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  Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010 | 4:48 PM ET

Greed—And Debt—Are Good?

Posted By: Ash Bennington

If you enjoy inside baseball reporting about financial journalism, you'll love blogger Felix Salmon's clever critique of an article in The Wall Street Journal about General Motors' recent attempts to pay down its debt.

Stack of U.S. hundred-dollar bills
Stack of U.S. hundred-dollar bills

Salmon's basic thesis is this: that "the leverage-is-good meme simply refuses to die"—even though we should know better by now, especially n the wake of the last financial crisis.

He makes some excellent points about the article.

And his critique does make you wonder about the broader prevailing ethos surrounding debt on Wall Street in general.

To wit: Do all former leverage junkies live in perpetual danger of relapse?

» Read More
  Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010 | 4:13 PM ET

Robert Shapiro: The Recovery Is Abnormally Slow and Unusually Fragile

Posted By: Ash Bennington

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers—commonly referred to as the CPI-U—increased 0.1 percent in November, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The number was released earlier today by the Bureau of Labor statistics.

AP

What—if anything—does that data point tell us about the broader economy?

Earlier today, I spoke with Dr. Robert Shapiro to help us put that number into context, and to provide a broader economic perspective.

Dr. Shapiro was Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs during the Clinton administration, and the principal architect of President Clinton's 1992 economic program.

"What we know from this number is what we knew without this number: Namely, the recovery is abnormally slow, unusually fragile, companies can't raise prices in that environment. Demand is not strong enough to support higher prices," Shapiro said.

» Read More
  Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010 | 2:13 PM ET

John Kinnucan Gets SEC Subpoena for Information on Galleon Spin Off

Posted By: John Carney

John Kinnucan, the man who refused to wear a wire in an ongoing insider trading probe , just received a subpoena from the SEC.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010 | 1:55 PM ET

China No Longer Top Holder of US Treasuries

Posted By: Ash Bennington

If China is no longer the U.S. government's largest creditor who is?

US Capitol Building with cash
US Capitol Building with cash

You guessed it: The Fed.

(Against the backdrop of QE2, this probably isn't terribly surprising.)

Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge has crunched the numbers from today's release of TIC data (Treasury International Capital)—and some interesting facts have emerged.

First, the U.S. Federal Reserve holds a total of $996 Billion of U.S. Debt —versus the $907 billion in U.S. debt held by Mainland China.

» Read More
  Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010 | 1:34 PM ET

How to Dress for Success, UBS-Style

Posted By: John Carney

Everyone today is obsessing over the 43-page UBS brochure setting forth an elaborate dress code.

"Dresscode UBS à l’attention des collaborateurs PKB" is the formal title of the document.

It's a very typically obsessive Swiss document, with advice on everything from how many pieces of jewelry to wear (maximum of 3 pieces for men, 7 for women) to what color underwear should be donned . There's also some weird stuff, like a ban on women wearing new shoes.

The dress code is being tested out in five branches in Switzerland but may be rolled out worldwide, according to the Wall Street Journal .

My favorite part consists of advice on how to wear a tie.

Source: UBS

This is translated from French to English by Google Translator \(Pardon the unusual grammar\):

» Read More
  Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010 | 1:15 PM ET

Lloyd Blankfein Loves Goldman's Cafeteria

Posted By: Kerima Greene

You'd expect Wall Street's most powerful banker to spend his lunch hour at Grill Room of the Four Seasons Restaurant. But Lloyd Blankfein would rather hit the salad bar at his company's cafeteria any day of the week.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010 | 12:33 PM ET

Wall Street Holiday Party Watch: Bowling For Barclays

Posted By: John Carney

Barclays Capital did not go too far to get their Yuletide cheer going this year.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010 | 11:48 AM ET

Relax: Lots of Other People Are More Depressed Than You Are

Posted By: Ash Bennington

Thomas Carlyle famously called economics 'The Dismal Science': But finance, it turns out, ranks only 9th in the Depression league tables.

This according to a new report by Health.com.

Whether coming in 9th—at anything, really—is cause for rejoicing, or for deepening your depression, depends largely on your perspective.

Let's compare finance to other professions. It turns out that Nursing Home & Child Care is the most depressing way to earn a living. Eleven percent of those employed in this field report a "bout of major depression".

» Read More
  Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010 | 11:00 AM ET

Goldman Sachs Is the Best Place to Work on Wall Street

Posted By: John Carney

It's official.

Goldman Sachs is the best place to work on Wall Street. And Lloyd Blankfein is the most popular chief executive.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010 | 10:17 AM ET

Armey: We Have to Raise the Debt Ceiling

Posted By: Lori Ann LaRocco

There used to be a joke that went like this. Two guys were sitting in a bar talking politics. "So what party do you support," one fellow asked. "I'm not a supporter of any organized political party," the other fellow said. "Me neither," said the first guy. "I'm a Democrat."

These days both the Democrats and Republicans seem to be fracturing under the weight of the government's budget deficit, taxes, and the still stymied economic recovery. I decided to speak with the Godfather of the Tea Party, Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. FreedomWorks, his organization, has been a vocal supporter on the extension of the tax cuts. I asked him about the division within the Democratic Party and the Republican Party when it comes to taxes.

» Read More

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  • NetNet is where you'll find the low-down and the high jinks of Wall Street. It's the place for insider stories, trader gossip, and tales of the foibles of the moneyed crowd and the culture of finance.Wall Street news and commentary served fresh all day long.

 

  • Jeff Cox is finance editor for CNBC.com.

  • Lawrence Develingne

    Lawrence Delevingne is the ‘Big Money’ enterprise reporter for CNBC.com and NetNet.

  • Stephanie Landsman is one of the producers of "Fast Money."

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