Betting on Crisis, Hedge Funds Short Italian Bonds

Five Star politicians, including the group’s founder and current leader, pondered such radical cures to Italy’s economic woes as restructuring its enormous debt and establishing a currency in addition to the euro.

.. The Janus Global Unconstrained Fund, managed by William H. Gross, lost 3 percent in one day.

.. Hedge funds have been building up their short positions for months, betting that Italian bonds will face another bout of selling pressure

.. the same strains that prompted the earlier bout of selling — weaker countries running up potentially unsustainable debts — are showing again.

.. “These people feel very strongly that deficit limits make no sense,”

.. a robust market for futures contracts tied to Italian government bonds had made it easy to bet against Italy

.. In addition to betting against bonds, many prominent hedge funds are calculating that the share prices of large Italian companies will fall drastically.

.. Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund, has a number of short positions on Italian financial institutions, including UniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank

.. “What we have had so far is a political event, not a credit event,” he said, referring to the point when a country runs out of money. “The endgame is still 12 to 24 months out.”

.. What has spooked investors the most has been the Italian ruling party’s flirtation with a second currency.

.. Strapped Greek and Italian citizens could use this alternate currency to pay taxes and for things like gasoline or health care from the state.

.. “Italy is a conservative country,” Mr. Bonansinga said. “I am just not sure that people want to leave the euro.”

Bill O’Reilly and the Upside of Corporate Cowardice

led more than 50 companies, under pressure from protesters, to pull their ads from “The O’Reilly Factor.”

.. There’s little evidence that broad-based boycotts actually hurt a company’s bottom line; in fact, loyal customers often increase their patronage. Mr. O’Reilly’s ratings rose after the Times investigation

.. But boycotts can cause a significant drop in share price

.. In other words, shareholders react to their own fear of what might happen to the company’s brand, and not to what’s actually happening to its revenue.

The economist A. O. Hirschman might describe this as a triumph of voice over exit.

.. The basic allegations against Mr. O’Reilly have been known since 2004, when he settled his first lawsuit, but that didn’t stop companies from advertising until more women came forward.

.. but sometimes the fear to offend instills a kind of civility that other spheres of public life lack.

.. Trump won an election despite the creepy predatory comments he made on the “Access Hollywood” tape. But Mr. O’Reilly is being shown the door for acting toward women exactly as Mr. Trump had suggested (“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”).

.. Steve King, a five-time congressman from Iowa, has plagued the public arena for years with his barely concealed white nationalism. By contrast, when Donald Sterling, the longtime owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was heard on tape disparaging African-Americans, the N.B.A. revoked his right to ownership and put the team up for auction.

.. Coca-Cola spokesman after the company pulled ads from the Fox show “Married … With Children.”

.. Mercedes-Benz is a niche brand in the United States, but the company spends millions so that every consumer associates its vehicles with Jon Hamm uttering the phrase “The best or nothing,”

.. Don’t forget that he rehired Rebekah Brooks

.. More important, 21st Century Fox’s stock has slipped almost 6 percent since the Times investigation was published

.. Mr. O’Reilly’s lawyer is laying the blame for his client’s situation on a “smear campaign” that is “being orchestrated by far-left organizations.” That sounds like the kind of all-out political assault that Fox News and Mr. O’Reilly himself excelled at for years.

Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States

Albert Hirschman’s Exit, Voice and Loyality is a book written by an economist but accessible to all – a rare achieve in any academic disipline, especially economics. The book was written in the early 70’s but still has relevant today. Its greatest achievment is the illumination of ‘exit’ as the mentality of modern western capitalist societies – the idealisation of the consumers’ right to ‘vote with one’s feet’ – and its spread into all forms of social activity. Hirschman adds a historical dimension to this by arguing that the whole of the United States has largely been built on ‘exit’ mentality – from the mass migration out of Europe from the 17th century onwards to the calls to ‘go west’ across the plains. Exit is the strategy advocated today by neo liberals as being the manifestation of democracy in the market sphere.