This blog post originally appeared on RealMoney Silver on Feb. 27 at 8:35 a.m. EST.
"Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." -- Chinese Proverb
Recently, I was struck by the insincere AAA rating given by Moody's and Standard & Poor's to
and the equally
commentary of MBIA's new CEO, Jay "Our Ratings Are Stable" Brown.
For their part, the ratings agencies should be tarred, feathered and litigated against after maintaining their AAAs.
"He lies like a finance minister on the eve of devaluation." -- Warren Buffett
There was also little reality in what Jay Brown said in his
interview with Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on Tuesday afternoon, but investors and the media (with the exception of
Charlie Gasparino) seem content to accept his views as gospel despite the fact that Mr. Brown had previously guided MBIA into its derivative insurance disaster years ago.
Importantly, AAA long-term debt ratings are intended to be reserved for only gilt-edged companies. (For a full explanation, click
.) AAA is the highest rating extant given to investment grade companies, so giving MBIA a AAA rating underscores the hoax being perpetrated by the ratings agencies. Some might call it conspiratorial.
Remember that, in only the last few days, MBIA has posted a $1.9 billion loss in its latest fiscal year, has eliminated its dividend, has temporarily stopped writing guarantees on asset-backed securities, its CEO "has questions" regarding the company's preliminary results reported in January and has refused to sign off on the company's 2007 financial statements, and the company was forced to raise $2.6 billion in capital.
Also, I should mention that MBIA's common stock has dropped by 78% in the last 12 months.
The King Report
(a must read every morning) graphically depicts how ludicrous MBIA's AAA rating really is, quoting
. Mish compares top-rated MBIA to
, which recently had its Moody's rating downgraded from AAA.
Return on equity
AAA? Then, again, the
International Securitisation Report
Monoline Insurer of the Year
You want AAA? Buy some batteries, don't buy MBIA's shares.
Doug Kass is the author of The Edge, a blog on RealMoney Silver that features real-time shorting opportunities on the market.
At the time of publication, Kass and/or his funds had no positions in the stocks mentioned, although holdings can change at any time.
Doug Kass is founder and president of Seabreeze Partners Management, Inc., and the general partner and investment manager of Seabreeze Partners Short LP and Seabreeze Partners Short Offshore Fund, Ltd.