Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow May 12, 2009

The stock market is kind of eh, so far this morning, after yesterday’s big sell-off. The question people are asking is — has this been a sucker’s rally? Andy Kessler at the WSJ points out — “You can have a jobless recovery, but you can’t have a profitless recovery.” Analysts in Britain are asking the same questions. Plenty of other good material this morning:

Business should be more like the NFL (Financial Times)
A stock price in business is the moral equivalent of a point spread in football betting. However, NFL players are strictly forbidden from betting on any game, including their own; their incentives are based on how they do on the field. In stark contrast, business executives are encouraged, if not required, to play in the expectations market.

How the government manufactured economic problems to justify its solutions (Forbes)
“If fire trucks came roaring up to your house, and the firemen started spraying water, breaking out windows and chopping holes in the roof, one would think the house was on fire. But it doesn’t have to be. Activity alone is not proof. Just because the government has gone nuclear does not mean that it was necessary.”

The Real Problem with Credit Cards: The Cardholders (Time)
There are piles of evidence that people are bad decision-makers when it comes to how they use credit cards. Even when presented with full and fair information, they often make decisions not in their own economic best interest — a reality only partly taken into account by the new rules and pending legislation.

Banks hope that Twitter will save them (Clusterstock)
USA Today reports that Wells Fargo and Bank of America have begun to “tweet” with customers about bank fees and product features. Which sounds a lot like they are spamming their customers. Discover Financial, American Express and Citigroup are on Facebook or MySpace. As of this morning, Citigroup’s group (that’s awkward) has around 4,200 members.

Cash-Strapped Indy 500 To Charge Dollar-A-Lap Toll (The Onion)
“We have begun construction of tollbooths across the track that will allow drivers to stop and pay their tolls four-wide,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony Hulman George said. “The outside booths off the racing line will be the dollar booths, accepting cash only, and the ones down low where the track is faster will be an extra quarter, which will add an exciting element of strategy to the race as well as generating cash we could really use at this point.”

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