8 Stories

Wall Street Speculators Hope to Profit on Madoff Victims

They're offering cash upfront, for reduced amounts, to take over claims

(Newser) - Bernie Madoff made a fortune off his victims, and now speculators in the field known as distressed securities hope to do the same. As the New York Times explains: These speculators are contacting those who lost money and offering a deal: We'll give you cash immediately and take over your... More »

Banks Won't Honor Calif. IOUs

(Newser) - Major banks in California, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, will stop honoring the state's IOUs after today, reports the Los Angeles Times. While some credit unions may cash the promissory notes, taxpayers and vendors who need cash may be tempted to sell them on the cheap to third-party... More »

Small Cadre of Speculators Control Oil

81% of NYMEX contracts held by a few firms, one holds 11%

(Newser) - A surprisingly small group of investors and oil traders control the vast majority of the world’s oil contracts, and they are exerting tremendous influence over the market, reports the Washington Post. Regulators have found that a few financial firms speculating for themselves or their clients hold 81% of the... More »

US Smacked by the Invisible Hand

Americans are moving away from faith in free market

(Newser) - Are we losing confidence in market mechanisms? Years of unfettered free markets contributed to the current gloomy economic situation, and even the market-championing White House has lurched into government regulation of the financial world, the Los Angeles Times reports. With housing prices falling and oil prices rising, “the message... More »

Where's Oil Money Going? Maybe to Your Pension

Petroleum proceeds boost retirement funds

(Newser) - Wall Street brokers and energy speculators aren’t the only ones lining their pockets thanks to skyrocketing oil prices, the Washington Post reports. Many pension funds have pushed heavily into commodities, bringing big returns in a time of economic strife. “Our commodity investment has really helped,” said the... More »

Speculators Didn't Do It

Traders take blame for high oil prices, but global demand is the real culprit

(Newser) - Politicians are blaming high oil prices on an old scapegoat: speculators, writes Dean Barnett in the Weekly Standard. But if speculators were hoarding oil, it would be stockpiled, and inventories would soar. Instead, inventories remain constant. This is obvious "to anyone who took an introductory economics class," Barnett... More »

As Prices Soar, Congress Aims at Speculators

Out-of-control traders may be driving up oil, food costs, pols say

(Newser) - Congress is blaming rampant commodity speculation for rocketing gas and food prices, and berating regulators for letting it happen, the New York Times reports. Unless watchdog groups like the Commodities Futures Trading Commision crack down, Carl Levin says, "we don’t have a cop on the beat.." Joe... More »

Analysts See Oil Bust Ahead

Stronger dollar, other factors will take air out of 'classic' bubble

(Newser) - The oil price surge is just like the dot-com boom, analysts at Lehman Brothers tell the Wall Street Journal, and costs will sharply decline once the US dollar strengthens and demand dips in certain countries. Lehman claims oil is experiencing the "classic ingredients of an asset bubble," and... More »

8 Stories