Felix Salmon

ETFs and gold speculation

October 8, 2009

Izabella Kaminska has an interesting take on the record-high gold price, via Bedlam Asset Management: essentially, it’s rising because the big gold ETFs, like GLD, are so incredibly easy to buy and to speculate with. Gold is now something that individuals can easily trade in and out of daily — goldbugs are no longer just hold-it-until-you-die inflation hawks and eschatologically-inclined survivalists.

Stock-market charts of the day

October 7, 2009

Dshort and Clusterstock both have eye-catching stock-market charts today:

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These present two very different views of the recent rally. The first shows it to be a strong bounce off a deep low, which brings us back to a point which is perfectly normal for a recession. The second shows the bounce to be smaller, and largely a function of the weak dollar.

Airline revenue datapoint of the day

October 7, 2009

Joe Brancatelli finds a wonderful inverse relationship when it comes to ancillary airline fees:

The defenestration of Bill Winters

October 7, 2009

Why did Jamie Dimon fire Bill Winters as head of JP Morgan’s investment bank? According to Bloomberg, it’s because he felt Winters shouldn’t be CEO of the bank as a whole. And so, by the inexorable up-or-out logic of Wall Street, Winters was out.

Krugman on the end of trade

October 7, 2009

Paul Krugman gave a pleasingly wonkish talk at the World Business Forum today: the attendees with their Speaker Workbooks will have found it difficult to fill out the Paul Krugman Summary Sheet on page 95, complete with blanks where they are meant to write in their Action Plans and associated Due Date. Instead, he gave a smart and detailed disquisition on the past, present, and future state of international trade.

Be happy about the lack of securitization

October 7, 2009

Paul Krugman has a good response to Jenny Anderson’s piece today on the woeful state of the securitization markets: isn’t that a good thing?

Ben Stein’s antagonist is not a gangster

October 7, 2009

Remember the desperate lawsuit launched by Adaptive Marketing, Ben Stein’s sleazy paymasters, trying to uncover the identity of a critical blogger? The good news is that it’s been dropped:

John Thain comes clean

October 7, 2009

Financial News has a quote from John Thain, at “a speech this month”:

“To model correctly one tranche of one CDO took about three hours on one of the fastest computers in the United States. There is no chance that pretty much anybody understood what they were doing with these securities. Creating things that you don’t understand is really not a good idea no matter who owns it.”


October 6, 2009

Commonfund releases its 2009 higher education price index. The cost of running a university is +2.3% this year. — Commonfund (PDF)