Some news to share with Option ARMageddon readers: After a great year writing columns and blogging for Reuters, I’m moving on.
Corruption suspected in airlift of billions in cash from Kabul (Rosenberg, WSJ) $3 billion has left the country in three years. And that’s just the officially declared amount. Your tax dollars at work folks.
Hasbro may make some of the world’s most iconic toys, but it wouldn’t necessarily make a great plaything for private equity barons. True, the maker of G.I. Joe action figures and Play-Doh — which said it rejected a buyout approach — has great brands for the under-10 set. But the seasonal toy business would be expensive to finance with real — rather than Monopoly — money. Even with big cuts, the potential returns from a deal look meager.
Must Read — Dysregulation nation (Warner, NYT)
Yuan soars to post-revaluation high (Reuters) On Saturday China said it would let its currency appreciate. Though U.S. consumers may face higher prices, this is absolutely necessary to help rebalance the world economy.
Germany says will publish bank stress test results, but only if banks give the ok! (McGroarty/Kissler, DowJones) The healthy banks should encourage their own results to be published.
TARP was in a groove but it’s now turning into a bad ’80s remix.
After a string of profitable paybacks from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and 59 others, the list of deadbeats is growing. In May, 91 banks missed their dividend payments to taxpayers, up from 55 in November. With hundreds of banks still trapped in the $700 billion bailout program, it’s growing reminiscent of the savings and loan crisis.
$250k deposit insurance limit to be made permanent, retroactive (Paletta/Luccetti, WSJ) Savers in IndyMac, which failed before deposit insurance limits were raised, can now put in a claim for lost deposits over $100k. I argued a year ago that this bailout never deserved the “temporary” moniker in the first place, that it would never go away. The problem is that deposit insurance, which is supposed to stabilize the banking system, can actually DEstabilize it by compounding moral hazard. That’s what this does.
Life insurers win capital reprieve (Scism, WSJ) This is a shame. On one hand, life insurers don’t appear as systemically risky as Wall Street banks, since their liabilities aren’t as unstable. You won’t see a run on life insurance policies the way you might on bank deposits, commercial paper or repos. But life insurers nevertheless dramatically overlevered themselves during the boom, and they invested in all sorts of dodgy paper rated AAA. To protect policy-holders, regulators should err on the side of demanding too much capital…
Cross-posted from today’s NYT.
Rosy predictions of a big bounce-back in mergers and acquisitions may not be coming true, but bankers are fortunate that U.S. deal volumes are recovering as if the recession just endured was run-of-the-mill. After two down years, the value of American corporate match-making is flat in 2010. That’s no boom — but if history is any guide, it’s also nothing to complain about.