Lunchtime Links 1-19

Jan 19, 2010 19:18 UTC

MUST READSouring mortgages, weak market put FHA on tightrope (Timiraos, WSJ) Good article, though Timiraos doesn’t address the absurd circularity perpetuated by FHA Chief David Stevens when Stevens says, on the one hand, that more gov’t lending protects the housing market from further declines, while simultaneously arguing that such lending isn’t sustainable. That said, Timiraos has worked lots of interesting stuff into this piece, especially towards the end. For instance, in late ’07 investors were refinancing at-risk borrowers into FHA loans in order to shift risk to taxpayers. Barney Frank defends permanently raising FHA maximum loans for certain geographies to $729k. Also lots of data about how badly FHA loans are performing.

Citi’s Q4 earnings: Not terrible but not great (Wilchins, Reuters) Trading revenues in the investment bank were much weaker compared to last quarter. Citi also benefited from a tax break, without which they wouldn’t have met consensus estimates for the quarter. Here’s a helpful chart.

(Click here to enlarge in new window)

tyt44h

How the French outplayed AIG and the Fed (Berman, WSJ…subscription req’d) Great column. Goldman gets all the bad press, but it was far from the only bank that got 100ยข on the dollar for derivative contracts with AIG…

Too big to fail is here to stay (Salmon, Reuters) Felix does a great takedown of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s latest column.

Record cash means S&P 500 at half 2007 valuation (Xydias/Nazareth, Bloomberg) A very interesting idea, though lots of bones to pick with the way this piece was written. In nearly 1,300 words the writers never manage to provide a solid definition of how they’re computing valuation. What is price to cash flow? Do they mean price to free cash flow? Do they mean price to EBITDA? There’s a line about cash flow being earnings plus depreciation and asset writedowns. That may be a very relevant metric. But it’s not one that investors know or understand and the authors fail to explain it.

The bidding war for failed banks (Mathews/Fisher, SNL) Interesting data on competitive bids for failed banks. (Until FDIC stopped releasing it)

In defense of a 4-day workweek (Hari, Independent)

Google at war in China, now postpones handset launches (BBC)

Another Swiss bank whistleblower (Browning, NYT)

AT&T/Verizon cut prices (Furchgott, Gadgetwise) The price cuts are just for some voice plans, not data plans. You can call the carriers and get the new lower prices without having to extend your contract…

COMMENT

No, Ron, they didn’t. It happens for balance sheet periods beginning on 1/1/10. So the Q1 release will be the first to include it.

Posted by Rolfe Winkler | Report as abusive

AT&T unsuspends online sales of iPhone in NYC

Dec 28, 2009 19:56 UTC

AT&T’s iPhone problems keep getting worse. The phones are behaving so badly in NYC that AT&T tried surreptiously to discourage sales. From Jeffrey Bartash, Dow Jones:

In a holiday-shortened week, AT&T has spawned a raft of headlines on the Internet after the company halted online sales of the iPhone in New York City, at least temporarily. The phone is still available to New Yorkers in Apple (AAPL) and AT&T stores, however….

Since reports of AT&T’s online move surfaced Sunday, a number of people have tried to order the iPhone online using New York City ZIP codes. An effort by this writer to do the same showed that “there are no phones and devices that match your search criteria,” according to AT&T’s Web site.

Now CNBC is reporting that AT&T has resumed online sales in NYC.

AT&T is in quite a pickle. According to a great NYT article by Randall Stross published two weeks ago, the problem isn’t AT&T’s network, it’s the iPhone’s electronics.

The iPhone performs so poorly (and not just in NYC as I can personally attest) that the reputation of the company’s network — and thus its brand — is taking a huge hit. But what’s AT&T supposed to do? It can’t throw its best-selling product under the bus.

No doubt there are some heated discussions behind the scenes between AT&T and Apple. My hope is that Steve Jobs can deliver a functional phone by the time my contract expires…

UPDATE: Reader LH offers the following link rebutting Stross’s piece. I guess I’m inclined to defend AT&T versus Verizon because of personal experience. I lived in FL for a few years and switched from AT&T to Verizon because of Verizon’s vaunted network, which for me performed terribly. AT&T’s was so good that even on drives over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, I rarely dropped a call. Verizon couldn’t get me a good signal in my apt. Just one opinion….

COMMENT

Rolfe, you might want to read John Gruber on the Stross piece:

http://daringfireball.net/2009/12/stross _lying_eyes

“Who Do You Believe, Randall Stross or Your Own Lying Eyes?”

Posted by LH | Report as abusive
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