Friday, March 11, 2011

"Japan Quake: Economic Toll ‘Unknown and Unknowable’"Reinsurance Shares Tumble in Wake of Japanese Quake

There may be 90,000 people missing in the aftermath of the quake and tsunami, the market stuff seems a bit tawdry when confronted with that reality.

A lot of the econ/finance/investing sites say they "want to express their condolences..." and then whip off into whatever point they were going to make. Do they do that for themselves? As every B-grade ethicist wannabe asks, is any action truly altruistic?

I'm the wrong person to answer such deep questions, and Mother Teresa's dead so here's MarketBeat:
[worst segue ever -ed]
High Frequency Economics’ econ wonk Carl Weinberg is out with a note that cheers the heart of someone who regularly reads the speculative scribblings of market watchers. Why? In the note, sent with a title line of “Economic Toll Is Unknown And Unknowable,” Mr. Weinberg tells the truth. He writes:
Anyone who tells you they have a handle on the economic consequences of this event is wrong. There’s no way to assess even the direct damage to Japan’s economy, or to the global economy, that this will cause.
I saw someone, Jefferies maybe, who put the insured losses at $10 Billion, what a ridiculous waste of electrons.*
Also from MarketBeat:
Reinsurance stocks are taking the brunt of selling early today in the wake of the big Japanese earthquake. Our cousins at MarketWatch have a good rundown on the European reinsurance stocks selling off, such as Swiss Re, Munich Re, Hannover Re and Scor Re.

In the U.S., ACE is down 1.2%, Everest Re is off 4.2%, Transatlantic Holdings is down 4%, Flagstone Reinsurance is down 8.5% and XL Group is off 1.7%. Berkshire Hathaway, which has a big reinsurance business among its many parts, is trading off about 1%....MORE
*Mother Teresa was probably talking to me when she said:
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."