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Michael Gracie

Finance quote of the month – February ’09

Jeff Matthews:

In fact, at yesterday’s close of slightly north of $2.50 a share, you could give up your morning Starbucks latte and instead buy a share of Citigroup stock, with enough change left over to buy a share of Fannie Mae, if you really wanted to speculate.

Rich, and almost makes you feel the same. Particularly if you don’t care for Starbucks coffee.

Festive Audio for Players in the Deal Economy

Great tunes, compliments of the merchant bankers at Headwaters.

I particularly like the steel drums for Ben Bernanke.

“I didn’t open my browser all weekend” Monday

Cycled and fished instead – not regretting it either

  • Sam Zell “bought a terrible business” – newspapers. I think Zell has it right when he says newspapers have to give customers what they want, not what some internal agenda prescribes. As a result, I admire the man, and hope he doesn’t wind up paying a terrible price.
  • Is Yahoo! manipulating bloggers? Doubtful – such action would create even more of a black purple eye. If anything, it’s more likely a renegade faction within. Then again, blog manipulation (i.e. shutting them down) seems to have found its way into the political process. Quelling discontent, or just one more way of saying blogs are really starting to matter?
  • Should Congress let home prices fall? You’ll get a resounding “yes” out of me – propping up asset classes, particularly right before elections, is a way for politicians to feign working for the better good. Unfortunately, situations generally wind up worse as a result, and history has a way of repeating itself. You’ve been hearing about government’s plans for saving the housing market going on a year now – nothing seems to be sticking, and maybe that is the best possible outcome.
  • And my prediction for the week…

  • Citadel Investment Group will soon make an offer to purchase the country of Iceland. Citadel bought multi-strategy fund Amaranth Advisors when it made bad bets on natural gas. It bought Sowood and portions of E*Trade after their sub-prime dice rolls. Now banking is melting down, and the volcanic island of Iceland is going with it. Why not?

UPDATE: Via Steven Pearlstein

Since last June, we’ve seen a fairly consistent pattern to the economic mood swings. Every three months or so, there’s a round of bad news about housing, followed by warnings of more bank write-offs and then a string of disappointing corporate earnings reports.

Let’s not forget the government announcements of salvation immediately thereafter. Me thinks Mr. Pearlstein is spot on, and you should read the whole thing.

An exercise in discontinuity

From The Big Picture comment section:

When the bank for the British royal family (RBS) is “forecasting” continued credit market troubles … when the European Monetary Union is essentially declaring war on the Fed with threats to drive the exchange rate value of the dollar into the depths of hell … you must appreciate how these are, indeed, extraordinary times in which we are living.

“Declaring war?” Sounds like a lack of cooperation to me.