Monday, May 14, 2012

Financial Sarcasm Roundup for 05/14/12

Today I'll revive a tradition that I maintained a couple of years ago.  I had posted rundowns of some key business headlines about once a week.  My problem then was that my summary comments just weren't snarky enough and the titles of my posts weren't very catchy.  I may have remedied those problems by pushing up the sarcasm throttle and calling this the "Financial Sarcasm Roundup."  Let's run some headlines today with my full-blown invective and see if anyone pays attention.

The State of California is weighing in on a solar project down in the SoCal desert.  K Road Power promises that its Calico Solar plant won't get in the way of endangered tortoises and other critters.  That's not good enough for environmentalist groups but it sure is good enough for me.  I spent some idle time down in the SoCal deserts as a kid when I was forced to visit the dead branches of my family tree.  Any animal hardy enough to survive down there probably has enough survival instinct to move out of the way of bulldozers.  It's really funny that environmentalists are lobbying against a green energy project.  They don't understand that the absence of this solar project means more reliance on the fossil fuel power plants they despise so much.

JPMorgan is about to face the great cleansing fire of regulatory scrutiny for letting its prop trading (thinly disguised as yield hedging, or something) get out of hand.  Not to worry, it will all be over in a fortnight once the regulators get intimidated by the records they'll have to review.  Only one executive has been thrown under the bus so far.  Her replacement is a trader whose previous employer (Long Term Capital Management) did a great job of showing the world how geniuses with exquisite financial models can destroy investments.  The end result of the perfunctory regulatory review will not be a revival of interest in the Volcker Rule.  Insiders have too much money at stake to let a silly rule get in the way of building financial WMDs.

Yahoo hired a CEO who faked a degree in computer science.  That's the best metaphor I've seen for how they lost their early lead in search engine market share to Google.  Maybe they've been hiring people since the early 2000s who merely claim to know how to program code.

Moller-Maersk placed an order with Daewoo for the world's largest container ship.  Those wacky Danes have never shed their Viking genes.  A grand total of 18,000 TEUs worth of capacity is going to find itself idle if the global economy goes down the tubes in 2013.  Petrobras has a pretty good plan for repurposing oil tankers as drilling platforms.  Grabbing difficult oil from the seabed is the wave of the future; the pun on "wave" is intended.  I think Petrobras could make Moller-Maersk an offer for that big container ship and its planned sister ships if this whole global trade thing doesn't work out.

Full disclosure:  No positions in any companies mentioned.