Hedge fund managers are fuming at new political rhetoric against them and their huge paydays.» Read More
Is Gold Really At a Record High? (New York Times) Not if you index for inflation and look at real, instead of nominal, prices. The same holds true for other commodity prices, such as oil. The question on the table: Are the alarms being raised over inflation overstated—because we haven't adequately indexed for inflation?"
The bipartisan committee working on deficit reduction announced a plan today to reduce cost-of-living increases in Social Security : But don't worry—it looks like that proposal is going nowhere fast.
But there's more: Not only are there provisions for freezing Social Security cost-of-living increases, but a Bloomberg article on the same topic suggests the possibility of an increase in retirement age as well. (Breathe deeply : The retirement age increases wouldn't kick in until at least 2050.) There are also additional proposals being floated by the commission for the reduction of federal expenditure on Medicare.
How bad is the situation? And does the system really need a dramatic overhaul?
In an SEC filing , GM has provided details about an unauthorized email sent out by a banker to institutional investors that violated its regulatory quiet period before its public offering.
The filing may shed light on a mystery that developed last week. UBS , which had previously been named as an underwriter in the IPO, was quietly dropped from this role in the deal.
DealBreaker’s Bess Levin reported at the time that “a senior high yield analyst at UBS sent out a note last night to a bunch of clients that included his musings on the valuation."
The American Bankers Association has put out a statement intended to “clarify” the legal limitations on the duties of trustees in mortgage-backed securities deals.
"Importantly, the trustee typically has no duty under the transaction documents to make investigations on its own for the purpose of detecting defaults, fraud or other breaches," the ABA says in a statement reported by HousingWire .
The statement was probably issued in reaction to a recent story in the magazine American Banker discussing how trustees have come under scrutiny as the foreclosure crisis reveals problems with the securitization process.
Say what you will about the former president, at least he seems to have a sense of humor:
"'First of all, it’s too bad they call them the Bush tax cuts,' the former president joked in an interview this morning with Matt Lauer on NBC’s 'Today' show. 'They might have a better chance of being extended if they were the Lauer tax cuts.'"
On that point, he may be right. But the president seems to have more than just a sense of humor—for all the criticisms of his communication skills, he seems to have the gist exactly correct: "'Most new jobs are created by small businesses,' Mr. Bush said. 'Many small businesses pay tax at the individual income tax level…therefore, if you raise the top rate, you’re taxing job creators.'
Bill Ackman is firmly in the camp of John Paulson on housing, which is to say he's very bullish.
Updated for 2010 and in time for the holidays, here is the latest installment of my recommended books. I originally wrote this list in 2008 and again last year . I intend to keep adding to and revising it every year. It contains seven sections: Selling, Think Like an Investor, Behavioral Investing, Economics, Stock Market History, Risk and Books for the Soul. The first three sections are presented below and the remaining four will be presented next week. I hope you enjoy it.
In these crazy times, all one could ask for is sanity. Yes, sanity—a clear mind, free of noise, to with which to face the insanity that the volatile, noisy stock market thrusts upon us. We find ourselves glued to our computer screens or CNBC, waiting to find out what the Dow’s next tick is going to be. What do we get out of it? Only a headache and wasted time.
Here is my advice: read. Read books that will bring you sanity, the ones that will snap you back into the mindset of investor and out of being a nervous observer of the daily stock market melodrama. The following books are excellent choices and offer plenty of sanity and sage advice.
When it comes to commodities, it’s all about the Way of the Cross.
The Golden Cross, that is.
The indicator, which occurs when the 50-day moving average passes above the 200-day moving average, has been money in the bank for gold, silver, cotton, copper—you name it as the entire asset class surges to new heights.
Cotton in particular has gone parabolic since making a Golden Cross three months ago, its chart more closely resembling the trajectory of the next NASA mission to Mars than a typical structural move higher.
So while Tuesday’s margin increases at the Chicago Merc possibly stand in the way of speculators and the next leg up for commodities, it’s worth taking a look at what has happened for a Super Seven of commodities that have made Golden Crosses in recent months.
The commodities, followed by the date of their Golden Cross, and the percentage gain since:
Goldman Sachs has canned the managing director of its European block trading division for "failing to make proper disclosures to the bank's compliance department," the Financial Times reports .
Alexandre Harfouche, who was promoted to managing director less than a year ago, was fired at the end of last month and it appears he hasn't picked up a new gig yet. According to the FT article, Harfouche is still listed as "inactive" with the Financial Services Authority , the UK's financial reglulator.
Harfouche has worked on some pretty notable stock trades, such as the sale of Renault's$4.2 billion stake in Volvo in October. So why exactly was Harfouche kicked to the curb?
JPMorgan Chase will cut about 5,000 jobs over the next year, as the bank closes branches and slims down operations, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Banks have been outperforming the market, and in the long term, technician Rich Ross sees a "beautiful breakout."
After Dick Fuld's first public speech since the crisis, this PR guy had one thing to say: Don't call it a comeback.