As I write this, stock markets in the U.S. are in their final hour of a rather poor session. Selling seems to have been brought on by Microsoft’s announcement that it is cutting jobs en masse for the first time ever. If you recall, Fred Hickey, a perma-bear from Barron’s Roundtable, has become bullish on companies like Microsoft (as have I). So, their announcement demonstrates that even the most solid companies are going to stumble in this downturn. I don’t think it is anything to panic about, just a reminder of how far-reaching things are getting.
Below are a few other stories from around the Internet. Others may be found at the news feed.
Obama Deems China ‘Manipulating’ Yuan, Geithner Says – Bloomberg.com (this is big news. Jagdish Bhagwati thinks Obama is a protectionist. If so, this is the bow across the stern for China)
Obama Signs Order to Close Prison at Guantanamo Bay – Bloomberg.com (Another piece of big news demonstrating that we are breaking with the past)
Investors Sue Bank Of America Over Merrill Merger – DealBook Blog – NYTimes.com
Moody’s downgrades Ulster Bank rating to ‘A1’ – Independent.ie (I see this as symptomatic of a larger problem. Banks in Ireland and the U.K. are weak because those two economies had massive property and debt bubbles. I linked to this particular story as a demonstration that it’s not all about RBS, Barclays, and Anglo Irish. The problem is deep and it is wide)
Russian Reserves Plunge $30 Billion on Ruble Support – Bloomberg.com (The question here is hether the Russians are wasting money to keep the Ruble’s fall from being disorderly)
Roubini Says China Is in Recession Despite ‘Massaged’ GDP Data – Bloomberg.com
America’s banks need to hold a yard sale – Meredith Whitney, FT.com (Hat tip Yves Smith)
Global woes hit Dubai’s fragile economy – BBC News (I am fascinated by Dubai. They don’t have oil and they massively overbuilt. I would very much like to keep tabs on this economy because its position in the Middle East makes it a symbol for much of the interconnected financial bubble-like world we have just exited.)
Hildebrand Says SNB Can Intervene in Franc Market – Bloomberg.com (Remember, this is not the Swiss National Bank of old. They want relief from a strong currency and they are very concerned that UBS will fail. I imagine, quantitative easing is what one should expect here.)
The Inaugural Oath: Chief Justice Slip-Up – The World Newser
PBS Interview with Warren Buffett – Calculated Risk
How Do You Recapitalize $1.8 Trillion in Bank Loan Losses? – Felix Salmon
Das Kapital: Zwölf Prozent seit 1970 – Financial Times Deutschland (This is a German-language story about how surprisingly poor returns actually have been over the past 40 years in Germany and the U.S.)
Americans ‘Get’ TARP, They Just Can’t Stand It – Caroline Baum, Bloomberg.com