Pic of the day: Winning in a panic situation. Not just for J.P.Morgan, but they seem to have been particularly successful in that regard lately.
BIGGEST BANK FAILURE
Yes, that's what the headlines screamed. "BIGGEST BANK FAILURE IN HISTORY!" That's kind of true, but not quite as urgent as it sounds. Remember Washington Mutual, the big savings & loans banks that got an appetite on mortgages and stuff and expanded wildly just before the subprime crisis? Yeah, that one. JPMorgan buys WaMu (CNN).
If it had filed for bankruptcy, I can see how people might be a bit worried. But sold to a competing bank? Not really a problem. Business continues more or less as usual (for now at least) under new ownership. Not quite worthy of "OMG they killed Washington Mutual! The bastards!" or similar excitement. Of course, if things had been diffeent (like for instance no upcoming election) fate might have taken a different course. But as it is, there is hardly a cause for panic.
Speaking of panic, the so-called "bailout planned" was stalled today. European stock exchanges opened sharply down. Since I write this next week, you won't benefit from my buy signal (to sell again when rumors of success caused a brief spike in demand). It is not like America has been hit by a nuclear blast or the bird flu. The assets are still there, the people are still there, the ideas are still there. It's only the imaginary money that's evaporating. Of course, there is a lot of it. I really should write about that, but I have done that before, and now everyone can see it. Now you can read about it all over the news, instead of here.
OK, since I'm writing anyway... You remember Ben Bernanke? Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the USA. Possibly the most important person in the world economy these days. Do you know what he did before he became involved with Bush and his friends? He was a renowned scholar, and that's pretty much what he was. But a quite famous one. His specialty was studying the Great Depression. And now it comes to him. How lucky is that? It must be a lot like a paleontologist suddenly meeting a Tyrannosaurus Rex. In a dark alley. Good luck Ben! Do your best!
Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.