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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Crash of '08 Roundup — December 9, 2008

Items of Interest:

National Association of Realtors [NAR]:
Pending Home Sales Holding In Stable Range --

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in October, slipped 0.7 percent to 88.9 from an upwardly revised reading of 89.5 in September, and is 1.0 percent below October 2007 when it was 89.8.

Calculated Risk:
Pending Home Sales Decline In October -- Existing home sales are reported at the close of escrow, pending home sales are reported when contracts are signed. The Pending Home Sales index leads existing home sales by about 45 days, so this suggests existing home sales will decline in December (from November)...

October pending home sales slip 1% -- Despite unprecedented economic turmoil, pending sales came in much stronger than the 3% drop economists had forecast...
Dark Days for Bucksbaum Mall Dynasty Built on DebtWall Street Journal:
Dark Days for Mall Dynasty Built on Debt -- [CEO]Mr. Bucksbaum and his deputies in recent years loaded the company with debts totaling more than $27 billion. General Growth's stock has plunged more than 97% in the past year, dragging down the Bucksbaum family fortunes with it. The Bucksbaums' 25% ownership stake, worth $3.2 billion just six months ago, is now worth $116 million.

The family could lose General Growth altogether, along with three generations of hard work that began with a grocery store in Iowa. If the company can't negotiate new terms with lenders by midnight Friday, and those banks declare the company in default, General Growth has told investors it could file for Chapter 11 -- creating one of the largest bankruptcies ever in real estate...
Clifford Krauss / NY Times:
Car Dealers Brace for Closings, or for a Fight, as Detroit Seeks HelpMany auto dealers believe they are on the chopping block no matter what happens to the Detroit automobile companies.
Barry Ritholtz / The Big Picture: Detroit Bailout; Ford Opts Out?

StarTribune.com Business
Pelosi embraces notion of 'car czar'; says auto industry has shown it needs close supervision — WASHINGTON - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi touted the notion of a 'car czar' to supervise an auto industry bailout, saying Tuesday that Big Three executives haven't adapted well to changing conditions.

In defense of Detroit — In their almost gleeful calls for the death of the domestic auto industry, some U.S. senators and other critics of the Detroit 3 have suggested rampant incompetence and utterly failed business models...
Rdan / Angry Bear: "What are the odds that every Detroit 3 exec of the last 35 years has been an idiot?"
NY Times:
News Analysis: Washington Takes Risks With Its Auto Bailout Plans-- The realignment of the auto industry described by Barack Obama sounds perilously close to a word no one in his camp wants to say: nationalization...
Want to Lend Money to Uncle Sam? It's Going to Cost You -- What would your reaction be if you had a friend who had reached the limit on 20 different credit cards and then came to you to borrow $100? Then imagine that you actually said yes, and when you went to give your friend the $100, he or she actually asked for $101 just for the privilege of loaning the money. Well, that is exactly what is happening (to a lesser degree) in the US T-bill market. As just another example of the crazy times we are living in...

the yield on 3-Month Treasuries went negative today----

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia