Snow Job, NJ Schools, Themis Thoughts Jan 12th 2010

How do I get from my hell being that of the guy on the left, to being that of the guy below? The guybelow must be from like Atlanta or something. I bet Georgia Tech closes for a week.

By the way, New York City schools are… OPEN! And all the stock exchanges say that they are running at normal capacity and hours. As a matter of fact the heat from the server rooms is being channeled out to the parking lots around Direct Edge, and their parking lot looks like this:

Oh, and yes, there are six cars in the lot. They belong to all of the Direct Edge employees.

The world is watching New York City, and Mayor Bloomberg knows it too. He has the plow trucks ready, for sure. They are each provisioned with fresh hoagies, 12packs of Bud, and fresh batteries in their DVD players. (Sorry… kidding, Mayor. Please don’t hike the prices on our Bloomberg terminals; we can poke fun at Dubai ownership of Chicago’s parking meters tomorrow. Fair?)

Governor Christie gave his state of the state address yesterday. In it he declared reforming NJ’s public school system his biggest challenge. Celebrity guest, Michelle Rhee joined him and the two symbolized together that the way to reform was to expand charter schools, eliminate tenure for teachers (in NJ, teachers are tenured after a whopping 3 years of teaching), and reward the best teachers and systems based on merit.

The speech was grandiose, and I agreed with many of his points. I will say this, though, the speeches about reform are grand, but they don’t jive with what he actually is doing in NJ. He has been demonizing school superintendents and teachers in the best performing school districts (Chatham, is one of them). He decreed that school administrator pay be capped by a government based formula, causing many administrators to retire. He has cut aid and funds to all schools, and disproportionately to the best performing schools, in order to keep afloat the school districts that are Abbot District Schools (poor urban districts). While Chatham spends about $14,000 per student to churn out a 100% graduation rate, high test scores, safety, and world class offerings including Mandarin Chinese, the systems in Newark, Jersey City, Trenton, and 28 other Abbot districts spend twice that number, and have failed at every measure. Those districts have an administrator for everything, and cronyism is rampant there. Systems like Chatham subsidize the failure in those billion dollar waste land systems. So while holding press conferences to demonize a guy who is making $20,000 more than a government accounting office has decreed he should be paid, the good governor is clipping coupons instead of going after Seymour the Fund-Eating Plant.

Christie is kind of doing what the SEC has been doing this past year. They have been ignoring real reforms and occasionally publicizing with great fan-fare how they stopped a $386 dollar insider trading ring.

Off the soap box.


Where we left off 4:00pm EST:

INDU               11,671.88                                +34.43

SPX                 1,274.48                                  +4.73

CCMP              2,716.83                                  +9.03

Futures now at 7:30am EST:

DJA                             +56 

SPA                             +7.30

NDA                            +12.00

Key Data out today:


08:30:              Import Price Index

14:00:              Fed Beige Book


Since the prior close, some key stories:


–       EU considers aid for Portugal.

–       Stocks and futures rise globally due on European Debt Efforts

–       Goldman says S&P will gain 18%.

–       Cell Phone Providers fear loss of $10 billion  if they are forced by Regs to let their customers know that they are ripping them off. Wait did I just say that?

–       AIG agrees to $2.2 billion sale of Taiwan unit after a year-long delay. That buyer wants to turn around and flip it to the public markets in an IPO, where the taxpayers rescued it from to begin with.

–       German Regulators break off talks with Google.

–       Noble Corp to replace Q-Logic in S&P 500.

–       Most shorted at a major prime broker yesterday – AAPL, BMO, RRC, CMG, SBUX

–       Most covered at a major prime broker yesterday – ROVI, LEAP, PMCS, AAPL, GM

–       Illinois weighs 66% tax increase and considers selling its poorest citizens as slaves overseas (ok kidding about the second part. Well kind of kidding).

–       Gannett will cut staff of three NJ papers by 50%.

–       Evergreen Solar to close Devens Factory and slash jobs.

–       CBOE to launch CDS Options Alternative. Wait. Options on swaps? OMG

–       Credit Suisse plans on launching Light Pool by the end of March. This ECN will cater to Institutional Traders and keep out High Freaks. Whoa. Dissecting this one folks…





Pre-market:  None 


After the Close: CLC, DWRI, EXFO, XRS



Significant Movers This Morning:

COOL +8.6% (fitness order), LULU +8% (earnings), CMCSA + 5%, ZLC + 5.7% (Nov Dec comps), NE +5.6% (SP500 addition) ESLR -3% (closing plant) NVTL -19% (VZ-iPad related) QLGC -2% (leaving SP500)