Felix Salmon

The default has already begun

By Felix Salmon
October 14, 2013

The big question in Washington this week is whether, in the words of the NYT, we’re going to see “a legislative failure and an economic catastrophe that could ripple through financial markets, foreign capitals, corporate boardrooms, state budget offices and the bank accounts of everyday investors”. In this conception — and I have subscribed to it just as much as anybody else — the sequester is bad, the shutdown is worse, and the default associated with hitting the debt ceiling is so catastrophic as to be unthinkable.

Is JP Morgan being unfairly singled out?

By Felix Salmon
October 11, 2013

JP Morgan is the first big bank to suffer a quarterly loss on account of multi-billion-dollar legal bills. It is also the most profitable bank in America (or was, up until this morning). Which means there are three possibilities here:

Kill the sticky nav

By Felix Salmon
October 11, 2013

It might have been the Slate redesign which pushed me over the edge, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s just PTSD from Reuters Next. But at this point I will seriously donate a substantial amount of money to anybody who can build a browser plugin which automatically kills all persistent navbars, or “sticky navs”, as they’re also known.

How Janet Yellen should embrace the Fed’s dissenters

By Felix Salmon
October 9, 2013

The Fed Whisperer, John Hilsenrath, had a great insidery article yesterday about forward guidance, and about the Fed’s ability — or lack thereof — to effectively signal its future actions. And it was timely, too, coming as it did a day before the official nomination of Janet Yellen as the new Fed chair.

The un-terrifying Treasury bill market

By Felix Salmon
October 8, 2013

Neil Irwin isn’t mincing words. “What’s happening in the Treasury bill market today should terrify you” is the headline, and this is the accompanying chart:

Felix Salmon smackdown watch, debt prioritization edition

By Felix Salmon
October 7, 2013

On Thursday I said that the US is not going to default on its bonded debt, even if the debt ceiling is reached: “with Jack Lew (or anybody else, really) as Treasury secretary, you can be sure that debt service payments would be priority number one”.

Dan Loeb’s doomed Sotheby’s campaign

By Felix Salmon
October 4, 2013

Dan Loeb is going to lose his latest fight, at Sotheby’s. That’s because it’s a Sony, not a Yahoo.

Making sense of the market in US CDS

By Felix Salmon
October 3, 2013

Matt Levine had an excellent post last week on the bizarre market in credit default swaps on the USA — a market which people only ever look at during times of crisis or potential crisis. The nihilists are out in force today, using this market to confirm their priors, but the problem is that it’s very, very hard to look at US CDS, or to look at the yield on short-dated Treasury bills, and draw anything much in the way of meaningful conclusions.

The FBI and the legitimation of the bitcoinverse

By Felix Salmon
October 2, 2013

Did the FBI just deal a fatal blow to bitcoin? Zero Hedge is at his most apocalyptic this afternoon, saying that “the end may be nigh” for bitcoin now that Silk Road, the bitcoin-fueled drugs bazaar, has been closed down by the Feds. Even Adrian Chen, who has done most of the best reporting on Silk Road, was shocked by what the FBI found: