20120617-212613.jpgGood morning

The headlines:

  1. The Greek elections are done.

    Link: and it looks like we might have a pro-bailout government!

    According to the acting finance minister, Giorgios Zanias, Greece will run out of money by mid-July. This puts the pressure on Antonis Samaras, leader of the New Democracy party, to form a coalition government, like, asap.

    With 90% of the vote counted, New Democracy has won 130 of the 300 seats available (including the 50 bonus seats for the party that comes first). Pasok has won 33 seats (coming third) – so the possibility of a two-party coalition is possible.

    Tsipras, head of the Syriza party (second place) , says that his party won’t join any coalition government. Obviously.

    This does make any ruling coalition precarious. The coalition would have 163 seats – giving it a 13 seat majority. And given the number of defections and walk-outs that Pasok experienced in its original bailout decisions – that’s a remarkably thin line.

    But we live in hope. And admiration to the Greeks. The vote marks a swing back in favor of remaining in the euro and accepting austerity. While I believe that austerity is better than leaving the euro – it’s hard to make that decision whilst you’re suffering.


  2. The French Socialists win an outright absolute majority.

    Link: they really didn’t want Sarkozy, like, at all.

    The socialist bloc won 314 of the 577 seats in the French National Assembly. Sarkozy’s guys won 228 seats. And the National Front won 2. Or 10. Or something. The numbers don’t really seem to add up – but the sum conclusion really is:

    Hollande now has free rein.

  3. The SEC is saying that they pressed Facebook about something.

    Link: their point?

    It seems that the SEC pressured the Facebook execs to reveal a little more about the impact of the shift to mobile devices on their revenue.

    On Feb 28, the commission wrote to the FB folk: “Assuming that the trend toward mobile continues and your mobile monetization efforts are unsuccessful, ensure that your disclosure fully addresses the potential consequences to your revenue and financial results rather than just stating that they ‘may be negatively affected'”.

    And we’re supposed to, what, be impressed?

    Uh – no. And/or hell no.

    If you’re clever enough to make that kind of a comment – then you must also be clever enough to follow up and make sure that the more-disclosure happens. Otherwise, not only did you fail by being foolish, you also failed by being negligent.

    Someone should sue the SEC. Not because the Facebook investors were hard-done-by*, but because the SEC appears to be releasing this information by way of vindication.

  4. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange might just get it.

    Link: the purchase of the London Metal Exchange.

    The $1 billion exchange merger looks like it might get the regulatory seal of approval. The merger would give the Hong Kong Exchange control over “the business that sets global prices for base metals”, while the LME would get get greater access to China.

    It sounds like the LME will remain under the supervision of the London Financial Services Authority (FSA), which will make the regulators more comfortable. It always comes down to national interest and market power concerns – which the FSA supervision addresses? I don’t know how… Other than being able to set the standards that the LME must adhere to.

    My guess is that exchanges form a principal basis of market activity. A crash in the exchange market can cause a crash in the economy: the national interest is in ensuring that doesn’t happen. By that argument, the LME won’t affect things in the same way as, say, a sale of the London Stock Exchange. Therefore, as long as the LME plays by the FSA rules, the HSE can have it**.

    The current LME shareholders are expected to be invited to vote on the merger at the end of July. And they’re likely to say yes, because the price being offered values the LME at, like, 180 times earnings.

    It’s unreal. And I feel like we should all be smelling a rat.

  5. Gupta guilty.

    Link: and his judge has ignored sentencing recommendations in the past, so…

    Gupta is guilty of passing on the Golden Sachs nuggets of information to the Rajaratnam. But he has a judge who has a reputation of being lenient – especially on those that have a history of “charity”.

    Remind me to remain charitable.

That’s all for now.
Have a good day.
*The kids that made that investment decision are just participating in the financial version of the Darwin awards. Throwing their money into dead-ends is removing them from the financial field of life. I know that some investors were unwitting participants as a result of their rather-useless investment managers. But the adage holds because those investment managers should now be fired. On a low heat. So it hurts.
**So many acronyms.