Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Housing, Apples and Guns

  • Housing starts climbed a less-than-anticipated 0.5% to a seasonally adjusted 590,000 annual rate compared to the prior month. August starts were revised lower to an increase of 1.0% from an initial report of a 1.5% increase. Building permits dropped 1.2% to a 573,000 annual rate. Permits were expected to rise by 2%. A slightly disappointing report for all those housing cheerleaders.
  • Apple posted a 47% quarterly profit jump on strong sales of iPhones and Macs. iPhone sales were up 7% year over year and Mac sales were up 17% year over year. Revenues were up 24% to $9.8 billion. Like Google, reporting a year-over-year increase in sales is rare and greeted with yet another pop in the stock price, even after strong run-ups in anticipation of good earnings.
  • The WSJ reports that Cerberus, everyone's favorite private equity group, is preparing to IPO its company called Freedom Group. Freedom is a combination of several gun and ammunition companies that Cerberus has been acquiring over the years, when it wasn't busy punting money on bankrupt automakers. Freedom is hoping to capitalize on a surge in gun and ammo sales this year and in contrast to most of its other investments, this one should actually be a winner for the beleaguered investment group. The article is accompanied by a photo of a girl who looks around 12 years old testing a Bushmaster rifle. Who says financiers don't have a humanitarian side?

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