Weil on Finance P.M.: Icahn Quits and Goldman Perks

Jonathan Weil joined Bloomberg News as a columnist in 2007, and his columns on finance and accounting won Best in the Business awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2009 and 2010.
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Hello, View fans. It's that time of day again. Here is some of what I've been perusing while watching the stock market soar this afternoon.

So long Carl Icahn, see you at your next target .

Carl Icahn had some good zingers in his letter capitulating on his proxy battle at Dell Inc., the computer maker. Like this: "We jokingly ask, `What's the difference between Dell and a dictatorship?' The answer: Most functioning dictatorships only need to postpone the vote once to win." Click above for the complete text.

Are U.S. investors ready to trust Chinese stocks again?

Paul Gillis, a Peking University professor who writes a blog about accounting in China, posted a speech he made at the China Best Ideas Conference in Beijing today. He said "there is optimism that the U.S. markets might reopen for Chinese companies soon" after a wave of frauds. This is noteworthy coming from Gillis, who has been a leading critic of accounting shenanigans and governance at Chinese public companies.

Detroit bankruptcy hits the rest of Michigan.

August was the slowest month for municipal-bond sales in Michigan in 10 years, threatening to wreck the state's economic rebound. From Bloomberg News: "At least three Michigan localities -- Genesee and Saginaw counties and Battle Creek -- postponed a combined $131 million of issuance last month after Detroit's July 18 Chapter 9 filing because interest rates were too high. Oakland County delayed a $350 million deal last week." There may be such a thing as contagion in muni-land after all.

More retrospectives five years after Lehman's failure.

The Economist in its latest issue says global finance is safer, but still not safe enough (which itself is a safe statement to make): "There may be no new Lehman-sized catastrophes on the near horizon. But plenty of smaller crises-in-the-making dot the landscape -- and a potentially big one continues to threaten Europe." Complacency reigns, until it doesn't.

Working at Goldman Sachs just isn't what it used to be.

No more automatic brokerage accounts at the firm just because you work there. From the New York Times: "In recent months Goldman has notified several employees, most of whom have assets valued at less than $1 million, that their brokerage accounts are being transferred to Fidelity." The poor things.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Weil at jweil16@bloomberg.net