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Archive for October 8th, 2008

rate cut!

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From Bovary:

Ses expansions étaient devenues régulières; il l’embrassait à de certaines heures. C’était une habitude parmi les autres, et comme un dessert prévu d’avance, après la monotonie du dîner.

Futures down 289 after the Rate Cut of Global Unity! Everything that happens makes sense if you’ve read your Flaubert! I should write a business book!

Do you remember the beginning of the end of Bovary? There are a few endings, but do you remember what makes her start the process of killing herself? “Dans vingt-quatre heures pour tout délai.” – Quoi donc? “Payer la somme totale de…” And so on. The bursting of a shock-market bubble, her own personal little credit crisis, it is.

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October 8, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Posted in crisis, flaubert, markets

blame where blame is due

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This is classic.

The government is expecting the equity holder and bank management to suffer for conducting business legitimately in a regulated environment. If there is to be a day of reckoning then surely most of the blame should come back to the regulator and the government that removed the responsibility for oversight of the banking industry from the Bank of England to the FSA.

Class action lawsuit time! The banks can get in line right behind all those classics of vulgar apocryphal chitchat – you know, the woman who spilled coffee on herself at McDonalds, and the burglar suing the homeowner after he slipped entering through the back window and broke his ankle, and the guy who was injured while surfing on top of a subway car (but, dude, they could have posted a warning sign or something…..) and takes action against the MTA….

It’s quite a distinctive use of the word “legitimately” in that paragraph, no?

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October 8, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Posted in crisis, markets

niche blogging

with one comment

Ha! Somebody made a blog called contra james wood! How very specific. No, I understand though… It’s good to find a niche!

If James Wood didn’t exist, the publishing industry would have to invent him.

Can you imagine? Smoke filled room etc etc.

I wish someone would invent me. Warholian update about how in the future, we’ll each and all have at least 5 blogs specifically contra us.

I actually met JW briefly last year, won’t say where won’t say when, but it was near a swimming pool. He seemed, you know, nice. I didn’t argue. SK once did tho.

Ok seriously. I’m closing the browser now for good.

Written by adswithoutproducts

October 8, 2008 at 10:41 am

Posted in criticism

“trade the volatility”

with 4 comments

Lots of this stuff boggles the mind, requires very very patient and concentrated searching around for slow explanations. Found a new favorite stumper today: one keeps finding folks advising the masses to “trade the volatility.” Trade the volatility… hmmm…. I know we live in strange days, when the demonic abstractions imagined into life by hedgefund mainframes are strutting across the brick and mortar surface of the world, spewing contagion as they pass. But it is hard, on first thought, to think exactly how one would devise an instrument that would allow you to “trade the volatility” in the markets itself. I can wrap my head around certain levels of abstraction – like trading risk, for instance, I can see how you can do that.

Volatility trading is still in its infancy, and not surprisingly critics abound. Naysayers suggest volatility is, in essence, a description of an asset’s return, not an asset unto itself. Yet most market players adopt the perspective that if it has a price, then it can be traded. (from here)

That seems like a good question from the naysayers in the crowd. And the response of the “market players” is pitch perfect. But there actually are instruments that you can buy (VIX futures contracts and VIX options…) to do this, but what are they, like, made of? Or are they simply pure betting table gambles, made of nothing more than the bet that you’d place at Ladbrokes on Wayne Rooney to score the first goal again Portsmouth this week? If you were doing it on “main street” (ugh) I guess you’d stock up on shotgun shells and can openers as well as oceanfront condos. But I can’t imagine that that’s how it works with these contracts.

Sometimes I wish I’d spent just a wee bit of time in the industry (where all of the lovely men I went to high school with are, er, or perhaps were) so I could understand this stuff. But that’s foolish isn’t it – they don’t know what these things are either. Silicon nightmares, terminator wisdom so far restricted to screens.

Does anyone know? Care to take a guess? OK, seriously, to work with me. Right now….

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October 8, 2008 at 10:23 am

Posted in crisis, markets, wtf?