Only days after an attempted financial rescue went down in flames, the Senate has passed a new bill that has some "added characteristics" designed to, in theory, help protect Main Street. The bailout plan is a polarizing issue, but there is little in the bill that really protects similar problems from happening again.
Whether you are a fan of the bailout or not, you would be best served knowing the status of it if you are invested in the markets. The issue impacts everyone, and virtually no business is insulated from it. Credit is hard to come by, and that slows down the system. People are scared, and when someone is scared a "fight or flight" instinct kicks in. In this case, fighting is nearly impossible, so everyone is taking their money and going home.
Some readers will likely express frustration that this article is not related to satellite radio. The fact of the matter is that it is indeed an integral part of why this and so many other equities have taken a beating. Sirius XM Radio has debt to refinance. Even though they should do it with relative ease, the fact that they are looking for a loan makes people nervous. If the company announces a resolution to the February converts, then all will be well....at least until the fall.
About a week ago I found myself looking for a new car. I drive a lot, and my old car was at the 200,000 mile point. It was in need of a bit of work (again), and I found myself at the crossroads of putting more money into an existing car, or to trade it in and be done with it. Ultimately I decided to get new wheels. After deciding what car I wanted, and what options I wanted, I cut my best deal, and it was off to the financing department to see if they could beat the rate I had already secured. They couldn't, so I went with my own lender, but while there I inquired about the credit crisis. The answer I got was that many people were having trouble getting their loans, and even people with "good credit" found it a challenge to get financed. That bore out when the auto sales numbers were released today. Thus, the issue is already being felt on Main Street, and the whole economy seems to be hinging on what will happen in the house.
Will the Senate passage bring the markets up tomorrow? Perhaps, but it is Friday's action that will be the determining factor. Stay tuned.
Position - Long SIRI