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Finance NetNet


  Thursday, 9 Dec 2010 | 3:49 PM ET

It's Good to be Billy Joel

Posted By: Ash Bennington
Billy Joel
Getty Images
Billy Joel

It's good to be Billy Joel: The 61 year old has a stunning new girlfriend.

At 29, Alexis Roderick is 31 years his junior. She's also smart: She works for Morgan Stanley , in their Garden City office, as a senior risk officer.

New York Newsday reports: "Roderick graduated from Stony Brook University, where she focused on political science, economics and Latin American studies. She has been with Morgan Stanley since April 2005." Little else seems known about her.

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  Thursday, 9 Dec 2010 | 3:28 PM ET

Bonds, Speculators—and Philosophers

Posted By: Ash Bennington

Occam's Razor seems to be slicing through the financial blogosphere.

Joe Weisenthal wrote about it this morning . Perhaps, based on the time stamps of the posts, he was inspired by Felix Salmon —who had used the concept in a post about the alleged 'speculation' in eurozone debt.

Felix Salmon jumps off from an article in The New York Times about the 'fight' between financiers and central bankers.

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  Thursday, 9 Dec 2010 | 2:21 PM ET

Consumer Set To Retreat In New Year?

Posted By: Stephanie Landsman
Source: Getty Images

Clear the racks! Consumers could be poised for a retreat.

That's according to a new study that is expected to be officially released tomorrow by WSL Strategic Retail, a retail marketing and consulting firm.

"It's very possible the consumer will retreat in January and we've been talking about this," said WSL CEO Wendy Liebmann. "Our data indicates that most people don't believe their personal finances will get better for another three years."

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  Thursday, 9 Dec 2010 | 1:36 PM ET

Krugman: We Can’t Jump Start The Economy With More Spending

Posted By: John Carney
US Capitol Building with cash
US Capitol Building with cash

I’m always surprised—pleasantly surprised—when I find myself agreeing with Paul Krugman. Today is one of those surprising days.

Here’s what Krugman writes:

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  Thursday, 9 Dec 2010 | 12:41 PM ET

Could The Payroll Tax Cut Become Permanent?

Posted By: John Carney

The payroll tax cut is designed to be temporary—which is one of it’s biggest defects. But Mike Konczal at Rortybomb points out that politics may cure this defect :

“It’s clear that it would be an ugly battle to raise this payroll tax in 2012 when unemployment will likely be 8%+,” Konczal writes. (Note: this is leading Konczal and other liberals to worry that the payroll tax cut might be a bad idea.)

This is a point I haven’t taken into account yet. It raises the possibility that the payroll tax actually could lead to more spending—if the public believes that it will be made permanent and therefore create a permanent increase in income. I’m still not convinced this would happen, however, because I suspect the appetite for savings and develeraging exceeds the actual ability of cash-strapped households to save.

There’s a deep irony here. The payroll tax cut might work as intended—encouraging spending—but only if the public believes that it won’t be as limited as the Obama administration plans.

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  Thursday, 9 Dec 2010 | 12:07 PM ET

Why The Payroll Tax Cut Is a Good Idea Even if it Won’t Create Much Stimulus

Posted By: John Carney

The volume of pixels I’ve spilled arguing that the cut in payroll taxes will not create much economic stimulus has apparently created the impression that I’m against the cut.

Lars Klove | The Image Bank | Getty Images

So let me clear that up right now—I’m not against the tax cut.

My critique has always aimed at the assumption that Americans will spend most of the slight and temporary increase in take-home pay that results from a 2% cut in payroll taxes. The central planners in the Obama administration may wish that Americans could be counted on to respond so mechanically to turning the tax dial this way or that—but wishing doesn’t make it so.

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  Thursday, 9 Dec 2010 | 11:34 AM ET

What's Really Going on With The English Economy?

Posted By: Ash Bennington

On Thursday, The Bank of England didn't change its key interest rate or modify its monetary easing related to asset purchases.


A steady course from the central bank may sound like a vote of confidence for the economy— but the reality may be more complex.

Here is the rub: Inflation in England seems to be picking up—and, on the growth side of the equation, the future of the British recovery remains uncertain.

The language describing inflation in today's Wall Street Journal is rather restrained:

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  Thursday, 9 Dec 2010 | 9:55 AM ET

Where's The Hiring, Mr. Hiring CEO?

Posted By: Nicole Lapin

Half full versus half empty. Certainty versus uncertainty. Jobs versus spending.

Businesspeople seated side by side
John Cumming | Digital Vision | Getty Images
Businesspeople seated side by side

Those are a few hiring battles Gary Burnison trying to reconcile as the CEO of Korn/Ferry International, the world's largest executive recruiting firm.

“It's this virtuous circle or vicious cycle, depending on how you want to look at it,” he told me after he broke KFY's earnings on Worldwide Exchange. “Out of income comes spending, out of spending comes jobs, out of jobs comes more spending.”

For that spending, Burnison has told me before \(like almost every other CEO guest host who sits next to me on set\) and tells me again that in order to create jobs, there needs to be more certainty.

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  Thursday, 9 Dec 2010 | 9:51 AM ET

Lockhart: Fannie and Freddie Over Time Should Move Over Into The Private Sector

Posted By: Lori Ann LaRocco

In an effort to help with the expecting tsunami of foreclosures, the government is putting pressure on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to modify their "underwater" mortgages when people fall behind on payments. But won't this just encourage people to not make payments? I decided to get insight from James Lockhart, Former Federal Housing Finance Agency Director and Vice Chairman of WL Ross & Co.

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  Thursday, 9 Dec 2010 | 8:47 AM ET

Hacker Cyber War Widening?

Posted By: Ash Bennington

No New Easing for U.K. (CNBC via Reuters) "The Bank of England voted to make no change to its monetary policy this month, in a widely expected decision as it waits to see how much growth next year suffers from UK public spending cuts and euro zone turmoil." Also, "Despite a debt bailout for neighboring Ireland, the economic outlook for Britain has changed little since November's MPC meeting and consumer price inflation has risen further above its 2 percent target to 3.2 percent. Manufacturing activity has been strong following robust overall economic growth of 0.8 percent in the third quarter, though trade data on Thursday was unexpectedly weak, casting doubt on the BoE's hopes of an export-led recovery next year."


Gorman True to His Words: Morgan Stanley Seeks to Reduce Payout (New York Times DealBook) "Even as Wall Street prepares to hand out rich year-end bonuses, one firm, Morgan Stanley, is mapping out a plan to reduce the pay of some of its senior executives, according to people with knowledge of the plan. The effort to rein in compensation in the management ranks — while still rewarding its top traders and bankers — is one way that Morgan Stanley is coming to grips with a quandary that has plagued it for a year."

Hacker Cyber War Widening? (New York Times) "In a campaign that had some declaring the start of a “cyberwar,” hundreds of Internet activists mounted retaliatory attacks on Wednesday on the Web sites of multinational companies and other organizations they deemed hostile to the WikiLeaks antisecrecy organization and its jailed founder, Julian Assange. On Thursday, a man identifying himself as one of the activists from a group called Anonymous, who used the pseudonym Coldblood in an interview with BBC radio, said: 'This campaign is not over from what I’ve seen. It’s still going strong.' The speaker had an English accent and said he was a 22-year-old software engineer with no specific political loyalty."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg Not Running for President \(CNBC\) "Despite growing rumors to the contrary, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he is not running for president in 2012.In an interview Thursday morning with CNBC, the billionaire executive and head of Bloomberg LP denied that a spate of high-profile policy speeches was paving the way for a run at the nation's top elected office.'I'm not going to be running for president, he said. I have eleven-hundred and nineteen days left in my job. I'm looking forward to today and every other one of them.'"

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Wall Street

  • Federal Reserve Bank Board Chair Janet Yellen.

    Market conditions and stabilizing economic data could lead the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in October, David Lebovitz said.

  • Job seekers attend a Job Fair Giant career fair in Sterling Heights, Michigan, Sept. 30, 2015

    Stocks sank and investors ran to Treasurys after a disappointing jobs report pushed off expectations for a Fed rate hike into 2016.

  • Job seekers wait in line to enter the Choice Career Fair in San Antonio, Texas.

    The economy created 142,000 jobs in September, a number that whiffed on expectations and could cool expectations that the Fed will start raising rates.