Rolfe Winkler

Buffett’s Betrayal

August 4, 2009

When I was 14, Warren Buffett wrote me a letter.

It was a response to one I’d sent him, pitching an investment idea.  For a kid interested in learning stocks, Buffett was a great role model.  His investing style — diligent security analysis, finding competent management, patience — was immediately appealing.

Sheila Bair not cowed by Geithner tantrum, criticizes Obama

August 4, 2009

Last week Tim Geithner dropped multiple F-bombs in a meeting with regulators unenthusiastic about his plan to concentrate oversight of the financial system at the Fed.  Sheila Bair was one of his targets, but today she held her ground.  In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee this morning, she had this to say about concentrating regulatory power at the Fed:

Pending Home Sales continue upward

August 4, 2009

A little bit of good news from NAR for a Tuesday.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in June, rose 3.6 percent to 94.6 from an upwardly revised reading of 91.3 in May, and is 6.7 percent above June 2008 when it was 88.7.  The last time there were five consecutive monthly gains was in July 2003.

Evening Links 8-3

August 3, 2009

(send links, pics, vids to optionarmageddon at gmail)

U.S. raids Colonial bank office in Florida, serving “TARP-related” warrants (Reuters)  Cheers for kicking butt and taking names.  As the special inspector general for TARP, Neil Barofsky has broad authority, including subpoena power and the right to carry a handgun.  This profile in the WSJ quotes critics that say he’s got too much Eliot in him, Ness or Spitzer, “over-stepping” his bounds or other such nonsense.  With the vast legal apparatus that rich banksters are able to hide behind, we need a guy who’s not afraid to offend delicate sensibilities.

Daily Show: Home Crisis Investigation

August 3, 2009

Tim Geithner can’t sell his house. Wait, he raised the price? WTF!?! The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c Home Crisis Investigation www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Joke of the Day

If you have trouble playing the video, try it here.

George Magnus’ Opus

August 3, 2009

For those convinced the economy is getting back on track (the S&P got back above 1,000 today!), I offer a cold shower courtesy of George Magnus, Senior Economic Adviser at UBS.  He pens a good op-ed in today’s London Times that warns folks to be wary of the emerging “recovery.”

Lunchtime Links 8-2

August 2, 2009

Billions in Lehman claims could bury an elusive insurer (NYT) A fascinating story. My colleague Felix correctly compares the situation to AIG, the massive insurer that underpriced tail risk when it sold CDS on toxic paper. Here we have an interesting problem where this insurer appears to have been regulated, just not very well. If it can’t be successfully regulated, and it poses huge systemic risks, should we outlaw insurance on tail risks that are potentially very fat?

Bank Death Watch: Five failures + new addition

July 31, 2009

There were five bank failures tonight.  Two of meaningful size, but none in Georgia!