So I thought I’d do a little number crunching on Buffett’s Burlington deal. What does that tell us? That Buffett is paying a full price for a business with mediocre returns on capital, that he’s betting on growth, not value.
In a spot of good news for the economy, banks continued to rebuild their capital cushions in the third quarter. But are they doing so fast enough? One risk going forward may be the size of their securities portfolios, which could expose them to significant interest rate risk when the Federal Reserve finally taps on the brakes.
Recently Yves Smith over at Naked Capitalism posted snippets of Rob Johnson’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. The testimony he tried to give anyway. Johnson’s commentary was rather trenchant, so I thought I’d click over to get the full version. But it wasn’t where it was supposed to be on the Committee’s website.
Do you think we should establish a government-backed insurance fund for big banks’ risky trading activities? Probably not. But that’s precisely what the administration and Congress agree should be done. Today Sheila Bair proposed her own variation on the theme. At first glance her idea sounds better, but it’s just as bad as the others.
GMAC sold more FDIC-backed debt today… (Reuters)
General Motors Acceptance Corp on Wednesday sold $2.9 billion in three-year government-guaranteed notes, according to a market source familiar with the sale. The 1.75 percent notes were priced at 99.991 to yield 1.753 percent, or 31.6 basis points over comparable U.S. Treasuries.
Apollo shares plunge on government inquiry (Bloomberg) The for-profit education industry is shady in the extreme. Fully 86% of Apollo’s revenue comes from student loans financed by the government. It’s a great scam. Find a warm body that qualifies for federal student aid, and then sell ‘em as much education as they’re willing to borrow against. And when the government offers to increase aid, companies like Apollo (and private universities) just raise their prices, forcing students to take on more debt for the same education. In the end, its taxpayers that take the hit when student loans default…
The guys at Variant Perception make a great point. Some reform plans for the banking sector (so-called “narrow banking” being the most extreme) would have banks invest more deposits in government paper in order to keep them safe. To the degree such plans get traction, that could keep a lid on yields despite rising government spending.
The government has already poured $12.5 billion into GMAC since last December, and now the company is negotiating for $2.8-$5.6 billion more. Oh, and FDIC will allow the company to max out its borrowing capacity under TLGP, bringing the total there to $7.4 billion.
New York Fed’s Secret Choice to pay for swaps hits taxpayers (Bloomberg) Remember the $13 billion that Goldman got via AIG after the government takeover? Turns out the NY Fed instructed AIG to pay out 100¢ on the dollar. Just another fact to keep in mind next time someone says the banks are “earning” their way through this crisis.