The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Jan. 11
And like the Bronx during the summer of 1977, Sears surely is burning. The company said Monday that its net loss for the current quarter will be between $280 and $360 million, or between $2.64 and $3.40 a share. Sales at Sears have been declining yearly since 2007, certainly not a streak Joe DiMaggio would envy.
Let's be honest -- even Marilyn could hit better than that.
Look, what Lampert needs is his version of Joe Torre. Somebody who can bring some serenity to the organization as it tries to beat its rivals. And on that note, the Red Sox and its Green Monster are nothing compared to the monstrous competition Sears faces from like likes of Wal-Mart and Target.
That said, even with a steadying force in Sears dugout, there seems to be little doubt that the company is taking itself out of contention. Lampert's game plan has been to sell stores and assets in order to raise cash. And unlike Steinbrenner's well-known spending sprees for available (although sometimes questionable) talent, Lampert has been starving his stores of capital to the point where shoppers have been staying away in droves.
We honestly don't know what Lampert's end game is for Sears. It was all about the value of the real estate at one point and then it was all about the company's brands. We're not sure what his next pitch will be.
But we do know that unless he changes something soon at Sears, the mighty Eddie has struck out.
1. AIG or $1 Trillion Coin?
What's dumber, a $1 trillion platinum coin designed to solve America's debt ceiling dilemma, or AIG(AIG) suing the same U.S. government that spent $182 billion to bail it out?
Oh, man, that's a tough choice even for us. And we do this for a living!
Let's start with the trillion dollar coin idea that bubbled up from online columns to the halls of Congress this week.
Under the scheme, the U.S. Treasury would employ an obscure commemorative-coin law to mint a single platinum coin with a trillion dollar face value and deposit it at the Federal Reserve . The government, as a result, would then have the collateral to buy back its Treasuries, giving Uncle Sam some extra headroom as he bumps up against the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.) announced he was "absolutely serious" about the coin concept. On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Greg Walden (R., Ore.) said he would introduce a bill to block the Treasury from making such a move.
For our part, we just hope Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke doesn't mistakenly use the coin for a lunchtime game of Ms. Pac-Man because then it would really be game over for the country.