Credit Crisis Crunch: 21/03/2009

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The Independent Online

Don't even think about enjoying your day off

Here's a cheery story in case you were feeling optimistic now the weekend is here. Morgan Stanley is clearly concerned everyone's been getting ahead of themselves in feeling a tiny bit of hope now there is the odd sign of improvement in the housing market and the stock market has stopped plunging. Its UK equity strategist, Graham Secker, has published a report entitled Green Shoots Are Probably Weeds. Thanks, Graham.

Time for a clear-out at Barclays

Those executives you can see working through the night at Barclays (right) aren't doing high-powered deals at all: they're rooting through the cupboards. Lehman Brothers Holdings has persuaded the bank to return to it thousands of corporate goodies – from stress balls to umbrellas to the odd Tiffany paperweight – so that it can flog the stuff. Lehman hopes the proceeds will go a little way towards repaying the $200bn or so in liabilities still outstanding from its bankruptcy. They've certainly got high expectations of eBay.

Only love will get us through

Many congratulations to Subodh Agrawal and his wife who are about to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. But can it possibly be true, as Mr Agrawal, the managing director of Euromax Capital, claimed yesterday, that "the key to beating the recession is a strong healthy marriage"? He reckons all the skills he's acquired during his marriage years are the ones that will now save his company from a downturn.

Still shooting the messenger

To the Retail Week awards, where retailers are getting a little tired of journalists running down their performances. The somewhat worse-for-wear chief executive who addressed a table of hacks as "the scum" is no doubt wondering, in the cold light of day, which shop's trading prospects will next be trashed in the press.

The pages have to be filled with something

Still on Retail Week, what's happened to the campaign it began recently to champion the sector, in reaction to the gloomy treatment retailers were getting? Since it promised to report on positive news about the sector, the magazine's front cover has been adorned weekly by desperate tales of retailers in trouble. Could it be that positive news is hard to find these days?