Friday, December 12, 2008

Features of the week

Traders and investors: get set for our, "Features of the week".

1. Hedge funds face big losses in Madoff fraud case (WSJ).

"A number of prominent funds of hedge funds are believed to have invested money in portfolios established by Bernard Madoff, a securities trader and investment adviser who was arrested yesterday before appearing at a Manhattan court charged with securities fraud.

U.S. authorities claimed Mr. Madoff told employees at Madoff Investment Securities earlier this month that the investment advisory activities of his business had been "a giant Ponzi scheme." "

2. Dow/Gold ratio: looking at market performance in terms of gold.

3. Russians buy jewelry, hoard dollars as ruble plunges.

4.Fed refuses to disclose recipients of $2 trillion loans (Bloomberg).

"The Federal Reserve refused a request by Bloomberg News to disclose the recipients of more than $2 trillion of emergency loans from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

Bloomberg filed suit Nov. 7 under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act requesting details about the terms of 11 Fed lending programs, most created during the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression."

5. Swiss franc's safe haven currency status hit by the storm.

6. The dollar index is topping, as the Euro halts its decline and moves higher.

7. Bloomberg speaks with Jim Rogers about the Detroit auto bailouts.

8. End of the dollar rally: John Authers on reasons for dollar weakness.

9. Has America jumped the shark? James Quinn on our need to reverse course as a nation:

"Over time, trust in our government, financial leaders and corporate leaders has declined to the point where Americans cannot and should not trust anything they are told. It is essential that every citizen do their duty and skeptically assess everything they are told by politicians, bureaucrats and corporate CEOs.

They will continue to speak authoritatively like they know exactly what will happen in the future. They are lying. None of these experts can even predict what will happen next week, let alone next year."

10. Deflation says buy bonds; supply flood says sell (Mark Gilbert).

11. Credit rating on a benevolent counterfeiter's debt? (Paul Kasriel).

"In today’s Wall Street Journal a trial balloon was floated with regard to the Fed issuing its own debt. This is akin to a counterfeiter issuing her own debt. There could never be a default.

All the counterfeiter would have to do is print up some new currency to pay the interest on or redeem her debt. The Fed also possesses the power of the printing press, so it would never default on its debt. Of course, there is no guarantee what the future purchasing power of the payments would be to the Fed’s creditors, but that is a different issue."

12. Bear market bounty: uncovering cash rich stocks.

13. Record corporate bond spreads: a buying opportunity?

14. The matress race: bonds, equities, and saving (The Economist).

15. Lehman's last days (Bloomberg Markets Magazine).

16. Stock picker Bill Miller's defeat (WSJ).

"Such all-or-nothing bets would come to define Mr. Miller's style. He usually holds about three dozen stocks at a time, compared with a hundred or so in a typical mutual-fund portfolio.

He has welcomed negative sentiment about companies, which has let him buy stocks as their prices fall, "averaging down" the per-share price he pays. The strategy can net him big stakes in companies -- an enviable position if shares rally and a sticky one if he needs to sell.

When asked how he would know he made a mistake in buying a falling stock, Mr. Miller once retorted: "When we can no longer get a quote." In other words, the only price at which he was unwilling to buy more was zero."

17. "Things are not as bad as most perceive them to be" - The Financial Philosopher.

18. Ron Paul chooses Ludwig von Mises as "Person of the Year".

If you're a fan of our regular "Features" posts, and would like to see to more of our regularly featured content, subscribe to our blog feed or bookmark us to your favorites folder or your social bookmarking site of choice (Delicious, Facebook, StumbleUpon, etc.).

Thanks for reading Finance Trends Matter. Enjoy the weekend!