose for Playboy.

The big news of the day was that the senate is set to extend jobless aid after some guy named Carte Goodwin was appointed to Robert Byrd's old Senate seat, making it in fact a "good win" for struggling people everywhere (and yes, that was an awful pun, nowhere near as good as someone named Mr. Goodjoint looking like this).  Yeah, Money McBags knows spending more money is not the best longterm strategy and that if the government keeps perpetuating this global ponzi scheme, we are all going to be more fucked than Lisa Ann on the set of Who's Nailin' Paylin, but having 4MM people surviving on month old pop tarts and feces is certainly not the answer.  There are easily other areas where one could cut spending to make up for supporting people who need extended unemployment benefits (like maybe buying 2 or 3 fewer stealth bombers, using credit cards instead of cash in Iraq, and taking memberships to Tranny porn sites out of the SEC's benefits package).

That said, never before has there been a need to cut costs to allow for extended unemployment and never before has the government tried to do that in the middle of a recession, but apparently Republicans hate winning elections.  Look, all of this money gets put right back in to the economy and is a mini stimulus which might buy the US another month or six to give it a chance to hit a patch of dumb luck and thus avoid being knocked in to bolivion.   Either way, Republicans blocking this package is among the stupidest political strategy blunders in American history, right up there with Nixon sweating through the Nixon-Kennedy debate, anyone allowing Sarah Palin to be interviewed, and Warren Harding banging a hooker with a teapot (or something like that).  Obviously the deficit needs to be better managed lest we fall further in to Keynes' folly, but cutting extended unemployment benefits is not the way to go unless one wants to speed up the oncoming anarchy and see what happens when crime starts moving to the suburbs.

In stock news, earnings disappointments led the day with Goldman missing estimates of ~$2.98 EPS by earning only ~$2.75 per share ex one-timers and if this keeps up, theWhite House GS' management team, may be in trouble.  Those one-timers included the $550MM settlement with the SEC, $600MM for a British bank payroll tax, and Raven Alexis the night of the company picnic after wowing her with how deep their structured products run.  It is a rare miss for the company, as they have perfected the ability to control both the markets and the government without winning a popular election or being likeable, but every once in a while even the great Ron Jeremy must come up flaccid.  The biggest issue with GS' Q was on the topline driven by revenue from trading of fixed income products, currencies and commodities, falling to $4.4B from $7.4B in Q1 and $6.8 billion in last year's Q2 which is a more precipitous decline than Lloyd Blankfein's hairline (or reputation) and caused him to vociferously utter "inconceivable" to anyone who would listen.  Of course with revenue falling, GS had to cut compensation in order to keep some profits (though profitability did fall 82% even with the cuts) and the ratio of compensation to net revenue fell to 43% in the first half from 49% in the first half of last year which means employees will now have to buy the in the lot Lamborghinis rather than have them custom made.

While last week Goldman settled with the SEC and admitted no wrongdoing (which is a bit like Roman Polanski claiming it was consensual or Eddie Murphy claiming he only acted in The Adventures of Pluto Nash and didn't write or direct it), the VP in charge of the (allegedly) fraudulent Abacus CDO, Fabulous Fab Tourre still faces a law suit from the SEC which could undermine Goldman's lack of admission of guilt, especially if Fab continues to blame it on the rain (and that reference will never stop being funny).  Tourre made a filing today with the courts saying that he isn't responsible “for any alleged failings” by GS and he didn't mean to sucker people out of their money, it just seemed like the thing to do.

In other earnings news, IBM's revenue came in short of analyst guesses at $23.72B vs. guesses of $24.17B due to a drop in service contracts which the company says were merely pushed back in to next quarter and sluggish growth in Europe due to it being siesta season overseas.  Also disappointing was TXN, whose earnings and revenue were at the midrange of guidance but failed to outperform whisper numbers (and Money McBags only hopes it was Alice Eve whispering the numbers).  Despite a 900bp increase in gross margins, 42% revenue growth, and above street guidance, the stock tumbled today as if it had downed a fifth of Jack Daniels and had vestibular neuritis.  On the positive side,  Pepsi beat estimates and earnings were driven by strength in emerging markets with sales in Asia/Middle East/Africa up 16% proving that the demand for sugary water is more inelastic than the demand for running water, shelter and malaria medicine.  After beating earnings estimates of $1.08 per share by $.01, PEP maintained their 11% to 13% earnings growth estimate for the year despite currency hurting their growth rate by 1% and Coke hurting their feelings by calling them copycats.

In small cap news, just about everything ran up end of day and Money McBags is pressed for time today so he'll just leave you with one thought: CRUS.  Apple reports tonight and CRUS provides an audio chip that goes in to their iPhone.  Money McBags has talked about this stock in depth here and all it has done is go up like the age of consent in Georgia over the past 200 years.  You can read Money McBags' analysis of CRUS by using the search function on WGP but he was alerting you to this stock when it was below $10 and his estimates have continued to go up with the surprisingly quick rebound of their energy business.  Money McBags thinks they can earn $1.20 per share and with the type of growth they have been witnessing, there is no reason the company shouldn't trade at 20x that which means you can still earn >25% here.  So pay attention to AAPL's release because strong iPhone sales should bode well for CRUS' upcoming Q.

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