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Ken's Market Commentary


21 January 2013 I don’t believe in intuition. When you get sudden flashes of perception, it is just the brain working faster than usual. — Katherine Anne Porter (American author, 1890–1980)

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The Week Ahead

Blue Monday, is apparently the most depressing day of the year, at least according to Cliff Arnall. A British shrink. New Year’s resolutions have been thrown out the door, holidays are further away than ever, your investment results from last year have been analyzed and they were rotten (again). Add to all this, by sheer coincidence, Barrack will commence his second term as U.S. president and his smart minister of foreign affairs has left the White house to do a bit a grazing in green pastures. However beware there is a very good chance Hillary will return with a vengeance to claim the throne as the first lady president. Seems to Bill has become attached to the white building; he calls home, and wants the front door/back door, key again. In anticipation of the horrors of Blue Monday, the markets, in all their wisdom, have decided to remain close for the day. The fact that it is coincidentally Martin Luther King Day, must be just that, a coincidence. Tuesday will make up for this day of contemplation and reflection as 17 companies in the S7P 500 will report some sort of earnings. To mention a few, IBM is expected to report $5.25, Texas Instruments expects 7 cents, (Intel wasn’t much last week either), Verizon sees 51 cents, JNJ $1.17 (It’s always about the pipeline with pharma), Google $10.57 (still doing well on ads).

Meanwhile back in the Low Countries, other little cracks are appearing at SNS Reaal, a Dutch bank who is having some problems with their real estate portfolio. Valued at €4.8 bln once upon a time, and now needs to be devalued by about €2 bln. Add to that the €565 million loan they need to pay back to the Dutch state; a slight financial problem has arisen. Oh, but wait, the smart kids working at the Ministry of Finance did secure the loan with SNS value(less) certificates, worth $750, at the time when the stock traded at €5 25. These certificates could be swapped in to shares after three years. Sure, the stock now trades at around 91 cents. So the state will not want to vest the certificates, the state wants cash! But there isn’t any at SNS. What it really boils down to, is that yet again the Dutch state has given away millions of tax money. Long live the wizz kids at the Ministry, and good luck SNS Reaal. A Blue Monday indeed

January 30-31 FOMC Policy Decision (no press briefing)
March 20-21 FOMC Policy Decision
Bernanke Press Briefing

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Kenneth van der Vlugt

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