EconoMonitor

Economics Blog Aggregator

    Finance & Markets

  • FT Alphaville

    Further reading

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  • naked capitalism

    Nine Years After Katrina, Coastal Restoration Plans Remain Distant Dream for New Orleans

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  • FT Alphaville

    The 6am London Cut

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  • Calculated Risk

    Black Knight releases Mortgage Monitor for July

    Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS) released their Mortgage Monitor report for July today. According to BKFS, 5.64% of mortgages were delinquent in July, down from 5.70% in June. BKFS reports that 1.85% of mortgages were in the foreclosure process, down from 2.82% in July 2013.This gives a total of 7.49% delinquent or in foreclosure. It breaks down as:• 1,713,000 properties that are 30 or more days, and less than 90 days past due, but not in foreclosure.• 1,136,000 properties that are 90 or more days delinquent, but not in foreclosure.• 935,000 loans in foreclosure process.For a total of ​​3,785,000 loans delinquent or in foreclosure in June. This is down from 4,599,000 in July 2013. Click on graph for larger image.This graph from BKFS shows percent ...more

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  • DealBook

    New York Set to Accuse Evans Bank of Redlining

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  • DealBook

    Public Pension Funds Stay Mum on Corporate Expats

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  • DealBook

    Boot Camp for Bankers

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  • AllAboutAlpha: Hedge Fund Trends & Alternative Investment Analysis

    Complications in Regards to Accessing Private Equity Funds

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  • The Skeptical Speculator

    Manufacturing slows in most of Europe and Asia

    Data on Monday showed that manufacturing activity continued to expand in Europe and Asia in August but mostly at a slower pace. In the euro area, Markit's manufacturing PMI fell to 50.7 in August from 51.8 in July. In the UK, the Markit/CIPS manufacturing PMI fell to 52.5 in August from 54.8 in July. Another report from the UK on Monday showed that mortgage approvals fell slightly in July In China, the official manufacturing PMI fell to 51.1 in August from 51.7 in July while the HSBC PMI fell to 50.2 from 51.7. Japan was an exception among the major economies reporting manufacturing data on Monday. The Markit/JMMA manufacturing PMI rose to 52.2 in August from 50.5 in July. However, another report from Japan on Monday showed that capital spending fell 1.8 percent in the ...more

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  • The Big Picture

    Humanity’s Cultural History in 5-minutes

    From Nature: All roads lead from Rome, according to a visual history of human culture built entirely from the birth and death places of notable people. The 5-minute animation provides a fresh view of the movements of humanity over the last 2,600 years. Maximilian Schich, an art historian at the University of Texas at Dallas, and his colleagues used the Google-owned knowledge base, Freebase, to find 120,000 individuals who were notable enough in their life-times that the dates and locations of their births and deaths were recorded. The list includes people ranging from Solon, the Greek lawmaker and poet, who was born in 637 bc in Athens, and died in 557 bc in Cyprus, to Jett Travolta — son of the actor John Travolta — who was born in 1992 in Los Angeles, California,...more

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  • The Big Picture

    Busy States of America

    Click either graphic for interactivity awesomeness. Source: Retale Click graphic for interactivity awesomeness. Source: Retale

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  • Abnormal Returns

    What books Abnormal Returns readers purchased in August 2014

    A monthly post looking at what books Abnormal Returns readers purchased at Amazon in the prior month is a great way to scan the month’s most popular finance and investing books. Readers this month roamed from strictly financial topics with purchases of Statistics Topics and Creativity, Inc. jumping into the top 10. Here are the books (combined print and Kindle) that our readers purchased most often during August 2014: The Top 10 Statistics Topics by Salil Mehta It’s Not All About “Me”: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone by Robin Dreeke Rational Expectations: Asset Allocation for Investing Adults by William Bernstein Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull Why DonR...more

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  • Real Time Economics

    Labor Day Turns Attention Back to Minimum-Wage Debate

    The White House and union leaders are using Labor Day reinvigorate efforts to raise the minimum wage. Legislation to increase the federal pay floor from $7.25 an hour stalled in Congress this spring, but Democrats hope the issue will resonate with voters in November, especially in states with closely contested Senate races. “Raising the minimum wage would be one of the best ways to give a boost to working families,” President Barack Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio address. He pointed to stronger job creation gains this year but noted many workers are in low-paying jobs. Raising the federal minimum wage “would help around 28 million Americans from all walks of life pay the bills, provide for their kids, and spend that money at local businesses,” he said....more

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  • DRS » Blog

    EU to everyone- you show me yours…

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  • DRS » Blog

    EU to everyone- you show me yours…

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  • The Housing Bubble Blog

    After Years Of Booms And Busts: Don’t Panic

    The Los Angeles Times reports from California. “Interest rates on an average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit 4.1% this week, a low for the year, according to Freddie Mac. It’s helping to ease the pain of home prices that have climbed by one-third in Southern California over the last two years. When rates start to rise, there may well be a flurry of sales as buyers rush to lock in lower payments while they still can, said Mark Goldman, a mortgage broker who teaches real estate at San Diego State University. In the long run, Goldman and other market watchers say, higher rates may help to damp home sales, which are already running well below historical averages. But they’ll be balanced out by clearer lending guidelines and slightly looser credit requireme...more

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  • naked capitalism

    Don Quijones: Judge Turns Monsanto’s Mexican GMO Dream Into Legal Nightmare

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  • Calculated Risk

    State and Local Governments: Contributions to GDP and Employment

    Two and half years ago I argued that "most of the drag from state and local governments would be over by mid-year 2012. Just eliminating the drag from state and local governments would help GDP and employment growth". This has been an important change.Here is a graph showing the contribution to percent change in GDP for residential investment and state and local governments since 2005. Click on graph for larger image.The blue bars are for residential investment (RI), and RI was a significant drag on GDP for several years. RI (blue) added to GDP growth for a few years, before subtracting in Q4 2013 and Q1 2014. RI bounced back in Q2, and since RI is still very low, I expect RI to make a positive contribution to GDP for some time.State and local governments had been a...more

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  • Abnormal Returns

    Monday links: valuation moralists

    Read of the day @jesselivermore, “The market’s valuation is not set by any external standard for what “should” be the case. To the contrary, the market’s valuation is an inadvertent byproduct of the equilibration of supply and demand…”  (Philosophical Economics) Chart of the day Is it as simple as this?  (Dragonfly Capital) Markets How the relentless bid from share buybacks has driven this rally.  (The Reformed Broker) Has the market overpriced stocks and long bonds?  (Econbrowser) Strategy Why trading should be fun.  (Dragonfly Capital) Digging through the market’s wost performers for ideas.  (Aleph Blog) How sports betting is similar to the stock market.  (CNN Money) Apple The new Apple ($AAPL) iPhone is going to be a mobile wal...more

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  • The Big Picture

    Take It Easy: So Long, Summer 2014

    The sun is out, the surf is up and it’s a beautiful Southern California day. That’s right, we might be plagued by earthquakes and gridlock, but when the elements align, which is nearly every day, when you get behind the wheel and crank up the radio, you feel like a million bucks. So I just went for an MRI at Kerlan-Jobe, for a hip injury that occurred skiing the ice two and a half years ago, I’m wondering what is causing the pain at this late date, and after lying in the tube for forty five minutes running every sexual fantasy possible through my brain to avoid concentrating on the fact that my ankles were Velcroed and my knee hurt I emerged into the sunlight to “Take It Easy” on the satellite. I’ve been thinking a lot about the last ...more

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  • The Housing Bubble Blog

    When The Harmless ­Bubble Becomes A Malevolent Force

    A holiday desk clearing post. “For a while in the wake of the housing crash, the answer was pretty clear: If you could swing it, buy now. But things have changed rapidly. Prices in Southern California have climbed by a third in two years. The post-crash bargain bin has been picked clean. Yet doubts linger about the health of the housing recovery, and the broader economy. Cedric Shen and his wife have been ‘aggressively looking’ for a house to buy for about three months, but they’ve yet to put in an offer. ‘We’re fully qualified for a loan. We’ve got good credit and no debt. You’d think it would be easy,’ he said. ‘But you’ve got inventory issues, and you’ve got prices that seem ridiculous.’...more

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  • FT Alphaville

    Always turn to note 10

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  • The Capital Spectator

    ISM Manufacturing Index: August 2014 Preview

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  • naked capitalism

    Links Labor Day 2014

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  • The Housing Bubble Blog

    Bits Bucket for September 1, 2014

    Post off-topic ideas, links, and Craigslist finds here.

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  • Real Time Economics

    Indonesia’s Economy Remains Fragile

      Indonesian motorists queue up for gasoline amid a shortage of subsidized fuel. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images Indonesia squeezed out a narrow trade surplus in July but the Southeast Asian nation’s economy remains fragile and exposed to sudden shifts in capital flows. The country trade balance is in deficit for the year, and the government also runs a budget deficit, a reflection of costly state subsidies on the price of fuel. These twin deficits mean the country is reliant on foreign funding to make up the difference, largely in the form of hot money flows into the nation’s stock and bond markets. A year ago, a reversal of these flows caused by fears that U.S. yields would move higher, hurt Indonesian assets. The government has set about trying to readjus...more

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  • Real Time Economics

    China’s Productivity Problem Drags on Growth

    An employee works at a production line inside a Geely factory in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. Reuters China’s productivity is slipping away, the miracle days are largely over and the best way for Beijing to slow its slide into “the middle-income trap” is through meaningful structural reform, two reports argue, a process that has so far remained largely in the slow lane. China’s economy, once described as miraculous, is now struggling with rapid wage increases and a declining number of new workers, so productivity gains increasingly must come from structural reform, automation, greater company efficiency and innovation, the reports say. “China is now at this critical juncture, and maybe has been for several years,” writes Harry X. Wu, a senior advisor to T...more

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  • The Skeptical Speculator

    Stocks and bonds rally: Are markets getting overpriced?

    Markets rallied in August. The MSCI All-Country World Index jumped 2.0 percent last month, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index surged 3.8 percent to a record high and the STOXX Europe 600 Index rose 1.8 percent. Bonds also rose. The United States 10-year note yield fell 21 basis points in August to 2.34 percent as yields in Europe collapsed to record lows. The German 10-year bund yield reached 0.866 percent on 28 August while the French 10-year government-bond yield fell to 1.217 percent. The US 10-year note yield exceeded those of its Group of Seven counterparts by 79 basis points on 26 August, the most since June 2007, according to Bloomberg. Jim Hamilton at Econbrowser looked at the longer term trend in bond yields and noted that, apart from a rebound in the spring of ...more

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  • Calculated Risk

    Mortgage Rates: A Long Way to Fall for a Significant Increase in Refinance Activity

    I've seen some recent discussion suggesting that mortgage refinance activity might pickup significantly if mortgage rates fall just a little more. I think this is incorrect.First, from Freddie Mac last week: Mortgage Rates Remain Low Heading Into Holiday WeekendFreddie Mac ... released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates largely unchanged amid mixed news on the housing front heading into the Labor Day weekend....30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.10 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending August 28, 2014, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.51 percent. 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.25 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week wh...more

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  • The Mises Economics Blog: The Circle Bastiat

    Leading Keynesian Economist Uses The “D” Word

      Most Keynesian economists do not want to admit that we are in another depression.  They find the word painful. They find it painful because it contradicts the idea that Keynesian economic ideas have ended depressions forever. It also contradicts the idea that the massive and continuing Keynesian stimulus applied by world governments since 2008 has worked. For this and other reasons, euphemisms such as the Great Recession have been embraced not only by Keynesian economists, but by their allies in government and in the mainstream press. I argued that we were in a depression in a January article and again in April. Now Brad DeLong, one of the most prestigious Keynesians, a professor at Berkeley and former deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury under Clinton, sa...more

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  • Abnormal Returns

    Top clicks this week on Abnormal Returns

    Thanks for checking in with us this weekend.  Here are the items our readers clicked most frequently on Abnormal Returns for the week ended Saturday, August 30th, 2014. The description reads as it does in the relevant linkfest: Seven habits of people with remarkable mental toughness.  (Inc.) Learn statistics or get left behind.  (Barry Ritholtz) Peculiar habits of incredibly successful people.  (Morgan Housel) Six things to do in your early 20′s.  (Millenial Invest) On the rise and fall of the Hussman Strategic Growth Fund.  (Larry Swedroe) Where are we in the credit cycle?  (Aleph Blog) Successful investing is more about avoiding mistakes than anything else.  (ThinkAdvisor) Why S&P 500 index funds are a second-best choice.  (Rick Ferri) A simple switchi...more

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  • The Aleph Blog

    Using Mean Reversion and Momentum for Possible Advantage

    Photo Credit: Martin KennyOne of the challenges of fundamental investing is trying to find decent ideas that are off the radar. There are a number of ways to try to do that by looking at:smaller foreign companiescompanies that have made some significant losses.companies where the relative performance is so awful that no manager benchmarked to an index would dare touch the company.small companies with modest insider buying.companies in boring industries that you know can’t have any significant growth.  (This excludes “buggy whip” industries.)companies where insiders own so much of the company, that it can’t easily be taken over.complex companies that are difficult to understand.Okay, tall order.  That said, I’ll do a few articles over th...more

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  • Dr. Housing Bubble Blog

    Enter in the fall housing market: Shopping in Santa Monica with a $900,000 budget. Expectations running high before the fall season hits.

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  • The Skeptical Speculator

    Stocks rise, US and Japanese consumer spending fall

    Stocks rose on Friday. The S&P 500 and the STOXX Europe 600 both climbed 0.3 percent, the former regaining the 2,000 level in the process and hitting a record high. US stocks rose despite mixed US economic data on Friday. Consumer spending fell 0.1 percent in July, the first drop in six months. Income rose 0.2 percent, the smallest increase since December. However, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 82.5 in August from 81.8 in July and the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago’s business barometer rose to 64.3 this month from 52.6 in July. Data released earlier on Friday showed that Japan's economy started the third quarter on a weak note. Household spending fell 5.9 percent in July from a year earlier, worse than the 3.0 per...more

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  • The Mises Economics Blog: The Circle Bastiat

    Mises Weekends: Jeff Deist Talks Scottish Secession and the EU with Andy Duncan

    Jeff Deist and Andy Duncan discuss the rise of UKIP in England, and whether it represents a real populist anti-state uprising or just rightist politics. Andy skewers the strutting political class in London, and the charade of voting Labour or Conservative based on minute policy differences. They also discuss the upcoming Scottish independence vote, and whether the land that gave us Robert the Bruce and David Hume has succumbed completely to socialism. Could an independent Scotland become the Singapore of the North, or just another Eurozone basket case? Andy Duncan is financial derivatives lecturer based in England. He uses the lessons of Austrian Economics to help explain how free markets are trying to work under the current blanket of global government regulation. H...more

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  • The Mises Economics Blog: The Circle Bastiat

    Must Free-Marketers Reject Global Warming?

    You can’t make this stuff up. Someone at the UK Guardian named David Grimes has declared that “economic liberalism,” by which he means the ideology of laissez-faire, “clashes” with “scientific evidence.” Which scientific evidence, you might ask? Well, the unassailable scientific dogma of global warming is one: Climate change illustrates this well, because despite overwhelming evidence of anthropogenic influence, there is a tendency for those with pronounced free-market views to reject the reality of global warming. The reason underpinning this is transparent – if one accepts human-mediated climate change, then supporting mitigating action should follow. But the demon of regulation is a bridge too far for many libertarians. ...more

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  • Dealbreaker

    Write-Offs: 08.29.14

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  • Dealbreaker

    Get Ready To Hear “I’ll Have My Assistant Make A Reservation At Denny’s” A Lot More Often

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  • Dealbreaker

    You Now Have Two Ways To Evaluate Mortgage-Backed Securities

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  • DRS » Blog

    ISDA prays BCBS and IOSCO for a grace period

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  • DRS » Blog

    ISDA prays BCBS and IOSCO for a grace period

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  • Macro Man

    The race to the finish

    Apologies for the lack of postings this week but Macro Man felt curiously uninspired by the ongoing rally in all manner of assets.  Big-figureitis is a well-known behavioural phenomenon, and now that we've traded SPX2K it will be interesting to see if profit-takers emerge.Of course, with the end of the summer upon us (the Macro Boys are already back in school), following next Monday's Labor Day holiday it seems reasonable to expect trading desks to be fully staffed full of well-rested punters looking to make their years.  Indeed, it's become something of a depressingly familiar phenomenon in the macro space for traders to scuffle for the first eight months of the year before throwing a bunch of risk at the market from September onwards to snatch victory from t...more

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  • The Aleph Blog

    Two Portfolios. Pick One.

    Photo Credit: James WheelerI’m going to show you two portfolios — I’m not initially going to tell you much about either one, but then you can consider which one you might like better.  Here’s portfolio A:And here is portfolio B:There is one obvious difference in the two portfolios: portfolio B has gone up more than portfolio A in the past year.  But the hidden story is that portfolio A’s stocks have had price returns of -85% or worse over the past four years, whereas portfolio B’s stocks have has price returns of 1000% or better.  They are the only stocks with current market caps of over $100 million that meet those criteria.Now, which one would you choose, if you had to hold one portfolio for the next year? The next four years?Odd...more

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  • AllAboutAlpha: Hedge Fund Trends & Alternative Investment Analysis

    The Delusions a Boom Can Bring and the Perils of Chasing Hedge Fund Winners

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  • footnoted*

    EZCorp’s Doozy $25K/Mo Housing Perk For Chairman

    Two weeks ago, we wrote about EZCorp Inc. and its generous payouts to its executives — something we’ve coveredextensively in the past — so much so that it has become something of a Frequent Flyer here at footnoted. The pixels on that post had barely set when tthe operator of pawnshops filed another doozy of a filing. The company, which announced the appointment of Stuart Grimshaw, the CEO of Australian financial firm Queensland Ltd., as its executive chairman on Aug. 13 waited until the following day to include the basket full of goodies it was offering Grimshaw to take the helm. For starters, Grimbshaw will get an annual salary of $1 million; a sign-on bonus of $1 million; a potential incentive bonus of more than $1 million; and millions more in other...more

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  • The Capital Spectator

    A Labor Day Lull…

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  • My voice and noise on subprime bank regulations

    Do bank regulators really believe ordinary bankers to be so stupid, or are they really so stupid themselves?

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  • DRS » Blog

    FCA to Managers- your word is my bond

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  • DRS » Blog

    FCA to Managers- your word is my bond

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  • The Capital Spectator

    Personal Consumption Expenditures: July 2014 Preview

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  • The Aleph Blog

    The Art of Extracting Large Commissions From Investors

    Photo Credit: dolphinsdockThe dirty truth is that some investments in this life are sold, and not bought.  The prime reason for this is that many people are not willing to learn enough to save and invest on their own.  Instead, they rely on others to corral them and say, “You ought to be saving and investing.  Hey, I’ve got just the thing for you!”That thing could be:Life InsuranceAnnuitiesFront-end loaded mutual fundsIlliquid securities like Private REITs, LPs, some Structured NotesEtc.Perhaps the minimal effort necessary to avoid this is to seek out a fee-only financial planner, and ask him to set up a plan for you.  Problem solved, unless…Unless the amount you have is so small that when look at the size of the financial planner’s fee...more

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  • AllAboutAlpha: Hedge Fund Trends & Alternative Investment Analysis

    A Back-Handed Look at ‘Too Big to Fail’

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  • Institutional Economics

    I am leaving CIS and returning to financial markets

    This is my last week at CIS. I will be returning to financial markets from whence I came back in 2008. Thanks to Greg Lindsay for giving me a platform to participate in the public policy debate over the last few years. Thanks also to those who contributed to Policy while I was editor over the last 18 months. Policy will continue under a new editor. My new employer won’t be paying me to blog or tweet during business hours, so you will be hearing even less from me on what is already a very low frequency blog. I will still post material here from time to time and link to what I am doing when appropriate. Needless to say, nothing on this web site should be attributed to current or previous employers. This blog has followed me around in various roles since 2003, back whe...more

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  • Steve Keen's Debtwatch

    Time for a Copernican revolution in economics

    The global financial crisis took the vast majority of the economics profession by surprise. Though there were individual mainstream economists — such as Robert Shiller and Joseph Stiglitz — who claim to have warned of the crisis, no mainstream economic model foresaw anything like what eventuated in 2007. In fact, mainstream model predictions led to politicians being advised to expect tranquil economic conditions ahead. The OECD’s advice in its June 2007 Economic Outlook was typical: “Indeed, the current economic situation is in many ways better than what we have experienced in years. Against that background, we have stuck to the rebalancing scenario.Our central forecast remains indeed quite benign: a soft landing in the United States, a strong and sustained re...more

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  • Ticker Sense

    August 25th Blogger Sentiment Poll

    Blogger Sentiment Poll Participants: 24/7 Wall St (-) The Aleph Blog (-) Biiwii (N) BullBear Trading Carl Futia (+) Dash of Insight (+) Dividend Growth Investor (+) Elliot Wave Lives On (+) Fallond Stock Picks (+) Global Economic Intersection (N)... ...more

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  • Dr. Housing Bubble Blog

    Building for a future of American renting serfs: Private housing starts for structures with at least 5 units hits a post recession high. More than 11 million Americans spend more than 50 percent of income on rent

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  • My voice and noise on subprime bank regulations

    An urgent message to those holed up in Jackson Hole. Stop profiling risk! Our economies need regulatory neutrality.

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  • Macro Man

    Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right

    In her Jackson Hole speech today, Janet Yellen released a technical note detailing the construction of the Fed's new labor market conditions index (LMCI), which she cited as among the reasons to maintain an exceptionally accommodative monetary policy.She failed to cite the fact that the index has enjoyed its longest uninterrupted string of quarterly gains in the nearly 40-year history of the indicator, a period which includes a labour market downdraft every bit as vicious as that of the Great Recession.source:  http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/notes/feds-notes/2014/assessing-the-change-in-labor-market-conditions-20140522.htmlMoreover, she also fails to note that the cumulative improvement in the index has taken it to levels at which virtually every prior t...more

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  • My voice and noise on subprime bank regulations

    Bank regulators hate me when I ask this simple question. They refuse to answer it. They can’t! That’s the real problem!

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  • Dr. Housing Bubble Blog

    Real Homes of Genius: A search for small homes in Culver City. High prices for 700 and 800 square feet of stucco box joy.

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  • Paper Economy - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

    Reading Rates: MBA Application Survey – August 20 2014

    The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages as well as the volume of both purchase and refinance applications. The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases. The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage (from FHA and conforming GSE data) decreased 6 basis points to 4.15% since last week while the purchase application volume decreased 0.4% and the refinance application volum...more

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  • Paper Economy - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

    Homebuilder Blues: NAHB/Wells Fargo Home Builder Ratings August 2014

    Recently, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released their latest Housing Market Index (HMI) showing that assessments of housing activity improved notably in August with the composite HMI index climbing to 55 from 53 the prior month while the "buyer traffic" index rose to a level of 42.Looking at the data, its pretty clear that while there was a bit of a pullback in activity earlier in the year, homebuilder sentiment and, in particular, assessments of buyer activity have improved. ...more

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  • Macro Man

    The impossible trinity?

    Just ahead of the week's big Fed events, and with the sour taste of the BOE's zigging and zagging left in the mouth, Macro Man cannot help but observe an unusual confluence of curious market pricing.  To wit, the SPX is near all time highs, while both bond prices and the DXY have also performed very strongly.Economists are familiar with the term "impossible trinity", referring to the fact that a nation cannot have an open capital account, an independent sovereign monetary policy, and a fixed exchange rate simultaneously.   You can try, of course, but it always ends in tears (see Asia, 1997-98.)In any event, since the advent of the euro as a credible alternative to the dollar as a reserve currency, in market terms it has been something of an impossible tri...more

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  • A Fistful Of Euros

    What Is The Risk The Euro Crisis Will Reignite?

    The euro zone crisis is not back — at least not yet. Recent movements in global markets following concerns about Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo really had as much to do with market nerves after a long spell of repressed volatility as it did with the state of the bank’s balance sheet. Despite the current calm, everyone knows that volatility will return one day, and no one wants to be caught on the back foot when it does arrive. So the initial response is to hit the “sell” button and then ask questions. Beyond this context, there is a lack of certainty in the market about which way bond yields for the so-called “peripheral” euro zone countries are heading in the near term — and what exactly the risks associated with holding them really are. R...more

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  • Ticker Sense

    August 18th Blogger Sentiment Poll

    Blogger Sentiment Poll Participants: 24/7 Wall St (-) The Aleph Blog (-) Biiwii (N) BullBear Trading Carl Futia (-) Dash of Insight (-) Dividend Growth Investor (+) Elliot Wave Lives On Fallond Stock Picks (+) Global Economic Intersection (-) GEI... ...more

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  • footnoted*

    From $1 to $675K for new LA Times chief!

    There’s been lots written over the past few days about Austin Beutner, who was named publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times last week. In the press release, the newspaper described Beutner as an “entrepreneur, philanthropist and public servant”. The press release (and most of the subsequent press coverage including this story in the very newspaper that Beutner will be running)  noted how he famously accepted a mere $1 salary when he was named First Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles in January 2010. Given all of that Michelle, being relatively new to Los Angeles, took more than a passing interest when she came across this 8-K filed by the newly spun-off Tribune Publishing Co. in the weekly Friday Night Dump. For one, there’s the $675K in base salar...more

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  • A Fistful Of Euros

    The Italian Runaway Train

    There has been lot’s of debate in the press and in academic circles over the last week or so about whether Italy’s latest contraction constitutes a triple dip recession or simply a continuation of what’s been going on over many many years. This is an interesting theoretical nicety, but in fact what is happening in Italy at the moment goes a lot further than problems faced by a recession dating committee. The real issue that arises in the context of the Euro Area at the moment is a far more specific one. Will the ECB do QE? And if it does when will it push the button? And what could happen if it doesn’t. Perhaps a case study of the Italian case is worth the effort here. What is likely to happen to Italian debt if there is no ECB intervention soon?...more

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  • A Fistful Of Euros

    Abenomics – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

    If this week’s economics news is positive then that is good.  But if it’s bad then that’s even better, since there is more potential for it to improve next week, and if it doesn’t, well that’s doubly better since there will be  even more reason for central banks to step in and push up asset prices. Maybe all this sounds peculiar, even perverse, but it would seem to be how many people working in financial markets are reasoning these days. In an article entitled “Why Japan’s GDP Plunge Isn’t As Bad As It Seems”, Bloomberg writer Bruce Einhorn put it like this: The last time Japan raised the consumption tax, in 1997, the economy went into a tailspin. The impact doesn’t seem to be as bad this time, though. ...more

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  • footnoted*

    EZCorp: The gift that keeps on giving

    With a market cap of just over $500m, EZCorp may be one of the smaller companies whose filings we read. But over the years, it has yielded more than its share of disclosures from fat salary raises at the company to mind-boggling retirement packages for its executives, especially for its former CEO and director Joseph Rotunda. So when the pawnshop operator disclosed in a recent  8-K  that Rotunda — who announced his retirement in 2010 — is back as a director at the company, it naturally piqued our interest. And what a comeback! Rotunda, who earlier served as CEO and director for more than a decade, returns at a turbulent time for the company, which recently ousted its CEO, Paul Rothamel, and installed CFO Mark Kuchenrither as interim CEO. This morning, Kuch...more

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  • Paper Economy - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

    Retail Sales: July 2014

    Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released its latest nominal read of retail sales  showing modest activity in July with sales going flat from June and rising 3.7% on a year-over-year basis on an aggregate of all items including food, fuel and healthcare services. Nominal "discretionary" retail sales including home furnishings, home garden and building materials, consumer electronics and department store sales declined slightly, falling 0.1% from June but rising 1.68% above the level seen in July 2013 while, adjusting for inflation, “real” discretionary retail sales declined 0.23% on the month and falling 0.34% since July 2013. ...more

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  • Steve Keen's Debtwatch

    Considering Economics? Consider Kingston

    If you know any UK secondary school student who is considering doing economics at University, please refer them to this blog post. This Thursday, you’ll find out your A-Level results. Whatever they are, if you are considering doing an economics degree, then I want you to consider doing it at Kingston University. At first glance, that’s something you wouldn’t do if you had a choice, because Kingston rates well down the list in the Guardian League Table. Why choose Kingston—which is at the bottom of the Guardian’s list—if, for example, your A-level results would get you into Oxford, which is at the top? A clue as to why can be found in The Guardian itself—not in the League Table, but in a recent column by The Guardian’s senior economics commentator Aditya...more

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  • Institutional Economics

    Wayne Swan on Monetary Offset and the GFC

    Former Treasurer Wayne Swan is releasing some of his briefing notes from the GFC ahead of the launch of his upcoming memoir, The Good Fight. The first instalment from a meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence with the Prime Minister, Treasury Secretary and other senior officials on 4 August 2008 is remarkable for its acknowledgement of monetary offset. Indeed, the notes could just as easily have been written by Scott Sumner: There are three broad considerations the Government would need to keep in mind in taking a decision to engage in discretionary [fiscal] action: • The Reserve Bank through its control over interest rates, determines the overall level of aggregate demand in the economy, and the Bank would likely take account of any fiscal stimulus in its monet...more

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  • Ticker Sense

    August 11th Blogger Sentiment Poll

    Blogger Sentiment Poll Participants: 24/7 Wall St (-) The Aleph Blog (-) Biiwii (N) BullBear Trading Carl Futia (-) Dash of Insight Dividend Growth Investor (+) Elliot Wave Lives On (+) Fallond Stock Picks (+) Global Economic Intersection (-) GEI... ...more

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  • Steve Keen's Debtwatch

    The truth about Australia’s unemployment rate ‘shocker’

    Hey, great news! Australia’s unemployment rate fell by 0.4 per cent last month! Did you hear? You didn’t? That’s funny. I was sure Joe would tell you. What do you mean, it rose by 0.4 per cent? Oh, you’re talking about the ABS figure! Yeah, that’s bad, but if you look at what happened to the Roy Morgan unemployment rate, the news is really good: it’s fallen from 10.6 per cent to 10.2 per cent! If this keeps up, pretty soon unemployment in Australia will be below 10 per cent! Huh? You thought it was 6.4 per cent — and that was bad? Actually, that would be really good if that were true. Herein lies the problem with spin in economic data: sometimes the spin turns your way, sometimes it doesn’t. The ABS uses the internationally sanctioned definition of u...more

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  • Piggington's Econo-Almanac

    July 2014 Housing Data Rodeo

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  • Emerging markets

    How RenCap reflects Russia’s rollercoaster

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  • Emerging markets

    Intesa Sanpaolo seeks size satisfaction

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  • Emerging markets

    FX: Hungary rumbles on

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  • The Prudent Investor

    The Coming Silver Shortage

    Click here to go to the The Prudent Investor homepage for more interesting posts.

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  • Institutional Economics

    The Financial System Inquiry and Macro-Pru

    I have an op-ed in Business Spectator endorsing the sceptical approach to macro-prudential regulation taken in the Murray inquiry’s interim report: Macro-prudential policies are seen as providing policymakers with a more targeted set of policy instruments that might complement or even substitute for changes in official interest rates. However, these instruments also implicate policymakers in making much finer judgements about risks to financial stability as well as the more traditional concern of monetary policy with price stability. A blunt instrument like monetary policy encourages caution in making such judgements. By contrast, more targeted counter-cyclical quantitative controls are a standing invitation to micro-manage credit allocation, but do not in thems...more

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  • Piggington's Econo-Almanac

    June 2014 Housing Data Rodeo

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  • Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up

    Okay FINRA, Who Had The Call From The FHFA?

     Last night at 4:05 PM E.S.T. the news hit Bloomberg that the Federal Housing Financing Agency was proposing an astoundingly, stupidly strict set of standards for private mortgage insurers who do business with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the net effect of which would be to reduce the availability of credit for home buyers at the very time that credit is needed to keep our economic recovery going. We are not here to explain the issue, only to point out to FINRA, the self-policing body in charge of sniffing out strange behavior in the public markets, the enormous--nay, ginormous--option trades in the two publicly traded stocks most affected by the proposed standards just hours before the news hit the tape, betting on a drop in those stocks. Those two stocks...more

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  • The Baseline Scenario

    How to Get Thrown Out of a Luxury Hotel

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  • The Baseline Scenario

    Corporate Political Contributions and Bad Faith, Whatever That Is

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  • Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up

    Life in Wartime, or, One More Reason Why Companies Leave America

     These are the headlines on my Bloomberg for Annie's, the organic mac and cheese maker whose shares have fallen from unsustainable heights as the difficulties of running a public company while trying to meet the impatient quarterly targets of impatient quarterly-minded investors finally overcame the euphoria of a company that seemed to be in the right place at the right time. And this is one more reason why companies are leaving America. For the record, I like the new CFO (who helped flag the filing deficiencies) and would not bet against the company mending its ways. Nor would I blame them for moving to Ireland to get the Pittsburgh Law Office of Alfred G. Yates, Jr, the Lifshitz & Miller Law Firm, Brower Piven, Levi & Korsinsky, LLP, the Fo...more

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  • Piggington's Econo-Almanac

    May 2014 Housing Data Rodeo

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  • The Baseline Scenario

    Larry Summers and Finance

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  • A Dash of Insight

    Weighing the Week Ahead: More Clarity from the Market Message?

    Do you have an opinion about stocks or bonds or foreign exchange? If so, it is easy to find a market message that will support (or contradict) your viewpoint. The "message" of the market has rarely been this confused. With plenty of important news and data this week, the theme will be: Can we find clarity in the market message? Prior Theme RecapLast week I expected a focus on housing. The short trading week would start with Prof. Shiller (that was right) and end with discussion of pending home sales (also right). In between, there was plenty of filler because nothing much seemed to be happening. I lost count of the number of stories about the driverless Google car – interesting, but not very relevant for the markets. Forecasting the theme is an exercise in plann...more

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  • A Dash of Insight

    Weighing the Week Ahead: Will a Sluggish Housing Sector Derail the Economy?

    In a holiday-shortened week, there is plenty of data. The Case-Shiller home-price index will set the tone on Tuesday morning. After last week's soft housing reports, many will be asking, Will housing weakness undermine economic growth? Prior Theme RecapLast week I expected a focus on bonds versus stocks. It was a light week for data and the bond market rally was an ongoing mystery. That theme was as good as any, but nothing really stood out. The appetite for content created many "fluff" pieces and trading was very quiet. As long as you did not take small moves seriously, there was an opportunity to do some buying at mid-week. Forecasting the theme is an exercise in planning and being prepared. Readers are invited to play along with the "theme forecast." I spend a l...more

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  • Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up

    Berkshire Hathaway: Beyond Buffett

    If this is failure, I want more of it.”—Charlie Munger “The only succession for Ajit Jain is reincarnation.”—Warren BuffettOmaha, Nebraska, May 3, 2014.It’s one year later, and I’m driving in pre-dawn darkness through downtown Omaha to the 2014 Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting, which, up until about a week ago, was looking like another cakewalk for Warren Buffett. After all, Berkshire’s net worth increased 18% in 2013, representing a staggering $34 billion jump in value.  And while, as some wet-blanket observers have pointed out, Berkshire’s 18% gain paled in comparison with the S&P 500 (up 32% including dividends—its best year since 1995), a $34 billion increase in value would be a grand slam home run for any company, in an...more

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  • A Dash of Insight

    The Sound of Silence

    The insightful investor develops solid indicators and then follows the data. This may seem obvious, but instead…. Many pundits start with the conclusion and then search for evidence.  [For complete appreciation of today's post, follow the links for the relevant music.] There are a number of interesting current examples. In various prior posts I have suggested that these were not really important leading indicators, so I am not flip-flopping by drawing inferences from improved conditions. Others will do that via their silence. I suggest that you recall the scary recent warnings on these themes – now all showing improvement – and note the sound of silence:  Margin debt. Remember how you were supposed to be scared witless (TM OldProf) by this event? It appea...more

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  • VIX and More

    The Correction As Seen in the ETP Landscape

    Since stocks bottomed in March 2009, I have periodically been publishing an SPX pullback table and occasionally a plot of all those pullbacks and their duration. The recent selloff in stocks, however, has been anything but an SPX pullback. I toyed with the idea of presenting comparable data for the NASDAQ Composite or NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX), but here again, the selling has been disproportionate in some areas of the NASDAQ universe, even though it has been hit harder than the SPX. This time around I have opted instead for a chart that shows the peak-to-trough drawdown across the equity ETP universe, focusing on sector groups that I believe are among the most important to watch. [source(s): Yahoo, VIX and More] The data above cover only 2014 and indicate the maximum...more

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  • VIX and More

    Low Volatility: How To Profit From a Quiet VIX (Guest Columnist at Barron’s)

    Today I was once again a guest columnist at Barron’s, penning Low Volatility: How to Profit From a Quiet VIX for the venerable Barron’s options column, The Striking Price. ; While this is my thirteenth turn as guest columnist, much to my surprise this is the firsts time that “VIX” has appeared in the title.  Since everyone seems to be talking about how low the VIX is, whether the VIX is broken, etc. I thought it would be an appropriate time to share some of my thoughts on the subject. In the Barron’s article I make the point that while mean-reversion trades when the VIX spikes higher has been a viable strategy over the years, the mean reversion approach has not fared nearly as well when the VIX dives substantially below its long-term mean, which happ...more

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  • Felix Salmon

    Post Felix

    By Shane Ferro Today is Felix’s last day at Reuters. Here's the link to his mega-million word blog archive (start from the beginning, in March 2009, if you like). Because we’re source-agnostic, you can also find some of his best stuff from the Reuters era at Wired, Slate, the Atlantic, News Genius, CJR, the NYT, and NY Mag. There’s also Felix TV, his personal site, his Tumblr, his Medium archive, and, of course, the Twitter feed we all aspire to. Counterparties may have been the brainchild of Felix and the recently departed Ryan McCarthy, but the blog, site, newsletter, and Twitter feed will continue to exist in their absence. It will be run by Ben Walsh and Shane Ferro, with some non-trivial amount of snark. Today we focus on the reason Felix started Counterparti...more

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  • Felix Salmon

    The Piketty pessimist

    By Felix Salmon This chart comes from the World Economic Forum’s 2014 Global Risks Report, which came out just before Thomas Piketty’s book started becoming the topic of discussion in economic and plutocratic circles.* You can clearly see what you might call the rise of inequality-as-an issue: before 2012 it’s nowhere to be found, but since then it’s been consistently in the top spot. My prediction is that in 2015, thanks to Piketty, the WEF will start talking less about income inequality, and more about wealth inequality. The big question, though, is whether inequality is really much of a risk at all. After all, from the point of view of the average billionaire WEF delegate, inequality would seem to look much more like a reward. Chrystia Freeland has a hopeful...more

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  • Economix

    Economix Meets the Gales of Change

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  • Economix

    Economix Meets the Gales of Change

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  • Felix Salmon

    The most expensive lottery ticket in the world

    By Felix Salmon No Exit, the new book from Gideon Lewis-Kraus, should be required reading for anybody who thinks it might be a good idea to found a startup in Silicon Valley. It shows just how miserable the startup founder’s life is, and raises the question of why anybody would voluntarily subject themselves to such a thing. A large part of the answer is that Silicon Valley is gripped by a mass delusion, compounded by a deep “fake it til you make it” attitude toward success. Why do so many people in Silicon Valley want to be founders? Because every founder they meet is always killing it, crushing it, having massive success, just about to close a huge round, etc etc. At some level, they must know this is impossible: if 90% of startups fail, it simply can’t be the...more

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  • Economix

    Mortgage Reform Is Worth the Small Extra Cost to Borrowers

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  • Economix

    Mortgage Reform Is Worth the Small Extra Cost to Borrowers

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  • Economix

    In Europe, Auto Sales Are Still Low, But They Are Rising

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  • Economix

    In Europe, Auto Sales Are Still Low, But They Are Rising

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  • VIX and More

    CBOE RMC 2014: A Retrospective

    Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending the CBOE Risk Management Conference (RMC) in Bonita Springs, Florida. Now that the conference is over and the CBOE has posted most of the presentations, I thought I would take a little time and offer a retrospective look at some of the content that caught my attention. Before I do that, I am compelled to tip my cap to Russell Rhoads, whose indefatigable and prolific efforts were responsible for capturing many of the details of the conference. Russell’s posts and those of Matt Moran made it possible for anyone to have a virtual front-row seat throughout the proceedings. Their efforts in conjunction with the RMC are archived at the CBOE Options Hub with the CBOERMC tag. From my vantage point, I thought it particularl...more

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  • FinanceProfessor.com

    Behavioral finance and investment from Berkely

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  • FinanceProfessor.com

    Fama on the history of Market Efficiency--MUST WATCH!

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  • Stan Collender's Capital Gains and Games

    Capital Gains And Games Now Being Published By Forbes

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  • Stan Collender's Capital Gains and Games

    Big Changes Are Coming To Capital Gains And Games

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  • Stan Collender's Capital Gains and Games

    Camp Plan Puts Nail In Tax Reform Coffin For This Year, And Next, And...

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  • The Prudent Investor

    30,000 Protesters Take To The Streets in Nantes, France

    While the world is glued to Youtube live feeds in HD quality to the bonfires in Kiev where one corrupt regime is about to be replaced by another, the economic crisis erupts into fire in the heartland of the Eurozone.30,000 protesters took to the streets in Nantes, France on Saturday, in an ongoing struggle to prevent the building of a new airport.Due to the language barrier and a blackout in EU media this report for the BBC from 2012 shows that fronts are pretty hardened. Protesters claim that the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport in the west of the country is unnecessary and would damage the enviroment while the local government just wants to press on with an agenda obviously abhorred in this town of 900,000.We miss the uproar in the EU about the deployment of pepper spray...more

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  • The Prudent Investor

    You Have No Deposits at the Bank but Only an IOU in Your Hands

    A nice reminder that once you deposit mony at the bank it is not yours anymore. Simply said your deposit is a – currently no interest paying – loan to the bank with little paperwork. Better get it before the bank runs begin. Click here to go to the The Prudent Investor homepage for more interesting posts. ...more

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  • Richard's Real Estate and Urban Economics Blog

    Hannah Harris Green in The Guardian on Race, Crime and Television

    She writes:The First 48 is an A&E true crime reality show that documents real police investigations for the first 48 hours after a homicide report, including what happens inside interrogation rooms. If this sounds dangerous and ethically questionable, that's because it is. Police accidentally killed a child as A&E's cameras rolled, and a legally innocent man came to beknown as a murderer after of his appearance on the show. Catastrophes like these have led to lawsuits, and now many cities refuse to work with The First 48.......This portrayal is not representative of American crime statistics. Although homicide arrests are disproportionately high among African Americans, about the same total number of white people are arrested i...more

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  • FinanceProfessor.com

    Blackstone Unit Wins in No-Lose Codere Trade: Corporate Finance - Bloomberg

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  • Richard's Real Estate and Urban Economics Blog

    UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow has issues with sifting and winnowing.

    A geography professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Rachel Slocum, made the mildly controversial point in an email to her students that Republicans in the House of Representatives had brought about the partial closure of the US government, and had therefore brought about the closure of the US Census web site.  This closure prevented her students from completing their assignments.  She never used abusive or offensive language.Her point raised howls among the conservative blogasphere and media; when confronted with this, her boss, UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow, publicly reprimanded her for expressing a factually based opinion to her class.  In my view, it was his job to back her--not to agree with her opinion, but rather to defend he...more

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  • The Oil Drum - Discussions about Energy and Our Future

    The Oil Drum writers: Where are they now?

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  • Richard's Real Estate and Urban Economics Blog

    The Windy City and The Foggy City

    Hannah Green writes:ERNEST HEMINGWAY famously wrote of Paris, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." For half a century, Hemingway’s nostalgic vision of the city of lights has made undiscovered literary geniuses wish that they could be unemployed in Paris in the 1920s instead of unemployed wherever they live, now. Last year, Teju Cole’s debut novel, Open City, offered a different kind of literary city. The main character, Julius, who resembles Cole, wanders the streets of New York, conversing with the city’s residents and falling into reveries about music, history, and literature. Most of the people he speaks with are immigrants, ...more

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  • The Oil Drum - Discussions about Energy and Our Future

    The Last Post

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  • The Oil Drum - Discussions about Energy and Our Future

    The House That Randy Built

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  • Accrued Interest

    IS HALLIBURTON A BUY?

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  • Accrued Interest

    Is it Time to Sell Blackberry?

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  • Accrued Interest

    Three Oil Stocks to Consider

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  • The Street Light

    Cyprus and Eurozone Bank Deposits

    To me, the central issue raised by this week's Cyprus debacle is how it has affected confidence across the eurozone.  To what degree has the possibility of insured depositors at a eurozone bank losing a portion of their deposits affected the mindset of depositors?  To what degree has ECB acquiescence to this possibility undermined the notion that deposit insurance in the eurozone means the same thing in all countries?  And to what degree has the ECB's direct threat to end support for Cyprus's banking system in the event that the government of Cyprus can not arrange sufficient funds to meet its conditions made a farce of its earlier promise to "do whatever it takes to preserve the euro"?These, to me, are the interesting questions prompted by this week's ev...more

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  • London Banker

    Chop Off Their Hands . . .

    President Truman famously called for a one handed economist. The Carolingian kings of France would have accommodated him. They realised that a kingdom required a common currency under the control of the king and well regulated markets to sustain the confidence of the people. At first mints were established widely, spread across the kingdom. Local barons began to profit from debasing the coinage, undermining confidence in the monetary system. So Charles the Bald established mints under his direct control and regulated the issue of coins: C.12. Following the custom of our predecessors, just as it is found in their capitularies, we decree that in no other place in all our kingdom shall money be made except in our palace, and in St. Josse and Rouen, which right in th...more

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  • The Street Light

    When the Fed Chair is an Academic

    The big economic news of the week was, in fact, big economic news: the Fed's announcement of significant changes from past practice in the the quantity of its next round of large scale asset purchases ("unlimited"), and in the timing of any future reversal of this expansionary policy ("a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens").I view this as a pretty fundamental shift in how the Fed hopes to affect the economy.  Rather than trying to push economic activity one way or the other through its management of interest rates (which can alter economic activity through its portfolio-rebalancing and wealth effects, for example), the Fed is now quite explicitly trying to affect economic activity by altering interest rate and inflation expectations.  As...more

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  • London Banker

    For Want of a Nail, the Ship Was Lost

    Imagine a great ship dominating the skyline on a distant sea. Imagine the complexity of that ship: keel, ribs, planks, masts, spars, and an infinite number of less readily named components. Each component was hand-crafted by a craftsman skilled in his trade, to precise requirements, and secured in position to take the stress and strain of a life at sea.Now imagine a crew. They didn't build the ship. The crew are told that the one and only purpose of the ship is to realise a profit for every man jack aboard. Any hand not contributing a profit will be turned ashore. Down below in the ship are nails. Thousands and thousands of nails. Nails are useful. Nails are much sought after in every port the ship enters. Nails can be readily sold and never traced. The crew h...more

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  • London Banker

    Lies, Damn Lies and LIBOR

    I've been hesitant to write about the LIBOR scandal because what I want to say goes so much further. We now know that Barclays and other major global banks have been manipulating the calculation of LIBOR through the quotation data they provided to the British Bankers Association. What I suspect is that this is not a flaw but a feature of modern financial markets. And if it was happening in LIBOR for between 5 and 15 years, then the business model has been profitably replicated to many other quotation-based reference prices.Price discovery is not a sexy function of markets, but it is critical to the efficient allocation of scarce capital and resources, and to the preservation of the long term wealth of investors and the economy as a whole. If price discovery is compr...more

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  • The Street Light

    Government Job Destruction

    Another jobs report in the US, another month where part of the private sector's job creation was undone by continued job destruction by the government sector. The 15,000 additional jobs lost in April brings total job losses in the government sector since January 2010 to over 500,000. While the US has not quite been experiencing European-style austerity over the past two years, that's still a pretty tough headwind to fight as it emerges from recession. ...more

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