Thursday, October 8, 2009

Noteworthy News and Economic Data

Some snippets of noteworthy news:
  • The FDIC's sale of the assets of Corus went off without a hitch. The winning bid of $2.7 billion was supplied by TPG, Starwood Capital and the FDIC, who bested seven other willing buyers of Corus' tasty pile of mostly defaulted construction loans. Of course, the FDIC is providing the dirt cheap financing (as in zero), and is taking a 60% equity stake. Essentially, the FDIC is selling the assets to itself, as well as an option to TPG/Starwood for all the upside. No wonder it got such a good price.
  • Consumer Credit declined by $12 billion, continuing its contraction streak for the seventh month. As I seem to point out every month when the number is released: this is good news for the long-term as consumers need to ween themselves off of credit, but short-term it doesn't help the recovery.
  • Jobless claims fell by 33,000 to 521,000, the lowest level since January 3rd. Continuing claims also fell by 72,000 to 6,040,000. The numbers are still very high, but still an improvement.
  • Alcoa kicked off the already hyped earnings season by posting an actual profit. It's been awhile since Alcoa has been able to pull off this amazing feat, three quarters to be exact. The company attributed the performance mostly to cost-cutting measures taken earlier in the year.
  • The strip mall vacancy rate hit 10.3%, the highest since 1992, which coincidentally may be the last time I actually went to a strip mall. This bleak report follows on the heels of equally lousy vacancy numbers released on offices and apartment buildings.

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