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Five Things You Need to Know: Now THIS is March Madness!; Greenspan vs. Louisville vs. Stanford; March Ad-Ness; Ben Bernanke's Bracket; Minyan March Madness


What you need to know (and what it means)!


Minyanville's daily Five Things You Need to Know to stay ahead of the pack on Wall Street:

1. Now THIS is March Madness!

PPI crosses the halfcourt line... 11 seconds to go, Inflation trailing by one so they don't need a three... PPI dribbles between the legs... the housing industry is down low pleading for the ball but Bernanke is denying the entry pass... five seconds left... PPI's dribbling near top of the key, well covered by Kroszner... crossover dribble now... PPI's driving in the lane... two seconds... pullup jumper... over Moskow... he shoots... he scores! Inflation wins! Inflation wins!

  • Today's Producer Price Index was the last thing the mortgage industry (and the Fed) wanted to see.
  • The expectations for the headline were at 0.5%, but instead we got 1.3%.
  • Expectations for the core (which excludes food and energy) were at 0.2%, but instead we got 0.4%.
  • Year-over-year we are back at 2.5%, well above expectations for 1.9%.
  • So remember a couple of days ago when Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo was on CNBC making a thinly veiled case for some Fed help on short-term interest rates?
  • "This is now becoming a liquidity crisis," and "it's going to get uglier," he said.
  • Well, liquidity crisis or not, this PPI print takes the Fed out of the tournament.
  • Final Score: Inflation 74, The Fed 73.
  • Next up for Inflation is the championship game against Stagflation.
  • Stagflation is favored by one GDP point.

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2. Greenspan vs. Louisville vs. Stanford

At 12:30 p.m. EST, former Fed Chairman Alan "Mr. Anonymity" Greenspan faces off against Louisville and Stanford.

  • In the continuing saga of Mr. Greenspan's ongoing public battle with anonymity, the former Fed chairman is scheduled to speak at 12:30 p.m. today to the Futures Industry Association.
  • While checking out Mr. Greenpsan's speaking engagement we ran across this nugget from The Department of Impossible to Make Up:
  • That's what we love about sports writing. You just can't make this kind of stuff up.
  • American Hero Series Luncheon?
  • Alan Greenspan: The Face of Capitalism?
  • Well, "the face of capitalism" will still be battling the opening game of the 2007 Men's NCAA Championship featuring Louisville vs. Stanford in capturing traders' attention.
  • Prediction: The Face of Capitalism 65, Louisville vs. Stanford 94, in a blowout, because we hear The Face of Capitalism can't go to his left.

3. March Ad-Ness

Advertisers this year are augmenting their broad TV campaigns on CBS's NCAA men's basketball tournament broadcasts by tapping into individual schools through their athletic departments' official Web sites, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • During March last year, visits to college athletics department sites run by CBS Corp.'s CRTV Networks reached a record level with 7.4 million unique visitors, up 32% from March 2005 and a spike of more than two million visitors from February 2006, the WSJ reported.
  • Visitors to individual school sites account for about 80% of that traffic.
  • The websites provide a way for marketers to reach a tough, but valued, demographic: college students.
  • Pontiac is buying ads on 50 college athletic sites in CSTV's network, including Purdue, Michigan State and Ohio State, the article said.
  • N.C.-based Wachovia has purchased local ads on a number of sites, including University of North Carolina and the University of Virginia.
  • Meanwhile, check out which company has purchased ad space at the University of Kentucky's athletic department web site.
  • Yeesh!
  • Well, they don't call it "the toughest coaching job in college basketball" for nothing.

4. Ben Bernanke's Bracket

According to consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship will cost $3.8 billion in lost productivity.

  • Take today's Five Things You Need to Know, for instance.
  • Just by reading this you have cost your employer an estimated $267 in lost productivity.
  • Good work! It's not even lunchtime yet.
  • Now, it might be tempting to think that a venerable institution such as the U.S. Federal Reserve wouldn't dream of participating in an NCAA office pool.
  • Tempting, but wrong.
  • In fact, to prove this, Minyanville has managed to obtain (don't ask how!) Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's office pool bracket!
  • Check it out!

5. Minyan March Madness

We took a shot at our own bracket for this year's NCAA Mens Basketball Championship.

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