The market crept up again today like Jessica Simpson’s pants or like Pete Townshend at a boy scout overnight (though all for research, wink wink).  With the year ending next week and investor’s preparing for tonight’s lunar eclipse where the Earth will happily play Lucky Pierre between the Moon and the Sun (and this hasn’t happened during the winter solstice since 1638, or back when gold was the preferred currency, liberals tried to control thought in Massachusetts, and Larry King was patching up another marriage, so um, Money McBags guesses some things never change), the market is destined to float along as portfolio managers are more likely to challenge Lexington Steele to a cock off than they are to do anything to cause volatility right before bonus season.  So feel free to ignore the market movements over the next week and a half and rebalance your portfolio for the first of the year.

With a dearth of macro news today (in fact macro news was scarcer than panties on Britney Spears and even scarcer than astatine), the only news Money McBags could find relevant to the markets was that retail sales had another strong holiday weekend.  The strength of retail sales remains cockposterously confounding to Money McBags, even more confounding than the efficient market hypothesis or this food insurance thing (that video was some kind of farce, right?).

How is it possible that according to some guy named Craig Johnson, the President of some place called Customer Growth Partners, holiday sales this season will surpass 2007′s total sales record of $508B (and Craig, Money McBags hates to tell you how to run your business, but if you bill yourself as a consumer and service strategist, perhaps you should have a website that doesn’t look like it was made in 1994 using MS-DOS and whatever carayola crayons were left over in the box)?  This just doesn’t make sense to Money McBags and he proposes that instead of having smart people waste their time proving that genes cause infidelity (especially these jeans), we get them to look in to how people can block out potential disastrous future events (like spiraling debts, diminished retirement accounts, and Nikki Cox turning in to Carrot Top.  Oh Nikki, you once had such great promise) and continue to spend on shit they don’t need and can’t afford.  Money McBags just doesn’t get it, but then again, he doesn’t get Dancing with the Stars or Paul Krugman OpEds, so perhaps he is the one who is in the wrong.

Anyway, according to something called SpendingPulse (and someone needs to take Money McBags’ pulse over all of this spending), eCommerce sales rose 13.5% and apparel sales were up 9.8% from the start of the holiday season through Dec. 11 compared with the same period a year ago   So just think how strong sales will be once QE3 hits.  ComScore showed online sales in the most recent week ended Dec. 17 grew 14% to $5.15B and there were four individual days last week where sales topped $900MM (those days of course included “Green Monday”, “Plastic Tuesday”, and “Bankruptcy Wednesday”).  But hey, as long as people will keep selling hamburgers today for payment on Tuesday, and as long as banks don’t take any risk when lending since Uncle George and Uncle Obama have had their backs, then there is no reason the economy can’t go to cockfinity.  So buy away, buy away.

Oh yeah, Money McBags loved this story about middle of the road bankers (known collectively as Jefferies) who are getting their cuff links all in a bunch about the prospects of potentially not getting bonuses.  Money McBags would feel badly for them if they 1. Did anything productive for society (like writing dick jokes on the market from their dining room table).  2.  Didn’t just have their base pay doubled to make up for the lack of bonuses.  3.  Needed that money to release Angeline Moncayo nude pictures.  But since none of those are true, Money McBags will gladly give them a full case of “who gives a shit” should they require further compensation.

In Europe, stocks closed at 27 month highs because apparently no one gives a shit about Ireland and their lack of liquidity.  In a position paper published on its website (and Money McBags only hopes that position was the Iraqi Drill Press), the ECB said legal flaws in Ireland’s bailout legislation could affect its rights over collateral security which is the multi-syllabic way of the ECB saying “there is a bit of a chance we may have fucked up.”

In the market, NFLX’s CEO called out noted turd in the punchbowl Whitney Tilson (who never met a copy of Securities Analysis whose pages he couldn’t stick together), about Tilson’s NFLX short.  The CEO said competitive threats, bandwidth costs, and the CFO departure weren’t issues and that as soon as people in China get running water, and then electricity, and then TVs, and then wifi, NFLX’s valuation will look only mildly expensive.

Elsewhere, AXP was down ~3% after Stiffy Nicolaus wondered if consumers will start leaving home without it (and that is the Jay Leno joke of the day).  The analyst warns that now that the Fed has proposed a cap on debit card interchange fees merchants are forced to pay, it could cause merchants to steer consumers away from credit cards.  Stifel Nicolaus said the company is “more exposed” following last week’s Federal Reserve proposals, though not as exposed as Snooki will be when she drops in the ball (and Money McBags finds that a nice change of pace since usually the balls drop in her), and worries that cutting interchange fees could be next for credit cards.

Finally, Chesapeake energy chesa-peaked up 7% after it was learned that Carl Icahn built up a ~6% position in the firm and Raytheon announced they are paying an 8.5% premium of $490MM for APSG.  APSG provides surveillance and cybersecurity equipment to the Pentagon to make sure viruses aren’t downloaded on to important government servers after intelligence officers play the NSFW silicon challenge.

In small cap news, RICK was up ~6% and remember last week Money McBags broke down their Q and said now was the time to buy back in to this consumer necessity product.  The company should earn between .044 and .050 lap dances per share in fiscal 2011 and they are trading at only 8x to 9x that with consistent 10% growth (and Money McBags can assure he grows at least 10% every time he goes to Rick’s).  This isn’t a long-term trade, but RICK has the momentum and a decent margin of safety, trading at only 5x EV/EBIDTA and <10x earnings, to have a nice 40% or 50% run here to reach a price of .60 lap dances to .80 lap dances.

Most cockpleasingly though, ZAGG channeled their inner NFLX and released a statement today refuting some “random implications” about their company posted on some blog at SeekingAlpha.  Oh god, this makes Money McBags’ balls tickle with the absurdity of it all.  While it is bizarre enough that NFLX felt the need to call out Whitney Tilson, at least they did it point by point and at least one person other than Mrs. Tilson has heard of Whitney.  In contrast, ZAGG called out some anonymous short, didn’t say which comments they objected to, didn’t try to set them straight, and at the end said “Further comment on this matter will not be provided by the company or its advisors.”  Wow, that is some weird ass shit, even weirder than Carnie Wilson admitting she is fat as fuck. But here is the best part, the short ZAGG was addressing is some guy called Worthless Pennies and this was likely his latest missive.

Look ZAGG management, Money McBags shouldn’t have to tell you how to run your company, and he has been critical of you in the past (because your business is selling a commodity product where eventually margins will be frittered away like a married guy’s dignity), but YOU DON’T RESPOND TO SOME DICKBAG WITH A MADE UP NAME POSTING A BLOG.  Seriously, do you need someone named Money McBags to tell you that?

For fucksake, it’s one thing if Whitney Tilson gets a bug up his ass about your company because he can tell all of his douchey rich hedge fund friends and they can band together to manipulate your stock, but Worthless Pennies ain’t no fucking Whitney Tilson.  Trust Money McBags on this, there is not one institutional investor or hedge fund (you know, the people who have enough money to move your stock), who is reading anything this guy writes.  So if you want to build credibility and act like a real fucking company, just shut the fuck up and manage your business unless you plan to respond to every sith lord and hornyass69 that posts on Yahoo! as well.

Here’s the deal, Money McBags has no idea if what Worthless Pennies says is true, and frankly, he doesn’t give a shit.  It’s irrelevant to him.  Money McBags thinks the business has long term flaws and an inexperienced and promotional management team and this ill-advised missive from ZAGG management does nothing to quell the later.  The whole thing just looks silly, but kudos to ZAGG for beginning “an investigation into the circumstances around the trading in ZAGG stock and options on Thursday, December 16, 2010. The company has filed a formal complaint with the Chicago Board Options Exchange and will report this matter to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets and Division of Enforcement.” No really, Money McBags is sure that at the end of the investigation the SEC will send Worthless Pennies to his room with no dinner and maybe even not let him go to prom.  Anyway ZAGG, if you think some seekingalpha article can cause that much REAL movement in your stock, then that is all Money McBags needs to know about your management team.

The point is, this does nothing to change Money McBags’ long-term short view of ZAGG (which is based on logic and reason) and he will continue to give them credit for the nice quarters they have put up (he just doesn’t see them lasting).  That said, he now eagerly awaits their next statement where they may take on someone named Goh Lik Kok on 4chan for posting that ZAGG eats babies.

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