Archive for August 2008

  • 29 Aug 2008 at 3:35 PM

Write-Offs: 08.29.08

$$$ Move to the other City [TBP]
$$$ Timothy Sykes wrote his book on how he made his millions. Have you read it and what did you think of it?
Who the fuck is Timothy Sykes? [WSF]
$$$ Who needs a job? [craigslist]
$$$ GD [WS]

  • 29 Aug 2008 at 1:39 PM

Who Does The Best Research On Wall Street?

New York Times business columnist Joe Nocera is unambiguous about his pick.

Although Lehman has been the number one rated equity research shop (again, according to Institutional Investor), that just shows how flawed such ratings are. Everybody on Wall Street knows that Sanford Bernstein does by far the best equity research on the Street. It tends to hire former industry players like Brad Hintz, who was once Lehman Brothers’ chief financial officer, to cover the industries they were once part of. Mr. Hintz; Craig Moffett, the lead telecommunications and cable analyst; Mr. Sacconaghi, who is the technology axe; and a raft of others give Bernstein’s research a depth — an intelligence, really — that no other firm can match.

So who do you think is the best research shop? We’ll take nominations in comments and put up a poll once we have enough suitable candidates.

  • 29 Aug 2008 at 12:33 PM
  • politics

Sarah Palin: Short Oil

So it turns out that John McCain picked Tina Fey Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.
“Sarah Palin” is probably the most searched for name on the internet right now. In the minutes after news of her selection spread, popular websites like the Drudge Report went down. The reason for this is relatively simple: most of us don’t know anything about this woman who John McCain wants to be his running mate.
The one thing we do know is that she’s been a strong proponent of drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve and wants to see more off-shore drilling. In fact, she’s said that McCain, who opposed drilling in ANWR, is “wrong on that issue.” It certainly seems that Republicans are lining themselves up as the party of greater oil supplies.
After the jump, we present a CNBC segment with Palin advocating drilling in ANWR.

Read more »

  • 29 Aug 2008 at 10:51 AM

Things That We Imagine Would Hurt

The application of a bat wing. Hearing Pauly Shore telling you to get your life together. Having the last 18 months’ losses amount to 25 percent of your profits for the last 36 years.
Merrill Losses Wipe Away Long Time Profits [FT]

No American parent has ever looked at their son or daughter and said, “You know, I hope you one day end up being Vice President”. And yet, for all the lack of glamour the vice presidency has in the public mind, speculation over who will be chosen by a presidential candidate to be a running mate is the Olympic decathlon of talking heads, political pundits, and guys posting on blogs from their basements at 2am.
But how does this process even happen? Why do people like Katherine Sebelius or Tim Pawlenty get their names mentioned as potential running mates but people like Steve Rothman or Dave Heineman get passed over like yesterday’s lunchmeat? And does any of it give us an idea of how the candidate on the top of the ticket will govern?
To get some answers, we sent asked Dan Gerstein, someone who has a lot of familiarity with a vice presidential campaign. Gerstein worked with Senator Joe Lieberman for a decade and was Lieberman’s national spokesman for the 2000 VP campaign. He was also the brains behind Lieberman’s successful re-election in the heated 2006 Senate race in Connecticut. Gerstein was written several op-ed pieces for the Wall Street Journal (including this one on Wednesday) and appears on MSNBC, Fox News, and NY1. Gerstein now supports Barack Obama for President though Lieberman was considered to be one of the top contenders as John McCain’s running mate.

Read more »

  • 29 Aug 2008 at 7:30 AM

Opening Bell: 8.29.08

doylebrunson.jpgPartyGaming poker slowdown prompts downgrades (Reuters)
This year’s slowdown in Las Vegas casinos was easy to see coming: Casinos aren’t really gambling houses anymore, they’re resorts, and resorts are vulnerable to economic cycles. But maybe people are, wait for it, in a less gambling mood. PartyGaming, the European online casino, says poker is soft. As in, people are playing it less. As in they’re board of it (maybe). Or maybe they’re just tired of losing. Or maybe televised poker is in decline, and fewer people imagine themselves to be the second coming of Doyle Brunson. Anyway, something to watch.
GM says automakers deserve $50 billion in federal loans: report (Reuters)
Ostensibly the money will be used for alt-energy research. Or at least fuel efficiency. That Detroit would want these Federal loans is totally predictable. In fact we’ve seen a lot of folks chattering about just this in the last few days. Judging by the political rhetoric we’ve heard from both candidates, this certainly sounds like something the next President could accept.
Microsoft to Acquire Greenfield Online Including Its European Subsidiary Ciao, a Leading European Price Comparison and Shopping Site
Interesting deal: MIcrosoft is buying Greenfield Online and then selling of Greenfield’s core business: online surveys. Instead they’re mainly buying it for Greenfield’s European comparison search business. Not clear who they’re selling the surveys business to.
Worker Assets Shrink at Fannie and Freddie (NYT)
Kind of obvious: Workers at Fannie and Freddie have seen their savings take a major hit. That’s how’ it’s been at plenty of other major financial firms since the industry went into its downdraft. But the article starts off this way: “Fannie Mae’s workers had $116 million in the employee stock ownership plan at the end of 2006. Today, it’s more like $17.5 million. Ouch.” That’s a big drop, but, um… $116 million in 2006? That a very tiny sliver of the company owned by the employees. Granted it’s not a bank like Bear Stearns or Lehman, but maybe it’d be better if employees had a little more skin in the game. Then again, more evidence that these ostensibly private corporations are more akin to gummint bureaus than anything else. And of course, high levels of employee ownership hasn’t really done wonders anywhere else lately.
Growing Cynicism Around Going Green (PC World)
More evidence dribbles in that Green is not in. This time it’s about “green” energy-efficient IT. There have also been reports of Priuses (Prii, har!) becoming available. And somewhere else we read that green branding was losing its effectiveness. Just some stuff to watch out for.

  • 28 Aug 2008 at 5:02 PM

Write-Offs: 08.28.08

$$$ Virgin Airlines Offers “Entourage Experience” For Closeted Junior Investment [PSI]
$$$ Is The Long Arm of the Crab Extending to Overland Waste? [LoSC]
$$$ Russian Roulette [NYP]