Finance NetNet


  Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 | 1:22 PM ET

There’s No Such Thing as a Muni Expert

Posted By: John Carney

The strongest case for investing in municipal bonds turns on claims of expertise. Unfortunately, there’s little reason to be confident in these claims and strong reasons to be skeptical.

Marketers of bond funds like to promise that their “proprietary portfolio management system and the portfolio manager’s 20-plus years of experience” will give investors an edge, despite the recent rise in risk for muni bonds.

Unfortunately, these claims are undermined by the historical strength of the muni market. No one has lived through a muni market like the one we have entered, which means that “20-plus years of experience” may be largely irrelevant.

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  Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 | 12:01 PM ET

The Bulls and Bears Agree: Muni Default Risk Is Greater Than Ever

Posted By: John Carney
Photo by: John Carney

The words debt and crisis have become terribly associated with each other over the last few years. We have had a mortgage debt crisis, a sovereign debt crisis and now a lively debate over the likelihood of a municipal debt crisis.

Everyone agrees that the muni debt is undergoing a serious and perhaps permanent change. Muni debt was once viewed as almost risk free. Now even those who advocate investing in muni debt acknowledge the “very real credit risks in the municipal space,” as Pimco put it in their most recent note on munis.

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  Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 | 11:31 AM ET

Governor of Bank of England Pines for a Return to Bretton Woods?

Posted By: Ash Bennington
Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King
Getty Images
Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King

Does Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, want a return to a Bretton Woods style fixed rate regime?

Frankly, it's difficult to thread through the econo-speak of King's latest white paper; nonetheless, Tracy Alloway makes a noble attempt for the Financial Times Alphaville blog .

King's paper is ominously entitled 'Global imbalances: the perspective of the Bank of England'. \(A one paragraph summary on the title page contains this gem of bureau-speak: "The main lesson from the crisis is the need to find better ways of ensuring the right collective outcome." — which seems to suggest 'stuff got really bad, so we all need to do things differently next time'.\)

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  Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 | 10:50 AM ET

Death, Debt, and Politics in Libya

Posted By: Ash Bennington
Protests in Libya
Protests in Libya

The madness in Libya has escalated beyond the level seen in Egypt—even during its darkest hours, just prior to the fall of the Mubarak regime.

Recent counts of the dead in Egypt put the death toll from the uprising at well over 300 .

Video of plain clothes police officers in Tahrir Square, clubbing demonstrators while mounted on horseback or riding camels, remain the indelible images of the regime's brutality — proof that Mubarak had little reservation about sending in goons to bust skulls when his regime was teetering on the brink of collapse.

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  Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 | 10:15 AM ET

US Presidents From the Whiskey Rebellion to the Tea Party Revolt

Posted By: Lori Ann LaRocco

Since yesterday was President's Day, I found it only fitting to focus my column on some of the most important policy decisions that have helped shaped our nation. Nick Ragone, a presidential historian whose latest book is called "Presidential Leadership: 15 Decisions That Changed The Nation," sat down with me and offered me his perspective on some of these key economic and foreign policy events.

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  Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 | 9:48 AM ET

Why did Economists Miss the Financial Crisis?

Posted By: Ash Bennington
Wall Street in Crisis
Wall Street in Crisis

University of Chicago finance professor Raghu Rajanis has written an interesting article about why academic economists failed to predict the financial crisis.

He begins with an anecdote.

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  Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 | 8:59 AM ET

Inside Erin Callan's Hamptons Hideaway

Posted By: John Carney
Source: Anthony Montella

When news broke last week that the California Public Employees' Retirement System was suing former Lehman executives, we immediately started wondering what these folks are up to now.

Three Lehman executives were named in the suit: former CEO Dick Fuld and former CFOs Chris O'Meara and Erin Callan.

Our investigation into O'Meara and Fuld continues. But we do have some intelligence on Erin Callan.

We're told by a person familiar with the matter that Callan is still dating Queens firefighter Anthony Montella . They live together in a house in East Hampton , according to the person.

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  Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 | 8:48 AM ET

It's Not a Bubble — It's a Chain Letter

Posted By: Julia La Roche
  Friday, 18 Feb 2011 | 4:31 PM ET

Flash Crash Panel Recommends Major Changes for US Markets

Posted By: Ash Bennington
  Friday, 18 Feb 2011 | 4:24 PM ET

Friday Video Refreshment: Baby Trashes A Bar

Posted By: John Carney
Enjoy. »Read more

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