Felix Salmon

The weirdly rational flash crash

May 20, 2010

As the Dow started falling dramatically this morning, my colleague Frank Tantillo and I put together a Google spreadsheet comparing the Dow’s current level to what it looked like at the low point on the flash crash day of May 6.

Viewing the euro crisis from Britain

May 20, 2010

The Economist’s Charlemagne was unimpressed by my euro fantasia this morning: apparently I was the BBC’s second choice for the spot, and was approached only after they had been turned down by more sober journalists.

Adventures in market reporting, short-selling edition

May 20, 2010

Everybody knows what happens to stocks when you try to ban short sales, right?

LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) – European shares were sharply lower at midday on Thursday, extending the previous session’s steep fall, on persistent concern other euro zone countries will follow Germany in banning short selling in certain instruments.

How the euro might collapse

May 20, 2010

I had a little three-minute fantasia this morning on Radio 4 in the UK; if you prefer text to audio, here you go. The idea was to give an idea of one way in which the euro might fall apart, but I had no idea, when I recorded it, that markets would plunge again today.


May 20, 2010

Otto has the full JPM World Cup analysis. England apparently does very well on penalty shoot-outs. Ha — Inca Kola

A real Goldman Sachs scandal

May 19, 2010

When Matt Taibbi published his famous “vampire squid” article about Goldman Sachs, people accused him of throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the company; today’s broadside from the NYT feels similar. It’s basically the same story, repeated many times: Goldman had clients who were invested in X going up, and yet at the same time Goldman had investments which would benefit from X going down.

A granular look at finance job losses

May 19, 2010

Many thanks to Mark Beauchamp of EMSI, who has provided a very granular breakdown (Excel file) of exactly where the job losses are in the finance and insurance industries. The numbers cover 2007, 2008, and 2009: so far the data for 2010 are too inaccurate to be useful. And interestingly the peak of the finance-and-insurance jobs market was 2008, with 8.88 million jobs, which then fell to 8.56 million in 2009: a fall of 3.6%.

Has Wall Street escaped job losses?

May 19, 2010

Mike Mandel has the chart of the day, asking why the finance industry has lost so many fewer jobs than much of the rest of the private-sector economy: financialjobs.png

Why Spain’s in worse shape than Greece

May 19, 2010

Note the circular reasoning in Martin Wolf’s latest column:

Greece is likely to restructure its debt at some point, as John Dizard has argued in the FT. That would not be the worst outcome. Once a country is in the “junk bond” category, no reputation is left.