Some good reads today:
1) The Reformed Broker Josh Brown continues his hot streak with the witty "Zagat Sovereign Risk Reviews."
"UNITED STATES: Locals claim to have "lost their taste" for this "mega-dining palace" but when rumors about the "cleanliness of certain European eateries" bubble up, the "bridge-and-tunnel crowd" flocks to US bonds and currency "like there's no tomorrow". "Prices have gotten cheaper" here for most entrees, but many diners are "waiting on the sidelines" for "even better values".
BRAZIL: The "wait-staff" can be finicky about "both tips and government bond auctions", but the "raw materials that come out of this kitchen" are "popular with diners" around the world. The scene is made up of a burgeoning middle class - all grabbing a bite in between" buying homes and shopping for cell phones". The bar scene is "youthful and ambitious" with a "taste for capitalism" not seen elsewhere on the Latin continent. The place is "highly reliant on its homemade sugar", so "bring your sweet tooth"!
read the rest at his site. If you're not familiar with Zagat's, you won't get the joke. If you are familiar, you should enjoy Josh Brown's take very much.
2) James Bianco at The Big Picture: "How Much Economic Growth is "Artificial?" I would guess that Bianco put "artificial" in quotes because he meant "Government generated," which may not be synonymous with "artificial," but anyway...
3) MISH: Students Get Buried In Debt, Who's to Blame? I could probably write 5000 words on this subject, but I'm not sure I want to open that can of worms. I'll just give you Mish's unsympathetic assessment of the situation:
"Supposedly "Ms. Munna and her mother, Cathryn, have spent the years since her graduation trying to understand where they went wrong."
It should take seconds. Going $100,000 in debt to get an interdisciplinary degree in religious and women's studies seem rather foolish to say the least. Exactly what kind of job did Ms. Munna expect to get with that degree?
Now she is working for a photographer and it is plain to see her degree is totally useless.
Ms. Munna and her mom should look in a mirror to see who to blame."
4) An interesting chart from McKinsey via Barry Ritholtz, regarding overoptimistic equity analyst estimates.
The American International Group scuttled the deal to sell its huge Asian life insurance arm to Prudential of Britain for about $35 billion, in a major setback to repaying the government for its 2008 rescue.
Trying to appease its angry shareholders, Prudential had tried to keep the faltering transaction alive by lowering its price for the unit to $30.37 billion at the last minute. But A.I.G. rejected that proposal, issuing a terse statement on Tuesday that it would “not consider revisions” of the original terms.