Felix Salmon

Financial reform: The enforcement vacuum

April 9, 2010

Shahien Nasiripour is on a roll these days. Today he makes a great catch:

In a paper on the financial crisis he presented last month at the Brookings Institution in Washington, Greenspan did not mention the word “fraud”, in any of its forms, even once in the 66-page presentation.

Greece won’t go Argentine

April 9, 2010

Landon Thomas today, in the lead story on NYTimes.com, comes out and uses the A-word with respect to Greece:

Counterparties

April 9, 2010

US banks shrink their balance sheet at quarter-end — WSJ

Pixels — YouTube

Nick Denton on how to write a popular blog entry. Super-smart, and dead-on. Also, a little depressing — Village Voice

Does the crisis portend communism?

April 8, 2010

There have been many critiques of the financial system in the wake of the global crisis, blaming its structure for the severity of the problem. But it’s taken until now for an old-school Marxist to come along and co-opt all of those critiques as a call to embrace communism. David Harvey’s new book is just that. Here’s the official blurb:

The tragedy of Prince and Rubin

April 8, 2010

Well done to Cyrus Sanati for getting a bit of snark into Dealbook:

Byron Georgiou asked [Chuck Prince] about the ballooning of Citi’s leveraged loan exposure to $100 billion from $35 billion within a short period of time.

Blaming Prince and Rubin

April 8, 2010

This morning saw Chuck Prince and Bob Rubin hauled up in front of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and they didn’t do themselves any favors at all. Even in the wake of Citigroup’s systemically-devastating collapse, they insisted that Citigroup’s risk management systems were “robust and proactive”, to use Rubin’s words. And while Prince apologized for his actions, Rubin — who bears more responsibility for the crisis than Prince does — still refused to say that he was sorry, let alone accept any responsibility for anything, except in a vague “it was everybody’s fault” kind of way.

When Greece became an emerging market

April 8, 2010

In August 1999, JP Morgan released an expanded version of its EMBI+ emerging-market bond index. The new index, the EMBI Global, “was created in response to investor demand for a benchmark that includes a broader array of countries”, said the bank, which created a two-part test to see whether a country counted as an emerging market. First, it included all the countries that the World Bank considered to be “middle income” or lower. And then there was this:

Counterparties

April 8, 2010

John Gruber’s iPad review — Daring Fireball

Erin Geiger Smith Leaves Business Insider — Mediabistro

‘This might just be one of the most important communications by the ECB in its short existence’ — Alphaville

Those outperforming junk stocks

April 7, 2010

There are lots of tools that investors use to try to outperform the stock market. Some use fundamental analysis, looking for stocks which are cheap. Others just want to buy high-quality qualities. And traders often want to buy stocks which are rising, playing the momentum.