Icahn: CEOs are like fraternity presidents

That’s the byline of an interesting 60 Minutes piece on ‘corporate raider’ Carl Icahn (who was mentioned here before in relation to an attempted takeover of Marvel Comics). Regardless of whatever else you may think of his practices, his commentary on CEO pay in this country is spot on. It’s particularly disturbing when they try to defend their pay in light of massive, unprecedented corporate losses (in this case at Washington Mutual).

The one-year charts of various financial and mortgage stocks are pretty crazy right now. Citibank has been piledrivered to the tune of almost 65%. Countrywide Financial tanked almost 90%, which really makes me wish that I had found some way to short their stock — they have long been ridiculed as one of the worst offenders in the “subprime mortgage crisis” (even though the problems are far more wide-ranging than that). Impac Mortgage Holdings, a local stock headquartered in “highly desirable” Irvine, CA, is entering pink-sheet territory as it trades at a robust $0.90. While that is a step up from its 52 week low of $0.20, I don’t think it’s any consolation to anyone who had the misfortune of buying at the 52 week high of $6.75 and is currently eating an 85% loss. The twin juggernauts of government-sponsored entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are both down over 70% from their 52 week highs. Bank of America and JP Morgan look good in comparison, down only about 30% from their 52 week highs.

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