Well, we all knew there would be drama when it came to getting the $700 billion banking bailout package approved by the government. Instead of fighting to get this thing done, both sides seem to be tripping over their own two feet to be the first in line to take credit for it. On Thursday, in what looked like a sure thing to get it passed, Republican lawmakers rejected the emergency financial rescue package last night after both parties pretty much had announced they were near an agreement on a deal. I guess that’s why they call it politics…
Anyway, as far as the market, we opened 150 points lower on the Dow this morning but as the day has progressed the market has rebounded but is still down 60 points. Part of the big drop at the open was news that the FDIC had seized Washington Mutual (WM, $0.16, down $1.53) on Thursday and then sold the assets to JPMorgan Chase (JPM, $44.30, up $0.84) for nearly $2 billion. Yeap, as Queen said it best…Another One Bites the Dust.
WaMu was the largest financial firm in history to collapse under the mortgage debt market and it shows just how serious the housing market has crippled our economy. Of course, the news isn’t earth-shattering by any means and it was almost excepted. WaMu joins the ever growing list of companies disappearing and I’m sure there’s more to come.
Wachovia (WB, $10.75, down $2.95) is getting a 20% haircut this morning as volume has hit 100 million shares. The options for Wachovia are also trading at a furious pace with huge positions being taken in the October 5 puts (WBVQ, $0.86, up $0.66, or 325%). Volume has swelled to 33,000 contracts thus far. The October 7.50 puts (WBVY, $1.50, up $1.05, or 233%) are also active. I’m not sure if Wachovia will trade down to $5 but there is growing open interest at the 2.5 through 10 October puts strike prices. We have traded Wachovia in the past but let’s stay on the sidelines with this one. Something doesn’t feel right with Wachovia anymore.
Change is good and and the way the market is acting it looks like it is smelling a deal. It still remains to be seen but we can almost bet the farm a deal will get done and that should help the market over the near-term.