Posts Tagged ‘Paul Volcker’



Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

This is a superb summary of Paul Volcker’s must read comments at the Federal Reserve bank of Chicago from today. Highly recommended reading (via the WSJ):

1) Macroprudential regulation — “somehow those words grate on my ears.”

2) Banking — Investment banks became “trading machines instead of investment banks [leading to] encroachment on the territory of commercial banks, and commercial banks encroached on the territory of others in a way that couldn’t easily be managed by the old supervisory system.”

3) Financial system — “The financial system is broken. We can use that term in late 2008, and I think it’s fair to still use the term unfortunately. We know that parts of it are absolutely broken, like the mortgage market which only happens to be the most important part of our capital markets [and has] become a subsidiary of the U.S. government.”

4) Business schools — “We had all our best business schools in the United States pouring out financial engineers, every smart young mathematician and physicist said ‘I don’t want to be a civil engineer, a mechanical engineer. I’m a smart guy, I want to go to Wall Street.’ And then you know all the risks were going to be sliced and diced and [people thought] the market would be resilient and not face any crises. We took care of all that stuff, and I think that was the general philosophy that markets are efficient and self correcting and we don’t have to worry about them too much.

5) Central banks and the Fed — “Central banks became…maybe a little too infatuated with their own skills and authority because they found secrets to price stability…I think its fair to say there was a certain neglect of supervisory responsibilities, certainly not confined to the Federal Reserve, but including the Federal Reserve, I only say that because the Federal Reserve is the most important in my view.”

6) The recession — “It’s so difficult to get out of this recession because of the basic disequilibrium in the real economy.”

7) Council of regulators — “Potentially cumbersome.”

8 ) On judgment — “Let me suggest to you that relying on judgment all the time makes for a very heavy burden whether you are regulating an individual institution or whether you are regulating the whole market or whether you are deciding what might be disturbing or what might not be disturbing.

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Double dip or global deflation?

Christopher Whalen writes about how the U.S. economy in first half of the 20th Century could be characterized as stagnant, with a brief growth spurt during WWI and a mirage of growth during WWII and the cold war:

Following the Crash of 1929, the pretense observed by both political parties that all was well in the U.S. economy evaporated into almost twenty years of economic stagnation. While the massive mobilization for WWII provided the appearance of a recovery, and the period of the Cold War extended this mirage on a sea of public debt and paper dollars, the basic issue of overcapacity remained.

The illusion continued through the 1970s when the housing sector took over defense as the main driver of economic growth. However, Chris argues, that what was perceived by most Americans as real growth was actually the result of deficit spending and "reckless monetary expansion" by the Fed, courtesy of Alan Greenspan and later Ben Bernanke. – Ilene 

Double dip or global deflation?

By Christopher Whalen 


The page proofs of my upcoming book, "Inflated: How Money and Debt Built the American Dream," just went back to the editors. One of the benefits of writing a book about U.S. financial history is that it forces you to take a long view of both economics and the political narrative used to describe it. It is the issue of language and labels, in my view, that is making it so difficult for Americans to understand the current state of the economy.

The National Bureau of Economic Research just declared that the “recession” that began in 2007 ended in the middle of 2009, making it the longest downturn since WWII. The only problem is that none of the people who work at NBER today, which is one of my favorite research organizations, are old enough to remember what the U.S. economy was like before WWII; before the age of Keynesian socialism and the use of debt to stimulate growth and employment became standard policy in Washington.

Let’s start with the term “recession,” which itself reflects the assumption that economic growth is always positive and the trend line is always upward sloping… 

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Paul Volcker Obviously Reads Jr Deputy Accountant, Says America Can Learn From Europe Debt Crisis

Paul Volcker Obviously Reads Jr Deputy Accountant, Says America Can Learn From Europe Debt Crisis

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant

How many times have I said this? Seriously?


Europe’s debt crisis shows the risks for the United States if it does not get its budget deficits under control, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker said on Tuesday.

"If we need any further illustration of the potential threats to our own economy from uncontrolled borrowing, we have only to look to the struggle to maintain the common European currency, to rebalance the European economy, and to sustain political cohesion of Europe," Volcker said.

There, it’s official and Paul Volcker said so. 

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Droppin’ Knowledge: Volcker On America’s Ability To Compete

Droppin’ Knowledge: Volcker On America’s Ability To Compete

Paul Volcker Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker 

I just snatched this little exchange out of the transcript of Paul Volcker‘s recent interview with CNN.  The greatest Fed Head in history gives us his take on the competitiveness of America and what we must figure out how to do to become great again.

Volcker and I share the contention that having the majority of our best and brightest off in a corner trading with each other is not a good long-term trend for society…

From CNN:

ZAKARIA: You feel that the longer term issue, the big issue is really this issue of how do we get real growth. How do we get exports, manufacturing — not growth that’s based on borrowing, not growth that’s based on each of us selling each other our own houses in a kind of ascending spiral…

VOLCKER: Absolutely.

ZAKARIA: … of asset inflation.

VOLCKER: We’ve got to produce something that somebody else wants to buy.

ZAKARIA: How do you do that? What should we be doing?

VOLCKER: Well, you really want to get — fundamentally, I think we spent a — more than a decade — we spent 20 years inducing some of our brightest people, our most energetic people to go to Wall Street. And nobody wants to be a mechanical engineer or a chemical engineer or a civil engineer. They want to be a financial engineer.

If you go to a university graduation these days, and you get to the advanced degrees in mathematics, engineering, physics, you’re rather hard pressed to find an American. There are Chinese, there are Indians, they’re Taiwanese, they’re from the Middle East.

Look, it’s not easy to answer your question, because there’s no easy answer.

ZAKARIA: When you look at American industry, making it more competitive again, do you think that when you compare it to industry in China, or in India or in South Korea, is part of the problem that there is — our corporate tax rate is now the second-highest in the industrialized world?

We probably have more regulation. There’s the issue of tort, you know, and the way…
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Senator Bob Corker Needs to Be Updated on His Bank Failure History

Senator Bob Corker Needs to Be Updated on His Bank Failure History

Courtesy of Reggie Middleton

Senator Corker challenged Mr. Volcker’s stance in today’s congressional hearings on the Volcker Rule by saying that no financial holding company that had a commercial bank failed while performing proprietary trading. It appears as if Mr. Corker may have received his information from the banking lobby, and did not do his own homework.

Let’s reference the largest commercial bank/thrift failure of all:

From …
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The ‘Volcker Rule’ Will Be A Body Blow To Hedge Funds And Private Equity!

The ‘Volcker Rule’ Will Be A Body Blow To Hedge Funds And Private Equity!

paul volcker fed chairmanCourtesy of John Carney at Clusterstock/The Business Insider

At the heart of Obama’s new regulatory proposal is the ‘Volcker Rule.’

Named for Paul Volcker, the new rule would bar banks from owning or investing in or sponsoring hedge funds, private equity funds or proprietary trading operations. It’s still not clear how far this goes but a complete bar on investing in hedge funds or p.e. could be a serious blow to alternative investments.

Was Obama overstating his case? Or will redemptions from banks have to begin as soon as the rule takes effect?

Here’s the full quote from Obama’s speech:

It’s for these reasons that I’m proposing a simple and common-sense reform, which we’re calling the "Volcker Rule" — after this tall guy behind me.  Banks will no longer be allowed to own, invest, or sponsor hedge funds, private equity funds, or proprietary trading operations for their own profit, unrelated to serving their customers.  If financial firms want to trade for profit, that’s something they’re free to do.  Indeed, doing so –- responsibly –- is a good thing for the markets and the economy.  But these firms should not be allowed to run these hedge funds and private equities funds while running a bank backed by the American people.


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Did The President FINALLY Wake Up?

Did The President FINALLY Wake Up?

ObamaCourtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

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“Wake Up, Gentlemen”

Paul Volcker’s message, passed along by Simon Johnson, with love. - Ilene  

“Wake Up, Gentlemen”

Paul Volcker Courtesy of Simon Johnson at The Baseline Scenario

The guiding myth underpinning the reconstruction of our dangerous banking system is: Financial innovation as-we-know-it is valuable and must be preserved.  Anyone opposed to this approach is a populist, with or without a pitchfork.

Single-handedly, Paul Volcker has exploded this myth.  Responding to a Wall Street insiders‘ Future of Finance “report“, he was quoted in the WSJ yesterday as saying: “Wake up gentlemen.  I can only say that your response is inadequate.”

Volcker has three  main points, with which we whole-heartedly agree:

  1. “[Financial engineering] moves around the rents in the financial system, but not only this, as it seems to have vastly increased them.”
  2. “I have found very little evidence that vast amounts of innovation in financial markets in recent years have had a visible effect on the productivity of the economy”

and most important:

     3. “I am probably going to win in the end”.

Volcker wants tough constraints on banks and their activities, separating the payments system – which must be protected and therefore tightly regulated – from other “extraneous” functions, which includes trading and managing money.

This is entirely reasonable – although we can surely argue about details, including whether a very large “regulated” bank would be able to escape the limits placed on its behavior and whether a very large “trading” bank could (without running the payments system) still cause massive damage. 

But how can Mr. Volcker possibly prevail?  Even President Obama was reduced, yesterday, to asking the banks nicely to lend more to small business – against which Jamie Dimon will presumably respond that such firms either (a) are not creditworthy (so give us a subsidy if you want such loans) or (b) don’t want to borrow (so give them a subsidy).  (Some of the bankers, it seems, didn’t even try hard to attend – they just called it in.)

simon johnsonThe reason for Volcker’s confidence in his victory is simple - he is moving the consensus.  It’s not radicals against reasonable bankers.  It’s the dean of American banking, with a bigger and better reputation than any other economic policymaker alive – and with a lot of people at his back – saying, very simply: Enough.


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Volcker: There’s No Growth Other Than What The Fed’s Pouring Into The Economy

Volcker: There’s No Growth Other Than What The Fed’s Pouring Into The Economy

paul volckerCourtesy of Joe Weisenthal at Clusterstock/Business Insider

Obama advisor and former Fed chief Paul Volcker has an excellent interview this weekend with Germany’s Der Spiegel.

An excerpt:

SPIEGEL: The US has not yet instituted any kind of reform policy. What we see is the government and the Federal Reserve pouring money into the economy. If one looks beyond that money, one sees that the economy is in fact still shrinking.

Volcker: What should I say? That’s right. We have not yet achieved self-reinforcing recovery. We are heavily dependent upon government support so far. We are on a government support system, both in the financial markets and in the economy.

SPIEGEL: To get the recovery to the point where it is right now has cost a lot of money. National debt will probably reach $12 trillion in 2019. Just serving the debt costs $17 billion a year — at least according to this year’s forecast. That’s difficult to sustain.

Volcker: You’ve got to deal with the deficit and you’ve got to deal with it in a timely way. Right now, with the unemployment rate still very high, excess capacity is still evident, and the economy is dependent on government money as we said. We are not going to successfully attack the deficit right now but we have got to prepare for attacking it.

Read the whole thing >>


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The Banks Must Be Restrained, The Financial System Must Be Reformed

The Banks Must Be Restrained, The Financial System Must Be Reformed

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

Mass Protests Are Held During The G20 World Leaders Summit

There has been a loss of perspective with regard to the financial sector led by the Anglo-American banking interests.

This will have to change before there can be a sustainable economic recovery. This will be difficult to accomplish, because there exists a fusion of corporate and government desires to control the distribution of wealth and power that is opposed to any significant reforms.

"A certain type of person strives to become a master over all, and to extend his force, his will to power, and to subdue all that resists it. But he encounters the power of others, and comes to an arrangement, a union, with those that are like him: thus they work together to serve the will to power. And the process goes on." Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power

Until then, the world will experience a series of asset bubbles and an increasing disparity in wealth between the productive and administrative sectors of the economy. This will continue until it becomes unsustainable, and unstable. And then it will change.

UK Telegraph
Ex-Fed chief Paul Volcker’s ‘telling’ words on derivatives industry
By Louise Armitstead
9:41PM GMT 08 Dec 2009

The former US Federal Reserve chairman told an audience that included some of the world’s most senior financiers that their industry’s "single most important" contribution in the last 25 years has been automatic telling machines, which he said had at least proved "useful".

Echoing FSA chairman Lord Turner’s comments that banks are "socially useless", Mr Volcker told delegates who had been discussing how to rebuild the financial system to "wake up". He said credit default swaps and collateralised debt obligations had taken the economy "right to the brink of disaster" and added that the economy had grown at "greater rates of speed" during the 1960s without such products.

When one stunned audience member suggested that Mr Volcker did not really mean bond markets and securitisations had contributed "nothing at all", he replied: "You can innovate as much as you like, but do it within a structure that doesn’t put the whole economy at risk."

He said he agreed with George Soros, the billionaire investor, who said investment banks must stick to serving clients and "proprietary trading should be pushed out
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Reich Takes On Alan Simpson - And We Do The Fact Checking

By Advisor Perspectives. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Robert Reich, a prominent Democrat, and Alan Simpson, a distinguished Republican, engaged in a friendly debate to discuss issues that they said were not addressed during this campaign season. But on crucial subjects, both relied on out-of-date and inaccurate reasoning.

Image source: Wikimedia CommonsAlan Simpson

The debate, which took place yesterday, was a keynote presentation at the Schwab IMPACT conference, held in San Diego. It is the largest conference in the industry, attracting approximately 2,000 advisor attendees.

Reich is a political commentator, economist, professor and author. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton fro...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

London- 4th attempt to breakout in 16-years, results different this time?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Four months ago the world seemed scared that the Brexit vote would be negative for Europe and potentially around the world. Four months later, almost the polar opposite deserves discussion.

Below updates the FTSE -100 Index on a monthly basis over the past few decades.


FTSE Index is now testing a resistance zone for the 4th time in the past 16-years at (1), as well as testing the underside of line (3) at the same time.

Monthly MACD has created a series of ...

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Zero Hedge

Bonds Are Signaling BIG Trouble is Ahead

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

For anyone who wants to make money in the markets, you need to understand one thing.

Bonds are the “smart money.”

This doesn’t mean that stock investors are dumb. It means that the bond markets are much larger and much more liquid than the stock markets.

Because of this, bond markets are the FIRST to adjust to new realities.

Consider the recent market bottom.

Bonds (TLT) bottomed in November 2015. Stocks (SPY) bottomed in February 2016.

Well, right now, bonds are selling off… HARD.

Stocks are on borrowed time. Smart investors are al...

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

Oil Companies Shift Exploration Tactics, Curb Spending (The Wall Street Journal)

In June, oil giant BP PLC announced what it deemed an “important” new discovery in Egypt.

It turned out to be a modest natural-gas find that didn’t even rank in the top 50 discoveries since 2012.

Gundlach Says ‘Look Out’ for...

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Phil's Favorites

Now it's an avalanche


Picture via Pixabay

Courtesy of Joshua Brown, The Reformed Broker

Reuters on the last week’s fund flows:

Mutual fund investors flooded stockpickers with redemption orders during the latest week, cashing out the most money in five years, Investment Company Institute data showed on Wednesday.

The investors pulled $16.9 billion from stock mutual funds in the seven days through Oct. 19, more than in any other week since August 2011, the trade group’s data showed.

By contrast, stock exchange-traded funds took in $2.4 billion. ETFs most...

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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Soars As China Launches Crackdown On Wealth-Management Products

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

After trading in a tight range for much of the summer, coiled within a $100 range around the mid-$500s, over the past several weeks bitcoin has once again started to push higher, closely tracking the decline in the Chinese Yuan as shown below.

However, the most recent burst in bitcoin activity, which sent it surging by over $20 overnight, has little to do with any moves in the official Chinese currency, which recently...

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Members' Corner


Courtesy of Nattering Naybob.


Discussion of the potential impacts on equity, bond, commodity, capital and asset markets regarding the following:

  • Rising Libor and Bond Yields
  • Negative Swap Spreads, Eurodollar Curve, Repo Effects
  • Compliance, Expectations, Liquidity, Fed Action

Last Time Out

"25-54 yr old prime earners peaking at 101083 in Nov 2007; today at 97628, for a net decline of 3.5M prime earning jobs during this "recovery". No real jobs, just McJobs for McPay."

"Above note, 55yrs+ in Nov 2007 at 26376, now at 34353, for a net increase of 8 million employed. Not for sheer enjoyment and mostly out of economic necessity. The above attests to no real jobs, just McJobs for McPay and work till you die?" - 08...

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Chart School

Tech Hold Breakout,.but S&P Wedge Bound

Courtesy of Declan.

It was a mixed day for indices. Large Caps remain bound by wedge support/resistance, but Tech broke upside yesterday from similar wedges and held those breakout today.

There was little change for the S&P over the last couple of days. The one technical change was the MACD trigger 'buy' as other technicals stayed on the bearish side.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq cleared wedge resistance yesterday, and was able to hang on to the breakout despite today's loss. It too enjoyed a MACD trigger 'buy', but had an On-Bal...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of October 24th,2016

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...

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Mapping The Market

The Most Overlooked Trait of Investing Success

Via Jean-Luc

Good article on investing success:

The Most Overlooked Trait of Investing Success

By Morgan Housel

There is a reason no Berkshire Hathaway investor chides Buffett when the company has a bad quarter. It’s because Buffett has so thoroughly convinced his investors that it’s pointless to try to navigate around 90-day intervals. He’s done that by writing incredibly lucid letters to investors for the last 50 years, communicating in easy-to-understand language at annual meetings, and speaking on TV in ways that someone with no investing experience can grasp.

Yes, Buffett runs an amazing investment company. But he also runs an amazing investor company. One of the most underappreciated part of his s...

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Epizyme - A Waiting Game

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Epizyme was founded in 2007, and trying to create drugs to treat patient's cancer by focusing on genetically-linked differences between normal and cancer cells. Cancer areas of focus include leukemia, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer.  One of the Epizme cofounders, H. Robert Horvitz, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2002 for "discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death."

Before discussing the drug targets of Epizyme, understanding epigenetics is crucial to comprehend the company's goals.  

Genetic components are the DNA sequences that are 'inherited.'  Some of these genes are stronger than others in their expression (e.g., eye color).  Yet, some genes turn on or off due to external factors (environmental), and it is und...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.

To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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We know you love coming here for our Stocks & Options education, strategy and trade ideas, and for Phil's daily commentary which you can't live without, but there's more! features the most important and most interesting news items from around the web, all day, every day!

News: If you missed it, you can probably find it in our Market News section. We sift through piles of news so you don't have to.   

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