Quotable Quotes and Notable Notes -- June 24, 2012June 24, 2012 @ 4:05 PM EST
Holy marinated muppet meat.
This week’s headlines were enough to fill a month’s worth of recaps, so we will be brief here in the intro.
Seems like the Greek election was eons ago, as it was soon swallowed up by the G-20 confab, a reprise of Jamie on the Hill, the FOMC announcement and fallout, commodities semi-crashing, the Moody’s bank downgrade and more emergency sessions among European leaders than we can count.
All of these headlines led to a gyrating market which recorded some powerful rallies and the second worst down day of the year. When all was said and done the S&P was off -0.6%, the Dow down -0.9% and the Nasdaq Comp fought the trend, up +0.7%.
So what were they saying last week?
‘’Stop filibustering.” --Congressman Barney Frank to Jamie Dimon in a heated exchange which might not lead to post-work cocktails anytime soon. Frank twice asked Dimon if the JPM board would be “clawing back” any of Mr. Dimon’s pay, estimated at $23 million last year. A big focus of the House questioning was on ascertaining what Dimon knew and when about the bank’s trading loss, to which his general response was, “We disclosed what we knew when we knew it.”
“Frankly, we are not coming here to receive lessons.” --European Union President Jose Manuel Barroso at the G-20, in a remark pointedly aimed at the U.S. and Pres. Obama. He added that the current European crisis “originated in North America.” According to media reports, the final summit statement was “drafted at a hotel next to the adults-only, clothes-optional Desire Resort and Spa.”
“Is David Einhorn a great poker player because he is a great investor or vice versa?” --Benzinga. Bloomberg and others reported this week, “Greenlight Capital Inc. co-founder David Einhorn entered next month’s $1 million special buy-in tournament at the World Series of Poker, donating any profits to the charity City Year.” Einhorn finished 18th in the World Series of Poker’s main event in 2006.
Not to be outdone by Einhorn or anyone else, media reports had Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison agreeing to buy 98 percent of the Hawaiian island of Lanai.
"One of the characteristics of a cascading bug is that it can have a significant impact on all users, worldwide, which was the case today." -- Mazen Rawashdeh, Twitter's vice president of engineering, explaining the “incident” which took Twitter down for about two hours Thursday. He added, "This wasn't due to a hack or our new office or Euro 2012 or GIF avatars, as some have speculated today." (And what you ask is a GIF avatar? Just a profile image some are trying to use on Twitter in the “Graphics Interchange Format.”)
“Fear of being forced out of the euro was slightly stronger than anger over continuing austerity…. But without big concessions from a so-far unyielding troika, Mr. Samaris will be forced to make massive spending cuts almost immediately, raising questions about how long his government might survive.” --New York Times Saturday on the Greek election aftermath.
“Perhaps one way of looking at it is whether or not a player had potential Hall of Fame credentials before their use of steroids, if that is even possible to agree on.” --NYC sports talk show host as Roger Clemens’ acquittal this week opened up the debate again on whether players such as Clemens, Bonds, A-Rod, McGwire, Sosa, and others will or should be ultimately voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
“Banking analysts are split down the middle on whether Moody’s mass downgrades will have a meaningful and lasting impact to their ability to conduct business as effectively as before.” -- consensus of media reports this week. (The one question we have is can you really call what they have been doing “effective”?) Highly visible bank analyst Dick Bove of Rochdale Securities said, “What Moody’s did is laughable…there is nothing that they said which couldn’t have been said 10-15 years ago and banks are healthier than they have been in years.”
(Ok, think about that for a minute. And think about the performance of the financial sector since say 1999, down about -30-40%. Faint praise indeed, although Mr. Bove did not mean it that way.) In any case, the market seemed to agree that the damage to immediate confidence in the banking sector was minimal, with derivative swap contracts actually falling in many cases and the KBW Bank Index up +1.4% on Friday.
“Economists and Chinese executives say some of China’s economic statistics have been falsified to disguise the depth of troubles.” --NY Times this weekend, citing fear and a “desire to please” on the part of officials in the reporting chain throughout China. (Can you say Potemkin Village anyone?)
“Greeks whistle and jeer Merkel at Euro 2012 match, but German chancellor has last laugh.” –AP report, on Germany’s dominating 4-2 win over Greece, which was not without some nervous moments as Greece briefly had the match tied at 1-1. Chancellor Angela Merkel was jeered by Greek fans when shown on TV cheering on her team, but a German fan in the stadium had a nice rebuttal with a sign saying, “You can have our billions but not the European Cup.”
Ms. Merkel had a busy week indeed, attending the G-20 in Mexico, a Big Four “summit” in Rome, and then the football match in Poland, along with we are sure many other duties. She continued to say “nein” in Rome apparently to the question of Eurobonds, but some agreements were reached on a “new” $156 billion package to revive Euro area growth.
“With the whole world watching, Ben Bernanke managed to put the rabbit back in the hat.” --Barron’s columnist Alan Abelson on the FOMC action which disappointed many by “not pulling another rabbit out of the hat” for financial markets.
“With this week's gains, Facebook (FB) closed nearly 30 percent higher than the all-time low it hit in an intraday trade earlier this month; however, the company's share price is still 13 percent lower than the $38 commanded in the company's IPO last month.” --Silicon Valley Mercury News, adding, “Facebook has helped push its stock price up by focusing its public statements and moves on increasing revenue since the end of its IPO quiet period.” There were also some reports that Ford and Coca-Cola had positive comments on their Facebook presence and a major upgrade from Nomura Securities. The action in FB, up +9.9% on the week, seemed to help the “social media” space overall, with LNKD, GRPN, ANGI and ZNGA up as a group about +4.8% on the week.
“I might have to clean out my sock drawer.” –Obama aide on the tension and career impact facing the Obama administration as it “wears a brave face, bracing for the Supreme Court healthcare ruling”. According to the Huffington Post, Presidential historian Robert Dallek says, “If he loses both his law and re-election, many will conclude that his bet