The market was almost flat yesterday and rallied when Merrill Lynch reiterated its 0.35/share dividend.
Think about it. They say they need capital. The get special lending and implicit backing (too big to fail) from the taxpayer but they keep paying dividends to, among others, the same people who set the dividend policy (restricted stock cannot be sold but pays dividends).
By the way, Freddie Mac still pays a dividend. Countrywide and Bear Stearns paid dividends to the bitter end.
I think journalists have to decide whether they want to "calm the public" (basically by ignoring these issues) or tell the truth.
The capitalist system has served us well because the accounting was supposes to be honest. Now it seems the regulators and other independent agents (sell side analysts and the media) are under the impression that hiding the truth will eventually get us out of the problem. In other words, we are doing what the Japanese did. They are still in the slump they created in the 80s
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