Felix Salmon

How the pros see the fixed-income market

Every year, the Loomis Sayles PR team drags its top fund managers down to New York for lunch with the wonkier end of the financial-journalism spectrum: there’s lots of talk of curve-flatteners in a rising interest-rate environment, that kind of thing. The main attraction for me is always David Rolley, the droll and super-smart fund manager on the global fixed-income side of things, and someone who’s always good at making you look at the world in new and interesting ways.

Lessons from a retracted editorial

Lazar Greenfield, the former editor of Surgery News, would have been well advised to confer with Larry Summers before deciding to publish his editorial on semen in the trade mag’s February edition. Timed to coincide with Valentine’s Day, the piece reads like a quirky blog post. It starts with the effects of a starch diet on fruit flies, moves quickly on to rotifers (microscopic wheel animals), and finally moves on to humans:


Krugman vs Weisberg on Paul Ryan’s budget ideas — NYT, Slate

Why are CDs 74 minutes long? ‘cos that’s the length of the 1951 Furtwängler/Bayreuther Festspiele’s Beethoven 9 — MR

The tragedy of Milwaukee’s bus service

You’re probably not going to read all 3,700 words of William Alden’s huge article about the vicious financial circle in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where local-government cutbacks are hitting the bus service, with the knock-on effect that a lot of jobs are literally out of reach for people without cars. But it’s a great article, and a fine example of the kind of in-depth original reporting being done by HuffPo.

Charlie Munger’s BYD conflicts

In April 2009, Marc Gunther wrote a glowing cover story for Fortune profiling hot Chinese automaker BYD, the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars of Berkshire Hathaway’s money. The headline was “Warren Buffett takes charge” (charge, electric cars, geddit?), and two things were abundantly clear. The first is that Berkshire’s stake had catapulted BYD into the international spotlight and given the company invaluable credibility. And the second is that Charlie Munger was BYD’s biggest cheerleader, both before and after the stake was bought.

The unexpected T-bill rally

With time rapidly running out before the debt ceiling is reached, and doom-mongering rampant about the disastrous possible consequences of the US Treasury being unable to repay its debts, just look what’s happened to the market in short-term Treasury bills!

The case of Paul Brodeur vs the NYPL

I’m intrigued by the back-and-forth between former New Yorker writer Paul Brodeur, on the one hand, and the New York Public Library, on the other.


In which I talk to Chrystia Freeland about what Bob Zoellick should do in the middle east — YouTube

Nasdaq’s clever stupid bid for NYSE

In the immortal words of David St Hubbins, it’s such a fine line between stupid and clever, and Nasdaq’s Robert Greifeld is walking that very line with his $11.3 billion bid, with ICE, for NYSE Euronext.