Matt Levine

  • Aren't trade shows just sort of amazing? Like when I was a kid (also: when I was a banker) I went to the auto show at the Javits Center because, cars, awesome, but they have the same thing for, like, pharmaceuticals. You gotta imagine everyone is walking around being like "hmm, behind the medicine, huh? God I wish there were sweet Lamborghinis here."


    SEC Not Really Big Believers In Luck

    A thing that the SEC sometimes does now is notice when an anonymous foreigner buys a ton of otherwise thinly traded short-dated out-of-the-money call options just before a company announces big merger news that pushes the stock way up and makes those options suddenly hugely valuable, and go to court to take away the anonymous […]

    / Jul 8, 2013 at 11:40 AM
  • okay time for your hooker scandal really


    New York Attorney General Will Supervise When And How News Organization Can Report News

    The Financial Times has an article today called “Greece reaches agreement with ‘troika’ on bailout tranche” and I’m not going to tell you about it but you can go read it if you want. If you’re an FT subscriber just click on this link and there you are. If not, maybe try typing that title […]

    / Jul 8, 2013 at 9:45 AM
  • Dealbreaker Trivia question: whose porch is this?


    Borrowing More Money Now Almost Cheaper Than Borrowing Less Money

    It’s fairly intuitive that lending money to rich people would be a better business than lending money to poor people.1 They have more money, for one thing, which makes it more likely that they’ll be able to pay you back. Their collateral tends to be better too. Administrative costs are lower – your loans are […]

    / Jul 3, 2013 at 12:49 PM
  • I mean, this could have been a picture of like a computer or the Nasdaq CEO or whatever, but LOOKIT THE DOGGIE.


    Nasdaq Screwed Up The Facebook IPO To Preserve The Integrity Of The Capital Markets

    Because Nasdaq messed up the Facebook IPO, a bunch of people lost money, and because this is America those people sued,1 and yesterday Nasdaq defended itself in a motion to dismiss, and I guess they’re probably right, I don’t know, but none of it exactly works as an advertisement for Nasdaq’s services. The main argument […]

    / Jul 3, 2013 at 10:02 AM
  • bitcoin mining



    One of my favorite pastimes is making small but terrible investment decisions so of course I’ve long wanted to buy some bitcoins, the cryptocurrency that comes from your imagination, or at least the imagination of your computer. Unfortunately as far as I can tell actually buying a bitcoin requires a fake passport, a short-wave radio, […]

    / Jul 2, 2013 at 1:28 PM
  • kinder gentler Icahn pic


    Carl Icahn Agreed To Lend Himself Some Money For Dell

    The latest in the Dell saga is that Carl Icahn has announced that he’s got the money to do his $10-to-$14-or-whatever-a-share tender offer, and by “money” of course I mean commitments from lenders that are contingent on the tender offer happening, which itself is contingent on a bunch of other things, including Dell shareholders voting […]

    / Jul 2, 2013 at 10:17 AM
  • EU antitrust czar Joaquin Almunia. I guess they don't call them "czars" in Europe though.


    Banks Preferred Profitable CDS Business Over Less Profitable One

    The thing about antitrust law is that it’s so understandable. Not in the sense that a human can easily understand antitrust law, particularly, just that it’s easy to understand where the people who violate it are coming from.1 This EU antitrust case against 13 banks for “colluding to prevent the lucrative global business of trading […]

    / Jul 1, 2013 at 3:03 PM
  • he'll school ya


    Renaissance Technologies: Buy-And-Hold Investor

    You can think of a margin loan as being like an option on the underlying security: if I lend you $50 (nonrecourse) against a $100 share of stock, and tomorrow the stock is worth $45, then you’ve lost $50 and I’ve lost $5, same as if I wrote you a $50 strike put option on […]

    / Jul 1, 2013 at 10:13 AM
  • From of course.


    Sell-Side Research Analysts Are Destroying America, Apparently

    Here’s sort of a pleasing paper on equity research analysts. The background is basically that there’s this constellation of questions that reduce to “do public markets make companies Bad?,” and one of the main mechanisms by which that might happen would be if markets make companies focus on short-term earnings and shareholder distributions rather than […]

    / Jun 28, 2013 at 3:54 PM
  • Huh. They *record* the phone calls now?


    MF Global Was Bad

    The thing is that when you run a brokerage company and it goes and loses $1bn of customer money, the CFTC really ought to charge you with “fail[ing] to supervise diligently the activities of [your] officers, employees, and agents,” no? At least? There are various views of Jon Corzine’s role in MF Global’s efforts to […]

    / Jun 27, 2013 at 4:25 PM
  • lookit all them pretty prices


    Brokerage Tried To Tell The World It Was Ripping Off Customers But No One Listened

    Securities firms that sell bonds to customers from their own account (and buy bonds from customers from their own account) make money by charging a markup (markdown) on the price that they paid (got) for the bonds on the other side. You buy at 100, sell at 101, you make a point, etc. The metaphysics […]

    / Jun 27, 2013 at 9:57 AM
  • Basel, where these things notionally come from.


    Relatively Simple Basel Leverage Rules Still Pretty Complicated

    If you think bank regulation should be made much simpler it’s probably worth reading today’s Basel Committee document on bank leverage ratios, which the chairman of the Basel Committe described as “a relatively simple measure.” And what could be simpler than regulating leverage ratios?1 It’s just, like: tot up all your assets, including all your […]

    / Jun 26, 2013 at 5:03 PM
  • I was not expecting to find a picture of both the CEO and the device.


    Medical Device Company CEO Thought It Best Not To Be “100% Accurate” With Investors About Possibly-Exploding Device

    Here’s a strange little SEC securities fraud case. Imaging3 is a small, now-bankrupt medical imaging device company that was developing a 3D scanner (pictured right, with CEO Dean Janes) that certain members of the medical establishment did not like, quite possibly because it didn’t work, hard to tell. Imaging3 sought FDA approval for its scanner […]

    / Jun 26, 2013 at 1:38 PM
  • Burn everything!


    Crackdown On Insider Trading May Have Actually Reduced Insider Trading

    A question that you may or may not find interesting is: have the U.S. government’s rather strenuous recent efforts to stamp out insider trading actually reduced insider trading? How would you go about answering that, if you really wanted to know? I guess the right approach would be a survey; like, go email every hedge […]

    / Jun 26, 2013 at 10:22 AM
  • Bob Corker. I have some difficulty believing this is a real picture of him.


    You’ve Got Five More Years To Trade Fannie And Freddie Preferred Stock

    Over on the imaginary stock markets where Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac trade they’ve had a rough day, with FNMA and FMCC common stock each down almost 13% and the preferred … um … down surprisingly small amounts but, y’know, on light volume. The impetus is presumably this: A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday […]

    / Jun 25, 2013 at 5:47 PM
  • There are a lot of sort of non-numeric charts in this report but I like 'em; this chart works.


    Insurance Companies Were Bad At Predicting How Dumb Their Customers Would Be

    Retail clients are not typically paragons of rationality or possessors of Black-Scholes calculators so a good way to make money is to bamboozle them with mispriced derivatives. The classic way banks do this is with structured notes, where you combine a bond worth $75 and an S&P option or whatever worth $15 and sell the […]

    / Jun 25, 2013 at 2:14 PM
  • News

    Earnest New Canadian Stock Exchange Stresses Personal Responsibility, Slower Pace Of Life

    Nostalgia can be a surprisingly powerful force in marketing financial products, and without knowing much about it I have high hopes for this new Canadian stock exchange? It’s like a regular stock exchange (in Canada), only they won’t allow high-frequency trading. I mean, they will allow it, but not the bad kind: Aequitas plans to […]

    / Jun 25, 2013 at 12:39 PM
  • Not this much


    Who Else Wants To Weigh In On How Much Dell Is Worth?

    There are people who think that a stock is worth what someone will pay you for it, but that’s sort of a boring conversation. Talking about fundamental, long-term, present-value-of-future-cash-flows type values gives much more scope for debate, analysis, and fantasy. See, this company is just trading at four dollars a share. It’s worth hundreds. Normally […]

    / Jun 24, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Our Sites

  • Above the Law
  • How Appealing
  • ATL Redline
  • Breaking Defense
  • Breaking Energy
  • Breaking Gov
  • Dealbreaker
  • Fashonista