Credit crisis diary: 20/12/2008

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The Independent Online

A strange time to pull out of publishing

Media groups are no more immune to the economic downturn than any other business and cuts must be made. Still, it seems an odd moment for the chaps at Incisive Media to be closing down The Financial Regulator, a magazine that for 12 years has been covering the topic of international financial regulation. Surely this is one of very few industries set for a growth spurt in 2009.

Dragon breathes fire on UK housing market

Is it finally time to call the bottomof Britain's housing market plunge? James Caan, right, the Dragon's Denjudge, seems to think so – he'sbought a 25 per cent stake in, an onlineproperty company. So confident is he about the prospects for recovery,he is even becoming chairman.We know risk-taking is part of the entrepreneurial skill-set, James, but this really is a brave call.

Every cloud hasa silver lining

The Bernie Madoff affair is widely seen as another nail in the coffin of the hedge fund industry, which has had a truly awful year even without the biggest fraud of all time.

Still, not everyone's doing badly –a clever little outfit calledEpitome Global Serviceshas launched a "hedge fundrehabilitation platform", whichcan apparently help hedgefunds through the bad time.Should be no shortage of clients.

Property price crash draws spectators

Epitome isn't the only business reaping the benefits of the crunch. The website reports that its traffic is up by43 per cent compared withlast year, while there has beena 14 per cent fall in visits toproperty-related sites as a whole. Proof, if it were needed, that bad news sells.

Play money avoids a painful lesson

The financial education charity IFS is very proud of the fact that it has persuaded 40,000 teenagers to learn more about the stock market by signing up for a share-picking competition. Just be thankful that the £100,000 the teenagers have been given to invest is a fantasy float – otherwise, the lesson might have been painful, rather than informative.