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Google on the Rise; Merrill's Boy King

5:18 AM Posted by Slamy

oogle was up 7% in Friday trading, and that was enough to bounce the
NASDAQ back up 1% - which seems like 10% consider the week we just had.



Google, which came in with better-than-expected financials today, is
also a good buy for investors right now, says CNBC’s Jim Cramer (full
disclosure: I write for both CNBC and the Street.com).



"Google is an inexpensive company with an advertising market that is in
a cyclical decline," said Jim Cramer on Friday's "Stop Trading!"
segment on CNBC. "If you got a bottom in advertising, this stock is
going to go up very big."



Cramer isn’t as bullish on another tech giant, Yahoo. He touts it as a
major takeover play, something Cramer usually does not recommend. The
“Mad Money” host does like Apple, saying that the company’s recent rise
is not wholly attributable to Steve Jobs.



After the Nasdaq rise, the street is buzzing about ex-Merrill Lynch CEO
John Thain, who just got the word from Bank of America that his
services were no longer needed. Maybe somebody at Bank of America had a
look at Thain’s expense report.



First, he okayed a $15 billion bonus pool for top Merrill execs at a
time when parent company Bank of America was on its knees in front of
Congress, begging for $20 billion TARP bailout money. As Tech Ticker
points out today, the $15 billion is exactly the same amount of money
that Merrill lost in the fourth quarter of 2008.



Tech Ticker also looks at some other examples of financial arrogance on the part of Thain. Read it and weep, taxpayers:



-- Thain grossly understating the extent of Merrill's potential losses
from Bank of America - assuming the latter firm's stance is to be
believed: "The facts are that [Merrill's] fourth quarter was way beyond
anything they said would happen," BofA spokesman Robert Stickler told
The WSJ.



-- Neglecting to personally tell Ken Lewis about Merrill's $15.3
billion loss, and going ahead with a pre-planned ski trip when the
losses came to light.



-- Stumping for his own bonus late last year before backing down in the face of public outrage.



-- Spending $1.2 million of Merrill shareholder's money to redecorate
his office in early 2008, including $87,000 for an area rug, $28,000 on
curtains (shades of Kozlowski), 15,000 for a sofa, and $35,000 for a
"commode on legs," etc.



When I look back to late October, when Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi,
George Bush, John McCain, and Barack Obama said that the $750 billion
TARP package was necessary to keep the U.S. financial system afloat,
you figure they knew something the rest of us didn’t.



Considering how little the impact the TARP money has had, and to see a
major investment banking CEOP treating taxpayer largesse as his own
piggy bank, how inspired can we be when the President and Congress want
$1 trillion more to bail out the economy.



In other words, we have met the sucker, and he is us.

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