Friday, 10 Dec 2010 | 3:58 PM ET

Geithner to Have Surgery to Remove Kidney Stones

Posted By: Cadie Thompson

It appears the Treasury Secretary going under the knife today.

The AP is reporting that Geithner was admitted to George Washington University hospital early Friday morning because of pain caused by a kidney stone.

A Treasury spokesman said he would undergo surgery Friday afternoon. » Read More at CNBC.com

»Read more
  Friday, 10 Dec 2010 | 3:57 PM ET

Spain's Banks: Anatomy of a Coming Crisis?

Posted By: Ash Bennington
Steve Allen | Brand X Pictures | Getty Images

What do investors fear most about Spain?

The cancer at the core of the Spanish economy may be the structure of its banking system, according to a recent report issued by UBS.

The report comes to our attention via Tracy Alloway at the FT blog Alphaville .

Alphaville reports the context: Spanish sovereign debt-to-GDP ratios don't look appreciably worse than the rest of the pack in the eurozone. And the overall trend line for Spain doesn't seem much worse either.

So where does the problem lie?

» Read More
  Friday, 10 Dec 2010 | 3:17 PM ET

A Horse Outside

Posted By: John Carney

Are the Irish already getting accustomed to a more austere life?

One of the most popular songs in Ireland at this very moment is about how owning a horse is superior to owning a fancy automobile. It may be that the message is resonating with the Irish people. Or, you know, maybe it's just a really, really funny gag. The song is called "A Horse Outside" and it is by the Rubberbandits, a comedy hip-hop outfit from Limerick. The video, below, was released on December 8th.

Warning: There's a lot of foul language. So if that kind of thing offends you, consider turning down the volume. Also, if you are at work, listen with headphones.

»Read more
  Friday, 10 Dec 2010 | 1:57 PM ET

Senator Bernie Sanders Filibusters

Posted By: Ash Bennington

Vermont Senator Sanders is a socialist: Self confessed.

He's filibustering tax cuts right now—seen here on a Live Video Feed —from C-SPAN.

I think I disagree with every economic policy position Senator Sanders holds. But I have to give him this: The guy has heart.

I don't have any deep thoughts to share here.

Except the obvious: Raising taxes during a fragile recovery sounds like an appallingly bade idea.

Res ipsa loquitur.

Notwithstanding all that—Big Picture—Democracy is lovely to behold: Capra would be proud.

(Hat Tip: Business Insider. —for both the link and the Mr. Smith metaphor.)

»Read more
  Friday, 10 Dec 2010 | 1:45 PM ET

What the Goldman “Short Squeeze” Tells Us About the Volcker Rule

Posted By: John Carney
The Goldman Sachs booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Getty Images
The Goldman Sachs booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

The news that Goldman Sachs credit traders attempted to scare rivals off of short positions in the mortgage market will no doubt bring more gnashing of the teeth. FT Alphaville and Felix Salmon have good write-ups about the plot.

But what I find most striking is that the guy advocating the trade—Michael Swenson—was not officially a prop trader. He didn’t work for one of Goldman Sachs’ hedge funds. He was, at least officially, running a client-facing part of Goldman’s business.

“I was a Managing Director in SPG Trading and co-managed the group. I was primarily responsible for the Asset-Backed Securities (ABS) trading desk, which was responsible for making markets in ABS securities and derivatives for our customer franchise. The ABS desk traded consumer ABS, sub-prime cash, singlename ABS credit default swaps (which I will refer to as "single names") and the ABX indices, which are a family of synthetic indices that reference a standard basket of 20 subprime deals,” Swenson said in his testimony on Capitol Hill in April, 2010.

So the question is, if the Volcker Rule had been in effect at the time, would it have had any impact on Swenson? I suspect the answer is, unfortunately, no.

»Read more
  Friday, 10 Dec 2010 | 12:59 PM ET

Former Goldman Sachs Computer Programmer Convicted in HFT Code Theft Case

Posted By: Ash Bennington

Former Goldman Sachs computer programmer Sergey Aleynikov was convicted by a jury today on charges copied that he stole code used by Goldman in high-frequency trading and planned to use the code to build a competing HFT trading system.

»Read more
  Friday, 10 Dec 2010 | 12:36 PM ET

A 'Double Dip' Chart to Start Your Weekend

Posted By: Ash Bennington

Looking for a "double dip" chart to start you weekend? So much the better if it makes you feel even worse about the housing market, you say?

Well then, check out this ugly beast.

Invictus, at Barry Ritholtz's, TheBigPicture.com has pulled data from the latest Flow of Funds \(Z.1\) report released today from the Fed to create "chart porn".

» Read More
  Friday, 10 Dec 2010 | 10:46 AM ET

Nicole Lapin's Short & Long List

Posted By: Nicole Lapin
Nicole Lapin
Nicole Lapin

Nicole Lapin, of CNBC's Worldwide Exchange, explains what she's long and what she's short this week.

» Read More
  Friday, 10 Dec 2010 | 9:57 AM ET

Steve Case: I Start My Day With Twitter

Posted By: Lori Ann LaRocco

The blogs and social networks were all a-twitter, if you will, chatting about the latest billionaire to donate the majority of their fortune to charity.

AOL Co-Founder Steve Case joins the ranks of Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn and Bill Gates as the tech titan announced he and his wife were joining The Giving Pledge. I caught up with Steve on the heels of his announcement and we dished on everything from philanthropy, the evolution of news gathering to the economy.

» Read More
  Friday, 10 Dec 2010 | 9:28 AM ET

Flying High: on Certainty and Consolidation

Posted By: Nicole Lapin
Getty Images

An airplane needs to be safe in order for passengers to board it. Likewise, an airline CEO wants to feel the same clarity and certainty that so many of his c-suite compadres do in order to sustain growth.

“We've seen over the last couple quarters really great growth, particularly across the Atlantic,” Simon Talling-Smith, British Airways North America CEO, told me as my guest host on “Worldwide Exchange.” He added that the dichotomy between strong growth and a lack of certainty might be mitigated by secure tax policy, which will bring “more confidence to the market, and that will be great.”

While tax breaks will help larger companies, like British Airways , to secure growth, Talling-Smith said that small businesses will benefit as well. “We’re doing a lot of work to make sure small businesses can trade and meet people face to face, so they can grow their businesses,” he said.

» Read More

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