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With a light economic load, Monday's news drivers were mostly carryovers from the weekend. With a third of the nation watching the Superbowl, and Superbowl ads, there's been plenty of discussion (here as well) about the winners and losers. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner made a bold statement over the weekend, assuring the US sovereign debt rating would never fall below its current triple-A standard. It was quite a bold statement that seems to show overconfidence about America, its global standing and the dollar. We wonder if Caesar thought the same about the Roman Empire and the denarius.
Superbowl Ads & Geithner's Credit Rating Guarantee
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner boldly stated "absolutely not... that will never happen to this country," when asked if the US sovereign debt rating could fall. Geithner is of course facing criticism given the Administration's huge budget deficit forecast. He appeared on an ABC Sunday talk show, just a week after Moody's (NYSE: MCO) warned that unless measures were taken to reduce budget deficits, the American bond rating would come under pressure over the next decade.
While we sympathize with Geithner's patriotism and admire his courage, we give federal government representatives little credibility these days. After all, it was fed man Ben Bernanke who said the trouble in the mortgage sector would not spread to the broader economy. We believe his exact description was that the trouble was "contained." Contained to where we wonder, because the financial crisis spread like the contents of Pandora's box throughout the country and around the globe. We hope to have more to say on this credit rating subject in a dedicated piece at a later date, so stay tuned.
Superbowl Ads Buzz
The New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl 44, and the early word is that Pepsico's (NYSE: PEP) fan-created Doritos advertisement held your attention, among other ads. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) perhaps posted the best impact-to-cost ratio via its Parisian romance in search ad, and E*Trade (Nasdaq: ETFC) reminded us of an old favorite with its talking baby trader. By the way, Google was definitely conscious of its spending, given the company's CEO, Eric Schmidt, called brand advertising "the last bastion of unaccountable spending in corporate America," in 2006. Well, I for one think he was grossly in error with that statement; there's also executive compensation after all.
"The average advertisement cost $3 million per 30 seconds."
The average advertisement cost $3 million per 30 seconds. Thus, it should be no surprise that our government aired one of the most controversial ads of the evening. You see, that's because Washington has no business spending money to air an advertisement during the Superbowl while planning a $1.8 trillion budget deficit. In case you woke up on the right side of the bed today, let me help you back into misery. The government spent $2.5 million of our tax dollars to air an advertisement about the US census! How do you feel about that? Please let DC know via our "Disgust Button" below.
G-7 Plays in the Snow
Geithner was also asked this weekend if financial regulatory reform in the US might impede American bank competitiveness. He once again sought to reassure the audience, as he stated his confidence in the USA's ability to lead the global community in such efforts. He said he expected a new global fair playing field would be established.
Apparently G-7 nations were not all in alignment just yet on financial regulation. Reports out of Iqaluit, Nunavut, deep in Canada where the G-7 held its latest gathering, indicate that the world's most developed nations agree that supports should stay in place for economic recovery. They also reiterated their October statement on China's unfair currency manipulation. However, the group did not come to any formal agreement on the establishment of global controls on the activities of banks, i.e. proprietary trading. The G-7 did agree that taxpayers should not foot the bill of rescuing banks though, but that's not anywhere near as big a deal with regard to competitiveness. Looks like it's going to take more than brain freeze in the Arctic to bring developed nations on board with the Administration's plans. For that matter, the Administration still needs to get these ideas through Congress.
Conference Season in NYC
UBS' (NYSE: UBS) kicks off its Global Health Care Services Conference in New York today. Also, the Biotechnology Industry Organization launches its investor conference in New York. In another biotech matter, AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) will learn whether the FDA approved expanded use of its Crestor drug.
Corporate Earnings Reports
Look for earnings reports from ADC Telecommunications (Nasdaq: ADCT), Albany Int'l (NYSE: AIN), American Capital Agency (Nasdaq: AGNC), Andersons Inc. (Nasdaq: ANDE), Answers Corp. (Nasdaq: ANSW), Apollo Investment (Nasdaq: AINV), Associated Estates (NYSE: AEC), Atmel (Nasdaq: ATML), Axis Capital (NYSE: AXS), Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (NYSE: BWP), Brookfield Infrastructure (NYSE: BIP), Camden Properties (NYSE: CPT), Charles River Laboratories (NYSE: CRL), Chindex International (Nasdaq: CHDX), CNA Financial (NYSE: CNA), Compass Minerals (NYSE: CMP), Comstock Resources (NYSE: CRK), Cousins Properties (NYSE: CUZ), Cutera (Nasdaq: CUTR), CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS), Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS), Evergreen Solar (Nasdaq: ESLR), Forward Air (Nasdaq: FWRD), Genessee & Wyoming (NYSE: GWR), Gladstone Investment (Nasdaq: GAIN), Hartford Financial (NYSE: HIG), Hasbro (NYSE: HAS), HealthSpring (NYSE: HS), Himax Technologies (Nasdaq: HIMX), Imergent (AMEX: IIG), InfoUSA (Nasdaq: IUSA), Lender Processing Services (NYSE: LPS), Liberty Property Trust (NYSE: LRY), Lincare Holdings (Nasdaq: LNCR), Lincoln National (NYSE: LNC), Littlefuse (Nasdaq: LFUS), Loews (NYSE: L), Lorillard (NYSE: LO), Mercury General (NYSE: MCY), Nam Tai Electronics (NYSE: NTE), Owens & Minor (NYSE: OMI), Parkway Properties (NYSE: PKY), Pike Electric (Nasdaq: PIKE), Post Properties (NYSE: PPS), Qiagen (Nasdaq: QGEN), Randgold Resources (Nasdaq: GOLD), Resource America (Nasdaq: REXI), Sirona Dental Systems (Nasdaq: SIRO), Skilled Healthcare (NYSE: SKH), SolarWinds (NYSE: SWI), SRA International (NYSE: SRX), SWS Group (NYSE: SWS), Synthesis Energy (Nasdaq: SYMX), Teck Resources (NYSE: TCK), Terremark (Nasdaq: TMRK), Principal Financial Group (NYSE: PFG), Trident Microsystems (Nasdaq: TRID), Universal Forest Products (Nasdaq: UFPI), Veeco Instruments (Nasdaq: VECO), Vitran Corp. (Nasdaq: VTNC), Voltaire (Nasdaq: VOLT), W.R. Berkley (NYSE: WRB), Wabash National (NYSE: WNC), Waste Connections (NYSE: WCN), Wausau Paper (NYSE: WPP) and Wisdom Tree Int'l (Nasdaq: WSDT.PK)
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