Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In Other News 5/5/2010

  • The UK's Prudential PLC has been forced to delay the rights offering that was supposed to finance the purchase of AIG's Asian insurance arm. It seems the FSA is having some issues with the capital position of the combined group if the merger were to go through. Let's hope Prudential works it out, otherwise we'll have to find another sucker to pay $35 billion for the unit.
  • One of the problems with crafting a solution to our healthcare woes is that everyone agrees that costs are spiraling out of control, nobody seems to understand why, so everyone sort of makes up reasons that match their political agendas. So isn't it nice to hear that one of the largest health insurers, WellPoint, has been jacking up its premiums to customers around the country because of a likely mathematical error? Score one for the insurance company haters.
  • BP is cleaning up its oil spill with a detergent-like chemical. I'm sure the fish will really appreciate that.
  • A Picasso sold for $106.5 million, an auction record. It's either a sign that confidence is back, or that people are hoarding hard assets because they don't want to own fiat money. I'll let you decide. In any event, I'll be covering the upcoming auctions of contemporary art as they will be a better barometer of how low investors are willing to stoop for hard assets. Giant stuffed shark bathed in formaldehyde? Anyone? Anyone?
  • Spreads on MBS reached their widest levels in months. The bozos interviewed for Bloomberg's story attribute it to the Greek contagion. Yet maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Fed is no longer spending trillions to prop up the market? Just maybe?
  • Oh yeah, and Jimmy Cayne doesn't think that Bear Stearns' collapse had anything to do with his failure to pay attention to what the hell was going to at the firm he was in charge of. After all, he was at a bridge tournament. Remember? It was that unforeseeable credit crisis that got them.

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