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Mick Weinstein

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  • Trying to shake its pricey image, Starbucks (SBUX) will unveil instant coffee Via, available starting next month. The coffee will be up against well-established competitors like Nestle's (NSRGY.PK) Nescafe and Kraft's (KFT) Sanka. (previously)  [View news story]
    I agree with Todd on this one - just don't see how it works:
    Feb 17 06:51 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Do We Need Banks at All? [View article]
    I like the 'wipe the slate clean and rethink the role of/need for banks' thought experiment, and I think in principle we could end up here one day, but you clearly need to address these issues still:

    1) The Fed and other central banks use commercial banks to do risk assessment for their massive lending process. You and I buying T-bills from Uncle Sam via Treasury Direct provides nowhere near the liquidity that the Fed - and the commercial system on the other end - needs. Who will provide this service?

    2) Commercial and residential lending involves huge sums changing hands, and centralization in a limited number of banks that are considered safe for depositors provides that liquidity in a way that citizen-based lending cannot, currently. Why? Because a) the work involved in proper risk assessment on lending is very demanding and requires expertise, and b) borrowers don't want to work with hundreds or thousands of lenders.

    In this vein I have to ask: Do you see a future with no VC firms? Startups receiving funding from angels and thousands of lower net worth individuals only? It's possible, but right now - for companies with high capital requirements - both the entrepreneur and investor need larger firms to pool the capital, do the risk assessment, and provide the liquidity. Show me the tool for crowdsourced assessment of the risk/benefit of investing in that startup that just dropped its powerpoint on your desk. What's true in private equity is even more true in public equity, where the capital requirements are orders of magnitude greater.

    3) What are the difficulties that Prosper and other peer-to-peer lending efforts have faced? I understand that Prosper is having a tough time... why?
    Feb 12 09:14 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 15 Companies That Might Not Survive 2009 [View article]
    We made the correction to remove APOL association from this article. Thank you for bringing the error to our attention.
    Feb 10 07:41 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Say hello to Kindle 2 (AMZN). Page-turn times 20% faster. Read-to-me feature. 25% longer battery life. Seven times more storage. 0.36 inches thick and weighs 10 oz. Crisper display. etc. AMZN -0.7%.  [View news story]
    A bit disappointing that they couldn't offer it in the $250 or so range. $359 is a stretch for most - will limit adoption to tech enthusiasts and road warriors.
    Feb 9 11:08 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Robert Shiller: Want to prevent the next bubble? Subsidize financial advice for the uninformed.  [View news story]
    Tim Iacono had a good response to the Shiller article:
    Jan 19 05:27 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Oil Price Economics the 60 Minutes Way [View article]
    A brilliant fisking, Eddy - even if you had stopped with the GM mention.
    Jan 12 04:20 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why the New York Times Won't Cease Printing [View article]
    see Rick Edmonds in Poynter on this
    Jan 8 12:49 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Bill Gross: Buy Early What the Government Buys Later [View article]
    Interesting in light of Gross' lobbying in Washington last year on behalf of FRE/FNM and offering his services to help the government buy subprime paper
    Jan 8 09:59 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • TD Ameritrade (AMTD) will buy thinkorswim Group (SWIM) for $606M in stock and cash to expand its online brokerage. The deal values SWIM at around $8.71/share, a 54.1% premium to yesterday's closing price. Premarket: AMTD -7.3%, SWIM +40.7%.  [View news story]
    Also, will be interesting to see what happens to optionsExpress (OXPS) and Interactive Brokers (IBKR) on this news.
    Jan 8 09:14 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • TD Ameritrade (AMTD) will buy thinkorswim Group (SWIM) for $606M in stock and cash to expand its online brokerage. The deal values SWIM at around $8.71/share, a 54.1% premium to yesterday's closing price. Premarket: AMTD -7.3%, SWIM +40.7%.  [View news story]
    Yet more consolidation in this field... will the lower competition impact investors/traders negatively?
    Jan 8 09:12 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In the weeks leading up to his arrest, Madoff scrambled to raise enough cash to keep his firm from collapsing. One long time investor gave Madoff $250M just days before the scam went public, on promises the money would be returned quickly and with a profit. [View news story]
    The most outrageous thing I've read today.
    Jan 7 01:16 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Shopping mall vacancies neared 10-year highs in Q4, and will continue to rise as anemic retail sales put more stores out of business.  [View news story]
    Maybe they should start renting them out - to residents
    Jan 7 12:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Petroleum Inventories come in much higher than expected. Crude +6.7M vs. consensus of +1M. Gasoline +3.3M vs. +0.75M. Distillate +1.8M vs. +1M. Feb. crude futures dive, -5.8% to $45.74.  [View news story]
    enough to offset the Gaza warfare?
    Jan 7 10:33 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Yale's David Swensen talks to FBN's Liz Clayman about this market - see video.  [View news story]
    Interesting what he says about the two ends of the spectrum: either use index funds entirely, or invest heavily in research and actively manage - but nothing in between.
    Jan 7 02:29 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New from Apple (AAPL): 1) MacBook Pro, lightest and thinnest 17-inch notebook with NVDA chip and 8-hr. battery. 2) Three-tier iTunes pricing - $0.99, $0.69 and $1.29 - all songs DRM free by end of quarter. 3) iTunes to support 3G.  [View news story]
    Nice-looking machine, but $2800 base for a laptop - in this market?
    Jan 6 01:51 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment