Fed to cut rates again

From Bloomberg:

Fed May Cut Rate to 3%, Hold Out Chance of More Cuts

The Federal Reserve may lower interest rates for the second time in nine days and indicate a readiness to go further if the economy deteriorates.

The Federal Open Market Committee, ending a two-day meeting today, will probably follow the Jan. 22 emergency reduction with a half-point cut in its benchmark rate, according to 48 of 85 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Such a move would bring the rate to 3 percent.

Officials may cite “appreciable” risks to growth, a word used for the first time last week, avoiding what analysts said were the mistakes of 2007’s statements. Through December, the FOMC referred to “inflation risks,” confusing some investors about its intentions. To avoid the impression of a blank check, Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will also seek language that notes the cumulative cuts since September, Fed watchers said.

“The statement will have a soft bias,” said Brian Sack, a former research manager at the Fed’s monetary affairs division, and now senior economist in Washington at Macroeconomic Advisers LLC. “It certainly won’t promise additional rate cuts, but it will talk enough about downside growth risks to leave that option open.”

The Fed’s announcement is scheduled for about 2:15 p.m. in Washington. While most economists predict a half-point move, 21 in Bloomberg’s survey forecast a quarter-point cut, one called for 0.75 percentage point and 15 saw no change.

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362 Responses to Fed to cut rates again

  1. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    UBS Reports Record Loss After $14 Billion Writedown

    UBS AG, Europe’s largest bank by assets, reported a record loss after about $14 billion of writedowns on assets infected by subprime mortgages in the U.S.

    The fourth-quarter net loss of 12.5 billion Swiss francs ($11.4 billion) was almost double what analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were estimating, and brings the total decline for the year to about 4.4 billion francs, the Zurich-based bank said today in a statement. UBS publishes its official results on Feb. 14.

    UBS posted its first annual loss since the company was created through a merger a decade ago, with the fourth-quarter drop exceeding the records reported earlier this month by Citigroup Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. The collapse of the U.S. subprime mortgage market has led to more than $130 billion of losses and markdowns at securities firms and banks since June.

    “The damage is enormous,” said Dominique Biedermann, director of Ethos Foundation in Geneva that holds UBS shares worth about 80 million francs and has called for an independent audit of the bank’s controls. “It wipes out profit and shows that an inquiry is needed to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and eventually whose responsibility this is.”

  2. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    The Bond ‘Transformers’
    Regulators Revisit
    A Loophole Allowing
    Insurers to Do Swaps
    By SERENA NG and SUSAN PULLIAM
    January 30, 2008; Page C1

    Troubles at U.S. bond insurers are forcing industry regulators to rethink a decade-old legal loophole that allowed insurers to venture into the obscure world of derivatives.

    The housing downturn is threatening to cripple some bond insurers that wrote billions of dollars of guarantees in the past few years on securities backed by risky subprime-mortgage debt. They entered into contracts known as credit-default swaps, which are derivative instruments that require firms to pay out money when a bond defaults. The ability of bond insurers to make good on their guarantees is in question.

    Their problems have led New York state Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo in recent days to attempt a rescue plan to save bond insurers that could involve financial help from Wall Street firms.

    It also is forcing insurance regulators, including Mr. Dinallo’s office, to reconsider the 1998 legal loophole that allowed bond insurers to issue credit-default swaps through shell companies called “transformers.”

    Their activity in derivatives has exploded in recent years. With a credit-default swap, one party, for a fee, assumes the risk that a bond or loan will go bad. The bond insurers wrote such swaps on around $100 billion in complex mortgage securities during the past few years, according to ratings-company estimates.

  3. grim says:

    From the Courier Post:

    All eyes on Fed meeting today

    The Federal Reserve will meet as scheduled today, little more than a week after announcing a stunning emergency rate cut on a key lending rate.

    Today’s big questions: Will the Fed reduce rates again? And if so, by how much?

    Jerry Silvi is hoping for an aggressive slice of half a percentage point. That would lower the federal funds rate, which regulates overnight loans between banks, to 3 percent.

    He’s president of RAM Mortgage Co. in West Berlin and is hoping lower interest will translate into more attractive rates for consumers who want to refinance their homes or buy new ones.

    “My gut feeling is they need to make added rate cuts,” he said. “Lower payments make buyers more comfortable.”

    Last week, Silvi and his staff fielded a flurry of calls from prospective buyers and refinance customers, a number of whom locked in on fixed-rate 30-year loans at 5.375 percent.

    “It was a one-day blip,” he said. “Then they went back up to 5.75 percent, which is still extremely good.”

    Still, borrowers with tarnished credit shouldn’t expect a return to lenient lending any time soon.

    “We are looking at people much more closely,” Silvi said. “Borrowers with a blemish on their credit will likely find their interest is a bit higher.”

    Joel Naroff, chief economist of Cherry Hill-based Commerce Bancorp Inc., said the Fed is expected to continue to chip away at interest rates because the board’s bold move failed to soothe a jittery stock market.

    “If they don’t do more, the market will be disappointed,” he said.

  4. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Greenspan reportedly sees 50% chance of recession

    Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan sees at least a 50% chance of a U.S. recession, Reuters reported, citing an interview Greenspan gave to the German weekly Die Zeit. “I believe the probability of a recession is at least 50 percent, but up to now there are few signs that we are already in one,” Greenspan was quoted as saying.

  5. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    Florida Condo Bust Spurs Commission Suits
    Related Group Wants
    Brokers to Refund Money
    After Buyers Walk Away
    By STEPHANIE CHEN
    January 30, 2008; Page B6

    Last month, the Related Group of Florida, a closely held luxury-condominium developer with 6,500 units valued at $3.7 billion in South Florida, filed 16 suits in Miami-Dade County seeking the return of hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions paid to brokers who sold its condos.

    Related says various brokers must return the 3% commissions — amounting to between $15,000 to $90,000 for each of the 24 condos in dispute in its 389-unit Hallandale Beach Club Tower III property — because the deals never closed, says David Rothstein, attorney for the Related Group. In most cases, buyers walked away from their purchase contracts after the value of the condos plunged.

    Real-estate experts say a wave of similar disputes is likely in the next year as condo sales dwindle and more buyers bail on contracts already in place.

    “We’re definitely going to see more cases like this,” says Austin MacMullan, a partner at Real Estate Research Corp., a Chicago-based organization that studies housing trends. “This is just one of the side effects of the glut that I don’t think anyone could have anticipated.”

    During the peak of the condo craze in Florida from 2002 to 2005, heated competition led developers to offer brokers increasingly extravagant perks for steering buyers to their properties. Some gave agents new BMW cars and free trips to Tahiti. Developers also were increasingly willing to pay higher commissions to brokers or pay in advance, as soon as a contract was signed, rather than when the building was completed months or years later.

    Now, as some of those buyers forfeit their deposits and disappear without every completing the transaction, developers are becoming more aggressive about trying to force brokers to give back their commissions.

  6. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Refinancing applications jump again

    Homeowners’ applications to refinance existing loans surged again in the Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest survey of filings, rising 22.1% last week compared with the previous week.

    According to the survey released on Wednesday, refinancings accounted for 73% of the total number of mortgage applications filed during the week ended Jan. 25, up from 66% the previous week.

    Applications for mortgages to purchase homes, on the other hand, decreased by a seasonally adjusted 17.7% on a week-to-week basis.

  7. grim says:

    From the Financial Times:

    US homebuilders face growing bankruptcy threat

    The risk of bankruptcies among the big US homebuilders has risen sharply as the economy has weakened and an end to the housing slump remains distant.

    Credit default swaps on homebuilders, which act as insurance on corporate debt, suggest some of the biggest are at risk of failing to keep up debt payments. According to Byron Douglass, an analysts at Credit Derivatives Research, the most exposed are Standard Pacific, Hovnanian, Beazer, and Meritage . All are among the top 15 publicly-listed US homebuilders.

    Mr Douglass said bankruptcies were “highly likely” among top homebuilders. Homebuilding is viewed as being the sector most threatened by the slowdown as housing has been the worst hit part of the economy.

    On Tuesday Tousa, formerly called Technical Olympic, became the largest homebuilder so far to file for bankruptcy. At least 13 other homebuilders have gone bankrupt since June, according to Bloomberg data.

  8. Essex says:

    NEW YORK — We all know by now that the undefeated New England Patriots are the most successful conquerors since Alexander the Great.
    But Chris Berman, who has hosted ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” for 22 years, isn’t ruling out the underdog New York Giants just yet.
    The Patriots are favored to win Super Bowl XLII on Sunday by two touchdowns — one of the biggest-ever point spreads for a Super Bowl. If they do so, they’ll become the National Football League’s first 19-0 team, a stupendous accomplishment in U.S. sports annals.
    While Berman sensibly stopped short of predicting a Giants win, he coolly suggested the Patriots can be beaten.
    Many football observers question the Patriots’ overall team speed on defense and believe the team’s aging linebacking corps can be exploited by quick-strike offenses.
    Besides, the Patriots aren’t the most impressive team that Berman has ever seen. That distinction goes to Chuck Noll’s Steelers, who won four Super Bowls in six seasons three decades ago. In a mythical battle of behemoths from different eras, Berman believes the Patriots would lose to the 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers.
    “All those Hall-of-Famers,” he mused.
    A Giant upset
    In Sunday’s match-up, Berman gives the Giants a puncher’s chance.
    “The Giants could beat them,” he told me the other day via telephone from ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. “They almost beat them the last time.”
    In the final game of the regular season on Dec. 29, the Patriots had to rally from a 28-16 deficit to defeat the Giants by a score of 38-35.
    If the Giants do pull off an improbable victory this weekend, “it would be one of the largest upsets ever,” Berman said, stressing that the Giants would have to play a near-perfect game to win.
    Then again, the sports world is littered with unlikely champions, with Davids beating Goliaths. In a game befitting a “Hoosiers” scenario, Villanova made seemingly every outside shot to thwart Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown in the 1985 NCAA men’s basketball final.
    Don’t forget that the Pats’ dynasty got its start when the team upset the heavily favored St. Louis Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl, establishing Tom Brady as one of the sport’s all-time clutch quarterbacks.
    “The ball that [Adam] Vinatieri kicked to win the game landed six feet away from where I was sitting!” Berman exclaimed in his trademark emotional delivery.
    The Patriots went on to defeat the Carolina Panthers in the 2004 Super Bowl and the Philadelphia Eagles a year later. In all three triumphs, the Pats’ margin of victory has been 3 points.
    By now, Berman has been around sports long enough to expect the unexpected.
    At age 24, he joined ESPN in October 1979, only one month after the sports network’s inception. He has been voted the National Sportscaster of the Year six times.
    He’s also a delight to interview, as he clearly loves his job and cares about the viewers of ESPN, a unit of Walt Disney Co. The Brown University graduate is best known for such trademark expressions as “Boom!” (His nickname, naturally, is “Boomer.”)

  9. grim says:

    From the AP:

    BNP 4Q Net Profit May Sink 42 Pct

    French bank BNP Paribas SA on Wednesday estimated fourth-quarter net profit plunged 42 percent.

    France’s largest bank by market value pointed to a “deepening crisis” in the market during the second half of the year and said it had issued an early performance statement because of an exceptional level of concern about the subprime mortgage crisis that is disrupting the markets.

  10. Cindy says:

    What a freakin mess.

    The only upside is that an entire generation is finding out first hand -a house can lose value. And maybe, just maybe their conservative friends and family (with great credit ratings and some money in the bank) aren’t the complete idiots they thought they were just a few months ago.

  11. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Xanadu only one-third rented, but builder says more want in

    With only 10 months left before its planned opening, the sprawling Meadowlands Xanadu retail-entertainment complex has signed up tenants for about one-third of its space, according to a report released by the developer yesterday.

    No significant progress has been made since July in getting new tenants to sign leases, according to the report, but the builders said signed leases or “serious negotiations” were under way for 95 percent of the space in the $2 billion complex.

    On opening day in November, “you’ll just see the most spectacular retail and entertainment center in North America,” said Xanadu spokesman Richard Edmond. “Expect the most, expect something like you’ve never seen before.”

    Despite the builder’s optimism, the risk of a recession and retailers — such as Comp USA, Macy’s and Talbots — closing stores means it won’t be easy to fill that space, said Howard Davidowitz, a national retail consultant.

    “With the crisis in financing, the fact that we have a broken financial system, people are not able to get the financing they thought they were going to be able to get,” Davidowitz said. With less than a year until Xanadu’s opening day, he added, “it’s pretty scary.”

  12. Essex says:

    Cindy….feelin vindicated this morning.
    The train wreck is fascinating….let’s hope your income stream continues, because that is the great equalizer. You can be as ‘conservative’ as you like, but lose a job and you are toast just like your overextended pals.

  13. BC Bob says:

    “And maybe, just maybe their conservative friends and family (with great credit ratings and some money in the bank) aren’t the complete idiots they thought they were just a few months ago.”

    Cindy,

    Cash is king. If you have cash you’re a smash.

  14. grim says:

    Interesting discussion on stimulus with Zandi from Moody’s. Just who benefits from the stimulus package?

    Food stamps offer best stimulus – study

    The industry research firm Moody’s Economy.com tracked the potential impact of each stimulus dollar, looking at tax rebates, tax incentives for business, food stamps and expanding unemployment benefits.

    The report found that “some provide a lot of bang for the buck to the economy. Others … don’t,” said economist Mark Zandi.

    In findings echoed by other economists and studies, he said the study shows the fastest way to infuse money into the economy is through expanding the food-stamp program. For every dollar spent on that program $1.73 is generated throughout the economy, he said.

    The report pointed to expanding unemployment benefits as the program that gets the next biggest bang for the buck. That’s because, although the unemployed are already getting checks, they need to spend the money. For every dollar spent here, the economy would see a return of $1.64, Zandi said.

    Finally, Moody’s report says business incentives such as tax breaks for buying new equipment – so-called accelerated depreciation – would give the least bang for the buck and potentially provide the slowest infusion of money. A dollar spent there would generate only 33 cents in the economy because, Zandi said, it takes longer for businesses to implement any benefit received.

  15. BC Bob says:

    “but lose a job and you are toast just like your overextended pals.”

    Essex,

    Depending on one’s situation.

  16. Essex says:

    Cash is king BC…..no doubt about that….bit so is ‘cash flow’……;-)

  17. thatBIGwindow says:

    #11: Everytime I pass Xanadu I say “just in time for a recession”

    Has anyone seen Xanadu lately? It is an obnoxious eyesore with the multi-colored panels decorating the outside. Completely clashes against the landscape of the meadowlands. And that ski ramp you can see from Clifton. What a mess. I will be happy if it never opens and ends up simply being a reminder of our excess and dominance over nature.

    When it does open, I vow to never set foot inside.

  18. grim says:

    Depending on one’s situation.

    Precisely the reason I keep a go-to-hell fund.

  19. Willow says:

    #24
    “Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan sees at least a 50% chance of a U.S. recession”

    So, according to Greenspan, there is also a 50% chance of not having a recession. This prediction means that whatever happens, he’s correct.

  20. Essex says:

    Ah…the fabled ‘go to hell fund’…that is the true independence — but have one you either are very, very budgeted….or you make enough money to squirrel at least 10-15% away a year for — 10 or so years….either way….not something most people are able to do….

  21. Painhrtz says:

    TBW it will be hard for me to stay out of Cabelas, but I agree it is ugly. When I saw those panels on the Ski slope going to the airport, the first thought that popped into my head was “who is their designer Austin Powers!”

  22. Essex says:

    I see myself as emerging from the ‘Start-up’ phase of life next year….in that period we 1. Bought a home….2. Had a child….3. Did two new cars over 5 years….and funded a full time nanny and prestigious private pre-school….also did major renovations each year to the home…WHEW!

    Now on to Phase II which should include 5 years of public school….the chance to save more…less renovations….no new cars….if only the stock market would cooperate!

  23. Cindy says:

    (12) Essex (13) BC

    “Feeling vindicated this morning.”

    Far from it. Feeling angry – at myself – for having my head in the sand for so long. The more I learn the less I know.
    But I realize that many of the posters here have “done the right thing” for years now and were probably chastised for it.

    I’m hoping kids still have to go to school but my pension..well that doesn’t look so good. I have worked for peanuts for years so the “great credit rating” part is all I had going for myself and given that we have such “a freakin mess” – even that could be up for grabs. Declining enrollment at my school is real. No new students filling those new homes is real. No, not feeling vindicated in the least – feeling a bit sad actually.

  24. BC Bob says:

    [1],

    The dead heads are in emergency/panic mode, while claiming to be vigilant on inflation and at the same time debasing our currency. The great pretenders.

    The fed is trying to fight the markets, inflation vs deflation. Sure they can cause short term disruptions. However, the market always wins. They are just pissing in the wind. Dropping your shorts does not solve capital problems. If a homeowner is underwater 100K, does it really make any difference to them if rates are at 4% or 10%? It’s a solvency problem not a rate problem. The hustlers understand this. They are just singing a different tune to you.

    Abolish the fed, let the market set the rates. The fed only serves one purpose, to create bubbles and busts. At the same time we abolish the fed can we back our worthless paper with something, anything, tangible?

  25. BC Bob says:

    “Precisely the reason I keep a go-to-hell fund.”

    I call it the anti-investment fund.

  26. Little Birdie says:

    I’ve heard that people are expecting UBS bonuses will be 0-30% of what they were last year.

  27. Frank says:

    Just walk away from your house.

    http://www.youwalkaway.com/index.html

  28. Shore Guy says:

    #3 ““My gut feeling is they need to make added rate cuts,” he said. “Lower payments make buyers more comfortable.””

    Being solvent is even more important than getting a low rate. Too many want-to-be buyers are not solvent and thus, regardless of how low rates drop, cannot buy.

  29. Shore Guy says:

    # 7 With respect to homebuilder bankruptcies, does it strike anyone else that these companies must have been really badly mismanaged? I understand that housing has declined and times are tougher but, how in the world does one run a company so that any little hicup in sales sends the company into a tailspin and crash? I can see how sales numbers will plument and income my trend lower with lower sales but to become insolvent? What the heck.

  30. Confused In NJ says:

    My “Go To Hell Fund” is actually a “Keep The Kids Afloat Fund”. We’ll see how deep the well needed to be, as the slow motion train wreck unfolds. This Government has exceeded even my wildest Pessimism, inherited from Depression ERA parents. Hoover et.al., were Piker’s, compared to the current crowd. Wall Street would eat the Robber Barons shorts.

  31. Cindy says:

    I live in the San Joaquin Valley. You all saw that 60 minutes piece. Things are really ugly here. All I wanted was to be able to live in my house. I never saw it as “an investment” just my home. But I thought I would have some income to pay for utilities, food, and taxes.

    Scary stuff…I keep watching the dollar decline. I have $30,000 403(b) just sitting there probably worth $10.00 in purchasing power by the time I retire. No…just feeling like a helpless, uneducated fool today.

  32. njrebear says:

    For whatever it’s worth –

    U.S. ADP suggests 150,000 jobs created in Jan.

  33. Al says:

    How about this – Once rates are cut to 3% goverment is officially in negative lending – official inflation is at what right now – about 3.1%??

    So goverment is giving their bankers friends money for free. Bu who is going to pay for it??? Taxpayers and future generations.

    Anyways I am an immigrant who came here truly believing that at least some fairness and integrity exists here with respect to thirld world countries.

    What I see is mpore of the same.

    So I have a question – why are you. Americans not ont he streets shooting and rebelling???

    I asked my wife and all her realtives that and I got – well I will not make any difference.

    You know what – Mexican immigrants are a lot more organized and involved then americans – they all walked on the streets and showed their powers – they care!!!

    I think american born people should be embarrassed as $hit of themselves.

  34. mark says:

    i agree as the economy implodes, most americans are asking : superbowl.

    we are fools.

  35. BC Bob says:

    UBS, I mean SUB [1],

    I’m hearing that a good chunk of those losses were Alt-A and CMBS.

  36. Al says:

    Broke homeowners linked to arsons

    Authorities in economically stressed cities see an increase in torched houses. Is the nation’s mortgage mess transforming more Americans into criminals?

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Insurance/InsureYourHome/BrokeHomeownersTurnToArson.aspx

    Two millions burning houses will take care oh housing glut :)

  37. Shore Guy says:

    # 19 “So, according to Greenspan, there is also a 50% chance of not having a recession. This prediction means that whatever happens, he’s correct.”

    I make my living largely by parsing language and identifying meaning beyond the “apparent meaning” of what various people say. Looking at Greenspan’s comment, I am not so sure that he is saying wea are NOT in a recession right now. I wish I could ask him a follow-up question or two.

    Greenspan said “but up to now there are few signs that we are already in one”; look at this carefully. I think there is a good chance the cagy b@##%#$@&d was using his obfuscating fedspeak to say we have entered a recession. “Up to now” may very well mean “Up until the recent days” or “before now.” I suspect that at some point he will look back and say, “well back when I said ‘until now’ and by that I meant that we had entered a recession.”

    Anyway, it is just a thought that comes from too much talking to people in the Administration and on the Hill.

  38. Shore Guy says:

    # 37 in moderation, Grim.

  39. Kelly says:

    Grim #14 –

    But from by own independent study of the past 2 minutes – the tax breaks for business is the best way stimulate a politician’s pockets. ;)

  40. Confused In NJ says:

    33. A phrase was coined years ago, “The Silent Majority”. They were people whose daily lives revolved around raising families and making a living, while the aberant and deviant members of society dedicated time to rising to positions of power to further their causes. The aberants and deviants quietly infiltrated government, business, church, education, etc. to promote their causes. By the time the silent majority found their voice it was too late. The Governments answer to adverse opinion is WACO.

  41. Willow says:

    Has anyone ever converted an oil burner to gas? We called PSE&G but they won’t touch the oil burner/tank. We would have to have everything removed first before they would come in.

    We were going to put in a new oil boiler since we have a practically new tank but with the way oil prices are going we thought we would see about gas. We paid $3.30/gallon on our last delivery.

  42. John says:

    I have a feeling it is 50bps today, no ppt calls today which happens in days we expect wild market swings. No wild swings if you give them what they want. Enjoy.

    The good news of the rate cuts is for us folks with under 100K mortgages which most banks won’t refinance is there are tons of home equity lines of credit deals with no cost at 50bps below prime. After today the under 100K mortgage crowd can borrow dirt cheap free and pay off the over 6% mortgages.

  43. njcoast says:

    #41 Willow

    I converted to natural gas after my homeowners insurance company cancelled my policy two weeks after I bought my house in 2004 because of the underground tank. It cost me $3500 to yank out the tank and convert the oilburner to gas.

  44. Cindy says:

    Headline in the Fresno Bee this AM..

    “Foreclosure rates up across U.S.”

    “In December, Fresno County was 14th in the nation with 1,451 filings, or one per every 202 households.”

    “Stockton was #2 and Las Vegas had the dubious distriction of having the greatest foreclosure rate in the nation with one filing for every 70 households, according to RealtyTrac, which monitors defaults.”

    “For 2007, the number of filings in Fresno County was up 228% over 2006.”

  45. John says:

    Of course they are talking superbowl, if the Giants win stock market is up for year, if Patriots win it is down for the year and anti american Tom Brady’s g-friend will make even more money on her bets against the US dollar.

  46. Painhrtz says:

    Willow if you have a forced air system in your house you can always go Geothermal. The conversion will be a little more pricey but will pay for itself in the long run. It all depends on how long you would like to stay in your home.

  47. John says:

    All this talk of refinancing is funny to me, I never traded up and still live in a blue collar neighborhood. No one has stocks, they are all cops, firemen, teachers, nurses so they are all unionized and can’t get laid off and they all bought their little pos capes and splits in the 80s and 90s for 180K to 250K and have almost no mortgage. No one in my town ever talks about this stuff as no one cares. There are a lot of this silent unionized non leveraged types who don’t particpate in the RE or Stock market or even read a newspaper or watch the news for that matter. Of course they care more about the superbowl, none of this other stuff matters to them.

  48. Kelly says:

    Hi,

    Can someone look up the history of MLS 2308152 for me. The county records show a transfer of $1 – different names and addresses. Also does anyone know what the type CAN means? There are no documents available and usually mortgage closing are labeled DIS in Morris County.

  49. Willow says:

    #43
    njcoast,

    Was that your total cost? We have a tank in the basement so it wouldn’t be as bad as digging one up. Will a regular plumber do it?

  50. Willow says:

    #46

    We have hot water so that won’t work. We would love to put in central air but we don’t have the vents and it would be about $10,000 which is way too much for us right now.

  51. Kelly says:

    Ignore the CAN request — I found out it means to Cancel the Mortgage – Usually listed as DIS – Discharge the Mortgage.

    Thanks

  52. thatBIGwindow says:

    nothing wrong with window air conditioners. That way, you dont have to cool the rooms you are not using.

  53. Confused In NJ says:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The economy nearly stalled in the fourth quarter with a growth rate of just 0.6 percent, capping its worst year since 2002.

  54. Al says:

    John Says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 8:54 am
    All this talk of refinancing is funny to me, I never traded up and still live in a blue collar neighborhood. No one has stocks, they are all cops, firemen, teachers, nurses so they are all unionized and can’t get laid off and they all bought their little pos capes and splits in the 80s and 90s for 180K to 250K and have almost no mortgage. No one in my town ever talks about this stuff as no one cares. There are a lot of this silent unionized non leveraged types who don’t particpate in the RE or Stock market or even read a newspaper or watch the news for that matter. Of course they care more about the superbowl, none of this other stuff matters to them.

    It will matter to them once their quality of life will disappear.. But it will be too late to complain then.

  55. Willow says:

    #52

    Yes, we bought a new high efficiency window unit this past summer which cools our entire first floor.

  56. grim says:

    Has anyone ever converted an oil burner to gas? We called PSE&G but they won’t touch the oil burner/tank. We would have to have everything removed first before they would come in.

    My neighbor converted this past year, total cost including tank removal and rerunning gas lines in the basement was approximately $5,000. House is a two family, but only a single boiler.

  57. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Merrill to Exit CDO, Structured Credit Businesses, Thain Says

    Merrill Lynch & Co., the world’s largest brokerage, will no longer underwrite collateralized debt obligations or other structured credit products, new Chief Executive Officer John Thain said.

  58. njpatient says:

    “UBS AG, Europe’s largest bank by assets, reported a record loss after about $14 billion of writedowns”

    That CAN’T be true!!!! bi said there’d be no more writedowns!

  59. Willow says:

    #56
    Grim,

    Thanks for that info. We already have the gas lines because the gas water heater is right next to the boiler. It would cost about $5,000 just to replace the oil boiler so if it’s around that price we could swing it.

  60. Shore Guy says:

    # 42 “After today the under 100K mortgage crowd can borrow dirt cheap free and pay off the over 6% mortgages.”

    It almost makes me wish I had a mortgage.

    # 50 With respect to the Geothermal and hot water heat, is there no way to combine them? Where the geothermal brings the water to about 50 degrees and then use electric or gas to raise the water the rest of the way?

  61. grim says:

    Willow,

    Neighbor also says that she really hasn’t seen a big cost savings. But she also says the move wasn’t motivated by savings, moreso the desire to eliminate the worry/hassle and to make the house more desirable when she sells..

  62. Sean says:

    re( 33)

    Al,

    regading –> “So I have a question – why are you. Americans not on the streets shooting and rebelling???

    As proud Americans we have American Idol and Dancing with the Stars to entertain us. We also have Domino’s pizza who delivers a cheese filled garlic flavored pizza in less than 30 minutes, and more imporantly we drink imported French wine called “Fat Bastard” by the truck load.

    What more could we ask for?

    We Americans are but lambs to be shorn. We act like lambs at home and lion’s around the rest of the World.

    This trend of monetary inflating in all probability will lead to all of us being shorn like the lambs that we are, and the Lion in us will eventually give way to the dove.

  63. Shore Guy says:

    # 50

    As for AC, what about some of those newer high velocity systems that do not require the large ducts?

  64. Shore Guy says:

    # 62,

    Don’t forgett checks, paid for by borrowing from the communists in china, that will soon be raining down on so many over-saving Americans in an attempt to get them to finally go out and buy things.

  65. 3b says:

    #25 BC Bob: Not to be crude, but I call it the Bite Me Fund.

  66. grim says:

    As for AC, what about some of those newer high velocity systems that do not require the large ducts?

    These systems seem to be more expensive than traditional ducted systems, but are often the only choice for certain types of structures (historic, etc).

    I don’t understand why more people don’t go with a remote mini-split (ductless) system as an intermediate choice. The new systems allow the compressor to be mounted far away from the wall-mount unit. Mounted on a foundation and obscured by landscaping, these units are much less of an eye sore than window-mount units. Significantly less expensive than either the ducted or high velocity units if you don’t have a need for whole-house ac, although if you need to cool an entire home, a more traditional ducted system would be more appropriate.

    http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm/mytopic=12630

    http://www.mrslim.com/Products/Category.asp?ProductCategoryID=24

  67. 3b says:

    #58 njpatient: But this time he is really, really sure that the really realy worst is over, and that there will really really be no more write downs….. at least for this week.

  68. Shore Guy says:

    Two things that may have an effect on the markets today and, thus, RE:

    1)DENVER (AP) – Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters’ sympathies but never diverted his campaign, The Associated Press has learned.
    The two-time White House candidate notified a close circle of senior advisers that he planned to make the announcement at a 1 p.m. EST event in New Orleans that had been billed as a speech on poverty, according to two of his advisers. The decision came after Edwards lost the four states to hold nominating contests so far to rivals who stole the spotlight from the beginning—Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

    The former North Carolina senator will not immediately endorse either candidate in what is now a two-person race for the Democratic nomination, said one adviser, who spoke on a condition of anonymity in advance of the announcement.

    2) Since the Fed wants to get the markets trending upward and Wall Street has already factored-in a .5% cut in the FFR, I wonder if we will not see a .75% cut just to send the markets rocketing. ANy thoughts from those of you who follow the Street more closely than I?

  69. 3b says:

    #57grim: There will be of course be layoffs there aftet that move.

    On another note BOA is raadically restructuring their investment banking division. The ax is falling heavily today in their Chicago and St. Louis operations.

    I would imagine that their NYC operations will see some of this as well.

  70. Painhrtz says:

    # 60 SG Actually most geothermal systems use a supplemental system to heat water in the winter which is why you dont see greater savings. Although, if you combine it with solar energy for electric and hot water the system becomes vastly more efficient. Plus with the incentive programs the state is offering on both technolgies, it is almost a bargain to do the total conversion. Whenever the wife and I find a house we like, the plan to go this route. She has bad alergies and the air quality in a geothermal regulated environment is exceptional. The downside my basement will probably look like a 10 story building utility room, but I was not planning on having a home entertainment man room anyway.

  71. 3b says:

    #47 John: I knwo the type, and many of them are HELOCEd up to theri eyebrows, cops and former cops driving BMX’s and Lexus’s and bif mega additions,anda hosue “down da shore.”

    They are going to feel it too;they just don’t know it yet.

  72. ithink-ithink says:

    http://c-n.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080130/NEWS/801300367

    Foreclosure upswing spares Central Jersey

    By LAURIE LEVOY
    STAFF WRITER

    As it’s always been in real estate, location, location, location can make or break a deal, even in the current housing marketplace where the “f” word — foreclosure — is high on the national consciousness.

    New Jersey’s prime location, situated in the metropolitan triangle of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, seems to be providing some housing protection for both homeowners and Realtors.

    While figures just tallied by RealtyTrac Inc. of Irvine, Calif., report the number of United States homes slip-sliding into any of the stages of foreclosure was 79 percent higher in 2007 than in 2006, an informal canvass of several Central Jersey Realtors indicates most have not experienced the same free fall as Realtors in Florida, California, Michigan and Nevada have — where the highest foreclosure rates have been posted.

    “Sometimes I want to pull my hair out when I read all the talk about foreclosures,” said Peter Cagnassola, a top-selling agent at The Hills Realty in Bedminster with almost 25 years in the field who last year closed on about 100 sales.

    Cagnassola said in the past few months he completed one foreclosure and is “in the middle of another one.”

    One top 10 list New Jersey did not make was of states reporting the largest number of foreclosures: Colorado, Ohio, Georgia, Arizona, Illinois and Indiana joined Florida, California, Michigan and Nevada.
    (snip -grim)

    I wouldn’t be feeling to safe just yet. Read this report by PMI Mortgage Insurance Co.

    http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/63/63356/Winter_2008_ERET.pdf

    According to this, the Edison Metropolitan Statistical Area, which consists of Middlesex, Somerset, Monmouth and Ocean Counties, was among those that experienced that largest jump in risk of declining prices, and is in the 3rd risk tier, just under the worst areas of FL, CA and Las Vegas.

    As an almost 25 year old that has yet to buy a home, I welcome these declines, as the current prices are ridiculous at best and outright insane at worst. Something needs to change. This entire market was fueled by people buying homes that no business doing so in the first place.
    Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:38 am

  73. ithink-ithink says:

    #72 in moderation

  74. Willow says:

    #61

    Grim,

    Our boiler is 55 years old so I would hope we would see some savings. Last month we got a $400 bill when we’ve been keeping the heat at 58 degrees.

  75. 3b says:

    #37 shore; That is exactly how I read the “up until now comment”.

    Seems to me he is saying we wer not seeing any signs of recession, until now. So if we are seeing them now than there is a good chance we are going into a recession. Its typical Greenspanspeak.

    By the way John Mc Cain is a huge Greenspan fan.

    He was interviwed about a week ago, and the question of course was regarding the economy

    He said, and I am somewhat paraphrasing, but basically quoting word for word. He said:

    Economics is nto really his thing, he has never really gotten his hands around the subject (direct quote), but he did buy Greenspan’s new book.

  76. hughesrep says:

    #29 With respect to homebuilder bankruptcies, does it strike anyone else that these companies must have been really badly mismanaged

    I deal with these guys every day. I’ve seen a lot of boats named “First Draw”. They tend to be very short sighted, follow the herd types.

  77. Pat says:

    for shore 7, you probably already check this list, right?
    http://securities.stanford.edu/index.html

  78. 3b says:

    #33 Al; Because the attitude of most Americans is we are the best, and everybody should be like us.

  79. John says:

    Word of the Day

    Overreaction

    A market hypothesis stating that investors and traders react disproportionately to new information about a given security. This will cause the security’s price to change dramatically, so that the price will not fully reflect the security’s true value immediately following the event. Typically, the price swing from overreaction is not long lasting, as the stock price will tend to return back to its true value over time.

    The overreaction hypothesis is not consistent with the efficient market hypothesis.

    For example, suppose that company XYZ releases its annual operating results, which beat analyst expectations by a mere penny per share, which is generally not a big deal. However, given the news, traders and investors subsequently bid the stock up to unprecedented highs. After a couple of days of trading, the stock then falls down to a price just above its price before the earnings release, which represents the stock’s current intrinsic value.

  80. hughesrep says:

    Willow

    Converting to gas if you have the gas lines run should be a snap if the gas lines are sized to handle the increased gas load. Basically it is just the cost of installing the boiler and removing the old tank.

    Depending upon the efficiency of the new boiler some new vent work will be required as well. Often that can add up pretty quickly, especially on the very high efficiency type boilers.

  81. John says:

    WM at Citi Conference — On Tues (1/29), WM CEO Kerry Killinger gave an overview
    of the current operating environment and WM’s positioning. In short, times are
    tough, but WM has adjusted (raised capital, reduced risk, and lowered expenses) to
    the market realities.
     Tough Market, But Some Positives — Home price appreciation should be negative
    through ‘08, driven by still high housing inventory, likely leading to continued high
    delinquencies and NCOs. But, with Fed rate cuts and the likely passage of the
    economic stimulus package, there are positive trends: namely a possible refi miniboom
    and delayed recasting of option ARMs.
     Strategic Actions/Adjustments — WM has: 1) boosted TCE to 6.7%; 2) cut its
    dividend by 73%; 3) downsized its Home Loans biz; 4) cut costs; 5) managed
    liquidity; and 6) limited asset growth. Additionally, WM has no LBO obligation
    exposure, no asset-backed commercial paper exposure, and no CDO exposure.
     Reiterated Problem Loans — But, management remains focused on a sizeable
    portfolio of problem loans, including: 1) $19 billion of subprime; 2) $15 billlion of
    home equity seconds originated in 2005-07; and 3) $2 billion of option ARMs also
    originated in 2005-07.
     Possible Stress Scenarios — Although not endorsing any particular analysis, the
    CEO pointed out variations of S&P stress scenarios that ranged from a $6.4 billion
    loss on WM’s portfolio (3.4%) to a 25% stress scenario with a $8.0 billion loss
    (4.3%) and a 50% stress scenario $9.6 billion loss (5.1%).

  82. John says:

    BTW WHAT YEARS TAX INCOME IS CONSIDERED TO DETERMINE IF YOU GET A Check this spring?

    Is it 2006 or 2007?

  83. mark says:

    the clock is ticking for hov.

    very sad. default on the horizon.

  84. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Centex’s shares fall after charges drive loss

    Shares of Centex Corp. lost as much as 12% Wednesday morning after the home builder reported its fiscal third-quarter loss widened to $975.2 million as the company was hurt by the housing bust and impairment and tax-related charges. “The company has followed in the footsteps of other home builders that have already reported earnings for the current quarter by impairing seemingly as much inventory as possible and taking an accounting adjustment charge on its taxes,” said David Urani, analyst at research firm Wall Street Strategies. “Similar to the other builders, Centex looks to have cleared its books as much as possible, in an effort to start 2008 on a new page.”

  85. Jill says:

    Re: heating systems. I replaced my oil burner 4 years ago (tank is in basement). My house is drafty (intending to bring in an insulation contractor this spring) and has ducted forced-air. When we have to replace it, I’d love to look into geothermal. Anyone know how involved that would be, given my infrastructure?

  86. Frank says:

    Foreclosures are starting to hit Hoboken, is it a sign of things to come??

    http://www.realtytrac.com/MapSearch/MapSearch/MapSearch.aspx?txtZip=07030

  87. BC Bob says:

    “Foreclosures are starting to hit Hoboken, is it a sign of things to come??”

    Frank,

    Your neighbor’s open house is probably a better indicator.

  88. bubbles says:

    86 ,,,,of course ,,was just a mater of time ….more to come ….!!!

    In JC many buildings stopped construction ..looks like skelatons.

  89. Kirby says:

    Willow,

    I purchased a 2 family in West Orange ~4 years ago. It had underground oil tanks which I got inspectioned before I closed and they were deamed to be leaking. The previous owner had tank insurance and had the underground tanks removed with 2 new oil tanks installed in the basement. The property also has 2 existing gas lines for the dryers and stoves. Recently I got estimates from 3 different contracters for replacing the boilers with either oil or gas. This is what I found in comparing gas to oil:

    – CON: All 3 contracters came in around ~11.5K for 2 new oil boilers or ~15K for 2 new gas boilers with hot water heaters.

    – CON: Gas boilers require chimney linings because they burn at a lower temperature

    – CON: Going gas would mean my ~4yr old oil tanks would need to be removed which would cost an additional ~$1500

    – CON: Gas prices have become just as volitale as oil prices in the recent past

    – PRO: Gas is cleaner and less maintenance is required and gas is “on-demand” where oil is bought in bulk.

    – PRO: A massive gas platform is slated to be built on the Hudson river in the next few years which will serve millions of customers in NY/NJ

    – CON: There was no tax incentive to switch to gas…and the tax rebate for upgrading the furnaces only applies to forced hot air and not steam. The only tax benefit I get is because it’s a 2 family.

    So, in the end I stuck with oil. If I had underground tanks I would have converted to gas but since my tanks are just 4 years old, and it was considerably more expensive to go with gas, and I’m not expecting to get a return on my investment before I sell the property, I stuck with oil.

    Hope this helps…

  90. grim says:

    From the NY Times:

    Message from UBS: It’s Not Just Subprime

    You might think that investors and analysts would be used to hearing about 11-digit write-downs by now. Maybe even jaded. So why was Wednesday’s UBS announcement — or, as the bank called it, a pre-announcement — about $14 billion in losses such a shock? “I had assumed additional losses, but not of this magnitude,” an analyst told The New York Times. Shares of UBS were down 2.8 in early trading in New York.

    For one thing, UBS said in December it anticipated about $10 billion in write-downs from securities linked to U.S. subprime mortgages, which are loan to homeowners with weak credit histories or other risky factors. At $14 billion, the new number from UBS is 40 percent higher than that. But perhaps more importantly, UBS only blamed $12 billion of the write-downs on subprime.

    About $2 billion in write-downs, UBS said Wednesday, are from “other positions related to the U.S. residential mortgage market.” What does that mean? Even the less-risky parts of the U.S. home-mortgage market are running into trouble.

  91. kettle1 says:

    Jill 85

    Re geothermal

    Geothermal has several options. The first is how do you source it. The system will either be “open loop” or “closed loop”. Open loop means that water from the ground moves through your system in a once though manner, you pull water out of the ground take heat from it and then pump it back into the ground. Closed loop means that you have a sealed loop filled with a heat transfer fluid that circulates from your house into the ground and backing order to transfer the heat into your home. Almost all systems use closed loop systems for a number of reasons. For most people it is safe to assume that you will want and need to use a closed loop system. Note that geothermal can also be used for cooling.

    The next option is horizontal loop, vertical loop or pond sourced, that is what geometry does your system use to take heat from the ground. Vertical loops are used if you do not have much property to work with but costs more to install. Horizontal loops are cheaper to install but require more property to be available.

    horizontal ground loop
    ( a trench about 6-8 ft deep and a length determined by the heating needs of your home is dug and the geothermal tubing is placed into the trench in a “slinky” fashion)

    Vertical ground loop
    ( two wells are drilled the same way you would have a water well drilled. Then the tubing is run down each well, one well is for intake the other for output, it is also possible to use a 1 well system)

    Pond sourced
    ( very few people have this as an option. Heat exchange piping is run into a pond or lake and the pond/lake water is the heat source/sink that you are using)

    The most common setup used is a closed loop horizontal ground loop system. The loop is filled with a glycol solution and a heat exchanger is placed in your basement. Since you already have duct work you can also add air cooling capability to the system that should not cost significantly more, as all it requires is for the loop to be run in reverse during the summer and the installation of cooling coils in the ductwork in the basement.

    To pull a number out of thin air, I would guess $10K for the install of the ground loop and the equipment in your basement. This is just a starting guess as I do not know any details about your setup. There may also be several rebate programs available for such a system.

    While this system will cost more then a traditional system to install it is much more efficient $/watt of heat wise then conventional systems and if you plan on being in the house more then 10 years will even possibly make money it.

  92. kettle1 says:

    jill 85

    just incase i missed you original point,

    It is very feasible for your home, most of the work would be in the yard. The question is are you willing to pay the upfront premium that the system will carry. It will cost you less in the long run then a conventional system, but the upfront cost will be higher.

  93. syncmaster says:

    Rutgers University’s board of governors yesterday approved a controversial $102 million expansion plan for the school’s 43,000-seat stadium.

    Despite the 9-1 vote, Rutgers is still $30 million short of the $102 million needed to complete the project. The university will borrow $72 million and attempt to raise the other $30 million from private sources.

    … the vote clears the way for construction to begin as soon as next week…

    Plans for expanding the Pis cat away facility call for construction of 14,000 seats, including 968 premium club seats, and a dining club on the east side of the stadium. The south end of the stadium will be closed and a recruiting lounge, an entrance plaza from River Road and concessions and rest room facilities will be built.

    George Zoffinger, who cast the lone “no” vote, said the plan was filled with problems.

    Zoffinger said it is irresponsible to begin construction on a project without 30 percent of the money to complete it.

  94. grim says:

    Has anyone seen Xanadu lately? It is an obnoxious eyesore with the multi-colored panels decorating the outside. Completely clashes against the landscape of the meadowlands. And that ski ramp you can see from Clifton. What a mess. I will be happy if it never opens and ends up simply being a reminder of our excess and dominance over nature.

    You are kidding, right? Are those panels the final cladding?

    I was under the impression that those multi-colored panels were simply primered, awaiting final paint or coating.

  95. kettle1 says:

    sync,

    as a rutgers alum,

    i say that the plan is idiotic and they could spend that money on a long list of items that would better serve the students and school as a whole.

  96. njpatient says:

    “The Governments answer to adverse opinion is WACO.”

    References to Waco are wacko

  97. Frank says:

    #87,
    “Your neighbor’s open house is probably a better indicator.”
    BC Bob,
    What open house? What are you referring to?

  98. Kelly says:

    Here is a good comp killer from Dover

    Purchased Sept. 2006 – $395,000
    Mortgage $335750 Balloon ARM
    Current Pre-Foreclosure Price – $195,000

    Poor Owner lost 15% down

    Judging from the Craigslist pictures the 2006 price was a rip off. No real upgrades visible – kitchen has black stove and white DW.

    Pictures here
    http://newjersey.craigslist.org/rfs/556725714.html

    History
    Previous Owner purchased Nov, 2005 – $252,000

  99. syncmaster says:

    kettle1 – as another RU alum, I agree.

  100. HEHEHE says:

    RE 86:

    I think that first Hoboken listing is for some condo that a guy has been listing on Craigslist as a “pre-foreclosure sale”. I guess he has settled on a foreclosure sale.

  101. kettle1 says:

    kelly,

    i know tat area pretty well. I might pay 150K to live their at the absolute most!

    the 05 price of 252 was a joke and you would have to smoke an awful lot of crack to even look at the 06 number without laughing much less signing on the dotted line.

  102. Jamey says:

    Can anybody recommend a good insulation guy (or gal) who works in Bergen Co?

    Thanks!

  103. njpatient says:

    75 3b
    “Economics is nto really his thing, he has never really gotten his hands around the subject (direct quote), but he did buy Greenspan’s new book.”

    I saw video of his statement.
    Made my blood run cold.

    Dude’s been in government how long?

  104. njpatient says:

    84 grim
    “David Urani, analyst at research firm Wall Street Strategies. “Similar to the other builders, Centex looks to have cleared its books as much as possible, in an effort to start 2008 on a new page.””

    Guy sounds like bi…

  105. kettle1 says:

    104 nj patient

    but but but hew was a POW!!!!!

  106. grim says:

    New venture?

    SueYourRealEstateAgent.com?

  107. njpatient says:

    “You are kidding, right? Are those panels the final cladding?

    I was under the impression that those multi-colored panels were simply primered, awaiting final paint or coating.”

    actually, they had planned to contract with the Mets to buy the old panels from Shea Stadium and were shocked to find that those had been disposed of. It was quite costly to have them replicated.

  108. njpatient says:

    Sshhhhhh – don’t tell bi:

    “Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co., UBS AG and other banks may be forced to post up to $70 billion in writedowns should bond insurers lose their top credit ratings, according to Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Meredith Whitney.”

  109. BC Bob says:

    Frank [98],

    Frank Says:
    January 27th, 2008 at 2:01 pm
    “NJ housing market is on fire!!!! people are waiting in line to see my neighbors house, I smell a bidding war, just like the good old days. Boooooooya!!!!!!”

    Different Frank?

  110. Kelly says:

    kettle1 –

    I was thinking the Dover property may be some sort of scam – I can’t see a Realtor or Lawyer allowing the 2006 purchase price – after looking at the 2005 price and the condition of the property.

    The purchaser has a Balloon ARM – credit is probably horrible – give the buyer $5k to sign some papers and make $80K after cashing the check from the bank.

  111. kettle1 says:

    a fun little tidbit for people.

    if you calculate consumer CPI (a measure of inflation) using the 1980 criteria you get a number of about 12% using the current FED method you get a number of about 4%. look at the cost of your groceries lately and let me know which one you believe…

  112. scribe says:

    Frank, #27, on the “you walk away” Web site.

    Wow.

  113. kettle1 says:

    Oh, and M3 is running at about 15.5% as opposed to about 12% this time last year. have a nice day and remember the FED has inflation under control!

  114. 3b says:

    #104 njpatient: He has been in government since the early 80’s.

    Perhaps it is too much for me to ask, but I do expect a candidate for President of the U.S.A., to be smarter,and know more than I do.

    Mr. Mc Cain you are 72 years old, and have been a U.S, Senator from Arizona for years, when do you think you might get you hands around the subject?

    Or can we say at least his candor is refresehing?

  115. Frank says:

    #110,
    It’s the same Frank but referring to Hoboken market which is still on fire and distressed suburban market which is on fire as well.
    So all you bears out there, keep hibernating!!

  116. Sean says:

    RE: McCain

    Whenever I see him speak he looks as if his trigger finger is itchy, and dammit if he can’t be an Admiral then he will just have to be President.

    My fear is he has a Napoleon complex and will want to invade the rest of the world if elected. He is short enough at 5 ft 7 and apparently has had a few Josaphines over the last 30 years.

    If the guy can’t even grasp basic finance then why would anyone want him running the store?

  117. thatBIGwindow says:

    I won’t vote for any republican because they are part of the corporate machine, man

    Menendez for prez!

  118. thatBIGwindow says:

    VIVA NJEA!

  119. BC Bob says:

    “So all you bears out there, keep hibernating!!”

    Frank,

    Actually on the prowl.

  120. bi says:

    83#, if the share price has any prediction power, HOV will be fine. it has been up over 100% since Jan. 9 low of $4.25 a share

  121. 3b says:

    #117 Sean:If the guy can’t even grasp basic finance then why would anyone want him running the store?

    So true. But although its still early, there is a very good possibility he will be the Rep nominee for President.

  122. Confused In NJ says:

    97.njpatient

    Depends on which end of the gun you were on.

  123. njpatient says:

    115 3b
    “Or can we say at least his candor is refresehing?”

    We don’t need to. The mainstream media remind us of the refreshingness of his candor every 12.8 seconds.

  124. Sean says:

    re: you walk away dot com

    They are information brokers selling a kit for perhaps 3 payments of $29.99 to the sheeple.

    We should start seeing informercials any day now advertising this kind of info service.

    Think Carlton Sheets or Tom Woo in reverse.

  125. 3b says:

    #116 Hoboken on fire? I do not know, but that Condo building sitting in the middle of the NJ transit rail yards in Hoboken, looks to me to be almost empty.

  126. njpatient says:

    ” if the share price has any prediction power”

    *SNORT*

  127. Homer says:

    Ok now I see why its taking a while for prices to drop. How far are they going to go down on interest rates before they realize its not about interest rate, its about affordability.
    I mean do we have to get down to a 1/2 percent before the realize this. And again this is just another band-aid on the housing problem.
    So lets say it gets down to 1% it will not stay there forever, and will cause prices to rise if people go on buying frenzies and then interest rates will go up and we will be back in this same mess again.
    The easiest way to get out of this mess is to fix the problem the right way.
    LOWER HOME PRICES to match with salaries.
    What a strange concept. Fix the problem correctly the first time.
    And as opposed to making band-aid fixes there needs to be something done to prevent any future housing bubbles.

    Last thought is sellers need to stop thinking there homes are special, if there are that special than don’t move. And realtors need to realize not everyone wants to have easy access to NYC. Yes people do but many don’t care, myself included. And most people in NJ do not make a 6 figure salary, yes there are plenty of people who do, but majority of NJ does not. Deal with it and lower your prices to a realistic price

  128. njpatient says:

    “Depends on which end of the gun you were on.”

    Not at all. Child rapists are bad enough; child rapists who shoot arresting officers are, if it is even possible to be so, less sympathetic than child-rapists who don’t shoot arresting officers.

    Find a more sympathetic hero.

  129. BC Bob says:

    “HOV will be fine. it has been up over 100% since Jan. 9 low of $4.25 a share’

    And down over 85% from its 7/05 high.

  130. njpatient says:

    “And down over 85% from its 7/05 high.”

    does that have prediction power?

  131. bi says:

    130#, agreed. the thing is we are in recovering…

  132. Pat says:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&sid=aPSScH5rRBLM&refer=home

    Subprime Lenders Get Big Accounting Break at SEC: Jonathan Weil

    Was that posted?

  133. 3b says:

    #132 bi the thing is we are in recovering.

    If you say so grasshopper.

  134. BC Bob says:

    “130#, agreed. the thing is we are in recovering…”

    Recovering? There was never a bubble.

  135. Pat says:

    bi, we are in “recovering” from a kidney donation, but when we wake up groggy and anesthetized, we’re going to find out that both kidneys are gone.

  136. njpatient says:

    “130#, agreed. the thing is we are in recovering…”

    you’re logic has just gone circular.

  137. Kelly says:

    Interesting article – Jim Cramer challenges ‘laissez faire’ government

    http://www.bucknell.edu/x40027.xml

  138. Confused In NJ says:

    129.njpatient

    I doubt if the women & children killed by the FBI were guilty. Do some research.

  139. njpatient says:

    133
    pat – hadn’t seen that bit of game-rigging.

  140. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Centex says mortgage turmoil affecting home pricing

    Executives at Centex Corp. Wednesday said the builder is lowering home prices to reflect the new reality in the shaken U.S. mortgage market. The company wants to “attract the right kind of buyers, those who can afford the mortgage and the payment,” said Cathy Smith, chief financial officer, during a conference call. “Essential to selling homes is finding the right price where buyers can qualify for a mortgage. The average selling price will continue to decline … in the near term, reflecting our aggressive response to the tighter credit standards,” the CFO said. “We need to get back to pricing that is reflective of value,” said Centex Chief Executive Tim Eller during the call. “It’s also important to do that for financing reasons because right now what people can qualify for is generally a Fannie Mae, a Freddie Mac or increasingly only FHA, so it’s important to have a price that reflects the values that attract the customers that can qualify for those mortgages.”

  141. njpatient says:

    “I doubt if the women & children killed by the FBI were guilty. Do some research.”

    The child rapist murdered all those folks when he torched his compound.
    (a) do some research and (b) get a better hero.

    Your hatred of Clinton distorts your ability to remain in touch with reality.

    All this does at least remind me of the good old days when the Attorney General had at least the pretense of not being the White House’s personal lawyer.

  142. kettle1 says:

    pat 136,

    yes, it can be somewhat disconcerting when you wake up in a bathtub full of ice with the phone left next to you and a whole in your side…..

  143. Painhrtz says:

    McCain was my original choice back in 2000 before Karl Rove basically called him a traitor for being held captive in the Hanoi Hilton for 6 years. I knew then we were in trouble if shrub got elected. He is very smart, but very petty I don’t think he has the domestic leadership skills to steward us through the upcoming storm. Romney on the other hand just looks and sounds sleazy. His flip-flopping would do Kerry proud. Then again anything would be better than shrub or Hillary. For the record I’m a registered libertarian.

    Kettle, as always a well based factual response to a question. I love geothermal I think it is a great technology. Finding a reputable contractor may prove the most difficult part of sourcing the project.

  144. make money says:

    any predictions on the FED today?

    My prediction is that he gives the street a sign that the economy is picking up speed and only lowers 25 points.

    Investors don’t like it and the market tanks. Anyone short?

  145. grim says:

    My Fed predictions..

    2.75% – 10%
    3.00% – 60%
    3.25% – 30%

  146. Sean says:

    re: (122)

    3b

    If he is nominated by the Republicans he will be swifboated, Gennifer Flowered and Willie Hortoned all at the same time by the Democrats.

    McCain dated strippers back when he was living in Florida in Flight training school and cheated on his 1st wife for over a decade.

    During his 2000 campaign he was still using the term “gook” unabashed.

    I can’t see him surviving a salvo of of TV ads blasting him for his past, and his voting record isn’t too hot either.

    The only way this guy get elected is if he shows up the day before the election in November with Osama Bin Laden’s head in a box.

  147. kettle1 says:

    144 pain,

    why thank you ;)

    i think that paul and obama are the 2 candidates that will do the least harm, most benefit for this county. I am a big paul fan in general, but think that obama would be an improvement over bush. Hillary just scares me and if she gets in its time to start thinking about cashing in your chips

  148. kettle1 says:

    i would also say i dislike both parties ( they are really just one party with 2 faces). I am a fiscal conservative and a social moderate

  149. Think about it.. says:

    Fed prediction:

    2.75% – 25%
    3.00% – 75%
    3.25% – 0%

  150. Think about it.. says:

    HELOC refi + 780 fico FTW! :P

  151. njpatient says:

    150 your point is lost

  152. kettle1 says:

    so anyone want to wear a bear costume to the GTG so we all know where the group is??? :)

  153. Lively Money says:

    feds need to put the rate back to what it was because it is going to be bigger deficit for america
    http://www.spinoff.com/2008/01/30/using-onenote-in-your-work-at-home-enterprise/

  154. grim says:

    I like Obama, but I don’t particularly care for Obama’s position on gun control.

    His position on banning “semi-automatic” weapons clearly shows a lack of understanding about firearms. I also disagree with his position on banning concealed carry.

    Even worse is that he seems to have flip/flopped on his position lately.

    A bit of a disappointment.

    It is worth noting that Huckabee does have a concealed carry permit and has carried a handgun.

  155. SC says:

    Cramer sounds like a Democrat

  156. njpatient says:

    “kettle1 Says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 12:29 pm
    so anyone want to wear a bear costume to the GTG so we all know where the group is??? :)”

    I was considering wearing my old “DOW 10,000” baseball hat.

  157. Think about it.. says:

    Stock tip:
    Load up on the SIRIUS, rumor has it the merger will happen in the next couple months ala Jim Cramer. Stock is valued at $5-$6 post merger. Shorts are afraid to touch it – seems like a good sign.

    * All disclaimers apply *
    :P

  158. Shore Guy says:

    # 82 good point. 2007 income will not be known for some until April of this year.

    Unfortunately, well not reall, it doesn’t matter to us whether it is ’06 0r ’07. We won’t get one.

  159. Jamey says:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/30/the-ownership-society/

    The world needs ditch-diggers, too, Danny.

    McCain? He’s got principles — and if you don’t like the principles he’s got now, he can go and get some others.

    Show me a person who’s bought into the image of McCain as a straight talker, and I’ll show you a moron whose confused tactlessness with honesty.

  160. Clotpoll says:

    grim (4)-

    “I believe the probability of a recession is at least 50 percent, but up to now there are few signs that we are already in one,” Greenspan was quoted as saying.”

    As Don Imus used to say: pin a note to this guy’s sweater and leave him at the dog track.

  161. John says:

    I am voting for McCain cause I like his french fries and Rudy told me to do it.

    So what if he made some anti asian comments many years ago, the guy was a POW imprisioned by Asians and beaten and left handicapped by them. Now he is politically correct and he would never make that type of comment. Blasting him for that is like blasting a concentration camp survior for saying bad things about the Germans 20 years ago, give me a break.

    Nothing against Obama and Hillary but SNL will have a great 4 years with either an ex coke/pot head president or a pant suit weaking lady with a first lady named Bill! I am almost looking forward to the skits, not since Jerry Ford had they had such a great president to make fun of.

  162. bi says:

    With the endorsement from Rudy and possibly Arnold, it is almost certain that John Mccain will be GOP’s nominee for president despite of open opposition from GOP establishments such as tom delay and rush Limbaugh (Delay even called McCain “My clone” in television interview). This November election will likely be Clinton v.s. McCain even though it would be more interesting to see new kid fight in the block: Obama v.s. Romney.

    Obama is still in the run after getting boost from Kennedys and etc. but Romney has little chance to survive. However, there are few things which could save Romney in last minutes: Huckabee drop out; Dow down another 1000 points; Jeb Bush jump to front. It is very remote but not impossible if he can get nod from a fellow businessman called Bloomberg.

  163. Clotpoll says:

    grim (18)-

    “Precisely the reason I keep a go-to-hell fund.”

    I think we’re about two express stops away from hell. Final stop, oblivion.

  164. Shore Guy says:

    # 141 “company wants to “attract the right kind of buyers, those who can afford the mortgage and the payment,” ”

    Now, why on Earth would anyone want to do that — only selling to people who can afford the product? It seems a bit outside the mainstream of recent economic theory no? Heck, spending at all costs is the mantra, no? Praise the Lord and pass the $600 rebate checks. Or, as Wilma Flintstone said, “CHARGE,…………it!”

  165. Clotpoll says:

    Cindy (23)-

    I’ve been saying it here for a while: there’s nothing for anyone to be happy about in this mess. It’s not like people with savings and credit will become the new elite of the lost nation.

    It just means that their slag thru the muck might be a bit easier. Remember, the first thing gubmint will do is devalue their savings; then, they’ll be proctologically-taxed to help “stimulate” some semblence of a recovery.

    We’ve established that people who do the right thing will always lose in this society. The only thing left to be determined is how they get dispossessed.

  166. BC Bob says:

    “We need to get back to pricing that is reflective of value,” said Centex Chief Executive Tim Eller ”

    [141],

    Value, not location?

  167. Clotpoll says:

    BC (24)-

    “At the same time we abolish the fed can we back our worthless paper with something, anything, tangible?”

    Bottle caps?
    Pokemon cards?

  168. Shore Guy says:

    # 145

    A .25 cut and the markets will have a hissy fit and drop 400 or more points.

    A .5 cut and things stay essentially flat, maybe up or down 50 points.

    A .75 cut and a huge gain, whether deserved given the fundamentals.

  169. 3b says:

    #167 clot:We’ve established that people who do the right thing will always lose in this society.

    We still have to live with ourselves, and I guess that is why at least some of us will continue to at least try and do the right thing.

  170. PGC says:

    “Nothing against Obama and Hillary but SNL will have a great 4 years with either ”

    Everytime I see McCain, I think of Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction.

  171. Sean says:

    re: 163 John

    Right or wrong the Dems are going to blast him badly on TV if he gets the Republican nomination.

    McCain was using still using “gook” back during his 2000 campaign.

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/hongop.shtml

    It wasn’t 1968, 69,70,71,72 or 73 or ever 1983. It was 2000, and if you wanna be president you need to be PC especially if
    you already were a Senator for over 16 years at that point.

    He cannot escape his past on Prime Time TV, no matter how reformed he has become.

  172. bi says:

    market participants are too greedy! ben’s intention was to give you extra 25 bps cut in addition to 50 bps scheduled today. but now people are expecting another 50 or 75 bps cut. one day, ben will say enough is enough

  173. Clotpoll says:

    Al (33)-

    “So I have a question – why are you. Americans not ont he [sic] streets shooting and rebelling???”

    Hey Al…shoot me an e-mail thru Grim.

    Also, do you have any tactical military training?

  174. Shore Guy says:

    # 148 “that obama would be an improvement over bush. ”

    Ronald McDonald would be an improvement over W. (Said by lifetime R and Reagan appointee and campaign worker for GHWB.)

  175. njpatient says:

    170 Shore
    I agree with that, which is why i think 90% chance of .5

    Also enjoyed your parsing the words earlier – my take on the “up to now there are few signs that we are already in one” phrase is that Uncle Alan is pointing out that, whereas there were previously few signs that a recession had already begun, there are now more than a few signs that a recession has already begun.

  176. njpatient says:

    “one day, ben will say enough is enough”

    And on every other day…?

  177. Clotpoll says:

    Confused (40)-

    The Silent Majority has morphed into sheeple.

    Ozzie and Harriet? How about Homer and Marge?

  178. 3b says:

    #147 sean: You think perople will carre about the wife cheating thing? I have to say (not that it matters), that I did not realize he was married before. Cheating on first wife? I am surprised to hear that.

    I always considerd him to be at least honorable.

  179. njpatient says:

    “Everytime I see McCain, I think of Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction.”

    Oh, man.

  180. 3b says:

    #145 make money: I cannnot see wher he would think the economy isd picking up speed after the GDP number for the 4th quarter released today.

  181. njpatient says:

    179 3B
    he divorced his first wife, who had stuck with him through the whole ordeal, in April 1980, married his new wife in May 1980 (who was 17 years younger and RICH) and got a job with her father, who would introduce him to all the folks who would bankroll his entry into politics, including…ahem…Charles Keating.

  182. njpatient says:

    “I cannnot see wher he would think the economy isd picking up speed after the GDP number for the 4th quarter released today.”

    3b – don’t you know that things tend to pick up speed when they go downhill??

  183. Confused In NJ says:

    Interesting Martin Feldstein comment;

    The Fed incorporates wealth effects, or the impact of changes in household assets on spending, in its economic model. Americans cut spending by about 5 cents for every $1 of decline in their home values or stock portfolios, economists estimate.

  184. Jill says:

    OK, kind of a change of pace here: What effect do you folks think the housing market now should have on one’s home improvement plans? I’m 11 years in a POS cape that was in dire need of updates when we bought it, but the location (dead end street within 1.2 miles of shopping center) is awesome. In 11 years, we’ve replaced all windows but those in the basement, all 3 exterior doors, siding, roof, gutters, and updated electric to 200 amp with a huge panel. New oil burner. New driveway. One bath has new toilet, vanity, and floor. But that’s just a mere drop in the bucket. I’m looking at minor kitchen updating (refaced cabinets in progress; I’m doing that myself; new stove, countertops, floor) right now, and I’m bringing out an insulation contractor in the spring. But does it pay to sink a ton of money into cosmetic improvements at this point if I’m not planning to sell for the foreseeable future? There’s no way this house will turn into the “open floorplan high ceilinged house of the oughts”, and so far all we’ve been able to afford are structural, “heart of the house” improvements. I know I watch too many home improvement shows on HGTV with realtors saying “Buyers want this…”…but can’t I just continue my smart finances with no debt other than mortgage and just what’s necessary as we can afford it without going overboard?

  185. Shore Guy says:

    # 177

    Allan Greenspan waking up in the middle of the night to find his home in flames:

    AG: Andrea?

    Andrea Mitchell: Hummmmmm?

    AG: Andrea, I detect some signs that rapid oxidation of cellulose-based products may be close at hand?

    AM: Alan, I am trying to sleep.

    AG: With time the trend towards oxidation may spread to woven products, textiles, and other consumer goods.

    AM: Will you let me sleep!

    AG: Of course, my view of current oxidation events is somewhat obscured by smoke and toxic fumes.

    AM: Smoke?

    AG: Perhaps smoke, the true assessment of the current combustion cycle will not be clear for some time.

    AM: COMBUSTION?

    AG: Perhaps but the trend of oxidation has not been observed for sufficient time to make a clear pronouncement onthe situation.

    AM: Holy F**K ALLEN, the house is on FIRE!!! Get OUT NOW!!

    AG: Are you certain it is wise to call fire when it may simply be a smoldering event that will rectify itself?

    AM: GET OUT NOW!

    (They run out of the house, just before it collapses into a smoldering mess)

    Two days later, talking to the insurance adjuster.

    AG: As my wife can tell you, I clearly saw this event in its infantcy and raised alarm about the fire. I feel confident that had I not made such clear pronouncements on the danger that lives may have been lost.

  186. Clotpoll says:

    Shore (68)-

    Why not 75 bps? The markets are Bernanke’s masters. It’s been proved.

    When they throw a tantrum and hurl their toys out of the crib, wet nurse Benny will be there to play lickspittle.

  187. 3b says:

    #182 Nice guy. Not that I planned on voting for him, (my earlier comment on his stand on economics made that decesion very easy).

  188. lisoosh says:

    115 –
    “3b Says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 11:41 am
    #104 njpatient: He has been in government since the early 80’s.

    Perhaps it is too much for me to ask, but I do expect a candidate for President of the U.S.A., to be smarter,and know more than I do.”

    Nah – the sheeple have been trained on 8 years of George W Bush. They don’t expect intelligent, knowledgable or proficient. They want personable, a good life story, somebody just like them.

  189. njpatient says:

    185 Jill
    I don’t think an up or down market in RE is relevant to your question. If you plan to continue to live in the house, then whether you do any particular renovation should be determined by whether you’d personally enjoy the result and whether it fits in your budget.

  190. Shore Guy says:

    # 188 I do not disagree that he has been their lap dog. He should have let the markets do what the market demanded. His finger is in the dike but it will pour in eventually. Better to get the pain over with quickly and get on with life.

    Of course, Wall Street has always favored a spit shine.

  191. kettle1 says:

    clott poll 175,

    i’d do, where do i sign up???

  192. kettle1 says:

    clott poll 175,

    i do, where do i sign up???

  193. njpatient says:

    186 Shore
    you’ve got to include the bit where NBC airs a report by Mitchell about Greenspan’s prescience without noting that she’s married to him.

  194. Shore Guy says:

    Just an observation:

    Hyperbolic statements made against public order, in the era of NSA and justice Department monitoring of web sites and other internet traffic, may be fun as a way of blowing off steam but they also run the risk of being misinterpreted by some official types who would not hesitate to make one’s life uncomfortable for awhile.

  195. Shore Guy says:

    # 195 A nightly News and Dateline special investigation, no doubt.

  196. Clotpoll says:

    rep (76)

    Ha, ha!

    “I deal with these guys every day. I’ve seen a lot of boats named “First Draw”.

    People forget that at their essence, these are companies full of builders. And, builders build. Just like anyone else does when faced with a crisis, they default to doing what they do best: building.

    That’s why at the onset of every RE crisis in modern history, builders heroically ramp up building activity at precisely the time they should be downsizing and hoarding cash. Every builder thinks he’s the one who’s gonna prevail over the market by building more stuff that fewer and fewer people want to live in.

    The fact that many builders are publicly-traded companies- full of bean counters and strategists- may help some of them avert disaster, but the small and medium-sized outfits are on a one-way highway to doom.

  197. kettle1 says:

    195 shore,

    are you kidding me, I am sure clott has been on a watch list for a while and i would not be surprised if i was as well…. wait someone is at the door let me sdkhbfsiudbfuasbfals

  198. Clotpoll says:

    John (81)-

    “…$15 billlion of home equity seconds originated in 2005-07…”

    This, to me, is everything you need to know about WaMu. What’s the likely default rate on that garbage?

    I bet it’s enough to wipe them out.

  199. Confused In NJ says:

    186. makes a good case for running Greenspan as McCains V.P.

  200. mark says:

    edward throws in the towel, what a loss

  201. Shore Guy says:

    201

    McCain once made a statement about wanting Greenspan to be Fed chief for life; and, when he died, he wanted to stuff him like “Weekend at Bernies” and keep him on the job.

  202. njpatient says:

    202
    I actually dimly remember Gore saying something similar in 2000

  203. Confused In NJ says:

    BERLIN (AFP) – Former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan cast doubt on the ability of the central bank to prevent a US recession in an interview to appear on Thursday.

    Greenspan told the German weekly Die Zeit that the Fed or political policies could “probably not” keep the world’s biggest economy from sliding into recession, as financial markets widely expected the US central bank to cut its main lending rate.

  204. WickedOrange says:

    RE: 93

    George Zoffinger, who cast the lone “no” vote, said the plan was filled with problems.

    yeah, like when Schiano leaves to take over Penn State after Joe Pa retires

  205. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (95)-

    Bread and circuses.

    I’d be really impressed if Rutgers would host mock naval battles, gladiators and bear-baiting at the new, improved stadium.

    I’m also waiting for drawing-and-quartering to take its rightful place in the pantheon of American sport…although they might have to close the dining club on days when they have those events. Ewwww…

  206. Clotpoll says:

    A genteel post of mine has been inexplainably moderated.

  207. kettle1 says:

    clott

    by mock naval battles, i hope you arent suggesting using blanks when they load the cannons!!

  208. Clotpoll says:

    patient (104)-

    Who do you really want at the helm?

    -McCain: economically-clueless and admits it

    -Hillary: economically clueless megalomaniac

    -Obama: now openly talks about wealth redistribution in public speeches

  209. Clotpoll says:

    Romney: economically-astute, ultra-successful businessman who can’t be elected because half of America thinks he belongs to a cult

  210. Confused In NJ says:

    206. I’d be really impressed if Rutgers would host mock naval battles, gladiators and bear-baiting at the new, improved stadium.

    Actually Gladiatorial events could be a new way of attaining public office. We have each candidate, wearing a donkey or elephant suit, fight to the death on National TV, winner take all. No costly elections, good entertainment, walk the talk, and commercial receipts. Win Win.

  211. t c m says:

    jill – #185

    if you can afford it, why don’t you do some of the improvements – even if you don’t move – this way you can enjoy them!

    sometimes people wait until they’re ready to sell a house, and then do all these nice improvements, and then say to themselves, wow, i wish i had done this earlier.

  212. Clotpoll says:

    grim (107)-

    New venture?

    SueYourRealEstateAgent.com?

    ShootMyClient.com?

  213. Victorian says:

    Romney would have been elected if he had take credit for all the great things he has accomplished in MA. But he has to pander to Republicans who still believe in supply side economics and irresponsible “tax cuts”.

    I think he would had a better chance if he ran as a democrat.

  214. Shore Guy says:

    Clot: “I’m also waiting for drawing-and-quartering to take its rightful place in the pantheon of American sport”

    Perhaps an alternative to the RTC way of solving the mortgage mess?

  215. Shore Guy says:

    # 214

    Or, “When you signed your loan docs, were you smarter than a five year old?”

  216. Clotpoll says:

    bi (121)-

    “…if the share price has any prediction power, HOV will be fine.”

    There’s your signal to short KHOV.

    All disclaimers.

  217. John says:

    Hey does anyone know if it is 2006 or 2007 income the tax stimulas check is based on?

  218. 3b says:

    #210 clot: Mormons are the most propserous religious denomination in the country.

    I knew quite a few of them in my days at Goldman.

  219. Confused In NJ says:

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. financial institutions are on the hook for as much as $70 billion in new write-downs from bond insurers in 2008, Oppenheimer said on Wednesday, as losses from ailing monolines spread deeper into European bank results.

    Monolines are insurers that guarantee timely interest and principal payments on bonds and sell protection on structured deals — collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) — with credit default swaps.

  220. BC Bob says:

    “Hillary: economically clueless megalomania”

    Clot [209],

    You’d be hard pressed to find a better pork belly trader.

  221. Clotpoll says:

    Sean (147)-

    “McCain dated strippers back when he was living in Florida…”

    And the problem is…?

    This may be the goal of 65% of all men in America.

  222. Pat says:

    John, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.5142:

    `(1) IN GENERAL- Each individual who was an eligible individual for such individual’s first taxable year beginning in 2006 shall be treated as having made a payment against the tax imposed by chapter 1 for such first taxable year in an amount equal to the advance refund amount for such taxable year.

  223. bi says:

    163#, john, that pot must be really good one – it still makes him and people listening his speech feel good after two decades.

    > Nothing against Obama and Hillary but SNL will have a great 4 years with either an ex coke/pot head president or a pant suit weaking lady with a first lady named Bill!

  224. Clotpoll says:

    “The only way this guy get elected is if he shows up the day before the election in November with Osama Bin Laden’s head in a box.”

    Talk about an October surprise!

    Better they hold Bin Laden alive, to be drawn-and-quartered on Fox News Live.

  225. bi says:

    217#, i don’t own any HOV but XHB has become my favorite recently. is is at $21 and change from as low as $15 on jan 9th.

    all disclaimers

  226. Ann says:

    185 Jill

    We looked at a lot of older homes and you’re right, you can’t make them the newer homes but there is so much you can do.

    My friend just bought this darling split-level from the 50s. What made it nice? A spruced-up kitchen, walls in good condition painted in neutral, up-to-date colors, hardwood floors throughout, fresh landscaping (basic though) newer siding, new interior six-panel doors and consistent,custom window treatments throughout the house. It’s still a split, not huge, but it’s a great house.

    I would say, that even if you aren’t planning to sell anytime soon, why not do some improvements now anyway? Sounds like you’ve already done the necessary ones, but maybe now is time to do some ‘cosmetic’ ones. You’ll enjoy them and then if you do sell one day, you’ll have a more pleasing house to sell.

  227. njpatient says:

    0.5 it is from Ben

  228. BC Bob says:

    Release Date: January 30, 2008

    For immediate release

    The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower its target for the federal funds rate 50 basis points to 3 percent.

    Financial markets remain under considerable stress, and credit has tightened further for some businesses and households. Moreover, recent information indicates a deepening of the housing contraction as well as some softening in labor markets.

    The Committee expects inflation to moderate in coming quarters, but it will be necessary to continue to monitor inflation developments carefully.

    Today’s policy action, combined with those taken earlier, should help to promote moderate growth over time and to mitigate the risks to economic activity. However, downside risks to growth remain. The Committee will continue to assess the effects of financial and other developments on economic prospects and will act in a timely manner as needed to address those risks.

    Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; Timothy F. Geithner, Vice Chairman; Donald L. Kohn; Randall S. Kroszner; Frederic S. Mishkin; Sandra Pianalto; Charles I. Plosser; Gary H. Stern; and Kevin M. Warsh. Voting against was Richard W. Fisher, who preferred no change in the target for the federal funds rate at this meeting.

    In a related action, the Board of Governors unanimously approved a 50-basis-point decrease in the discount rate to 3-1/2 percent. In taking this action, the Board approved the requests submitted by the Boards of Directors of the Federal Reserve Banks of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, and San Francisco.

  229. Clotpoll says:

    Shore (195)-

    Bring it on.

  230. John says:

    Fed funds rate cut .50 to 3.0%. Discount rate also cut .50 to 3.5%.All levels monitoring capacity thresholds.-ADS

  231. BC Bob says:

    JB,

    The fed release is in moderation.

    Probably the monitoring inflation segment.

  232. bubbles says:

    Helicopter BEN ??? Bailin out xxxxx and killing $$$$ , :( ..is he over-reakting ????

  233. Confused In NJ says:

    Ben didn’t listen to AG say it won’t work.

  234. Hehehe says:

    This guy is a lunatic.

  235. Confused In NJ says:

    I guess the .5 rate cut cancels out the new 2008 $70B of monoline losses? Very confusing market operation, hard to anticipate. Fundamentals are radically different then the past.

  236. 3b says:

    Dont’ cry for me Argentina, I mean America.

  237. Al says:

    Clotpoll Says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 12:58 pm
    Al (33)-

    “So I have a question – why are you. Americans not ont he [sic] streets shooting and rebelling???”

    Hey Al…shoot me an e-mail thru Grim.

    Also, do you have any tactical military training?

    Yes I do. So does most males in my country of origin.
    But you have to know – US goverment have my fingerprints, biometrics and possibly (I will not be surprised) my DNA sample….

    Also I do nto feel the Moral Right to rebel or complain until I will be living in this country for 20 more years and contribute more to it’s economic and political development.

  238. SS says:

    I know the FFR doesn’t impact the 30 year directly, but what is its impact on the 15 year Mtg?

  239. BC Bob says:

    “There was one dissent: Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said he did not think that the Fed should have lowered rates at all.

    “There was only a passing reference to inflation. The Fed said it expects inflation to moderate in coming quarters, but also said it would watch the situation carefully.”

    A passing or pissing reference regarding inflation?

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/fed-cuts-rate-half-point-30/story.aspx?guid=%7B0E2A54B6%2DC73F%2D4FD9%2D847B%2DC1AB013BA4D6%7D

  240. Imus says:

    Let’s hope Bloomberg makes a run. Is it even still possible? He is genius, and makes those career politicians looks silly.

  241. John says:

    So ten year rates are up which means fixed rates mortgages are up as a result of rate cut however, ARM/HELOC/Home Equity rates are down. So this rate cut makes is cheaper to do a adjustable short term refinance and hope helecopter Ben swoops in before my 2008 arm resets. Plus he signaled another rate cut even more reason to do ARM. Is he creating a new wave of resets in 2011?

  242. Sean says:

    Who could forget the Keating Five?

    McCain will be switfboated, check this from a Veterans web site.

    http://www.usvetdsp.com/story22.htm

  243. Shore Guy says:

    # 214

    If McCain is the nominee, Bloomberg runs; If it is Romney, he soes not.

  244. Shore Guy says:

    # 244

    I loved them back in the day. I had all their 45s.

  245. Al says:

    Two more weeks like this one and fed will have no more lowering power……

    By the way – where is my free loan from goverment – how about instead of giving loans tobanks goverment to give out mortgages at 3% to individuals????

  246. grim says:

    Does the Fed know Friday’s numbers?

  247. scribe says:

    BC, #239

    Also from that marketwatch article:

    “A 3% federal funds rate may be just what the doctor ordered to start reviving home prices, home sales and refinancing,” said Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Associates.

    [snip]

    Some economists believe the downside risks are overblown and that the economy will bounce back in the second half of the year. They say the Fed will be quick to reverse course and hike interest rates once it is clear that the economy is out of the woods.
    Still, other analysts are deeply worried that the rate cuts will stoke inflation fires, resulting in much higher rates at some point in 2009.

    That’s my question – at what point will the Fed be forced to reverse course and raise rates?

    And will this latest round of rate cutting create much more of a problem later and much higher interest rates?

    Or what if it doesn’t work, and they have to keep dropping rates – but it still doesn’t work? What then?

    Are they putting themselves in a position where they’ll be trapped with low rates, and
    no room to maneuver to the upside?

  248. scribe says:

    From Financial News Online (Dow Jones):

    Merrill abandons structured credit

    Shanny Basar
    30 Jan 2008

    Merrill Lynch will exit the collateralized debt obligation, sub-prime and structured credit businesses that brought it billion-dollar losses last year and turn to commodities and emerging markets in a bid to reverse its fortunes under new chief executive John Thain.

    Thain outlined the bank’s new strategy at Citigroup’s 2008 Financial Services Conference, just 45 days after taking on his new role at Merrill. He said: “In 2006 15% of the fixed income, currency and commodities revenues came from businesses that we are not going to be in going forward.”

    http://www.financialnews-us.com/?contentid=2349690996&page=uspeoplemoves&m=6DCA3MzM3MDY3OjMwNjk2MDoxNjI5Mw%3D%3D

  249. Confused In NJ says:

    Market gets skittish on Fridays. FED may need another emergency rate cut to span the weekend.

  250. Al says:

    Are they putting themselves in a position where they’ll be trapped with low rates, and
    no room to maneuver to the upside?

    Welcome to Japan.

  251. scribe says:

    Al, #252

    That’s what I was thinking about – Japan.

  252. 3b says:

    #2449 scribe: A 3% federal funds rate may be just what the doctor ordered to start reviving home prices, home sales and refinancing,” said Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Associates.

    So Eddie this could be it now huh? I mean rates drop and prices start marching upwards again? Didn’t that in fact caue much of the mess that we are currently in?

    So drop rates, prices rise, until you raise rates again (in the second half of the year), and prices start dropping again?

  253. John says:

    I can already see my retired in-laws with their community bank CDs having a heart attack when they get their roll over notice and see 3% CDs, but hey they are getting $600 bucks back.

  254. Ready to Buy says:

    #245

    “If McCain is the nominee, Bloomberg runs; If it is Romney, he soes not.”

    I think it’ll be the other way around. I know you’re thinking of Romney’s finance background, but I think Bloomberg will run against Romney as the “moderate” voice for repubs. He’ll also pull from moderate dems

  255. grim says:

    Nobody really thinks that the Fed Funds Rate is a magical lever that controls the speed of the economy..

    .. do they?

  256. John says:

    The Fed has now cut rates five times by a cumulative 2.25 percentage points. Many Wall Street economists now think rates will have to go to 2.5% by spring to stave off a potentially serious recession.
    The next two formal FOMC meetings are scheduled for March 18 and April 29 to 30.

    Wow just in time for spring buying season you will be able to get 1.9% teaser 2/28s all over again!!

  257. Ready to Buy says:

    #254

    You’re right on the money. The fed messing with interest rates is unstoppable. They will over-inflate housing prices again at ANY COST.

  258. John says:

    Here’s how stocks in the nation’s largest banks were trading following the Fed decision:
    Shares of Bank of America Corp. rose 83 cents, or 2 percent, to 42.77.
    Citigroup Inc. shares rose 31 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $28.22.
    JPMorgan Chase & Co. shares rose 25 cents to $47.70.
    Shares of Wachovia Corp. rose 7 cents to $37.97.
    Wells Fargo & Co. shares rose 27 cents to $32.87.
    Shares of Washington Mutual Inc. rose 60 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $18.60

  259. Ready to Buy says:

    #257 grim-

    Yes. They do. in the short term that is… prolonging and intensifying correction.

  260. Ready to Buy says:

    #257 grim-

    Yes. They do. in the short term that is… prolonging and worsening correction.

  261. BC Bob says:

    “A 3% federal funds rate may be just what the doctor ordered to start reviving home prices, home sales and refinancing,” said Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Associates.

    scribe [249],

    Bank bail out. Let’s steepen the curve.

    The only potential home buyer that will benefit will be those that are arm’d [no pun] with a 20-30% dp.

  262. DINJ says:

    #263 We have that magical dp. How will it help us?

  263. chicagofinance says:

    Clotpoll Says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 1:47 pm
    Romney: economically-astute, ultra-successful businessman who can’t be elected because half of America thinks he belongs to a cult

    clot: it doesn’t help that he has the presence of a empty milk carton….

  264. Confused In NJ says:

    The FED is saying save $10M in your “Go To Hell Fund”, and you’ll be O.K. At 2% that gives you $200K to live on. You can do that by anticipating and riding all Bubbles.

  265. Confused In NJ says:

    Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack understands the FEDS stick.

  266. njpatient says:

    210 clot

    “-Obama: now openly talks about wealth redistribution in public speeches”

    They ALL believe in wealth distribution. Whether to redistribute wealth is not a question in American politics. The only questions are from whom and to whom.

  267. RayC says:

    265 He does belong to a cult. They all do, the new ones just seem crazier. I was raised Catholic.

    Virgin Birth
    Rises from the dead
    Turns water into wine
    Transubstantiation
    Abstinent men in black speak in a dead language in hour long ceremonies every week. (OK, that was too obvious, so they changed that)

    When we were 10 or so we were “confirmed”. During training for this we were told that this was great because we were adults now and we could confirm our faith. My cousin Dan raised his hand to explain that he did not believe and did not want to be confirmed. There was a conference. Parents were called. Dan may not go to church anymore, but he damn sure got confirmed back then.

  268. bubbles says:

    Maybe Helokopter quick-trigger BEN knows taht housing is in worse shape than what we all think???

    Hmmnnn …..something to think about ??

    DJ alreday pulled back …:)

  269. Looks like AMBAC has downgrades a’ comin’. Down %20 right now. $11bln in losses in RMBS.

  270. Sybarite says:

    The only difference between any religion and a cult is the number of members.

  271. 50bps cut says:

    I have a HELOC @ 8.25%, what rate can I get now?

  272. njpatient says:

    242 Imus

    still certainly a possibility that Bloomberg runs, if not particularly likely.

    http://nymag.com/news/features/43308/index1.html

  273. bubbles says:

    Ups sory for spelling!!!

    Maybe Helicopter quick-trigger BEN knows that housing is in worse shape than what we all think???

    Hmmnnn …..something to think about ??

    DJ already pulled back …:)

  274. BC Bob says:

    Maybe Ben knows that there is a calamity on the horizon?

  275. BC Bob says:

    S&P’s lower on the day.

  276. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Ambac will lose $11.61 bln from MBS, CDO exposures: Ackman

    MBIA will lose $11.63 bln from MBS, CDO exposures: Ackman

    MBIA may lose $928 mln if Channel Re can’t pay: Ackman

  277. scribe says:

    Yeah, I think Yardeni’s “what the doctor ordered” comment is just a tad on the overly optimistic side :)

    Also weirdly glib …

  278. grim says:

    From Reuters:

    Fitch cuts “AAA” rating of FGIC insurance unit

    Fitch Ratings on Wednesday cut its top “AAA” ratings on FGIC Corp’s bond insurance arm, saying the insurer does not have the capital required for a top rating.

    Fitch cut FGIC’s “AAA” insurer financial strength rating by two notches to “AA.” It also cut parent company FGIC Corp’s long-term rating by three notches to “A” from “AA,” the third-highest investment grade.

  279. BC Bob says:

    OOPS. What now?

  280. John says:

    RE When we were 10 or so we were “confirmed”. Dan may not go to church anymore, but he damn sure got confirmed back then.

    Hey interesting enough other religions like the Hindus you can stop being Hindu but you can’t stop being Catholic, unless Dan switchs officialy to another recognized religion like Judism, he is stuck a catholic forever. Hope he likes Heaven!

    Another weird thing is a catholic wedding, only the catholic church can undo it. So an Episcpal who marries and then legaly divorces a catholic in the eyes of the Episcapal church is still married and cannot be remarried in the Episcapal church even though that religion allows divorce. That is why Tom Cruise who is on his third ‘legal’ wife never married a single one of his wives in the catholic church as he can’t undo with a wave of a wand like he can do in scientology. All three of Toms wives’s are catholic. Then again maybe none of them wanted to be permantly attached to Oprah couch jumping martian loving Tom, I give them credit for getting other religions to play ball. The Jahovas can’t even get someone to take a pamplet.

  281. grim says:

    Isn’t it obvious? We need another 50 bps.

  282. ithink-ithink says:

    watch the vix, Ben’s cut goes in the crapper in just 51 minutes.

  283. Confused In NJ says:

    Simple solution is to borrow another $1T from China and cover all the bad debt. Let’s see, that moves us to $10T National Debt. Then we elect Chavez as first Hispanic President, he nationalizes everything, and reneges on the debt. Problem solved.

  284. John says:

    CLEVELAND, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — National City Corporation today announced on behalf of its subsidiary banks that it has lowered its prime rate to 6.00 percent from 6.50 percent, effective immediately. The rate was last changed on January 22, 2008, when National City lowered its prime rate to 6.50 percent from 7.25 percent.

    Prime is now 6 and several banks have prime minues 50BPs, so a home equity is 5.5%. Quite a fall in six months.

  285. ithink-ithink says:

    Ben, Ben, why does it hurt when I do that?

    Maybe stop doing it?

  286. kettle1 says:

    confused,

    you may have a point, then we also get direct access to all that nice Venezuelan oil!!!

  287. Confused In NJ says:

    288. Kettle1

    It’s a Win/Win. One fell swoop we reaffirm Monroe Doctrine and get all that oil.

  288. scribe says:

    I have 3 CD’s that will expire in March, June, and September. Current rates range from 5.25% to 5.4%.

    Now I’m regretting it that I didn’t go longer a year ago.

    When Greenspan cut to 1%, there was a lot of backlash from senior citizens who depend on their interest income.

    So far, this time, I haven’t seen any stories in the media about the effect of rate cuts on the senior population.

    Or, for that matter, the younger people who are trying to save up for a down payment.

  289. Confused In NJ says:

    We can run Chavez as an IndeDemapublican so that everyone is happy.

  290. Confused In NJ says:

    291. scribe

    Greenspan is a Senior and had to live on 1% interest on his $100M too. Not easy getting by on $1M these days.

  291. Dan says:

    291. scribe says:

    Or, for that matter, the younger people who are trying to save up for a down payment..

    yes, I totally agree with you. simply put, you cannot save, and the FED does not want you to save.

  292. 3b says:

    #259 ready to buy; They cannot over inflate houisng prices again, that train has long left the station. Stop working yourself up into a lather over that.

    The bubble has burst, all the kings horses and men, including Ben, cannot put it back together again.

    Look for your next houisng bubble in 10 years or so;for now it is history.

  293. 3b says:

    #257 Yes grim the do.

  294. Clotpoll says:

    scribe (249)-

    Two places to look:

    1) USA, 1929
    2) Japan

    How did those work out?

  295. Clotpoll says:

    Confused (285)-

    Print and repudiate.

  296. Clotpoll says:

    Dan (294)-

    Simply put, one cannot afford to save in the modern US of A.

    Savings = loss

  297. scribe says:

    From marketwatch:

    Mortgage rates could rise, not fall, after Fed move

    By Ruth Mantell, MarketWatch
    Last update: 4:46 p.m. EST Jan. 30, 2008

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Consumers inspired by Wednesday’s rate cuts in overnight lending rates shouldn’t count on consumer interest rates falling in response, said Bob Walters, chief economist for Quicken Loans.

    “If you are looking to purchase a home or to refinance, I’m not so sure you’ll see mortgage rates fall,” he said Wednesday. “Mortgage rates don’t have that much room to fall.”

    Last week, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 5.48%, one of the lowest rates since 2004, according to Freddie Mac’s survey.

    On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee lowered the target for the federal funds rate by 50 basis points to 3%. In eight days the Fed has cut rates by 1.25 percentage points, the fastest pace in 20 years.

    After the Fed’s move, market rates for 30-year notes and 10-year bonds rose steeply. By contrast, rates fell sharply for 3-month and 6-month bills.

    Fixed-interest mortgage rates are set by markets based on long-term money rates, not short-term rates. If bond investors fear that the Fed is letting inflation get out of control, then long-term rates could rise, as they did on Wednesday after the rate-cut decision.

    Bill Hampel, chief economist for Credit Union National Association, however, said he doesn’t see mortgage rates soaring.

    “Mortgage rates are going to be attractive for quite some time,” Hampel said, suggesting that the weakness in the economy will keep long-term rates from rising too much.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/mortgage-rates-could-rise-not/story.aspx?guid=%7B3EAD37E9%2DCBCB%2D4EE1%2D934A%2D5776C2834EBB%7D&dist=hplatest

  298. Pat says:

    Clotpoll, I can’t stop thinking about how good you probably bake cupcakes.

    It’s always about guns or butter, isn’t it.

    Anyway, I’m making this shortbread cookie type stuff dipped in white chocolate. Do I need to put butter or shortening in the melted goop?

  299. scribe says:

    One of the things I’ve never understood is how the rates paid on regular savings accounts went from 5% and 5.5% down to 10 to 40 bp’s.

    I switched into a money market fund in 1980 when rates were double digit, and never looked back.

    But banks now charge you to maintain regular savings accounts, if the account is below a certain minimum and/or you don’t have other accounts with them.

    Clearly, I missed a chapter in banking practices/regulation.

  300. Pat says:

    And no, I didn’t make the shortbread from scratch. What do I look like?

  301. John says:

    Hey Scribe – Have you ever heard of Bruce Bent? Come on now do a little reading and you shall have your answers.

  302. ADA says:

    http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artikkel?NoCache=1&Dato=20080130&Kategori=BUSINESS01&Lopenr=801300330&Ref=AR

    Sales of single-family homes dropped 8.5 percent in Westchester County in the fourth quarter of last year, while house sales in Putnam County declined 12.6 percent, the Westchester-Putnam Multiple Listing Service said yesterday.

    Buyers and sellers closed deals on 1,026 single-family homes in Westchester, compared with 1,121 during the fourth quarter of 2006. Just to the north, in Putnam County, 181 single-family homes changed hands, 26 fewer than a year earlier.

    But those who were able to sell homes in Westchester County got more money than sellers got at the close of 2006. The median sales price rose 1.6 percent to $640,000.

    Putnam’s median price dropped 9.5 percent to $380,000.

    Westchester prices remained firm, in part, because of a 15.8 percent decrease in the inventory of single-family houses to 2,635 from 3,130 in the fourth quarter of 2006.

    “A major reason for the decrease was the prospective sellers in our region who have discretion to do so, elected to defer entering the market until they perceive that conditions are improving,” the MLS said in its news release yesterday. The Realtors’ organization noted housing inventories in Westchester are well below the peak levels reached in the early 1990s.

  303. Clotpoll says:

    Pat (301)-

    I take it the “goop’ you refer to is the white chocolate that the cookies get dipped in. If so, the answer is no. White chocolate is almost 100% cocoa butter (unless it’s the cheap stuff, in which case you get a dose of emulsifiers and preservatives).

    Ideally, the white chocolate should be close to body temperature when dipping.

  304. Clotpoll says:

    scribe (302)-

    “I switched into a money market fund in 1980 when rates were double digit, and never looked back.”

    “Clearly, I missed a chapter in banking practices/regulation.”

    Have you been asleep for 27 years?

  305. lisoosh says:

    My favorite Scottish sweet junk treat;

    Layer of shortbread, layer of caramel (dulce de leche soft type), layer of chocolate. Staple of bake sales all over the nation.

  306. BC Bob says:

    “As Fed meets, housing hits ‘grim milestone’ ”

    JB’s milestone?

    “Ben Bernanke and his U.S. Federal Reserve Board colleagues face a stark reality as they ponder another injection of interest rate relief today: The housing slump is still getting worse.”

    “House price declines are accelerating, more homeowners are falling behind on their mortgage payments and foreclosures are going through the roof, according to fresh data from the front line of the U.S. economic slowdown.”

    “Across the U.S., a growing inventory of would-be dream homes sit vacant and unwanted as the industry hunkers down for a decline that could stretch beyond 2008.”

    “A relentless repricing of real estate values is continuing,” lamented David Resler, chief economist at Nomura Securities in New York.

    “A major concern of economists is the overhang of unsold homes. Remarkably, even as prices and sales have fallen, the inventory of unsold new homes is continuing to rise”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080129.wibhousing30/BNStory/Business

  307. BC Bob says:

    “Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley, the two biggest securities firms, said they were responding to requests from regulators for information on subprime-mortgage securities.”

    “Morgan Stanley said the requests concerned “the origination, purchase, securitization and servicing of subprime and non-subprime residential mortgages and related issues.”

    “The investigations are looking at underwriters and other firms involved in bringing securities to market, as well as firms that perform due diligence, he said.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/29/AR2008012902848.html

  308. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    S&P Lowers or May Cut $534 Billion of Subprime Debt

    Standard & Poor’s said it cut or may reduce ratings of $534 billion of subprime-mortgage securities and collateralized debt obligations as default rates rise.

    The downgrades may extend losses at the world’s banks to more than $265 billion, S&P said.

    The securities represent $270.1 billion, or 47 percent, of mortgage bonds rated between January 2006 and June 2007, S&P said today in a statement. The New York-based ratings company also said it may cut 572 CDOs valued at $263.9 billion.

    The downgrades may increase losses at European, Asian and U.S. regional banks, credit unions and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks, S&P said. Many of those banks haven’t written down their subprime holdings and S&P said it will start reviewing their ratings.

    “There could be rating actions for selected banks, especially for those that are thinly capitalized,” S&P said.

    Some of the largest global banks have already taken “significant” losses and they aren’t likely to have more writedowns, S&P said.

  309. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    S&P downgrades more mortgage-related securities

    Standard & Poor’s said late Wednesday that it downgraded more mortgage-related securities because delinquencies and foreclosures continue to increase on the underlying home loans. S&P said it downgraded or put on CreditWatch negative 6,389 classes from U.S. subprime residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) transactions. They were rated between January 2006 and June 2007. The securities were worth $270.1 billion, which is almost half the original value of U.S. subprime RMBS rated by S&P during 2006 and the first half of 2007. S&P also warned it may downgrade 1,953 ratings from 572 global collateralized debt obligations that are backed by asset-backed securities and other CDOs. That’s more than a third of all such CDOs rated by S&P.

  310. Clotpoll says:

    lisoosh (308)-

    No wonder those people don’t have any damn teeth.

  311. BC Bob says:

    The natives are getting restless;

    “Can you believe that they are now lowering interest rates which caused this very mess in the first place, in a desperate attempt to try and keep the bubble inflated !!. Our own Government is doing everything it can to keep the population in debt to the Investment Banks, as this we are told is the solution. Can it really be a solution to try and keep us all in as much debt as possible?”

    “I suggest that the City Of London AND Wall Street mend their ways and fast, they are the minority and we are the majority. Major revolutions and change have always sprang from the disgruntled masses, who find themselves once again at this particular point in history lied and cheated to by the International Bankers, and their subservient lap dogs the British and American Governments. Maybe the time is rapidly approaching when we need something like our own Polish Solidarity to force real change on our own communists!”

    http://www.financialsense.com/fsu/editorials/shepherd/2008/0129.html

  312. scribe says:

    OK, so … I googled Bruce R. Bent and found :

    “…known for inventing the world’s first money market fund, The Reserve Fund, in 1970.”

    I know that in the era of double-digit interest rates, the banks suffered a serious outflow to the money market funds – disintermediation was the buzzword of the day.

    But I was always in money market funds from 1980 onward. I know that at some point, 5% and 5.5% at the banks went bye-bye – but I’m not sure when or how.

    Clot,

    FDIC insurance is of more interest now.

  313. lisoosh says:

    “Clotpoll Says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 5:44 pm
    lisoosh (308)-

    No wonder those people don’t have any damn teeth.”

    They have teeth. Just not always white, straight or real.

  314. lostinny says:

    You really don’t want Bloomberg as the President. If you lived in NYC you would understand why. I don’t think he’s got a chance anyway.

  315. lostinny says:

    Mmmmm white chocolate…

  316. mikeinwaiting says:

    Cramer tonight telling everyone to go buy a house & he is as well.The fed saved the day
    buy stocks to.Houseing will rebound with rate cuts.
    Now who knows NOTHING!

  317. grim says:

    From Reuters:

    Pulte fourth-quarter loss widens

    Pulte Homes Inc, the No. 3 U.S. home builder, said on Wednesday its quarterly net loss widened as a deteriorating housing market led to charges related to the lower value of land and inventory, and charges tied to income taxes.

    Pulte reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $874.7 million, or $3.46 per share, compared with a loss of $8.4 million, or 3 cents per share in the year-earlier quarter.

  318. Essex says:

    Man alive………….WAMU just telemarketed me from a local branch…Nice kid….but holy crap they must be desperate…..I kind of told him nicely that the Banks that I do business with are ones that I actually trust.

  319. Clotpoll says:

    Hey, Grim:

    Here’s the new e-mail bomb NAR is pushing NJ Realtors to hit Lautenberg and Menendez with:

    “The much needed and welcome economic stimulus package is now in the hands of the U.S. Senate. But the Senate must include new loan limits on FHA and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans. America’s housing market needs this help.

    NAR wants a stimulus package that will be good for America’s home owners now and for future homeowners to come.

    Take Action and make your position known. Tell Senators Lautenberg and Menendez that including these new loan limits must be included in the economic package.

    Send this sample letter to Senators Lautenberg and Menendez:

    Subject: Support Inclusion of Housing in the Economic Stimulus Package

    Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],

    As a constituent and a REALTOR®, I want to stress how important it is for the Senate to include increases for the FHA and GSE loan limits in the Senate’s economic stimulus package. These provisions will create safe and affordable mortgage options for our state’s homeowners and provide much needed stability for our local economies.

    The critical role that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) play in providing liquidity to the mortgage market has never been more evident than it is today. The national subprime meltdown has had a dramatic impact on both the cost and availability of mortgages in my market. Since August 2007, the interest rates for jumbo borrowers have been more than 1 percentage point higher than conforming loans, which can cost homeowners up to $400 month in higher interest payments.

    Raising the GSEs’ conforming loan limit will provide immediate relief to borrowers and alleviate downward pressure on our already fragile housing markets. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, increasing the GSE loan limit will result in more than 300,000 additional home sales and strengthen current home prices by 2 to 3 percent.

    I also believe that increasing the FHA loan limits is critical to helping bolster our fragile housing market. Current law restricts FHA loans to levels well below the median home price in many areas of the country and caps loans in high costs states at $363,790. These limits are preventing many homebuyers from using FHA to purchase or refinance their loan. The proposed provision will increase FHA loan limits nationwide by raising the floor to $271,050 and the limit to 125% of local median home prices. These increases will help an additional 138,000 Americans purchase and 200,000 families refinance their homes safely and affordably.

    I hope I can count on you to support including increases for the FHA and GSE loan limits in the Senate’s economic stimulus package. Our national housing and mortgage finance markets need stability and an immediate infusion of liquidity. Both of these provisions are necessary if our nation’s families, housing markets and economy are to move beyond the crisis they now face.

  320. grim says:

    Is there a form letter for Realtors that don’t agree?

    Or are we on our own?

  321. Confused In NJ says:

    Let’s get every member of Congress independently on TV, to give their understanding of the current Financial Crisis, and proposed solution. All who get it wrong, are immediately fired, regardless of age or advanced senility. Those waiting their turn will remain in isolation, so that no one cheats.

  322. Confused In NJ says:

    324. Grim

    What I do with AARP is modify their form to suite me, and then send through their distribution channel to the elected representatives.

  323. Clotpoll says:

    grim (324)-

    Why don’t you drop the President of NAR a little friendly message at his new personal blog:

    http://narblog1.realtors.org/mvtype/president/

    I should be getting over there soon.

    Wonder how long it will take for our comments to get moderated.

  324. Clotpoll says:

    Confused (325)-

    That would be better- and funnier- than any game show ever invented.

  325. bubbles says:

    Grim see how smart you are :)

    This is what quick trigger BEN KNEW !!

    Now it almost makes sence!!!

    grim Says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 3:53 pm
    From MarketWatch:

    Ambac will lose $11.61 bln from MBS, CDO exposures: Ackman

    MBIA will lose $11.63 bln from MBS, CDO exposures: Ackman

    MBIA may lose $928 mln if Channel Re can’t pay: Ackman

  326. Clotpoll says:

    Forget the NAR blog. All comments are moderated and “reviewed” before posting.

    Judging from the content, only the Kool-Aid addled need apply.

  327. bubbles says:

    if alreday posted , sorrrrry. :(

    BILL DONOGHUE
    Expect more than a typical recession
    Commentary: Bankers’ and brokers’ greed has undermined our economy
    By Bill Donoghue, MarketWatch
    Last update: 7:15 p.m. EST Jan. 30, 2008
    SEATTLE (MarketWatch) — Call this the perfect financial storm or what you will; Wall Street has made fools of financial institutions around the world with their CMOs, CDOs, and greedy boo-boos.
    At least they didn’t lose as much as their customers. The stock market is in distress, bond insurers are looking for a $200 billion bailout, junk-bond markets are at risk of further losses and life-, home- and auto insurers’ risk has not yet been fully assessed.

    Focus on funds, ETFs

    MarketWatch offers complete coverage of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Highlights:

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    We need real ready-to-go financial leadership and we need it now. Tell the presidential candidates, Congress and economists to stay home. We need regulators with clear priorities.
    Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, former FDIC Chairman Bill Isaacs and anyone they trust would be good choices. They beat inflation and presided over the savings and loan cleanup. Tell Ben Bernanke to go home.
    As for you personally, it’s every person for themselves and their family. Study the charts: This is a bear market.
    The worm turns
    The Wall Street worms have made our economy rotten to the core. Combine dazed and confused credit markets with globalization, and our economy is in a bind. A Fed rate cut won’t turn things around for more than a week.
    Money is available now ($4 trillion in deferred income taxes) if U.S. leaders are willing to act decisively. See related story.
    To protect your wealth, you have to confidently and objectively keep in mind what will rise in value in today’s crisis. Sell short, reallocate assets, use leverage and whatever other tools and techniques are needed. Protect your own retirement savings and don’t count on the government for support.
    Stocks in pain
    The Fed’s rate cuts are only bandages. They’ll succeed at weakening the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies, and that encourages foreign governments to buy American institutions at fire-sale prices. That can’t be good for America.
    From 2000-2002 stocks slid slowly down this slippery slope and the pain was excruciating. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXS&P 500 Index
    News, chart, profile, more

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    SPX) has barely broken even so far in this century and we’re in a bear market. A shift to cash or investing in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds tied to the inverse of the major stock indices would be wise. Inverse ETFs go up when the index goes down and leveraged inverse-ETFs go up twice as much in the same situation.
    The next shoe to drop could come in late February when insurance companies have to ‘fess up on their portfolio holdings. It’s unlikely to improve their stock prices and safety ratings.
    Two ways to diversify and profit from any unsettling financial-services news ahead: Sell iShares Dow Jones U.S. Insurance Index Fund (IAKishares tr dj ins indx fd
    News, chart, profile, more

  328. Kelly says:

    Mike #320

    I think he is playing a role – this is from the article I linked to earlier today –

    Before embarking on his talk, titled “The Capitalist Citizen and Democracy,” Cramer warned his audience to not be misled by the persona that hosts his popular CNBC program “Mad Money.”

    “This is not a ‘Mad Money’ show, nor is this the man you see at 6 and 11 on TV. This is who I really am. And I’m honored to be given a chance to say who I really am and to give you a talk that is heartfelt and is not about entertainment education or making friends and making money,” said Cramer.

  329. Cindy says:

    Okay Clot – So I finally get the grenade launchers…but be aware..I have no tactical military training…

    True story from school today..Students are writing their stories and drawing pictures for the “Scoopy Squad” featured in the local newspaper. Today’s topic: What would you do if you were president?

    One student writes..and I quote..

    “I would make sure there were no “silver wars.”

    I asked “Do you mean civil wars?” The reply “Oh yeah, civil wars.”

    Yes, I always touch on our civil war while teaching “money” and about Abraham Lincoln …So was this kid paying attention or are there some in-depth conversations taking place at home???

  330. Pat says:

    Thanks, Clot.

  331. Confused In NJ says:

    Obama said he understands voters might feel some comfort at the idea of returning to another President Clinton after eight years of Bush. But he cautioned voters not to buy the argument that Clinton’s experience is what the country needs.

    “It is about the past versus the future,” he said. “And when I am the nominee, the Republicans won’t be able to make this election about the past.

  332. JIM says:

    Has anybody heard about the tax rally that is happening in Trenton, I think it is next Saturday….not sure.

    If anybody has any information please post it, I for one have had enough of Corzines tax increases, even when they are camouflaged as paying down debt. It might be time for all taxpayers to take a stand.

    JIM

  333. Confused In NJ says:

    Clot.

    To make the firing squads as painless as possible, I think we should use five Remington 500 Magnum Nitro Express rifles, one with blanks.

  334. bruiser says:

    95 – Kettle

    Also a Rutgers alum, and I must disagree with you. The money was never available for “anything else” it was only available to the Athletic Dept. It is not as if they are spending tax dollars or tuition dollars to fund it.

  335. Bloodbath in Winter 2007 says:

    # Essex Says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 7:50 am

    Ah…the fabled ‘go to hell fund’…that is the true independence — but have one you either are very, very budgeted….or you make enough money to squirrel at least 10-15% away a year for — 10 or so years….either way….not something most people are able to do….

    Disagree in that it is hard. I make (rather, made – before quitting my job in Dec to start a small business) a decent salary, and my wife does as well. Probably did 215 in 2008. She saved all four of her bonuses (right to the online account) and i have the profit from the sale of my flip in 2006. That’s our downpayment plus improvements plus furnishing the place. And we plan on definitely having a 20k emergency fund at all times.

    In addition, we’re socking away 600 a month between us into mutual funds.

    It totally can be done. We have curtailed alcohol intake, cook instead of dine out, don’t smoke, and we’re definitely frugal. We do not have a flat-screen TV or credit card debt. Just married, we rent and do not have swanky furniture or the newest gadgets. Combined, we probably spent less than $2000 on clothes (work and play) in 2007.

    We take advantage of the little things – say, Marriott points on the CC that will get us a 4-night, 5-day free stay in Grand Cayman. When we move to PA soon, I’ll get my first car in a few years – a 2000 Mazda from the in-laws. No need to splurge on a depreciating asset.

    Discipline is the answer and it can be done. F**k the Joneses and their new Audi and their debt.

  336. lisoosh says:

    Eh, Blood.

    You do realize don’t you that you make considerably more than the average New Jerseyan.

    Frankly, if you couldn’t save on over $200k a year especially without kids, there would be something wrong with you.

    Although, as a cheap Scot, I always appreciate frugality.

  337. Clotpoll says:

    Cindy (334)-

    “Okay Clot – So I finally get the grenade launchers…but be aware..I have no tactical military training…”

    That’s the beauty of grenade launchers. A very instinctive weapon, kinda like an instamatic camera. Just point and shoot:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:RPG7.jpg

  338. Clotpoll says:

    Confused (338)-

    Jeez, I thought we were talking executions, not making hamburger meat.

  339. Cindy says:

    (342) Do I get one of those cool green hat thingies too?

  340. ithink-ithink says:

    #342 clot
    not a grenade launcher.
    that’s a wood, a grenade is more like wedge.

  341. Clotpoll says:

    blood (340)-

    Too bad you don’t have a taste for growth investing…:)

    Gotta let that freak flag fly a little.

    All disclaimers.

  342. Clotpoll says:

    think (345)-

    That “wood” is one fine bolt of bad intention:

    According to the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Bulletin 3u (1977) Soviet RPG-7 Antitank Grenade Launcher — Capabilities and Countermeasures, the RPG-7 munition has 2 sections: a “booster” section and a “warhead and sustainer motor” section. These must be assembled into the ready-to-use grenade.

  343. Clotpoll says:

    Cindy (344)-

    Whatever floats your boat.

  344. Essex says:

    Perhaps….blood….perhaps…and i must say congrats on your ‘saving the bonus’…it is what it is people….I love my Bimmer…I love my sushi….I love making home improvements…once the 05 BMW is paid off…I will not upgrade….(oh the horror)….I still want to finish our attic…make it into a cool room…we want to do other things….but the next 4 years will be about pairing down debt….we have a 401k. I won’t say what the combined income is out of concern that the rest of you guys will feel like I am completely inept…I am. But I hey. It happens….also the wife needed a new ride this year….so sue me.

  345. ithink-ithink says:

    #348 – clot
    yes. however, shoulder fired missle would be a more appropriate description.

  346. Essex says:

    P.S….I am one of those people who do his patriotic duty to add $$$ to economy….but I am — shall we say — done. I can’t quit the monthly massage and sushi though. No way.

  347. ithink-ithink says:
  348. Clotpoll says:

    think (351)-

    Hey, you’re the military guy. I’m strictly amateur night.

  349. Confused In NJ says:

    354.Clot

    We could substitute some Lahti 20mm’s for the squad. That would work. Makes clean 1 inch hole through 5 inches steel plate.

  350. mkfinancial says:

    Looking for info on Mt. Arlington. Thx.

  351. Clotpoll says:

    Confused (355)-

    Very nice. From The Gun Zone:

    “I just love the size of the Lahti. And Blagojevich, Feinstein, Boxer, et al, would wet themselves if they knew that 20mm was civilian-legal.” – Rob Firriolo, TGZ’s Consigliore

    Civilian-legal. Unbelievable. It’s a personal cannon, not a rifle.

  352. Hard Place says:

    Just for the fun of it I wanted to check $1mm plus homes in Chatham. Holy cow there’s a lot of inventory! Most of it is new construction too. Looks like upper end of the market has been over stretched.

  353. njpatient says:

    John
    “So an Episcpal who marries and then legaly divorces a catholic in the eyes of the Episcapal church is still married and cannot be remarried in the Episcapal church”

    Incorrect.

  354. Confused In NJ says:

    357. Clot

    In 1962 Freedland Firearms on South Street in Manhattan sold them for $130. Ammunition was $1 per round.

  355. Orion says:

    S&P Lowers or May Cut $534 Billion of Subprime Debt (Update4)

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a.pEgRRaJmZc

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