Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Catching up Newsletter style

Several stories I want to point out, but will do all in one post

The mention of the NY Times podcast had some of you thinking about other finance podcasts. Here are two that were sent plus NPR's
John Mason writes at SeekingAlpha about the problems in the banking sector and concludes that regulators too deserve some of the blame:
"A liquidity crisis and a solvency crisis are not the same and should not be compared with one another. A liquidity crisis the Federal Reserve System can do something about. A solvency crisis is beyond the ability of the Fed to resolve. However, the Federal Reserve and other regulatory bodies, through their responsibility for the examination and oversight of the banking system, can help to prevent a liquidity crisis by doing a deep and thorough review of the books of financial institutions and hold these financial institutions to the standards of “good” banking practice. This effort is a first line defense against a failure of banks that could lead to a contagion amongst financial institutions"
ClusterStock reports on withdrawals from the Stanford Bank which is beginning to look eerily similar to a run on the bank after reports of fraud at the Antigua based bank.
"Depositors of Stanford Bank, the offshore bank, that may possibly be a Ponzi scheme, are pouring onto the Island of Antigua to claim their cash."
Remember the recent article from Pablo Fernandez on Equity Risk Premiums in text books? He now has another that looks at not the text books but is a survey of what financeprofessors actually use (I did fill out the survey with an answer of now use 6%, down from about 8%)
"The average Market Risk Premium (MRP) used in 2008 by professors in the USA (6.5%) was higher than the one of their colleagues in Europe (5.3%), in Canada (5.4%), in the UK (5.6%) and in Australia (5.9%). The dispersion of the MRP was high. 15% of the professors decreased their MRP in 2008 (1.5% on average) and 24% increased it (2% on average). 66% of the professors used a lower MRP in 2007 than in 2000 (22% used a higher one). The average MRP used in 2007 was 1.5% lower than the one used in 2000.
Only a week before we have a Bloomberg representative coming to class to teach a class on using the Bloomberg machine (last semester everyone in my Students in Money Management class earned their Bloomberg Certification in either Equities or Fixed Income), it seems that Bloomberg and other high end data providers are feeling the bite of the recession as well.

For now at least, Sirius seems to be financed sufficiently to avoid bankruptcy. From MarketWatch:

"Shares of Sirius XM Satellite Radio doubled Tuesday morning on news that John Malone's Liberty Media has agreed to invest a total of $530 million in the the beleaguered radio company, allowing it to avoid a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing."

At Mises.org, Frank Shostak reminds us of the problems associated with increasing the money supply too quickly:
"It is apparent that we've learned nothing from several millennia of monetary destruction. The persistent demonstration that capital, not paper, is the basis for prosperity has fallen on deaf ears. Daily, we face the sad spectacle of government officials, pundits, and even Nobel laureates telling us that printing money is the answer to an economic downturn"
And finally, the UnknownProfessor at FinancialRounds reminds me that while teaching at a small school has many benefits, pay is definitely not one of them. He lists the AACSB report of business school professor's pay. (FTR here even finance professors are under the average for the lowest of any filed at other accredited schools. )

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