Weil on Finance: Suspicious Rallies in Chinese Stocks

Here are links to morning reading.

Happy hump day, View fans. Here's a look at my morning reading.

Were details of these Chinese takeovers leaked?

Belinda Cao of Bloomberg News has an excellent piece today about a couple of U.S.-listed Chinese companies that saw their share prices surge in the days before their takeover announcements: "Shanda Games Ltd., an operator of online games, soared 34 percent in the seven days prior to saying on Jan. 27 that it plans to take its company private. The pre-buyout rallies add to investor concern that the market for Chinese shares trading in the U.S. lacks transparency." There are inequities and opacity in Chinese equities? Imagine that.

Whoops, those Europeaneconomic forecastswere really messed up, weren't they?

From Chris Giles of the Financial Times: "The OECD has admitted that its repeatedly false assumption that governments would take effective steps to ease the eurozone crisis was to blame for the international organization's overly optimistic forecasts, not the impact of austerity. The findings from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's postmortem exercise on its forecasting record lie in stark contrast to those of the International Monetary Fund, which said controversially in 2012 that all forecasters had underestimated the effect of austerity on the recovery -- known as fiscal multipliers."

What see-through yoga pants can teach us about brands.

New Yorker writer James Surowiecki uses the past year's disasters at Lululemon Athletica as the jumping-off point for his riff: "It's a truism of business-book thinking that a company's brand is its `most important asset,' more valuable than technology or patents or manufacturing prowess. But brands have never been more fragile. The reason is simple: consumers are supremely well informed and far more likely to investigate the real value of products than to rely on logos."

The debt-ceiling drama is over before it even began.

Impressive. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and the White House have trained House Speaker John Boehner well. Only 28 Republicans voted yes, but that was enough. Good day for the country, bad day to be a Tea Party Republican member of Congress.

Dr. Evil should have been ahigh-speed trader.

His dream in the old Austin Powers movie was to have sharks with laser beams attached to their heads. High-speed traders are putting lasers atop high-rise buildings in New Jersey so they can speed up communication of market data and trade faster. "It is the latest salvo in the `race to zero,' traders' term for their efforts to whittle away the difference between the speed their orders travel at and the speed of light," writes Scott Patterson of the Wall Street Journal.

(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist.Follow him on Twitter.)

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

    To contact the editor on this story:
    James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.net

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