Posts tagged bail out
1/13/10 Midday Report: Google threatens to pull out of China, claims “not properly protected,” but does offer to finish on China’s back
With macro news today apparently scarcer than free speech in Chinese search engines or free standing buildings in Haiti (too soon?), the big news moving the market is Google’s threat to leave China after China left the toilet seat up one too many times and refused to take out the trash. Google’s panties are currently in a bunch (and honestly, this is why Money McBags suggests young ladies wear thongs) over sophisticated cyber attacks on the company and human rights advocates originating from somewhere in China (and investigators may want to start by looking in the offices of a certain chinese internet company that rhymes with Shmaidu). Google issued a statement claiming they now know “it is China pretending to be the Nigerian Prince, and we will not fall for that again. Though we would like our $1k back.” GOOG’s threat to leave China (where they have 33% market share) has shares of BIDU soaring like the price of tequila on Cinco de Mayo. BIDU is the #1 internet search provider in China with about 2/3 of the market so GOOG’s potential exit should turn them into a monopoly, or as the Chinese call it, government. Estimates are that GOOG may lose $600MM in annual revenue by leaving China, which isn’t much considering they had $22B in revenue last year, but as China is a potential larger area of growth than the front of Lexington Steele’s pants, a departure could have longer term implications. The guess here is that a sell-off in GOOG will create a good buying opportunity for long term investors as GOOG and China will find a way to get back together and once again enjoy candlelight dinners over hot bowls of the famous Chinese delicacy, Cream of Sum Yung Gai.
In other market news, bank CEOs are sitting in front of congress and letting congress have their way with them like starry eyed young ladies in a Bangbus video. No word on whether when the questioning is over, banking CEOs will be allowed to switch seats with the congressmen and ask them the same pointed questions about their pitiful job performance. The highlight of the day has been Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack claiming “Many firms were too highly leveraged,” which is a bit like OJ saying the knife was too sharp or Ken Lay claiming some accounting rules were too vague. There has also been a bit of disagreement with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd “Big Tank” Blankfein claiming mark to market accounting helped them avoid some of the pitfalls while new BAC CEO Brian Moynihan correctly pointed out that mark to market accounting exacerbated the downfall. Marking illiquid securities to a crumbling market where clearing prices were non-existent or less steeped in reality than Bernie Madoff’s profits, and then requiring reserves to be raised to fill in these fictitious book value declines is the most underreported non-sensical catch-22 of the entire market collapse. It made less sense than a Thomas Pynchon novel or raisinets (seriously, chocolate covered raisins? Why not just piss on the chocolate too?).
In stock news, Kraft raised their outlook and simply claimed “umm guys, haven’t you seen all of the fucking fat people in this country? You know we make Oreos, right?” while financials have bounced around today with analysts on the street now saying investment banking profits may not be so outsized this quarter as fixed income revenues fell with decreased volatility. This has caused Goldman to dial up the White House on their special diamond encrusted phone and tell them to “freak everyone out again, daddy needs the new Apple Tablet when it comes out.”
Finally, Money McBags wrote about EBIX in this space just a few short days ago. In his write-up, he mentioned his concerns about the company: “the CEO’s ego is bigger than Alexis Texas‘s voluptuous backside (and that is if she had elephantitus of the anus) and there is always something Enron/Satyam-ish to be concerned about when investing in a complex/hard to define business that shuns the street, relies on acquisitions, and has a cult following centered around their egotistical CEO” and yet said he was willing to overlook those issues as the company remained cheap. Well my friends, Money McBags has lost his appetite for EBIX. After reading CFRA’s scathing short report citing EBIX’s changing of auditors, accounting irregularities, and potentially misleading topline growth, Money McBags just doesn’t want to be involved and is trading out of his position. While CFRA could be wrong, Money McBags has no edge on this company and does not want to get into a “he said-she said” with a company in which he already expressed some real concerns. One could stay long EBIX and hedge it with long-dated out of the money puts, but one could also walk around town with no pants screaming “free lunch,” so one could do many different things. If the company is operating as they say they are, EBIX is a phenomenal buy, but Money McBags prefers to invest in companies in which he can be more confident (and yes, Money McBags owns RICK which is always one champagne room hummer away from massive litigation, so he realizes the potential folly of his previous statement). So do your own research, but be aware that Money McBags is no longer involved in EBIX. It could be a great buy here as short stories can create unheard of buying opportunities, like a 2007 Ashley Dupre, but you need to have more confidence than Money McBags currently does.
1/12/10 Midday Report: China trying to cool economy, hires Justin Timberlake to dole out stimulus funds
The big macro news today is that China raised the reserve ratio that banks need to hold aside as deposits, signalling that China’s central bank is starting to become acutely aware of inflation concerns (whereas the world is starting to become acutely aware of Christina Hendricks‘ “concerns”). Given that China is going to spend roughly 4 trillion yuan in stimulus through 2010, inflationary worries are less surprising than learning that Mark McGwire used steroids, Bea Arthur was really a man, or Napoleon was a bit touchy about his height.
In US market news, the US trade deficit widened more than expected (though not as much as Nicole Eggert’s waistline) as imports outpaced exports thanks largely to consumer goods, capital goods, and Malawain babies. The good news is that this should start to reverse itself as the dollar continues to plummet like Lindsay Lohan’s acting career, the bad news of course is that the dollar continues to plummet. Also, the government is said to be getting all loan sharky on banks and demanding their TARP money back or they will start breaking deposit caps. The rumor is that the government will somehow put an unenforcable tax on the banks to recoup the money they lent to them as part of the bail out. It only took a year for the government to realize that lending money to failing banks may result in losses, so we’ll call that progress.
Earnings season got underway today and has largely been a disappointment, like your first kiss or any Wes Anderson movie of the past ten years (And don’t give me that Fantastic Mr. Fox crap, if I want to see an animated fox I’ll break out an old VHS tape and watch Jessica Rabbit). Alcoa kicked off earnings season by missing estimates as analysts were expecting AA to exhibit more leverage on the cost side while Electronic Arts lowered estimates as sales of their newest titles RockBand: Milli Vanilli, The Sims: Guantanamo Bay, and Paris Hilton’s Great Herpes Adventure were all below expectations.
In small cap news CRUS pre-announced a ginormous quarter last night, easily beating analyst estimates as revenue is expected to soar 49% year over year with gross margin rising 200ish basis points to 54%. New guidance for the March quarter is for a 58% revenue improvement. CRUS makes ICs for the portable audio and the energy exploration markets. A few quarters ago they won business to be one of the audio chips for the iPhone and being a chip supplier to the iPhone is like being the stylus provider to Palm Pilots in 1998, in other words, the technology g-spot. Their revenue had been in decline as their energy exploration business sank like John Edwards’ political career (except without getting anyone pregnant) but their audio business was up 67% in the September Q. The pre-announcement last night said growth was mainly from new products but said they are seeing “increased demand from our customers for a broad mix of both our audio and energy products.” The key here is that if the energy business can rebound to say a $80MM a year revenue run rate (they had quarters in excess of $20MM in this business previously and were at $14MM last Q which was up sequentially), and the audio business can continue to grow, CRUS could exceed their current forecast. Even taking their current forecast as inline, analysts have raised their estimates to around $.60 eps for fiscal 2011 and around $.40 eps for fiscal 2010. While Money McBags does not know how much of an energy rebound those numbers include, he is guessing they undervalue the potential for growth in CRUS’s smart grid products. Either way, just say analysts are right and the company earns $.60 in fiscal 2011, CRUS is now trading at 13x that not including the $124MM of cash on the balance sheet. Yes, the easy money has been made and the jump today could be on short covering (though I have no idea why anyone would have been short a stock this cheap, but then again I have no idea why anyone thinks Jay Leno is funny, so what do I know?), so Money McBags would hold off on buying today, but there is still probably $2-$4 of upside (15x FY 2011 $.60 estimates + $2ish in cash per share) and that is if the energy market does not have a big comeback. It is worth tuning into their 1/28/10 call to see what they have to say, so put this on your watch list and be ready to buy the dip.
2009 finally ends tonight and what a year it has been. The market sunk to a low of 666 before being exorcised by a low quality rally and a bottle of jesus juice, the US goverment bailed out the financial system and printed enough money to make Bill Gates seem like a pauper, unemployment spiked to multi-year highs bringing back Great Depression slogans such as “Brother can you spare a dime?” and “What can we get for $10?” (the answer of course being “everything you want.”), and Hannah Hilton announced her retirement sending Money McBags into a deep and prolonged depression of his own. It was a momentous year but that is in the past and as the year 2010 begins, we all need to refocus on the markets and follow the data closely because things aint so cheap out there anymore so mistakes can be made (though probably not as big as this mistake or this one).
In market news today, weekly unemployment claims came in lower than expected as companies build back inventory and try not to Scrooge people during the Christmas holiday. The 432k initial jobless claims were the lowest in a year and a half so there is some optimism. Of course, those filing for extended unemployment benefits rose by 200k to just under 5MM. That’s right, 5MM people have been out of the work force or longer than their 6 months of unemployment checks, but there is nothing to see here. In actuality, we appear to be at an inflection point where the economy has bottomed and is stabilizing so there is hope for growth, of course, they said that in Japan in 1991 as well.
In stock news, not much is happening today. Financials are up a bit (and as always, remember they are raking in the dough right now with free money from the FED and people and businesses who need that money willing to pay a lot more for it than free), RICK is rising again as the weak dollar makes those $20 lap dances oh so much cheaper for the international crowd, and NLS may be providing us with a good entry point should we believe the analysis of whengeniusprevailed random message board posters (as always, buyer beware).
So a Happy New Year to all of you from Money McBags who will leave you with this one thought for 2010.