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Zeitgeist: Addendum

We already talked (self-link, sorta) about Zeitgeist: The Movie. Its author, Peter Joseph, recently released Zeitgeist: Addendum. (beware: last two links are two hour movies) This time, it’s about money and debt, scarcity and resources. The first, financial part may look like an extended Ron Paul ad, but then there’s a sudden turn towards resource-based utopian techno-communalism, and an endorsement for The Venus project. It seems to me like "Kropotkinian anarchism meets The Matrix". In these rough times, is it time for a big leap? [Also announced: The Zeitgeist Movement, still not active]
posted by Baldons on Oct 7, 2008 - 21 comments

"There will be enormous, enormous losses..."

This American Life gives you Another Frightening Show About the Economy.. The guys who brought us The Giant Pool of Money (previously) explain the credit crunch and why it's so scary. And not in the Halloween fun-to-be-scared sense.
posted by justkevin on Oct 5, 2008 - 169 comments

Suckers going down in Iceland

While the Wall Street financial crisis gripped the world Icelanders woke up one day to find that the Icelandic state had forcibly taken over the country's 3rd biggest bank, Glitnir. The worry is now that one of the two larger banks could also fail and the state wouldn't have the resources to do anything as the two remaining of the big 3 have assets totaling 10 times the GDP of Iceland. While the Central Bank claims it was the only option in a bad situation, prior bad blood between one of the Central Bank's directors, a former Prime Minister, and the main owner of Glitnir have some wondering if Icelanders have just been witness to "the biggest bank robbery in Icelandic history." [Warning: The story you are about to read may make you reconsider the verisimilitude of soap operas]
posted by Kattullus on Oct 3, 2008 - 25 comments

Steamcreditcrunch

A housing boom and bust, interbank lending rates reaching record highs, people losing faith in complex financial instruments, a stock market crash. We've seen it all before... The Great Depression of 1929? No, the Panic of 1837...
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 3, 2008 - 33 comments

The $1.4 Trillion Question

"Through the quarter-century in which China has been opening to world trade, Chinese leaders have deliberately held down living standards for their own people and propped them up in the United States. This is the real meaning of the vast trade surplus—$1.4 trillion and counting, going up by about $1 billion per day—that the Chinese government has mostly parked in U.S. Treasury notes. In effect, every person in the (rich) United States has over the past 10 years or so borrowed about $4,000 from someone in the (poor) People’s Republic of China." James Fallows on how the trade deficit between China and America works and what it means for the future.
posted by afu on Sep 30, 2008 - 41 comments

Stochastic cascades, credit contagion, and large portfolio losses

"In the limit of an infinite economy, the number of initial downgrades is Poisson distributed. This captures the idea that the shock initially affects only a small number of firms. Nonetheless, the distribution of the total number of defaults has slowly decaying tails ... A firm might well be able to absorb its shock, but it might not be able to absorb both the shock and the resulting deterioration in the average rating. The initial downgrades may thus trigger additional defaults that, in turn, further deteriorate the average rating, and so on. In a large economy, this cascade can be described by a branching process." Ulrich Horst, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2007. (Internet supplement!) [more inside]
posted by geoff. on Sep 30, 2008 - 8 comments

This is not your FDIC. This is the Rich White Man's FDIC.

A private FDIC?

The Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service, or CDARS, is a way to conveniently spread bank accounts across multiple banks. CDARS, run by privately held Promontory Interfinancial Network, offers its customers up to $50 million of deposit insurance, or exactly 500 times single account limit mandated by the FDIC. Promontory does this by arranging to distribute client funds nationwide in $100K increments to over 2,300 banks. Promontory is nothing if not well connected: while founders Mark Jacobsen previously served as Chief of Staff at the FDIC, co-founders Alan Blinder was Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve and Eugene Ludwig was Comptroller of the Currency, several former members of the FDIC currently serve on Promotory's board.

Not surprisingly, some folks are openly critical of Promotory, some going so far as to state "It undermines a lot of the safeguards around the FDIC deposit fund."
posted by Mutant on Sep 26, 2008 - 64 comments

teh free markets, ur doin it wrong

LOLFed. Doan cry, emo banker! If you hate the latest financial crisis news, but love image macros, then this is the site for you. It's like I Can Has Cheezburger meets the Wall Street Journal.
posted by Asparagirl on Sep 22, 2008 - 61 comments

Saturday night poker night is about to get a lot more interesting ...

Hedge Funds employ many different strategies to make money. There are long/short funds, event driven funds, emerging markets funds [.pdf], funds looking to profit from global macroeconomic trends and a large number of funds employing a wide range of arbitrage techniques to make money.

But these techniques are the tried and the true. As both assets under management and market turmoil have grown significantly, hedge funds are rapidly branching out into domains far, far detached from finance: art, litigation funding and now even poker.
posted by Mutant on Sep 22, 2008 - 44 comments

RTC II

Banning short selling? Firing Chris Cox? Treasury Secretary Paulson has reportedly floated the idea of an 80s-style "Resolution Trust Corporation." Maybe we're finally turning the corner...or at least stopping the hemorrhaging.
posted by uaudio on Sep 18, 2008 - 124 comments

Banking shares: New Day or False Dawn?

A bottom for banking? Buying or selling shares in a company one manages - insider trading - is legal in The United States, provided the relevant forms are filed with The SEC. This information is then made available to the general public via EDGAR, Sec Form 4, or high level aggregators. Investors scour web sites for such filings, as purchases or sales of a companies shares by insiders are public evidence of managements private opinions regarding the future prospects of the firm they are running.

Even before yesterdays relief rally insider buying in banking shares hit a two decade high. So does this surge in buying indicate the worst is over in banking? When trading its best to pay close attention to a broad range of signals, because sometimes even the insiders get it wrong.
posted by Mutant on Sep 9, 2008 - 23 comments

Those markets? Well, it seems they work like they are supposed to ...

Are funds calling a bottom to the US housing market? Even as house price declines are beginning to slow, home sales may have stablised and resales look healthy, big money - $5B here, $3B there, over there $2B and lots and lots of smaller amounts - is being deployed to take housing assets off banks balance sheets.

Meanwhile, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are actually booking the biggest profits on new mortgages since 1998. It ain't over 'til it's over, but in the markets you take what you can get.
posted by Mutant on Aug 28, 2008 - 39 comments

"A national debt will be to us a national blessing." Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of Treasury,1780

Even as I.O.U.S.A, a documentary looking at the United States' $53T national debt, is to be shown at both the Democratic and Republican conventions, economists are beginning to openly discuss the previously unthinkable - should America should default on some or perhaps all it's obligations? [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Aug 26, 2008 - 84 comments

The Material Girl is now a tangible investment

Follow the money: for the past year, the big trade was short bank stocks, and use the cash to go long oil. Massively profitable, but now that trade is unwinding. So where is the big money being invested now? Lots of places: diamonds, fine art, guitars, and Madonna.
posted by Mutant on Aug 20, 2008 - 36 comments

It's the end of the world as we know it... lalala

Upclose and personal on the man, Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the subprime crisis. Apparently we're in for a long long haul out of this mess. Oh, and it may be the end of America (reg req'd) as we know it. [more inside]
posted by blahblah on Aug 16, 2008 - 99 comments

Most countries treat tourists better than citizens

The Perpetual Traveller wields Five Flags in the quest for personal freedom.
posted by Mutant on Aug 10, 2008 - 22 comments

Unusual Public Offering

When a young company is in need of some dough, they often will issue an IPO. But what if, instead of a company, an author decides to sell shares of his book royalties? Tao Lin is doing exactly that. [more inside]
posted by thatbrunette on Aug 2, 2008 - 45 comments

While this is timely information bank failures are normal part of life.

Worried about bank failures? First step: check if your bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). If so, then your first $100K is insured against loss so no worries.

Got more than $100K? Well then, you'd better speak with EDIE. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Jul 14, 2008 - 60 comments

Sir John Templeton, 1912-2008, RIP and thank you for the investing lessons.

The simple phrase "it's different this time" are the four most expensive words in the English language. Sir John Templeton, 1912-2008, we thank you for this lesson and countless others. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Jul 9, 2008 - 67 comments

Bringing Down Bear Stearns

Bringing Down Bear Stearns, from Vanity Fair's August issue.
posted by SeizeTheDay on Jul 1, 2008 - 17 comments

Floating university moored

The Scholar Ship, an international floating university stewarded by top universities in Morocco, the United Kingdom, China, Australia, Mexico, USA, and Ghana, have temporarily suspended all voyages due to lack of funds - mainly caused by the withdrawal of main sponsor and initiator Royal Caribbean International. The program ran two voyages in 2007 and 2008 before shutdown. Alumni and prospective students on Facebook and Ning are busily sourcing options to revive the organization, while Semester at Sea is offering spaces to students who were accepted for the now-cancelled voyages. [more inside]
posted by divabat on Jun 14, 2008 - 9 comments

Is Ben Bernanke a finally coming out of the closet?

While the wild crowd call it "Woodstock for Central Bankers", others get festivities off on a sour note, referring to it as "Understanding Inflation and the Implications for Monetary Policy". Regardless of what your invitation to this party reads, it starts today, Monday June 9th on the 50th anniversary of The Phillips Curve, a previously discredited forecasting tool which may be revived by Ben Bernanke at The Federal Reserve. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Jun 9, 2008 - 6 comments

Islamic Banking - a compelling mix of religion and finance

While western banking institutions continue to reel from the credit crunch, Islamic banking, with assets approaching one trillion dollars, is growing at roughly 20% pa by offering Sharia compliant - and only Sharia compliant - financial products. But compliance to Sharia law in matters financial is not easy (previously). [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Jun 6, 2008 - 44 comments

They're messing with LIBOR - UhOh!

Underlying several hundred thousand Student Loans, millions of Adjustable Rate Mortgages and trillions of dollars worth of financial derivatives is the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR. Launched in 1986 by the British Bankers' Association (BBA), LIBOR is the most widely used benchmark of short term interest rates.

And with the recent credit market difficulties still fresh in the minds and impacting the balance sheets of many market participants, the way LIBOR is calculated - and the interest rates charged - may be changing. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on May 30, 2008 - 22 comments

Dark pools of liquidity, or the secret stock market

The rapid growth of electronic trading since 1976 has benefited equity market participants by improving competition, reducing cost and increasing liquidity while insuring better pricing.

One unexpected side effect has been the recent emergence of "dark pools of liquidity", or the secret stock market. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on May 20, 2008 - 21 comments

Sell in May and go Away but buy back on St. Leger Day

Academic discussions of stock markets frequently reference The Efficient Markets Hypothesis; an idea that share prices are fairly valued, their prices reflecting all available information. However folklore such as "Sell in May and go away", which proved prudent in 2007, clashes with this theory. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on May 15, 2008 - 11 comments

Why everything new in finance has already been new at least once before

The year was 1978. The US Dollar was collapsing, inflation was beginning to surge, the American economy was on the brink of recession and many warned of the perils of easy money. Needless to say, Arthur Burns, 10th Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, had a tough job. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on May 8, 2008 - 91 comments

Food cartels - haven't we seen these before?

Oil's got one. So does cocaine. There used to be one for light bulbs and another for uranium. While we know one currently exists for diamonds, some folks think the music industry has one. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on May 5, 2008 - 21 comments

The Brilliant Issue

I asked Nathan Myhrvold, C.E.O. of Intellectual Ventures and widely considered to be one of the smartest people in technology, if he is brilliant. "If you put yourself in that camp, you might be correct," he teased. "But then, you're also an asshole." The Brilliant Issue profiles Porfolio's picks for best game-changers, upstarts, rebels, connectors and other influencers. [more inside]
posted by Non Prosequitur on May 2, 2008 - 10 comments

Must I Bank?

The Financial Services industry has seen it before; massive job cuts after the dot com collapse of 2001 forced many out of the business, some permanently. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on May 1, 2008 - 34 comments

Legally Resetting your Credit History

How to Lawfully Reset Your Credit History. A fascinating true story of how Max successfully deleted thousands of dollars of debt from his credit history. The follow-up, Why Max Won, has some interesting insight into removing emotion from the credit equation. (Previous Make Your Nut appearances on MetaFilter here and here.)
posted by Fuzzy Skinner on Apr 25, 2008 - 23 comments

So, that Y chromosone, it's the bad trading chromosone, right?

Although Larry Summers drew fire for rather inappropriate comments illustrating differences between Men and Women, we all know they exist. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Apr 9, 2008 - 62 comments

wooo realestate implosion buddy! ^5

The Most Important Article You Did Not Read This Week Now, it is true that the most important article you probably didn’t read contains all the usual hair-raising things you’d expect to see about the real estate market, including “developers under siege,” “signs of weakness in key markets,” developers “slashing prices,” and the head of a major builder advising “that people wait three to four years before purchasing a new home.” But the most important article you probably didn’t read is not about real estate markets in Naples, Florida, or Sacramento, California. It is about China. [ full WSJ article here]
posted by Stynxno on Mar 28, 2008 - 43 comments

Barings redux?

Credit Suisse will take a $2.65 billion hit to earnings and post it's first quarterly loss since 2003 due, to no small part, to deliberate mispricing of asset backed securities by several traders operating at all levels of seniority across the 143 year old institution. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Mar 21, 2008 - 33 comments

The Next Bubble

The Next Bubble: Priming the markets for tomorrow's big crash. A layman's primer on the genesis and future of today's economic troubles, at Harper's Magazine.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on Mar 13, 2008 - 79 comments

But if the vaults are empty, what will Scrooge McDuck swim in?

According to the latest biweekly numbers released last Thursday by the Federal Reserve, for the two weeks that ended January 16th American banks had negative $1.3 billion in non-borrowed reserves. This is, historically, extremely unusual; just two months ago they had $30 billion (positive, of course) in non-borrowed reserves. The only reason some banks haven't been shut due to insufficient -- negative! -- reserve requirements is that the Federal Reserve is currently loaning them enough money through the brand new TAF (Term Auction Facility) program (also running in Canada and Europe) to make up their shortfalls. Today's TAF press release says that 52 American banks or institutions are currently receiving loans totaling ~$40 billion -- but the Fed refuses to name who they are. [more inside]
posted by Asparagirl on Jan 29, 2008 - 162 comments

Oh, the humanity!

HorribleEconomicNewsFilter: Rogue trader costs his bank 7 billion dollar. Take that, Nick Leeson!
posted by Skeptic on Jan 24, 2008 - 55 comments

Look out below...!

While the US equities markets were closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Day, stock markets around the world took a nosedive, losing billions in equity; the markets in Australia, South Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Germany, France, the UK, and more countries have dropped at least 5% each (Canada only fell 4.75%), even though most of those markets had already been seriously down for several days prior. India has been hit particularly hard, at one point down a whopping 11%, tripping their markets' automatic "circuit breakers" for a mandatory time-out period, before scraping back up to close at 8% down. US futures markets are currently predicting a 650+ point drop just at the open Tuesday morning, before even a single trade goes through. [more inside]
posted by Asparagirl on Jan 22, 2008 - 306 comments

What’s Behind Those Offers to Raise Credit Scores

What’s Behind Those Offers to Raise Credit Scores - You've all heard the ads, here's how those companies try to raise your credit scores. The credit industry hates it, because it works, at least for now.
posted by Argyle on Jan 19, 2008 - 47 comments

Made of 100% Depleted Uranium!

Patriots, countrymen, help out the American economy with Operation: Change For The Better.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 16, 2008 - 18 comments

Graphical explanation of CDOs

A graphical, animated explanation of how collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) work, by Felix Salmon, Maryanne Murray, Jeffrey Cane, Jacky Myint, and Shazna Nessa. The collapse in CDO valuations and the resulting losses to investors played a major role in the recent banking crisis. Via Paul Krugman.
posted by russilwvong on Dec 6, 2007 - 42 comments

Ups and downs in the world of high art

Is the high end Art market finally tanking? A week or so ago, it sure looked like it. An important van Gogh piece did not sell, Sotheby's stock price went into shock. However, all is well this week as both Christie's and Sotheby's kicked it into high gear and set some new records. [more inside]
posted by psmealey on Nov 15, 2007 - 13 comments

feedback.

Invest wisely. End poverty.
posted by gman on Oct 25, 2007 - 30 comments

And yes, the band did play on.

It was twenty years ago today... [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Oct 19, 2007 - 27 comments

Leave the SIV, take the cannoli

At a time when fed-up American citizens are petitioning Congress to end the imprudent financial practices that caused the housing bubble sub-prime mortgage crisis liquidity crisis impending recession -- including the banning of SIV's and refusing any bailouts for Wall Street, banks, or mortgage companies -- the United States Treasury Department has just announced the creation of a giant-mega-ultra SIV called "M-LEC" made up of assets from several of the largest American banks. Already unofficially nicknamed "Sivie Mae" (or worse, "the Frankenstein Fund"), it would be an off-balance-sheet way for these banks to pool and price the ABCP's that they've lately been having trouble pricing and thus selling -- i.e. the liquidity crisis. [more inside]
posted by Asparagirl on Oct 16, 2007 - 82 comments

Cui bono?

On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates by 0.5%. Wall Street aggressively demanded the cut to stop the sub-prime mortgage contagion from triggering a credit crisis among large US and foreign investment banks and the collapse of their over-leveraged hedge funds, which ultimately threatened to drag the US economy into recession. The market rallied this week in response to the Fed's move. But there is no free lunch. [more inside]
posted by Pastabagel on Sep 20, 2007 - 99 comments

Wooooooooo! Money!

If you feel like you're in a 20-man Battle Royale when it comes to your financial situation, maybe Ric Flair can help you out. Listen to the Nature Boy! Wooooooo!
posted by beaucoupkevin on Sep 19, 2007 - 15 comments

This is what happens when you lend money to poor people.

"I had no idea how my open-handedness could be made to look, after the fact. At the time I bought the subprime portfolio I thought: This is sort of like my way of giving something back. I didn't expect a profile in Philanthropy Today or anything like that. I mean, I bought at a discount. But I thought people would admire the Wall Street big shot who found a way to help the little guy. Sort of like a money doctor helping a sick person. Then the little guy wheels around and gives me this financial enema. And I'm the one who gets crap in the papers!" -- Michael Lewis on the subprime meltdown
posted by GrammarMoses on Sep 8, 2007 - 42 comments

Minsky Meltdown ahead?

Minsky Meltdown ahead? Named after Hyman Minsky, an economist who was known for his research concerning financial crises, specifically asset bubbles based on credit cycles. [much more inside]
posted by umop-apisdn on Aug 29, 2007 - 75 comments

What's up at the Fed?

A fairly lucid description of recent actions of the Federal Reserve.
posted by landis on Aug 17, 2007 - 86 comments

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