Opening Bell: 2.29.08

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Peloton Blames Wall Street Lending Crackdown for Fund Collapse (Bloomberg)
A London-based hedge fund is blaming tightening credit standards on Wall St. for its collapse. The $1.8 billion fund says that because of, you know, stuff, it just can't get a loan anymore. And it will need to liquidate. Sounds like a market for lemons if the company is to be believe: "Credit providers have been severely tightening terms without regard to the creditworthiness or track record of individual firms, which has compounded our difficulties and made it impossible to meet margin calls." Anyway, a worthy read.
Man Financial and the Core Club contra-indicator… (Footnoted)
Shoulda known something was going to be up at Man Financial. As Michelle Leder points out, this is the company noted memberships to the Core Club in its filings. And its CFO left abruptly in January.
Headed Toward an International Robot Arms Race? (Industrial Market Trends)
Just something to ponder over the weekend.
The Latest Carbon Prices (Alex Kirtland)
Meant to link to this earlier, but Alex Kirtland offers up a surprising chart of carbon offset prices. Check it out. Let's just say, if there were anything like a true market price, it sure as hell isn't showing up. The price to offset a metric ton are all over the place. It also means that there's probably a way to make money on this, although liquidity and fungibility would both probably be an issue. But if you could.
Financial Firms Face $600 Billion of Credit Losses, UBS Says (Bloomberg)
So far they've lost just $160 billion.


Clinton Campaign Raised $35 Million in Month (WSJ)
Clinton raised that much and Obama's camp says he raised far more than that. Some estimates have put it closer to $60 million. So the question is: will either of the two camps pay a windfall profits tax? Seriously, this is a crazy amount of money and both of them have proposed it in the past, so time to cough it up, no. Btw, the concept of a windfall tax on political campaigns was first seen here. Can't quite claim credit for the idea, though we like it.
Bipartisan Spirit Falters in Fights on Debt Relief (NYT)
A bit of a cliche, but we'll say it again for emphasis: the more partisan bickering on economic issues the better. If only politicians were always so partisan, maybe we wouldn't be in this mess, but unfortunately, on certain things (bizarrely) they come together all too quickly.
Trader Accused of Betting Money He Didn’t Have (NYT)
Another look at the latest rogue trader, whose $142 million loss just doesn't seem like that much. We've been conditioned to expect much more, quite honestly. The coolest thing about it (and we use cool sensitively, because look, losing tons of other people's money isn't technically cool at all) is that he was a wheat trader. At one point he traded 10 percent of the market. If you know the predilections of the Opening Bell, you know why we're so gratified that it was wheat and not just some financial security: we like real goods. Anyway, the panic selling by the firm on Wednesday has to explain the crazy sky-is-falling weak we've had in wheat. Expect to see it in bread prices very, very soon.
The cult of the CEO (Megan McArdle)
A good point on CEOs: Folks make too big of a deal out of them. Some are overpaid. Some drive their companies into the ground and some are geniuses. Some even wield too much political clout. But on the whole, there aren't that many of them. And if they all got their pay doubled, it wouldn't affect things a whole lot.

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