Midday Update: Automakers Get Their Lifeline
The market is hanging in pretty well at midday. Last night, Standard & Poor's downgraded the ratings of a handful of financials, including Goldman Sachs (GS), Wells Fargo (WFC), JPMorgan (JPM), etc.
This knocked the futres lower overnight, but early word this morning that the automakers would get money from the TARP turned things around. The plan will give the automakers $13.4 billion up front, with another $4 billion to be available by February. I don't think most people are happy to see them get this money, but I also don't think the economy can handle a major bankruptcy right now without a lot of damage.
Now that the first $350 billion of TARP money has been allocated, Treasury Secretary Paulson has stated that Congress needs to release the remainder of the TARP funds. I think Alan Greenspan supported this notion in an article in The Economist recently.
Asian markets closed lower overnight, despite the Bank of Japan lowering its key policy rate to 0.10% from 0.30%.
Research In Motion (RIMM) and Oracle (ORCL) reported in-line earnings last night, and both stocks are +7.9% higher today.
The 10-year yield is holding in at 2.10%; the dollar is up sharply today vs. the Euro, which is weighing on commodities; and the VIX is down another -8.3% to 43.4. Getting there, getting there.
The fallout from the Madoff scandal continues to astound me. I'll put up a link to the list of victims this weekend. What amazes me is that so many people had all of their eggs in one basket. If you run a big charity, you simply have to diversify and have multiple managers. Ditto for a fund of funds. Tremont deserves to be sued. Stupid, plain and simple.