Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - March 19

Several people said they liked the "shorties," so here they are again today.

GE Says Its Capital Division Will Be Profitable for 1st Quarter and 2009 - GE said Thursday in a presentation to analysts that it expects its GE Capital unit to be profitable in the first quarter and full year 2009. GE said GE Capital's ratio "reflects a very strong capital base" of tangible common equity to tangible assets at 6% including a recent $9.5 billion capital infusion by GE. GE said the unit will break even and not require additional capital even if unemployment peaks at 10% and GDP falls by more than 3% in 2009 -- a more severe scenario than currently forecast by The Fed.

U.S. Dollar Falls Following Fed and U.S. Jobless Claims - The dollar fell again early Thursday following the Fed's announcement Wednesday and jobless claims Thursday. The Fed announced new unprecedented measures to bring down borrowing costs including the purchase of Treasurys. The dollar index is currently at 83.163 versus 86.471 ahead of yesterday's Fed announcement.

Discover's Profit Increases, Cuts Dividend - Discover Financial on Thursday said its fiscal first quarter profit rose to $120 million (25 cents a share) versus $81 million (17 cents a share) a year ago. The firm also said its first-quarter managed charge off rate was 6.48%. Discover also decided to cut its quarterly dividend to 2 cents.

Treasurys Continue Rally - Treasurys were higher again on Thursday as they pushed 10-year yields to the lowest mark this year. Much of the rally Thursday morning was by foreign investors that were trading following the Federal Reserve's surprising announcement late Wednesday. The Fed said it would purchase $300 billion in U.S. notes. Ten-year yields fell to 2.48%. On Wednesday, yields dropped the most since the stock market crash in 1987. The Fed said that over the next six months, it plans to buy notes maturing in two to 10 years.

Oil, Gold Rally 6% Following Equities, The Fed - Oil futures climbed more than 6% to trade above $51 a barrel Thursday following the global equity markets' rally. Crude oil for April delivery rose $2.86 to $51 a barrel. Gold futures also rose more than 6% Thursday to above $940 an ounce on expectation that the Fed's plan to buy Treasurys may cause some inflation. Gold, a traditional hedge against rising prices, surged $56.50 to $945.60 an ounce.

Citi Requests a Reverse Stock Split - Citigroup said Thursday that it has filed with regulators for approval of its plan to issue common stock in exchange for convertible and non-convertible preferred and trust preferred securities. Citi said the plan would convert about $52.5 billion of preferred shares into common shares. In another move, Citi asked for approval to execute a reverse stock split of its common stock. A reverse stock split raises the price by reducing the shares outstanding, but the number of shares you own is also reduced by a like amount. For example a 1:3 reverse stock split means that 300 shares becomes 100 shares. The price is also adjusted by this same ratio. It does not mean the company is suddenly more valuable.

Sources: Citigroup, Marketwatch, CNBC, GE

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