Business Diary: Pimco's rather gross analogy

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The Independent Online

As boss of Pimco – the world's largest investor in bonds – what Bill Gross says matters, so there is no shortage of listeners.

Still, it certainly helps that he has an arresting turn of phrase.

Take his latest internet posting on the soaring deficit in the United States, which he describes as "mindless spending".

Gross complains that – like praying mantises – American policymakers are "munching on the theoretical heads of future generations, while paying no mind to the wretches that will eventually be called upon to pay the bills." That's telling them.

Madoff wrecked my divorce

The Bernie Madoff-related legal wrangles continue, this time with a curious twist. Steven Simkin, a wealthy New York lawyer, has just won permission from the courts to sue hisformer wife for part of thesettlement he agreed with her when they divorced four years ago. That deal saw him hand over $2.7m (£1.7m), an award based on the notional value of his investment with Madoff's investment scheme. As we all know now, that turned out to be a slight exaggeration of what the holding was actually worth.

Taxman's work is never done

It's official: Christmas wasn't as good fun this time around as last year. How do we know? Well, HM Revenue & Customs has revealed that no fewer than 845 people filed their tax returns on Christmas Day, while a further 2,408 completed the forms on Boxing Day. That's a 36 per cent increase on the festive season of the previous year. Proof, if nothing else, that Christmas telly is steadily getting less watchable (or that Britons will find any excuse not to spend too much time with each other).

Toasting a fine investment

And you thought the stockmarket was doing well. The value of fine wine was up by 40 per cent last year, according to the Liv-ex 100 index, a benchmark of the value of top vintages at auctions and is expected to rise by a further 20 per cent over 2011. Like almost everything else financial these days, the story is all about China, with wealthy individuals increasingly taking an interest in the fine wine sector and paying top dollar for the top names.