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Finance NetNet


  Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011 | 12:36 PM ET

'Austerity': The Coming Debate in England—and Beyond

Posted By: Ash Bennington
Euro bills
Euro bills

The question of 'austerity' represents a fundamental schism in worldview among economists.

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  Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011 | 11:44 AM ET

Bank of America’s Countrywide Accused of “Massive Fraud”

Posted By: John Carney
A Bank of America trader inside the NYSE.
Oliver Quillia for CNBC.com
A Bank of America trader inside the NYSE.

The acquisition of Countrywide Financial by Bank of America is the grift that keeps on grifting.

Yesterday a dozen or so insurance companies that invested in Countrywide mortgage-backed securities from 2005 to 2007 filed a lawsuit accusing the mortgage lender of “massive fraud.”

Bloomberg gives some background :

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  Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011 | 11:00 AM ET

The Great Housing Head-Fake of 2010

Posted By: John Carney

Although single-family home prices fell for a fifth straight month in November, the latest numbers out of Case-Shiller’s composite index weren’t as bad as expected.

The consensus was for a decline of 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in the 20-city index. But the decline from October to November was just 0.5 percent. (Unadjusted for seasonal impact, the index fell 1 percent in Novemeber, a slowdown from the 1.3 percent in October.)

I’m sure you will hear lots of happy talk today about how the double-dip in housing prices seems to be decelerating. I don’t believe it. I think it was a head-fake.

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  Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011 | 10:22 AM ET

UK Slouches Into Austerity Recession

Posted By: Ash Bennington
Police officers hold back demonstrators trying to gain entry to 30 Millbank, the headquarters of Britain's Conservative Party, during a protest in central London.
Carl Court | AFP | Getty Images
Police officers hold back demonstrators trying to gain entry to 30 Millbank, the headquarters of Britain's Conservative Party, during a protest in central London.

The economic numbers out of London this morning are dismal.

Instead of the 0.5 percent growth in GDP that was forecast the British economy contracted by 0.5 percent—a total swing of negative 1 percent growth.

The open question is this: What is the cause of the drop?

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  Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011 | 9:30 AM ET

Bonuses: It’s Never as Good As The First Time

Posted By: Lori Spechler

It’s never as good as the first time. I’m talking bonuses here—get your head out of the gutter and into the Street. Too big or too small, Wall Street workers are getting paid billions of dollars in bonuses. And while first time bonuses are not the biggest, they are often the most meaningful and memorable.

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  Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011 | 9:04 AM ET

Paulson Makes a Killing on Citi

Posted By: Ash Bennington

"UK economy shrinks 0.5%" [Financial Times] UK economy shrinks a 0.5 percent: Austerity model questioned: "The Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday that the nation's GDP fell by 0.5 per cent in the quarter, rather than rising by the 0.5 per cent rate that was the average forecast of a poll of economists conducted by Thomson Reuters. The economy expanded by 1.2 per cent and 0.7 per cent in the second and third quarters of the year respectively."

Paulson Makes a Killing on Citi [Bloomberg Businessweek] "Paulson & Co., the $35.9 billion hedge fund run by John Paulson, told clients that it made more than $1 billion on its Citigroup Inc. investment in the past 18 months. Citigroup, which surged 43 percent last year, was the fund's most profitable bank holding last year, Paulson said in a letter to clients this month."

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  Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011 | 8:42 AM ET

Waking up With Nicole Lapin

Posted By: Nicole Lapin

Happy hump day eve—c'mon, I'm trying here. Here's what you missed while I was manning the graveyard:

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  Monday, 24 Jan 2011 | 5:21 PM ET

SAC Orders a Large Pizza

Posted By: Ash Bennington


Significant Terror Attack in Moscow [Wall Street Journal] "A powerful suicide-bomb blast at Russia's busiest airport Monday killed at least 35 people just outside a high-security passenger-arrival zone, again raising questions about the government's ability to contain an Islamist insurgency rooted in the country's southern Caucasus region."

"How ‘Distressed’ Home Sales Are Fuzzing the Numbers" [CNBC] CNBC's Diana Olick teases through the home sales data: "After talking with Thomas Popik over at Campbell, I was struck by how much the sales volume in December was skewed by this surge in distressed sales. The normal seasonal pattern should have home sales flat between November and December, but that certainly wasn't the case, with sales up 12.3 percent seasonally adjusted and up nearly 14 percent not seasonally adjusted, according to the National Association of Realtors."

"Rising Commodity Prices Won't Cause Inflation" [CNBC] CNBC's Steve Liesman reports: "It’s not that inflation is not a significant worry. It’s that commodity prices are not enough to make it happen. "

SAC Orders A Large Pizza [SEC.gov] SAC Capital Advisors is buying to Domino's Pizza. Big Time.

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  Monday, 24 Jan 2011 | 4:00 PM ET

Here’s The Real Story of What’s Happening in Tunisia: A Higher Education Bubble

Posted By: John Carney

It would be easy to make light of the current chaos in Tunisia.

Riots in Tunisia
Getty Images
Riots in Tunisia

“Carthage Makes Bid For Global Attention After 2000 Years Of Obscurity,” would probably make a great headline in the Onion.

One reason jokes come readily is that not many of us have given much thought to Tunisia. If it is familiar at all, it is probably as the real-life setting of George Lucas’s Tatooine, the home planet of Luke Skywalker. Steven Spielberg filmed parts of Raiders of the Lost Ark there. And students of the classics know that it is where Rome’s arch-nemesis, Carthage, once existed.

But there’s a serious lesson for Americans in Tunisia’s current struggles, although it’s a lesson many Americans may have trouble digesting.

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  Monday, 24 Jan 2011 | 3:22 PM ET

Overheard in The Green(e) Room: Eric Schmidt, Steve Jobs And Davos

Posted By: Kerima Greene

CEO of a large entertainment company—Just call him "MAX"—in business class, en route to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, tells me "I think Eric Schmidt will be Apple's next CEO.

Makes total sense. Maybe that's why he and Jobs had coffee together a few months back."

Satisfied with his prediction, he proceeds to sink into his seat, and pull out his binder of research "in preparation for my forum." What, no movie during the flight?
"Oh, no, that screen is way to small. You need a MUCH bigger screen."

Kerima Greene is in Davos.

»Read more

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