Before the rescue packages were announced I said in my blog that a gigantic rescue package was needed to restore the economy. In an article in the Huffington Post entitled Robin Hood Bush I also said that these packages could actually make money for the taxpayer as government bought mortgage pools for what the market thought they were worth (very little) and held them for 5 or 10 years and found that the actual money lost on them could be less than what the market thought now. I also shared with my readers that I had bought stock in Citigroup and Bank of America and recommended to sell these shares as I did when the package was announced. My thinking then was that C and BAC were still too risky as people did not really know what the rescue plan, then announced would entail. And frankly people still do not know. And there is tremendous uncertainty. In the end the argument that got packages approved around the world including the ones in Europe this week was the Robin Hood Bush argument extended to the Robin Hood Gordon Brown or the Robin Hood Merkel, or the Robin Hood Zapatero (he likes to think that he is more frequently Robin Hood). First Paulson said that US taxpayers could make money with the $700bn for the bailout aka rescue. Now every Secretary of the Treasury around the world is saying the same thing. Spain for example copied the US model and prepared a $70bn rescue which is probably a bit higher than the US rescue if GDP weighted. And Pedro Solbes assured Spanish taxpayers that the package would not cost them anything. By now I think we have gone too far with these assurances. The truth is that nobody knows if these packages will make or lose money for the taxpayers. We can only hope they will. We can only hope that what is coming in the next 5 years is a recession but not a depression as the markets now believe because current share prices are depression prices. Personally I am still optimistic that the markets are over reacting now. Not in bank shares themselves which I bought and got out as they are the “eye of the hurricane shares. But in companies like Microsoft, Intel, Dell, Nokia, Apple, BT, AT&T, and other global giants. Currently most technology companies are down between 30% and 65%. I started buying some of their shares in prudent quantities this week. As an entrepreneur with the natural optimism of entrepreneurs I just can´t believe what markets are predicting namely a global depression. The case of Dell or Apple are interesting. These are companies with tremendous cash in their balance sheet, growing fast and their shares are down over 50% of their highs. So I don´t know if governments will make money buying cheap bank shares and discounted mortgages. And I don´t know if I will make money buying big tech stocks. But as I said I started buying and will continue to increase my holdings if they go down.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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