Thursday, October 09, 2008

Midday update....GOOG, IBM, GM/F

The markets are bouncing all over again - but there is some concern about substantial derivatives tied to Lehman Brothers that have a settlement date of tomorrow.

It's far too complex to go into on a blog, but note that many banks, insurance companies and investment firms could be looking at billions and billions of write downs. That's the chatter on the street right now.
The markets seemed to be quite happy this morning with the positive IBM news. IBM is that rare company that has global products priced in US dollars and costs that are mostly overseas. The weak US dollar (that has recently strengthened) makes IBM a winner even in weak markets - IBM is not a proxy for the rest of the tech market. They are a unique situation.

General Motors/Ford
There is talk that the $25 billion loan package for the auto industry may not be enough to save them (even though it was rushed through Congress not as a bailout for the car makers, but as a loan to retrofit factories). GM is trading $5 - it's at a 56 year low and has a total market cap of just $3 billion, while Ford looks like it's heading to becoming a penny stock (just $2 right now). I've said for some time that GM and Ford are basically health care firms running a pension that happen to make cars on the side.

Do you need another reason to see why I think Google is the greatest company to come out of the US in the past 20 years? They have a policy where 20% of engineers hours should be spent on new pet projects. A new idea was launched yesterday for Gmail - Mail Goggles - which is designed to prevent the dreaded drunk emailing that is prevalent among 21 to 30 yr-olds (so I'm told).

Google webmail service Gmail has announced that it is introducing a new feature to help users prevent themselves from sending inappropriate emails when drunk.

Once activated, "Mail Goggles", as the service is known, prompts users to answer a series of mathematical questions before they are able to send an email, and is set by default to operate late at night during the weekend. Images released of the service show an adjustable difficulty scale to control how taxing the sums are.

Gmail engineer Jon Perlow, who worked on the project, explained his inspiration for "Mail Goggles" on the official Gmail blog: "Sometimes I send messages I shouldn't send. Like the time I told that girl I had a crush on her over text message. Or the time I sent that late night email to my ex-girlfriend that we should get back together."

On the surface you say that's cute but how does it make $$$? Well, this isn't going to be just an email tool. They'll put this in texting and the new Google cell phone and take aim at the iPhone -I wish I could work on a project entitled - Developing Prevention Tools for Drunk Texting and Drunk Dialing. The only real hurdle that I see for this project is that 97.5% of American college students can't do a math problem like 24 x 14 in their head while sober, let alone drunk. Maybe they'll dumb it down to a series of multiple choice questions about who is dating who on "The Hills".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The anon who posted this morning before opening about the return of short selling hit the nail right on the head.

Analysts commenting this evening are blaming the huge loss on exactly that. They didn't use the words, carcass and vulture tho.