Monday, September 30, 2013


Once or twice a year we like to share some of our favorite comics: enjoy.

Republicans, all tied up in knots

WILL THE FED PULL THE PLUG TOO SOON? - Federal Reserve Open Markets committee today is expected to starting winding down its "quantitative easing" asset purchase program with estimates for the taper running from $5 billion to $20 billion out of the current $85 billion monthly pace. Given how clearly the Fed has telegraphed its intentions almost no one is expecting the Fed to keep up the current pace. Economic data isn't great but it's not likely weak enough to prevent the taper. The big question is whether the Fed takes away the juice just as the federal government heads for a possible shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis. The double whammy of the taper and a Hill meltdown could hit stocks and the economy fairly hard.

The Fed obviously pays attention to the fiscal follies on the Hill. But are Ben Bernanke and his colleagues betting too hard on another round of last second deals? At least the prospect of a Fed Chair confirmation fight appears to be over. Current Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen appears highly likely to get the nod, according to White House sources. And she's likely to get through the Senate fairly easily. And a potentially destabilizing bombing campaign in Syria also appears to be off the table for now. And expect the Fed to wrap its taper in all kinds of reassuring language about how it could dial up purchases right away if needed. Still, today is likely to mark the beginning of a risky run in the waning months of the Bernanke Fed.

TECH BLAST: BLACKBERRY TO GO PRIVATE - BlackBerry has agreed to be bought by a consortium of Canadian investment companies for $4.7bn in cash and taken private, in a last-ditch move to ensure the survival of one of the pioneers of the global smartphone ... BlackBerry ... has seen its market value plummet from a peak of $83bn in 2008 to just $4.2bn ... The bid comes in the wake of BlackBerry's admission on Friday that its turnround strategy - based on the launch of a new operating system and handsets - had failed and that it would abandon the consumer market with the loss of 4,500 jobs and report a $1bn operating loss in the latest quarter.

The consortium is led by Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial, which holds a 10 percent stake in the Ontario-based group. Mr Watsa, an investor who has been called Canada's Warren Buffett, quit BlackBerry's board last month when the company announced that it had set up a special committee to investigate its strategic options. His move was widely interpreted at the time as indicating that he would try to pull together a consortium including some of Canada's leading pension funds to buy out the struggling company.

CHRYSLER (RELUCTANTLY) FILES FOR IPO - Chrysler filed for a public stock offering last Monday, acting only under pressure from its second-largest shareholder, a trust set up to provide medical coverage for 115,000 retired autoworkers ... Ordinarily, Chrysler's plan would be cause to celebrate the automaker's comeback from its government bailout and bankruptcy in 2009. But it is acting only after negotiations stalled between Fiat, which controls Chrysler, and the trust over the purchase of the trust's minority stake in Chrysler. The offering could be canceled if Fiat and the trust reach a deal. ... Chrysler's offering arises from an unusual conflict of interests, made possible by the remarkable turnaround at Chrysler since the federal government shepherded it through bankruptcy four years ago.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Lorraine Bracco (59), President Jimmy Carter (89), Angie Dickinson (82), David Hidalgo (50), Steve Lesniak …famous wine Sommelier, Steve Miller (70), Eilsabeth Shue (50).

SPORTS BLINK - NFL TEAMS THAT HAVEN'T LOST YET (4-0): New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins (3-0; play at New Orleans Saints on "Monday Night Football" tonight; 8:30 on ESPN), Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks

--NFL TEAMS THAT HAVEN'T WON YET: (0-4): Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

COLLEGE FOOTBALL - Top 25 "Ballot Breakdown: Arizona State ushers out Kiffin era at USC ... Notre Dame out of AP Top 25; Arizona State, [Maryland] in.  No. 22 Arizona State moved into the AP Top 25 -- and helped move Lane Kiffin out of a job as Southern California coach. ... For the third consecutive week, the top five teams in the AP Top 25 were unchanged. No. 1 Alabama received 55 first-place votes from the media panel. No. 2 Oregon received the other five. Clemson is No. 3 followed by Ohio State and Stanford. ... Notre Dame is not ranked for the first time this season, following a 35-21 loss at home to No. 11 Oklahoma. The Sooners moved up three spots and are now the highest-ranked Big 12 team. .... Georgia moved up three spots to No. 6, but don't blame Bulldogs fans if they're feeling their team is still under appreciated. No team has played a more difficult September schedule ... No. 25 Maryland (4-0) is ranked for the first time since the final poll of the 2010 season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/5, 10:30 PM ET, ESPN; #15 Washington Huskies (4-0) vs. #5 Stanford Cardinal (4-0). Pac 12 play begins with a big one in Palo Alto, Stanford 32 Washington 30.  Season to date (5-0)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/5, 4:30 PM ET, BRAVO; #10 Pacific Luthern Lutes (3-0) visit #2 Linfield Wildcats (3-0) in a HUGE Northwest Conference match-up. Linfield 45 Pacific Lutheran 40 in a shoot out.  Season to date (3-1)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/6, 1:00 PM ET, Fox; Seattle Seahawks (4-0) vs. Indianapolis Colts (3-1). Back to back weeks on the road for Pete Carroll's crew will be too much – Colts 24 Seahawks 17.  Season to date (4-0)


(NCAA, Oct. 5) #4 Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0) 34  #16 Northwestern Wildcats (4-0) 28
(SCIAC game of the week, Oct. 5) Redlands Bulldogs (0-2) 42  Occidental Tigers (1-1) 21
(NHL, Oct. 5) Boston Bruins (0-0) 5  Detroit Red Wings (0-0) 2
(MLB, Oct. 5) Oakland Athletics (96-66) 6  Detroit Tigers (93-69) 3
(NFL, Oct. 6) Denver Broncos (4-0) 35  Dallas Cowboys (2-2) 20
Season to date (26-20)

96th NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE SEASON – The NHL begins this week here are Rink Rats preseason picks:

Pacific Division – Los Angeles Kings
Central Division – St. Louis Blues
Metropolitan Division – Pittsburgh Penguins
Atlantic Division – Boston Bruins
Stanley Cup Finalists – Los Angeles Kings vs. Boston Bruins

2014 Stanley Cup Champions – Los Angeles Kings

MARKET WEEK - The threat of an imminent government shutdown is foremost on the minds of investors this morning, as currently reflected in U.S. stock index futures. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are coming off their first weekly losses in four weeks, although the Nasdaq did manage to eke out a small gain to run its weekly winning streak to four. With one trading day left in the month, the major averages are all on track to register solid September gains in what's historically been the weakest month of the year for U.S. stocks.

DRIVING THE WEEK - All about the shutdown with the Senate coming back this afternoon to dispense with the House CR passed over the weekend including the one-year Obamacare delay and other provisions Democrats won't accept. Senate could ping-pong the CR back the House with just hours left before a shutdown. House Republicans could then either force a shutdown or pass a temporary measure of a few days to allow more time to reach an agreement. That's likely only to happen if some talks toward an agreement actually exist. ... President Obama meets with this morning with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Also expect Obama to use the power of his bully pulpit to again slam Republicans for threatening a shutdown over health care reform ... ISM manufacturing at 10 a.m. on Tuesday should be little changed from August's 55.7 ... ISM non-manufacturing at 10 a.m. Thursday expected to dip to 56 from 57 ... September jobs report at 8:30 a.m. Friday, assuming its not stopped by a shutdown, expected to show a gain of 180K with no change to the 7.3 percent jobless rate.

Next week: Jack Ass of the Month.

Until Next Monday, “Adios.”

Claremont, CA

September 30, 2013
#IV-24, 181

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