Opening Bell: 02.19.09

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UBS's Capitulation On Privacy Policy Could Fuck Banks (Reuters)
Swiss Banks have managed to keep the names of clients well guarded for the past unknown years, but no more: the US tax code has prevailed in destroying whatever trust remained in the once illustrious institutions' ability to keep their collective mouths shut. You have to give attention to the fact that the governments of the world now demand access to more information than ever before in history, which is the first step towards autocracy; the latter steps being that they remove education and the ability to defend oneself. Aside, there may be a flight to safety (from Swiss banks of all things) to locations where privacy is still guarded - Antigua, anyone?
Japanese Banks Take Hit After Changing Investment Strategies (Bloomberg)
"The lenders took on increased risks under foreign ownership. Aozora Bank Ltd., acquired in 2003 by Cerberus Capital Management LP, reported reverses on subprime mortgages, GMAC LLC shares and Bernard Madoff's fund. Shinsei Bank Ltd., bought in 2000 by private investors including billionaire J. Christopher Flowers, had losses on a stake in Germany's Hypo Real Estate Holding AG.
"Aozora and Shinsei were managed like many banks in America, investing in derivatives and other toxic assets," said Neil Katkov, head of Asia research at Boston-based Celent LLC. "It was a bargain with the devil.""
Oil Up On Supply Crunch Warning (BBC)
There's fear coming from the IEA that there's going to be a supply lag once the collective world economy picks back up again, which is like saying "once we stop Atlanta from burning there's going to be a shortage of water for a while."
""Currently the demand is very low due to the very bad economic situation," Mr Tanaka said.
"But when the economy starts growing, recovery comes again in 2010 and then onward, we may have another serious supply crunch if capital investment is not coming.""
Playboy Posts Loss, Will Consider Company Sale (Reuters)
I'm volunteering to work the deal; given today's economic climate there's going to need to be months of due diligence - it's important this is done right.
"Playboy Enterprises Inc, publisher of one of the world's best known adult magazines, posted a wider fourth-quarter loss, hurt by $157.2 million in restructuring and other one-time costs, as well as weaker-than-expected revenue.
The company, which posted a net loss in each quarter of 2008, also said it would be open to discussions about an outright sale of the company, or changes in the strategic direction of the flagship Playboy Magazine.
Net loss for Playboy, which in recent months has seen a management shake-up including the resignation in December of longtime Chief Executive Christie Hefner, was $145.7 million, or $4.37 per share. This compares with a loss of $1.1 million, or 3 cents a share, in the year-ago period."
On The Heels Of The Mortgage Announcement, Fed Announces Inflation Target (FT)
More interesting than the Mortgage Bailout (to include: who's angered by it and who's not, who qualifies and how I don't really care) the Fed has announced they're pushing for a long term target inflation of 1.7 to 2.0% with a short term contraction of .5 to 1.3%. How they're going to deal with this influx of Ms and not have an inflationary push is somewhat of a mystery, though their argument may source from destroyed wealth through this economic contraction.

In The main attraction to the Stanford funds was that they were safe and worry free (Bloomberg)
"They told me that they had insurance. The broker told me not to worry and that the bank was safe," said Pedro.

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