Weil on Finance: Crack Shack or Mansion?

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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Happy hump day, View fans. Here's your daily look at my morning reads.

Those crazy Vancouver real estate prices.

How about a "coach house" for a mere C$1.78 million? (That's about $1.6 million.) By the way, a coach house is a fancy term for a garage. It turns out there's a website called Crack Shack or Mansion, which has this motto: "We aim to discover what 1 million dollars will buy you in Vancouver, Canada, and whether your mansion will be distinguishable from a crack shack." Ian Young, who writes the Hongcouver blog for the South China Morning Post, has a fun article on the subject.

The amazing part about this story is that there are still investors who care what Wall Street analysts think.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman kicked up a fuss last month when his office revealed that Blackrock Inc. had been systematically interviewing analysts at Wall Street banks about their sentiments on pretty much every topic imaginable at the companies they covered, including management, competitive position, earnings power and the like. He said it was akin to inside information, even though the law doesn't define inside information that way. Blackrock agreed to stop the practice. Now JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and 16 other financial firms have agreed to stop participating in such surveys, according to Bloomberg News. And the big winner here? The analysts, of course. Because now they won't have to waste so much time filling out surveys to please big clients, leaving them more time to do actual work.

On the other hand, getting an edge on what Wall Street analysts think sometimes may be worth a lot of money after all.

The Financial Times notes that Tesla Motors Inc. jumped 19 percent yesterday thanks to a report from a single Wall Street analyst, Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley. He predicted that Tesla shares could double -- which is a bold call considering that he much-hyped car maker already trades for almost 15 times revenue.

Helping customers dodge taxes can mess up a bank's accounting.

Today is the day when Credit Suisse AG executives will appear before U.S. Senator Carl Levin's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to answer questions about the various services the bank provided to wealthy Americans who preferred to stash their money in Swiss bank accounts rather than pay taxes on it. My favorite tidbit so far: The panel's report said Credit Suisse shifted money into its private-banking unit from other divisions to hide a decline in asset growth, after the unit's inflows began drying up in response to U.S. investigations of Swiss banks for helping tax evaders. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating, according to this article by Bloomberg reporters Alan Katz and David Voreacos.

This Bitcoin enthusiast says he has $285,000 stuck at Mt. Gox , and for some unfathomable reason he wants people to know this.

This isn't something I would want people to know about me if I had just lost a big wad of cash on a scam. But a fellow named Erik Voorhees decided he needed to get this off his chest: "I will never get any of that back. If misery loves company, then we'll be enjoying a grand feast today. I should have known better, of course. I take responsibility for leaving those funds with an entity that had proven incompetence repeatedly. I chose to ignore even my own warnings, for nothing more than the sake of convenience."

Vanilla Ice is working on an Amish farm in Ohio.

Bet you didn't know that, did you?

(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist.Followhim 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