Felix Salmon

Why Jeff Bezos cares about his share price

February 1, 2013

Justin Fox has a great little post called “How Amazon Trained Its Investors to Behave”:

Avis’s smart Zipcar buy

January 2, 2013

What’s the opposite of the winner’s curse? It seems that the biggest winner of the Hertz deal to buy Dollar Thrifty for $2.6 billion was actually Hertz’s mortal enemy, Avis Budget.

What’s Ackman’s Herbalife game?

December 31, 2012

Bill Ackman sure knows how to make a splash: his presentation laying out his Herbalife short is rapidly approaching 3 million pageviews on Business Insider, plus many more from his own website. What’s more, it has already made him a lot of money: even with Herbalife stock up more than 12% today, at about $33 per share, it’s safe to assume that Ackman put on his short at between $45 and $50. If John Hempton is right and the short is on the order of $1 billion, then that means Ackman has made more than $300 million in the past couple of weeks.

Treasury exits GM

December 19, 2012

At some point in the next 15 months, assuming everything goes according to plan, the US government will no longer have a stake in General Motors. Treasury announced today that it’s selling 200 million of its 500 million shares back to GM, at $27.50 per share; it will then sell the other 300 million “pursuant to a pre-arranged written trading plan”. Interestingly, the news that a monster block of GM equity is about to hit the market did not have the effect you might think: GM stock is up 7% today, at $27.27.

Berkshire’s weird buyback

December 12, 2012

There are a lot of very weird aspects to today’s announcement that Berkshire Hathaway has bought back $1.2 billion in stock.

Is stock-picking just another hobby for men?

November 28, 2012

I had a fascinating lunch, a couple of weeks ago, which lodged in my mind the idea that stock picking, at least when practiced by individuals, is best analyzed as an upper-middle-class hobby rather than as purely profit-focused investing activity. Once you start looking at it that way, suddenly a lot of behavior, which looks irrational under most lights, starts making a lot of sense.

Is executive insider trading a problem?

November 28, 2012

The WSJ is making a very big deal of its latest investigation into when and how executives trade stock in their own companies. But I’m not particularly impressed: it seems like much more of a fishing expedition than a wide-ranging scandal.

Charts of the day, equity volume edition

November 27, 2012

Yesterday, ZeroHedge published this chart:


Which reminded me of this chart, which Cardiff Garcia found in August:


Both of them are telling the same story: that equity volumes, far from showing any kind of post-crisis rebound, are continuing to fall fast.

How Steve Cohen moves stock

November 26, 2012

Eric Hunsader, at Nanex, has managed to put together some fantastic charts of what exactly happened in Elan, the stock at the center of the latest big insider-trading case.