Bill Gross thinks conditions are ripe for a liquidity crisis, and he points a finger at his old firm for its potential to be at the center of the storm.» Read More
It would be easy to make light of the current chaos in Tunisia.
“Carthage Makes Bid For Global Attention After 2000 Years Of Obscurity,” would probably make a great headline in the Onion.
One reason jokes come readily is that not many of us have given much thought to Tunisia. If it is familiar at all, it is probably as the real-life setting of George Lucas’s Tatooine, the home planet of Luke Skywalker. Steven Spielberg filmed parts of Raiders of the Lost Ark there. And students of the classics know that it is where Rome’s arch-nemesis, Carthage, once existed.
But there’s a serious lesson for Americans in Tunisia’s current struggles, although it’s a lesson many Americans may have trouble digesting.
CEO of a large entertainment company—Just call him "MAX"—in business class, en route to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, tells me "I think Eric Schmidt will be Apple's next CEO.
Makes total sense. Maybe that's why he and Jobs had coffee together a few months back."
Satisfied with his prediction, he proceeds to sink into his seat, and pull out his binder of research "in preparation for my forum." What, no movie during the flight?
"Oh, no, that screen is way to small. You need a MUCH bigger screen."
Kerima Greene is in Davos.
Two failed subprime mortgage lenders are trying to convince federal bankruptcy judges in Delaware today that they should be able to destroy thousands of boxes of original loan documents.
A market correction probably won't be coming any time too soon, and when it does, it will be a moderate correction, according to Vince Farrell and Michael Farr.
Put on your Monday big girl/boy long underpants and get on with it. Here's what you need to know to start the week out right:
TIPS Top 17 Percent Return Over Two Years [Bloomberg] Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities returned 17 percent the last two years, compared with gains of 1.9 percent in Treasuries, Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes show. Yields on 10-year TIPS show bondholders expect the consumer price index to increase 2.18 percentage points a year on average over the life of the debt. The rate rose 1.5 percent in 2010 and is forecast to climb 1.7 percent this year, based on a Bloomberg survey of more than 60 economists.
Fannie & Freddie Legal Bills Cost Taxpayers $130+ Million [NY Times] "Since the government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, taxpayers have spent more than $160 million defending the mortgage finance companies and their former top executives in civil lawsuits accusing them of fraud. The cost was a closely guarded secret until last week, when the companies and their regulator produced an accounting at the request of Congress. The bulk of those expenditures — $132 million — went to defend Fannie Mae and its officials in various securities suits and government investigations into accounting irregularities that occurred years before the subprime lending crisis erupted. The legal payments show no sign of abating."
This is an op-ed from US Senator John Barrasso.
In the new Congress, the American people will give Republicans further opportunities to govern. Unlike our predecessors, we will lessen the burdens on the American people. In economic times like these, Washington should be doing everything it can to tighten its own belt and focus on private sector job creation. The Democrats have not only failed to do this; they’ve actively made it harder for Americans to make ends meet.
There are three areas where I see opportunities to help Americans. First, the Senate must follow the House and repeal the health care spending law and replace it with common sense reforms that will lower the cost of our health care. Second, we must lower the cost of energy by encouraging American energy and innovation; not by discouraging it. Third, we must reform Washington’s culture of spending now and paying later.
Google CEO Dumping a Third of a Billion Dollars in Shares [Wall Street Journal] "Eric Schmidt, who is stepping aside as Google Inc.'s chief executive, has filed paperwork to sell company shares currently worth $335 million this year, his first such sale in more than three years. The sale will represent a 6% drop in Mr. Schmidt's Google stake, and comes as the Internet giant said co-founder Larry Page will replace Mr. Schmidt as CEO in April. Mr. Schmidt will become executive chairman." (Dude, if I were liquid to nine figures I would do absolutely nothing with the rest of my life: You'd have to drag me over an XBox and a duvet encrusted with discarded lobster tail shells just to get me out of bed.)
"Obama Adds to Emphasis on Business with Adviser Choice" [NY Times] "President Obama, sending another strong signal that he intends to make his White House more business-friendly, traveled to this industrial city on Friday to appoint a prominent corporate executive as his chief outside economic adviser, and to spotlight his efforts on job creation, in advance of next week’s State of the Union address." How much good will do you think it will buy him?
Greece and China bear watching but will have limited on the U.S. economy or markets, strategist Tom Lee says.
No matter which way the Greek vote goes, the European Central Bank on Monday will face a series of agonizing decisions.
Greek banks are preparing contingency plans for a possible "bail-in" of depositors, sources said. The FT reports.