Some quick hits on a Wednesday. Day off for The Dish tomorrow.
Kyra Sedgwick don’t got nothin’ on Kyrie Irving. The Cavs rookie point guard continues to dazzle, scoring 17 of his 25 points last night in the final quarter to lead the wine and gold back from a big deficit and to a 101-100 win last night before about 800 people at The Q. This kid is all kinds of special, is already playing at close to an All-Star level, and unlike LeChoke – he thrives late in games. Note – he is 19 years old.
If the season ended today (and the lottery held to form), the Cavs would have the #10 pick of the draft. The last five #10 picks have all been pretty darn good though: Jimmer Fredette, Paul George, Brandon Jennings, Brook Lopez, and Spencer Hawes.
Not a good sign for Tiger Woods career when Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano is calling him out and saying he’s “beatable” before their first round match in the Accenture Match Play Championship, which begins today. Tiger’s “intimidation factor” is plummeting at a faster rate than Jimmy Dimora’s tab threshold at Gamekeepers over on the east side.
Ohio’s first casino ever will open in downtown Cleveland on May 14th in the old Higbee building. The casino will employ 1,600 people, 90% of them from the Cleveland area. The casino will have four restaurants: a Corky & Lenny’s (fantabulous east side deli), a Michael Symon’s B-Spot, a buffet, and a restaurant yet to be determined … likely a little higher end.
You gotta be loving life if you are Hyde Park, Mortons, or any of the other high end restaurants that are right there in Public Square by where the casino is going to be. We’ve been talking about this from day one, in order for a casino to truly thrive, it has to be in the right spot, and it has to be a “date night” option for couples and groups … and not just filled with degenerate gamblers like the casinos in Detroit. Detroit was pretty much the model for how not to do it, and it appears like Dan Gilbert and his crew are doing it right here. The Public Square area is open, safe, and by a lot of other things. And still close enough to the sports arenas. Dan Gilbert is a lot of things. Stupid is not one of them.
Lastly, check this out. A group of economic students at Lehigh University just completed a project that attempted to assess how long it would take and how expensive it would be to actually build a Death Star like the one portrayed in the Star Wars movies. Their findings: It would 800,000 years, necessitate over a quadrillion tons of steel, and would cost over a thousand times the world GDP to build. So for all you Bob LaMonte conspiracy theorists out there that were fearful this may be his next move, rest easy.
Quote of the Day …
Bob: It gets a whole lot more complicated when you have kids.
Charlotte: It’s scary.
Bob: The most terrifying day of your life is the day the first one is born.
Charlotte: Nobody ever tells you that.
Bob: Your life, as you know it… is gone. Never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk… and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.
Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, in one of my favorite sequences from one of my favorite movies, “Lost in Translation” (2003).
Insane Fact of the Day …
There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
The Dow touched 13,000 yesterday, just briefly, but was unable to hold those gains. The closely watched stock index ended yesterday’s session at 12,965 … up 15 points on the day. The last time this index has closed over 13,000 was in May of 2008.
Man does it feel like stocks are overbought right now. It’s quite possible I am the fool here.
The early stock rally yesterday was fueled by the Greek bailout, and also better than expected earnings from Home Depot, who cited the uncharacteristically warm winter weather that lifted demand for building materials and other exterior projects. This mild winter really is having a positive economic impact. People are out more, doing more things, spending more $ than they otherwise would if buried under two feet of snow. It’s a very real factor in the wave of better than expected economic #’s we’ve seen as of late.
Another very real factor in the markets right now is energy prices, which are rising. When gasoline goes from $3.10 to $3.60 a gallon, that is tantamount to a $30-$40 a month tax on the average American. Consumer spending on goods and services is what will suffer as a result.
10 AM, we get data from the National Association of Realtors on existing home sales for Jan.
Lastly, the FHFA came out yesterday and sent a strategic plan to Congress on what should happen with Fannie and Freddie. The three stated goals at the outset of the plan are as follows:
- Build a new infrastructure for the secondary mortgage market;
- Gradually contract the Enterprises’ dominant presence in the marketplace while simplifying and shrinking their operations;
- Maintain foreclosure prevention activities and credit availability for new and refinanced mortgages
This should be the last you’ll hear of changes to Fannie and Freddie until after the Presidential election. You’ll hear about changes, it’s likely to be a debate topic, but I’m talking about anything actually getting done. A Republican President would be more likely to try and quickly facilitate the re-privatization of Fannie/Freddie. Obama would be likely to continue along this steady path of talking about changes with the agencies, but doing nothing until housing is on more steady footing.
Fannie, Freddie, and FHA are keeping the housing market alive right now, especially given the fact that big mortgage lenders like Bank of America and Met Life have pulled out of the market … and others like Citi, Chase, GMAC, and PHH are scaling back their residential lending operations.
~ FHFA Sends Congress New Strategic Plan for Fannie, Freddie
~ Data Suggests Euro Zone Could Slip Back Into Recession
~ Fitch Downgrades Greece, Says Default “Highly Likely”
~ Former Governor Strickland to be Co-Chair of Obama’s Re-Election Campaign
~ MBA: Mortgage Applications Dropped 4.5% Last Week
~ EU Struggles to Frame New Financial Rules
~ Obama to Float Corporate Tax Overhaul Today
~ Greek Crisis Raises New Fears Over Credit Default Swaps