Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday Morning

Stock futures opened firmly higher a few minutes ago, about 2/3 of a percent. In a sign that governments definitely believe the economic tide is turning, Australia's central bank raised interest rates - meaning a slowdown in their easy money stimulus policy. The Gap (GPS) and Tiffany (TIF) were both started with Buy ratings by brokers this morning.

Stanford University (and others) are re-assesing their real estate and private-equity investments, especially given the lack of liquidity.
During the boom times, Stanford Management, joined other endowments in a rush to plow increasingly large percentages of their funds into private equity, real estate and other illiquid investments — committing some $12.6 billion of the university’s endowment. But then the market soured, and Stanford’s endowment lost $4.6 billion in value in its last fiscal year, a decline of 27 percent. So it now seems to be suffering from investor’s remorse.

Bloomberg looking at some firms lapping last year's easy earnings comparisons.
Analysts project S&P 500 financial companies’ fourth- quarter earnings will more than double from a year ago, when five of the six biggest banks reported a loss of more than $1 billion, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Financial institutions worldwide have reported more than $1.6 trillion in credit losses and writedowns since 2007, Bloomberg data show.

NYTimes coming to Goldman's defense, as it relates to recouping loans from AIG.

Yikes - even the digital media is suffering, as online ad sales fell 5% in the most recent quarter.
Online ad sales fell for a second straight quarter, marking the first time since the dot-com bust that the category has been down in back-to-back quarters, according to an industry trade group. Second-quarter online ad sales totaled $5.4 billion, down 5.4 percent from a year ago, according to a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The Obama administration looking at ways to prop up the economy without a 2nd stimulus plan. The items under consideration include an increase in infrastructure spending through expiring transportation legislation that Congress must reauthorize in the coming months, the Senate aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Other steps being weighed include an extension of a tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers that is due to expire later this year, and a renewal of a tax benefit for net operating losses that would benefit small businesses, the aide said.

Ahhh. Microsoft's Steve Ballmer relying on his 14 year-old son to be sure that Windows 7 will be a bigger hit than Vista.
Ballmer established a process for gathering feedback from computer makers, and he’s personally surveying customers -- along with his teenage son -- to make sure Windows 7 works. Early users, including Continental Airlines Inc., Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and the city of Miami, say they are upbeat about the software.

Speaking of Ballmer - if you've not seen this, it's incredible. Pumping up the nerds...

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