Monthly Archives: March 2008

Ben Stein Watch: March 30, 2008

Ben Stein is back in the NYT again this week: after filing just one column in all of February, he’s managed no fewer than four in March. Doesn’t he have a film to promote or something? Stein this week turns … Continue reading

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Ben Stein Watch: March 23, 2008

Now that I’ve left the desert and I have proper internet access rather than trying to update the blog from my iPhone, I can finally get around to Ben Stein’s NYT column from Sunday. Given that I’m still on holiday, … Continue reading

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A Quick Note From Marfa

I said last week that BSC was going either to $2 or to $0. I regret the error.

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Taking a Break

At the end of the most hectic week in Market Movers’ year-long history, I’m off on holiday for the rest of the month. Posting will be sporadic at best for the remainder of March, and likely nonexistent until Wednesday. Unless … Continue reading

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Blogonomics: Gawker’s Payroll, Redux

You wanna know how much Gawker writers get paid? Well, let me tell you. Remember that they don’t really get salaries any more, just advances. And it’s been widely reported that bloggers on the flagship Gawker site get $7.50 per … Continue reading

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The JP Morgan-Bear Stearns Option Agreement

Remember Exhibit A, the stock option agreement between JP Morgan and Bear Stearns which no one made public? Well, it’s finally been filed with the SEC. And it says exactly what everybody’s been saying that it says, only in legalese … Continue reading

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Extra Credit, Friday Edition

James Cayne risks lawsuit as he seeks counter-offer for Bear Stearns: Is this why he didn’t sign the merger agreement? More on debt and net worth Fed funds question: Krugman asks if Fed funds can go much lower. I think … Continue reading

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Lehman: The Eisinger Effect

If you look at the one-day chart of Lehman’s stock price today, you’ll see that it was up a coupla bucks, happily crusing along, until early afternoon. Then, suddenly, in the last two hours of trading, Lehman’s stock skyrocketed in … Continue reading

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PDCF: A Veritable Firehose of Liquidity

We knew the Fed’s new Primary Dealer Credit Facility, where it lends money to investment banks, was being used: Morgan Stanley borrowed $2 billion Tuesday from the Fed using "pretty liquid" assets as collateral, said Chief Financial Officer Colm Kelleher. … Continue reading

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Howard Marks, The Optimistic Bear

Peter Lattman has the latest memo from Howard Marks, and it’s not pretty. If you want the most bearish soundbite, this is it: We’ve had collapses in the past, but never so broad-gauged and systemic. Marks foresees some drastic measures … Continue reading

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Solvency Doesn’t Matter

Northern Rock was not insolvent when it collapsed. Bear Stearns was not insolvent when it collapsed. HBOS, victim of a bear raid yesterday, is not insolvent either. This is meant to reassure us? It doesn’t reassure Andrew Clavell.

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Homes as Investments

Ben Bernanke lives with his wife and two children in a house on Capitol Hill. Oh, wait, scratch that: according to Brendan Murray, Ben Bernanke lives with his wife and two children "in an investment that’s turned cold". Maybe it’s … Continue reading

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Credit: Still Hairy

The TED spread is above 200bp, and now repo rates on three-month Treasury bills have gone negative. What does that mean in English? Markets are broken. And once markets break, the healing process tends to be long and painful. The … Continue reading

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The Political Independence of the Fed

As anybody who’s ever read about a Supreme Court nomination knows, the business of appointing top judges has become highly political. But when it comes to the Federal Reserve, it seems that presidential appointees are still chosen the old-fashioned way: … Continue reading

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Why It’s Safe to Bet Against Joe Lewis

Are you tantalized by the prospect of Slate’s new business site? Well, the editor, Jim Ledbetter, is guest-blogging over at Fortune today, so maybe that will give you an idea of what to expect. This morning, talking about the Bear … Continue reading

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Will Burglaries Rise in a Credit Crunch?

The world of stolen goods, like any other market, is in thrall to the dynamics of supply and demand. The supply comes from burglars, who burgle houses and steal goods. The demand comes from a much more disparate and less … Continue reading

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The Housing Crunch Without Houses

In an interactive feature of mine earlier this month, the most bubblicious bubble of them all was Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan. Well, it seems to be bursting already: Bloomberg is running the wonderful headline "Kazakhs Get Craters, Not … Continue reading

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Blogonomics: Glam Media

Sam Gustin has an interesting profile of Glam Media’s Samir Arora today, saying that he’s in a battle with iVillage to become "the Web’s most popular site for women". But really Glam Media behaves in many ways much less like … Continue reading

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When a Curve Steepener Loses $800 Million

In exceptional times such as these, I can understand how highly leveraged credit funds with a large risk appetite could end up losing a lot of money. But this is ridiculous: A $3bn London hedge fund lost more than a … Continue reading

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Extra Credit, Thursday Edition

The World’s Scariest Chart: US household debt to GDP. Can’t Grasp Credit Crisis? Join the Club How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong Casino stock returns in Q1: Not pretty. Extraordinary adventures with the Fed: "Its own resources … Continue reading

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Chart of the Day: Mastercard vs Visa

When Mastercard went public in May 2006 its opening price was $40.30 per share; today it’s over $200. What are the chances that something similar is going to happen with Visa? About zero: (Incidentally, American Express is worth about $48 … Continue reading

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Fannie and Freddie: The End of the Punishment is Nigh

Justin Fox, like me, welcomes OFHEO’s actions with regard to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae this morning. But he wants the new extra liquidity to be temporary: If government, and government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie and Freddie, don’t increase their risk-taking, … Continue reading

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Bear Raid in the UK

Many people believe that Bear Stearns was brought down by a classic "bear raid" – where a rumor gets started, snowballs, and becomes self-fulfilling. In nervous markets, someone who shorts a bank and then starts a rumor that it’s in … Continue reading

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Meriwether Decimates his Partners’ Capital, Again

Bloomberg reports: JWM Partners LLC, the investment firm run by ex-Long-Term Capital Management LP chief John Meriwether, lost 24 percent in its $1 billion fixed-income hedge fund this year through March 14, according to two people with knowledge of the … Continue reading

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Bear Stearns Shareholder Math

A lot of the back-of-the envelope sums surrounding the Bear Stearns shares assume that Bear’s employees, who own 30% of the outstanding stock, are likely to vote against a deal. But given that New York City’s comptroller has already started … Continue reading

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