This Is How The Banks Created The Last Crisis Part II

June 7, 2014 2:57 PM


  Yesterday, I walked into my local bank branch to get a reference letter needed for a travel visa (long story…) and I was immediately pounced on by tellers hungry for a commission. “Do you have a HELOC??” If you remember from Part I of this series, in December, I didn’t qualify for any sort of standard loan product since my irregular income meant that the mortgage could not be securitized. Well, it’s now six months later and quantitative easing has even further deranged the lending lan... more

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Do You Remember Gadzooks??

June 2, 2014 11:51 PM


Do you remember Gadzooks? Probably not (yet it had over 400 stores only a decade ago). In five years, I’ll be able to ask you the same question about Wet Seal (WTSLA), Aeropostale (ARO), Body Central (BODY), Cache (CACH) and Pacific Sunwear (PSUN). You won’t remember any of these because, despite having spent tens of millions a year in marketing, they have no brand equity. No one cares if they exist or not and someone will easily fill their empty slot at the mall, when they’re liquidated. It... more

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Kashagan

May 26, 2014 2:09 AM


Ever since oil prices bottomed in 2002, people have wanted to believe that new supply would reduce prices. Over the past decade, they’ve talked about increased Iraqi and Libyan oil; there has been the promise of tar sands and Brazilian pre-salts and now they’re talking about shale oil. Yet, despite all of this talk, world oil production has plateaued for years. The simple truth is that much of the world’s easy oil has now been exploited. The world isn’t running out of oil any time soon, but... more

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#Unlock

May 8, 2014 12:09 AM


  I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea how to value Twitter (TWTR: USA). For that matter, I don’t even know how to tweet. However, if you liked the stock on Monday, you must really like it today (Wednesday)—two days later—nothing has changed at the business, yet the shares are down by nearly 25%. Why are the shares down so much on no corporate news? On Tuesday the 6th of May, 480 million previously restricted shares became unlocked and eligible for selling. Let’s just say that ... more

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Heat Map Of Corruption

May 5, 2014 11:34 AM


For years, people have relied on Transparency International’s Corruptions Perceptions Index (CPI) as the global arbiter of corruption amongst various countries. Therefore, I was quite surprised when I looked at the recently released “heat map” showing which countries are corrupt (red) and which are not corrupt (yellow). Within seconds of looking at the map, I was struck with a question—why are the English speaking and Northern European countries considered the least corrupt? Is this an ac... more

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