Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - June 17

CPI Edges Up 0.1% - The consumer price index (CPI) increased a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in May as higher gasoline prices were largely offset by falling food prices, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. It was the first increase in the CPI in three months. The core CPI - which excludes often-volatile food and energy prices -- also rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in May. The CPI has fallen 1.3% in the past year, the sharpest decline in prices since April 1950.

BB&T To Pay TARP Back - BB&T said Wednesday it will pay about $3.1 billion to the Treasury to repurchase its preferred stock, plus a final dividend payment of about $13.9 million, to exit the TARP. BB&T has also notified the Treasury that it will buy back the outstanding warrant associated with TARP, which allows the Treasury to purchase up to 13.9 million shares of the company's common stock. "Any adjustment resulting from the repurchase of the outstanding warrant will be accounted for in the second or third quarter of 2009," said the financial holding company in a statement. BB&T has paid a total of $92.7 million in dividends under TARP.

Obama Wants Fed to Reform Financial Rules - President Obama will formally propose on Wednesday a plan that would empower the Federal Reserve and make it the supervisor of large, systemically vital financial institutions, granting it the authority to be a lender of last resort in "unusual and exigent circumstances," to mega-banks if the department first receives approval from the Treasury Department.

Based on a preliminary plan released Tuesday, large financial institutions will need to have greater capital on hand (comparable to the current needs addressed in the "stress tests" versus the prior "Tier 1" capital required) and will be scrutinized more thoroughly by The Federal Reserve.

The proposal will reach the Senate and House on Wednesday with an approximate timeline of year end for the plan to have passed and been enacted.

There are several other proposals within the plan, but the Federal Reserve change seems to be the most far reaching.

IBM Looking at Mobile Communications - On Wednesday morning, IBM announced that it plans to spend $100 million over the next five years to advance mobile services and capabilities for businesses and consumers worldwide. IBM is focusing on services to the millions of people who have bypassed using a PC as their primary method of accessing the Internet and instead use their mobile devices.

Scotts Mircale-Gro Raises Forecast - Signals Change By the Consumer? - This is a bit of a strange company to report on in the Rollins Financial Blog, but the news was quite interesting. Scotts Miracle-Gro lifted its earnings forecast for fiscal 2009 on Wednesday, citing strong consumer demand in the U.S. The group said it now expects to report adjusted earnings of $2.35 to $2.45 a share, compared to a previous forecast of $2.10 to $2.30 a share. The company said consumer purchases of its products in the U.S. were up 17% for the fiscal year to date, as measured by point-of-sale data from its largest retail partners.

The reason this is important to note is how consumers are still taking care of their lawns and gardens. A 17% increase in sales shows a somewhat significant shift from having a service handle lawn chemicals to doing it yourself (no way to determine how many individuals are now mowing their lawn). While the number of gardens in the US may have increased, this increase could not have come from that alone. This would most likely point to a small way in which the consumer is saving money. Just an interesting tidbit.

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