Politics Barack Obama

  • 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.

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    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.

  • What this headline means: If a stock will move a lot at the open compared to the prior day's close, the market makers would need permission to do that and would have to advertise that in advance.

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    By establishing a 750 billion euro fund to bailout Greece and aid other struggling governments, Germany and other strong European states are chasing a dream—a single European currency and broader European unity—that may have no place in reality.

  • Hope springs eternal: after an ugly week for IPOs, where four companies postponed their offerings, hospital operator HCA filed for a $4.6 billion IPO, far and away the biggest deal of the year.

  • U.S. stocks rallied as euro, European markets come off lows. After moving lower mid-morning, the euro rallied going into the close of European trading at 11:30am ET.

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    The big question of what went wrong when the markets plunged Thursday is still up in the air.

  • Why 60 percent? Traders have asked me why the NYSE Arca and Nasdaq chose to cancel all trades executed 60 percent away from the market from 2:40pm ET to 3:00pm ET. What is it about 60 percent — how was that number derived?

  • Why do stocks have a slight bid to them in the U.S.? Traders are saying that the busted trades are creating a bid on the Street. Fat fingered trade? Computer glitch? It's possible that one of these was the cause of yesterday's drop, but as traders stream into Wall Street, the worry is that this could have happened without a computer glitch or fat fingered trade.

  • Unemployment

    The Labor Department reported the economy added 290,000 jobs in April but the unemployment rate increased to 9.9 percent from 9.7 percent the previous three months.