Themis Thoughts April 27th, 2010
After a weekend of family illness (as parents you all know those weekends… little sleep, lots of bananas, rice, apples, toast and laundry) I was pleased to return to work Monday. However, a persistent cold drizzle, news of continued illness on the home front, and my lackadaisical attitude towards race training had got me down. Deep sigh. I didn’t know what would get me out of my funk, until I read Bloomberg’s article on Prince Alwaleed at 7pm:
Alwaleed Holds Wallet With Buffett as Princely Riches Decline
Some gems from the article:
The prince says his shift in strategy at Kingdom Holding, which he controls with a 95 percent stake, may put him on a path to surpass the riches of the 79-year-old Buffett. “When he was my age, he was not as big as me,” Alwaleed says. “I still have 20 years.” (“Now excuse me, I am preparing for… how you say… a rock and roll video for Geico where I will be Slash”)
Alwaleed hires appraisers to value his private assets — such as a jewelry collection worth more than $700 million — and makes those figures available to publishers of rich lists, Sanbar says. After a ranking is published, the prince sometimes issues a press release touting his position (feel free to click on the press release…. It is funny)
In addition to chasing Buffett, Alwaleed has also been preoccupied with Bill Gates, the Microsoft Corp. founder who has often topped the billionaire rankings, Al Fadl says. “He was always referring to Bill Gates,” he says. (Umm Yeah. Gates and Alwaleed have both had the same effect on global wealth and philanthropy. Cough.)
Alwaleed’s decline may be worse than his accounting shows. In its 2008 annual report, Kingdom Holding classified more than $4 billion of its $7.45 billion of stock market losses as temporary — and therefore didn’t subtract them from its earnings. (Hey, if the US Government can do this why can’t he?)
Alwaleed ducks inside the clubhouse and spots a flaw: Two Ping-Pong tables in the recreation room instead of one. He thrusts his wooden walking stick at one of the tables. “This should be removed,” he barks at his project managers. “And put in billiards.” (“And why won’t Becky Quick interview me? Curses!”)
Three times divorced, the prince has a son, 32, and a daughter, 27. Alwaleed is now married to Princess Ameerah Altaweel, 27, who speaks fluent English with an American accent she picked up from watching the television show “Friends.” The princess, who’s vice chairman of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundations for Charity and Philanthropy, says she wants to be the first Saudi woman to drive on public roads — if it becomes legal. (I would have coached her to model her accent after MTV’s Jersey Shore personally; ps she made that comment after watching internet youtube sensation, Miss 2007 South Carolina: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww)
Ok. Enough. Alls I got to say is that Buffett bought Goldman Sachs ($152.03) and The Prince bought Citibank ($4.61). Owned.
Also for your culinary pleasure today, we have seasoned grilled calamari, courtesy of Congress. We are bound to hear some congress folk confuse him (Blankfein) with that dude from The Princess Bride, Ben Bernanke, or Doctor Taub on House. We are bound to hear Congress folk play their favorite game, where they have him fidget with his microphone, repeat himself, cut him off while they go into a sound byte for the November elections, and then yield as they are out of time. We are bound to learn nothing from this culinary affair, except that Goldman Sachs Stock will take off and rise when the grilling has less than 15 minutes remaining. Happy Trading!
Yesterday, the Dow closed flat, with the S&P and Nasdaq closing lower by 5 and 7 points respectively. Advancers pretty much equaled decliners, NYSE consolidated volume was 5.8 billion shares, on the light side. Today more of the same expected, with perhaps a little bit of grilled squid to break up the day.
Where we left off 4:00pm EST:
INDU 11205.03 +0.75
SPX 1212.05 -5.23
CCMP 2522.95 -7.20
Futures now at 7:30am EST:
Key Data out today:
09:00: Case Shiller
10:00: Richmond Fed
10:00: Consumer Confidence
Since yesterday’s close, some key stories:
– GOOG removed from Goldman’s conviction buy list.
– Repubs block debate on Financial Legislation.
– ORCL’s Ellison will lighten up on some $1.3 billion in stock.
– Greece… aww nevermind. Just not good.
– Ford earns $2.1 billion profit.
– TXN good earnings and raises forecast. I sense reversal though.
And movers after the close:
NEXM +50% (FDA approval for PrevOnco phase II study), DVAX +8.3% (preclinical data on universal flu vaccine). CAVM +7.9%, PPDI +7.6%, SOA +6.7%, MSPD +4.8%, SUPG +3.5%, VECO +3.1%, HMA +2.5%. SNV -5.8% (details on capital plan). SWI -12.2%, PLXT -7.7%, ELX -7.6%, ZRAN -7%, WMS -5.1%, BSX -3.6%.