Bank Stress Test Results

The Treasury’s stress tests are now, officially, a joke … 
First, the outcome looked as if all banks would need to raise capital. Then it was reduced to just three. Now it "might" be "about 10" of the 16 banks subjected to the Treasury’s toothless stress tests that may need to raise additional capital to withstand further weakness in the economy. 
And the report isn’t even supposed to be out until Thursday. The Obama administration is doing its level best to make sure the market is perfectly prepared for the results of the stress tests. 

What will full employment look like?

Last week, the Baltimore Sun laid off 61 employees. I heard that a couple reporters were actually called on the phone while they were sitting in the press box covering an Orioles game and told they were no longer Sun reporters. 
It’s no secret that the newspaper biz has gotten tough. The Sun’s parent, the Tribune Company, filed for bankruptcy protection in December of 2008 after its chairman, Sam Zell, took the company private. Analysts knew he was loading too much debt on the company, but the decline in advertising revenues at newspaper was the nail in the Tribune’s coffin.

Bad is Good

We’ve reached the stage of this rally where bad is good. It started innocently enough in early March when Citigroup (NYSE:C) shocked the world by saying it was making money. A few earnings surprises have helped it along. But now, good news is running out, and to fill the void, investors are saying that bad news is actually good. 
 

Big Banks: They All Fail

I figured Citigroup (NYSE:C) would be asked to raise more cash to insulate it against further losses. But when I read that the Treasury will raise reserve requirements for all 19 banks subjected to the Treasury’s "stress tests," it suddenly made sense.
 

Swine Flu Impacts the Rally

Somebody’s lying. Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis is on the verge of getting sacked because he failed to tell BAC shareholders that he was buying Merrill Lynch for $29 billion while it was losing $15 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008. The revelation that Merrill paid out $3.6 billion in bonuses during that miserable quarter really got shareholders upset.
 

Another Oil “Super-Spike” Coming

*****As you know, we are watching oil prices as a measure of economic health. Today, it’s reported that March existing home sales fell by a bigger than expected 3%. And new claims for unemployment benefits rose a bit more than expected. 
Consequently, oil prices remain below $50 a barrel. 

Three Top Picks from Options Expert Bryan Bottarelli

*****I received a very topical question from a Daily Profit reader … 
Do you think that Obama is a legitimate "for the ordinary people" real deal, or is he just another cleverly marketed pretty face representing the interests of the ruling class? If you prefer call them the rich, the wealthy, the owners, the bosses … whatever works for you. In the end they are the same people. I deliberately did not label them as capitalists because I believe that they are corrupt capitalists, scamming the game in their favor even though their performance is proven to be mediocre. In real capitalism, ability and performance matter. As in, let the failed banks, brokerages, etc fail and allow the strong to take them over. When I read about these recent government led bailouts it becomes clear that we have been set up and conned into taking the hit for the unworthy managers, making it possible – inevitable – for the rich to triumph regardless of their audacious arrogance and incompetence.  This is not what I understand capitalism to be – and it stinks!

Where the S&P 500 is headed next

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is having his "Lucy" moment today. Yes, he’s got "a lot of explaining to do …" 
He’s speaking before Congress today to answer questions as to how the Public-Private Investment Program will actually remove toxic assets and protect taxpayer money at the same time. Also up for explanation is how the remaining $110 billion in TARP money is enough to fund any future bank rescues. 
I don’t envy Geithner one bit. That’s because there’s no way he can adequately answer these questions:

Bank Stress Test to Discredit BAC and C Earnings Report?

Banks are getting pounded this morning after Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) handily beat earnings estimates. Analysts were expecting $0.04 in earnings per share; BAC came in with $0.44. 
As I write, BAC shares are down 15%. Now, after Citigroup’s earnings, BAC was expected to beat its number. Are you wondering why investors seem so disappointed at what looks like a solid quarter from a troubled bank?