Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ten bizarre things that happened yesterday

Is it just me? News stories have a strange surreal quality.Here are just a few of the weird and wonderful things that happened yesterday:
  1. Standard and Poors downgraded Spain.
  2. Fitch downgraded UBS.
  3. The Portuguese government won’t pay the 13th and 14th month salary payment for civil services who earn €1,000 a month. Two Christmas bonuses a year; it can only happen in Europe.
  4. Slovakia voted in favour of the European bailout fund – the EFSF. The Slovakian parliament voted against it earlier this week. Barroso thanked Slovakia.
  5. German banks told the EU that they didn’t want to increase their capital buffers.  If things go pear-shaped, these same German banks won’t be slow to ask for a bailout.
  6. Hedge Fund managers aren't supposed to do jail time. However, Raj Rajaratnam, has broken that glass ceiling. He is off to Club Fed for insider trading. He received 11 years for retribution and correction. Ironically, he will be sent to the same prison as Bernie Madoff. Mercifully, there are no insider traders in the City of London.
  7. The US economy records another huge external deficit.
  8. At last, some good news; in the last three months, JP Morgan fired 1,000 investment bankers while their bonus pool is down by $700 million.
  9. There is a 48 hour train strike in Greece, which should boost growth and help pay down that mountain of debt.
  10. Berlusconi is still Prime Minister of Italy, but that could change tomorrow after the confidence vote. Italy even managed to sell some five year bonds. The real question is who is mad enough to buy them. The ECB?

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