Seeking Alpha

Alex Cook's  Instablog

Alex Cook
Send Message
Alex Cook is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, where he studied economics. In college he founded Tar Heel Business, a print and internet publication focused on business and economics. Alex now writes for, where you can read about macroeconomic trends and... More
My blog:
Frontier Outlook
View Alex Cook's Instablogs on:
  • Putting the Goldman Sachs charges in perspective

    I woke up today, turned on Bloomberg TV to see what the markets were doing, and apparently complete chaos has broken out regarding Goldman Sachs. It’s bad, and a full investigation is needed, but let’s take a deep breath and put this all in perspective first.

    The charges allege that Goldman Sachs did not disclose that one of their clients, hedge fund manager John Paulson, helped design subprime mortgage securities that he held a short position in. If true, this would be misleading the market, so a full investigation is needed.

    But, compared to a lot of the other antics that have gone on, how criminal is this really, or is Goldman Sachs just the easiest target for the SEC to go after?

    I want to see how this investigation plays out, but don’t rush to conclusions yet. Goldman Sachs has been a political whipping boy for some time now, since it is much easier for politicians to blame someone other than themselves, and real financial reform like I outlined previously would involve too much self-reflection on the part of America’s political elite.

    What has bothered me about this is the moral grandstanding on the part of some financial bloggers. I used to read Zero Hedge a lot, and I still do read it to see what other people are talking about and get other opinions, but sometimes the writers there get way too far off on their conspiracy theories. According to Zero Hedge’s Twitter account, he has blocked all Goldman Sachs IP addresses from accessing his blog. I can’t access the site either (I have never worked for Goldman in my life and my ISP is far, far away from New York), so I don’t know what that’s all about, but I’m assuming it’s some kind of statement of protest against the company. I really don’t think that Goldman is scared though that one blog is blocking them.

    To be clear, I am not defending Goldman Sachs, but I wish that some of the outrage that is directed at Goldman would be directed at the true culprits of the crisis as well: the Federal Reserve, credit ratings agencies, and mortgage brokers. Until that happens, expect more grandstanding, expect SEC investigators and journalists looking for a big case so they can write a book deal later about how they saved the world, and don’t expect any real financial reform.

    -Alex Cook

    Disclosure: None
    Apr 16 1:22 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Article on investing in Azerbaijan

    I wrote an article for Tim Seymour’s Emerging Money blog on Azerbaijan, which I believe is going to be an important frontier market going forward. The country has significant untapped natural gas resources, and it will probably also be the most stable of the Caucasus countries. Link below the fold.


    -Alex Cook

    Apr 05 8:45 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Sunday Briefing on April 4

    Hope you all had a safe and enjoyable Easter weekend. Here is a recap of last week, and a preview of the market moving events for next week.

    Market moving events next week:

    Monday April 5: Pending Home Sales Index report released. 10-Year TIPS auction. Lite-On Semiconductor Corp releases earnings.
    Tuesday April 6: 52-Week T-Bill Auction. Qatar National Bank release earnings.
    Wednesday April 7: 10-Year T-Note Auction. Monsanto Company, Pep Boys and Ruby Tuesdays release earnings.
    Thursday April 8: 30-Year T-Bond Auction. Pier 1 Imports releases earnings.
    Friday April 9: Constellation Brands releases earnings.


    A major story next week to watch will the the Treasury auctions. The 10-Year T-Note is the benchmark of reference for the credit health of the United States. The recent 5-Year Auction went over poorly. I wrote a hedging strategy here in case the 10-Year and 30-Year Auctions go over poorly as well.

    Also, here’s my predictions for the iPad, which you are undoubtedly going to hear more hype about in the coming week.

    Recapping last week

    World events

    Terrorist attacks in Russia

    No “special relationship” between Britain and US: MP’s

    Iraqi election results: what do they mean for the biggest winners, Allawi and Maliki?

    PA purges Hamas-linked educators

    What the Iraqis are building

    Macro events

    PIMCO sees UK downgrade

    Micro events

    Apple iPad requires “leap of faith” from buyers

    The cult of Apple

    Must read commentary from last week

    A fragile calm: Jerusalem and Damascus may not speak, but the Quneitra crossing works 24/7 to shuttle people and produce across the border. This is a very interesting article on the state of Israeli-Syrian relations, which is critical in understanding the Middle East.

    Just for fun

    Arab cuisine invades United States Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton

    -Alex Cook

    Apr 05 2:49 AM | Link | Comment!
Full index of posts »
Latest Followers


  • New blog post. The best news from last week: Positive CPI.
    Aug 15, 2010
  • just found out he passed the Level I CFA Exam!
    Jul 26, 2010
  • New blog post: A crisis wasted - Why the financial reform bill doesn't get the job done.
    Jul 19, 2010
More »

Latest Comments

Posts by Themes
Instablogs are Seeking Alpha's free blogging platform customized for finance, with instant set up and exposure to millions of readers interested in the financial markets. Publish your own instablog in minutes.