Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday Links

Latest Michael Lewis article, on the German role in the European debt crisis: "Indeed, one view of the European debt crisis—the Greek street view—is that it is an elaborate attempt by the German government on behalf of its banks to get their money back without calling attention to what they are up to. The German government gives money to the European Union rescue fund so that it can give money to the Irish government so that the Irish government can give money to Irish banks so the Irish banks can repay their loans to the German banks. “They are playing billiards,” says Enderlein. 'The easier way to do it would be to give German money to the German banks and let the Irish banks fail.' Why they don’t simply do this is a question worth trying to answer."

Insider and corporate share buybacks: "Huntsman [CEO] said he spent $1.1 million of his own money to buy 100,000 shares of the company yesterday because the stock price is 'ridiculously low.' The Salt Lake City-based chemicals maker said Aug. 5 it would spend as much as $100 million on a buyback."

FT: "Banks are charging more to store gold after a surge in demand for precious metals has left London, the centre of the global bullion market, short of vault space."

Retail traders: "E*Trade spokeswoman Susan Hickey told me that her company experienced a 42% increase in user log-ins on Monday, compared to an average day during the prior month. Moreover, mobile traffic (including iPad users) hit an all-time high, more than doubling the July average. She also reported major increases in inbound phone calls."

The real estate overhang, via WSJ: "Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sold a record 100,000 homes during the second quarter. Together with the Federal Housing Administration, the entities owned about 250,000 homes at the end of June, or around half of all unsold, repossessed properties. Another 830,000 homes backed by the entities are in some stage of foreclosure, according to Barclays Capital."

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