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Monday, March 2, 2009

FT Weekend roundup

The US government completed its third bailout deal with Citigroup, becoming its single largest shareholder. This semi-nationalization, henceforth known as Tim Geithner's Semi, leaves the US with a 36% stake in the company and substantial leverage over its management. Analysts wonder whether this slow-motion time-wasting death by money can be a model for future clusterfucks.

Last month's awful terrible US GDP figures turned out to be too optimistic. Fourth quarter GDP for 2008 declined at an annual pace of 6.2%. The revision was largely due to huge fall in inventories, which would normally be good if there were signs of a pickup in demand, but there aren't, so it isn't. It's basically a series of tubes.

Financial scandals just got hotter. Laura Pendergest-Holt, chief investment officer of Sir Allen Stanford's Ponzi division, is escorted to court by an equally sexified US marshal. I'd misappropriate their assets! Ms. Pendergestt-Holt faces charges of obstruction of justice in the investigation of her boss. It's safe to assume her intransigence will be overcome in a manner most fitting that of your typical Cinemax coming-of-age lesbian prison-sex drama.

Finally, GE is cutting its dividend payments for the first time since 1938. Private equity firm Blackstone is also suspending dividend payments for the quarter. And only because dividends lack comedic value.

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