Thursday, May 22, 2008

Investment advice you can figure out for yourself

The Lansing area UAW just finished a month-long local strike here in the economically worst performing state in the Union. American Axle workers in Hamtramck are voting on whether to end an 87 day strike. The UAW is also just coming off a strike in Kansas.

In the mid 60s I worked on the line at the GM Fisher Body plant in Lansing, building Oldsmobile F-85, 88 and 98 chassis on two different assembly lines. When our chassis rolled off the end of the line they were transported to a different plant by truck to be mated with the drive-train and frame. The engines were built in a third facility. Times have changed, more so where the UAW does not hold sway.

This: Ford's most advanced assembly plant operates in rural Brazil, is a good example of why Michigan needs a right to work law. It's also a good example of why manufacturing is a dead-end in Michigan otherwise.

And it doesn't matter if it is manufacturing windmills, Jennifer.

In non-manufacturing news:
ZURICH, Switzerland: Swiss bank UBS AG said Wednesday it has sold subprime and other mortgage-based securities with a nominal value of US$22 billion for US$15 billion (€9.5 billion) to a newly created investment fund run by U.S. asset manager BlackRock Inc.

The sale is part of an attempt by Switzerland's largest bank to offload risky positions that contributed to its massive writedowns of US$37.4 billion over the past nine months.

The securities had a nominal value of about US$22 billion (€14 billion), but have been listed with a book value of US$15 billion since March, UBS said. Investors have shunned mortgage-backed securities over fears too many of the mortgages were made to people with shaky credit who may eventually default.

The fund received a US$11.25 billion (€7.14 billion) loan from UBS to buy the assets.
We have a short, clear analysis of this transaction from an anonymous tipster:
The mortgage industry's lunacy at its finest.

UBS loans billions to a hedge fund so the hedge fund can in turn, buy crap loans owned by who else, but UBS!! Oh, and the purchaser is 49% owned BY Merrill Lynch, a fierce, cut-throat competitor of UBS.
Tip of the Hat for both stories.

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