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Best of the Blogs: With the New York Fed Out, When Will the Treasury Department Sell Its AIG Stake?


Plus, is the housing sector really recovering?

This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary from around the Web each day.

The New York Times: DealBook
Link: New York Fed Sells Off Last A.I.G.-Related Holdings

"The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said on Thursday that it had wound down the final remnant of its rescue of the American International Group (AIG), generating a multibillion-dollar profit in the process.

"The New York Fed said that it has sold the remaining securities held in Maiden Lane III, one of two financial entities created to house the most financially shaky parts of A.I.G.'s portfolio. Over all, it generated a $6.6 billion gain from the unwinding of the portfolio."

Link: Spot The Housing Bottom: New Homes For Sale Drop To Lowest Ever; Average New Home Price Plunges To 2012 Lows

"Looking at the headline number in the just released New Home Sales data one would be left with the impression that the tepid 'recovery' in housing may be chugging along: after all with a seasonally adjusted annualized 372,000 new homes sold in July, this was an improvement to the revised 359K in June (ignoring that the US housing market at best continues to drag along the bottom). This impression, however, promptly changes when one looks at the underlying data. The reality: the actual number of new homes sold in July was 34,000, the same as in June, and the lowest since March."

CNNMoney: Term Sheet
Link: Best Buy Shareholders Caught in the Crossfire

"Best Buy (BBY) shareholders must be feeling like children in the middle of a bitter custody battle. They keep hearing how both parents are looking out for their best interests but, in their heart, they know that each side just wants to keep the shiniest toy.

"On one side is Best Buy founder and former chairman Dick Schulze, who wants to buy back the company. He thinks current management is destroying value, which offends both Schulze's legacy and his bank account (he owns more than 1.7 million shares of Best Buy stock).

"[...] On the other side is Best Buy's board of directors, an entrenched bunch that seems to believes Schulze was part of the company's past problems. Not just in terms of hiring and then trying to protect Dunn, but also in terms of broader strategic planning. Now that a perceived fly has been plucked from the ointment, Best Buy's board wants to prove itself capable of turning things around."

The Wall Street Journal: Deal Journal
Link: Regions Financial Getting M&A Machine Tuned Up

"Regions Financial (RF), freshly free of TARP, could be ready to go shopping.

"That, at least, is the takeaway the analysts at KBW (KBW) got from their meeting Region management.

"'RF will soon be back in the M&A game and could look to acquire banks, asset generators (i.e., non-banks) and sees opportunities in mortgage servicing as well,' the analysts wrote."

Financial Times: BeyondBRICS
Link: Fitch and Turkey: Moving Towards Investment Grade?

"Turkey has just received quite a meaningful pat on the back.

"Fitch Ratings declared on Thursday that the Turkish economy is on track to stage a soft landing, hailed the country's 'remarkable' boom in exports to the Middle East and signalled that Ankara could soon get something it fervently wants: investment grade status.

"It certainly marks a change from previous recent tussles between the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the big ratings agencies, which at one point led the Turkish prime minister to declare that Turkey could set up an agency of its own."

The Atlantic
Link: The Middle Class Blames Everyone But the Middle Class for Our Economy

"After a pretty lousy decade, middle-class Americans are ready to blame just about everyone for the economic troubles they've faced -- except, it seems, themselves.

"The Pew Research Center is out with a new report that chronicles the financial woes middle-income families have experienced over the past ten years while exploring their thoughts on politics and the economy. When asked how much they blamed various institutions for their difficulties, self-described middle classers were happy to point the finger at Congress (and really, who can blame them), the banks, corporations, and the last few presidencies. They were much less likely to take personal responsibility."

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
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