I Tried To Find Some Good News: Really

Not much going on today. John Thain got the boot at Bank of America, the stock market is tanking, Microsoft is going to lay off 5,000 employees. You get the idea, just another day in Paradise. Let’s breeze through the events so far.

  • Evidently Thain and Lewis got together this morning to discuss Thain’s future at BofA which it turns out is nada. I suppose that begs the question as to what Lewis’s future amounts to. My guess is about the same. Here’s the link.
  • Microsoft posted lowered earnings and said it would lay off 5,000 of its 94,000 employees over the next 18 months. This is the first time in its history that the company has laid off workers. It wouldn’t give any guidance for earnings in the second half of its fiscal year saying only that it expected a difficult environment. Here’s the link.
  • Tim Geithner was endorsed by the Senate Finance Committee as the new Secretary of the Treasury. Paraphrasing a remark I heard on CNBC this morning, we now have a Treasury Secretary who doesn’t pay his taxes, a Fed Chairman who conspired along with the former Treasury Secretary to withhold material information about the BofA/Merrill merger and a bank CEO (Ken Lewis) who didn’t bother to tell his shareholders that there were several major issues with Merrill. What is wrong with this picture? Link here.
  • Fifth Third Bancorp, Huntington Bancshares, Key Corp and Sun Trust Banks all posted quarterly losses. Profits were down at BB&T Corporation and Comerica. M&T Bank Corporation turned in a profit. The cancer is spreading. Let me amend that, the cancer has been there for some time, it just can’t be ignored any longer. Link here.
  • Housing starts dropped 15.5% from November. Permits for new construction were down 10.7%. As much as this may hurt, the last thing this country needs is a bunch of new homes springing out of the ground. Link here.
  • The four week average of new unemployment claims was flat at 519,250. The number for the week was up but as I preach, ignore it, it’s too volatile and always gets revised. Link here.

Well that’s enough good cheer for the morning. Enjoy the rest of the day.

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