Saturday, February 7, 2009

Barrons: TARP money is torched

Hey, the headlines are bad, but you still have to buy stocks. From Barron's:

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S plan to unfreeze the credit markets, expected to be unveiled early this week, could prove hugely disappointing, just like so many earlier efforts by the government.

The administration is said to be planning a government-controlled "bad bank" to buy or guarantee some $400 billion to $800 billion of poorly-performing loans and other damaged paper from the U.S. banking system. The effort would follow last year's $200 billion capital infusion for banks from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Because of the sharp drop in asset prices in recent months, that TARP money has been completely torched.

But here is the best summary of the plan:

Finally, the guarantee scheme seems disingenuous. It appears to be a fairly bald attempt by authorities to buy time for banks and put off the day of reckoning when they must recognize losses on the damaged goods now carried at full value in their held-to-maturity accounts.

But if you want to make money in stocks, you must cover your shorts, and get busy buying.

For now.

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