Posted by Larry Doyle on March 27th, 2009 1:36 PM |
I have focused on the problems in western and eastern Europe over the last few months. Those problems are not abating. Who would have thought that the host of next week’s G-20 may need the greatest amount of aid of all.
Should Prime Minister Gordon Brown look to increase the room rates for world leaders in attendance next week? Perhaps a slightly higher fee for the mini-bar? Every little bit helps.
In all seriousness, the U.K has spent proportionately almost three times as much in bailing out their financial institutions as the United States.
For those unaware, the U.K. was unable to fully place 40 year debt this week. That experience, known as a “failed auction,” is financially and politically embarrassing, aside from being fiscally frightening. If a country is not able to finance itself . . . (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on March 19th, 2009 2:41 PM |
Sense on Cents is very judicious in selecting our Economic All-Stars (highlighted in the left sidebar). These individuals continually display a level of professionalism, maturity, consistency, and integrity which are not commonly found in our financial or political spectrum. I deeply appreciate their insights and perspectives and enjoy sharing them with our audience at Sense on Cents and No Quarter USA.
I thank Susan and Andy for tipping me off to remarks made earlier today in which Sheila Bair Says “Too Big to Fail” Strategy for Financial Institutions Must End. The administration and other political pundits are trying to make the case that the Federal Reserve should serve as the systemic risk regulator. In my opinion, Sheila Bair should occupy that role. There is a major political battle developing over this turf. Make no mistake that how this battle plays out will have deep and longstanding implications for our financial system as a whole and for individual consumers. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on March 19th, 2009 12:36 PM |
Senator Dodd did not exactly fall on the sword for the Obama administration as Bloomberg reports, Senator Chris Dodd Blames Obama Administration for Bonus Amendment.
The very legislators who rushed through the Stimulus Bill, which included provisions to prevent AIG-like bonuses, are now railing and pandering as never before. Who are these politicians? Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, Chuck Schumer, and many more. Treasury Secretary Geithner Vows to Recoup AIG Bonuses as Lawmakers Express Fury. Geithner himself feigned ignorance of his knowledge of these AIG payouts.
What do we learn from this sort of political circus? (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on March 18th, 2009 3:50 PM |
A precursor to the turmoil roiling our economy and markets today occurred on a smaller, but certainly very dramatic, scale in 1998. The meltdown of the hedge fund Long Term Capital Management brought the market to its knees at the time. LTCM was effectively taken over by a consortium of Wall Street banks at the behest of New York Federal Reserve Chairman, William McDonough. The firms injected approximately $3 billion dollars in order to stabilize LTCM and then unwound it in an orderly fashion.
The lessons learned in the LTCM crisis were obviously not learned well enough because we are experiencing them again a multiple hundred fold. The centerpiece of our current fiasco is AIG (known here at Sense on Cents as “Ain’t It Great”).
The dramatic story of Long Term Capital Management is captured in a book I strongly recommend for anybody interested in the history of the financial markets. When Genius Failed, by Roger Lowenstein, is a great read and truly captures the intrigue, egos, and tension of that period. As the current turmoil unwinds I look forward to the books published on this period as well. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on March 17th, 2009 5:34 PM |
When trading bonds, I used a rule that Tuesday’s price action often reversed Monday’s. While that rule of trading was strictly a quirk based upon years of experience, I found it happen so regularly that I never discounted it.
Supported by a surprisingly strong housing starts number (+22% to 583K) and a relatively mild increase in PPI (producer price index) of .1%, the market opened relatively flat today but firmed all day right into the close. The major stock market averages closed up 2.5%-4%!! (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on March 16th, 2009 4:17 PM |
A loyal reader shared with me a recent posting from former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Earlier today I cross posted a piece from No Quarter in which Reich was less than complimentary of Secretary Geithner. Well, let’s see what Mr. Reich has to say about President Obama’s economic program: Is Obamanomics Conservative or Revolutionary?
Prior to delving into my thoughts and commentary on Reich (or anybody), I always find it useful to consider the perspective of the writer. In regard to Mr. Reich, let us not forget that Robert Reich Excludes White Male Construction Workers from Obama Stimulus Plan. Utilizing that perspective, Mr. Reich would be considered to be more than slightly left of center. Additionally, in considering the Obama economic plans, I think it is critically important to incorporate the economic plans and agenda of the Democrats in Congress. These Congressional leaders have a major influence in this process. These Democrats, including David Obey (D-WI), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Harry Reid (D-NV), Barney Frank (D-MA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Chris Dodd (D-CT), and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) amongst others are major players in the stimulus, budget, and Omnibus bill that have come down from Congress. It is not totally clear where the lines are drawn between the White House and Congress on all the economic issues. That said, let’s see what Mr. Reich has to say and then critique his assessments of Obamanomics. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on March 16th, 2009 12:31 PM |
On my radio show last evening, I touched on some of the pressing issues facing our economy and, in turn, our markets. These issues include residential housing, municipal finance, automotive, and commercial real estate. While the first three issues seem to get a wealth of very personal and humanistic coverage from the media, the world of commercial real estate seems much more opaque. The site of large office buildings, suburban shopping malls, upscale hotels, warehouses, and apartment complexes do not evoke the level of human emotion involved in a foreclosed home, municipal layoffs, or factory closings. That said, the problems in the commercial real estate industry should generate just as much concern if not more. Why?
These commercial properties are the glue in our entire world of global finance. While the development of the commercial mortgage-backed securities market brought a large amount of liquidity to this sector, the shutdown of that market has just as quickly sucked the oxygen right back out. What has happened as a result? The lack of a transparent market has caused an overwhelming lack of liquidity and as a result properties are not trading. Why? The disparity between perceived value from the buyers’ and sellers’ perspectives is so wide that we could drive that proverbial Mack truck through it. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on March 13th, 2009 6:30 PM |
I am pleased to relaunch our weekly departure from “Central Station” on Saturday mornings. This endeavor here at Sense on Cents is a few hours of written Q/A with your resident host. I like to utilize the theme of a ride on the rails, so please allow me to expound.
With so many cross currents at play in the markets, economy, and world of global finance, where can one go to develop a framework of understanding, enjoy the company of friends, and make sense of the madness? Welcome to Sense on Cents “Central Station.” Our ride departs Saturday morning at 9 a.m. with an expected return at 12 noon. While we traverse the curves along our track, we can address a wide range of issues, including: Obama’s economic plans, Secretary Geithner’s outlook, the market performance this week, month, and year to date, developments overseas, the outlook for our financial regulatory structure, issues of personal finance, or anything else on your mind.
Our ride is most productive with as many people participating as possible. Please bring not only your questions, but also your views. Invite friends, neighbors, and colleagues along for the ride as well.
Your conductor is not a professional financial planner. I recommend that you consult with a licensed, qualified professional before making any investment decisions. I am merely a Wall Street veteran looking to help you navigate the economic landscape!!
Come on back tomorrow morning at 9, submit your questions in the comments section, and away we go.. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall Aboard!!
Posted by Larry Doyle on March 13th, 2009 10:35 AM |
If I go to a comedian, I look to be entertained. I do not look for piercing insights on global issues. Alternately, when I want cogent financial analysis I don’t go to an entertainer. The following photo and captions from the New York Post are self-explanatory:
If you want to review a topic which is less entertaining, but much more critically important in navigating the economic landscape, let’s take a quick look at how the Chinese export engine is humming. Uh-oh!! Chinese exports in February dropped almost 26% from a year earlier. That decline displays an acceleration in the 17% drop experienced in January. Thank you John Mauldin, one of our Economic All-Stars (left sidebar), for providing us this less than entertaining but extremely insightful perspective, China: Exports Drop.