Felix Salmon

Why Apple’s cheap

I’m going to take one last bite at the Apple valuation question, since I’m happier now about why Apple’s trading where it’s trading than I was when I wrote my original post.

American plutocracy

Michael Lewis puts his finger on something important:

Ordinary Greeks seldom harass their rich, for the simple reason that they have no idea where to find them. To a member of the Greek Lower 99 a Greek Upper One is as good as invisible.

When art galleries ratify forgeries

Patricia Cohen has uncovered the art-world scandal of the year: it seems as though Knoedler, the 164-year-old Upper East Side institution, closed abruptly on Wednesday in large part to protect itself against a $17 million lawsuit from Pierre Lagrange. Lagrange spent that sum on a Pollock which he then discovered contained two paints which had not been manufactured until after Pollock died. And now it seems that Knoedler regularly sold AbEx paintings procured by Glafira Rosales with the vaguest of provenance:

Counterparties

Soros: The global financial system is in a “self-reinforcing process of disintegration” — WSJ

The art of Griftopia

I’m in Miami right now, for the annual bacchanal of conspicuous consumption that is Art Basel Miami Beach. There are two equally important things going on here (and by “important” I mean “not important at all”) — a tiny group of people spending huge sums of money on art; and a small group of people in extremely expensive shoes gossiping about who’s buying what.

Chart of the day, employment edition

gateway.jpg

Today’s employment report counts as a win for the White House. Markets care about payrolls; politicians care about unemployment. And so does the country as a whole: the severity with which the BLS website crashes on the first Friday of the month is a direct function of the change in the headline unemployment rate, which, wonderfully, fell to just 8.6% last month.

Walmart’s MoneyCard: Still nothing to celebrate

American Banker’s Maria Aspan has sent a love letter to Jane Thompson today, giving her the “banking innovator of the year award” for her achievements at Walmart:

Counterparties

The Euro debt crisis in 8 graphs — Washington Post

Mario Draghi: Time for the “Euro area design” to adapt — ECB

Why unlimited monetization and eurobonds are right around the corner — Credit Writedowns

Why rogue traders will never disappear

John Gapper’s new e-book, How To Be a Rogue Trader, is really good. Gapper’s been covering such things ever since he wrote a 1997 book about Nick Leeson which itself has just been reissued in Kindle form. And you might be surprised how many rogue-trading scandals there have been between then and now. Leeson was roughly contemporaneous with Joseph Jett, at Kidder Peabody; since then we’ve had Toshihide Iguchi at Daiwa, Yasuo Hamanaka at Sumitomo, John Rusnak at AIB, a team (!) of four rogue traderes at National Australia Bank, Jerome Kerviel at SocGen, and of course Kweku Adoboli at UBS.