Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Few fast posts

I never seem to have enough time in the day but didn't want people to think I dropped off teh face of the earth! So here are a few note worthy posts of recent days:

Science Daily reports an interesting finding:
"...according to a new study in this month's Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), repeated exposure to one person's viewpoint can have almost as much influence as exposure to shared opinions from multiple people. This finding shows that hearing an opinion multiple times increases the recipient's sense of familiarity and in some cases gives a listener a false sense that an opinion is more widespread then it actually is."
Which may explain some financial decisions.

BizCoach, citing a paper by Becker-Blease and Sohl reports that while women do get less "angel financing" it is largely because of the type of businesses that many women start and they tend to ask for money less often:
" "We found that women entrepreneurs submitted an average of nine percent of proposals received by our angel groups during the sample," he said. "Indeed, of the proposals received, both women and men had an equal chance of receiving funding (about a 14 percent chance)."
Warren Buffett a white knight? maybe. That is the report from many sources on the attempted takeover by Robert Murdoch of Dow Jones (including the WSJ). From the Guardian:
"The union's call to Mr Buffett may have be in vain, however. The legendary investor and multi-billionaire said just recently it was "very, very unlikely" that he would bid for Dow Jones, either as a personal investment or together with his company Berkshire Hathaway."
Financial Engineering News has an interesting piece on electric deregulation with a focus in NY State that suggests unless New York City does something soon, it could be the center of brown outs in the years ahead. Among the MANY highlights:
"...even if one understands commodity pricing, electricity is a very special type of commodity and obeys rules different even than other those of other commodities, due to its special feature of being considered to be absolutely essential....if the price of electricity spikes on a hot summer weekday afternoon in New York City, even if consumers are aware of the spike, their refrigerators will cycle as normal, their air conditioning will still be on and office buildings will not shut off either their air conditioning nor shut down their elevators, the subways will continue to run, etc. And moreover, with the current system, the consumers of electricity are blissfully unaware of price spikes in real time."
InsideBayArea demonstrates why managers prefer cash to shares via the tale of a entrepreneur who thought he had $40million only to have the options shrink in value before the shares could be sold:
"We were acting as if we had $40 million," he recalls of the giddiness he and his wife felt at being that rich. "We bought an airplane, started building a 10,000-square-foot house, gave away to charity, bought houses for relatives."

But the stock was on "lock up" for a year after the options were exercised, a common requirement used to retain management. By the time the lock up expired, the stock market had crashed. Wiener was able to sell the stock for about $1 a share, producing a vastly smaller sum than $40 million.

"We didn't have the money to pay taxes," he said. "We didn't even have money to pay our mortgage."

Tax law recognizes stock options as earned income on the exercise date. So, Wiener owed taxes on $40 million"

And finally the story that may have the most lasting consequences. It appears that there is now a exact model to price American options! It is by Song Ping Zhu, a mathematician from Australia's university of Wollongong. The article is forthcoming in the Quantitative Finance.

Thanks to MoneyScience for pointing several of these out to me!
BTW did a really fun 100K+ (turned into about 75 miles for me) bike ride this past weekend. It was first "longish" one of year.

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