Good morning

The headlines:

  1. Samsonite pulls a line of luggage.

    Link: after consumer council finds it carcinogenic.

    Apparently, the handles on Samsonite’s “Tokyo Chic” line contain materials that could cause cancer. When the Hong Kong Consumer Council reported this, Samsonite’s shares dropped by 16%.

    People. Are. Not. Serious.

    The naughty ingredient: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

    But honestly though. You don’t catch cancer by touching stuff*! These carcinogenic substances: prolonged exposure required. So unless you take your valise everywhere and juggle coffee one-handed for fear of ever letting it go….

  2. News Corp. tries to buy Consolidated Media Holdings.

    Link: $2 billion for Australia.

    The bid would double News Corp’s holdings in CMH, Australia’s largest pay television network. The bid price of A$3.50 a share is at a 14% premium on the share price at the time of the announcement.

    If it goes through, Mr Murdoch would own 50% of television network Foxtel**, and full control of the Fox Sports business in Australia.

    Sports television: it’s apparently the future.

  3. Greek leaders “poised”.

    Link: Coalition’s a three-way.

    The final results are in, with New Democracy gaining one less seat than expected (129 versus 130).

    Syriza, the anti-bailout party that came second, has said that it won’t be a part of a coalition, nor will it attempt to form a government if Antonis Samaras fails to form one by the end of the day***.

    Right now, the Greek Government is expected to be a coalition between the three pro-bailout parties: New Democracy, the socialist Pasok party, and the Democratic Left. This would give the government a majority of 29 seats in the 300 seat parliament. Tight!

    The first order of business will be the renegotiation of the bailout terms, now that the European creditors have expressed some willingness to be more accommodative.

    Fingers crossed for Samaras’ “government of national salvation”. Let’s just hope that it gets formed.

  4. Japan’s trade deficit larger than expected.

    Link: is this even affecting the yen at all?

    So Japan is importing more than it’s exporting, and more than expected at that. Higher imports – because they’re still rebuilding after the tsunami and having to import fuel now that they’re down a power-station; and lower exports – because of Europe**** and (indirectly) a strengthening yen that’s making exports less competitive.

    The trade deficit looks to be systemic rather than temporary. Which, if my first-year economics knowledge is correct, implies that the yen should be depreciating… Imports>Exports = demand for forex>demand for yen = depreciating yen.

    I know it’s not as simple as that. But the yen remained, like, totally unfazed. This “the yen is a safe haven” business. It sounds like the safe havens are only safe because everyone thinks that they’re safe.

    Which frankly, isn’t really that safe at all.

  5. Microsoft has a new tablet.

    Link: yet another iPad rival.

    All hail the Surface. Which will run on Windows 8. And the case will be magnesium – which Microsoft is claiming as an industry first.

    I’m excited to try it! But I will not tell a lie – the real deterrent is Windows 8. Can it really ever catch up to the magnificent smoothness (and brand reputation) of OS X and/or iOS?

  6. Dimon defends disclosures.

    Link: Scrutinised by SEC.

    “We disclosed what we knew when we knew it”

    The phrasing is perfectly balanced. This is at round 2 of the Capitol Hill hearings, where one of the Representatives wanted Jamie D to testify under oath.

    What is this – a trial? Either way, it sounds like it was mostly farcical. There were nurses dressed in red and green chanting about Robin Hood******. And Maxine Waters, a California democrat, demonstrated her complete idiocy by asking JD why JP Morgan had lobbied against parts of the Dodd-Frank.

    Because, um, if it goes through, it’ll make less money******. That’s why. Also:

    “Lobbying is a constitutional right and we have a right to have our voice heard”.

    Maxine Waters – try to be useful, and go back to help Governor Brown.

That’s all for now.

Have a good day.

*Unless it’s, like, raw radioactive product. In which case, maybe. 

**Do television networks own other television networks or other television channels? I guess a “network” includes more than one channel – so if there’s a brand of channels (like a series of sports channels), that could be a television network, owned by a larger television network. Random terminology aside.

***Today is D-day.

****The new synonym for “the root of the problem”. 

*****Nurses?! What do nurses have to do with Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan and a $2 billion trading loss on derivatives?!?! Honestly. 

******Granted – that’s arguable given the $2 billion fail. But on the whole, yes. Banks make money from proprietary trading.