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Wednesday's "Earnings Beat" Makes This The Perfect "Bad-Market" Tech Stock

In last week’s Private Briefing report Our Experts Show You the Stocks to Pick in a ‘Stock-Picker’s Market’,” Money Map Press Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald identified SanDisk Corp.(NasdaqGS: SNDK) as one of three stocks to buy in the face of the stock market sell-off.

And now we see why…

  • Featured Story

    $13 Trillion in Obligations Show Shadow Banks Still Threat to Financial System

    A report issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that so-called "shadow banks" still hold more obligations than regular banks, representing a continuing threat to the financial system.

    Three years after the beginning of the financial crisis, the shadow banking system had about $16 trillion of obligations in the first quarter, compared with $13 trillion for banks, the report said. The gap has narrowed from 2008, when obligations were $20 trillion and $11 trillion, respectively.

    Throughout the early part of the decade, shadow banks grew in importance as they acted as intermediaries between investors and borrowers. Familiar examples of shadow institutions include Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, which were swallowed by the financial crisis, as well as Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE).

    While this system became a huge and vital source of money to fuel the housing market and the rest of the U.S. economy, the subprime mortgage crisis and ensuing credit crunch exposed a major flaw.

  • Lehman Brothers

  • How to Cure Western Bankers of "Bad-Banker" Behavior Masayuki Oku, the new head of the Japan Bankers Association, recently said that Western bankers did not understand self-control the way Asian bankers did, which was a major cause of the 2008 crash and the Great Recession.

    I think he has a point.

    Oku's main purpose in denouncing Western bankers for their lack of self-control was to object to the tougher proposed capital rules from the Basel Committee, the global body that sets banking regulations.

    To understand how to fix the Western banking sector, please read on... Read More...
  • Buy Sell or Hold: DryShips Inc. (Nasdaq: DRYS) is a Stock that Offers Major Upside on the Global Commodity Recovery High risk translates into high returns when you hit it right. But that same high risk translates into horrible returns when you miss. This week's "Buy, Sell or Hold" stock - DryShips Inc. (Nasdaq: DRYS) - is a perfect case in point.

    If you want to see the dismal picture of what can go wrong on a stock when you miss, consider how DryShips' shares have performed since the company first listed its shares five years ago.

  • Germany's Short-Selling Ban Lacks the Political Muscle to Go Global Hoping to win more public and political support for its involvement in the bailout of Greece, Germany has banned the naked short-selling of European sovereign debt instruments. However, other European governments are refusing to follow suit, highlighting the lack of political will that's needed to regulate the credit default swap (CDS) market.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the ban would remain in place until the EU comes up with a comprehensive plan for financial reform.

    "This will all remain in place until other rules are established on the European level," she said.

  • What Does Germany's Credit-Default-Swap Ban Mean for You? Germany did something on Tuesday that I've been hoping would happen for three years: It outlawed naked short-selling and speculation on European government bonds with naked credit default swaps.

    The financial institutions that have been profiting from this type of speculation immediately went on the offensive.

    German officials justified the surprise, unilateral move by financial regulator BaFin by stating that the "exceptional volatility" in government debt - if accompanied by massive short-selling and naked CDS trading - could result in excessive price movements that would actually "endanger the stability of the entire financial system."

    To learn about the strategies you should employ because of Germany's move, please read on... Read More...
  • Buy, Sell or Hold: Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) Is a Turnaround Play that Investors Can't Afford to Miss Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) is truly a global bank. With operations in more than 100 countries, it leads in consumer banking, credit cards, corporate lending, investment banking and brokerage. But its forays into the U.S. mortgage market, and its huge exposure to the U.S. retail and corporate banking markets, created huge losses from which the company is still recovering.

    Citi, guided by a prudent and savvy investment banker, Vikram Pandit, has embarked in one of the most ambitious and difficult transformations ever attempted by a financial institution. It is shedding bad assets, cutting costs, raising capital and has segregated the impaired assets and businesses that Citi would like to dispose into a so-called "bad bank," a subsidiary by the name of Citi Holdings. The success of the restructuring will depend on both Citigroup's execution and on the underlying strength of the U.S. and global economies.

    But therein lies the huge upside. As I have written before, there are few investment opportunities more profitable than the restructuring and turnaround of a business. And given the huge size of Citi's balance sheet and the fact that banks are pro-cyclical to the economies in which they operate, the potential gains are extremely large.

  • "Capital Waves" Point to High-Tide Profits for Commodities, Tech and Emerging Markets It was November 2008, and a global financial crisis that started in the U.S. credit markets had already leveled such one-time corporate stalwarts as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (OTC: LEHMQ), Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) and American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG). The U.S. economy was in an apparent freefall, and stock prices wouldn't hit bottom until early the following March.

    In the midst of that chaos, Money Morning's Shah Gilani made five predictions, anticipating five looming "aftershocks" he said were certain to come true.

    He was correct on all five counts - every prediction came true.

    This wasn't the first time Gilani has made such bold predictions - and been proven right. In July 2008, for instance, when crude oil was trading at a record high of $145 a barrel, he predicted that the "black gold" was destined for a major fall - even though many pundits were calling for prices to spike as high as $200, $250, $300 and even $500 a barrel.

    Once again, Gilani was right.

    Gilani, a retired hedge-fund manger, Money Morning columnist and noted expert on the global credit crisis, has been able to do this time and again for one simple reason: He understands the power and profit potential of the global financial market's "capital waves."

    "Capital waves create some of the biggest trading opportunities in the markets today," Gilani said in an interview last week. "Investors who are able to spot capital waves and identify their likely impact have a huge advantage over those who don't."

    And the profit plays that loom are shaping up as the biggest and best, yet.

    For the full transcript of Gilani's detailed question-and-answer session, please read on.

  • Lehman Execs Have No One to Blame but Themselves The U.S. bankruptcy-court examiner investigating the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. issued a stinging report Friday that accused senior executives of freewheeling accounting practices that led to the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history and sparked the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

    The 2200-page report, authored by Anton Valukas, chairman of the Chicago-based law firm Jenner & Block LLP, also excoriated Wall Street investment banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) for finally pushing Lehman over the edge by demanding more collateral and changing guarantee agreements, Bloomberg News reported.

    But the report says ultimate responsibility for its collapse can be attributed to a wrong-headed business model that rewarded excessive risk and encouraged leverage - problems that were brought to a head by the investment banks and government agencies.

  • U.S., Britain Say EU Proposals Will Damage Hedge Fund Industry The European Union (EU) on Thursday defended its sweeping hedge-fund reform proposals against criticism from the United States and Britain.

    British Prime Minister Gordon Brown met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy Friday in hopes of compromising on the proposed regulation.

    Many EU countries are determined to change the hedge fund industry, which is often murky. The use of derivatives, such as credit-default swaps have been linked to the downfall of Lehman Bros. and exacerbating Greece's sovereign debt difficulties.

  • Credit Default Swaps Strike Again – This Time Driving Greece to the Brink of Default Credit default swaps (CDS) gained infamy in the early stages of the financial crisis as the murky derivatives that helped drive the likes of Lehman Bros and Bear Stearns into bankruptcy.

    Now, they're back, inspiring panic in the bond market and making it harder for Greece to borrow money. Already struggling to rein in its out-of-control deficit, credit default swaps could be enough to push the debt-ridden nation into default.

    Credit default swaps are credit derivative contracts that let banks and hedge funds place bets on whether or not a company, or in this case a country, will default. The CDS buyer makes periodic payments to the seller, and in return receives a payoff if the underlying financial instrument defaults.

  • As Washington Turns on Wall Street, Investors Should Expect a Rough Stretch for Financial Stocks Here in the United States, investors have been startled by the realization that Washington no longer appears to be acting as a benefactor to Wall Street, the financial markets, and the economy. Ever since the collapse of Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. (OTC: LEHMQ) back in 2008, a Faustian deal was forged between Wall Street executives and the politicos in Washington: Ideologies would be thrown by the wayside to prevent a meltdown of the American financial system and the precipitous collapse of the economy.

    First, the Bush administration swallowed its free-market credentials to take over Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE), while handing the largest banks and the Detroit automakers big piles of taxpayer cash to keep them afloat. Then, the Obama administration resisted populist pressure to punish the bankers getting rich thanks to rising financial markets while unemployment continued to climb.

    But that's changing now, and the attack dogs have been unleashed. Policy is moving from supportive (crisis management) to restrictive (crisis prevention and the scoring of political points) at a faster pace and to a much-more-severe degree than many imagined.

    It started with extra taxes on bank liabilities to fund a reserve for financial crises, then moved to include a congressional commission to review the causes of the financial crisis, and then to more onerous regulatory oversight. But now it's growing into something more. And that's one big reason stocks in general and the financial sector in particular sold off so severely.

  • Warning: This is Not Another Wall Street Conspiracy Theory, These are the Facts Just last week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to directly pay billions of dollars to banks as part of its scheme to bail out insurance giant American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG).

    According to committee Chairman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, the testimony that congressmen heard just didn't "pass the smell test."

    What really stinks about the whole mess is not only the cover-up of what really happened and why, but the inability of anybody in Congress to actually do their homework and be able to frame pointed questions and get to the truth.

    It's not complicated, but it is convoluted. Here are the facts and some questions that Congress needs to ask - and that the American people deserve straight answers to.

    For the inside story on AIG's collapse, read on... Read More...
  • Wall Street's Stranglehold on the Economy Is Choking Americans America's Founding Fathers were afraid of any concentration of power in the republic. They were particularly afraid that banking interests could hijack our fledgling democracy.

    And yet today, 234 years later, our Founding Fathers' worst fears have come true. Wall Street's stranglehold on the economy threatens our very prosperity, and the future of a truly democratic republic.

    It's high time we address the truth about Wall Street's tyranny and set a course for a more secure economic future - one that's anchored by a safe banking system, not a system rigged by banks.

    How Wall Street is Choking America? Read on...
  • By Collecting $533 Million in Fees, Lawyers Become Big Winners in Lehman Bros. Bankruptcy Case Shareholders were the big losers when investment-banking giant Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (OTC: LEHMQ) collapsed in 2008.

    Now, the bankruptcy lawyers are positioned to be the big winners. Lehman has already paid its bankruptcy advisers $533.5 million since September 2008, topping the half-a-billion-dollar mark in just 14 months, the investment-banking firm has revealed to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

    In mid-September 2008 - in one of its wildest and weirdest stretches ever - Wall Street entered a weekend awaiting a government bailout of Lehman Brothers and exited with Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. agreeing to sell itself to Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) for nearly $50 billion, Money Morning reported. Lehman stunned investors by announcing it would seek bankruptcy in a bid to avoid a total liquidation after it was unable to find a buyer.

  • Bondholders the Big Winners as CIT Files for Bankruptcy CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT) on Sunday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. CIT's filing is the fifth largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, behind Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (OTC: LEHMQ), Washington Mutual Inc. (OTC: WAMUQ), WorldCom Inc., and General Motors Corp.

    But unlike Lehman Bros. and Washington Mutual, which were completely broken apart and branches of their businesses sold off, CIT expects to wipe out $10 billion in unsecured debt and emerge from its bankruptcy with its core business intact.

    "None of CIT's operating subsidiaries, including CIT bank, will be included in the filings," the company said in a statement. "As a result, all operating entities are expected to continue normal operations during the pendency cases." Read More...
  • G20 Leaders Meet to Rebalance World's Economy While Imposing Banking Reforms Leaders from the G20 nations, which represent 85% of the global economy, will hold an economic summit in Pittsburgh this week to determine how they can keep the economic recovery on track while rebalancing growth and imposing new regulatory restrictions on banks. U.S. President Barack Obama and his overseas counterparts will meet for the third […] Read More...