The market is hovering around positive territory - but barely - after billionaire financier Warren Buffett announced that he was plugging in $5 billion to newly-minted commercial bank Goldman Sachs. The investment was seen as a vote-of-confidence in the splintered financial sector by one of America's most respected market visionaries. It's also a signal from Buffett that the $700 billion payout should pass, in some form.
After watching U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen's testimony in front of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee yesterday, I have my doubts, although the fact that the Sage of Omaha backs the bailout tells me it has a better shot of passing than I thought 24 hours ago.
For a great blow-by-blow description of what it's been like trading the financial markets the past few days, I'm going to direct you to a pair of links on CNBC.com. Read the narrative and see if it doesn't scare you silly, as it did me.
In tech news, such as it is these days, Yahoo is apparently entering into a new round of talks with Time-Warner to buy out America Online. On Tuesday, the Yahoo board of directors met for the first time since activist investor Carl Icahn was granted access to the boardroom, according to the Financial Times. No word on what role Icahn played in the move, and the Times' source says that talk are not underway yet, but should begin shortly.
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes announced in August that the media conglomerate would split up AOL's media and Internet access groups. Most analysts I've heard from seem to think that Time-Warner has had enough and will let AOL go to the highest bidder. Yahoo seems to be first in line.
Otherwise, it's eerily quiet in the technology sector, with one exception the announcement that network equipment giant 3Com Corp. announcing that its board has approved a $100 million buyback of company stock. The board gave 3Com a one-year window to buy back the stock. Currently, 3Com has roughly 406 million shares outstanding, and its stock has dwindled to around $2 per share (down from a year-long high of $5.11 per share).
It's another sign that a tech company thinks its share price is undervalued. Earlier this week, Microsoft said it would buy back over $40 billion in company stock.
As they say, one is an anecdote and two is a trend. I expect to see more companies following Microsoft and 3Com to the stock buy back line.