Among the very best things about Pimm Fox's "Taking Stock" show on Bloomberg TV (and radio) are the fairly frequent appearances of investor Michael Harkins.
Fox repeatedly reminds the audience that none other than Jim Grant says that Harkins is the smartest person on Wall Street (or words to that effect). I'll add that listening to him has the added pleasures of someone with true wit and wisdom.
You can get an idea of what I'm talking about reading the Levy Harkins Q3 letter, recently posted on the firm's website:
European banking woes dominated every asset class in the third quarter, sending everything associated with “risk” sharply lower, and cash, German bunds, and American bonds sharply higher. We wrote in our last letter that the expression “Greek bailout” was the misnomer of the decade. The Greek people face austerity and privation for a very long time. The bailout cash is going to French and Belgian bankers, circuitously to be sure, but the Greeks will touch the money for mere seconds. How to pull off this shell game, where the French guarantee debts without the markets noticing France is already overstretched, is the conundrum. Every 10 days or so we have another meeting, where Frau Merkel and M. Sarkozy resemble nothing so much as two inebriates trying to hold up a lamppost. Confidence has been badly dented, and we should have seen this more clearly 3 months ago. Meanwhile, the continent continues casting about for a French Jimmy Stewart to restore calm. Good luck with that.
In the mood for more? Read the entire thing.