Monthly Archives: May 2008

US Sugar: No Victim of Nafta

Mary Williams Walsh, in the NYT, has a good investigation of US Sugar, and the way that its managers seem to be enriching themselves at the expense of their employee-shareholders. It is unfortunate, however, that one sentence, buried in her … Continue reading

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Import-Export Datapoint of the Day

Justin Fox: Starting early this year, though, things changed. Loaded outbound containers outnumbered empties in February, March, and April, the first such three-month run, Wong says, since the spring of 2000. The totals so far in 2008 are 1,033,655 loaded … Continue reading

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Extra Credit, Friday Edition

Drinking and Driving: The relative cost of beer and gasoline. Drink more, drive less! A Road Map for Natural Capitalism: Amory Lovins on how to make money by being planet-friendly. Brazil wins second key investment rating: From Fitch. Is the … Continue reading

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Evan Newmark has a good analysis of Sears Holdings today. I really can’t see any reason to hold this stock: all the old reasons don’t seem to pertain any more. Eddie Lampert has given up on the idea of running … Continue reading

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CDOs Return

Accrued Interest has a very good post in defense of CDOs, explaining that they make a lot more sense than SIVs or hedge funds playing in the credit space: In most cases, SIVs collapsed not because they took on too … Continue reading

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Silverjet, RIP

Another airline bites the dust: this time it’s Silverjet, the all-business-class airline: it lasted just a few months longer than MaxJet. The official statement from Silverjet is pathetic, in the literal sense of the word: We extend our sincerest apologies … Continue reading

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How Bear Failed

Did you have time to read more than 10,000 words by Kate Kelly on the fall of Bear Stearns? It’s an interesting series, full of color. My favorite bit is Jamie Dimon vs Vikram Pandit: Late Sunday night, as lawyers … Continue reading

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Defending Libor

Carrick Mollenkamp and Mark Whitehouse got some pretty heavyweight backing for their Libor investigation today: before running it on the front page of the WSJ, they got sign-offs from Darrell Duffie of Stanford, Mikhail Chernov of London Business School, and … Continue reading

Posted in banking | 8 Comments

Marking to Last Year’s Market, Charity Ball Edition

In the very first issue of Portfolio, last year, Tom Wolfe reported on the annual charity ball held by the Robin Hood foundation. After listing the excesses of the auction (ten "power meals" for $650,000; a "five-day “Surf and Sun” … Continue reading

Posted in consumption, economics, housing | Comments Off

The Economics of Rick Mishkin

This, from Brad DeLong, seems relevant, somehow, in the wake of Rick Mishkin’s resignation from the board of governors of the Federal Reserve: In other disciplines to leave your university because another offers to pay you more entails personal humiliation … Continue reading

Posted in economics, fiscal and monetary policy, pay | Comments Off

Extra Credit, Wednesday Bonus Edition

Journal Women: A new WSJ site, for women. It seems quite fluffy: is Murdoch’s hand at work? The Cayne Mutiny: By Charlie Gasparino. "I have never seen him stoned — not once." A New Foreclosure TV Show!  

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Extra Credit, Wednesday Edition

America’s hottest investor: Another fund manager gets the Fortune hagiography treatment. Even if he deserves it, this is not necessarily a good thing. Auditor: Supervisors Covered Up Risky Loans: "About 75 percent of the time, loans that should have been … Continue reading

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Should Citi Cut its Dividend?

Holman Jenkins has a most peculiar column today which seemingly tries to defend Citigroup’s decision to continue paying dividends, even as it’s raising billions of dollars of capital elsewhere. Except he never quite comes out and says that Citi is … Continue reading

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Airlines Lose Their Jet Fuel Credit Lines

Another nail in the (legacy) airline industry’s coffin: A credit controller at a leading European multinational oil company told The Times that the oil industry was moving to jet fuel prepayment. “It’s common in the US and it is moving … Continue reading

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ETFs Go Global

It’s taken long enough, but finally Barclays and Vanguard are offering genuinely global ETFs: the iShares MSCI ACWI fund, and the Total World Stock fund, respectively. (The latter’s launching next month.) This is great: rather than having to laboriously construct … Continue reading

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David Leonhardt Buys a House

Many congratulations to David Leonhardt, who has just bought a house in Washington. Leonhardt is the person behind the NYT’s truly wonderful rent vs buy calculator, which should be the first stop of call on the internet for anybody thinking … Continue reading

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Extra Credit, Tuesday Edition

There won’t be much in the way of posting today, I’m afraid. But in the mean time, here are a few things which caught my eye: The Economist on banking risk FT Alphaville on default rates Megan McArdle on own-to-rent … Continue reading

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Ben Stein Watch: May 25, 2008

Ben Stein is worried about oil prices. We know this because he uses words in his column this week like "frightening", "extreme hardship", "overwhelming trouble", "peak oil" (twice), "true crisis", and "emergency". Plus: If we keep acting as if the … Continue reading

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Extra Credit, Friday Edition

Delta-Northwest: Wall Street’s $80 Million Fee Bonanza: Morgan Stanley’s getting $42 million in fees on a $3 billion merger. I guess some people are getting rich in the airline industry. It’s the first time any bank has got more than … Continue reading

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Recession: The Forgotten Indicia

This piqued my interest (via Mike Simonson): Ignorance about recessions has taken hold because of a simplistic idea that a recession is two successive quarterly declines in gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the nation’s output. The idea originated … Continue reading

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Annals of Pathetic CEO Communications, Moody’s Edition

When a company runs into trouble, it turns to its chairman and CEO (if they are the same person) for leadership. If that person is someone like MBIA’s Jay Brown, he provides it, showing backbone and passion and clarity of … Continue reading

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Wikipedia: A Perfectly Acceptable Data Source

Bess Levin is taken aback by the fact that Morgan Stanley is now citing Wikipedia as a source in its research reports. Why? We’re talking here about a pretty simple chart, showing the price of gasoline in different countries around … Continue reading

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InBev-Bud: The Brazilians Are Coming

There’s an air of inevitability about this InBev bid for Anheuser Busch: it might take a while, it might end up having to be raised, but I have a feeling that, sooner or later, it’s going to happen. When it … Continue reading

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Citi’s Dreadful Succession Planning

Sandy Weill is sniping at Chuck Prince via the FT – again. Why? It makes him look like a petty and bitter old man, rather than any kind of elder statesman of finance. Interestingly, this time he’s not just blaming … Continue reading

Posted in banking, governance | 1 Comment

The Art Trading Fund: Getting Desperate

Liz Gunnison has an interesting take on the news that Charles Saatchi has been appointed an advisor to the Art Trading Fund. You might recognise the name: I said twice last summer that it was doomed to fail, and this … Continue reading

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