It was bound to happen. Occupy Wall Street finally found Westwood on Wednesday, creating a bit of noise and some TV coverage worthy of the Jerry Springer Show. The police decided to block Wilshire for about 90 minutes, snarling traffic in the surrounding neighborhoods, before finally dispersing the protesters and opening the road back to those who use it in a more traditional manner-driving.
I have often said that Best Buy (BBY) is just a showroom for Amazon (AMZN), and that opinion was confirmed (at least in my mind) Wednesday when I walked up to BBY at lunch time to purchase an HDMI cable. The cable I wanted was $40. I went to a computer INSIDE THE STORE, searched for the cable on CNET.com, and found the same cable for $1.72, with no shipping charge, at Amazon. I printed the comparison page and brought it to the cashier to take advantage of BBY’s policy of matching any price, however, the cashier informed me they wouldn’t meet AMZN’s prices. I felt this was an interesting addendum to their long standing policy of matching any advertised price. I decided to order three cables online, and after choosing the overnight shipping option, paid $17 for three cables instead of $40+tax for one. I only wish I’d had the chutzpah to place the order from inside the store. One of these business models isn’t sustainable.
Cisco (CSCO) reported improved numbers Tuesday night after a series of exceptionally weak results. It appears that the company’s restructuring may finally be bearing fruit. Green Mountain Coffee (GMRC), shown below, has been a darling of the momentum crowd. Recent concerns about inventories and a rising short position were confirmed when the company reported Wednesday, missing numbers and issuing weaker than expected guidance. The stock is down 65% from its late September high.
Volatility may appear high right now, however, on a percentage basis there hasn’t been a day this year that ranks in the top 25 all-time days for either percentage gains or losses. In fact, two days in 2009 and three days in 2008 rank in the top percentage gain days since 1901, and four days in 2008 and one in 2001 for the worst percentage loss days since 1901. Those ten days are the only days to make the list over the past 11 years. Most of the high volatility days occurred in the 1929-1933 time frame.
A new Greek government will be installed this morning, and it appears Italy will be heading towards a new government soon. There has been a lot of teeth-gnashing regarding Italy’s turnover in the government, but historically the country has experienced changes in governments with the frequency of a cheap ham radio. The recent era of government stability has been an outlier for the country, so this might be back to normal.
National Solidarity Bonds! On sale now! Get ‘em while they’re hot! Investors have fled the sovereign debt of European countries, and now countries are attempting to attract retail investors to the market by attaching patriotic names to the issues. As PT Barnum said………
Meanwhile, back at the ECB, Klaas Knot, president of the Dutch central bank and a member of the ECB Governing Council, quashed any thoughts of the ECB doing more than they are doing now to stem the crisis. “We have gone pretty far in what we can do, but there is not much more that can be expected from us. It is now up to the governments to make sure the doubts about sustainability, about repayment of individual government debt are removed as quickly as possible.” He needs to take a lesson from Chairman Bernanke, who typically tells us he has “tools” to deploy, and then leaves us guessing as to what it is he might be able to do. As PT Barnum said…….
Evidently the NBA is getting a sense of urgency now that they have missed the first few weeks of the season. Negotiations have picked up, although it’s not yet clear there will be a resolution anytime soon. I’d imagine with both sides missing some significant paychecks, there is some real motivation to get things going.
The big game this weekend will be Stanford and Oregon.
Have a great weekend