To get an idea of the job facing the new head of the IMF, check out Patrick Wintour’s interview with Vince Cable, a UK cabinet minister who, perfectly sensibly, says that Greece is going to have to restructure its debts. Cable puts a positive spin on the idea: a “soft restructuring”, he says, with Greece staying in the euro zone, could lead to a closer political union.
It’s the Ira Sohn conference tomorrow, with well over a thousand people paying four-digit sums, and sometimes more, for the privilege of listening to boldface fund managers talk about their investment ideas. The conference gets a lot of press, not least from Reuters, but these presentations are not the kind of thing that individual investors — or even financial journalists — are really qualified to judge.
David Segal’s Haggler column this week concentrated on companies which use Mechanical Turk to plant fake reviews — both positive and negative — on Yelp. “This is very sneaky,” he writes, “and it’s a continuing problem for Yelp, which is locked in a “Spy vs. Spy”-style contest with fake reviewers.”
In 2004, Ben Stein wrote a thin book called How to Ruin Your Financial Life, a collection of short sarcastic chapters giving extremely bad advice. Chapter 32 is entitled “Invest in Penny Stocks”, and it aims directly at the purveyors of “advice” about the same:
In the blue corner, we have Joe Nocera and Henry Blodget (twice). In the red corner, there’s The Epicurean Dealmaker (twice), with The Analyst as cornerman. The debate centers on the fact that the shares LinkedIn sold Thursday are worth hundreds of millions of dollars more than LinkedIn received from its bankers. To Nocera and Blodget, the conclusion is clear: LinkedIn’s bankers screwed the company out of that money, giving it instead to their favored buy-side clients.