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Hoping Is A Totally Rational Investment Strategy

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So shares of UBS moved up after the Swiss banking giant announcedginormous write-downs related to bad debt exposure and admitted it has another $15 billion in subprime exposure. Deutsche Bank raced in with its own write-downs, driving up its shares as well.
We called around to ask people why write-downs equal better share prices, and we were told that people feel that the write-down was large enough that many investors believe they now have written down everything they will need to. "The worst is behind us," they say. Really? That's a line we've been hearing since last fall, but apparently it still works.
Oddly enough, the second place answer is that the write-downs were smaller than expected so people who were massively short the stocks are now covering. This explanation totally undermines "the worst is behind us" rationale but never mind. We're done with trying to figure out why write-downs mean bid ups.


UBS's Investment Banking Head May Have To Slash His Own Expenses "Like A Jewish Shopkeeper"

As those of you keeping up with the many trials and travails of UBS know, the last couple years have been fairly brutal for investment banking chief Carsten Kengeter. Pre-tax IBD profit was down 55 percent YoY through June, employees are constantly on his ass about getting paid, the comments he made in attempt to "rally the troops" re: "slashing expenses like a Jewish shopkeeper" were totally taken in the wrong way, some guy perpetrated a $2 billion fraud (which was partially to blame for CK getting passed over for the promotion he was gunning for), and to top it all off, the higher-ups actually accepted his offer to forgo a bonus for 2011, which he would never have put out there if he thought they'd actually go for it. And now, as a thanks for all his hard work, management is publicly mulling the idea of lightening his load and paycheck. UBS is weighing a shakeup at the top of its investment bank that would give a reduced role to Carsten Kengeter and increased responsibilities to his co-head Andrea Orcel, three people with knowledge of the matter said. The board is meeting in New York today to consider a reorganization of the unit that will include cuts centered on the fixed-income operations that Kengeter has been responsible for since 2008, said the people, who asked not to be identified before the matter is made public. An announcement may come when UBS reports third-quarter earnings on Oct. 30, they said...Three senior executives who declined to speak publicly said they expect Kengeter to leave the bank before long. A person with knowledge of Kengeter’s thinking said he doesn’t plan to go. A UBS official declined to comment. Ermotti told staff in a memo this month he’ll take “all actions necessary” to tackle the “paradigm shift” in banking and will continue “remodeling” UBS. He said in July that the market environment has completely changed since the bank announced reorganization plans for the securities unit in November. UBS May Reduce Kengeter Role in Overhaul of Investment Bank Unit [Bloomberg] Related: Was That Wrong? Should Carsten Kengeter Not Have Done That?