Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why bother?

Why bother?

Why bother? © fintag

News comments:
So the UK's debt just keeps on going up (bbc). These are depressing times as they are for most of the citizens in the West. Apart from Canada. And Norway.

Next year I shall not bother earning anything just to annoy those people who live off the public sector. A private sector GBP is worth so much more than a Public Sector GBP.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bank Of England - What is its purpose?

BoE © fintag

News comments:
Pre Lehmans, the Bank of England used to ensure interest rates exceeded inflation. Now it prints money as well as controlling interest rates, and the Bank of England is all over the place. Help we don't want a recession! Help we want banks to lend again! Help we don't want deflation! Help we don't want inflation! Help we don't want to keep writing that stupid letter to the Chancellor every month! Help we don't want to be independent any more ...!

The Bank of England is trying to put out the fire of inflation with petrol (QE) and leaving the watering can well away (interest rates).

Today's shorts:
Bank of England loses its trousers (telegraph)

Today's longs:
Bank of England says Big Is Best (bloomberg)

Bank of England to be nationalised.

Friday, December 17, 2010


London Eating and Drinking 2011

London Eating and Drinking 2011 © fintag


The book of the year is Fintag's guide to eating and drinking in London. 2011. Full of typos and gaffs, it is a pocket guide to the best places to be seen in. Being only 30 pages you can also use it to stop your restaurant table wobbling. But please don't try this with the eBook because it doesn't work.

Statistics @ 17:42 GMT
Lulu Sales Rank: 114334

That makes me feel warm inside.

For those having a month off, enjoy your holiday. For the rest of you, work hard.

A new theory on life


GBP Snowman © fintag

News comments:
So the UK has the coldest ever December for 100 years (dailymail). This pattern is being repeated all over the world and all those conveniently correlated global warming statistics are looking more pathetic than ever before.

I mean we have been on the planet for 250,000 years as humans. We have verified temperature statistics for about 100 years. So how we can extrapolate from this small statistical sample we are being warmed up? It wasn't that long ago when Wine was produced in Scotland and the river Thames was used for Holiday on Ice? I like the new theories that we are third generation human and the others disappeared without trace. But that is dull.

Here are some new theories:

Today's shorts:
Bobby Diamonds teeth color is correlated to the number of unemployed FSA staff Theory (bloomberg)
Ireland to be turned into a large sheep field by 2012 Theory (reuters)
Santander is a really safe bank Theory (telegraph)

Today's longs:
Print Money and the S&P Goes Up Theory (bloomberg)
Yahoo is run by a mad woman Theory (RIP delicious) (washington post)

Julian Assange is a doppelganger.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

US to ban CRAs

Spain ABC

Spain ABC © fintag

News comments:
So we have some interesting conundrums coming up.

Spain: Soon to be downgraded. As bond spreads increase, so does the chance of a bail out. (wallstreetjournal)

Germany: But Germany isn't interested in bailing anyone out. (bloomberg). Germany wants to topple the USA.

France: Very concerned about being downgraded and could happen before Spain. (citywire)

USA: As reported in the FT, the USA will soon be downgraded. (profi-forex)

Upshot? US will ban Credit Rating Agencies.

Monday, December 13, 2010

You thought 2010 was a shocker

Head in the coat

Head in the coat © fintag

News comments:
The Chelsea FC megastore has a 20% off sale. You know times are changing when one of the English Premier League's top clubs offers discounts before Christmas. Of course London is booming retail wise (bloomberg) because it has the best shops in the world, is easy to get to and a currency that is worth less an old Italian Lira but nobody is interested in plastic shirts made in China.

2011 will be a shocking year. Unlike the predictability of Matt Cardle winning X Factor, ITV having a super bowl ad-fest, or bankers learning that only 20% of their bonuses will be cash and that this will be used to pay the tax on the non cash bonus element, 2011 will be a year of uncertainty. And as you know the markets hate / love uncertainty.

Here are some predictions:

Dow is up 3.4%
US House Prices down 16%
US Interest Rates go up to 1.5%
Gold increases 35%
English Premier League will go bust.
Italy leaves Euro
UK police are fired and replaced by the Army (borrowed from France)

Today's shorts:
Banks are too big to be useful (telegraph)

Today's longs:
The Euro is guaranteed never to die (bloomberg)

JG Ballard's Millennium People comes true.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Kettling, the Media and #day3x

Father Christmas and the riot police

Father Christmas and the riot police © fintag

Education is a riot

Education is a riot © fintag

Westminster Bridge Kettle - At the front

Westminster Bridge Kettle - At the front © fintag

M is for ...

M is for ... © fintag

Fences thrown at the police

Fences thrown at the police © fintag

News comments:
Welcome to fascist Britain.

Much has been written about yesterday's student protests from people who weren't there or have some axe to grind. So with reference to the chant "Shame on you", which the police got to hear a lot, here is my first hand account.

Extra pictures can be found here on flickr.

I had a meeting in Westminster but the tube station was closed because students were protesting about the vote to increase tuition fees more in line with the USA. So I walked from Embankment, listened to some politicos banging on about free education for all from a caravan and took some photos of a beautiful helicopter filled sunset over Parliament Square. It was soon clear I wasn't going to get to my meeting.

There were police vans parked along the embankment and some coaches had reinforcement officers ready for the action to take place later on. Hundreds of police wearing yellows, blacks or a combination were shuffling their feet to keep warm. Some had Perspex shields, helmets and nasty looking batons. Others just looked nasty.

The square was blocked off by some vans and when a policeman asked me where I was going (being helpful or suspicious I don't know) I admitted I didn't know and he kindly pointed in the direction of Embankment. Given I love a good photograph, despite only having my Blackberry on me, I took a detour up Horse Guards Avenue and walked along a well protected Downing Street and ended up at Parliament Square where I understood all the action was.

A small line of police were watching the fires and firecrackers, the dancing students of all classes and creed, and listening to drums - overtime expenses would be good this evening (paid by me of course). As the sun set, it started to feel like bonfire night without the tomato soup.

There were a lot of people and the police were pushed back to the Square, as if on purpose, and I followed the protesters. A couple of dog owners were escorted out of the vicinity and a few individuals picked off at random and taken away but on the whole everyone was welcome.

Unlike the last protest I was caught up in (day1x), there were few parents or mature adults to be seen. There were "gangs" of handkerchief wearing anarchists and some "thick types" who certainly weren't students (at this point I would point out the ethnicity of the gangs but I wont as profiling is not in fashion these days), a few seasoned complainers and lost people like myself. There were less Pro photographers and those I did see wore crash hats. I guess they were photographing in a war zone. A few undercover police were with the students, highlighted by their cropped hair and black combat trousers, but it was getting dark and everyone started to look the same. There were lots of young kids too, probably about 12 it is hard to tell sometimes peoples ages.

Many of the agitators wore white hoodies photos (just look at the photos and film footage) and soon I was photographing such a gang taunting the riot police. They threw things, insulted them and goaded them to respond to their actions. As I followed the baying pack to the entrance of Westminster tube, 8 youths were holding a barricade above their head ran towards me. Pushed against the wall of the Treasury by a stream of baton wielding police I feared for my life. I protected a student and pulled her around the corner as bricks, bottles and tree roots were hurled in the air. Another metal fence was prepared, passed back to the thugs who then threw this at the police.

It was unclear when the vote in Parliament happened, the one the protesters were campaigning against that would force tuition fees up and tax payers funding down, but groups jeered at what they thought were MPs leaving the Houses of Parliament.
It was obvious we were now trapped as all entrances to the Square were closed off by the police who were not allowing anyone through (tough if you were pregnant or hadn't eaten since breakfast). So when bullet proof windows of the graffiti adorned Treasury building were smashed with broken breeze blocks and steel poles it wasn't a surprise for tensions were high. What was a surprise was watching a camera team asking a rioter to stop and then start again as if they were directing a Hollywood film. The police did sometimes appear out numbered and stood back as property was wontedly destroyed and the cameras flashed and filmed. The BBC were there trying to be impartial but of course only focusing on the violence (you can see me taking pictures with my Blackberry). Telephone boxes, statues, gardens, anything was attacked.

On the muddy grass square, small fires (made of leaves and leaflets) warmed the hands of non violent students singing childish songs. A makeshift toilet was in one corner and a bicycle with a music machine created an impromptu disco. Google map apps showed them where the police were and twitter hashes day3x and demo2010 helped keep the boredom at bay. Apart from bursts of anarchy, it was mostly very dull.

Fireworks were occasionally let off and crowds swarmed towards anyone attempting to break something or confront a police officer. When the protesters, mostly wearing masks, attempted to go through the front door of the Treasury, swarms of police lined up to fight off the missiles and jostling. Around the side some protesters broke in but were confronted with police inside who halted their progress. In the room above where fun was made because the police inside could not open the window, a large camera filmed the activities.

The big media outlets were filming too. I chatted to the BBC, ITV and an Italian network who were talking to a number of Italian students, one of the bigger groups of students causing trouble. It soon became clear the police were not tackling the mindless violence because having the world's media broadcasting violent scenes would help their efforts to bag a few rioters when we were all photographed individually by the police later on, and provide ammunition to the politicians that these students were all thugs and demos should be banned completely.

It was like this for 5 hours. Big Ben's clock beamed down on us and the cold started to bite hard. After a spade was used to break a window in an attempt to appropriate a christmas tree, we were then herded into the Westminster Bridge corner ready to be dispersed. That is what we thought.

There were hundreds of police, some on horses, and theirnvans were used as make shift walls. We waited for 30 minutes. We sang we want to go home and nothing happened. And then 2-3000 of us were shepherded on to Westminster bridge. We then stopped for a long time. We were tightly packed, cold, hungry and tired from standing up. Occasionally it was hard to breathe and with the helicopters above shining their lights onto us cattle, thoughts of Brooklyn Bridge and Hillsborough made it very uncomfortable. The police refused to move and with thousands pushing from behind, being at the front I was jostled by aggressive batons and shields with screams of move back. To where? The river Thames perhaps?

It was then the police plan became apparent. We were being lined up to have our photographs taken.

Student breaking and failing to enter the Treasury:

Police beating the ground at fleeing students (film contains violence)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wikiwars, Mifid and the Ashes

Wikileaks for President 2012

Wikiwars © fintag

News comments:
The French let us down. So now we turn to the cyber war where hackers fight hackers like an online game. Corporate puppets pay the price for bowing down to CIA threats and a few cents are knocked off their stock price.

In the UK we have blood on the streets with Liberal Democrats being take to Tyburn (wikipedia) and burned alive with old expense claim forms used as tinder and Nick Clegg's suits as torchwood.

In the US we have the realisation that Printing Money 3.0 will not work and the yield curve turns into an 8 inch erection (wall street journal) [Editor: steady]

In Australia, denial hits the nation as they deny they are no longer any good at cricket (bbc).

In the world of commodities, instant messaging is to be replaced with proper trading processes (independent).

Today's shorts:
DB's Euro Short Plan B (bloomberg)
PerTrac Addon (hedgeweek)
Hackers 1 Sweden 0 (telegraph)

Today's longs:
Real Estate is the new Gold (telegraph)

JP Morgan buying up copper for its new HQ in London.

Monday, December 6, 2010

France is in deep pâté

French revolution 2.0

French revolution 2.0 © fintag

News comments:
Are you ready?

French revolution 2.0 gets under way on 7th December 2011 with its unlikely leader Eric Cantona. France is not part of the PIIGS (I mean what anagram do you get with the inclusion of an F?) but is increasingly looking like it soon will.

With the IMF sniffing around some of France's SIVs (remember these off balance sheet structures so loved pre Lehman collapse?) to ensure they are included in France's total debt numbers, France also faces a mass Northern Rock style run on the banks as aggrieved Frenchies withdraw all their cash from the banks.

No guns, no violence, no wikileaks, just old fashioned inconvenience.

Today's shorts:
Cantona's Short Long Johns (guardian)
Rock 'n' Rolet (independent)

Today's longs:
Cantona's Long Shorts (telegraph)

EU to build Euro printing plants in France.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fintag's Guide: London Eating and Drinking 2011

London Eating and Drinking 2011

London Eating and Drinking 2011 © fintag

News comments:
Christmas comes but once a year and this year the Fintag special is a new book. I know you are all waiting for my Money Never Sleeps thriller or my Michael Lewis expose of how finance is run by monkeys for monkeys. Alas that will have to wait another year. Or two.

For 2011, the first of many FINTAG GUIDES has been published.

London Eating & Drinking 2011 (published by Lazy Dog Press).


Thursday, December 2, 2010


Pond life

Pond life © fintag

News comments:
Wikileaks. (ipaddress link is here)

In a world of cya, rebates and archive manipulation (isn't that what Winston did in 1984?) I find the wikileak concept intriguing.

What if all inside information were leaked onto wikileaks? Then it couldn't be classified inside information. SAC, I hope you are reading this.

So the media are way behind the curve as they beat up Amazon for hosting wikileak cables.

Click here to alliswho.com, type in wikileaks.org and scroll down to the name servers - that's where the domain is today. Yesterday it was hosted on .co.uk servers and today ns?.everydns.net (which are based in San Francisco). Tomorrow (or the next few minutes) it will be somewhere else. You see the internet was designed so it wouldn't fall down and people like Assange can move around unhindered. See wikipedia for more info.

I am no techie but if I can follow the trail then why can't the media? Poor Amazon has been duped.

Today's shorts:
Euro bail out fund to tap into the Feds bail out fund (bloomberg)

Today's longs:
Amazon (sky)

IMF to bailout the Fed to bail out the Euro to bail out the US banks to bail out the IMF ...