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Taking Stock: Government lawsuit targets McGraw-Hill in subprime mortgage fiasco

Malcolm Berko: The suit against Standard & Poor's and its parent, McGraw-Hill (MHP-$48), accuses S&P of fraud by intentionally misleading investors about the financial quality and ratings of trillions of dollars' worth of subprime mortgage securities.
By Malcolm Berko Modified: March 22, 2013 at 7:08 pm •  Published: March 24, 2013

I'm amazed that the consensus suggests that MHP has a high target price of $64 and a low target of $51 this year. However, you may have heard this expression: If you see a cockroach skitter across a kitchen floor, it won't be long till there are many more.

The government's suit could be followed with a thousand more by the numerous municipalities, corporations and states whose pensions have been raped. Sell MHP, and buy AT&T.

I've lost my enthusiasm for Treasury inflation-protected securities because I believe that the government's inflation numbers reflect Washington's politics rather than shoe leather reality.

There are more than 200 categories, with more than 80,000 different goods and services, factored in to make the consumer price index. I understand the selection of those 80,000 items, but I don't understand the dizzy computer-generated mathematical constructs. Nor do I trust the bureaucrats who are paid to calculate that inflation for 2012 was 1.8 percent. Call it a bee in my bonnet or a gut feeling, but if you've recently purchased tires, made tuition payments, rented an apartment, bought an airline ticket, bought homeowners, health or auto insurance, bought a movie theater ticket, taken a cab, renewed an occupational license, purchased groceries, taken your pet to a vet, etc., you know darn well that it's a fictitious number. It's laughable because it's so blatantly wrong! And the government knows it, but you're expected to believe it. Knock knock. Who's there? Big Brother!

Please address your financial questions to Malcolm Berko, P.O. Box 8303, Largo, FL 33775, or email him at


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