Today's picture is of Big E and the matriarch of all the Whitsons made during WWII.
I do not believe that I have ever been in an office renovated at a cost of over 1 million. I remember when I first started out a $200 budget was my limit. Thain reportedly spent 1.22 million to renovate his office at Merrill including $35,115 for a commode on legs. I am not exactly sure what that is but I am sure that I do not want one. No walking by the commode allowed when I am on it. Another $1,405 was spent on a waste can. Merrill lost over 15 billion in the 4th quarter and handed out early bonuses of over 3 billion for a job well done. Reuters Charlie Gasparino documents some of the other expenses as follows: $11000 for a shade; $87,000 for an area rug; $87,000 for a pair of guest chairs; $28,000 for curtains; and $800,000 for the designer of his office. The Daily Beast In the words of ColdPlay, who would want to be king, Viva La Vida?TUSATODAY.com
Maybe John Thain is not Clark Kent after all. WSJ.com
Still, he did sell a company that had been destroyed by Stan and his 20 mil a year wizards, a company that had no value at the time of its purchase by Bank of America in my view, and that was better than Stan ever did for Merrill's shareholders. So, maybe he deserved that commode on legs and the trip to Vail.
Maybe it is just me, but does anyone think O'Neal feels any shame for the 70 million paid to him during his four year tenure as Merrill's CEO, and his 161 million departure package as calculated on page 4 of the following referenced NYT article? The Reckoning - How Merrill Lynch Faltered and Fell - Series - NYTimes.com I am certain that he is looking for a way to give some of that back. Has anyone told Stan and his 20 mil a year wizards about seppuku yet? Surely, they will do the honorable thing.
The Bernie Madoff of Sarasota, Arthur Nadel, was charged with fraud by the SEC. He claimed to have over 300 million in investors' money but the SEC said that only $506,000 was left. USATODAY.com Arthur was well known apparently in the charity circuit in Sarasota.
The U.S. unquestionably started the current worldwide economic meltdown and other nations may end up being hit harder. USATODAY.com
The technician John Rogue apparently believe that both treasuries and the dollar will continue to rally. Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance He says treasuries are not in a bubble. I am just making a note of his opinion for future reference. One reason for his opinion about treasuries is that individuals under own treasuries which has probably always been the case. He is also long term bullish on gold. Part of his reasoning is the current debasing of the U.S. currency but he questions why it is not doing better when the U.S. currency is being debased.
Google beat the consensus estimate by reporting earnings at $5.10 excluding items or $1.21 with items MarketWatch
I do own a few shares of Google recently purchased.
Capitol One, the credit card company, lost 1.4 billion in the 4th quarter or $3.74 per share. The consensus estimate was for a profit of $.33 a share. The company added a 1 billion to its allowance for 2009 loan losses based on its forecast of another 10% decline in home prices and an unemployment rate of 8.7%. Capital One reports quarterly net loss of $1.4 billion - MarketWatch
I sometimes check the value of my home as estimated at Zillow which basically takes the square footage of my house, compares it to houses sold nearby and then calculates a square footage price for my home using those comparable sales figures Real Estate, Homes for Sale - Zillow A five year chart reveals about a 25% rise in value since January 2005, but that is down from a 40% rise by the middle of 2007 from January 2005. The long term trend is about 4 to 5% compounded annually. Anything above that for a few years, particularly 20%+ annualized gains, will simply revert to the long term trend.
MEMC Electronic Materials fell in after hours trading to close to $10 after reporting a decline in earnings. MEMC Electronic quarterly profit shrinks to 33 cents a share - MarketWatch This is one that I am going to start monitoring. The decline from a 52 week high of 86.80 to its current price is starting to at least perk my interest. WFR Stock Quote - MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc Stock Quote - WFR Quote - WFR Stock Price I will look at it more closely on Friday. I still have a little cash flow to invest from January as well as the proceeds from the sale of Kraft earlier today.