Here are your first 10 quick picks of the Bernanke era, part II:
• Volcker Says Money-Market Funds Weaken U.S. Financial System (Bloomberg) Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman who is an adviser to President Barack Obama, said money-market mutual funds undermine the strength of the U.S. financial system and should be regulated more like banks.
• Fannie, Freddie Shares Soar, Puzzling Analysts (Washington Post)
• Remember me? Wall Street repackages toxic debt (Associated Press) Wall Street may have discovered a way out from under the bad debt and risky mortgages that have clogged the financial markets. The would-be solution probably sounds familiar: It’s a lot like what got banks in trouble in the first place. See also The Next Credit Bubble Is Now
• The Real Reasons for China’s Real Estate Boom (China Knowledge) Despite the existence of rigid demand for housing, two of the real reasons for the current boom in the real estate market are speculation and “land financing.” provided by the local authorities.
• Healthcare insurers get upper hand (LA Times) Lashed by liberals and threatened with more government regulation, the insurance industry nevertheless rallied its lobbying and grass-roots resources so successfully in the early stages of the healthcare overhaul deliberations that it is poised to reap a financial windfall. “It’s a bonanza,” said Robert Laszewski, a health insurance executive for 20 years who now tracks reform legislation as president of the consulting firm Health Policy and Strategy Associates Inc.
• Data Mining Isn’t a Good Bet For Stock-Market Predictions (WSJ) The stock market generates such vast quantities of information that, if you plow through enough of it for long enough, you can always find some relationship that appears to generate spectacular returns — by coincidence alone. This sham is known as “data mining.”
• Steve Jobs: The man who polished Apple (Sunday UK Times Online) Apple Inc is worth around $140 billion. But is it worth anything without Jobs? It is a company formed around his personality and inspiration. It is also the most watched, envied, admired and adored company in the world. So how, you may wonder, was it possible for Jobs to put out such a statement four months before a liver transplant? And how was it possible for consumer capitalism’s greatest hero to pull off the Memphis Liver Caper in absolute secrecy?
• Why Craigslist Is Such a Mess (Wired) The Internet’s great promise is to make the world’s information universally accessible and useful. So how come when you arrive at the most popular dating site in the US you find a stream of anonymous come-ons intermixed with insults, ads for prostitutes, naked pictures, and obvious scams? In a design straight from the earliest days of the Web, miscellaneous posts compete for attention on page after page of blue links, undifferentiated by tags or ratings or even usernames. Millions of people apparently believe that love awaits here, but it is well hidden. Is this really the best we can do?
Anything else worth mentioning?