AT&T Bringing Call Center Jobs Back to The U.S. Hooray!!! Wait, What?

So AT&T is bringing 5,000 call center employees back to the U.S. and claims it will not send any more such jobs overseas.  This is undoubtedly good for an economy desperate for jobs, but not for the reasons you might think, at least not directly, and probably not on a net basis, either.

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FEMA – Internet Outage Warning

As Hurricane Irene batters the East Coast, federal disaster officials have warned that internet outages could force people to interact with other people for the first time in years. Residents are bracing themselves for the horror of awkward silences & unwanted eye contact. FEMA has advised: “Be prepared. Write down possible topics to talk about in advance. Sports, the weather, etc. Remember, a conversation is basically a series of Facebook updates strung together.”

P.S. Don’t ever lose your sense of humor no matter how stressful the situation

Chasing Madoff Trailer

I’m about half-way through Harry Markopolos’ book “No One Would Listen” chronicaling his ~10-year ordeal to get the SEC and investors around the globe to catch on to Bernie Madoff’s infamous ponzi scheme, so far, so good.  For those of you who prefer to watch things on the silver (or whatever) screen, there’s “Chasing Madoff,” the official trailer for which is posted below for your viewing pleasure.

 

A rare Mea Culpa: Rating downgrades and MBS

I, being honest and forthright, have to issue a correction. I was wrong. Agency MBS pring was not affected by Standard and Poors Rating Agency downgrade of the United States sovereign debt from AAA to AA+. A few days later, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, wards of the state and responsible for financing (but not originating) over 95% the mortgages in the US, got downgraded and the market continued on as usual.

Well usual for incredible volatility and a bear flatner. More on that later.

I had made the erroneous assumption that with the downgrade many funds would be forced to dump Agency debt & MBS as it would no longer count as capital. I believed ERISA & Pension funds would be forced to dump the non-AAA securities. Regulators, when properly motivated, can make changes very very quickly (especially when the law is on their side.). Shortly after the announcement, all US financial regulators sent out immediate “guidance” that US and US backed debt and securities can be counted for capital purposes no matter what the rating.

So with no forced dumping of bonds and S&P losing any chance of investor acceptance of their credibilities or models, TBA traded as it normally does in a Treasury market with high volatility, it widened on a OAS basis to Treasuries. IOs cheapened as lower rates raise the likelihood of mortgage refinancing.

So lesson learned kiddies, the government (and non-government agencies like SIFMA & FASB) will bend over backward to make sure the US economic cradle isn’t rocked too much. What’s that sound I hear coming to port? Oh yes the newest Federal Reserve Oceanliner the QE3!

Trina Solar (Potential) Fraud Investigation Update: Definitely, Maybe…

John Hempton at Bronte Capital has a nice, detailed piece up earlier today on the Trina Solar potential fraud.  It is not short, but if you consider yourself even an aspiring fundamental investor you should read it in its entirety before continuing, if for no other reason than if you do not, you’ll likely be completely and utterly lost reading further.

As I mentioned in my previous post announcing my investigation into the company as a potential fraud, there were a number of orange/red flags for anyone willing to look for them.  Now, having taken some time to do so, I’d like to share what I’ve found.

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