Commentaries

from Rolfe Winkler:

No MSG Please

February 15, 2010

Cross-posted from today's Times.

The formidable skills of LeBron James probably won’t reach the stock market. Speculation is rampant he could soon be headed to the New York Knicks basketball team, whose owner is now trading on the Nasdaq.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Bank capital buffers increase, still not high enough

February 11, 2010

Q4 TCE graphic

(To enlarge the chart above in a new window, click here.)

The superstructure of financial reform may be stalled in Congress, but at least regulators are forcing banks to raise capital. Since the nadir of the financial crisis in the fourth quarter of 2008, the Big Four have more than doubled their common equity, raising another $55 billion just in the fourth quarter.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 2-2

February 2, 2010

Homeownership rate falls to 2000 level (CR) At 67.2% it's still way overstated. Home "ownership" is a misnomer in cases when the owner has withdrawn mortgage equity or when the price of the home has fallen below the principal value of the mortgage. A better measure of homeownership, I think, is just to look at total owner's equity as a % of household real estate. The most recent Fed Flow of Funds report (page 104, line 50) puts the figure at just 37.6%...

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 2-1

February 1, 2010

President's budget (gpoaccess.gov)

Barney Frank: The poor should rent, not own (Indiviglio, Atlantic)

Citigroup said to plan sale of private equity unit (Keoun/Keehner, Bloomberg) Citi cites raising cash to pay down debt as the reason to sell this unit. Of course this would also get Pandit some brownie points with Paul Volcker, who wants commercial banks out of private equity, hedge funds and proprietary trading...

from Rolfe Winkler:

Obama’s blowout budget

February 1, 2010

Now that the worst of the financial crisis is behind us, one would think the budget deficit might start to come down. Actually, no. Obama's proposed budget sets a new deficit record -- $1.6 trillion this year compared to $1.4 trillion last year.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Bank failure Friday

January 30, 2010

#10

    Failed bank: First National Bank of Georgia, Carrollton GA Acquiring bank: Community & Southern Bank, Carrollton GA Vitals: at 9/30/09, assets of $832.6m, deposits of $757.9m Estimated DIF damage: $260.4m

#11

from Rolfe Winkler:

Spanish canary in the European coal mine

January 29, 2010

The quote of the day comes from Marc Chandler, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, who has graciously offered to let me reprint a note he sent today.

from Funds Hub:

Milan’s deserted depots point to double dip

January 29, 2010

 Travelling towards Italy's major financial centre Milan last Sunday on my way back to Zurich, I spotted something out of the window that had little effect on my fellow train passengers but made my blood run cold.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Splitting hairs on the Bernanke vote

January 28, 2010

In the Bernanke confirmation vote this afternoon, seven senators wanted to be seen opposing Bernanke but didn't actually want to stop his confirmation. In other words, they wanted a campaign talking point, not an actual fight.