Friday, September 23, 2005

Government buying?

Who would be foolish enough to buy up the shares
and debt of struggling Delta Air Lines and
Northwest Airlines? Some of the smartest
investors on Wall Street, that's who.

In recent months, hedge funds including Ziff
Brothers Investments LLC and Kingdon Capital
Management LLC, as well as money managers like
Charles Schwab Corp.'s U.S. Trust Corp.,
Wellington Management Co. and Deutsche Bank AG
all piled into shares of the airlines, according
to regulatory filings. And in recent days, a rush
of hedge funds bought up Northwest's debt,
betting that the airline would avert a bankruptcy

Bad call. Northwest and Delta both made
voluntary Chapter 11 filings Wednesday. Delta's
shares, which hit $4 in June, closed Friday at 85
cents in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Northwest closed Friday at 90 cents a share on
the Nasdaq Stock Market, after trading above $6
in June.

Smart investors?

Are there any?

I'd bet that was done by a government-operated fund
--using other people's money, of course--in an
attempt to prop up two failing businesses.