Best Business Commentary
November 13, 2007
Rip off the subprime Band-Aid
“This ‘Keystone CFO’ routine has got to stop,” says David Weidner in MarketWatch. The “slow drip” of financial institutions reporting write-downs or exposure to subprime mortgages—yesterday it was E-Trade—is just prolonging the “torture.” It’s time for “an honest, conservative accounting of where these big institutions stand.” If a firm can’t accurately value its assets, it should write them down in “a one-time event.” But there are finally some signs that Wall Street is owning up to its “dire straits.” Like the $100 billion SIV bailout fund: while “more a Band-Aid than major surgery,” it’s at least an acknowledgment that banks “need to help themselves” out of this mess.
What to do with a recalled toy
“Toys are flying off the shelves this holiday season, but it’s not because shoppers are grabbing them up,” says Kelli B. Grant in SmartMoney.com. So what do you do if a toy you bought could be one of the 20 million Chinese-made toys pulled in 60 separate recalls this year? First, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Web database to see if the toy is on the list, and if so, what the negotiated terms of the recall are. “Reputable manufacturers” cover all recall costs. Still, it is easier to deal with the store where you bought the toy than with the manufacturer. And if you get offered a replacement, “take a pass” and ask for a refund.
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