Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Links of the day

Subprime Mortgage Mess: Get Ready For the Option ARMs Sequel..."Without getting deep into it, take a look at the financial statements of Countrywide, Washington Mutual (WM) and a host of companies that do option arms. (These are the loans that let you pay little to no interest or all of the interest.) See how many of those being held for investment are already negatively amortized. (Hint: High percentage.)

Once these things get to 110% to 120% of the principal, they will be forced to do a recast, or refinance. These recasts will be forced on homeowners who were likely paying the bear minimum, many with less than 20% down. Now they'll be forced to ante up considerably more money in cash and/or refinance at sharply higher rates than they were paying. If they couldn't afford the loan before, what makes you think they can afford it now?"...agreed...

Is Globalization Driving Accenture's Consultant Hiring Frenzy?..."
Accenture, the giant consultant firm, says it wants to double its ranks of 13,000 "management consultant professionals." Meanwhile, Accenture said it wants to add all those consultants in the next three years."...what this means is companies that hire Accenture are going to have a lot of rookies hanging around their facilities looking for projects to pitch...this is good news for Ivy League MBA students...

The Yen and Monetary Liquidity...from the Ludwig von Mises Institute...makes a couple of worthwhile points:

-"Since Japan doesn't print US dollars, it cannot determine the overall supply of dollars. Japan also, cannot alter the overall demand for dollars. From this we can infer that the increase in Japanese liquidity cannot have much effect on the American liquidity, all other things being equal. Consequently, Japan cannot have much say with regard to monetary liquidity of the United States or any other country."

-"as long as the pool of real funding available to Americans is still growing, and as long as the growth momentum of liquidity is heading up, US financial markets will remain well supported regardless of the yen carry trade"...

When Form Follows Function: China's Property Pangs...TCS Daily tells us that "The People's Republic of China late last week gave private property equal legal status to state property"...that is a huge step...as author Philip Levy says, "Proclaiming an individuals' right to private property at least offers the hope that some day they will be able to enforce that right"...

Brontes Technologies...the product description from their website reads "
Brontes will change the way dentists treat their patients by enabling practitioners to perform ImpressionFreeTM dentistry. Brontes’ 3D intraoral imaging technology can quickly and painlessly scan both arches of the mouth, thereby replacing the antiquated dental impression process.

Over 50 million dental impressions are performed in the U.S. each year for the production of almost all dental prosthetics and appliances, including crowns, bridges, implants, braces, aligners and retainers. The average dentist takes several impressions each day in spite of the costly, time consuming, inconsistent, and unpleasant process.

Digital tools for production have been available to the dental industry for many years, but all of these tools start with the same problematic physical input – the dental impression. Brontes will enable a long overdue digital revolution by taking 3D digital data directly from the patient’s mouth and removing the barriers to digital production. The Brontes 3D product will offer the following benefits:

  • Patients - Higher quality of care – quick, painless and "goop" free
  • Dentists - Significant time and cost savings
  • Laboratories - Consistently accurate models to simplify production"
I think this is a great thing; personally I hate having the goop in my mouth. The question is whether they are pricing this product so that dentists charge a premium for a goop-less impression or not. I imagine most folks would pay a few extra dollars for this; would dental insurers do the same?

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