Monday, September 27, 2010

Cost Arbitrage Hitting Wall Street In Spite of Continuous Backdoor Bailouts

Wall Street's cannibalization of the real economy is coming home to roost.  As reported on Fox Business (and posted up by Zero Hedge here), Morgan Stanley and other Wall Street firms are freezing hiring and may soon move to cutting jobs, something I don't think it has done since 2008 when the financial crisis was in full bloom.

Wall Street firms, like all publicly traded companies, must show perpetually growing profits from quarter to quarter.  That's the rule they invented, and they have to follow it, too.

Faced with fewer real people trading the secondary markets (it seems to be mostly Wall Street computers pushing prices around these days) and a reduction in borrowing in every private sector, the only way for the Wall Street firms to increase the appearance of profitability is to cut costs, and the easiest way to do that is to lay people off.  (Apparently, the mini flash crashes Wall Street computers seem to be creating weekly, along with other forms of cheating, simply aren't lucrative enough to avoid layoffs.)

And thus Wall Street continues to add to its own demise along with the demise of the U.S. economy.