Assessing the Government's Stock Portfolio

Posted: Feb 18, 2009 4:29 PM
I read an interesting article today in The Hill newspaper. It turns out that the U.S. Government has lost $86.5 billion of the money they put towards last October's Wall Street bailout in the stock market.

To give you some background on this, last fall in exchange for a sizable cash injection to struggling financial companies, the government received preferred stock from companies that received funding as part of the Capital Purchase Program. The rationale was that as a company began to turn around their financial situation as a result of the funding, their stock price would increase and the government would reap the benefits. However, according to a report conducted by the nonpartisan research think thank Ethisphere, a different picture is taking shape.

"The worst performer for the government was U.S. Bancorp; the U.S. lost $3.7 billion in the preferred stock that company gave it in exchange for an injection of $6.6 billion through the Capital Purchase Program (CPP). That’s a loss of 56.1 percent, according to Ethisphere.

"On a relative basis, the government’s preferred stock in Huntington Bancshares lost 81.5 percent, or $1.1 billion. Stock in Webster Financial Corp. has lost 76.1 percent."

And, The Hill notes that these calculations only run through February 13th.  “Since then, the government has probably done a bit worse, as the Dow Jones Industrial fell 297 points on Tuesday….”

If Congress is going to play the Market with your money, I thought you should know how your portfolio is doing.