Category: articles

Two Excellent Michael Lewis and David Einhorn Articles

I’ve posted a bunch of stuff from these guys over the years:

Here’s the latest:

Titles:

  1. The End of the Financial World as We Know It
  2. How to Repair a Broken Financial World

By Michael Lewis and David Einhorn
2009-1-4
New York Times

In the past year there have been at least seven different government bailouts, and six different strategies. And none of them seem to have pleased anyone except a handful of financiers.

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Market Update: Good News/Bad News

Just time for a quick post before a busy afternoon of prep work for our Thanksgiving dinner party tomorrow night (we’re in Sweden, so the Saturday before the official Thanksgiving Day is when we do it).

Ok, the post got a little long when I used Fred Wilson’s tweets  (links below) to launch into some of my investment philosophy.  I like Fred a lot, and his tweets and blog, it’s just that I’ve been watching him buy Google from above $400 down into the $200s.  It’s been painful, but he will eventually catch that oh so sweet bottom!  More below.

Bonus! At the end I tagged on two great pieces by Michael Lewis, the author of Liar’s Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street.

First, some market stats:

  • Thursday: Summary and volume leaders. Look at that volume! Over 10 billion shares on the NYSE and 3 billion on the Naz. That is people saying “I can’t take the pain any longer, get me out, I don’t care about the price, just make the pain stop!” Margin calls, mutual and hedge fund redemptions, portfolio insurance (see The Anatomy of a Crash), and delta hedging by put sellers, like Warren Buffett, have forced a lot of sales, of course. Call it a perfect storm, a rare glimpse at the naked and ugly side of human emotions, greed into panic. The story never changes, just the names, faces, and dates.  Of course, great opportunities also come at times of extreme emotions.  That will be the same this time, as well.

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Article: Europe on Brink of Currency Crisis Meltdown

Ok, this answers my question from a few weeks ago about “what about the ROW (‘rest of world’) subprime mess? Where is it?? It’s not mortgages, it’s this (see article). And it’s [probably] going to make USA subprime look like a walk in the park:

Europe on the brink of currency crisis meltdown
The crisis in Hungary recalls the heady days of the UK’s expulsion from the ERM.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
2008-10-26
telegraph.co.uk

The financial crisis spreading like wildfire across the former Soviet bloc threatens to set off a second and more dangerous banking crisis in Western Europe, tipping the whole Continent into a fully-fledged economic slump.

Currency pegs are being tested to destruction on the fringes of Europe’s monetary union in a traumatic upheaval that recalls the collapse of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992.

“This is the biggest currency crisis the world has ever seen,” said Neil Mellor, a strategist at Bank of New York Mellon.

Experts fear the mayhem may soon trigger a chain reaction within the eurozone itself. The risk is a surge in capital flight from Austria – the country, as it happens, that set off the global banking collapse of May 1931 when Credit-Anstalt went down – and from a string of Club Med countries that rely on foreign funding to cover huge current account deficits.

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Web 2.0 Expo Next Week, First Doing Market Update

Susanne and I just got back from a great 4-day trip to Berlin for the Web 2.0 Expo. Met a lot of interesting people and startups there and will report on it next week. First, however, a quick market update.

The reprieve rally I blogged about here is over, with new lows being set Thursday. See the 18 comments I added to that blog post for a number of interesting articles. Also see Nouriel Roubini’s video from yesterday in London: “It’s going to be a financial and economic wreak.”

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What Bank Run? See This Google Search Trends Chart

True it’s only anecdotal evidence, but I’m pretty sure people search Google about FDIC insurance when they’re worried about their bank going bust.

What you see on this chart is a bank run precursor, the starting gun getting cocked.  All someone has to do now is blink and the run is on.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a false start or not once a run starts, the outcome becomes inevitable.

As discussed for months by Nouriel Roubini (see here for some of his articles and references on my blog and see here for a Bloogberg radio interview with him last week).

Note, there are solutions to this problem, as discussed by Roubini. It starts with the government increasing FDIC insurance immediately (a temporary increase to $250,000 FDIC insurance was signed into law on Friday) and also recapitalizing banks (more than buying bad assets).

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Bailout “Hope Rally” = Eye of the Storm

(just time for a quick, somewhat unpolished update)

What I mean by “hope rally” is the rally off a (bear-market) low that is driven by the hope that some specified thing (the Bailout legislation in this case) is going to make everything all better. That is never the case, of course, otherwise it would be called the start of a new bull market.  Also, in the current situation, it’s almost certainly (effectively certainly) too early (time and price) in the bear market for a new bull market to start.

That’s why I make the eye of the hurricane analogy, because any “Bailout Reprieve” will (almost certainly) be only temporary.

Last week’s…

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Nouriel Roubini’s Latest – Must Read

(NOTE: There are many more NR articles on this blog, going back to 2006, just use the search box at the top of the right-hand sidebar (or click here).  Here’s one from January.  I have been writing about the coming crisis myself since 2004, when I sold my co-op in DC and started renting, and also started liquidating my other real estate investments.  The asset and credit bubbles were obvious to all who had their eyes open and thought for themselves.  Sadly, most people do not think for themselves, maybe that’s why we have the term sheeple.)

The US and global financial crisis is becoming much more severe in spite of the Treasury rescue plan. The risk of a total systemic meltdown is now as high as ever

The next step of this panic could become the mother of all bank runs…

By Nouriel Roubini
2008-9-29

It is obvious that the current financial crisis is becoming more severe in spite of the Treasury rescue plan (or maybe because of it as this plan it totally flawed). The severe strains in financial markets (money markets, credit markets, stock markets, CDS and derivative markets) are becoming more severe rather than less severe in spite of the nuclear option (after the Fannie and Freddie $200 billion bazooka bailout failed to restore confidence) of a $700 billion package: interbank spreads are widening (TED spread, swap spreads, Libo-OIS spread) and are at level never seen before; credit spreads (such as junk bond yield spreads relative to Treasuries are widening to new peaks; short-term Treasury yields are going back to near zero levels as there is flight to safety; CDS spread for financial institutions are rising to extreme levels (Morgan Stanley ones at 1200 last week) as the ban on shorting of financial stock has moved the pressures on financial firms to the CDS market; and stock markets around the world have reacted very negatively to this rescue package (US market are down about 3% this morning at their opening).

Let me explain now in more detail why we are now back to the risk of a total systemic financial meltdown…

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