DealZone

from Funds Hub:

No defence

Sheltering from the credit crisis in so-called defensive stocks could prove a disappointment to investors and a great opportunity for short-sellers, according to Liontrust hedge fund manager James Inglis-Jones.

rtr226iq2Inglis-Jones, who runs a hedge fund for Liontrust and who recently took on the First Income fund after the departure of star manager Jeremy Lang, has short positions in sectors such as tobacco and pharmaceuticals and has recently added more.

"It's an interesting opportunity when something is seen as safe," he told me. "When the company delivers a disappointment the payoff can be pretty good."

In February Hedge Hub reported Crispin Odey saying defensives were becoming "interesting shorts" and that he "certainly wouldn't own them".

However, with markets having bounced so much recently -- the FTSE 100 is up by a quarter since March -- and many defensives having missed out on most of the rally, are defensives still expensive or do they offer better relative value now?

In a spin

Financial public relations firms, who elevated the honing of corporate messages to a highly profitable art form, are having to adapt their businesses and in some cases cut staff as the economic gloom intensifies.

With far fewer deals to publicize and lucrative “retainer” contracts under pressure, companies are cutting costs and are increasingly focusing on work thrown up by the crisis, such as capital-raising, restructuring and repairing tarnished images.”

So what exactly are they up to?

Some recent pr industry blogs and other web postings shine a light on some of the spinmeisters’ latest tactics.

from Funds Hub:

The new wrong

Most hedge funds agree that the credit crisis has thrown up some interesting assets at bargain-basement prices, particularly in credit markets.

rtr23v8sThe problem? When you have to report net asset value performance to jittery investors and prices of these cheap assets are getting even cheaper, when do you buy?

That's the dilemma facing many fund managers, some of whom have got burned by snapping up asset-backed securities and other assets too quickly.

from Funds Hub:

Blowin’ in the wind

rtr22twuThe timing of the Alternative Investment Management Association's hedge fund disclosure initiative indicates just how strong the winds of change are blowing in hedge fund land.

Coming just a day after ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet called the credit crisis "a loud and clear call" for extending hedge fund regulation, the move shows the hedge fund industry feels it must be more active in deciding the future shape of regulation.

The move, which will include regular -- probably quarterly -- disclosure of systemically significant holdings and risk exposure to national regulators, goes further than that suggested at last month's Treasury Select Committee by Marshall Wace chairman and Hedge Fund Standards Board trustee Paul Marshall, who had proposed aggregating data through prime brokers.

Senator, can you spare a dime?

The Detroit Three automakers go to Washington today, armed with fresh restructuring plans they hope will convince federal lawmakers to open the bailout spigot. For General Motors, Ford and Chrysler the stakes couldn’t be higher.

GM has been reviewing its already revamped business plan and may take steps that include dropping or selling off the Pontiac, Saab and Saturn brands. Ford, seen as the strongest bet to survive of the three because of its better cash position, is considering the sale of Volvo. And Chrysler, seen as the most vulnerable of the bunch, finds itself having to spell out the reasons it needs federal funds even though it’s also looking to hook up with foreign automakers.

As IHS Global Insight analyst Aaron Bragman says: “Just as General Motors is too big to fail, Chrysler is too small to survive on its own.”

Happy Thanksgiving, Citigroup

Thanksgiving has come early for embattled Citigroup. The second-largest U.S. bank by assets received a pardon of sorts from the government late on Sunday, getting a $20 billion lifeline – the biggest bank bailout yet.

The bank had been widely thought to be too big to fail because of its global reach. Chief Executive Vikram Pandit and other top management will keep their jobs, but the government will have the final say on executive pay packages.

Citigroup’s shares lost 20 percent of their value on Friday, closing at $3.77, down 60 percent for the week and reaching their lowest level since December 1992. The group’s market value fell to $20.5 billion. That’s a far cry from the good old days of late 2006 when the bank’s market value topped $270 billion.

Disk trouble

Sandisk flash memory cardsAnother day, another round of hand-wringing: Do I, or don’t I? That seems to be the mantra of top executives mulling buys in what continues to be a rocky market while those on the receiving end are left wondering will he, or won’t he?

So far, it ain’t looking good — for the sellers, or the buyers.

Late last night, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the world’s top memory chip maker, decided to dump its pursuit of flash memory card maker SanDisk Corp. That unsolicited deal would have been worth $6 billion, but Samsung apparently got cold feet after seeing SanDisk’s wider-than-expected quarterly loss.

“Your surprise announcements of a quarter billion dollar operating loss, a hurried renegotiation of your relationship with Toshiba and major job losses across your organization all point to a considerable increase in your risk profile and a material deterioration in value, both on a stand-alone basis as well as to Samsung,” Samsung CEO Lee Yoon-woo wrote to SanDisk management in a letter disclosed by Samsung on Wednesday.

Solving the credit crisis

Having trouble understanding the credit crisis? The comic strip “Sinfest” would like to proffer an explanation:

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