28 January 2010

Watch for a US Market Move LIkely Before the Close

It is said that the US Senate will be voting on the confirmation of Zimbabwe Ben, the Oligarch's Friend, around 3:20 PM EST today. Or at least they will be voting for 'cloture' which is the end of debate. This requires a 60 vote majority, the same rule invoked to end the infamous filibusters.

The confirmation would then be voted on itself, requiring only a simple majority.

The equity market is on support, and a move in sympathy with Ben's confirmation or denial is probable, up or down.

After the bell Microsoft reports earnings, and is carrying a whisper number of .66 versus the consensus .59.

This may be overshadowed by the review of the banks' privateering license should it indeed occur today, and not be postponed until tomorrow. Interesting that the banks are rallying while techs are widely lower after QCOM.

If the cloture vote is indeed postponed, then it is likely that some Senators are holding out for better reasons to confirm, in the form of mo' money. As we understand the rules, a single Senator can postpone the vote for 30 hours.

The US Senate is a bit like the House of Lords, with a certain haughty lack of substance and misplaced self-absorption and celebrity, but with more ability to accomplish mischief and interfere with the practical workings of the nation.

Bernanke's current term as Fed Chairman expires on Sunday, 31 January.

A denial to confirm would almost certainly call for an object lesson to the government in the form of a sell off. Threats do not stick if you do not occasionally make good on them.

And the global financiers are still smarting over what one sneering English correspondent for the Financial Times on Bloomberg Television called Obama's senseless "outburst" regarding support for the Volcker rule. Obviously this President has forgotten his place and may need a reminder.

Obama and his team are unabashed in support for the Chairman, and are opposed by an unlikely coalition of progressive Democrats and conservative Republicans who are unhappy with the secrecy of the Fed and the aggressive and expansive nature of the bailouts.

There is also a strong correlation between the Senator's speaking volume on the subject and the proximity of their next election. We are sure many are looking for ways to 'cover themselves' without interfering with what the lobbyists and corporate campaign contributors desire.