Thursday, March 31, 2011

Unlike sex, debt has no afterglow

Dublin property

Dublin property © fintag

News comments:
Sex has everything.

There is the build up, the foreplay, the climax and the afterglow. For many, having a facility to borrow money is like having sex: Build up to what is going to be bought, playing with the choices, tapping in a pin number and taking away the asset. But unlike sex where you can do it all over without recourse to the last time, borrowing more debt is like catching an STD every time and not being able to get rid of it.

The UK has expensive houses that got to be expensive because of easy leverage. Like the US's subprime debacle, the UK had the likes of Northern Rock, the Bank of Ireland and RBS offering 125% LTV mortgages, no questions asked. Of course the regulators, late to the game remembered this is what happened in the 1980s and they didn't do anything about it have decided borrowing money to buy houses is a bad idea.

Hence borrowing rates are at all time lows and those with huge debt are struggling to service them. You see these greedy people were leveraging for future appreciation and capital gains. Now they are lining up outside the STD clinic hoping they are not HIV positive.

Ireland's housing market has crashed because the debt ran out and so did the demand. The UK has more people than houses and so prices are being kept up. This is not good and more houses need to be built but the developers cannot borrow the money.

So when the Bank of England (telegraph) warn us of impending defaults and foreclosures, one has to ask why didn't this happen 2 years ago like it did in Ireland or the USA?

Maybe its the psyche of the UK people. Maybe its the artificially low interest rates. Maybe its the lax immigration policies that have kept demand up. Maybe its the switch from repayment to interest-only mortgages? Maybe its the banks shitting themselves that foreclosures = bad debts = more tier 1 capital = expensive rights issues and so are holding on with dear life.

So when the Halifax change the LTV requirement on interest only mortgages from 85% to 75%, this indicates to me the Halifax, the UK's largest mortgage lender believes house prices will be falling by at least 10% this year.(money marketing)

So if you are leading the life of a Nun, then get out there are short UK real estate.

Today's shorts:
A company who said the internet would never catch on tells us tablets will die out very soon (bloomberg)

FSA kill off commissions (money marketing)

Today's longs:
Ireland's banks need EUR24bn capital because its real estate assets are worthless (reuters)

Ireland's ghost towns (youtube)

March against debt (facebook group)

Gossip:
Bank of England to be turned into a youth hostel.



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ECB: Lending trough of last resort

Pigs

Pigs © fintag

News comments:
Defaulting PIGS.

When the CRA's drop a few letters and downgrade the like of Portugal or Greece, the yields expected on their debt goes up. But why?

Given these countries are part of the big EU and share the same currency, the likelihood of say Greece defaulting on its debt is very low. Whatever the Germans think of the Greeks, there is no way the EU would allow a country member to stop servicing or paying its debt. The ECB is the lender of last resort so will always step in, as it already has done and as it will do.

Moody's et al and telling the markets some EU countries may have to leave the Euro and they are perpetuating this risk by downgrading the countries.

Cynics would say these US owned CRA's have an interest seeing the Euro crumble but the upshot is the EU will be even more stubborn in ensuring the PIGS are protected and have access to cash.

Today's shorts:
Moody's kill off East Anglians (ifa online)

P seeks election (reuters)

I to turn banks into post offices (bloomberg)

Today's longs:
Ireland to ask ECB for more cash (telegraph)

S to end RC links (guardian)

G downgraded (financialnews)

Gossip:
ECB to force Portugal to merge with Brazil.



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Donald Trump: The saviour of America

Obama is a robot

Obama's speech writer © fintag

News comments:
Trump Towers.

It is gold and eighties and quite depressing. The man so hated by the Scottish is a real American. Birth certificates don't lie and Americans love a comedy president. (newsmax)

What I want to know is what Mr Trump's views are on Libya. Does he know where it is and can he recommend any of its golf courses?

My models are showing me that the speeches of American presidents have got worse over the years and that is correlated to the demise of the USA.

Today's shorts:
Fintag sets the agenda again (telegraph) (fintag)

Obama tells us where Libya is (guardian)

Cameron says: death / exile / prison / war trials / (bbc)

Today's longs:
US houses to be demolished to make way for tents (ipin)

Mad men to be cancelled and replaced by The real Mad Men: Obama and Cameron (bloomberg)

Gossip:
Cameron revealed as Obama's long lost brother.



Tax is for those who don't have Advisors

Fortnum

Fortnums © fintag

News comments:
Tax.

Without wars, there would be little reason for taxation. Tax has historically been levied on the people of a country by the rulers to fund war chests but thanks to Karl Marx, tax has become something governments can use to spend on "shared services" to stop the people rioting because they demand silicon implants and liver transplants and these are of course the new opium of the masses.

A friend of mine who used to be high up at the BBC is quite excited this state owned organisation is facing some reality medicine. The cost cutting is quite nasty but then it should be for these people have lived the life of riley for a long time. Institutions that have too much revenue become havens of red tape where budgets have to be spent at all costs. My friend now has his own award winning production company and tells me working with BSkyB is a delight - they are decisive and supportive whereas the BBC is obstructive and indecisive.

Western governments face the same problem, especially the EU where corruption and waste are second only to very low productivity. Socialism looks good on paper but in reality it doesn't work. Unregulated capitalism doesn't work either (thinking of slavery here) but we all agree something in the middle is acceptable.

Now taxation arbitrage is as old as the hills. Silly laws deserve to be treated as silly and tax laws are some of the silliest.

So when UK Uncut started out with the intention of exposing tax avoiders, I liked the idea. However, like google it has moved away from its one cause approach and is turning into a left wing socialist mouth piece where anyone who has created wealth for others should be dragged naked by a horse through the streets of Manchester. This is a shame for exposing tax dodgers is fare game. Seeing these people in Fortnums at the weekend showed them up as not being that clever.

Blaming these companies for tax evasion (or avoidance, its all the same isn't it?) is stupid. Tax laws are created by governments so why not attack them? The tax law in the UK is the most complex in the world. It is no wonder the courts are chocker full of HMRC versus BigCorp cases because complexity breeds loop holes breeds contempt.

I like Ireland's model and hope the UK gets something similar but what I would really like is UK Uncut to be more like Private Eye in its exposure of tax abuse instead of reporting like it's the Daily Mail.

Today's shorts:
UK Uncut expands its remit (uk uncut)

Proof regulation is potty (bloomberg)

Today's longs:
Police Punished for Policing Practice (guardian)

Gossip:
Mayfair to ensure only professional investors are allowed to visit.



Sunday, March 27, 2011

Starbucks, all is forgiven

Starbucks tea © fintag

News comments:
A changed man.

As you know I find Starbucks to have the same appeal as a massage with sandpaper. But the place has its uses.

A Tall Tea (Tall is the American word for small, apparently. I have also learned that people who write computer code are now called Engineers) costs £1.55.

Taking off the sales tax and it is sold to me for £1.40. The depreciation of the mug is say 5p. The tea bag costs 5p. The hot water costs 5p. The labour to wash up the cup, fill it up and collect my coins is 5p. The cost of counting my cash at the end of the day and banking it is 5p (the same as a credit card charge).

So the profit before occupation costs is £1.40 minus 25p equals £1.15.

It takes me an hour to drink the tea. My chair and table and the lights above and the rental costs about £10 a day or £1 an hour.

£1.15 minus £1 is a 15p profit to Starbucks or 15p/£1.40 equals 10% profit.

During this hour I skyped and emailed and worked. A 4 person meeting room in Regus is £60, or £15 a person.

So my 1 hour in Starbucks saved my company £13.45 and I got a free tea plus getting the opportunity to do some people watching and listening.

I love Starbucks.

However there is a sting to my jolliness for on Saturday I spent the afternoon having tea with my aging grandmother at Fortnums. The tea room is a bit too Canadian for my liking but the tea is good. Whilst I was discussing with her my new revelations about Starbucks, I heard shouts and some old aquaintences from my student protest kettling days causing havoc. My beloved Mayfair was torn apart by some rioting rioters but thankfully it was light and order was restored.

There are no news items I am trading at the moment.



Thursday, March 24, 2011

Never Never Land

Rome

Rome decline © fintag

News comments:
Debt.

I know you are bored about debt and so is everyone else. Debt is fun if you use it to make money and then repay the debt off soon after. Debt isn't fun when it is racked up to pay for day to day living and the thought of paying the debt off, let alone servicing it, induces insomnia.

Portugal, as tiny as it is, is a debt ridden bankrupt country. Ireland, Greece, Italy and Spain also have the grim debt reaper shadowing their every move. The UK will be seeing its debt rise over the next 3 years despite trying to cut back (thanks partly to inflation) and will soon be joining the ranks of the big creditors. Not that it is alone for the US has so much debt, it is now owned by China and as for the great Japanese ponzi scheme, its savings banks will soon be abolished.

Debt is so easy to build up and so hard to repay back. It is a bit like losing at cards where you keep on betting hoping to cover your loses and they just keep on getting bigger. Think Madoff, think The Other Guys.

We are all dead in the long run and it is better to die in debt than with assets. For individuals this makes sense as long as they are happy for their debts to be absorbed by other solvent individuals and companies after they have gone (as well as being sure their isn't a debtors prison in the afterlife).

Countries don't die. The only way they can pay off huge debt is to write it all off, get someone to bail them out, create a new currency or create rampant inflation. This last strategy is what the US and UK are doing. For the UK it is working well but for Bernanke in the US it appears he hasn't been printing nearly enough dollars.

So far the CRA's have been slow off the mark although I am delighted Moody's picked up my comments on the 1p Budget. The UK's debt is going to grow and the growth isn't. We can thank Mr Inflation, increases in debt payments, 20% sales tax, general miserableness, IR35, bailing out Portugal, welfare and a rising yield curve. (telegraph)

Today's shorts:
Port is passed to the right (bbc)

Today's longs:
Bernanke to explain how printing money works (bloomberg)

Gossip:
Debt to be renamed Bet'd.



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The 1p budget

MPC

MPC © fintag

News comments:
If you were the CFO of a country and faced this scenario, what would you do? Please state your rationale and the time you would need to resolve the issues (if you believe they need to be resolved at all).

The country has 60m inventive people and has been run as a socialist state since the 1940s. Certain parts of the North have no private enterprise and it relies heavily on the finance industry and providing actors to hollywood. The country thinks it is bigger than it is and has a large chip on its shoulder following a long and grand history. It also has ....

Increasing unemployment, especially for those under 25, and currently about 10%.

Increasing inflation at about 5% with interest rates at 0.5% and competitor countries having half this rate of inflation.

A weak currency that is making imports very expensive and given it imports nearly everything from China.

Flat growth erring on the side on being negative.

High income, corporation, capital gains and sales taxes compared to most of its competitors.

10% of the country's corporation tax comes from banks.

Some of the most expensive transport in the world (trains, buses, haulage) and some ageing bikes called Boris.

A london underground transport system where people are allowed to eat in front of your face and stink the carriage out with Burger McCrap.

A public debt that is approaching wartime levels and a cost cutting programme that is only slowing down expenditure, not reducing public expenditure and so pushing up the LTV of the country.

A population that is 80% middle class and where the working class are immigrants who work harder than anyone else.

A population used to be being looked after by the state under all circumstances (housing, health, education, silicon implants etc).

Students who pay more for their degrees than at most US universities.

Its own currency and can print more (as it has been) if needed by a man who looks like a milkman.

Real Life
So the UK Chancellor published a budget. The media and other excited counterparties saw it as a great budget. The reality is it wasn't at all. 1p off petrol that costs £1.30 is an insult (Scots will just add it back). Dropping corporation tax 3% is pathetic (Ireland its 12%). Trying to implement a flat tax in a years time is ludicrous (inflation, inflation, inflation).

But the biggest scare completely ignored is the UK debt will rise. (cityam) ...

"UK national debt as a share of national income will be 60 per cent this year, before peaking at 71 per cent and falling marginally to 69 per cent by the end of the period."

Today's shorts:
Portugal eats itself (bbc)

Today's longs:
Big 4 collusion (cityam)

Gossip:
UK in denial that things are getting better.



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fat Canadians and the Bank of England

Canadian calories

Canadian calories © fintag

News comments:
We all live and die by statistics.

Take right now. We have decisions being made off Geiger-counter readings; number of civilian deaths caused by mad despots; house deflation; credit ratings; and interest rate numbers.

So I have read Canadians like calories. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well calories and lack of exercise mean diabetes and health care costs increase, along with new seats for buses and larger ambulances. Lots of long only opportunities here. Of course if the Canadians are fit and burn this off through rigorous exercise (they do win a few medals at the Olympics) then the long only opportunities would be different. Protein shakes, running shoes and of course food manufacturers and distributors.

The statistic us Brits are concerned about is inflation. And guess what? It is 4.4% (reuters). Now that is worrying but not as much as the public debt which was its highest ever.

Just as it seems safe to come out from the behind the sofa, us Brits are retreating back to the comfort of our duvets and tubs of ice cream and wishing we were Canadian.

Today's shorts:
Sarah
Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin aborts
Sarah Palin aborts visit
Sarah Palin aborts visit to
(telegraph)


Today's longs:
ECB looks at the numbers and decides to give Greece a break (bloomberg)

Traders look to increase their bonuses and keep on buying for the heck of it (bloomberg)

AIFM (hedgeweek)

Gossip:
Canada predicted to win the 2012 gold medal in Sumo wrestling.



Monday, March 21, 2011

It is safe to come out now

Thames has run dry

Thames has run dry © fintag

News comments:
You can come out from behind the sofa.

As you know I now live on Chiswick Mall and most days I am fearful of a high tide. Having to underwrite my own flood risks means I drive a 10 foot high truck. However, despite a supermoon and Boris Boats, the Thames is pretty low these days and global warming is a distant academic's wet dream.

Along with the Fukcushima Fried Fifty and contaminated sushi, the Libya Resistance Army (did you know Libya has less people than London) and Buffet (mandg) endorsing my go long Japan strategy, life is looking up.

Today's shorts:
Yemen no fly zone to include all of the middle east (telegraph)

Today's longs:
Buy US houses (cityam)

Gossip:
UK to build giant windfarms on Hampstead Heath.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The UK is a basket case

Foggy London

Foggy London © fintag

News comments:
The UK is a basket case and this is really sad.

[At this point you can stop looking at pictures of torn apart Japan and looking for nuclear shelters on eBay].

The population is one of the most cosmopolitan in the world so I cannot offend anyone but the UK is in a dark and cynical place. But let us look at what it has given the world:

POSITIVES
Without the UK we would all be living in caves. The UK invented pretty much everything:

Electricity, manned flight, the car, democracy, the radio, telephones, (source), the iPod, Isaac Newton, Darwin, Shakespeare, badminton, boxing, rugby, soccer, tennis, golf, darts, table tennis, polo, rock climbing, baseball (from rounders), cricket, the pencil, the christmas card, the computer, the world wide web, html, television, qwerty keyboard, SMS (so twitter), DNA, Iris recognition, most of the periodic table, diary farming, discovery of much of the world and solar system, discovery of solar energy, Valentines day cards, Stereo, shorthand, the pocket calculator, circuit boards, the first computer games (oxo), MP3 players (yep, that was us and a Brit designed the iApple products), touchpad, rolex, clocks, clothing production techniques, the spanner, steam pumps, steam trains, internal combustion engine, LED, the microchip (eat your heart out Intel), slide rule, turbines, wind tunnels, hydroelectricity, the Dyson, corkscrew, mousetrap, toaster, lawn mower, rubber band, stamps, flushing loos, dishwasher, tin can, collapsible baby buggy, fire extinguisher, light switch, teasmade, magnifying glass, stainless steel, cement, discovery of blood, tank, fighter aircraft, viagra, vitamins, anaesthesia, Gray's Anatomy, torpedoes, davy lamp, tuning fork, photography (no it wasn't the French), standard deviation, calculus, infrared, sin, cos, >, <, cat's eyes, seat belts, bicycle, street lamps, traffic lights, tarmac, hovercraft, hydrofoil, lifeboat, diving bell, sextant, carbonated soft drinks, lino, silicon, the police force, venn diagrams, scouts, the metric system (yep, it's not French), crossword puzzles, the canal, the crane, printing, logarithms, MRI body scanner, hypnotism, malaria, waterproof clothes, marmalade, linux, radar, fuel cells,

...and splitting the atom.

NEGATIVES
So what has gone so terribly wrong? All around are miserable people living in a miserable country.

Highest ever unemployment in UK (and that's after the stats have been rigged) (bbc)

World's biggest ever paedo ring smashed - and most of them are Brits (bbc)

The UK's countryside is like Maine (bbc)

Japan earthquake: UK rescue team 'foiled by red tape' (bbc)

ISA fees > tax savings (telegraph)

100m to be spent on deciding whether a saving is a cut? (independent)

The UK is a communist state (ft blog)

Bank of England is a lost cause (bloomberg)

UK to buy houses for first time buyers (bbc)

Gossip:
The UK to swap places with Japan.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Unexpected consequences

Vintage toys

Vintage toy © fintag

News comments:
We are experiencing some quite bizarre unexpected consequences.

Take RDR.
These three letters spell out Satan to an IFA. So what are the IFAs doing? Going off to Ireland and passporting and abandoning commissions for administration fees. The FSA are livid. (citywire)

Take smoking. In the good old days when we puffed like crazy, we all stayed thin. No wonder its a model's favorite past time. Now the lung cancer police have got their way, all those who would have smoked are now getting very fat. So what do we want? Thin people dying young or Fat people dying young? (telegraph)

Take Japan. It built (well the US did) nuclear power plants to withstand earthquakes and boy they certainly stood up well. Way beyond what they had been built to withstand. But what they forgot about was the water. You need water otherwise those hot rods cause nasty skin cancerous and internal body destroying radiation. They forgot to build them to withstand water. And now the green police have woken up and will soon be forcing us to wear sandals and eat grass [Editor: That was a bit Clarkson]. (guardian)

Take Mervyn King. He once lived next door to Ben Bernanke and wears academic glasses. Along comes Charlie Sheen and King has somehow absorbed his bi-winning radiation and is, well err turning weird. If that producer had kept his mouth shut then George Osbourne would be sleeping better.(cityam)

Take Libya. It has been run by a despot for many years and he was nicely contained. Along comes Tony Blair, a roman catholic, who forgives him and kisses his feet. The despot cannot believe his eyes and carries on being a despot with the West approving. Then his people have enough and the West stops and stares as thousands are slaughtered. Thankfully the great unwashed can watch cars on roofs and small children being rescued instead of facing up to the horrors of unnatural acts being perpetrated by human kind.(telegraph)

Today's shorts:
HuffAOL says all Americans are going to die tomorrow (huffpost)

Today's longs:
Markets enjoy some well needed volatility (marketwatch)

Gossip:
Motorised Erectors to be relaunched to solve the global impotency problem.



Lying the Japanese way

Japan

Japan © fintag

News comments:
Of course this isn't another Chernobyl.

So the experts keep telling us. The governments of most countries try to cover up unpleasant realities and truths and unfortunately Japan is one of those with a track record of lies. It is not just governments but large corporations such as Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) too. As wikipedia notes:

"On August 29, 2002, the government of Japan revealed that TEPCO was guilty of false reporting in routine governmental inspection of its nuclear plants and systematic concealment of plant safety incidents. All seventeen of its boiling-water reactors were shut down for inspection as a result. TEPCO's chairman Hiroshi Araki, President Nobuya Minami, Vice-President Toshiaki Enomoto, as well as the advisers Shō Nasu and Gaishi Hiraiwa stept down by September 30, 2002"

William Pesek writes in bloomberg about these lies plus more. Think Toyota (bbc), think Sony (cnet).

We are praying (especially Lady "turning Japanese" Gaga) these lies are not lies but truths and we can all feel safer. Dump Jap stock if you want but in the long term Japan is a long play.

Today's shorts:
Japan to be evacuated completely (bbc)

Japan loses the war of words (ft)

Tchenguiz says it is all lies (telegraph)

The forgotten dictator kills more of his people while Obama plays on his new iPad (guardian)

Today's longs:
Ireland play hard and the EU flap around (wallstreetjournal)

Gossip:
Photographs of the Japanese crisis taken by non-Japanese TV stations to be finally aired.

[I posted this 1 hour before the telegraph decided to write something similar...]



Sunday, March 13, 2011

How much are you worth?

Seeing is believing

Seeing is believing © fintag

News comments:
If you own something you will want to value it at top dollar. Unless you don't want to pay insurance or would incur a tax liability.

Facebook. I estimated it to be worth USD300billion. And now an investor reckons its worth USD150bn (telegraph). What a wimp.

Sorrell reckons its worth a cappuccino (telegraph)

The markets tell us it's worth USD31.50 a share or about USD80billion(techcrunch)

Other markets tell us its worth USD82.5billion (allfacebook)

Twitter now worth USD7.7Billion (mash)

Today's shorts:
Mentally ill person is a laughing stock (guardian)

Charlie Sheen goes to number 1 (youtube)

SEC admit people who make money "must be crooks" (finalternatives)

Today's longs:
Charlie Sheen to wipe out US debt (bloomberg)

Ugly woman and Gordon Ramsey burn down Burger King outlets (telegraph)

Gossip:
Fintag struggling to write a decent blog post.



Friday, March 11, 2011

Super Dry: Death by nuclear fallout

The original super dry

The original super dry © fintag

News comments:
Japan. Horrific but they know what they are doing. Apart from having really old nuclear power stations. And the one that is spilling its radiation into our atmosphere.

Scared? You should be. We are all praying its not a Level 7 (chernobyl wikipedia). Building earthquake proof buildings is easy. Walls that stop a tsunami near impossible.

Here is praying it will be sorted out. It was years that sheep in Wales glowed and even today the fields are still radiated. Nuclear power may solve the oil crisis but it doesn't do our health much good.

Upshot is Japan will be rebuilding some of its infrastructure and printing lots of yen. Long Japan Short New Zealand lamb.

Today's shorts:
Glow in the dark (marketwatch)

Today's longs:
Inside Trading. As Dull as Dishwater (bloomberg)

BillionClear (hedgeweek)

Gossip:
Coal to be the new black.



As clear as mud

No knickers

Transparency © fintag

News comments:
A word over used at present is Transparency.

Investors, regulators, analysts, governments, nosey parkers, they all want to be able to see into dark pools and side pockets and funds and exchanges and banks and hedge funds. The reason is we all lie. We never used to but we do now. So when an investment say 4% fixed return and all your capital back we immediately say "Lehman" or "Madoff".

The world of trust is gone for good. This is partially down to the global melting pot where different cultures with different morals try to work together. But transparency is a luxury and if you spend all your time never believing anything, you would never buy or sell either. Risk is in the eye of the beholder. Caveat emptor and all that.

China is opaque (cheap shoes, human rights abuse). Google is opaque (what do they do with all the data they have harvested?). Managed accounts are transparent (so what). Bank Financial Statements are transparent (and mostly meaningless).

The worse thing about transparency is that knowing what is going on underneath the hood means if it goes wrong you will be liable for having not checked the spark plugs.

So most of the time ignorance is bliss. And this is what Obama et al seem to be doing regarding Libya. Which they will all live to regret.

Today's shorts:
Oil: Nasty stuff (huff post)

No fly zone debacle (bloomberg)

Today's longs:
Oil is good for the skin (bloomberg)

Jap Bank buys Access database (hedgeweek)

Gossip:
Genocide to be banned from the dictionary.



Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The circle of life: Tchenguiz, Cohen, Madoff and Horlick

Icesave

Icesave © fintag

News comments:
The Tchenguiz brothers. Anyone who is anyone has met them; had dealings with them; or knows someone who has. I met them a couple of times too. All my (ex) real estate mates (property week) had them on speed dial.

So, like most people in the City, we are all searching our emails just to make sure there is no way we will get dragged into this new revelation that maybe they were behind me nearly having a heart attack when my Icesave account was frozen by another Icelandic bank.

I am sure Nicola "Tchenguiz" Horlick and her lawyers are also trawling old emails. I mean she got caught out with Madoff and now this? Maybe she was spending more time procreating than risk management and due diligence...

Now it is well known she blamed the SEC for the Madoff loss and as we all know the SEC are spending lots and lots of time interrogating the empire of SAC Capital for things they might have done illegally but which they haven't found anything (yet).

Post boom when the dust settles, PC plod always gets its act together and starts pursuing those it has belief (I am talking about snitches mostly) couldn't have made that much money without being a crook. So all these big names become targets and behind many of these names Goldman Sachs can be found. It's like one big circle of fun.

Anyway, they have been arrested (cityam). Over 134 police were used, lots of paper and accusations of impropriety declared, and loans for real estate and general badness wafted its way down Curzon street into the square.

I hope they are innocent, I really do. They lost a lot of money from the Icelandic fiasco but I can already hear the sound of doors locking and emails being deleted.

You see, as I have mentioned many times before, real estate is a money launderers paradise and was the sole reason for the banking mess we are in now. So I think they are in trouble. Big trouble and others will follow.

Today's shorts:
SFO make headlines (sfo)

Tchenguiz Claridges buy is on ice (dailymail)

Horlick says motherhood is for TV presenters (dailymail)

SEC close in on Cohen (bloomberg)

Fairfax, the Rabbi and Cohen's plot of land in Greenwich (financial post)

Today's longs:
What does IBM actually do these days (bloomberg)

Madoff's losses only USD20bn (nxherald)

Gossip:
Iceland to be invaded by the UK except it must do Libya first but has no military any more so probably won't bother.



Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Keep calm and carry on

Shard of light

Shard of light © fintag

News comments:
There is a shard of 2008 around at the moment.

Remember when the equities markets in 2007 continued to rise as banks fell and debt contagion seeped into all aspects of life? Well I am confused because, unlike the bond markets which are looking shaky, equities are ignoring the Middle East crisis.

In the 1970s the oil crisis was nasty. Low rates, inflation, rising unemployment and structural issues caused the early 1980s recession, a time when you had to travel on the New York subway with a gun and we were all going to die from nuclear fall out. We are heading quickly in that direction now. The signs are all there. Low rates, inflation, rising unemployment and structural issues.

I know there are opportunists wanting to move into the Middle East because democracy is coming, but that is for 5 years time. Right now we have unemployed young people in all parts of the world funding the pensions of old people who caused the issues we have today. But isn't that always the case?

We have to blame the Hippies and Jimi Hendrix in particular.

Today's shorts:
Asians to inflate (bloomberg)

UK to abandon its police force (guardian)

Obama continues his will I, won't I stance on Libya (huffpost)

Today's longs:
Libyan oil no longer in vogue (wallstreetjournal)

Gossip:
UK's SAS to be demoted to "cats in trees" duty.



Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mervyn King is Charlie Sheen In Disguise

Charlie Sheen

Charlie King © fintag

News comments:
What a knob. Mervyn King is turning into Charlie Sheen.

The man at the helm of the Bank of England will soon be regulating all the banks. The last thing he wants to do is tell his underlyings they are greedy bastards and don't give a fcuk about the little people.

Of course bankers are greedy bastards and don't give a fcuk because they have unlimited upside and limited downside thanks to the inept global governments who were lobbied into the ground to keep the status quo.

Yesterday, I had some 31 year old arse trader telling me he was worth GBP5m a year. I told him he was worth about GBP20,000. The rest was a premium that had been determined by the cartel of banks who have in their own interests been keeping people like him highly paid so they too can be highly paid. He didn't understand what I was saying and boasted about his new car. It is nice to see the money goes to the nice people.

The solution is quite simple - the banks should be turned into Partnerships. That would realign risk with reward.

We also need more small banks. Big banks must not be allowed to happen. Lots of hedge funds, lots of banks who have to work together. Its quite simple really.

Today's shorts:
King is a Charlie (telegraph)

Charlie King has one less bank to worry about: HSBC is off to Hong Kong (telegraph)

Today's longs:
Facebook to gobble up eBay, Skype and Twitter (bloomberg)

Goldman Sachs The Inside Tapes (bloomberg)

Gossip:
Mervyn King to be found at Butlins, Minehead with a porn star and his nanny.



Thursday, March 3, 2011

When will Steve Jobs die?

iHype

iHype © fintag

News comments:
Let's face it, HTC phones are way better than iPhones.

The once very cool Apple brand is now uncool. We all have macs and iTunes and iPods. But it is now dawning that they aren't as good as we first thought. Nice covers but inside its expensive and not that exciting. Take the iPad. I thought it would fail. I tried one and my arms were aching after 10 minutes, my eyes were bleeding after trying to read an eBook from the laser intensive back light, and the screen scratched too easily.

Da da! Now the iPad 2.0. That really pisses off those who have just shelled out for the first version. This new one has cameras and ports and works with flash, all the sort of things the iPadCopies all have and what all users wanted in the first place.

I bought my mac 2 years ago and there have been 4 upgrades since. Apple are short term merchants, grabbing bucks while the hype still shines. Enjoy the stock but it won't last.

[Editor: I have ordered you the new iPad]

Today's shorts:
Wall street throws out its Bloomberg terminals and replaces them with iPads (apple insider)

Bradley Manning's last request - "Can I play with the new iPad" (guardian)

Today's longs:
Libya crisis is given a boredom rating by Wall Street (bloomberg)

Gossip:
Windows is the new cool.



Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spinning around

Tossed

Good PR? © fintag

News comments:
Right now we are living in a salad bowl being tossed and spun.

Gaddafi (or Qaddafi if you are being smug) sings "My people all love me" as he shoots them (reuters)

U-Turn Bernanke goes from printing money to burning it (bloomberg)

Cameron slashes defence budgets and says let's go to war Falklands style (dailymail)

Charlie Sheen is spinning his way to a well deserved pay rise (telegraph)

Iran is telling us it has no opposition (bloomberg)

Dodd Frank is too big too fail (reuters)

Unpopular funds produce greatest returns (trustnet)

FT says no to LIA (telegraph)

Old man rapes Goldman Scahs whilst the Fed look on (dealb%k)

Gossip:
Obama changes his spots, follows the Bush route and changes his name to Obomb'em.