Daily Reading – Thursday, July 7, 2011

FT Alphaville: Default as a state of normalcy

As one senior banker has pointed out to FT Alphaville, it’s very rare for a country to simply grow its way out of excessive debt. Far more common, historically, is a restructuring or straight-out default.

FT Alphaville: Trichet on rating requirement for Portugal: whatever, don’t worry about it

The man really likes to keep people guessing. That’s the nicest way we can phrase what we want to say, anyway…

FT Alphaville: All going to plan. Argentina’s plan that is

The thing is, FT Alphaville has long pointed to the similarities between Argentina and Greece, mostly as a broad warning of the consequences of inaction. What we never expected was to see Europe following the script so blindly, so completely.

FT Alphaville: Germany isn’t about exports anymore

The German Economy Ministry announced on Wednesday that manufacturing orders rose 1.8 per cent in May –  which was an unexpectedly large rise, given that analysts were looking for a fall of 0.5 per cent.

But that’s not really what was interesting. It’s the fact that the rise was driven mainly by domestic German orders rather than export orders.

The Financial Times (subscription required): Sweden eyes Chinese lessons in schools

Sweden could become the first country in Europe to offer Chinese lessons to all schoolchildren under plans floated by the Swedish education minister.

Jan Björklund said giving future generations access to Chinese language tuition was crucial to national competitiveness.

FT BeyondBRICs: Afghan iron ore: the Indian connection

India is well-versed in resource diplomacy. Just a day after the Pentagon published projections for Afghanistan’s mineral fortune last year, New Delhi called itself Kabul’s ‘natural ally’ and set up ministerial meetings. Now, less than a year later, the short-list of contenders for what Afghanistan says is the world’s biggest iron ore deposit in Hajigak are all (15) Indian.

The Big Picture: Insider Buying? Headlines vs S&P 500 Index

Last week, I mentioned the Insider Buying Ratio was at extreme levels — but I had to admit I had no idea what that meant for future market performance.

The Slope Of Hope: POTW: Internet Abbreviations

As I am inclined to mention from time to time, I’ve been online a very long time. I got my first modem in 1981 and have never really been offline since then. Just to drive the point to the obnoxious level, I wrote my first book – when I was all of 16 years old – about how computer communications would change the world (it was called, appropriately, The World Connection).

Given this background, I feel I have some say-so in the following matter: I cannot stand how people use initials and acronyms as a shorthand of sorts on the Internet in a desperate attempt to look cool. You know what I’m talking about – stuff like LOL, IMHO, ROFL, and so forth. Even as a youngster, I thought such things were ridiculous, but now – decades later – I find them strangle-worthy.

Calculated Risk: Goldman’s Hatzius forecasts 125,000 payroll jobs added in June

“The June report, he said, will “provide a correction to that picture,” although he said adding 125,000 jobs is “still not particularly strong.”

The Wall Street Journal: Hedge Funds Lagged S&P 500 In June

June was an ugly month for hedge funds, who apparently failed to hedge much of anything. Investors would have been better off just buying the S&P 500.

The Wall Street Journal: Latest Twist in the Bonds, Drugs and Porn Litigation

Trust us, this is one of the weirdest employer-employee lawsuits you’ll ever see.

The Telegraph: Monkey steals camera to snap himself

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