Felix Salmon

BofA chart of the day

November 4, 2010

Jonathan Weil has a great column on Bank of America, noting that it’s trading at a price-to-book ratio of just 0.54. That’s not because it’s losing money, but rather because no one believes the bank’s numbers. And it’s easy to see why that might be, when BofA insists that its Countrywide goodwill — all $4.4 billion of it — remains unimpaired, even as the brand name has been dropped.

How QE works

November 4, 2010

Gawker’s John Cook asks me a question about how the Fed’s quantitative easing is supposed to work:

The dismal economics of paywalls

November 4, 2010

Mark Thoma sends me a very clear explanation of the economics of paywalls from Kellogg’s Shane Greenstein:

Bernanke explains QE2

November 4, 2010

Ben Bernanke might not be giving Trichet-style press conferences, but he is at least taking to the op-ed page of the Washington Post to explain yesterday’s decision. Here’s what he’s trying to achieve with his quantitative easing:


November 4, 2010

Federal Reserve Rains Money On Corporate America — But Main Street Left High And Dry — HuffPo

BNP Paribas is not the largest bank in the world

November 4, 2010

Bloomberg not only should know better; it does know better. And it says as much, in paragraph 21 of its story. But that doesn’t stop it from leading the story with this:

Wine market arbitrage of the day

November 3, 2010

Price of 2009 en primeur Chateau Lafite in New York, per case: $17,000

Price of shipping a case of Chateau Lafite from New York to Hong Kong: $40

Price of 2009 en primeur Chateau Lafite in Hong Kong, per case: $70,000

Sailing QE2 around Charybdis

November 3, 2010

It’s easy to see the logic behind the Fed’s latest bout of quantitative easing. Indeed, the official Fed statement lays it out quite plainly: the economy is struggling, and needs all the help it can get; meanwhile, inflation is lower than the Fed would like to see. Since rates can’t be lowered below the zero lower bound, all that’s left is QE.

Conspiracy theory of the day, Foundation X edition

November 3, 2010

Don’t believe for a minute that the likes of Rand Paul are bringing a whole new level of nutty to upper-house politics, in contrast to staid and boring countries like the UK. Via Joseph Cotterill and Charlie Stross, here’s an astonishing speech made in the Mother of Parliaments by David James, a/k/a Baron James of Blackheath.