General Electric (GE) is expected to continue its de-conglomeratization process with the auction of its plastics division.

A whiff of desperation in the air as Microsoft (MSFT) announces a deal for aQuantive (AQNT). DealBook, Dana Cimilluca, Felix Salmon, Chad Brand, Henry Blodget, and Paul Kedrosky comment. has a survey of the nature of risk in the new global investment banking industry.

John Carney at on whether this whole “going private” thing is just a “passing fad”?

DealBook wonders whether the soon to be public Blackstone Group wants to have its cake and eat it too.

Alex Halperin at identifies five big stocks undertaking big share buybacks.

Greg Ip at catches up with Richard Bookstaber increasing risk in an infinitely more complex financial world.

Is the stock market shrinking before our very eyes? (via DealBook)

Chart of the Day with an ominous graph of recent REIT performance.

Mebane Faber at World Beta on the recent success of a ‘follow the hedge fund’ type of strategy.

Diya Gullapalli at on venture capitalists’ interest in ETF sponsors.

CXO Advisory Group on the increased reliability of buyback announcements.

Trader Mike on our tendency to blame hedge funds for unknown market moves.

Brett Steenbarger at TraderFeed on “hybrid trading” or the blending of discretionary and systematic trading.

Scott Rothbort at Lakeview Asset Managment on the prospects for fewer stock splits and more $100 stocks.

Investment Ideas by Yaser Anwar on what you need to know about ‘managed accounts.’

Accrued Interest has a handful of recent LBO-related notes and a classic “disclosure.” on the need to treat historical averages with a great deal of caution.

Barry Ritholtz at the Big Picture has a slew of housing-related charts.

Going Private on the question of “fairness” in aviation taxation.

James Hamilton at highlights a new study on the effects of oil price shocks on the economy.

Felix Salmon at Market Movers on “frothiness” in the contemporary art market.

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