1. Felix Salmon (www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/market-movers/): A British expat, Salmon writes the Market Movers column for Portfolio magazine’s website. Over the past year, he has become one of the most consistent sources of instant insight into whatever Wall Street is up to now. He’s funny, he asks the questions that the newspapers often miss, and he’s not afraid to sink his fangs into people who start spouting nonsense. “Idiotic idea of the day” was the title of one of his recent postings.
2. Barry Ritholtz (bigpicture.typepad.com): It’s tough not to like this street-smart New Yawker and his passion for cartoons, pop music and economic data. But Ritholtz is more than just a pretty persona. He has also been consistently right about what will happen next in this unfolding financial crisis. Visit his website for links to important articles and video clips, as well as his own thoughts about what it all means.
3. Warren Buffett We always find that when we’re feeling panicky about the state of the economy, nothing calms us down faster than visiting www.berkshirehathaway.com and reading some of Warren Buffett’s past letters to his shareholders. Whether he’s writing from amid the inflationary craziness of 1980 or from the gloomy aftermath of 9/11, Buffett remains quietly cocky that buying good companies at the right price will pay off. If you want to know more about the great man, pick up Snowball, the new Buffett biography by Alice Schroeder ($39.95, Bantam Books). Ticking in at over 900 pages, it covers Buffett’s life in loving detail. Schroeder makes the point that the billionaire investor has endured several setbacks — but by insisting on a margin of safety, he has always come out fine in the end. There’s a lesson there for all of us.
4. Mark Thoma (www.economistsview.typepad.com): Thoma, a professor of economics at the University of Oregon, appears to never sleep. Judging from his website, he’s always scanning the web for interesting new articles on economics and finance. His site gives you instant access to all the best current thinking on the financial crisis. Don’t miss the comments, either — reading them is like eavesdropping on a university seminar about the state of the economy.
5. Tanta and CR (calculatedrisk.blogspot.com): These two former financial executives would prefer to remain anonymous, thank you, but their Calculated Risk blog has become a can’t-miss location for those who want to keep tabs on the collapse of the U.S. real estate market and all the creeping nastiness associated with it. You’ll find a fine compendium of the latest news on their site, as well as an insider’s perspective on what it all means.