A Groat for Your Thoughts

 | Aug 30, 2011 | 8:00 AM EDT  | Comments
  • Comment
  • Print Print
  • Print

Banks are dominating the chatter in Europe Tuesday, especially in London, where the mutual admiration society was in full swing.

Big banks pushed the FTSE-100 up more than 2% in midday trading, as Deutsche Bank said it now loves government-owned RBS and still loves Barclays. Take a moment and breathe in the nostalgic air, where upgrades and downgrades really seemed to matter every morning.

But the International Accounting Standards board is less jubilant, raising the tiny detail that none of Europe's banks seem to know how much their Greek paper is worth. It calls out BNP Paribas and CNP Assurances for their mark-to-model approach, where they argue that the absence of liquidity allows them to come up with their own algorithm. Jeff Skilling is probably gearing up the lawsuit for them ripping off his Hypothetical Future-Value Accounting model.

Looking to the economy, S&P says Europe will still avoid a double dip, but the risk of that dip has increased.

And now we come to what should (but won't) be the main debate about the European markets: What should we call a new currency?

A column in the FT argues that Germany, Austria, Finland and the Netherlands should exit the euro and start their monetary union.

Austria, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands (would) leave the eurozone and create a new currency leaving the euro where it is. If planned and executed carefully, it could do the trick: a lower valued euro would improve the competitiveness of the remaining countries and stimulate their growth. In contrast, exports out of the "northern" countries would be affected but they would have lower inflation.

It's a reasonable argument except for the fact that it would take so long to name, and the writer already argues it can't be the D-Mark.

Always one to try and cut through bureaucracy, here's a head start.

Initially an acronym seems appealing, but the best one (The F.A.N.G) only works if those countries change their national language to English.

A historical move could be to bring back the gold ducat. This would also capitalize on the current "back to the gold standard" enthusiasm, but, as the Toronto Raptors know, it's tough to get stuck with something that was trendy for just a summer.

I'm hoping for a more pragmatic and fiscally prudent move of letting a company sponsor and produce the notes. If you want to go big, let Google produce them with random pictures of the countries from Google Earth on the back (starting a whole fiat money secondary market as people try and collect their own house). Or revisit the 90s with the new round of tech IPOs and let Spotify offer a host of denominations you can share, with our without ads.

My vote goes to the banks, though. It gives them a franchise and another bailout all at once. If RBS can still produce Scottish bank notes, there's no reason German bad banks can't start the bailout-buck presses rolling.

Any other ideas? E-mail or comment and we'll tally up a list of the best.

BEST IDEAS

REAL MONEY'S BEST IDEAS

Columnist Tweets

BROKERAGE PARTNERS

Except as otherwise indicated, quotes are delayed. Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes for all exchanges. Market Data provided by Interactive Data. Company fundamental data provided by Morningstar. Earnings and ratings provided by Zacks. Mutual fund data provided by Valueline. ETF data provided by Lipper. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions.


TheStreet Ratings updates stock ratings daily. However, if no rating change occurs, the data on this page does not update. The data does update after 90 days if no rating change occurs within that time period.

IDC calculates the Market Cap for the basic symbol to include common shares only. Year-to-date mutual fund returns are calculated on a monthly basis by Value Line and posted mid-month.