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Alex Cook  

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  • A Comeback for Corn Ethanol? A Weird Set of Circumstances Says 'Maybe' [View article]
    In my opinion, corn ethanol always seemed more of a political-economic gimmick than anything else. 1) It isn't really environmentally friendly, and 2) it's very expensive without subsidies. I'd stick with natural gas as being the ultimate winner in the alternate energy wars.
    Mar 29, 2010. 03:53 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Krugman vs. Krugman: Perils of Punditry [View article]
    Beware anyone who takes their knowledge too seriously.
    Mar 22, 2010. 04:20 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In Buffett's Bonds We Trust? [View article]
    Those that look at economics or finance textbooks that say "US Treasuries are risk-free" should remember that nothing is ever set in stone.
    Mar 22, 2010. 04:15 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. Housing Starts Remain Near Record Low Levels [View article]
    Let's be frank. Housing starts are not going to look good until the houses that already have been built during the subprime boom get sold. I don't have exact figures, but I imagine that there is a lot of inventory that still needs turnover.
    Mar 17, 2010. 02:21 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Lies and Truth on Sovereign CDS [View article]
    Mar 11, 2010. 02:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What in the world happened to AIG today? [View instapost]
    1. I'd cover your shorts ASAP. Way too much volatility at this point to be on the short side.

    2. Bloomberg put a piece out a while back about how some of AIG's units are starting to show profitability. I got a link to that article and analysis here:

    3. As far as fair valuation of the company, I'm still trying to piece together the puzzle myself. It's a very opaque situation given the nature of these derivatives. I'm actually starting to get cautiously optimistic, for the reason that AIG's main credit counterparty at the moment seems to be the federal government of the United States. It is not in the government's interest to have a crisis in AIG that could be used as a political football; ergo, the government will allow AIG generous credit terms; ergo, AIG is probably not going to fail.

    If it doesn't fail, then it might not suddenly become a "good" company, but a "less bad" one that doesn't merit Armageddon valuations.
    Mar 11, 2010. 01:43 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Today's All Things Forex Broadcast: Will there be Further GBP Losses vs. USD and EUR? [View instapost]
    Despite what Romano Prodi says, the Greek crisis isn't over. I'd still stay away from the Euro.
    Mar 10, 2010. 05:48 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Lies and Truth on Sovereign CDS [View article]
    When you see the Greek government blaming means they have run out of ideas.
    Mar 10, 2010. 05:46 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Statoil: Still Bullish on This Oil and Gas Stock [View article]
    Check my old article about STO (linked to in this article). I agree that XOM is great as well, but what I like in particular about STO is its margins (significantly higher than the industry) that might warrant a higher multiple, and also they are one of the few firms that has been expanding into Kurdistan (north Iraq)--big potential supply market.
    Mar 9, 2010. 03:56 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Statoil: Still Bullish on This Oil and Gas Stock [View article]
    As far as I can tell, STO is not looking into exporting European LNG to the United States, and this investment is in pipeline distribution in the US. If I am wrong, please provide a link so I can investigate.
    Mar 6, 2010. 03:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. Natural Gas Hockey Stick: The Technology-Driven Energy Boom [View article]
    Keep in mind: Increased production doesn't always translate into increased profit. In 2008, we saw increased demand for natural gas--but prices started dropping after July since supply was expanding far beyond demand. That said, I am bullish on STO and American names, and bearish on Russian names.
    Mar 3, 2010. 11:59 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Banks Bet Greece on Debt They Helped Hide [View article]
    Agreed; I wasn't trying to make a political statement by this. Neither former PM Costas, the current guy Papandreou, or for that matter anyone since World War II has had a grasp on public finance in Greece. Not the military dictatorship either in the 1960s-1970s.
    Feb 26, 2010. 01:08 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Banks Bet Greece on Debt They Helped Hide [View article]
    I just wrote a blog post on this. This week, the statements from Greek politicians really made me question whether or not they can pass an austerity program. They have blamed everyone--except for themselves.
    Feb 25, 2010. 09:33 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Return to Market Discipline? Start With Greece [View article]
    I like your take on things. Interestingly, a majority of Germans according to a recent poll oppose a bailout.
    Feb 17, 2010. 04:01 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Correcting National Debt Myths [View article]
    They just add zeroes onto a computer entry. Green paper is not necessary.

    The highest active denomination of US currency is the $100 bill, so that would be a LOT of printing to handle our stimulus. If you ever hear people talking about $500 bills or larger denominations that are used "in between banks", just nod politely and walk away; those haven't been used in decades.
    Feb 15, 2010. 02:19 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment