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Politics Barack Obama

  • President Barack Obama

    Over the last year, the Obama administration has pressed forward on hundreds of new mandates, while also stepping up enforcement of rules by increasing the ranks of inspectors and imposing higher fines for violations. The New York Times explains.

  • NYSE traders

    The ride may be bumpy, but the Dow is headed for 12,000 by yearend and 13,000 in 2011.

  • IPO's take another shot—and fail. The entire market is repricing risk, and IPOs are showing that stress. Last week was a mess for IPOs, and that continues this week.

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    The government says it recovered $2.5 billion in overpayments for the Medicare trust fund last year as the Obama administration focused attention on fraud enforcement efforts in the health care industry.

  • Shops in Athens' central market.

    It’s easy to look at the protesters and the politicians in Greece — and at the other European countries with huge debts — and wonder why they don’t get it. Yet in the back of your mind comes a nagging question: how different, really, is the United States? The NYT explains.

  • US Capitol Building with cash

    Public attitudes toward the economy have created ominous political problems for the Democratic Party and for Wall Street, according to the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

  • Gold coins and bar

    Gold prices are soaring because of growing inflation fears—both the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve seem to be on the path to permanently easy money with the Greek bailout and huge U.S. budget deficits.

  • Trade

    The Commerce Department reported the March deficit on international trade in goods and services increased to $40.4 billion from $39.4 billion in February.

  • U.S. stock futures are up as Europe is trading up 1 to 2 percent. The put/call ratio at the close yesterday was 1.28—meaning 1.28 puts bought for every call—fairly high. This is a contrarian indicator, as it represents stock that needs to be bought back eventually. What does it mean? It means traders are either getting short or hedging their long positions.

  • Gary Gensler, the head of the CFTC, is also testifying in the House of Representatives on the cause of last Thursday's plunge. Mary Schapiro, the head of the SEC, has also released her testimony. ...There are two main points that most seem to agree upon.

  • In response to the statement that the Nasdaq had declared "self-help" (refused to route orders) against NYSE Arca, a NYSE spokesman said, "There are all kinds of false positives for self help, and people declare against us sometimes for no reason at all."

  • The House has posted the testimony of both Larry Leibowitz of NYSE and Eric Noll of Nasdaq before the Financial Services Subcommittee, scheduled for 3pm ET today. Mr. Noll noted that as of yet there was no clear "'smoking gun' that single-handedly caused or explains Thursday's events." However, he said three events occurred around the critical 2:40-3:00pm time period last Thursday...

  • That didn't last long: euphoria over the EU deal already wearing off: Spain down 5 percent, Portugal down 3 percent, Italy down 2 percent...euro weakness resumes. At least Germany backed the plan. But some are arguing that letting the euro continue to devaluate will be a long-term help to the EU economy.

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    What the European leaders really meant to do with their big-bang, trillion-dollar sovereign-debt rescue was to save the euro currency, not to bury it. But with the cave in by European Central Bank head Jean-Claude Trichet (formerly a hard-money man and closet gold watcher) to use the "nuclear option" to buy up dubious sovereign debt, the euro is likely to keep depreciating.

  • Flag of the People's Republic of China

    Wednesday, the Commerce Department will report the March deficit on international trade in goods and services. Analysts expect it to increase to $41.0 billion from $39.7 billion in February. My forecast is in line with the consensus.

  • The SEC has issued a statement on its meeting with NYSE Chief Duncan Niederauer and Nasdaq chief Robert Greifeld: "As a first step, the parties agreed on a structural framework, to be refined over the next day, for strengthening circuit breakers and handling erroneous trades." But what kind of circuit breakers?

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    The Senate’s decision to drop a $50-billion resolution fund from its package of financial reforms increases the chance that the Obama administration can push through a controversial $90-billion bank tax.

  • American healthcare reform

    Letting young adults stay on their parents' health insurance until they turn 26 will nudge premiums nearly 1 percent higher for employer plans, the government said in an estimate released Monday.

  • NYSE and Nasdaq meets with the SEC. The SEC has two choices: 1) scrap the system whereby the NYSE (and Nasdaq, if it chose to do so) can go to a slower market, even if for only a few seconds, or 2) require all market participants to follow the primary market maker when they slow trading in volatile markets — to have uniform rules for circuit breakers. My bet, based on discussions with market participants, is...

  • The European Debt Crisis - See Complete Coverage

    The expected surge in share prices this morning is accompanied by sighs of relief and breathless anticipation of new highs. THIS IS NOT RESILIENCE! This is the effect of a trillion dollar injection. It represents new debt and commitments to support governments that have not lived within their means.