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Techies anticipating GoogleTV, Networks not so much.

GoogleTV Areade Dare

ABC, CBS and NBC made it clear that TV programming on their websites would not be joining in on the GoogleTV bandwagon. Shows like Modern Family, The Office to name a few will be restricted from fans who choose to use GoogleTV. However it doesn’t stop there, as Hulu[jointly owned by Disney, NBC Universal and News Corp.] won’t allow videos to be played on the GoogleTV interface as well. What’s the issue? The networks aren’t entirely sold on Google’s model for integrating web videos with regular TV programming. As the financial model for these networks is so reliant on advertising dollars and blood money from the cable providers, they’re going to need an edge if they are to get in bed with Google. Translation, they need more greenbacks.

Nonetheless I can think of another reason why they are not so hot on GoogleTV. The whole financial model can be negotiated but the cannibalistic nature of the internet is a whole different ball game. You see, if a GoogleTV consumer searches the web for their favorite TV content, there’s a possibility of finding pirated content instead; Which results in a “free-rider” problem. The internet is very voracious in its cannibalism of media from content providers because once it’s out there, it’s out there. Therefore these guys are not going to potentially commit “content suicide” because some innovative TV box plans to shift the TV media landscape from cable providers to the internet in the name of technology. And I don’t blame them.

However the minds at Google are formidable, so I’m pretty sure they can come up with a model that allays the fears and doubts that plague ABC, NBC and CBS. They have to realize that the adoption of GoogleTV will provide more visibility for them as opposed to the cable providers. Because the cable providers have definitely not made it easy navigating hundreds of channels that we don’t want to find programs that we actually need.

I mean really, who in this day and age still watches The Learning Channel.

Fox Versus Cablevision… Ding! Ding!

Cablevision Fox by Areade Dare

Yesterday afternoon, I tuned into channel 5(FOX) to watch the Detroit Lions-New York Giants game. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the channel had been pulled. Trying to make sense of the situation, I endured the whinefest that was Cablevision’s PR message. It was very descriptive and comprehensive, detailing how Newscorp (Fox’s parent company) was hiking their retransmission fees from $70million to $150 million. That sounds terrible but…… why must I suffer?

As I reluctantly watched the Jets game, I did some research as to why my FOX channel had been pulled. Turns out that the dispute between Cablevision and  Newscorp has been going for a while. Last Friday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) even offered to get involved, while several lawmakers like Rep. Peter King (R, N.Y.) advocated binding arbitration to end the dispute. Cablevision agreed to arbitration, but News Corp. resisted the offer. With the MLB playoffs in full swing, it’s hard to believe that this dispute can last any longer.

The funny thing is that this isn’t the first but the fifth blackout to occur this year. There has been an increase in retransmission squabbles which is not very encouraging for cable subscribers like myself. According to Politico, there will be  another looming showdown, between News. Corp and Dish Network that could see channels such as Fox Sports, FX and National Geographic being blacked out on November 1st.

Is this the future of cable TV?

What Would Ben Bernanke Do?

Bernanke QE2 by Areade Dare

It ain’t easy being Ben Shalom Bernanke these days. Being a Fed Chairman in shitty times such as this. Times that include a slow economic recovery and lack of jobs compounded by the persistent whispers of QE 2. Most people say it’s only a matter of time before it is implemented. The market thinks so, the media thinks so and ultimately, the general public think so as well. Bernanke’s speech, riddled with QE 2 jargon, didn’t cause us to believe otherwise. Crazy uncle Ben might be giving us QE for christmas.

Big Ben argues that there is a lack of inflation and a need to ignite the job market. Well, I know two things. According to Dean Mean Machado, the Fed can’t synthetically manufacture inflation, that is with quantitative easing. The Fed can only set parameters in place to engender inflation and cannot create it themselves. Therefore if it didn’t work the first time why would it work the next time? And isn’t it the president’s job to you know, create jobs. Wasn’t that the whole point of the stimulus package? I guess that’s now become a rhetorical question.

I don’t know what to expect anymore but I just hope you know what you’re doing Ben.

Does Bank of America dream of Mauling Bears?

BAC and Mauling Bears by Areade Dare

Ah Bank of America. How you tortured me when I was in college. Making me drive all the way to Baltimore to validate an account transfer, the endless phone call attempts to sell me “dismemberment life insurance” at the age of 19 and mailing me things that I didn’t need. We’ve had a long relationship, you and I. However, the continual beating that your stock price takes is as Dean would say a “bias crime.” I know I’m not the only one you’ve shafted. Maybe someone finally fought back, God knows your customer service makes Dell’s look like Apple’s.

On a more serious note, today the bear mauled you in public. You were owned, pawned and all the above. JP Morgan was able to pick itself up, but you however were not so fortunate. What does this mean? I really don’t know, as with each passing day I realize I don’t know squat about the market. What I do know is that my economic well-being hinges on the success of you and your financial brethren. JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have shown strength, some more than others. You’re freaking Bank of America, get your act together.

Quick shout out to the almost prospect. You were here for 15 minutes and left. I don’t know whether I scared you off or something. In “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” Paul Rudd said, “When life hands you lemons, just say fuck the lemons and bail.” I guess you took that phrase literally because the alacrity of your exit left quite an impression on the TFG staff.

Oh well, on to the next one.

Pincez les shorts

Red VS Green by Areade Dare

Markets ramped up today, contrary to the previous day. I think even the most creative media pundit would have trouble explaining the market events. One thing was certain, it was a tough day for shorting. Intel and JP Morgan found lows while Citrix and the majority of the market was in the green. With the ying yang nautre of the market, I wouldn’t be surprised see to the reverse of yesterday’s events tomorrow.

The early trading session of the day was definitely for going long. After the morning session, it seemed like we were in for a dump off. How wrong was I. The stocks dipped a bit then rallied up all over again, squeezing all the shorts along the way. The green candlesticks definitely won this day.

The market is pretty hard to predict right now. Being fairly green to the scene, I’m not really sure what to expect. ‘Cause this new guy is scratching his head over this market action.

Where Are the Customers’ Yachts?

Wall Street Bonus Pool by Areade Dare

When I was a junior in college, I came across a book titled “Where Are the Customers’ Yachts”, written by Fred Schwed. In the same vein as the satirical “Liar’s Poker”, it provided a comical yet profound assessment of Wall Street. In one chapter, two friends arrive at the harbor in Manhattan where one of them points out the elegant vessels. “There are the bankers’ yachts,” he says grandly. “And there are the brokers’ yachts.” The other friend looks at the magnificent fleet and asks, “Where are the customers’ yachts?”

If there’s one thing that makes Wall Street stand out, it has to be the year-end bonuses and outlandish salaries. Guaranteed money distributed to employees according to performance, nepotism or “just because” by employers. It’s as flawed as the contract system employed for first round picks in the NFL Draft. The truth is that it’s a system you love if you’re a part of it and loathe if you’re not. That is why when it was announced that Wall Street would be paying $144 billion in bonuses today, people were already looking for torches and pitchforks. A source of so much vitriol these past years, it’s surprising that the level of the compensation and benefits still continues to increase. These lush bonuses are indicative of Wall Street’s ability to mint money in indecisive and tumultuous markets, playing both sides of the coin.

The compensation wouldn’t be an issue if the majority of Wall Street’s customers weren’t fending off penury. With the economy still in a rut, it’s harder for the public to stomach these sizable bonuses. Now I’m not suggesting that anybody give up their bonuses because if you do you’re an idiot. The system just needs to stop rewarding bad decisions by overzealous individuals. If the financial system teeters towards the precipice of destruction again, we shouldn’t be dishing out “Thank you for screwing up” cheques. There needs to be accountability and objectivity.

But then again, maybe most of us are just jealous.

Foreclosures, Foreclosures, Foreclosures.

Foreclosures by Areade Dare

There’s been a lot of buzz about foreclosures lately. Last Thursday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid joined the ranks of those pushing for a foreclosure moratorium in Nevada. The following day Representative Eldophus Towns called for a national foreclosure moratorium, which immediately received support from Mr. Reid.  Why you say? Improper foreclosure paperwork conducted by the mortgage lenders, namely the banks. It would seem like Wall Street was having its way with Main Street again. However, this situation is different. The crux of the matter is that the guy that reviews the foreclosure paperwork isn’t the same guy signing it; Because the person that reviews the foreclosure file is supposed to sign the paperwork, not anyone else. As a result PNC, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and GMAC’s Ally Financial have halted mortgages while banks like Citi and Wells Fargo have chosen to do otherwise.

I hate to play devil’s advocate here, but I don’t understand what the issue is. If you don’t make mortgage payments and your property is filed for foreclosure as a result, does it really matter who signs it? It’s like saying Sal has no business firing Johnny because he was hired by Vince. Unless someone, who was current on his or her mortgage and was wrongly foreclosed, steps up there is really nothing to talk about here. The only thing the banks/lenders are guilty of is sloppy paperwork and laziness.

However, the moratorium provides some breathing room for those who are facing foreclosure on their homes. Hopefully it provides these homeowners with enough time to plan an appropriate course of action. As we don’t know how long these supposed foreclosure freezes will last.

Nobody likes to see people lose their homes to foreclosure but the truth is some of these people may have been better off never to have been homeowners in the first place.

Shite Market.

Shite Market by Areade Dare

The market is like a meat grinder, and I’m sure it churned a lot of investors into liverwurst today. From the open it seemed like proceedings would continue from where they left off yesterday. Then shit went sideways. The dollar and gold started dropping off, the financials didn’t really feel like going up and the market pretty much broke down. People attribute the market’s performance to the jobless claims but I think that’s just simplifying things. Even when the market was able to find a bottom, the anticipated pops never came through. I mean Adobe and few others did well after 2pm but I feel they were really just anomalies. Long story short, the market was just shite.

The funny thing is that we did pretty well in the market. Schwartz and Jeremy were making picks like it was a tournament bracket. They had winners as well as losers but won better than they lost. I’m starting to learn that you should be able to make money in any market. The key is being able to adapt, quick thinking and attention to details. Especially attention to details. Obviously there are more facets to it but I think those three attributes are equally as important.

Finally, for those of you who got churned by the market, better luck next time. I’m sure some people racked up some painful losses. Hopefully you don’t justify them.

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining….. Except this one.

The Cloud by Areade Dare

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I think the  comic above pretty much sums up the day for the Cloud computing space. Equinix issued a revenue warning which triggered the fall… no, plummet of RedHat, VMWare and Citrix. It was like they all performed a heist, Equinix got caught and then ratted them out to the authorities. The funny thing is that they’re in different businesses but I guess market participants felt otherwise. It was definitely a gross overreaction to say the least. However RHT, VMW and CTXS were definitely ripe for a short or put option contract if that’s your style.  Maybe RHT, VMW and CTXS can recover tomorrow. Maybe.

In other news I got traded to the Frommer side of the desk today. It was actually agreed in principle yesterday but didn’t take effect until today. With Schwartz in my face, I’m pretty sure my tenure here will be very eventful. He has already made it pretty clear that it is not OK to lose money. “The main aim of this business is to make money.” I will definitely keep that in mind.

As for my former team, most of them were out sick today. To Betty and Tynik I hope you guys get better. The new and improved website will be going up tomorrow. Can’t wait to see it.

What Just Happened…

Today was a funny day, in the sense that it was the total opposite of the preceding one. I am convinced you could pick a stock blindfolded and you would be right. The market was having a great day. Though Netflix and IMAX disappointed, positions like Boeing took flight. Bank of America and friends came out running and the E-mini went up by at least 20 handles. Materials led all other sectors as the market kept getting stronger and stronger throughout the day. This is one party you wouldn’t want to miss.

Eminis Rally by Areade Dare

Speaking of great performances, I have to say I enjoyed the pummeling the Dolphins got last night. I mean after they snatched Brandon Marshall from the Broncos, I wasn’t exactly their biggest fan. And to think that Messieurs Brady and Moss had little to no impact in that game is just sad. Wasn’t the Patriot’s defense meant to be the group of extraordinarily old men?

On a final note, it seems like members of Team Dean aka True North aka Carpe MD are falling ill one by one. Firsy Betty, now Tynik. Dean suspects Betty is the source, I think it’s just the shitty weather. Hopefully I won’t join them.