Some interesting facts in today's newspapers (online):
FT: "Two new luxury flats in Hong Kong have been put on the market for a record per square foot price of HK$75,000 (US$9,640) as the buoyant economy and stock markets on the Chinese mainland lift demand for exclusive properties beyond pre-crisis levels."
Notice that phrase, "beyond pre-crisis levels".
Is Obama morphing in Jimmy Carter ?
FT: "Barack Obama’s decision to scrap Bush-era plans for a missile defense shield on Thursday triggered dismay in central Europe and among Republicans on Capitol Hill, amid claims that it amounted to a major security concession to Russia. Unveiling one of the biggest reversals on national security since coming to office, the US president said that he would abandon predecessor George W. Bush’s plans for ground-based interceptors in Poland and a related radar site in the Czech Republic, deploying instead a new system that could hit shorter-range Iranian missiles."
By the way, Polish news noticed that this decision occurred on the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Poland on September 17, 1939, grabbing its spoils from the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty. Rather poor timing for US-Polish relations indeed. Why would anyone expect the youngsters on Obama's staff to know anything about history or Eastern Europe ?
And the march of technology goes on ...
FT: "After five years of scanning books electronically, Google is finally entering the print publishing business for the first time. Through an arrangement with a printing company unveiled on Thursday, Google will offer 2m out-of-copyright books that can be picked up or shipped from libraries, universities and other spots around the world. It has struck the deal with On Demand Books, makers of the Espresso Book Machine that can print a 300-page book in less than five minutes, complete with a cover and a bound edge.
"The editions are likely to cost about $8, with Google keeping a dollar, On Demand Books keeping a dollar and the retailer keeping $3. The remaining $3 should cover the cost of materials and labour."
That's great news ! Those old books were being lost to the intellectual knowledge of humanity. With Google, if one finds interesting references in a search, one can now buy the book. Too bad copyrights last so long.
And the reforms begin:
WSJ: "Policies that set the pay for tens of thousands of bank employees nationwide would require approval from the Federal Reserve as part of a far-reaching proposal to rein in risk-taking at financial institutions. The Fed's plan would, for the first time, inject government regulators deep into compensation decisions traditionally reserved for the banks' corporate boards and executives. Under the proposal, the Fed could reject any compensation policies it believes encourage bank employees -- from chief executives, to traders, to loan officers -- to take too much risk. Bureaucrats wouldn't set the pay of individuals, but would review and, if necessary, amend each bank's salary and bonus policies to make sure they don't create harmful incentives."
So speculating with depositors' money and bank capital will finally have some "adult" supervision. I'd prefer the shareholders do it, but until the SEC gives them such power in proxies, we'll have to rely on the Fed's extant regulatory powers over bank holding companies.
Ms. Market stopped dancing yesterday, being a bit tired. She needs a rest before the band starts up again. Based on its sluggish action and some fears of a poor quarter noted by a respected commentor on this site, I sold RIMM from Fido Fund and also sold its call options from 1-2-3 Fund, locking in good profits on both positions. If RIMM drops on earnings and I think its prospects are still good, I might re-buy it.
Word of the Day
"Perdurable" - adjective [$10]
Perdurable means (I) very durable, or (II) extremely durable: PERMANENT.
Sentence: Regulatory reform of the financial system needs several layers to be perdurable. Any single regulator is likely to eventually be co-opted and become part of the problem, as the SEC is now.
"Errare" - verb, first conjugation
Errare means to err, to wander, to go astray, make a mistake, to be mistaken.
Sententia: Errare est humanum. (from Seneca, the famous Stoic philosopher)
Sentence: To err is human. [Any stock speculator must accept this or go crazy.]