Weil on Finance: Netflix’s Wild Ride

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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Good morning, kind readers. Here are links to my diurnal reading.

People familiar with the matter say some people are more familiar with the matter than others.

Shares of Netflix Inc. fell about 7 percent yesterday, and a Wall Street Journal article might have had something to do with it. (Or maybe they fell because tech stocks were down, or because the stock has a triple-digit P/E ratio, or for some other reasons, but stick with me here.) Citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, the Journal said "Apple Inc. is in talks with Comcast Corp. about teaming up for a streaming-television service that would use an Apple set-top box and get special treatment on Comcast's cables to ensure it bypasses congestion on the Web." But then Dan Rayburn wrote an article at Streamingmedia.com that said: "From sources I have spoken to, no such deal between Apple and Comcast is being considered today, the way the WSJ describes it." His headline was even starker: "WSJ's Apple/Comcast Story Not Accurate, News Being Overblown On Wall Street." Who has the better sources? Beats me. But the Journal and Rayburn can't both be right.

Meet one of the world's loneliest bond traders .

His name is Fyodor Bagnenko, and he's a 29-year-old fixed-income trader in Ukraine, where business isn't what it used to be. He used to trade more than $20 million of bonds a day, writes Jake Rudnitsky of Bloomberg News. And now: "Since the revolution, there have been days where he couldn't close a single deal as trading in Ukrainian financial assets dried up."

Ever heard of Box Inc. before?

I hadn't before this week. But let's see. It's a startup. Its CEO is a college dropout in his 20s. It does cloud storage. It lost about $169 million last year. Its revenue was $124 million. So it must be ready to raise as much as $250 million in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, right? Right.

South Florida real estate is going bonkers again.

Hey, Ben Bernanke. Are you happy now? Is this what the Fed was trying to accomplish with all of that easy money? Because if your goal was to make it feel like 2005 again in Miami, congrats. You succeeded. Here's the headline from a Miami Herald real-estate column, written by a local real-estate consultant: "Presale condo prices surge as 200th new tower proposed for coastal South Florida region." And here's the lead sentence: "As the presale condo market surges to a mean price of about $730 per square foot in South Florida, more and more developers are rushing forward to announce new projects in hopes of cashing in on this latest preconstruction boom in South Florida."

Paid stock touts are corrupting financial websites .

You've been warned -- again. This time by Barron's: "This shift in the industry toward low-paid contributors has had an unintended consequence: occasional deceptive articles that can move a stock for the wrong reasons."

Dumb headline of the day.

Here it is: "Don't blame stock losses on the weather." Did we really need to be told this?

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