Friday, February 5, 2010

Financial Headlines 2/5/2010

Markets around the world worked themselves into a real tizzy yesterday over the prospect of a downbeat employment report release today in the US. That and the inevitability of a default by Greece, and possibly Spain and who knows who's next? Investors decided to just pound the heck out of the Euro just to cover all bases. Actually risky assets across the board fell, credit spreads widened and treasuries rallied, which is pretty much what always happens when everyone freaks out at the same time about news that has been fairly obvious for some time. Here are today's headlines for confirmation:
  • Nonfarm payrolls dropped by 20,000, bringing total jobs lost since the beginning of the recession to 8.42 million (note the benchmark revisions that took this number from 7.2 million to 8.42 million in one pop.) For the optimists out there, the unemployment rate fell from 10% to 9.7%. Still, that's a heck of a lot of out of work people.
  • The New York attorney general has filed a civil complaint against ex-BofA CEO Ken Lewis for failing to point out to investors what a large turkey Merrill Lynch was before shareholders voted to approve the massively overpriced deal. Separately, the SEC settled with BofA AGAIN, this time for $150 million, despite the fact that Judge Rakoff threw out the previous suit because it forced shareholders to pay, even though they were the victims. Not sure why screwing shareholders out of MORE money is going to fly with the judge this time, but we'll see.
  • GMAC lost money again. Shocker. The 56% owned by the US government mortgage/auto lending concern puked $4.95 billion in the quarter on an 86% decline in revenues. Go TARP!
  • A Citibank prop trader takes a hike to a hedge fund. According to the WSJ article, he only had good things to say about Citi, so I take it he was happy with his bonus number.
  • Oh and if you are in the market for a half built Caribbean resort, lenders have seized one on the island of Anguilla. Give Credit Suisse a call if you'd like to have Dan Brown and Simon Fuller as neighbors.

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