Bright Side?

There’s always a bright side to things, just ask the markets.

All three headline composites of the latest Case Shiller home price index were lower for the first quarter 2012. In fact, home prices in many cities are at the lowest levels since the housing crisis began.

This “good news” combined with the other “good news,” Greece being such a gigantic financial disaster that it’s getting kicked out of the Euro, propelled the market higher.

If we are going to follow the stock investor’s lead, and be the glass-half-full kind of folks, we’ll need some help with this story.

CNBC and the New York Times reported that Trustee Irving Picard, the man responsible for recovering the stolen funds for Mr. Madoff’s investors, is billing at the rate of $850 an hour. That means that Picard and his law firm, Baker & Hostetler, have racked up a whopping $554 million in legal and other fees.

In the last several years, Picard has brought more than 1,000 cases trying to recoup more than $100 billion on behalf of victims, despite acknowledging that only about $17.3 billion had actually been invested by customers. (The entire Ponzi scheme has been estimated to be worth $65 billion, but much of that is the result of made-up profits recorded by Madoff.)

And how much have Madoff’s victims actually received from all of Picard’s cases and motions? Only $330 million. And how much does Picard estimate the total tab may run up to by 2014? A mere $1 billion.

I’m not sure that you could find a bright side in this mess even if you were standing on the sun.

Trade well and follow the trend, not the so-called “experts.”

Larry Levin
President & Founder - TradingAdvantage
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