Archive for the ‘Thursday's Random Shots’ Category
Thursday, February 11th, 2010
News item: “Nowotny added that speculation driven by hedge funds played a role in the slump of Greek and other peripheral euro zone debt, and that there should be efforts to curb those actions”.
News item: “European Union plans for regulating the hedge fund industry still carry “significant risks,” warned Britain’s Financial Services Authority, even though many of the stricter rules have been toned down”.
At first glance, it’s tempting to look at these two stories, each seemingly opposing the other, and say, “It’s no wonder government can’t get anything done, here or in Europe.” That was my first reaction. (more…)
Thursday, January 7th, 2010
December, and thus year-end, hedge fund returns are rolling in and the results are upbeat across the board. According to the Hennessee Group, hedge funds in 2009 had their best performance year in a decade. The Hennessee Hedge Fund Index was up 24.6% last year, essentially erasing last year’s dismal 19.83% loss. It was the best year for hedge funds since 1999, when funds tracked by the Hennessee index earned 30.77%.
Only short-biased managers lost money in 2009, which isn’t surprising given the fact that the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index earned 24.7%. We’ll leave aside, for now, the obviousâ€”and for fans of alpha, worrisomeâ€”similarity between the Hennessee index’s return and the S&P 500. (more…)
Thursday, December 10th, 2009
George Soros and Toxicity
So yesterday we ran a news item about George Soros’ comments on banker pay (he thinks regulators should have a say) and credit default swaps (he called them “toxic instruments”). Soros made these comments at a banking conference on southern England.
Apart from being amused at my own thought that I was surprised England even lets Soros into the country these days, I didn’t really give the item much thought. After all, few people would know more about excessive compensation than George Soros. (more…)
Thursday, November 13th, 2008
Sometimes cartoonists just nail it. Here’s today’s Non Sequitur:
Thursday, May 29th, 2008
The Bear Out There
So much has been written about Bear Stearns the past three days, much of it by the Wall Street Journal’s Kate Kelly, that it doesn’t seem like there’s much left to say. So I won’t, other than to provide links to yesterday’s and today’s stories by Ms. Kelly and note, once again, the quality of the reporting.
Thursday, May 22nd, 2008
Back in the saddle today, although still trying to catch up from a backlog of work, hence the late posting.
Knocked on Their ARSes
The Chicago Tribune reports that Nuveen Investments Inc. thinks it may have figured out a work around work around for the frozen auction-rate securities market.
â€œNuveen said Wednesday that it has arranged support that would allow it to issue up to $1.75 billion in a new variable-rate debt instrument that officials think could replace the troubled auction-based securities. “If we are successful in completing our efforts to develop VRDP, and market it to investors, we believe we can achieve our key goals of reducing costs of leverage over time for common shareholders of Nuveen municipal funds while providing liquidity at par for ARPS holders,” said Nuveen Investments Executive Vice President Bill Adams.
Thursday, May 15th, 2008
â€˜So-Called Risk Managementâ€™
Commercial banks and other financial institutions need to beef up their ability to detect and protect themselves against risks like the credit and mortgage debacles, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Thursday. The trio of crisesâ€”housing, credit and financialâ€”have exposed weaknesses in financial firms’ so-called risk-management practices. That is their ability to sufficiently detect and hedge against risks.
Huh. I had no idea.
Thursday, May 8th, 2008
I know that Rupert Murdoch wants to turn the Wall Street Journal into a national newspaper along the lines of the New York Times, and I guess I can understand why. Ego certainly has something to do with it, as does his desire to provide a national print platform for conservative views, similar to what Fox News does over the airwaves. But to me, appropriating one of the worldâ€™s finest business publications, which has over the years featured some of the best writing in journalism, seems like the wrong way to go about it.