Felix Salmon

Citigroup under pressure

Morgan Stanley did its job: it managed to sell 1.5 billion of the government’s shares in Citigroup for a total of $6.2 billion, or just over $4.13 a share. That’s a good price, compared both to today’s close of $3.86 a share and to Treasury’s cost basis of $3.25 per share. Still, there’s another 6.2 billion shares outstanding, which is quite a big overhang, especially now that Citi has admitted stealing from cemeteries, and looks like it’s doing some pretty egregious book-cooking at quarter-end:

When a blogging award isn’t for blogging

Jim Prevor, a self-described “proud finalist for the Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism for work that originated online”, sets me straight on the new blogging award:

Congestion charging and biketopia

Matthew DeBord thinks that my Wired article about Charles Komanoff is really all about turning Manhattan into “biketopia”. He couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, Komanoff himself is a big advocate of biking. And yes, at the margin, having less traffic in midtown would help in terms of being able to create more bike lanes. But biking is not a big part of Komanoff’s spreadsheet at all: instead, it’s all about public transit. Buses become free, subways become cheaper, and the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers — the people who get into Manhattan by some means other than private car — become better off.

What they study at Chicago Business School

According to Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro, in a short paper (pdf) they’ve written about the news diets of media figures, about 61.9% of the news I consume is conservative. That makes my news diet more conservative than 78% of internet users, and 88% of media figures.

Basel III: Grounds for optimism

If you’re not a central banker and don’t even know any central bankers, chances are that you’ve never heard of Global Risk Regulator, a trade publication in London. But right now it’s very much worth paying attention to them, because their sources in and around Basel are unsurpassed. And it turns out, reading the cover story from their latest issue — which they’ve been nice enough to put online for free — that the central bankers seem to have the upper hand, right now, in the fight with the bankers.


JPMC removes its “overweight” rating from National Bank of Greece. How did that work out? — Jeff Matthews

Skymeter’s congestion pricing solution

My Wired article about Charles Komanoff went through a lot of editing, as you might expect for a story in the June issue of a magazine which starts with a lunch in December. And sadly, one of the big bits which ended up on the cutting-room floor was the stuff about Skymeter, a Toronto-based company which gets a brief shout-out at the end of the piece, and whose chief scientist, Bern Grush, has a great blog devoted entirely to congestion pricing.

The Max Keiser U-turn

In 1995, Shearson Lehman options trader Max Keiser had a dream — a dream of creating a futures exchange based on movie box-office grosses. It was a dream which lasted at least through 2007, when he gave an interview to Trader Daily’s Robert LaFranco, wistfully talking about what might have been.

The sleazy world of predatory debt buyers

NEDAP has an extremely important new report on a particularly evil and sleazy part of the predatory financial universe: debt buyers. These institutions make hundreds of millions of dollars by suing people in low-income neighborhoods, often without properly serving them with notice that they’re being sued. When the alleged debtor doesn’t show up for court, the debt buyers get a default judgment, and start attaching bank accounts and garnishing wages. Often they do this successfully even when the debt is not legitimate.