Friday, July 17, 2009

Required Reading: Friday, July 17th 2009

Bank of America Posts Profit Drop, Sees Weak Economy – Bloomberg

East Bay's Watergate joins flood of foreclosures – The Contra Costa Times

Two Giants Emerge From Wall Street Ruins – The New York Times

“One theme here is that Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan really have emerged as the winners, as the last of the survivors,” said Robert Reich, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who was secretary of labor in the Clinton administration.

Both banks now stand astride post-bailout Wall Street, having benefited from billions of dollars in taxpayer support and cheap government financing to climb over banks that continue to struggle. They are capitalizing on the turmoil in financial markets and their rivals’ weakness to pull in billions in trading profits.

Cisco cutting up to 700 jobs in San Jose – San Jose Mercury News

Housing: Sticky Prices – Calculated Risk

If housing was a perfect market, prices would have fallen rapidly to the market clearing price. However housing prices are sticky downward - as I described in 2005 post: "[R]eal estate prices display strong persistence and are sticky downward. Sellers tend to want a price close to recent sales in their neighborhood, and buyers, sensing prices are declining, will wait for even lower prices.

This means real estate markets do not clear immediately, and what we usually observe is a drop in transaction volumes."

This doesn't mean prices are stuck - just sticky. Prices have been falling in most areas for three years, and will probably fall further.

And this brings us back to the DataQuick article. Just because demand is picking up a little, doesn't mean prices have bottomed. Note: Ignore the median price in the article - that is rising because of the change in mix.


Jon Stewart Takes On Goldman Sachs (finally)

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Pyramid Economy
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Joke of the Day

Putting the 'short' back in short sale – Inman News

According to Thompson, a number of major servicers including Fannie Mae, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and OneWest Bank Group (formerly IndyMac Bank) are putting systems in place to more easily identify which borrowers have attempted loan modification programs and failed or are well into the default process. Secondly, and this is a key point, they are going to give price certainty in the case of a short sale; the servicers will give price guidance, telling the agents a price range for the short sales.