Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pot Pourri

A few finance-related things I've found of interest out there on the Internets:

1) Are we in a recession? A bear market? A correction? And is it over? I have no idea. But I do know that when Starbucks starts departing from their traditional strategy of selling overpriced coffee, the big guys must be worried. $1 coffee and free refills? What is this, my local coffee shop?

2) Beyond the shock value of a nice big round number, I couldn't put my finger on what exactly I found so troubling about the news that a french trader at Societe Generale racked up over $7-billion in stock market losses, until Eric Reguly nailed it for me:

What is astounding is the amount of money he would have had to invest to pile up losses of €4.9-billion. European indexes are down 15 per cent, give or take a couple of points, since the late autumn. This implies the face value of his positions must have been €30-billion or more. How could a single, young bank employee have built enormous positions without the risk gnomes knowing about it? The answer is obvious: There are serious flaws in SocGen's oversight and risk management departments.
And if it can happen there, what's stopping it from happening somewhere else?

3) I thought lowering interest rates was supposed to make currencies weaker, but today's news that the loonie gained nearly 2 cents bucks that logic. Just more evidence that all the rules are apparently out the window in our current, nervous and crazy markets.

4) Ink-stained wretches like me, take heart. People do indeed still like reading newspapers. They just don't like paying for it, and they're doing it online. Maybe this blog thing is going to pan out for me after all. Of course, I'd probably need more than my current 25 cents a day from Google Adsense to live off it...


George W. said...

Currencies usually drop when interest rates go down, but only when those rates go down relative to the currency of the country you're comparing it to.

It makes sense that the loonie would go up in value compared to the US dollar, since the US interest rates dropped by a much larger amount (0.75%) than the Canadian rates (0.25%).

MG said...

Hi GIV, I just came across your blog and subscribed to it.