20120603-211706.jpgGood morning

The headlines:

  1. Timother Geithner wants to see the Dodd-Frank complaints in writing. Link: Banker, justify thyself.

    Mr Secretary-of-the-Treasury wants someone to give him specifics. Because, well, “costly”, “burdensome” and “confusing” are just adjectives.

    The trouble is finding a balance: on the one hand, too much regulation makes the banks uncompetitive and less customer service, and stuff; on the other hand, Lehman Brothers.

  2. Microsoft to introduce Office for iPads. Link: The Best of Both Worlds.

    Ah – it’ll be awesome to finally have Word and Excel on the pad. You know, whatever else might be awesome with Mac, I am yet to move over to “Pages” and “Numbers”. And I think that most business-people are the same. Everyone wants a Mac… And the first thing we do is install Microsoft Office.

    I’m just surprised that Microsoft have taken so long to do it. I can understand that maybe they didn’t want to hurt sales of their own tablets – but still. Businesses buy iPads, not whatever the Microsoft tablet is called (97% of all business tablets purchased in Q1 2012 were iPads). Think of all the untapped revenue!

  3. Nasdaq will brief investors later today on Facebook IPO compensation. Link: Payback’s a bitch.

    Nasdaq say that they have set aside around $13 million for this. But given the size of the initial offering, does that not seem a little small*? The four largest market-makers** are saying that their losses were almost 10 times that. And that’s not everyone.

    Oh Nasdaq.

  4. Starbucks buys a baker. Link: Ready to break bread.

    Starbucks has announced the $100 million acquisition of Bay Bread LLC, a San-Fransisco based operator. Their La Boulange brand will boost the food offering in Starbucks stores in a higher-quality direction.

    They just mustn’t take it to France. Because the French will take one look at “La Boulange” and storm off furiously in the opposite direction, making loud and huffy comments about “the American Bastardization” of the french tongue***.

  5. China attempts to restore investor trust. Link: Trust us – we want to play fair.

    Since Guo Shuqing took over as head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission seven months ago, he’s been reforming the exchanges****. According to Guo, the current focus is “improving the fair play of the market”.

    This has been accomplished by encouraging companies to pay cash dividends, and making attempts to improve the speed with which qualifying foreign investors are declared qualified.

    Cash is king – so dividends do tend to make stocks more trustworthy. But really, I think that the best way to bring trust into a market is to open it up. The more investors there are, the more monitored a market becomes because investors vote with their money.

    Will China really do that?

That’s all for now.

Have a good day.

*The correct answer is “Yes it does”. Almost 400 million shares were issued. The prices at which the delays happened all floated around the $42 mark, even though the official IPO price was $38. That’s $16.8 billion of market cap. $13 million is about 0.0008% of that. Or, rather, that the loss per share was capped at 3 cents.  

**A market-maker acts as the middle-man on a dealer-driven exchange. The market-maker buys from the people selling, and sells to the people buying – effectively setting the bid-ask spread and “making a market” for the trade.

***La Boulange is good french-sounding non-french. Choquant ce que les Americains ont fait. Les bâtards!

****Although I reckon that the Chinese word for “reform” combines symbols meaning “slow” and “occasionally disingenuous”. Actually, after some googling, it turns out that it combines the symbols for “change” and “animal skins”. And my mind leaps to “can a leopard change its spots?”