Ip got everything but a PowerPoint presentation from Greenspan in the former banker’s self-defense, including copies of speeches and even a deathbed letter, but this stain won’t out.
Vegas shell game
In other Greenspan news, Bloomberg quotes him saying that the housing prices will stop falling by the end of this year, and that most of the housing market’s surplus inventory will be cleared out by early 2009.
This Los Angeles Times story about the glut of million-dollar homes in Las Vegas, makes that seem unlikely, at least in Sin City. It says more than 1,000 such houses are on the market, and many of them are already dated despite being built in the last four years. The LAT notes that more than half of all homes for sale are vacant.
In most of the country, prized neighborhoods become even more desirable over time (think Beverly Hills or Greenwich, Conn.). But Las Vegas isn’t about stately trees, old lawns and older money, said Gene Moehring, chairman of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, history department and a specialist in urban history.
“In Vegas, new is the most important thing,” Moehring said.
And building homes is relatively easy in a city surrounded by desert land available for development, so there’s always room to build a newer, more-opulent golf course community across town from the last hot spot (concern about the region’s water resources has yet to stem the building boom).
Really? There’s still a building boom in Vegas? That doesn’t sound right to us with home sales off more than half and prices down nearly a fifth.
Is CBS about to vacate the journalism biz?
The NYT scoops on C1 that CBS is in talks with CNN to outsource a good deal of its journalistic functions to the cable network, something the paper says would “mark a watershed in broadcast history.” While the Times repeatedly hedges that no deal is imminent, it’s still remarkable that such discussions are even happening.
A good quote from Uncle Walter Cronkite would have been a nice touch here.
Alcoa can’t wait for an uptick in sales
In economic news, aluminum-producer and economic bellwether Alcoa reported sharply lower profits on a 7 percent decline in sales, despite soaring prices for metals.
Consumers slowed their roll in the borrowing department last quarter. Loans rose 2.4 percent in February compared to a 4.9 percent increase in the previous month. Delinquencies are at their highest in about sixteen years, credit-card lenders are tightening standards, and home-equity borrowing has fallen.
Bush is asking Congress to let the cash-drop tax stimulus play out before trying something new, but stopped short of saying “no” to another bill. He also said “Anything they do should not hurt the economy” and “fuel is hurting people.”
The layoff news continues, this time with chipmaker AMD saying it will slash 1,650 jobs—about one in ten workers—as its business goes into the tank because of the weak economy and competition from Intel.