Joshua M Brown

Slightly Used Ticker Symbols For Sale: MER and WB

On a quiet post-New Year’s Friday, two of the most widely followed stocks disappeared from Quotrons and trading screens around the world: MER and WB.

As Merrill Lynch and Wachovia begin their new lives as foster children of Bank of America and Wells Fargo respectively, the question remains, what will happen to their orphaned call letters? Do they end up on the Island of Misfit Ticker Symbols?

Hot Links

Hot Links for Weekend Reading: Paul Kedrosky posts the 2008 words and phrases that should be banned from 2009 on Infectious Greed.  My fave’s for banning for this year are Staycation, Carbon Footprint and of course, Bailout. Over on Dealbreaker, Equity Private posted the Top 10 Reasons I Invested My Entire Fortune With Madoff.  Reason…

Graduating in a Bear Market? Wall Street's Not Hiring.

With graduation approaching for the Class of 2009, college seniors are scrambling to find jobs by the spring. Let’s hope they don’t have their hearts set on Wall Street. By the time the big unwind is through, Wall Street (and peripheral sectors) will probably have lost more than a quarter of a million jobs. Unlike ’87 or ’01-’02, most of these jobs won’t be coming back.

Doug Kass Rolls Out 2009 Predictions, Ignore Them At Your Own Peril!

In taking a page from Byron Wein of Morgan Stanley fame, Doug Kass has been listing 20 outlying possible events for the coming year for a while now and in ’08, he absolutely killed it. 60% of his 20 predictions for 2008 came to pass, including some of the more far-fetched ones.

Yesterday, Kass’s 2009 list came out…

Hedgies Still Hearing "Redemption Song"

[youtube=] “Redemption Calls“, sung to the tune of Bob Marley‘s Redemption Song. Old clients, yes they call I ask me for the NAV. Minutes after I sold stock, into a bottomless pit. But my fund was made strong by the black box it was built on. We trade in this generation, leveraged to the gills….

Barron's Buzz: December 28th, 2008

Quick thoughts on this week’s Barron’s… Cover story on Mark Hurd and the profitability of Hewlett Packard…Yawn.  As they say on the Dealbreaker message boards, “too printery, didn’t read”. House of Cards story about credit card companies and their exposure to…to…zzzzzzz, oops, fell asleep again!  Not much new in Sandra Ward’s article, but worth a…

Rolling Over a 401k to an IRA

Transferring your 401k allows you the option of never having to take physical custody of your funds as they move between your 401k and your new IRA account. This does not get reported to the IRS, so if you transfer it to a broker or firm you aren’t happy with, don’t worry, you still have the ability to move it again within the same calendar year without restriction. This method will allow you to move your securities over (more on this below).

With a Rollover, however, you’ll be getting a check from your 401k sponsor after you request liquidation. You will then have the responsibility to deposit this amount into a rollover IRA account within a a certain amount of time (discussed below). You can only do one rollover a year, so be prepared with a destination you can live with for a little while.

Who Else Could Become a Bank Holding Company?

General Motor’s GMAC unit had recieved approval to become a bank holding company…
But here’s the more interesting question…who else could/should apply to become a bank holding company? Below is my not-so-serious list of candidates as more companies and industries look for shelter in this, our Greatest Depression.

Fun With Math: Williams-Sonoma (WSM)

Based on it’s current stock price of around 8 bucks, WSM has an Enterprise Value (stock market capitalization plus all outstanding debt, minus cash) of about $840 million. We thought it might fun to figure out what else could be bought for the same price as the entire Williams-Sonoma chain (which includes Pottery Barn).