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Marking Time: Best Buy, Lehman, Blackstone...


Maximum frustration, the consumer, and is Blackstone the Smartest Guy In The Room?

  • The path of maximum pain may be higher but the path of maximum frustration is "nothing". As in "Announcement", "Reaction", "Flattish Close". A "Cha-Cha-Blah"; leaving both investors and traders sitting with their bats on their shoulders. Now that would certainly appeal to Mr. Market's often sick sense of humor.

  • Best Buy (BBY) is sticking another shiv in the idea that The Consumer gives a rat's hind-quarters about what he should be doing. A nice quarter from a good merchant, something BBY's friends up the street at Target (TGT) pulled off just a couple weeks ago. Bask in it for a day; Thursday brings Circuit City's (CC) quarterly pile of horrors.

  • Got into an extended discussion this morning over whether or not Lehman (LEH) actually beat numbers. The conclusion? Not one person I could find had even broad parameters laid out for just how big the write-downs could be. And that's pretty much the problem for both the banks and the folks who would trade 'em.

  • While I'm being cynical... two things argue for Blackstone (BX) et al.'s place as The Smartest Guy in the Room. 1. It IPO'd at a nice top for M&A. 2. It seem reasonably amoral about getting out of deals, now that the fever has broken. Impressive stuff, from an Ayn Rand capitalist perspective but not a reason to buy BX stock from where I'm sitting.

  • I used my Tivo (TIVO)/ Amazon (AMZN) Unbox download function to check out the pilot episode of "Chuck". Nice upside surprise on the show, which is a fairly smart and funny depiction of your classic unwilling spy-type. Probably not going to win a Peabody Award but, hey, it was better than the "ninja and crotch-shot" 20-second loop of the show we put on Fast Money.
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