The market was down again today because it was open and because good news seems less likely than Nouriel Roubini going long FAS or Ron Paul posing as the centerfold for the Fed’s monthly newsletter (we hear his likes would be small government, long walks on the beach, and insanity).  Investors anxiously await tomorrow’s latest reading on GDP (Money McBags has the under) and Ben Bernanke’s speech given from the Fed’s annual hoe down and jamboree retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (which is nowhere near as spacious as Nikki Jackson’s hole, but the food is apparently much better).  As the economy limps in to Q3 (or whatever is slightly slower than a limp, perhaps a crawl, a drag, or the lines at Amy Winehouse‘s kissing booth), economists (Money McBags would call them witch doctors but that would be an affront to a respectable field like black magic) are lowering their Q2 GDP guesses faster than Tiger Woods can lower his standards, so tomorrow could be one giant clusterfuck of a day.

The big news of the day was that new claims for unemployment fell by 31k to 473k, (or by only 27k if you use the non-upwardly revised 500k number that was reported last week, but why let details get in the way, like history text books in Texas).  Either way Money Mcbags is sure it must be all lobster tails and blow jobs at the Fed retreat as this number beat analyst guesses of 490k and now fewer than half of a million people are newly unemployed (unless one rounds up, but rounding up is so archaic, like Wilford Brimley‘s prostate).  So woo fucking hoo all the way around.  That said, the number of people getting extended unemployment was up 302k to 5.84MM and the total number of people receiving unemployment checks is now ~10.3MM people which is more than the entire populations of Hungary, Bolivia, or Paris Hilton‘s pants.  With the jobs situation continuing to deteriorate like Alan Greenspan’s reputation, the economy seems to be about as healthy as Ted Kennedy’s liver (and not because he was an alcoholic, but because he’s dead) and it’s not clear that the Fed has any more tricks up their sleeve to artificially postpone the downturn again.

Internationally, European markets got a bit of a scare when a Spanish court ruled that some tax revenue would not be able to be collected due to a flaw in the collections procedure (apparently tax collectors are not allowed to literally bend tax payers over while collecting their tithe).  The union of tax collectors estimated that this could cause a loss of 5.1B Euros in revenue for the government and thus would severely hinder their ability to both cut the deficit and take Esther Canadas on a romantic holiday in the Balearic Islands while providing her with all the Spanish omelets she desires.  The government responded by telling the union to shut the fuck and go back to sleeping during the work week as the number is not 5.1B euro and they’ll just refile anyway and collect any missed taxes later on. Also internationally, the GfK research institute in Germany said its forward-looking indicator for consumer confidence was up to 4.1 points from 4 points in August which gives the rest of the continent hope that a strong Germany can pull them out of this recession while also giving them all douche chills at the thought of a strong Germany (and Money McBags compares a strong Germany to a Hall and Oates reunion, he didn’t really like their work the first time around and sure as fuck doesn’t want it to happen again).

In the market, Dell and HP continue to up their bids for storage product supplier 3Par in a way to ensure that one of them will figuratively be able to offer their customers more places to properly store all of the junk in their trunks.  This of course is coming at the same time that former HP CEO Mark Hurd is giving a big fuck you to the company by selling $30MM worth of stock.  Now look, Money McBags is no Warren Buffett (and not just because he wasn’t dating and married at the same time for like 25 years, but also because he’s worth a smidge less than $1B), but when an outgoing CEO shitcans a fuckload of stock (which Money McBags realizes is a technical term, but please try to follow along) after leaving, it either means he thinks the company’s management bench is thinner than an anorexic butterfly or he is simply vindictive.  Given than most CEO’s are driven by money, Money McBags’ interpretation of Mark Hurd’s stock sell off is not a positive for HP.


In small cap news, JAS put up a nice quarter, beating expectations with 4.4% same store sales growth as more people start knitting their own clothes and willy warmer‘s now that they can’t afford to buy those trendy jeggings from JOE’s jeans.  The company earned $.20 of net income per share demolishing analyst guesses of $.02 per share and raised fiscal year 2011 guidance to $3.20 to $3.35 per share, up from the previous estimate of $2.95 to $3.10 per share, with analyst guesses for $3.23 per share.   The company also said they they plan to open at least 50 new stores and to remodel at least 50 stores which means customers will be able to buy cheap shit in more convenient and nicer locations.

In other small cap news, a company Money McBags has been a fan of for a while, and yet has always been a bit too expensive, BRLI, put up a nice Q for like the bazzilionth time in a row.  BRLI provides clinical laboratory testing for the Tri-sate area, for prisons, and for esoteric genetic conditions (and esoteric testing is more than just asking if you know who Eliphas Levi is or have heard of anthroposophy).  The company had 25% top line growth and 26% EPS growth on a 7% increase in revenue per patient and a 17% increase in number of patients served while esoteric testing grew to 57% of revenues.  And they did this all in the same Q that competitor Quest missed analyst earnings guesses and lowered their guidance.  Money McBags will give this stock a more thorough poking tomorrow or Monday as he is strapped for time right now but it has grown 20% for like 10+ years and continues to perform as medicine is becoming more individualized and thus esoteric testing is becoming more the norm. Money McBags has to update his model but the stock is trading at likely around 15x his new numbers with a nice balance sheet and a real competitive advantage.  It is worth doing work on this name.