Felix Salmon

Counterparties: Bernanke’s hedonic dabbling

By Ben Walsh
August 7, 2012

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com

Dubious statistics of the day, cybercrime edition

By Felix Salmon
August 7, 2012

I feel for Peter Maass and Megha Rajagopalan of ProPublica, who have spent 3,700 words and some enormous amount of time trying to track down the source of dubious cybercrime statistics. I went through something similar in 2005, looking at counterfeiting statistics: I can attest to how frustrating and thankless it is trying to follow footnote after footnote in a futile attempt to find something substantive amidst the exaggerated rhetoric.

Small investors vs high-speed traders

By Felix Salmon
August 7, 2012

One of the problems with financial journalism is its rather kludgy attempts to appeal to a general audience. If something bad happens, for instance, it has to be presented as being bad for the little guy. This was a huge problem with the Libor scandal, since anybody with a mortgage or other loan tied to Libor ended up saving money as a result of it being marked too low.

Counterparties: “You f—ing Americans. Who are you to tell us that we’re not going to deal with Iranians.”

By Peter Rudegeair
August 6, 2012

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com

Facebook’s Faustian bargain

By Felix Salmon
August 6, 2012

In the run-up to Facebook’s IPO in May, Henry Blodget explained just what it was that made Mark Zuckerberg a great CEO: his ultra-long-term time horizon. “It often takes decades to build the sort of companies that the best executives and entrepreneurs hope to create,” wrote Blodget, explaining that Facebook’s dual-class share structure, and Zuckerberg’s control of the company, would allow the young CEO to build a company for the ages, rather than one which hurt itself by chasing short-term profits.

Chart of the day, HFT edition

By Felix Salmon
August 6, 2012

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This astonishing GIF comes from Nanex, and shows the amount of high-frequency trading in the stock market from January 2007 to January 2012. (Which means that the Knightmare craziness of last week is not included.)

The danger of repo

By Felix Salmon
August 6, 2012

Remember how there’s a very good chance that Treasury’s new floating-rate notes are going to be linked to some kind of repo benchmark? Well, here’s another reason that’s a bad idea: the repo market is shrinking fast, at least in Europe — and if it can shrink in Europe, it can do so in the US, as well.

Why it’s not OK for cyclists to run red lights

By Felix Salmon
August 5, 2012

Randy Cohen, the NYT’s former Ethicist columnist, has now attempted an ethical defense of running red lights on his bicycle. “I flout the law when I’m on my bike,” he writes; “you do it when you are on foot, at least if you are like most New Yorkers.”

Counterparties: The true cost of Amtrak’s burgers

By Ben Walsh
August 3, 2012

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com