EconoMonitor

Economics Blog Aggregator

    Finance & Markets

  • Steve Keen's Debtwatch

    Dawn Of A New Politics In Europe?

    About 40 years ago, one of Maggie Thatcher’s chief advisors remarked that he wouldn’t be satisfied when the Conservative Party was in government: he would only be happy when there were two conservative parties vying for office. He got his wish of course. Click here to read the rest of this post. ...more

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  • My voice and noise on subprime bank regulations

    Where were Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman when the Basel Committee decided to odiously discriminate against "the risky"?

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  • The Big Picture

    That French Vine Guy

    Great story Source: NYT

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  • Steve Keen's Debtwatch

    It’s All The Greeks’ Fault

    The polls were right: Greece did elect Syriza, the left-wing coalition party (its name is actually a Greek acronym for “Coalition of the Radical Left”), bringing to power the first staunchly anti-austerity party in the EU, and the first element in their policy document is to “Write-off the greater part of public debt”. That is likely to lead to some fractious negotiations with the EU, and possibly even a messy exit from the Euro. Before that happens, there will be some messy commentary in the media as well, and I fully expect most commentators to take a line like that in my title. Click here to read the rest of this post. ...more

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  • Calculated Risk

    Restaurant Performance Index shows Expansion in December

    I think restaurants are happy with lower gasoline prices (except, I hear, McDonald's) ...Here is a minor indicator I follow from the National Restaurant Association: Restaurant Performance Index Finished the Year on a Positive NoteDriven by positive sales and traffic and an uptick in capital expenditures, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) finished 2014 with a solid gain. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 102.9 in December, up 0.8 percent from its November level of 102.1. In addition, December marked the 22nd consecutive month in which the RPI stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.“Growth in the ...more

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  • Dealbreaker

    Write-Offs: 1.30.15

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  • Real Time Economics

    5 Things to Watch on the Economic Calendar

    Football fans may have Super Bowl Sunday, but economy-watchers look forward to Friday—the monthly employment report. How did hiring and wage growth kick off 2015? A strong report will support expectations of a solid expansion in 2015. Other economic reports are also worth a look. Here are five things to watch....more

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  • Real Time Economics

    Two Fed Officials: Why Very Weak Inflation Unlikely to Deter Rate Hikes

    How can the Federal Reserve even think about raising rates when price pressures are falling so short of the central bank’s official 2% target? That’s been a question on the minds of many central bank watchers, some Fed officials and financial market participants for some time. Inflation has fallen short of the Fed’s goal for two-and-a-half years. The crash in oil prices means overall levels of inflation are set to drop from already tepid levels, with a number of analysts predicting negative readings over coming months. And yet, every indication suggests that Fed officials remain unbowed in their desire to begin to raise short-term rates from their near zero levels this year. More In ”Fed” Two Fed Officials: Why Very Weak Inflation Unlikely to Deter Rate Hike...more

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  • Dealbreaker

    25 Year Old Who Spent Six-Figures On Single Bottle Of Champagne Going Away For A While

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  • Paper Economy - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

    GDP: Q4 2014 (First Estimate)

    Today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released their first "estimate" of the Q4 2014 GDP report showing that the economy grew strongly in the third quarter with real GDP improving at an annualized rate of 2.6% from Q3 2014. On a year-over-year basis, real GDP increased 2.48% while the quarter-to-quarter non-annualized percent change was an increase of 0.65%. ...more

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  • Dealbreaker

    Ratings Agencies Back To Their Old Tricks, Ratings Agency Says

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  • The Big Picture

    Succinct Summations of Week’s Events 1/30/15

    Succinct Summations week ending January 30rd Positives: 1. Weekly jobless claims fell 43,000 to 265,000, the lowest since 2000! 2. Apple reported a record breaking quarter as it sold 74.5 million iPhones 3. Personal consumption came in at 4.3% vs 4% expected. 4. Chicago PMI came in at 59.4 vs the 57.5 expected. 5.  U of Mich consumer confidence came in at 98.1, a hair below expectations but still strong and up from 93.6 in December. Negatives: 1. US Q4 real GDP came in at 2.6% annualized vs 3% expected. 2. Durable goods fell 3.4% m/o/m, below expectations and down from the 2.1% decline in November. 3. The S&P 500 had back-to-back down months for the first time since 2012 4. Yields keep falling around here and around the globe; 30 year hits lowest yields ever. 5. Ea...more

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  • Real Time Economics

    Fed’s Williams Upbeat on Economy, Says Summer Rate Rise Likely

    Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said Friday the U.S. economy remains on a solid path that will open the door to interest-rate increases in the summer. In an interview with CNBC, Mr. Williams said, “I see a lot of strength in the domestic economy,” adding there’s “a lot of momentum for very good growth.” He indicated he is not worried by the unexpectedly soft 2.6% fourth-quarter gross domestic product reading reported earlier Friday, and predicted 2015 will see activity rise by about 3%. Mr. Williams also expects to see the economy near “full employment” by year-end, with the jobless rate hitting 5% from its current 5.6% level. More In ”Fed” Two Fed Officials: Why Very Weak Inflation Unlikely to Deter Rate Hikes Fed-Watch...more

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  • Calculated Risk

    Freddie Mac: Mortgage Serious Delinquency rate declined in December

    Freddie Mac reported that the Single-Family serious delinquency rate declined in December to 1.88%, down from 1.91% in November. Freddie's rate is down from 2.39% in December 2013, and the rate in December was the lowest level since December 2008. Freddie's serious delinquency rate peaked in February 2010 at 4.20%. These are mortgage loans that are "three monthly payments or more past due or in foreclosure".  Note: Fannie Mae will report their Single-Family Serious Delinquency rate for December next week.Click on graph for larger imageAlthough the rate is generally declining, the "normal" serious delinquency rate is under 1%.  The serious delinquency rate has fallen 0.51 percentage points over the last year - and the rate of improvement has slowed recently - ...more

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  • naked capitalism

    2:00PM Water Cooler 1/30/15

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  • My voice and noise on subprime bank regulations

    There was the Western world, tagging along quite nicely, when BAM! in 1988, it got hit by the Basel Accord Asteroid.

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  • Abnormal Returns

    Friday links: emotional money

    MarketsChart porn: the best and worst days of the year for the Dow. (washingtonpost.com)What sectors are cheap? Energy and consumer discretionary. (alphaarchitect.com)Investors don't have much love for Australian stocks. (shortsideoflong.com)StrategyWhat successful short-sellers look for in a shortable stock. (contrarianvalueedge.wordpress.com)Why social intelligence is important to successful investors. (traderfeed.blogspot.com)Even with the best trading system most traders would fail. (thecrosshairstrader.com)60/40 Portfolios60/40 portfolios have been helped by a multi-decade bull market in bonds. (pragcap.com)Rising interest rates and the risk of 60/40 portfolios. (awealthofcommonsense.com)AdviceJohn Bogle ain't perfect: four points of contention. (bloombergview.com)...more

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  • Calculated Risk

    Comment on Q4 GDP and Investment: R-E-L-A-X

    There are legitimate concerns about a strong dollar, and weak economic activity overseas, impacting U.S. exports and GDP growth. However, overall, the Q4 GDP report was solid.The key numbers are: 1) PCE increased at a 4.3% annual rate in Q4 (the two month method nails it again), and 2) private fixed investment increased at a 2.3% rate. The negatives were trade (subtracted 1.02 percentage point) and Federal government spending (subtracted 0.54 percentage points). As usual, I like to focus on private fixed investment because that is the key to the business cycle.The first graph shows the Year-over-year (YoY) change in real GDP, real PCE, and real fixed private investment.Click on graph for larger image.It appears the pace of growth for real GDP and PCE has been picking u...more

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  • FT Alphaville

    The many faces of Jeroen Dijsselbloem

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  • The Big Picture

    John Bogle’s Investing Genius Needs An Update

    Now before I commit blasphemy, a few words: I am as close to being a Boglehead as you will find, without actually being one. The bulk of my portfolio is in passive indexes. Most of the assets I manage are in a broad allocation model. This is a tribute to the wisdom and teachings of investing legend John Bogle, who founded Vanguard Group 40 years ago on the premise that matching market-based returns yielded better results for most investors than picking individual stocks, market-timing or any other investment strategy. During the past four decades, the sleepy firm Bogle started has turned into an investment giant, now managing about $3 trillion. But we have learned many things during the intervening years. I don’t want to commit the sin of ignoring the accumulated...more

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  • naked capitalism

    Greece Shows the Limits of Austerity in the Eurozone. What Now?

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  • The Capital Spectator

    US Economic Growth Slows in Q4

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  • Abnormal Returns

    Podcast links: thinking big

    BusinessPart two of a discussion with Bill Gross including talk about his exit from Pimco. (bloombergview.com)An interview with Wired magazine co-founder Kevin Kelly. (freakonomics.com)Michael Covel talks with Dan Hill author of "About Face: The Secrets of Emotionally Effective Advertising." (michaelcovel.com)Tim Ferriss talks with Peter Diamandis on how to "think big." (fourhourworkweek.com)Did Errol Morris' brother invent e-mail? (gimletmedia.com)How safe is your job? On the dangers of automation and robosts. (freakonomics.com)PodcastingTim Ferriss talks with Alex Blumberg about what it takes to build a successful podcast. (fourhourworkweek.com)Time is money: how Overcast can speed up your podcast listening. (medium.com)EntertainmentBrian Koppelman talks with actor/co...more

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  • FT Alphaville

    FirstFT (the new Lunch Wrap)

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  • naked capitalism

    Links 1/30/15

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  • The Capital Spectator

    Will The Sluggish US Housing Market Perk Up This Year?

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  • FT Alphaville

    Is the DKK the new CHF?

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  • The Housing Bubble Blog

    Debt, Prices, And A Self-Augmenting Spiral

    It’s Friday desk clearing time for this blogger. “San Jose and San Francisco lead the nation in house flipping, according to Trulia, but the best days for making a profit may be over as price gains slow. Glenn Polf of Diversified Ventures Group in San Ramon said his group bought a house in East Oakland at auction but only broke even on the resale. ‘We overpaid. That’s what happens when you don’t get deals for a while. You get a little bit more aggressive. We were more optimistic than we should have been,’ he said.” “‘The buyers are paying such a premium for houses, it doesn’t make sense for flippers,’ said Alisha Karandikar of CSR Real Estate Services in San Jose. ‘The acquisition costs are so high,...more

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  • The Capital Spectator

    Initial Guidance | 30 January 2015

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  • The Aleph Blog » The Aleph Blog

    Talking About Value Investing and Fed Policy

    Here is the second part of my interview on RT Boom/Bust. It was recorded while the FOMC was releasing its statement, so I had no idea at that time as to what the announcement had been.The interview covers my view of Apple (not one of my strong points), Fed Policy, and what should value investors do in this low interest rate environment. Note that not all of my opinions are strong ones, and that in my opinion is a good thing. Often the best opinions are not controversial.If you are interested in these topics, or listening to me, then please enjoy the above video. My segment is about seven minutes long. ...more

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  • The Housing Bubble Blog

    Bits Bucket for January 30, 2015

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

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  • The Baseline Scenario

    Tax Breaks (for the Rich) Are Forever

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  • Richard's Real Estate and Urban Economics Blog

    No comment necessary

    The Violence Policy Center put out a press release this morning relating gun ownership rates to gun death rates.  I wrote to them asking for the complete data, and plotted it.  Here is the plot.In case you're interested, the bivariate regression's R-squared is .6....more

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  • AllAboutAlpha: Hedge Fund Trends & Alternative Investment Analysis

    Financing For Knights in Shining, or in Sooty, Armor

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  • Paper Economy - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

    Pending Home Sales: December 2014

    Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Pending Home Sales Report for December showing that pending home sales declined notably with the seasonally adjusted national index dropping 3.7% from November but still remaining 6.1% above the level seen in December 2013. The following chart shows the seasonally adjusted national pending home sales index along with the percent change on a year-over-year basis as well as the percent change from the peak set in 2005 (click for larger version). ...more

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  • Abnormal Returns

    Thursday links: an idiotic phrase

    CommoditiesThe "de-financialization" of commodities continues apace. (humblestudentofthemarkets.blogspot.com)How to play a bounce in oil. (disciplinedinvesting.blogspot.com)Is aluminum is the new copper? (blogs.wsj.com)StrategyMS, " Remaining consistent over many years despite doubts and conflicting feelings, rather than any particular investing style, is what determine success or failure in the markets." (mortalitysucks.wordpress.com)The search for yield always comes at a cost. (vanguardblog.com)CompaniesWhat next for an Alibaba ($BABA)-free Yahoo ($YHOO)? (businessinsider.com)Symbols: $BABA $YHOO Amazon ($AMZN) is getting into the business of providing work e-mail. (wsj.com)Symbols: $AMZN The right way to look at Apple ($AAPL) if it were a country. (ftalphaville.ft.co...more

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  • The Housing Bubble Blog

    Ultimately, There Was A Fever

    Bloomberg reports on California. “As the key spring U.S. homeselling season approaches, buyers are finding deals on new houses as builders focus on boosting revenue. Dwayne Saunders purchased a house in Eastvale, California, in December, paying $450,000 after builder D.R. Horton Inc. cut the price by 4.5 percent, threw in a washer-dryer and covered his closing costs. This month, the house next door sold for $404,000. ‘It was bigger too,’ Saunders said. ‘I think D.R. Horton just wanted to finish this phase and move onto the next one.’” From New York Magazine. “Today, in an economically transformed New York, speculators seek profit where others fear to venture. They are rushing toward the margins ahead of an economic upheaval that...more

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  • The Aleph Blog » The Aleph Blog

    Talking Mostly About Earnings

    I was on RT Boom/Bust yesterday.  The segment that I taped here was mostly on corporate earnings.  There’s only seven minutes of me here — so enjoy it if you will. ...more

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  • The Aleph Blog » The Aleph Blog

    Redacted Version of the January 2015 FOMC Statement

    Photo Credit: DonkeyHoteyDecember 2014January 2015CommentsInformation received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in October suggests that economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace.Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in December suggests that economic activity has been expanding at a solid pace.Shades GDP up. This is another overestimate by the FOMC.Labor market conditions improved further, with solid job gains and a lower unemployment rate. On balance, a range of labor market indicators suggests that underutilization of labor resources continues to diminish.Labor market conditions have improved further, with strong job gains and a lower unemployment rate.  On balance, a range of labor market indicators suggests that underu...more

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  • Dr. Housing Bubble Blog

    No room for a garden in Los Angeles? Have your garden grow on your home in Culver City. 873 square feet of green love for $700,000.

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  • The Skeptical Speculator

    Markets fall despite Fed patience

    The Federal Reserve left monetary policy unchanged on Wednesday. While the Fed noted in its monetary policy meeting statement that economic activity has been expanding at a “solid pace”, it also said that it “can be patient in beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy”. Investors did not seem to take much comfort from the Fed statement though. Markets mostly fell on Wednesday. The S&P 500 fell 1.4 percent, US 10-year Treasury yields fell 10 basis points to 1.72 percent and oil plunged 3.9 percent. In Europe, the STOXX Europe 600 managed to close up 0.1 percent. However, Greece’s 10-year bond yields rose 87 basis points to 10.35 percent, Italy’s 10-year yield increased six basis points to 1.59 percent and Portugal’s climbed 15 basis points to 2....more

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  • AllAboutAlpha: Hedge Fund Trends & Alternative Investment Analysis

    Pension Funds as Alternative Investors Get Some Advice

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  • DRS » Blog

    Margin rules delay is in the air

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  • DRS » Blog

    Margin rules delay is in the air

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  • DRS » Blog

    ISDA on CCPs: recovery before resolution

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  • DRS » Blog

    ISDA on CCPs: recovery before resolution

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  • Macro Man

    The Federales arrive

    It's Federales ride into town today, and while it seems as if Macro Man should be tense/excited/worried, somehow he just cannot envisage a likely scenario where the apple cart gets upset too much.   Call it the first few minutes of Once Upon a Time in The West rather than the Gunfight at the OK Corral.To be sure, the data has not been uniformly on the Fed's side since the pow-wow last month; if anything, it's been the opposite.     It's difficult to see them getting too alarmed, however, given that the economy grew at a pace of roughly 4% for the final three quarters of 2014.  A little pullback is not altogether unexpected.Indeed, 'twould be more worrisome if confidence were starting to fracture.   If anything, however, the o...more

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  • VIX and More

    Average Annual Normalized VIX Futures Term Structure, 2004-2014

    One graphic I post periodically that never fails to generate a great deal of interest among traders, strategists and other volatility aficionados is my normalized VIX futures term structure graph. From 2008 – 2013, the annual normalized term structure was notable in that almost every year was an outlier in one way or another. For instance, 2012 and 2013 were the two years with the steepest contango in history, while 2008, 2009 and 2011 represent three of the four years (2007 being the fourth) with the flattest term structure. And 2014? It could not have been more average. If one combines all the years from 2004 to 2014 and creates an “average year” (i.e., the wide gray line on the chart) then 2014 (double blue line) comes closest to that average. [source(s): ...more

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  • AllAboutAlpha: Hedge Fund Trends & Alternative Investment Analysis

    Who Is Yanis Varoufakis? And Does it Matter?

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  • The Skeptical Speculator

    Markets fall as US durable goods orders show decline

    Markets fell on Tuesday. The S&P 500 fell 1.3 percent amid concerns on the economy. A report on Tuesday showed that orders for US durable goods declined 3.4 percent in December after falling 2.1 percent the prior month. The STOXX Europe 600 fell 1.0 percent, ending an eight-day rally that had taken it to a seven-year high. Greek stocks fell 3.7 percent, extending declines since Sunday’s elections to 6.9 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.9 percent after closing at a more than five-year high on Monday. The US dollar fell against the euro and yen while the US 10-year Treasury yield fell one basis point to 1.82 percent. Among commodities, copper fell 3.2 percent but gold, natural gas and oil rose....more

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  • Paper Economy - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

    New Home Sales: December 2014

    Today, the U.S. Census Department released its monthly New Residential Home Sales Report for December showing sales jumping 11.6% from November and rising 8.8% above the level seen in December 2013 but still remaining near an historically low level with 481K SAAR units. The monthly supply declined to 5.5 months while the median selling price increased 8.20% and the average selling price increased 17.62% from the year ago level. The following chart show the extent of sales decline to date (click for full-larger version). ...more

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  • Richard's Real Estate and Urban Economics Blog

    Cities and the Environment--A first order effect?

    I was reading a story about peak driving over the weekend.  In the course of reading the story, I discerned that we here in California drive far less than the average American.  In fact, California ranks 41st among the states in per capita driving:Date are from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.Given the stereotype about California (as a place where everyone drives, always), this was a surprise to me.  But then it dawned on me--when one excludes the District of Columbia (which is kind of like a state, just without representation), California is the most urbanized state in the country.  And so I drew a scatter plot of VMT per capita against urbanization by state:The negative correlation is quite apparent. To anyone who might be interested, he...more

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  • Ticker Sense

    January 26th Blogger Sentiment Poll

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

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  • Macro Man

    Bullet points while preparing for SNOWMAGEDDON

    * When Macro Man checked the weather forecast last Friday, early this week was supposed to be cold and sunny.  Over the weekend, it changed to a bit of snow.   Yesterday, as he was riding his bike on the turbo trainer, Macro Boy the Elder burst in to tell him that the forecast had changed to 20 to 30 inches (50 to 75 cm) of snow from Monday morning to Tuesday midnight.  You know it's bad when they cannot specify the amount of snow you'll receive within 10 inches.* A year ago, March '14 heating oil was priced at just over $3.00.   Today, March '15 is at $1.62.   With plenty of the stuff set to be burned in the Northeast this week, the strong dollar will demonstrate a palpable benefit to the economy. * Syriza duly "won" the Greek elections wh...more

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  • VIX and More

    The Year in VIX and Volatility (2014)

    This is the seventh year in a row I have offered a retrospective look at the year in VIX and Volatility, which is my attempt to cram some of the highlights of the year in volatility onto one eye chart graphic with a (somewhat) manageable number of annotations. In aggregate, 2014 was a very quiet year for the VIX, with a mean close of just 14.19 for the year, which is the lowest the VIX has been since 2006 and third lowest since 1995. On the other hand, as I recently documented, VIX spikes were common last year, with 2014 registering the third highest number of 20% VIX spikes since the beginning of VIX data, in 1990. In short, the VIX was susceptible to large spikes, but these were typically followed by strong mean-reverting declines. For example, the peak VIX of 31.06 ...more

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  • My voice and noise on subprime bank regulations

    All our bankers (including Jamie Dimon) betrayed us citizens by selling out to sovereigns and the AAArisktocracy.

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  • The Skeptical Speculator

    Markets rally on ECB bond-buying announcement

    Markets rose last week, and not for the first time, investors have a central bank to thank. On Thursday, the European Central Bank announced after its monetary policy meeting that it would be buying 60 billion euros of sovereign bonds and other debt securities every month from March through September next year in an effort to avert deflation. Stocks rose on Thursday on the decision, helping markets to finish the week up. The MSCI All-Country World Index rose 2.1 percent last week for its biggest weekly gain of the year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 1.6 percent. The STOXX Europe 600 jumped 5.1 percent to the highest since December 2007. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 3.8 percent. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose 3.5 percent. The euro fell 3.1 percent aga...more

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  • VIX and More

    Top Posts of 2014

    Since I launched VIX and More some eight plus years ago, I have devoted one post to highlighting the top 25 most-read posts of each year. I do this in part for archival purposes: to see what is important to readers and how their interest in various issues changes over time. I also hope that these aggregations of most-read posts will serve as relatively easily accessible repositories of high-quality material for the benefit of new readers and long-term readers alike. During 2014, the blog saw an extended hiatus for the first time in its history, largely due to events arising from the passing of my father. For this reason, I am limiting the number of top posts for the year to thirteen, largely because Song for My Father* ended the year in the #13 slot. Looking ahead, vo...more

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  • The Baseline Scenario

    Nominate A Qualified Undersecretary Of Domestic Finance Now

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  • Dr. Housing Bubble Blog

    Millennials shun the housing market: 6 in 10 Millennials would rather rent a home than buy it. First-time home buyers at record low levels.

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  • A Fistful Of Euros

    The Swiss franc appreciation and the sorry saga of FX lending

    Back in the 1980s Australians, many of them farmers, were offered low-interest loans, appealing in a high-interest environment. With changes in currency rates the loans in Swiss francs and Japanese yen quickly became much beyond the means of the borrowers to service with ensuing pain and suffering. Icelanders felt the pain of FX loans as the Icelandic króna depreciated in 2008 as did many Eastern-European countries. – The same story has played out in country after country with the obvious lesson reiterated: for people with income only in their domestic currency FX borrowing is far too risky. All these loans, often the result of predatory lending, follow the same pattern and it is no coincidence where they hit. There is now ample case for countries to take action: b...more

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  • DRS » Blog

    First EU flavoured Greek CCP

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  • DRS » Blog

    First EU flavoured Greek CCP

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  • Macro Man

    UPOD

    It's the oldest trick in the policymakers' manual: Under-promise, over-deliver.  In fairness, Super Mario never really under-promised; Wednesday's 50b per month leak certainly suggested a program that was larger than the prevailing consensus.  But by comfortably exceeding that figure just 24 hours later and laying out a roadmap for at least 18 months' of purchases, Mario Draghi once again demonstrated that he is not to be trifled with.To be sure, the Germans got their wish and segregated the vast bulk of the buying from the ECB's balance sheet; Macro Man couldn't help but notice Draghi's mention that the Bundesbank were the beneficiaries of full risk sharing (had it been required) in the depths of the maelstrom in 2008.   Whether this was a subtle dig or ...more

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  • Dr. Housing Bubble Blog

    The search for the smallest home in Los Angeles currently for sale: 3 properties in various parts of L.A. Washington Mutual sins still relevant in 2015.

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  • The Baseline Scenario

    Shareholders, Managers, and Capitalism

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  • Steve Keen's Debtwatch

    Interview with Gordon Long on Financial Repression

    I was interviewed by Gordon Long for the Financial Repression website last week. The video is below; a brief summary of our discussion is posted on the Financial Repression website and reproduced below. PROF. STEVE KEEN TALKS FINANCIAL REPRESSION THE ART OF GETTING AN EDUCATION IN ECONOMICS Professor Steve Keen has found that top flight universities are dominated by very narrow, doctrinaire teaching. This stylized view has resulted in critics of this view only getting jobs in low ranking university. With pride Steve Keen puts his latest university in that camp. “If you want a good education in Economics, you don’t go to a good university. The wider range of thought and diverse analytics is found at the lower ranking university. Kingston University is one of thos...more

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  • Ticker Sense

    January 20th Blogger Sentiment Poll

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

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  • Richard's Real Estate and Urban Economics Blog

    How choosing the right discount rate matters to Max Scherzer

    My student Hyojung Lee sent me to a cute article about how Max Scherzer's $210 million contract is not really a $210 million contract.  Because Scherzer is getting $15 million per year over 14 years, the present value of the contract is substantially less than $210 million; it is also worth less than a contract that pays $30 million per year over the seven years he is expected to pitch.But Dave Cameron (the author of the piece) assigns a 7 percent discount rate to the contract.  The present value of $15 million per year over 14 years at a 7 percent discount rate is about $131 million. He chose 7 percent as the discount rate because that is the expected long run return of investing in the stock market.A contract is not, however, like a stock.  It is a bond...more

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  • A Fistful Of Euros

    Confusion in Frankfurt or Athens

    European Central Bank statement last October in reaction to a New York Times article about Emergency Liquidity Assistance management in Cyprus – The ECB neither provides nor approves emergency liquidity assistance. It is the national central bank, in this case the Central Bank of Cyprus, that provides ELA to an institution that it judges to be solvent at its own risks and under its own terms and conditions. The ECB can object on monetary policy grounds; in order to do so at least two thirds of the Governing Council must see the provision of emergency liquidity as interfering with the tasks and objectives of euro area monetary policy. Reuters story today based on Bank of Greece source – Greece’s central bank has moved to protect its banks from any fallo...more

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  • A Fistful Of Euros

    Swiss time was running out

    The reviews are in on the Swiss National Bank (SNB) abandoning its CHF 1.2 per Euro minimum peg and they are unfavourable. It seems people are shocked that Switzerland might act in a unilateral fashion and without seeing the need to coordinate with other countries. Anyway, the departure point for many analyses seems to be an assumption that nothing was especially wrong with the peg. Sure, the SNB was committed to buying unlimited quantities of foreign currency, and thus unlimited growth in its balance sheet, but what exactly was the constraint on that? Well, for one thing, it was producing some economic outcomes that Swiss voters — remember those people? — didn’t seem to especially like, not least rapid growth in asset prices such as housing and questi...more

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  • Emerging markets

    Asia: Anti-graft drive puts Macau in the shade

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  • footnoted*

    CFO Picks Doughnuts Over Steaks

    We noticed a strange coincidence in the filings earlier this week made by two different restaurant companies. First came this 8-K filed by casual steak chain, Texas Roadhouse Inc. on Jan. 12 , in which it disclosed at the very bottom of the filing that Price Cooper IV had renewed his employment agreement on Jan. 8. Later that same day, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. announced that Cooper had been named its new CFO. It struck us a bit odd. Why would Cooper renew his employment agreement with Texas Roadhouse, a company he had been working at for the past nine years, when it seems pretty likely that he had already sewn up his deal with Krispy Kreme? Indeed, Texas Roadhouse’s filing noted that “we entered into an employment agreement on similar terms and condition...more

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  • Ticker Sense

    Laszlo Birinyi on Blomberg TV

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  • Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up

    From Cleaning Harbors to Feeding Roughnecks: “Next Year in Jerusalem!”

     The Canadian tar sands have been very good to Clean Harbors, a perennial Wall Street favorite that evolved from a disaster cleanup business (for which the company’s web pages still carry a plug at the bottom: “For 24-Hour Emergency Response, call 800.OIL.TANK”) into a diversified industrial service company through 35-plus acquisitions costing about $2 billion over 25 years. The tar sands business came with the 2009 acquisition of Eveready, and so swiftly did CLH expand deeper into so-called unconventional energy (everything from feeding and housing roughnecks in lodges to hauling out drilling waste) that oil and gas exploration and production services went from 0% of the company’s total business in 2008 to 27% in 2012, before the $1.25 billion acquisi...more

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  • footnoted*

    SEC filings stats in 2014: a look back

    Each year, once the numbers become available, we like to take a look at some of the SEC filings stats for the prior year. As we tweeted on Friday, there were 668,635 filings made to the SEC in 2014, which represented a modest uptick from the 655,846 filings made in 2013. But those numbers really only tell a small piece of the story. As we do each year, we asked the folks at Morningstar Document Research to help us crunch the numbers to figure out which date is the busiest day for filings (Valentine’s Day…again), which companies filed the most filings (pick your favorite large financial services firm), and which companies filed the largest ones. LendingClub Corp., which IPO’d in December, was the “winner” there. We usually look at the 10 lar...more

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  • Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up

    The NotMakingThisUp Book Review: The Best Least Looked-Forward-To Book I Have Ever Received, John Cleese's "So, Anyway..."

     I received for Christmas the least looked-forward-to book I have ever received: John Cleese’s “So, Anyway…”.   Cleese, of course, is a founder of Monty Python, the wildly successful British comedy group that took male teenagers by storm in the early 1970s and was considered inheritor to The Beatles’ mantle as conquerors of America by none other than George Harrison (according to his friend Eric Idle, another Python).  Cleese is also co-creator, co-writer, producer and star of what has been called the best TV sitcom ever created, Fawlty Towers.   Thus, for a certain generation—i.e. male baby-boomers who came of age when Monty Python was laying waste to all previous notions of what was funny—a book, any book, by John Clees...more

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  • Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up

    Shazam! From the Boss to the King to John & Paul (But Not George or Ringo), Not to Mention Jessica & Nick, and Taylor Swift

    2014 Editor’s Note: Well, Michael Bublé’s computer is still releasing holiday songs, which is the worst we can say about this year’s holiday music survey.  The best we can say—and it is truly good news—is that The Boss’s hard-driving, live version of “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” done entirely without computer-aidedBublé-style vocals, seems to be gaining much deserved traction.   Meanwhile, one of our previous also-ran mentions in the What-Did-We-Do-To-Deserve-This? category, one Taylor Swift, deserves a big boo-yah for telling the Spotify algorithms to stuff it, pulling her entire catalogue from the automated listening service—including, by definition, the song mentioned here last year, which should be no trag...more

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  • FinanceProfessor.com

    For investors, it’s a perfect time to go back to the basics - The Washington Post

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  • Piggington's Econo-Almanac

    November 2014 Housing Data Rodeo

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  • Emerging markets

    Emerging markets brace for stress test

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  • Emerging markets

    China sprouts green shoots in securitization

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  • footnoted*

    A big sendoff for Abercrombie’s CEO

    By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard the news about the sudden retirement yesterday of Mike Jeffries, who had been Chairman and CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch after more than 20 years of running the company. You may have even seen the news that Jeffries would be getting $5.5m in “cash and benefits continuation” according to the 8-K that the company filed late yesterday. We wanted to take a closer look because Abercrombie and Jeffries has been something of a frequent flyer here at footnoted over the years. Indeed, we counted 37 separate items that we’ve written about Abercrombie over the years, including this pearl from 2010 that had the company paying Jeffries $4m not to use the corporate jet as frequently as he did in 2008. What we found is that if ...more

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  • Mises Institute

    Secession, State, and Liberty

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  • Piggington's Econo-Almanac

    October 2014 Housing Data Rodeo

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  • Mises Institute

    From Aristocracy to Monarchy to Democracy

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  • Mises Institute

    Secrets About Money That Put You at Risk

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  • Institutional Economics

    Capital Gains Tax Reform in Canada: Lessons from Abroad

    The Fraser Institute has released a new volume on international experience with capital gains taxes. I wrote the chapter on New Zealand, with some reference to Australia. Australia was deemed too similar to Canada to warrant a chapter in its own right....more

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  • DealBook

    Investigation Causes Citigroup to Cut Profit

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  • DealBook

    Judge Approves Bankruptcy Exit for Stockton, Calif.

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  • DealBook

    Praise for Coming Out From Someone Who Did

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  • The Street Light

    Transfer Pricing Economics

    I'd like to announce that after a long hiatus from blogging, I'm taking it up again in a new forum.  The new blog, Transfer Pricing Economics, is primarily devoted to exploring my particular area of professional specialty, namely "transfer pricing".  If that term doesn't mean anything to you, then feel free to check out my brief explanation of transfer pricing. My aim is to expose and analyze the connections between the arcane world of transfer pricing and broader developments in the economic and financial world. And the connections are significant: the rules and economic logic of transfer pricing have a direct impact on trillions of dollars of international trade every year. So please feel free to check in on and contribute to the discussions about these...more

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  • Piggington's Econo-Almanac

    September 2014 Housing Data Rodeo

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  • FinanceProfessor.com

    Dark pools in the news: looks at Wall Street's secret trading exchanges (Dark Pools)

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  • FinanceProfessor.com

    So what is the CEO to average worker ratio? 511 or 4? Depends on what you report.

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Accrued Interest

    Getting Involved in Bitcoin

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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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  • Accrued Interest

    Why You Should Dump Those Shares of Tesla Now

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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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  • Accrued Interest

    HOW CAN THE MARKET REACTION TO THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN AND DEBT CEILING DEBATE BE A GOOD THING FOR INVESTORS?

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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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  • 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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Håvard Halland Håvard Halland

PHåvard Halland is a natural resource economist at the World Bank, where he leads research and policy agendas in the fields of resource-backed infrastructure finance, sovereign wealth fund policy, extractive industries revenue management, and public financial management for the extractive industries sector. Prior to joining the World Bank, he was a delegate and program manager for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Colombia. He earned a PhD in economics from the University of Cambridge.