News round-up: 8 Sep 2008

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The news of the day is obviously the fact that the U.S. government now owns Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and thus controls over half of the U.S. mortgage market. This is a step unprecedented since the Great Depression and should remind us of the severity of the financial crisis we are experiencing. Please see my post ‘Freddie and Fannie taken over by U.S. government’ for comprehensive coverage. The NY Times has a post below that is also very good.

However, there is a lot of other news out there like the fact that Hurricane Ike has hit Cuba and still a Cat 2 storm, or that the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is calling or new elections, that WaMu has finally ousted their embattled CEO Killinger, and that RBC had been mulling a bid for Lehman Brothers but backed away.

There are a number of merger stories in the business section. An interesting tidbit is that last year I did some consulting work for UST, the makers of Skoal and Copenhagen. They were looking at some serious restructuring. Anyway, within 15 minutes of my arrival to present to the Board of Directors, half of the board including women were spitting their chewing tobacco into little dixie cups. Needless to say, it was a bit strange to be giving a presentation to the Board of a major company while everyone was dipping Skoal Long Cut. At least they like their product. I was expecting something a lot different since they are based in Greenwich, CT. I now see they decided to merge rather than deal with the restructuring issues on their own.

By the way, Google is also celebrating its tenth anniversary.

I suspect the markets will be way up today. So, Happy Monday.

Personal Finance
Value investing isn’t dead after all – MSN Money
5 banks safe from the storm – MSN Money

Markets
Ike weakens over Cuba, targets Gulf – Market Watch
Dollar mixed after Fannie, Freddie rescue, Treasurys tumble – Market Watch
U.S. stock futures sharply higher – Market Watch
Hard to think of worse day for LSE trading to stop – Market Watch

Fannie and Freddie
Fannie Mae, Freddie and You: What It Means to the Public – NY Times
What the takeover means for your mortgage – Wash Post
Fannie and Freddie: Many Tales of Two Lenders – NY Times
U.S. talks with Fannie, Freddie turned sour: sources – Reuters
China frets at U.S. risk after Fannie/Freddie bailout – Reuters

Financial Services
Mergers of Nationwide with The Derbyshire and The Cheshire Building Societies – Nationwide
Royal Bank of Canada considered buying Lehman: report – Reuters
Washington Mutual Forces Out CEO – WSJ
HSH to Exit Operations, Cut Jobs After Profit Slumps – Bloomberg
TPG Gets $30 Billion To Put in Three Funds – WSJ

Business
Altria to Buy UST for $10.4 Billion – Deal Book
Origin eyes $8 billion joint venture with Conoco to fend off BG – Reuters
U.S. hedge fund Fairfield, Swiss private bank merge – Reuters
Eni Agrees to Acquire First Calgary – WSJ

Politics
Canada’s prime minister calls snap elections – Market Watch
Bob Woodward Writes Self-Adoring, Slavering New Bush Chronicle – Bloomberg News
Russia aims to corner energy market: U.S. official – Reuters
Russia Turns Back Aid Convoy – WSJ

Technophile’s Corner
Google: From start-up to superpower – LA Times
Advertiser group objects to Google-Yahoo tie up – Reuters

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