Felix Salmon

Counterparties

Hedge funds fudge their quarter-end valuation numbers — WSJ

Maybe because they’ve been lagging the stock market since 2003 — WSJ

Why we won’t build a stock-market simulator

A year ago, I spoke to the University of Pennsylvania’s Michael Kearns about whether we might be able to do something to help prevent a much worse reprise of the May 2010 flash crash. The short answer is that no, we can’t — or won’t, in any case. But the longer answer is that there is something we could do, if we just had some will and a lot of money:

Why banks make bone-headed decisions

Stephen Dubner passes on what he calls the “bizarre story” of a man whose bank is unwilling to give him a $50,000 loan, even if it’s fully collateralized in cash.

The social benefit of pension funds

Matt Yglesias is, I think, very wrong about this:

The idea that a mass market of retail investors ineptly attempting to maintain a balanced diverse portfolio serves a useful role in steering capital to productive uses doesn’t pass the laugh test.

A tale of two retailers

The two biggest expectations-defying retailers of the past decade were Sears Holdings and the Apple Store. Expectations could hardly have been higher when the former was created: it was one of those rare deals where the stock of the acquiring company went up on the news, and in an article headlined “Eddie’s Master Stroke“, Businessweek waxed positively rhapsodic about the prospects for the company becoming the next Berkshire Hathaway. Three years earlier, of course, it had published a column headlined “Sorry, Steve: Here’s Why Apple Stores Won’t Work“.

Why it’s hard to invest sensibly

It’s that time of year when resolutions get made, and people have a bit of free time on their hands, and so thoughts turn to financial planning. This is a good thing. Top priority should always be liability management: make sure you’re not paying more interest than you need to, especially since interest rates are so low right now. If you’re carrying a substantial balance on your credit cards which isn’t likely to be paid off any time soon, look hard for some kind of loan which can pay that balance off.

Counterparties

China supports Argentina in Falklands dispute — Univision

“You can have opacity and an industrial economy, or you can have transparency and herd goats” — Interfluidity

Getting the unbanked on bikes

American Banker’s Andy Peters has a jolly story about how West Virginia’s United Bank is teaming up with Washington’s bike-sharing program, to help the formerly unbanked have access to this handy form of transportation.

How social networks beat email

Maija Palmer, with another one of those end-of-email articles, finds this intriguing story: