The year is 2002, America has just woken up with the worst post dot.com hangover ever. Paul Krugman then, just as now, writes worthless op-eds for the NYT. And then, just as now, the Keynsian acolyte recommended excess spending as the solution to all of America problems. Only this one time, at band camp, Krugman went too far. If there is one thing that everyone can agree on, it is that the Housing Bubble is arguably the worst thing to ever happen to America, bringing with it such pestilence and locusts as the credit bubble, the end of free market capitalism, and the inception of American-style crony capitalism. Those who ignored it, even though it was staring them in the face, such as Greenspan and Bernanke, now have their reputation teetering on the edge of oblivion. So what can we say of those who openly endorsed it as a solution to America’s problems?
Enter exhibit A: New York Times, August 2, 2002, "Dubya’s Double Dip?" Name the author: "The basic point is that the recession of 2001 wasn’t a typical postwar slump, brought on when an inflation-fighting Fed raises interest rates and easily ended by a snapback in housing and consumer spending when the Fed brings rates back down again. This was a prewar-style recession, a morning after brought on by irrational exuberance. To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble." If you said Krugman, you win. Indeed, the idiocy of Keynesianism knew no bounds then, as it does now. The solution then, as now, to all problems was more bubbles, more spending, more deficits. So we have the implosion tech bubble: And what does Krugman want to create, to fix it? Why, create a housing bubble… Well, at least we know now how that advice played out.
And now what? He wants another trillion in fiscal stimulus… Quadrillion? Sextillion (arguably this cool sounding number is at least 2-4 years away before the Fed brings it into the daily vernacular)?…
Orders placed with U.S. factories declined in May more than forecast, a sign that manufacturing may be starting to cool.
The 1.4 percent decrease in bookings was the biggest since March 2009 and followed a revised 1 percent gain in April, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Economists forecast orders would drop 0.5 percent, according to the median projection in a Bloomberg News survey.
Estimates of total orders in the Bloomberg survey of 70 economists ranged from a decline of 2 percent to a gain of 1.5 percent. The decrease in May was the first in nine months.
Manufacturing in June expanded at the slowest pace this year as factories received fewer orders and demand from abroad slowed, a report showed yesterday. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing gauge fell to 56.2 from 59.7 a month earlier. Readings greater than 50 indicate expansion. The Tempe, Arizona- based group’s new orders measure fell to the lowest level since October.
Demand for durable goods, which make up just over half of total factory demand, decreased 0.6 percent in May. Shipments of durable goods fell 0.3 percent.
Bookings of non-durable goods, including food, petroleum and chemicals, decreased 2.1 percent. The decline reflected a drop in the value of orders for petroleum products, clothing, fertilizers and beverages.
Orders for capital goods excluding aircraft and military equipment, a measure of future business investment, increased 3.9 percent after a 2.8 percent drop in April. Shipments of these goods, used in calculating gross domestic product, rose 1.4 percent after rising 0.4 percent.
Factory inventories declined 0.4 percent in May, and manufacturers had enough goods on hand to last 1.25 months at the current sales pace.
Recovery Withers on the Vine
You should not have to be a genius to figure out the rebound in manufacturing was a result of four factors now withering on the vine.
Housing incentives pushing demand forward on appliances
Rebound in auto sales from extremely depressed levels
Is Europe going to lead the world recovery? China? US Consumers?
It’s basically incredible that this is happening with unemployment in the euro area still rising, and only slight labor market progress in the US.
The right thing, overwhelmingly, is to do things that will reduce spending and/or raise revenue after the economy has recovered — specifically, wait until after the economy is strong enough that monetary policy can offset the contractionary effects of fiscal austerity. But no: the deficit hawks want their cuts while unemployment rates are still at near-record highs and monetary policy is still hard up against the zero bound.
Given my recent two posts on greed (“More on greed, regulation, Lehman and the financial industry” and “Greed is not good”), Berger’s remarks bear posting. What I find most interesting about this commentary is the tie between the belief in market forces and greed – which on an individual level is defined as selfish and excessive. The question is whether greed, which has historically been viewed as a negative on a personal level and condemned by most major religions in the past, can actually be beneficial on a society-wide level. Berger says no and I agree. Markets are not self-correcting. As a result, regulatory oversight is necessary to prevent harm from excessive risk taking.
I read the May 10 column in the Inquirer and, while I disagree with the ultimate conclusion which you imply, you, nonetheless, deserve credit for raising a provocative subject: whether people on Wall Street were influenced by Oliver Stone’s film "Wall Street" in engaging in beyond risky, reckless behavior which has brought down almost the entire edifice of modern American finance and has threatened an economic calamity akin to that of the 1930s.
In my view, your column actually raises two interesting issues: First, do the arts and popular culture (including film) influence society, or is it the other way around; and, second, what do attitudes expressed in Stone’s film say about professionals working in financial markets, the America financial elites and the financial system as a whole? In quoting the memorable words in the film of Stone’s character Gordon Gekko that, "greed is good," you really are raising a larger question of
Things are escalating quickly... with US Treasuries beginning to look a lot like JGBs: the 5Y soared +18bps to the highest since August 2011, the 10Y +13.5bps touches 2.32% widest since March 2012, 30Y +8bps, and credit markets are getting monkey-hammered. There is no joy in Newport Beachville.
5Y the worst!!
Credit majorly underperforming...
Nikkei surged (on JPY weakness) and has corrected (even as JPY remains at its lows)...
No change to the statement as expected and Ben is speaking now. Basically he is dovish – one takeaway which I mentioned quite a few months ago but he reiterated today. The 6.5% unemployment rate is a threshold NOT a trigger. What that means is if inflation is benign when 6.5% unemployment returns, the Fed will be in no rush to raise interest rates. i.e. the goalposts are soft, nor hard. The market rallied on that… but it's not new news really.
Also the majority of members do not anticipate selling MBS off the balance sheet – this is part and parcel with the view that the balance sheet will not...
We no longer have a free market. The world’s financial asset prices have become a plaything of central banks and the sovereign wealth funds of a few emerging powers.
Julian Callow from Barclays says they are buying $1.8 trillion worth of AAA or safe-haven bonds each year from an available pool of $2 trillion. Nothing like this has been seen before in modern times, if ever.
The Fed, the ECB, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, et al, own $10 trillion in bonds. China, the petro-powers, et al, own another $10 trillion. Between them they have locked up $20 trillion, equal to roughly 2...
In advance of today's FOMC meeting outcome and Chairman Bernanke's press conference, let's take a quick look at a couple of items in the latest Wall Street Journal survey of economists -- this one conducted June 7-11. With the recent controversy over the direction of Treasury yields, a key issue addressed in the survey is where economists expect the 10-year yield to be across six timeframes: mid-year and year end 2013 through 2015.
The survey was sent to 52 economists, 46 of whom responded, and of the 46, some skipped individual survey questions. Here is a table showing the major response statistics: Low, Median (middle), Average (aka Mean), Mode (most frequent) and High.
As we readily see from the table, the responses for ...
PDC Energy, Inc. ("PDC" or the "Company") (Nasdaq: PDCE) today announced that it closed yesterday, June 18, 2013, on the previously disclosed sale of its non-core Colorado natural gas assets.
The Company's non-core Colorado assets were sold to Caerus Oil and Gas LLC for approximately $185 million in net proceeds, subject to customary post-closing adjustments. Under the purchase and sale agreement, the transaction was given economic effect as of January 1, 2013. The assets sold are approximately 99% natural gas in terms of reserves and include an estimated 85 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe) of net proved developed producing reserves as of December 31, 2012. The assets produced approximately 40 million net cubic feet of natural gas equivalent per day in the first quarter of...
LZB - La-Z-Boy, Inc. – Shares in furniture producer, La-Z-Boy, Inc., increased as much as 3.9% to $19.80 at the start of the session, the highest level since 2004, ahead of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report after the closing bell today. Options volume is up ahead of the report, with roughly 400 contracts in play this afternoon versus average daily volume of around 80 contracts. Trading in La-Z-Boy call options is outpacing puts, with the call/put ratio up above 4.3 as of the time of this writing. Some traders appear to be p...
The market responded well today to good economic news and to the positive and somewhat surprising response to the election of a moderate Iranian President. Some moderation in Turkey didn’t hurt either, and overnight positive markets in Asia and Europe gave bullish investors enough encouragement to buy equities broadly.
This drove all three major domestic indices up about 1% before a late small selloff left the S&P 500 Index up nearly 1% and the Nasdaq and Dow Jones Industrial Average both up well over 0.5%. We think it likely this week that the market will challenge highs set in late May.
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I am going to share with you how I manage my IRA and the power of reducing your cost basis. My goal each year is a 20% return in my IRA. Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don't, but I believe that all of my success is due to reducing my cost basis. To illustrate the power of reducing your cost basis here are some trades we did last year. These trades are taken from an educational portfolio we ran in a paper-trading account for a little more than a year.
We bought RIG on 5/15/2012 for $44.13, sold it on 1/18/2013 for $46 but booked a profit of $1,154.
We bought MT on 1/4/2012 for $19.24, sold it on 12/21/2012 for $15 but booked a profit of $454.
We bought CHK on 1/27/2012 for $21.93, sold it on 10/19/2012 for $18 b...
Stock market posts another record setting week, but the big news came after Friday’s close.
Courtesy of NASA
The stock market put on another record setting show with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) closing at a record high 15,118 and the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) closing at 1633.70, another all time closing high.
For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) gained 1%, the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) climbed 1.2%, the Nasdaq Composite (NYSEARCA:...
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Well, well, well....it is good to know that there are others in the scientific arena who believed that YMI Bioscience's data (cough - Gilead) is a better drug than Incyte's Jakafi. Now, the definitive data are still unknown, but there was enough evidence from a Phase 2 trial to take a small risk for a huge reward. So, let's forget about Apple (AAPL), and do nothing but biotechs from now until Congress passes universal health care coverage for prescriptions....and drive the prices down so that research and development is no longer feasible to conduct in the US. Even Seattle Genetics (SGEN) has been on a tear as of late...
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