Weil on Finance: Europe's Tiny Bailout Kitty
Howdy, View fans. Here's a look at what I've been reading this morning. Have a great weekend.
There's no way Europe's bank-bailout fund will be big enough.
But the politicians and central bankers there are congratulating themselves nonetheless. The fund, to be financed by industry levies, will be 55 billion euros ($77 billion), but not for another eight years. That might be enough to cover the rescue bill for one large bank.
Coming soon to a bookstore near you.
Or Amazon, or wherever you buy books these days. Bob Ivry of Bloomberg News has a new book called "The Seven Sins of Wall Street: Big Banks, Their Washington Lackeys and the Next Financial Crisis." Bloomberg published an excerpt today, which tells the story of a dying neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee. He says the seven sins are size, secrecy, regulatory capture, excessive pride, complexity, impunity, and predatory greed. "So few people are better off financially than they were before the 2008 crisis, and so few of the lessons have been learned from that near-death experience, that it may take another plummet before the people in charge do something meaningful to repair this broken system," Ivry writes.
Floyd Norris on how to lie to investors and get away it.
It helps to be a German company. And pretty soon, if the Supreme Court changes the rules for class-action securities lawsuits, it may get easier for companies in the U.S., too. Norris writes in his New York Times column: "Companies do not have a right to lie to their shareholders, a German judge ruled this week. But sometimes, she added, lies are necessary. And with that Carola Wittig, a judge in the state court in Stuttgart, dismissed a suit filed by a group of hedge funds that lost a lot of money when Porsche Holding, the owner of the Porsche automaker at the time, lied about its intentions regarding Volkswagen."
Will Charles Munger's Daily Journal ever get its house in order?
CFO magazine has a good article on the strange goings-on at Daily Journal Corp., the newspaper publisher whose chief claim to fame is that its chairman is Charles Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. The company is two quarters behind on its financial filings. And the article follows up on a point I had raised in a column last month about how odd it is that Daily Journal's chief executive officer, Gerald Salzman, also is its chief financial officer. The headline: "Holding CEO and CFO Roles Is a Tightrope Act." It goes on to explain why one person shouldn't hold both roles at once. In short, holding one position makes a person less effective in the other. Plus, it leads to awful governance.
Andy Xie on the ` the mirage of the new economy ' and 'fixing the old economy.'
The former chief Asia economist for Morgan Stanley always has something interesting to say in his articles for Beijing-based Caixin Online. Here he writes: "The current Internet boom, centered around social networking, e-commerce and online gaming, has not produced a significant productivity boost for the economy and likely will not in the future. The boom is mostly about redistributing existing demand from offline to online." As for the rest of China's economy: "Popping the high-yield debt bubble is the first step in restructuring the economy. The high-yield debt market finances activities that couldn't earn high returns and depends on collateral, mostly land, for security. As the land market has risen over 30 times in the past decade, the security is probably fictitious. When the land bubble bursts, the collateral will be worth very little. In the coming weeks, more trust products will default. It would be wrong for state-owned banks or local governments to bail them out. The litmus test for the reform resolve is if bailouts of trust products continue and sustain the expectation that the government will not let anyone default."
And speaking of boom times in China....
A property developer in China paid $1.9 million for a puppy. It's a one-year-old Tibetan mastiff puppy. And those dogs are really cool. But still. That has to be a tell, doesn't it?
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