Top 10 links: 75,000 job cuts; Dairy gloom; Gold boom; Tricky Dick Fuld; 'UK finished'

Top 10 links: 75,000 job cuts; Dairy gloom; Gold boom; Tricky Dick Fuld; 'UK finished'

Here's my 10 favourite links from my daily reads around the Internet. I welcome your additions. I've started off with a cartoon which captures the flavour of the Fed's desperation nicely.A bad night Caterpillar, Pfizer, Philips, ING, Corus, Texas Instruments, Sprint Nextel and Home Depot announce a total of 75,000 jobcuts in one 24 hour period. This helpful (if depressing) table from FT.com is good. A safe haven? Gold rallied over US$900 an ounce overnight and hit records against the Euro and pound. This should get the gold bugs going again. The more I see, the more sympathetic I am to the idea that the only safe haven is gold. Here's the FT.com's roundup.

If you think it was bad for ING in NZ.... Have a look at this announcement from ING that it will cut 7,000 jobs and has gone begging to the Dutch government to insure 80% of a 27.7 billion euro (!) pile of toxic Alt A mortgages in the United States. And we thought ING was having problems with its 51% subsidiary in New Zealand. Or maybe this explains why so much toxic stuff was shovelled down here for Mum and Dad investors with ANZ to gobble up and then choke on. Here's the story in Bloomberg O'Reilly is stuck with the Herald Tony O'Reilly's Independent News and Media has told APN, the owner of the NZ Herald and half of the Radio Network (NewstalkZB), that he can't sell his controlling stake because the Credit Crunch has made it difficult for buyers to get the dosh together to buy the Granny. All part of the trend of deleveraging reducing asset values either directly, through sales, or indirectly by removing the source of demand. O'Reilly will be lucky to avoid a forced sale. Don't blame the auctioneer, blame the market Farmers should blame less underlying demand and more supply for the slump in wholesale dairy commodity prices, not the new online auction system set up by Fonterra as the market was slumping. That's the conclusion of the good folk at NZX Agrifax in this full report. It is an excellent summary of why dairy prices are falling and well worth reading by anyone dependent on the New Zealand economy for their livelihood... It also predicts dairy prices won't recover until well into 2010. Going down, down, down US house prices are still falling, even though (or perhaps because of) volumes are rising too. The US median house price fell 15.3% in the last year to US$175,400. Here's the details in the WSJ.com Iced Iceland's government collapsed after a week of violent protest and throwing of frozen yoghurt (tis true) at the parliament. That's what happens when you allow your banks to go crazy with the national credit card and then you don't fess up to being asleep at the wheel. This is in The Australian.  Tricky Dick Fuld Remember Dick Fuld, the former CEO of failed investment bank Lehman Bros? Prior to John Thain and his US$1,400 parchment rubbish bin, Fuld was the most reviled investment banker on Wall St. With good reason it seems. Timesonline has an interesting story about how he 'sold' his half share in a US$10 million Miami mansion (one of five he owns) to his wife for $100 just days before Lehman investors launched class action law suits wanting compensation. Luckily for America it is a democracy with a brand new and (so far) popular President. Otherwise there would have been riots. John Thain dissembles Ex Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain (who I'll call Parchment Bin man from now on) sent a memo to Merrill staffers explaining his actions. Read it and weep. He did nothing wrong, although he is giving back the US$1.2 million for the office redecoration, he says. FT's excellent Alphaville blog had to turn off its comments on this one on the advice of lawyers. Go on punks. Make our day. Our comments are well and truly on.  'The UK is finished' Renowned investor Jim Rogers said a few days ago that the Pound was "finished". It's been getting a lot of traction after the second bank bailout, raising questions about whether Britain is the new Iceland now the City of London is imploding and the North Sea oil is running out. Some are predicting national bankruptcy that the IMF is not big enough to fix. We better get ready for the big reverse OE. If only the pound was worth something vs the NZ dollar for all the expats to use to buy houses here (if they can sell their UK houses). Here's the Youtube version.

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