Saturday, July 25, 2009

Weekend reading July 26

Spotters of economic green shoots need lessons in botany: The sharper-than-expected fall in UK economic output announced on Friday shocked those followers of the dismal science who had been expecting a gentler contraction.

NIR Hedge Fund Touted Itself Before Freeze: A hedge-fund firm that has drawn ire from investors and attention from federal regulators promoted its funds' performance last year days before it formally barred clients from withdrawing money.

The rich have never had it so good: According to government figures, 1-percenters' share of America's total income is the highest it's been since 1929, and their tax rates are the lowest they've faced in two decades.

Berlusconi's Sex Tape Scandal Unlikely to Be Fatal in Homeland of Casanova: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will likely survive the sex scandal involving a high- priced prostitute that is dominating the Internet.

Citi Trader, Who Made $100 Million Last Year, Insists on Keeping His Deal in Place: On the surface, the particulars of this case seem simple. A Citigroup commodities trader who says he has a contract that could yield him a $100 million payment this year is crossing swords with the new Treasury pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg.

Euro Threatened with Mounting Deflation Risk, US Bond Auction: The Euro looks vulnerable in the week ahead as headline inflation figures point to the increasing likelihood of deflation while a the US Treasury holds a record-setting bond auction that stands to boost the Dollar at the expense of the single currency.

Consumer-Debt Picture Shows One Sign of Improvement: Fewer American households appear to be falling behind on their debt payments, according to a new study, but some economists question whether the data reflect a meaningful easing of consumer-credit problems.

Great barrier grief: Countries that clung fast to the gold standard in the early 1930s resorted most to protectionism.

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