While you were driving to work . . .

Here’s some of today’s more surprising headlines:

Credit Suisse Writes Off $2.85 Billion (NYT)

China’s inflation hits 11-year peak (Reuters)

Fidel Castro Resigns as Cuba’s President (NYT)
(Does this mean I can get Cuban cigars at reasonable prices?)

Wal-Mart Net Rises 4%; Annual Earnings Forecast is Below Analyst Estimates (Bloomberg)

Pakistan Opposition Leads as Voters Reject Musharraf (Bloomberg)

•  Ambac Hopes Capital Infusion Will Save Rating (WSJ)

 

And my favorite pair, pulled off of CNN/Money’s home page:

Paulson, Bernanke: No ’08 recession   

    versus

Greenspan: Recession chances high 

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. zero529 commented on Feb 19

    And the California Legislature is holding hearings on “the growing life settlement market”.

    (Article at signonsandiego.com)

    LIFE INSURANCE – On Wednesday, the Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee will examine the growing life settlement market, which involves the sale of life insurance policies from the original buyer to a new beneficiary for more than the cash value offered by the insurance company.

    Among other things, the committee wants to know if senior citizens, who are the primary targets of life settlement investors, are getting raw deals when they sell their life insurance. The committee’s chairman, Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden, is drafting legislation to regulate the market.

  2. Ben commented on Feb 19

    Both are wrong (assuming Greenspan is talking about ’08). Recession comes in 2009 as the Fed/Gov’t pulls all the stops to ensure that a recession doesn’t occur leading up to the election. All bets are off after that.

  3. Don commented on Feb 19

    And the market’s up 135 – WHOO-HOO!!

    C’mon Barry would CNBC lead with this?

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=M_DPs9E2ncQ

    Look for the silver lining
    When e’er a cloud appears in the blue.
    Remember some where the sun is shining,
    And so the right thing to do,
    Is make it shine for you.

    A heart, full of joy and gladness,
    Will always banish sadness and strife.
    So always look for the silver lining,
    And try to find the sunny side of life.

  4. michael schumacher commented on Feb 19

    welcome to the daily celebration of higher costs for all.

    WM profits from higher input costs passed through to us (go figure) and the market gets a boner.

    I’m going back to sleep…..

    Oh BTW more “trader problems”….how surprising…..

    Ciao
    MS

  5. Mr. Obvious commented on Feb 19

    Re: cuban cigars….No….

    Actually, I’m figguring that when Cuba does finally fall, the US market is going to be flooded with more counterfeits than it already is. Of course, by then, they are going to be taxing the hell out of them, too….

  6. JustinTheSkeptic commented on Feb 19

    Ben, will the politician actually be able to post-pone the horrific economic numbers, that will be coming down the pike in the next couple of months? I don’t think so. Has a recession ever began during an election year?

  7. Street Creds commented on Feb 19

    Actually you can get Cubans through Canada now. They are in 6 different grades, so you have to watch what you buy. I get mine through an orthodontist in Chicago (his house has gates ). Anyway, any freed up Cubans will go to Bill and Hillary first, so they can distribute them to their SUPERDELEGATES. Then Obama will get some to give to the poor, Al and Jesse. Taxpayers will get none, since they are dangerous.

  8. wunsacon commented on Feb 19

    Not surprising to see Pakistani people reject US-backed (because “there is no alternative”, meaning “our war on terror is more important than democracy to a nation of 300 million”) dictator Musharraf.

    >> I get mine through an orthodontist in Chicago (his house has gates ).

    Careful, Street. After Tom Delay was caught smoking a Cuban on foreign soil, our Congress declared it illegal for an American to smoke one no matter where they are in the world.

    >> Taxpayers will get none, since they are dangerous.

    Middle-class and poor taxpayers, that is.

  9. scorpio commented on Feb 19

    FT has good article on US banks sucking $ out of the FRB’s new TAF facility against dodgy collateral, much like the local Home Loan banks were propping up lesser lenders until Congress grew concerned at the explosion in their balance sheets. no different than UK nationalizing Northern Rock. capitalism can always fall back on Mommy.

  10. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Feb 19

    The Hoyo Winston Churchill comes to mind or maybe the Series D? YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!

  11. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Feb 19

    Not surprising to see Pakistani people reject US-backed (because “there is no alternative”, meaning “our war on terror is more important than democracy to a nation of 300 million”) dictator Musharraf.

    >> I get mine through an orthodontist in Chicago (his house has gates ).

    Careful, Street. After Tom Delay was caught smoking a Cuban on foreign soil, our Congress declared it illegal for an American to smoke one no matter where they are in the world.

    >> Taxpayers will get none, since they are dangerous.

    Middle-class and poor taxpayers, that is.

    Posted by: wunsacon | Feb 19, 2008 10:30:29 AM

    Complete bullshite’. What does your post have to do with the thread?

  12. Ross commented on Feb 19

    I used to get Cohibas in Moscow. Great smoke, great price.

    The headline that was missing from above was U.S. recognizes Kosovo as a country! This will not end well.

    Our stupid State Dept. has no idea the relationship between the Serbs and Russians.

    You want a shock? How bout Russia turns off the gas pipeline to western Europe and witholds Platinum and Palladium from world markets. Thieves will start jacking your car for the cat converters!

  13. scorpio commented on Feb 19

    ross: our State Dept knows full well the relationship betw Kosovo and Russians. that’s why we’re doing it. until people recognize that this Bush govt is simply a provocateur trying to increase international anxiety and military buildup across all fronts, we’ll get lots of little black ops like this one.

  14. AGG commented on Feb 19

    Well, the way precious metals and precious metals mining stocks are shooting up today, somebody out there is worried.

  15. hocus pocus commented on Feb 19

    Re Ben’s first post, I’d say the administration will fight tooth-and-nail to have that recession date fall any time after 1.20.09. Whether they will be able to beat forthcoming data into submission is in question.

  16. Neal commented on Feb 19

    • Pakistan Opposition Leads as Voters Reject Musharraf (Bloomberg)

    • Paulson, Bernanke: No ’08 recession

    Both bring to mind the saying, “It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.”

  17. Mr. Obvious commented on Feb 19

    The Canadians tax the crap out of their Cubans. Much cheaper to get them from reputable European sources. There’s a couple in Switzerland, France, and Greece that I use most often.

    Funny…I really started to notice the devaluation of the greenback via my Cuban cigar purchases….

  18. rexl commented on Feb 19

    ross, one of the russian owned palladium mines is southwest of red lodge, montana. so i guess cutting off that supply would happen just before nationalization, eh.

  19. Ben commented on Feb 19

    JustinTheSkeptic

    4Q07 and 1Q08 GDP will come in weak. The bulls are counting on a second half rally punctuated by all-out efforts to provide enough stimuli through November. I’m not 100% that these efforts will work but am 100% certain that the Fed/Gov’t will put in a giant effort.

    Bulls (i.e. Miller Tabak) are already pointing to the surge in M2 courtesy of the TAF.

  20. John Reinan commented on Feb 19

    I don’t see why the Credit Suisse writedown qualifies as a surprise.

    There are plenty more writedowns to come before Big Shitpile is de-stenched.

  21. JustinTheSkeptic commented on Feb 19

    Ben, that’s like bring a knife to a gun fight. The stimuli last week was too weak, and any further stimuli is just going to screw things up more.

  22. Ben commented on Feb 19

    “Ben, that’s like bring a knife to a gun fight. The stimuli last week was too weak, and any further stimuli is just going to screw things up more.”

    Better than coming to the fight empty-handed. You at least have a puncher’s chance.

    The Fed wants to engineer two things: 1) fresh capital and 2) a steep yield curve. The hope is that banks will lend themselves out of the mess they’ve created using fresh capital at a more favorable carry. If the current TAF is not enough, bring a bigger knife. The Fed can always expand the scope (i.e. acceptable collateral) and terms (extending out to 6 months from 1 month). The stimuli is focused on the banking system first and foremost – the direct beneficiaries are the banks and indirect beneficiaries the broader economy as the credit market normalizes. If all else fails, the Fed buys securities just as Bernanke threatened in Oct 2002 when AT&T bonds were trading at 70 cents on the dollar.

    Note this is what the Fed hopes. Whether a knife is enough to win the fight remains to be seen.

  23. Pat G. commented on Feb 19

    “• Paulson, Bernanke: No ’08 recession”

    Should be; Paulson, Bernanke “No Clue”

  24. wunsacon commented on Feb 20

    SPECTRE, do you label my post “BS” because it was offtopic (though a reply to Street) or because you think it’s untrue?

    As for whether it’s BS, see:
    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1054968,00.html

    As for it being offtopic, didn’t Barry mention Pakistani elections?

    If you want to dis me on the Pakistani issue, email me at yahoo. Barry won’t like our lizard brains going at it here. And, though I very much enjoy your commentary on economic matters, your comment leads me to suspect we see a little less eye-to-eye on the international diplomacy front.

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