Rolfe Winkler

Lunchtime Links 1-19

January 19, 2010

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.

Morning links 12-14

December 14, 2009

No shortage of news this morning….

Dubai gets bailout from Abu Dhabi (Reuters)

Exxon to buy XTO for $41 billion (Reuters) $41 billion is the enterprise valuation. It’s incomplete to say the Exxon is only paying $31 billion for the stock when it is also assuming $10 billion of debt.

When banks use capital made of sand

November 12, 2009

Citigroup’s capital position appeared much improved when the bank reported third-quarter earnings, but a look beneath the surface shows that much of its capital is of questionable value.

Architect of Citi says bring back Glass-Steagall

November 6, 2009

Objective observers mostly agree that it doesn’t make sense for banks to be in the securities business, not if they’re explicitly insured by the government. Wall Streeters invent rationalizations to support the current structure because a large chunk of their profits come from trading.

Banks and hedge funds don’t mix

October 9, 2009

It was a good decision, for the wrong reason. Citigroup will sell Phibro, the energy trading business run by Andrew Hall, to avoid embarrassment over Hall’s compensation package.

Recession indicators

By Reuters Staff
January 19, 2008

If you’ve been surfing the economics blogosphere recently, you’ve likely seen charts of various economic indicators pointing towards a recession. Forthwith, my (growing) collection. Lots more of these out there. If you’ve got one to add, send it our way: