News from around the web: 2009-08-22
Carl Eric Stalberg, chairman of Swedbank, told Svenska Dagbladet in an interview published Friday that stress tests conducted by the central banks, financial regulator and Swedbank itself had led the lender to make its second stock offering in eight months to ensure that it had enough capital to cushion it against the worst possible scenario
What this episode really uncovers is that AT&T is dying. AT&T is dragging down the rest of us by overcharging us for voice calls and stifling innovation in a mobile data market critical to the U.S. economy.
Not only is Indeed the fastest growing job search engine it is also now the largest in terms of pageviews. In July, it passed CareerBuilder, with 171 million pageviews in the U.S. versus 159 million for CareerBuilder. Yahoo’s HotJobs had 96 million (which Yahoo is reportedly abandoning), Monster had 73 million, and SimplyHired trailed far behind with 26 million.
Comments made by the company’s chief executive, John Mackey, in an opinion piece about Obama’s health-care reform initiatives published in the Wall Street Journal are stirring up controversy on the Web and showing the company the other side of social media. Case in point, a user-generated Boycott Whole Foods movement attracting more than 22,000 Facebook supporters in one week.
This last part is on the money. But, in policy circles and in the mainstream media Zero Hedge is now radioactive. "In the end, it doesn’t matter much. Neither Ivandjiiski nor anyone else who writes for the site is doing anything wrong, and the site is popular because the content is solid. If anything, the controversy adds to the aura of mystery surrounding it, a big part of its appeal."
I have seen this before. But it is hilarious even so.
Zero Hedge contributors and staff are not so narcissisticly married to fame that we find it necessary to take credit for our content. Nor do we believe that any amount of author reputation is (or should be) able to prop up a bad piece. We credit our readers with the requisite intelligence and skepticism to do their own fact checking and assign their own credibility ratings to our content. We cannot say the same for many of the other "financial journalists" out there.
Sheila Bair has moved with impressive alacrity to shutter failed small and medium-sized banks. But she is still held hostage by the too-big-to-fail four.
Is a second lower-peak in jobless claims coming? "In a dramatic reversal to the moderating trend from the past several months, Mass Layoff Events surged from 256,357 in June to a whopping 336,654 in July."
The euro strengthened 0.8 percent to $1.4366 at 10:08 a.m. in New York, from $1.4254 yesterday. The common currency hasn’t risen on four straight days against since the period through June 2. It traded at 135.11 yen, from 134.26 yesterday, after earlier weakening to 132.91. The yen gained 0.2 percent to 94.01 per dollar, from 94.19.
The price of US crude rose $1.24 (£0.75) to $74.15 a barrel, while London Brent rose $1.19 to $74.52. The oil price hit $147 a barrel last July and fell below $74 last October, a level it has not breached ever since.
…bankers are human, and they’re liable to fudge the figures so that extending the loan always makes sense…They have a very strong incentive to do this, because much of the time if they take their losses now, they’ll become insolvent.. So that’s where the regulators come in. At the moment, it’s far from clear that they have either the ability or the inclination to force banks to face reality — especially when they’re dealing with big banks. To the contrary, “extend and pretend” has obvious attractions for technocrats, too: it allows them to kick the hard decisions down the road, which is something nearly all politicians love to do.
I don’t agree with Klein’s maligning of doctors, but I do agree that Krauthamer has been making more sense recently. "Charles Krauthammer has not been entirely unreasonable in the current health reform battle. A few weeks ago, he proposed his own plan: malpractice reform and a government health care tax credit to replace the current tax exclusion for health care benefits…Today, he takes on death panels. And again, he is close to reasonable."
Since joining Gluskin Sheff & Associates from Merrill Lynch a few months ago, the daily research reports from chief economist and strategist David Rosenberg have been a breath of fresh air in the world of the “dismal science”. His notes yesterday on the typical macro-economic environment prevalent once the stock market has rallied by 49%, and how the current landscape stacks up against the historical average, are proof of the useful input that has regularly been forthcoming from Rosenberg. The paragraphs below are excerpts from his report.
Thomas Cooper’s emerging-market bond fund fell 33 percent last year when bonds from Argentina, Venezuela and Ukraine plunged during the financial crisis. The fund gained 30 percent this year as investors regained an appetite for risk, bidding up those same bonds. Cooper, co-manager of the $2.1 billion GMO Emerging Country Debt Fund, said he favors the hardest-to-sell, highest-yielding bonds because their rewards more than make up for their risks. “A country may be a disaster, but if the price is low enough, we will buy the debt,” Cooper said in a telephone interview.
Print newspapers took in $34.7 billion in ad revenue last year and had 49 million subscribers. That works out to $709 per subscriber… Newspapers online had $3.1 billion in ad revenue last year and averaged 67.3 million unique visitors per month. That’s $46 per reader. $709 (or even $603) versus $46. And you wonder why newspapers still like their print products.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has promised to buy up diamonds, as part of a $1bn (£605m) support package for diamond miner Alrosa. The state-controlled miner has $3.6bn in outstanding debt and state support will help service it, during what Mr Putin called a "difficult period".
"Many policymakers actually don’t think along the line of Keynes versus Schumpeter. They think in terms of creating another bubble to fight the recessionary impact of a bubble burst. This type of thinking is especially popular in China and on Wall Street. Central banks around the world, although they haven’t done so deliberately, have created another liquidity bubble. It manifested itself first in surging commodity prices, next in stock markets, and lately in some property markets. Will this strategy succeed? I don’t think so."
"I don’t know if administration officials realize just how much damage they’ve done themselves with their kid-gloves treatment of the financial industry, just how badly the spectacle of government supported institutions paying giant bonuses is playing. But I’ve had many conversations with people who voted for Mr. Obama, yet dismiss the stimulus as a total waste of money. When I press them, it turns out that they’re really angry about the bailouts rather than the stimulus — but that’s a distinction lost on most voters."
This is a view I generally share. "Spain is now the hole in Europe’s balance sheet, and that misunderstanding the severity of the crisis will prove costly to investors as it could have profound implications for the European banking system."