SAN FRANCISCO -- Benign economic data failed to inspire bonds or blue-chips but the
Nasdaq Composite Index
soared back into the history books as investors chose to focus on
positive outlook vs. its disappointing quarter. (For more, see today's
No Remorse, No Regret
Loads of feedback regarding the hedge fund manager who
last night shorted Intel.
A well-known Wall Street strategist emailed to say he agreed "balance sheets yield important information," but wondered if "dated" financials are more significant "than newly divulged company plans for the future?" The strategist, who requested anonymity, also took umbrage with the trader's concern about Intel's cap-ex: "Some investors still regard those expenses as investments, with a positive expected return."
In a follow-up call today, the hedge fund source reiterated the issue is cause for concern.
"Intel has always been a big spender in R&D," he said. "If you're trying to juice up people for the second half, why are you talking about that in the context of missing the estimate?"
Intel rose over 4% today, so the Street apparently disagreed with our source. But he remained unrepentant.
"Look at their numbers: Revenues are higher but profits lower. The reason?
Average selling prices are going down," he said. "Anyone can sell stuff if you're giving it away."
(For the record, Intel did say ASPs were lower. Meanwhile, revenue fell 5% sequentially but was up 14% from the year-ago period. Similarly, net income dipped 13% from the first quarter but jumped 49% from the prior year.)
Additionally, interest income rose to 11.1% of pre-tax income vs. 8.2% a year ago, the manager noted, the result of "a variety of little games -- kitchen-sink stuff -- that put cash" on the balance sheet.
Like whether sequential or year-over-year figures are more important, that is obviously subject to debate. Basically, this is about one man's opinion, which happens to be very cynical.
"Since when has Intel ever been honest?" he asked. "Every firm has got their own shtick.
always talks the next quarter down;
tells it like it is; and Intel has been known to fluff."
But the bottom line is, the short play went awry.
"They're being unloaded as we speak," the source said midday about the Intel puts. "Yes, it's a loss."
The hedge fund manager shorted more at the open today (but was luckily unable to get the entire order filled), then "covered quickly," he said. "Then the futures started flying so we went long. We traded around the stock
but haven't pulled out all the money the stock owes me."
So when you're down, think of it as the stock "owing" you money vs. a loss. Apparently, it's easier to digest.
Meanwhile, the fund manager admitted being "shocked" by today's benign
data but said "the reality is, if
is strong tomorrow, it's going to deflate the whole argument there is no inflation."
Got to give him credit for sticking to his guns. Even if they're firing blanks.
Maybe shorting Intel was a bad idea simply because Intel's main "competitor" (and we use the term
loosely) just can't get it right. Amid another quarter of big losses,
Advanced Micro Devices
announced Atiq Raza -- who apparently was regarded as someone who could "save" the company -- is resigning as the company's president.
I can't say with absolute certainty
Jacob Lays Out Plans For New Internet Fund is the "best" story on the site today, but it gets the nod because Staff Reporter
has done such a tremendous job covering this story from the get-go, flaying the rotting-pulp folks in the process.
Tremendous feedback on yesterday's inquiry about financial TV. Though I appreciate all the mail (and apologize for not getting back to everyone), it makes me wonder if we all need to get outside a little more.
Anyway, my very unscientific reading of the emails is as follows:
Sara Lee (SLE) , (almost) NOBODY likes
CNNfn, and anchor
Terry Keenan in particular. (Sorry, T.K.)
Fox News Channel and
Bloomberg got mixed reviews while many readers complained neither (or just one) was available on their cable system, leading them to
CNBC by default.
CNBC certainly has its fans (especially "Squawk Box"), but many seem enamored mainly with the scrolling ticker (really). Meanwhile, several readers complained about the seemingly endless commercials, and critics -- almost uniformly -- griped about the overall aura of cheerleading, led (of course) by
The head trader at one firm said of
: "If they're doing anything to serve the public, I don't know what it is," noting the negative slant on
this morning as a prime example. (The stock rose 5.8% today.)
"It's just a bunch of hot air," he said. "They're a mere cog being used more than they'll ever know."
For my money (you can't be too soon) reader
of Lancaster, Va., sums up the whole debate best: "I watch
a great deal and it has more information in a shorter period of time, but
hires better-looking girls. Let's face it, it's show business."
You've Got ... Ring Around the Cramer
Speaking of showbiz, I'm certain
will be a success (especially if the honchos realize The TaskMaster can contribute). But the print ads appear to be promoting laundry detergent rather than insightful, irreverent and opinionated financial news.
"Powerful"? I know it's the
catchword, but come on. Still, I'm sure the show is going to rock.
Aaron L. Task writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at