Happy Wednesday. We now return to our regularly scheduled program of spring.» Read More
Economy Adds 151,000 jobs: "Good, but not good enough." (New York Times) So says the president. The 'good' is that it's the first time in four months that the economy has gained any jobs at all; the 'bad' is that the uptick wasn't enough to budge the dismal 9.6 percent unemployment rate.
Optimisim has spiked the water on Wall Street with a cocktail of the GOP taking back the House, QE2 and the employment numbers. So what's the smart money banking on as we rapidly approach the end of 2010?
Billionaire, vulture investor extrodinaire Wilbur Ross, Chairman and CEO of W.L. Ross & Co, is always a step or two ahead of the pack. I decided to sit down and talk to Wilbur on his views of QE2, the future of the Bush Tax cuts and his outlook on the economy.
One final thought drawn Shahien Nasiripour's 4,000 word HuffPo opus on the Fed . Nasiripour points out that the Fed's mandate is "maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates."
So how are we doing on the employment front? According Nasiripour, not so well.
Well the government and the banks, of course.
Rather than going to households and small businesses that need credit, though, that money instead is going to the biggest borrower of all — the U.S. Treasury Department.
U.S. banks now own more than $1.5 trillion in Treasuries and taxpayer-backed debt issued by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to the latest weekly data provided by the Fed. It's a 30 percent increase from the week prior to the Fed's Dec. 16, 2008, announcement that it was lowering the main interest rate to 0-0.25 percent.
Outstanding commercial and industrial loans at U.S. banks have fallen from $1.6 trillion in October 2008 to $1.2 trillion this past September, Fed data show. The $390 billion drop is equivalent to a 24 percent reduction in credit to businesses.
For families, it seems that it's never been harder to get a line of credit. For banks, they book an easy profit by borrowing at near-zero cost and lending it back to Uncle Sam.
Nice work, if you can get it.
The news that that Spencer Bachus has sent a note to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and other top regulators warning that the "Volcker Rule" could damage US competitiveness must have Jamie Dimon smiling.
The bank Dimon runs, JPMorgan Chase , has been perhaps the most aggressive firm on Wall Street when it comes to resisting allowing the Volcker Rule to reshape its business. While Wall Street firms like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have shed hedge funds and trading desks, JP Morgan Chase has not only kept its biggest hedge fund—it actually acquired a new hedge fund recently .
Curtis Threadneedle has put out this Barry White-style ballad about Quantitative Easing. It's co-written by country-western economics star, Merle Hazard.
One of the most outlandish defenses of Obama's first two years has become one of the most emailed articles on the New York Times.
In the Opinionater section on the website of the New York Times, Timothy Egan tells big corporate donors to be worried "about what you just bought."
He's talking, of course, about the Republican victory in the midterms, which has delivered the GOP control of the House of Representatives. But it's far from clear that big corporate donors "bought" anything in this election. Certainly, it's a canard to say they bought the Republican victory.
As Tim Carney explains , the top 12 corporate political action committees gave far more to Democrats than Republicans. More campaign cash from HMOs went to Democrats. Wall Street donated more to Democrats than Republicans. Lobbyists sent more money into Democratic campaigns than Republican campaigns. Politico showed that even when you include independent political expenditures, the Democratic-aligned political machinery had far more cash to spend than the Republicans.
Is speed really the only advantage of HFTs? This NYU professor and former HFT trader says not so fast — there's more.
Ex-Galleon trader Turney Duff offers an insider's view of how learned about Wall Street's dirty little secret: insider trading.
Fed speak may trump earnings reports and economic data, guaranteeing another volatile trading day.