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Links for a Friday

Notable news and readings on variety of subjects. We've got credit and derivatives, thoughts on value investing, pop culture & history, and more. Peruse away!

FT's Gillian Tett on turmoil in the credit markets and the rising cost of insuring against default in US subprime mortgages. See also: Saskia Scholtes' commentary on the ABX index and its reflection of credit risk in the subprime bond market.

The question of whether or not Ecuador would default on its debt payment was answered on Wednesday when the country's economic minister said the payments would be approved. That decision surprised many in the market, causing "sharp movements" in prices as "hedge funds and speculative accounts" made up most of the activity in that market. The most dramatic moves were seen in the credit default swaps (CDS) market, according to FT.com.

Property derivatives market gets a major boost in the form of price transparency, as CB Richard Ellis-GFI launches a new online price tracking service for these formerly opaque instruments. See David Oakley's, "Tracking property derivatives prices".

From the LewRockwell.com blog: Daniel McArthy examines the dumbing down and mischaracterization of a historical period in the HBO series, "Rome".

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out. Paul Kedrosky of the Infectious Greed blog has posted this interesting video of scientist Richard Feynman talking a bit about his work and his philosophy towards life, observation, and learning.

Michael Steinhardt is bearish on US stocks. The former star hedge-fund manager (who, interestingly, now serves as chairman of an asset management that offers exchange-traded funds) is also wary of "leveraged investments", such as commodities and real-estate. Thanks to The Kirk Report for highlighting this Bloomberg article.

ControlledGreed.com highlights the career of Canadian value investor Frank Chou, whose flagship fund has achieved compounded returns of around 16% a year for 24 years, according to a 2006 profile in MoneySense magazine. The most recent news: that Chou is not finding many bargains in this market.

A Q&A on value investing and personal growth with famed investor, Warren Buffet. Thanks to Barry at The Big Picture for this link.

And for those who missed it a couple of days ago, BusinessWeek's 1987 profile of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, "The Billion Dollar Whiz Kid".

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With all the recent talk of a new bubble in the making, thanks in part to the Yellen Fed's continued easy money stance, I thought it'd be instructive to revisit our previous stock market bubble - in one quick chart.

So here's what a real stock market bubble looks like. 

Here's what a bubble *really* looks like. InfoSpace in 1999-2001. $QQQ$BCORpic.twitter.com/xjsMk433H7
— David Shvartsman (@FinanceTrends) February 24, 2015
For those of you who are a little too young to recall it, this is a chart of InfoSpace at the height of the Nasdaq dot-com bubble in 1999-2001. This fallen angel soared to fantastic heights only to plummet back down to earth as the bubble, and InfoSpace's shady business plan, turned to rubble.

As detailed in our post, "Round trip stocks: Momentum booms and busts", InfoSpace rocketed from under $100 a share to over $1,300 a share in less than six months. 

In a pattern common to many parabolic shooting stars, the stock soon peaked and began a…

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Moneyball: How the Red Sox Win Championships

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The Boston Red Sox won their fourth World Series titleof the 21st century this week.

Having won their first Series in 86 years back in 2004, the last decade-plus has marked a very strong return to form for one of baseball's oldest big league clubs. So how did they do it?

Quick background: in late 2002, team owner and hedge fund manager,John W. Henry(with his partners)bought the Boston Red Sox and its historic Fenway Park for a reported sum of $695 million.

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