Commentaries

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 8-2

August 2, 2009

Billions in Lehman claims could bury an elusive insurer (NYT) A fascinating story. My colleague Felix correctly compares the situation to AIG, the massive insurer that underpriced tail risk when it sold CDS on toxic paper. Here we have an interesting problem where this insurer appears to have been regulated, just not very well. If it can't be successfully regulated, and it poses huge systemic risks, should we outlaw insurance on tail risks that are potentially very fat?

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 8-2

August 2, 2009

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 7-31

July 31, 2009

White House says cash for clunkers will go on (NYT)  Note that the administration hasn't yet promised new funding.  So yeah, the program is good through the weekend, but the key will be whether there is a new appropriation.  Michigan Senator Carl Levin is quoted in the article exhorting people to rush to their dealers to buy now.  The more transactions he can stuff through the channel, the more pressure he puts on Obama to make a new appropriation.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 7-30

July 30, 2009

(send links, pics, vids to optionarmageddon at gmail)

Did Warren Burger create the health care mess (Slate)  Interesting article.  It claims a 1975 Supreme Court decision paved the way for medical entrepreneurship, which the author says has been detrimental.  I'm sure in some cases it has been.  But I scratch my head when I read this:  "The idea that health care is a legitimate arena for investment is monstrous."  Investment in medicine is bad?  An intriguing thought, not well enough explained.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Evening Links 7-29

July 30, 2009

(send links, pics, vids to rolfe.winkler at thomsonreuters)

Desperate AZ may sell capitol buildings to raise money (Arizona Republic)

Accounting gimmicks help Wells Fargo (and others) boost profits (WSJ)

FDIC poised to split banks to lure buyers (WSJ)  "The strategy, which is likely to begin soon, is aimed at selling the most distressed hunks of failed banks to private-equity firms and other types of investors who may be more willing than traditional banks to take a flier on bad assets. The traditional banks could then bid on the deposits, branches and other bits of the failed institution that are appealing."

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 7-28

July 28, 2009

(send links, pics, vids to optionarmageddon at gmail)

Tenacious G (NY Mag)  Another good article on Goldman.  Most useful is the commentary regarding the $13 billion AIG collateral payments and the $28 billion worth of FDIC-guaranteed debt.  Without those bailouts, Goldman would be gone.  I'd always thought that was true.  Helpful to have confirmation.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Morning Links 7-27

July 27, 2009

Fitch: Five firms hold 80% of derivatives risk (CFO)  The five banks---Chase, Goldman, Morgan Stanley, Citi and BofA---also account for 96% of exposure to credit derivatives among 100 companies studied.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 7-24

July 24, 2009

MUST READ--Accountants gain courage to stand up to bankers (Jonathan Weil)  Be still my beating heart.  "The scope of the FASB’s initiative [to expand the use of fair value accounting] is massive. All financial assets would have to be recorded at fair value on the balance sheet each quarter, under the board’s tentative plan." These rules still have to be formally proposed.  Oh boy I hope this happens...

Evening Links 6-24

June 25, 2009

The Great American Bubble Machine (Rolling Stone via ZH)  Matt Taibbi strikes again, this time taking on Goldman Sachs.  What makes the story so refreshing is the language RS lets Taibbi use.  The fraud and corruption occurring at the highest levels of finance is obscene; Taibbi describes it with obscenities.