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Bob Nardelli gets top Chrysler job (Guardian)
There's no reason to cry for Bob Nardelli, the former Home Depot CEO, anymore. Looks like in addition to his fat severance package, he's doing fine for himself, career-wise. Nardelli has been named the head of Chrysler, now owned by Cerberus. A lot of people will be scratching their heads about this one, seeing as he didn't exactly have the best track record at Home Depot. But, track-record be damned, Nardelli got his MBA from the upper echelons of General Electric, which still carries more value than any "track record" since then. It would take a few failures to wipe that off his resume. (note: despite the fact that Nardelli is wearing a Home Depot smock in the photo of him, it's not our understanding that he ever actually worked the floor in one of the company's shops, although readers are encouraged to correct us if we're wrong)
Bear Stearns Removes Spector After Debt Market Losses (Bloomberg)
Bear Stearns co-president Warren Spector has been sacked, as he was responsible for the company's fixed income business, which is pretty much completely in the toilet now. There's no reason to think that the removal of Spector will lead to any sort of turnaround, and it's probably ludicrous to put all the blame squarely on his shoulders. But, banks have nothing if they're not about accountability. If your business goes bust, you have to go.
French bank Natixis sees little subprime impact (Reuters)
After seeing its shares sliced by 10% last week, French bank Natixis took the step of assuring investors that it would not see an impact from the subprime crisis. The company owns a small stake in the German bank that announced it would be hit, so investors blamed them for that. Despite the seemingly epidemic nature of this thing, there are going to be some banks that are just immune, for whatever reason. Probably worth seeking them out to see if they've been unfairly taken down. Although, given that we don't know how this bug will mutate, it's not easy to give a bank a clean bill of health with total confidence.
"Fake Steve Jobs" blogger exposed as Forbes editor (Reuters)
This is a much bigger deal on the other coast than it is here, but for months, people have been wondering who the anonymous author behind the blog "Fake Steve Jobs" has been. Guessing the author's identity was quite the popular parlor game for awhile. Turns out it was Forbes editor Dan Lyons? Who knew? Credit apparently goes to a New York Times writer that found a resemblance between Lyons' writing and the writing on the blog. And with that, any interest in the blog is completely finished.
Fast Retailing Bolsters Offer in Barneys Bidding War (Bloomberg)
Fast retailing, the parent company behind Uniqlo, has upped its bid for tony clothing retailer Barney's, in a bid to diversify away from being yet another H&M clone. Japanese firms haven't been particularly acquisitive in the US. If the deal were to go through, it would be the largest one since Seven & I holdings purchased the stake in 7-11 that it didn't already own for $1.2 billion -- not very exciting.
Melted Cramer on Toast (Market Movers)
Felix Salmon calls Jim Cramer the Britney Spears of the financial punditocracy (famous for being famous). Ostensibly, Spears is famous for her music (originally), so perhaps Paris Hilton would've been more apt. Either way, we await with dread the inevitable bad Photoshop to come out of this comparison.
In praise of credit snobs (Houston's Clear Thinkers)
Turns out, according to one study at least, the poor aren't nearly as bad at managing debt, as they're made out to be. What's more, the poor do see real, sustainable, lifestyle improvements as a result of easier access to credit. There's more than a whiff of elitism about this whole "subprime" fiasco. It's as if the economy is on the brink of economic collapse and the culprit are those low-income wretches in middle America that couldn't get a real mortgage and couldn't put a proper down payment on their houses. Because they didn't do things right, we're all getting punished now.
China Exports Could Start to Slow (WSJ)
Economists believe that the long-awaited slowdown of the Chinese economy could be at hand, at least its exports anyway. The country has been trying to cool the economy for a long time, with little to no success. It's become a bit of a running joke actually, anytime one of its officials says something about wanting to cool things down. However, any slowdown is likely to be limited, since it's the result tax policy affecting a narrow slice of the economy.
'Bourne' Breaks August Record (WSJ)
Hollywood box office results are random and unpredictable? Hogwash. The cream does rise to the top, as the latest Bourne movie, The Bourne Ultimatum (great name, no?), broke the record for the biggest August opening ever. Granted, it was the August opening, but still. We haven't seen it yet, but knowing that the crowd has enthusiastically endorsed it (and having seen the first two), we're now more certain than ever to catch it this week.