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PIMCO's Gross Is Buying Mortgages

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PIMCO's Gross Is Long Mortgages [Bloomberg] Very interesting story:"Bill Gross, who runs the world’s biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co., increased his holdings of mortgage debt to the highest level since July 2009 as prices of government securities fell. Gross cut the proportion of U.S. government and related securities in Pimco’s $241 billion Total Return Fund to 22 percent of assets in December from 30 percent in November, according to a report placed on the company’s website. That’s the least since February 2009. He raised mortgages to 45 percent from 43 percent. Pimco doesn’t comment directly on monthly changes in its portfolio holdings."

Tunisia's President Flees the Country [Wall Street Journal] "Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi announced on state television Friday he was temporarily assuming power and that President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali has left the country for Malta under Libyan protection. In a statement Friday, Prime Minister Ghannouchi cited constitutional provisions that stipulate a president who is temporarily unable to conduct his duties should delegate them to the prime minister." Some news outlets are citing inflation as one of the causes.

Fed Governor Tarullo: Economy Improving, Low Inflation Expectation [CNBC] CNBC's Michelle Lodge reports:" The economy has improved in the last six months, signaled by greater consumer spending, durables purchases and some signs of increased investment, Daniel K. Tarullo, Federal Reserve governor, told CNBC Friday, echoing the optimism of his boss, Chairman Ben Bernanke, who was projecting growth on Thursday, 'That has reinforced the sense that we’re going to have to slightly-above-trend growth going forward and that it’s a firmer imbedded growth than may have been apparent six months ago,' said Tarullo, who is President Obama’s first Fed appointee."

Older Workers Holding Jobs at Higher Rates than Their Younger Counterparts [New York Times] "The American work force is getting older. More people over 55 are working while fewer people under that age are employed. The Labor Department’s household survey in December found that 28.2 million people over 55 years of age had jobs, an increase of 7.6 percent from three years earlier, when the recession was beginning."

Blankfein Pitches Groupon? [Bloomberg] "Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein visited the Chicago headquarters of Groupon Inc. today to pitch executives on hiring his firm for a possible share sale this year, a person familiar with the matter said. Morgan Stanley is also in talks with Groupon to arrange an initial public offering, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private."