Economy & Market

LIBOR Rigging

July 5th, 2012

LIBOR (the London inter-bank offered rate) scandal that involves Barclays, a 300-year-old British bank, is beginning to assume global significance. Over the past weeks damning evidence has emerged, in documents detailing a settlement between Barclays and regulators in America and Britain that employees at the bank and at several other unnamed banks tried to rig the number time and again over a period of at least five years. And worse is likely to emerge. Investigations by regulators in several countries, including Canada, America, Japan, the EU, Switzerland and Britain, are looking into allegations that LIBOR and similar rates were rigged by large numbers of banks.

The LIBOR that the traders were toying with determines the prices that people and corporations around the world pay for loans or receive for their savings. It is used as a benchmark to set payments on about $800 trillion-worth of financial instruments, ranging from complex interest-rate derivatives to simple mortgages. The number determines the global flow of billions of dollars each year. Yet it turns out to have been flawed.

Robert Diamond resigned over LIBOR rigging

On July 3rd, Barclays PLC Chief Executive Robert Diamond caved in to intense pressure to quit after the U.K. bank became embroiled in a bitter political row over its role in the Libor rate-rigging scandal. Robert Diamond resigned amid a deepening dispute about whether the Bank of England pushed the lender to submit artificially low Libor rates during the financial crisis.

As many as 20 big banks have been named in various investigations or lawsuits alleging that LIBOR was rigged. The scandal also corrodes further what little remains of public trust in banks and those who run them. Read more "LIBOR Rigging"

Facebook Raises $16 Billion at IPO Price $38

May 17, 2012

Facebook Inc. set its final price at $38 a share, as the social network gets ready for its initial public offering on Friday. At $38 a share, Facebook is valued at $104 billion, the biggest-ever valuation by an American company at the time of its offering.

Facebook is set to raise $16 billion from its IPO, becoming third-largest public offering in the history of the United States, behind General Motors and Visa.

On Friday, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder, is set to ring the opening bell for the Nasdaq from Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., surrounded by executives, engineers and other employees. Shares of Facebook, which will trade under the ticker FB, will start selling to the public later in the morning. Read more "Facebook Raises $16 Billion at IPO Price $38"

JPMorgan's Appalling $2 Billion Loss

May 12, 2012

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon on Thursday revealed that the banking giant lost a $2 billion due to a massive trade that went sour, and that the losses could climb by another $1 billion in the coming days.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. told traders several months ago to make bets aimed at shielding the bank from the market fallout of Europe’s deepening mess. But instead of shrinking the risk, their complicated bets backfired into losses of as much as $200 million a day in late April and early May, culminating in the company’s announcement Thursday of more than $2 billion in losses. Read more "JPMorgan's appalling $2 billion loss"

Linsanity’s Economic Power

Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin’s star keeps glowing outside basketball court

March 20, 2012

The Linsanity  –  the excitement over the unheralded Lin – started in February 2012 when Lin unexpectedly led a winning streak by New York Knicks while being promoted to the starting lineup. The Linsanity influence resonates beyond basketball court. It penetrates stock market, sales, and marketing. 

Linsanity: New York Knick's Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin is a Harvard-educated, undrafted point guard for the New York Knicks who seemingly emerged from nowhere to become an international phenomenon. He became a fan favorite in early 2012 after scoring at least 20 points in five straight games, all of them Knicks victories. He is also the first N.B.A. player to have at least 20 points and 7 assists in each of his first four starts. New York Knicks had a 7–0 record after Lin started receiving major playing time, 6–0 with him starting.

Since Linsanity breakout game through Friday, Madison Square Garden Co., parent of the Knicks, had seen its shares advance 13% since early February, compared with a 4.4% increase of the S&P over the same period.

Since Feb. 4 breakout game, sales at online Knicks-linked stores — which carry about 50 Lin-related items — have surged forty fold, while sales at the arena are up 70%, according to management, with Lin-related gear accounting for about half of online sales and about a third of in-arena sales. Read more "Linsanity’s Economic Power"