US stocks essentially flat today, even as FedEx boosts its profit forecast and points to signs the economy’s improving, but still gain ground on the week.
DJIA drops 22 to 9606, breaking its little five-session winning streak. Still, the index rose 1.7% on the week. S&P 500 loses 1 to 1043, Nasdaq Comp slips 3 to 2081. Interestingly, the Dow closed within 0.10 points of its close on Sept. 10, 2001, when it finished at 9605.51.
FedEx boosts 1Q, 2Q outlooks, sees tentative signs of returning demand. But the real action’s in other assets. Gold hits a new closing record at $1,004/oz, crude drops 4% today, although it gains on the week.
Madeleine and I break down today’s report on import prices, FedEx’s outlook and the signs of a rebound coming out of China.
(Personally, I’m dubious about the idea of putting too much faith in a rebound in China driving a rebound here. China’s, obviously, a command economy; the Party can make it do pretty much what they want. Second, economic activity there won’t really have a direct effect on economic activity here, unless we start exporting cheap DVD players, and we’ve got plenty of our own problems here.)
Anyhow, here’s the best three minutes you’ll invest in all afternoon:
Whether or not newspaper publishers should charge for online content has been a hot-button issue recently that picked up steam today in the blogosphere.
Publishers in general are struggling to build new business models and find any sources of revenue amid increasing digital media competition, slowing advertising markets and declining revenue.
New York Times (NYT), News Corp. (NWS, NWSA) and Time Warner (TWX) have all said they’re exploring various ways to implement online subscription models for their newspaper websites.
The main problem facing the newspaper industry isn’t new technology, but rather behavior, according to Big Picture blogger Barry Ritholtz. “People are used to free, they don’t think they need to pay for content,” he says.
Ultimately, both newspapers and readers will need to go through a “behavioral change” and realize charging for online content is the only way to prop up the struggling industry.
For those wondering about the psychology behind the summer rally in AIG shares, there might be a sliver of insight in an email exchange we had this morning with a reader. We’ll call him “Harry.”
Harry saw a snippet we published about Wells Fargo’s downgrade of AIG — the analyst said AIG shares don’t deserve a premium to book value, since “a reasonable case could be made that the company has virtually no tangible book value at the moment.”
Maybe AIG can earn its way out of trouble, but “we think that scenario is probably a remote possibility in the distant future and should be deeply discounted,” Wells Fargo said.
Doesn’t strike us as an especially controversial stance, considering AIG’s into Uncle Sam for $180B, and shares are up more than 220% in two months.
Posted by Paul Vignaon September 11, 2009 Autos, Media /
Well, that's one way to sell a car.
I actually started writing yesterday’s GM post on Tuesday, and had it ready to go yesterday morning, before we experienced our technical difficulties. Which means I wrote it before I saw John Stoll’s story for the Wall Street Journal about GM’s latest advertising plan.
I had advertising in mind, of course. GM needs to sell America on its cars, and to me, while I’m not an ad exec, it seems like appealing to something deep inside the American psyche — a place where GM once resided — would still be a rich vein to tap.
Of course, GM didn’t ask me for my opinion. They came up with their own plan. Their new marketing gimmick is a 60-day, money-back guarantee — what’re they selling, toasters? — while they make the case that their cars are as good as Honda’s and Toyota’s (and Ford’s for that matter.)
From the Journal:
Aiming to persuade Americans that its products are as good as the competition’s, General Motors Co. is launching a new ad campaign with the challenge “May the Best Car Win.” The campaign, which begins Monday, features a 60-day, money-back guarantee.
Uninspiring is too kind a word for that campaign. To be blunt (and seeing as I’m indirectly a stockholder, by virtue of being a US citizen, I reckon I’ve the right to be blunt,) it stinks.
US stocks riding a five-day winning streak heading into today’s session, during which the Dow Industrials are up almost 4%, S&P 500 up close to 5% and Nasdaq Comp pushing 6%. The rubberband continues to stretch.
Economic data this morning include August import prices, which rose in August from July on the back of rising import prices, but is down 15% from a year ago. Petro prices rose on a monthly basis for the sixth time in seven months, but were still down 38% from a year ago.
Reuters/Univ of Michigan consumer confidence reading at 9:55; and July wholesale trade set for 10:00am.
Big week ahead, with PPI, CPI, August retail sales and industrial production all due, just to name a few high-profile indicators. Also, three relative economic bellwethers report results next week — Best Buy, Oracle and FedEx.
S&P futures up 1.50; DJ futures up 10. Ten-year flat, yield at 3.35%.
J.P. Morgan reported some strong earnings today. But what this bloggers eye were some of the sub-numbers in the earnings report. The bank booked $1.8 billion in investment banking fees. But don’t be fooled – that wasn’t from big M&A advising. But $429 million was in advisory fees. Instead, that $1.3 billion + remaining fees […]
Michael Dorff, a professor at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, says CEOs are paid for performance – but it’s usually not their own performance. They’re paid millions for the performance of the economy, their industry, their employees, and sometimes just for having good luck. For years boards of directors – often made up of CEOs who believe in […]