EconoMonitor

Economics Blog Aggregator

    Finance & Markets

  • FT Alphaville

    The Closer

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  • DealBook

    S.E.C. Makes Largest Ever Whistle-Blower Award

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  • DealBook

    Pursuit of Individuals in Corporate Misconduct Still Arduous

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  • DealBook

    BlackRock Urges Overhaul of Corporate Bond Trading

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  • Dealbreaker

    Blackstone Is Taking A Break From Russia

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  • Dealbreaker

    Destin, FL Can’t Compete With One Man’s Alibaba Excitement

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  • The Mises Economics Blog: The Circle Bastiat

    Austrian Economics vs. Keynesian Economics in One Simple Chart

    Courtesy of The Austrian Insider.  

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  • The Big Picture

    10 Monday PM Reads

    My afternoon train reads: • The Rise of Ultracheap Financial Advisers (WSJ) • Why Warren Buffett hates gold (USA Today) • Eric Holder’s Shameful Legacy on Wall Street Fraud (Fiscal Times) • Buy? Sell? Or Hold? (WSJ) see also I Really Want to Crush the Efficient Market Hypothesis (Pragmatic Capitalism) • Census data on poverty show results of economic policy gone wrong (LA Times) • When it comes to making decisions, bees and ants can act against stereotype (WSJ) • The New Conservative Love Affair With Canada (The Upshot) • This map shows which disease is most likely to kill you depending on where you live (Global Post) • How the Ray Rice scandal unfolded (ESPN) • The Brain That Changes Itself (Seeking Wisdom) What are you reading?     ...more

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  • Calculated Risk

    Lawler: Existing Home Sales Eased in August; NAR Bogusly Blames Monthly Dip on “Retreat” by “All Cash” Investors

    From housing economist Tom Lawler:In today’s existing home sales report, the National Association of Realtors estimated that US existing home sales ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million, down 1.8% from July’s downwardly-revised (to 5.14 million from 5.15 million), and down 5.3% from last August’s pace. The NAR’s estimate was slightly lower than my below-consensus projection based on regional tracking. The NAR also estimated that the number of existing homes for sale at the end of August was 2.31 million, down 1.7% from July’s downwardly-revised (to 2.35 million from 2.37 million) but up 4.5% from last August. The NAR’s inventory estimate was also slightly lower than my projection based on regional tracking. Finally, the NAR estimated t...more

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  • The Big Picture

    Risks to Family Wealth

    Source: U.S. Trust

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  • Dealbreaker

    Bonus Watch ’14: Whistleblower From Who All Would-Be Whistleblowers Could Learn A Thing Or Two

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  • Calculated Risk

    DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven increased 1.5% year-over-year in July

    The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported:Travel on all roads and streets changed by 1.5% (4.0 billion vehicle miles) for July 2014 as compared with July 2013.Travel for the month is estimated to be 266.8 billion vehicle miles.Cumulative Travel for 2014 changed by 0.6% (10.1 billion vehicle miles).The following graph shows the rolling 12 month total vehicle miles driven. The rolling 12 month total is still mostly moving sideways ... Click on graph for larger image.In the early '80s, miles driven (rolling 12 months) stayed below the previous peak for 39 months. Currently miles driven has been below the previous peak for 80 months - almost 7 years - and still counting.  Currently miles driven (rolling 12 months) are about 2.0% below the previous peak.The ...more

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  • Real Time Economics

    Hispanics Were the Only Major Group to See Poverty Drop Last Year

    Last week’s news that the official U.S. poverty rate fell for the first time in seven years to 14.5% from 15% was greeted lukewarmly—and for good reason. The poverty rate remains well above its prerecession level of 12.5% in 2007. Also, most economists quibble with how the rate is calculated. (To address this, Census also releases a more comprehensive “supplemental” poverty measure, one that accounts for things such as antipoverty programs and regional differences in housing costs. This supplemental measure was stuck at 16% in 2012, and a new reading comes in mid-October.) But one more major reason to downplay last week’s news was that improvements weren’t broadly felt. Hispanics were the only major racial or ethnic group to see poverty decline, experts at ...more

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  • My voice and noise on subprime bank regulations

    IMF, the darkest corner, is where Basel II’s mistake with risk-weighted capital requirements for banks is hidden.

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  • Real Time Economics

    Why Wall Street Cares About Inequality

    First, it was Standard & Poor’s.  Now, Morgan Stanley weighs in on income inequality in a new report. Why are these Wall Street institutions, normally focused on macroeconomic issues directly related to gross domestic product forecasts, suddenly chiming in on the issue? Because both firms find U.S. inequality is holding back economic growth. Morgan Stanley’s research suggests weaker-than-usual consumption at the lower end of the income ladder helps explain why this economic recovery has been particularly anemic. “It has taken more than five years for U.S. households to ‘feel’ like they are in recovery,” write economists Ellen Zentner and Paula Campbell in the report, entitled “Inequality and Consumption.” Before the recession, they say, “the expansion...more

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  • FT Alphaville

    Tesco sees you coming

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  • naked capitalism

    2:00PM Water Cooler 9/22/14

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  • Real Time Economics

    Five Takeaways: Mortgage Lending Hit Six-Year High in 2013, But …

    The number of mortgages made to purchase homes for owner occupants hit a six-year high last year. But don’t celebrate. Purchase loans for owner occupants were still below their 1993 level. The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act requires mortgage lenders to disclose a range of data around every mortgage application that they take in a given year. The Federal Reserve on Monday released its summary of the previous year’s data. Here are five broad findings: 1. Even though purchase lending was up 13% last year for the second straight year, loans for owner-occupied homes were still below every year from 1993 through 2007. 2. And despite the good news that purchase lending increased last year, the gains were heavily concentrated among the most affluent borrowers, leading to...more

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  • The Mises Economics Blog: The Circle Bastiat

    Entrepreneurship Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

    The Economist ran a good article last week about the enormous difficulty of being an entrepreneur. In particular, the piece emphasizes the importance of doing away with the mythology of entrepreneurship as a life of romance, adventure, and the heroic pursuit of greatness. In reality, entrepreneurship is grueling and unforgiving, and can destroy not only an entrepreneur’s finances, but her mental and physical health as well. Now, there’s irony in the fact that the article appears on The Economist’s Schumpeter Blog, given that Schumpeter himself helped popularize the romantic view of entrepreneurship. But the article rightly points out that thinking about entrepreneurship in idealistic terms glosses over the harsh truth: It is fashionable to romanticise entrepreneur...more

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  • FinanceProfessor.com

    Tesco Error Triggers New Profit Warning - WSJ

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  • FT Alphaville

    Tesco’s off-balance sheet wheeze, courtesy of Goldman Sachs

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  • The Mises Economics Blog: The Circle Bastiat

    Mateusz Machaj and Tom Woods Discuss the Taylor Rule

    As a follow-up to his recent Mises Daily article on the topic, Mateusz Machaj and Tom Woods discuss the Taylor Rule, its history, and its errors. Also here.

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  • Calculated Risk

    A Few Comments on August Existing Home Sales

    The most important number in the NAR report each month is inventory.   This morning the NAR reported that inventory was up 4.5% year-over-year in August.   It is important to note that the NAR inventory data is "noisy" and difficult to forecast based on other data.  The headline NAR inventory number is not seasonally adjusted, even though there is a clear seasonal pattern. Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko has sent me the seasonally adjusted inventory. NOTE: The NAR does provide a seasonally adjusted months-of-supply, although that is in the supplemental data.Click on graph for larger image.This shows that inventory bottomed in January 2013 (on a seasonally adjusted basis), and inventory is now up about 9.7% from the bottom. On a seasonally adjuste...more

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  • The Big Picture

    FOMC dissents from 1936 until 2013

    Source: St. Louis Fed

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  • Ticker Sense

    September 22nd 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 (N) Elliot Wave Lives On (+) Fallond Stock Picks (+) Global Economic Intersection (N)... ...more

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  • The Capital Spectator

    Chicago Fed: US Macro Trend Slows In August

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  • Abnormal Returns

    Monday links: CEO time horizons

    This is an especially abbreviated edition of the daily linkfest. Check out more links from Barry Ritholtz, FT Alphavilleand Matt Levine. Edward Luce, “The average tenure of the US CEO is falling. Buying back shares instead of investing makes sense if you do not expect to be around for the pay-off. It is a no-brainer if you measure the time horizons of most executive reward packages.”  (FT) The stock market is overvalued and overowned.  (Humble Student) What would a replay of 1987 look like?  (A Wealth of Common Sense) Don’t kid yourself, financial markets are driven by supply and demand.  (Philosophical Economics) Why Apple ($AAPL) didn’t use sapphire screens.  (Time) Would you give your money to a hedge fund scion?  (WSJ) Infrastructure pr...more

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  • DRS » Blog

    FSB`s map for OTC deference maze

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  • DRS » Blog

    FSB`s map for OTC deference maze

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  • naked capitalism

    Links 9/22/14

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  • The Housing Bubble Blog

    This Great Start Kind Of Stopped

    The Sun Sentinel reports from Florida. “Investors pulling back on homebuying is one of the biggest issues facing South Florida’s housing market, an analyst said Friday. ‘There’s still a lot of investor activity, but it is declining,’ said Brad O’Connor, a research economist for the Florida Realtors trade group. ‘As they exit the market, will demand from traditional homebuyers still push prices up?’ So far, the answer is yes, but some industry experts wonder whether that will change. They say investors have played too large of a role in the housing rebound by artificially inflating prices.” The News and Observer in North Carolina. “Triangle home sales were flat in August compared with the same period a year ago ...more

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  • naked capitalism

    Evil Feedly and Digg: “Social Logins” as Symptoms of Creeping Surveillance State

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  • The Housing Bubble Blog

    Bits Bucket for September 22, 2014

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

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  • Steve Keen's Debtwatch

    Making sense of Scotland the Brazen

    Scotland voted 55:45 to remain in the UK, but the very fact that the vote was even close was a serious shock to the political establishment in Europe. UK Prime Minister David Cameron had originally allowed only a Yes or No vote on full independence in the referendum, rather than a three-option poll including the “Maybe” of a greater devolution of power from Whitehall to Edinburgh, in the belief that the No vote would be so resounding that it would terminate the independence movement permanently. The Maybe, he believed, might well have got across the line, when in general he and the Tories didn’t want to cede any power north of Hadrian’s Wall. Click here to read the rest of this post. ...more

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  • The Capital Spectator

    Q3:2014 US GDP Nowcast: +2.2% | 22 September 2014

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  • The Skeptical Speculator

    G20 to boost growth but warns of risk in financial markets

    The Group of 20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank chiefs over the weekend focused on boosting global economic growth. “We are determined to lift growth, and countries are willing to use all our macroeconomic levers – monetary, fiscal and structural policies – to meet this challenge,” said Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, who hosted the event. However, it was also mindful of the risk arising from monetary stimulus, according to a Bloomberg report. “We are mindful of the potential for a build-up of excessive risk in financial markets, particularly in an environment of low interest rates and low asset price volatility,” the meeting communique said. The following are some pertinent statistics cited by Bloomberg: The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is ...more

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  • AllAboutAlpha: Hedge Fund Trends & Alternative Investment Analysis

    The Skorina Report: Another try at herding Gotham’s five-headed fund

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  • My voice and noise on subprime bank regulations

    The Basel Committee instructs banks to lend as if they were old retirees and not young professionals

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  • The Housing Bubble Blog

    Investors Engulfed By The Tidal Wave Of New Supply

    It’s Friday desk clearing time for this blogger. “The vacancy rate for single-family homes was 10.7 percent in 2013, up from 10.6 percent in 2012 and near its 2011 peak of 11 percent. That’s far above the vacancy rate during the bubble (8.6 percent in 2005) and before (7.4 percent in 2000). In 2013, household formation was just 321,000, much lower than the 1.2 million baseline implied by current population growth. The number of owner-occupied single-family homes actually fell by 184,000. ”We’re still building single family homes faster than we can fill them,’ argues Trulia’s chief economist Jed Kolko.” “DR Horton announced it would have to use incentives to sell its homes. It last reported it had 10,000 unsold homes,...more

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  • Abnormal Returns

    Sunday links: a healthy media diet

    Quote of the day Michael Harris author of The End of Absence, “It is not really about abstinence, it’s about trying to be conscious every day and of feeding myself a healthy media diet.”  (Bits) Chart of the day Life insurers lover higher rates.  (StockCharts Blog) Markets American households have loaded up stocks.  (Dana Lyons) The bull market is growing narrower.  (TraderFeed) Smallcaps have struggled YTD.  (Bespoke also The Fat Pitch) There is always a market divergence somewhere.  (A Dash of Insight) What now for Bitcoin?  (The Reformed Broker) Strategy Passive investors need less hand holding.  (Wealthfront Blog) The longer we go without a pullback the tougher it will be for investors to ride it out.  (Morgan Housel) Some lessons from Guy S...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 most clicked on items on Abnormal Returns for the week ended Saturday, September 20th, 2014. The description is as it reads in the relevant linkfest: Why has option selling been such a successful strategy the past 25 years?  (Adam Warner) A fireside chart with Charlie Munger.  (MoneyBeat) Why market dips have been so shallow of late.  (A Dash of Insight) How to scale your equity exposure.  (A Wealth of Common Sense) How often do stocks and bonds fall together?  (A Wealth of Common Sense) Why “deep reading” is so difficult these days.  (New Yorker) Where did all the “deep value” stocks go?  (Millennial Invest) “(B)uy-backs have a flaw: they can create perverse incentives to pay out too much cash,...more

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  • The Aleph Blog

    Two Questions on Fixed Income from the Mailbag

    Photo Credit: Ana Flávia CadorFrom my readers:What are your thoughts on Pimco’s new strategy for its flagship fund?This concerns me because its one of the few “safe221; funds in my company’s 401k plan.I haven’t heard anyone critique this and thought you’d be the best that I know of.It seems to me that its a disproportional risk. And that due to its size could potentially cause problems. http://blogs.barrons.com/focusonfunds/2014/09/17/deriving-returns-at-pimco-total-return/This is not a new problem with Pimco.  You can review these two articles here:PIMCO in Theory and PracticeOn a Concentrated Bond MarketPimco has always used a lot of derivatives, though for marketing reasons some of their funds have fewer derivatives, even as Pimco ...more

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  • The Aleph Blog

    On LinkedIn Endorsements and Registered Investment Advisors

    I’m going to be away for a few days.  Maybe I will have time to post; most likely I won’t.  Before I go, I want to thank my readers who have endorsed me at LinkedIn.  You are most generous in your assessments of my abilities.But as for now, until there is better clarification of whether it is legitimate for advisors to accept endorsements at their LinkedIn profiles, I am disabling endorsements on my profile.  For those that want to do the same thing, you can find out how to do it here.I would just rather be safe than sorry.  Aside from that, how many people use LinkedIn to find or vet out an investment advisor?As an aside, I’ve been blogging for about 7.5 years and for the most part, I haven’t hit many dry spells.  I’m feeling a littl...more

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  • A Fistful Of Euros

    The Japanisation Of Europe

    By now it should be clear that the monetary experiment currently being carried out in Japan (known as “Abenomics”) is fundamentally different from the kind of quantitative easing which was implemented  in the United States and the United Kingdom during the global financial crisis. In the US and the UK QE was implemented in order to stabilize the financial system, while in Japan, and now the Euro Area (EA) the objective is to end deflationary pressures and reflate economies which are arguably caught in some form of liquidity trap. In particular it is hard not to draw the conclusion that something structural and more long-term is taking place in Japan, and that that something is only tangentially related to the recent global financial crisis. One plausible explan...more

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  • The Capital Spectator

    Book Bits | 20 September 2014

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  • The Skeptical Speculator

    US and Japanese leading indices rise

    Markets were mixed on Friday. The STOXX Europe 600 Index rose 0.2 percent but the S&P 500 fell less than 0.1 percent from its record high closing on Thursday as the US Dollar Index rose for a 10th straight week, the longest since at least March 1967. Notwithstanding the decline in US stocks on Friday, the US economy is likely to continue to grow in the next few months. A report on Friday showed that the Conference Board's US leading economic index rose 0.2 percent in August after having risen 1.1 percent in July. Japan's economy also appears likely to maintain growth. Another report on Friday showed that Japan's leading index rose to 105.4 in July -- down from an initial estimate of 106.5 -- from 104.7 in June. The coincident index was unrevised at 109.9, up from 109.3 ...more

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  • The Baseline Scenario

    Changes

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  • Emerging markets

    China banking: Cinda – on the ball or to the wall?

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  • Emerging markets

    Brics bank: requiem for a dream

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  • Macro Man

    Four bullet points

    * In the end, Scotty managed to project a positive energy field into the afflicted area of the ship by manipulating the dilthium crystals.   The blue curtain of negative energy dissipated, and Kirk + crew managed to overpower Captain Bruce, who was choking on a deep fried Rigel bar.  In the end, however, Starfleet Command pardoned Bruce and agreed to grant him more operational autonomy on future missions.* While the ECB may have been disappointed with the take up of yesterday's TLTRO, what did they expect?  There isn't much carry left in peripheral bonds, willingness to lend hasn't been about the availability to procure liquidity, and banks get punished in the AQR for expanding their balance sheets.  You can lead a horse to water (or any other s...more

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  • A Fistful Of Euros

    Does Abenomics Work? – The Doubts Grow

    Is something in the air? Do I detect a change in consensus on the way things are going in Japan? Certainly a slew of articles have been published in the financial press over the last month questioning where the Abenomics experiment is headed for. The general conclusion seems to be that wherever it is it is certainly not the originally designated endpoint. Thus the Economist. “It is crisis mode in the Kantei, the office of Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister. A succession of awful data has pummelled his economic programme, which consists of three “arrows”: a radical monetary easing, a big fiscal stimulus and a series of structural reforms. On September 8th revised figures showed that GDP shrank by 1.8% in the second quarter, or by 7.1% on an annualised basis,...more

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  • The Aleph Blog

    Volatility Can Be Risk, At Rare Times

    Photo Credit: Matt CavanaghThere is a saying in the markets that volatility is not risk. In general this is true, and helps to explain why measures like beta and standard deviation of returns do not measure risk, and are not priced by the market. After all, risk is the probability of losing money, and the severity thereof.It’s not all that different from the way that insurance underwriters think of risk, or any rational businessman for that matter. But just to keep things interesting, I’d like to give you one place where volatility is risk.When overall economic conditions are serene, many people draw the conclusion that it will stay that way for a long time. That’s a mistake, but that’s human nature. As a result, those concluding that economic co...more

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  • FinanceProfessor.com

    Alibaba's Governance Leaves Investors at a Disadvantage - NYTimes.com

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  • FinanceProfessor.com

    Evidence of learning in the stock market

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  • The Skeptical Speculator

    Stocks rise, US housing starts fall

    Stocks rose on Thursday. The S&P 500 gained 0.5 percent to hit a new record high. The STOXX Europe 600 rose 1.0 percent. US stocks rose despite a report on Thursday showing that housing starts fell 14.4 percent in August. The decline came after starts had hit a 1.12-million unit rate in July, the highest since November 2007. Building permits fell 5.6 percent in August. China's housing market is also looking weak. A report on Thursday showed that average new home prices across China fell 1.1 percent in August, with prices falling in 68 of the 70 major cities monitored, up from 64 cities in July. In Japan, a report on Thursday showed that exports fell 1.3 percent in August from a year ago. Imports fell 1.5 percent. Nevertheless, the trade balance remained in deficit for t...more

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  • AllAboutAlpha: Hedge Fund Trends & Alternative Investment Analysis

    Metamorphosis in HFT: Update with Brad Katsuyama of IEX, Central Figure in ‘Flash Boys’

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  • DRS » Blog

    Coeuré`s affair of the heart with ABS

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  • DRS » Blog

    Coeuré`s affair of the heart with ABS

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  • DRS » Blog

    CFTC free to cross the borders

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  • DRS » Blog

    CFTC free to cross the borders

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  • footnoted*

    Evertec execs line up to enjoy Puerto Rican tax holiday

    You’ve probably heard (or at least read) about the new law in Puerto Rico. Just two weeks ago, the New York Times noted that former “hedge fund honcho” — their words, not ours — Alex Lemond had decamped there to take advantage of a change in the tax code that benefits wealthy newcomers to the island. A more recent development — known by its formal name of Act 77, which was signed into law at the beginning of July — provides additional benefits to income generated from options. (This memo from Deloitte provides a good overview of what’s otherwise boring tax lingo). Yet, despite the law being in place for three months, we haven’t seen it really mentioned in the filings. But that changed late Friday afternoon — ot...more

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  • Macro Man

    The Hadrian Partition

    Dramatis PersonaeDavid Cameron......................................Captain James T. KirkMenzies 'Ming' Campbell.....................Mr. SpockGeorge Osborne...................................Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy Alistair Campbell..................................Lt. Cdr. Montgomery ScottAlex Salmond.......................................Captain Bruce of the USS HadrianNick Clegg.............................................A redshirt security man #1 Ed Milliband.........................................A redshirt security man #2Moira Stewart......................................Lt. Uhura Vladimir Putin......................................Ensign Pavel Chekov(Voiceover)Kirk:   Stardate 2014.18.9.  The Enterprise has been called to the Albion quadrant to...more

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  • Macro Man

    How watching Yellen is like watching a football match

    (This gag was first sent out on Twitter yesterday.  For reasons that will soon become apparent, this succinct summation of the Fed will have to suffice.)In watching Yellen's press conference yesterday, particularly her waffling about over the dots and the meaning of 'considerable time', it struck Macro Man that much of the Fed's communication strategy (authored by Yellen) is predicated upon a sad misapprehension that verbosity is equivalent to insight.  Sadly, in the case of the modern Fed, the latter is altogether true.  Watching reminded Macro Man of his days going to the footy..... ...more

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  • AllAboutAlpha: Hedge Fund Trends & Alternative Investment Analysis

    Exemptions and Pools: CFTC Harmonizes with the JOBS Act

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  • Dr. Housing Bubble Blog

    The destruction of traditional mortgage demand: Applications for mortgages hits a 14 year low and affordability for housing continues to decline.

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  • Piggington's Econo-Almanac

    August 2014 Housing Data Rodeo

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  • My voice and noise on subprime bank regulations

    Should not at least Australia understand that "the risky" deserve a chance too?

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  • Emerging markets

    Doubts raised on Singapore-Taiwan exchange link

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  • Paper Economy - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

    Industrial Production: August 2014

    Yesterday, the Federal Reserve released their monthly read of industrial production and capacity utilization showing a decrease in August with total industrial production falling 0.10% since July but still rising 4.12% above the level seen in August 2013. Capacity utilization also declined falling 0.37% from July but rising 1.23% above the level seen in August 2013 to stand at 78.81% ...more

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  • Ticker Sense

    September 15th Blogger Sentiment Poll

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

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  • Dr. Housing Bubble Blog

    SoCal housing market so hot, sellers finding the need to cut prices: One third of sellers in Orange County have found the need to cut asking price.

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  • Dr. Housing Bubble Blog

    Examining the net worth of renters and homeowners: Most Americans stash their wealth in home equity. Many housing markets affordable, just not the area you are looking at.

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  • A Fistful Of Euros

    Their Eyes Were Watching Vlad

    Occasionally, representatives of Germany’s Left party (Die Linke) will complain about being tagged as the successors to East Germany’s communist party. Well. As part of the German parliament’s debate about the budget and foreign police, Gregor Gysi, parliamentary leader of Die Linke, spoke out forcefully against further sanctions against Russia. He called them “absolutely counterproductive.” He added that they provoked Russian countermeasures and hurt the economy. Rational policy, in his view, would be to lift the sanctions immediately. Not to be outdone, Sara Wagenknecht, Gysi’s first deputy, said that economic warfare with Russia was damaging and “playing with fire.” She added that NATO maneuvers and EU sanctions were making the...more

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  • Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up

    Berkshire Hathaway: Wholesaler of Death?

     Now that we have your attention with that admittedly provocative title, we are going to kill two birds with one stone here. Bird One is the fact that we haven’t posted anything in two months, mainly because whatever odd silliness visible in the darker corners of Wall Street seems irrelevant in a world where Vladimir Putin can invade his neighbors, take territory and shoot passenger planes from the sky while the civilized world sputters about such things not being fit for 21stCentury-type behavior before moving onto actual 21st Century-type behavior like Tweeting about how sad it is that Joan Rivers died. Bird Two is something I’ve always wondered about when it comes to Berkshire Hathaway. But before getting to that, let me repeat...more

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  • Ticker Sense

    September 8th Blogger Sentiment Poll

    Blogger Sentiment Poll Participants: 24/7 Wall St (-) The Aleph Blog (-) Biiwii (-) 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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  • Steve Keen's Debtwatch

    Much Euro About Nothing

    You’ve just made your morning coffee, and look up in horror as you realise that the gas burner has set your kitchen ablaze. So you take decisive action: you pour your coffee on the floor. Such is the real impact of the European Central Bank’s latest attempt to revive the European economy, which cut rates a whopping 0.1 per cent (from 0.15 per cent to 0.05 per cent), and increased the negative interest rate imposed on bank reserve deposits from a huge –0.1 per cent to a gargantuan –0.2 per cent. Forgive my sarcasm. But the mystery that should occur to everyone — and it probably does to most people who haven’t been given a £9000 lobotomy (as Aditya Chakrabortty recently described an economics degree) — is why an economist might think that such apparently ...more

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  • The Baseline Scenario

    An Elizabeth Warren for New York

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  • Steve Keen's Debtwatch

    Forthcoming Talks

    I have a ridiculously large number of public talks coming up this month. It all starts on Wednesday September 10th, and doesn’t let up until Sunday September 21st—the day before Induction Week begins at Kingston University, where I am now Head of Economics, Politics and History, and committed to making Kingston the world’s leading centre for pluralist education and research in economics. Check the links below if you’re able to make any of these talks in, in order: Sheffield; New York; Glasgow; Kingston; and Tubingen, Germany. I’ll cover talks in October in a subsequent post. Wednesday 10th September: Sheffield The University of Sheffield Law and Monetary Theory 1st Annual Conference: Regulation after the Financial Crisis This is an invitation only conference, ...more

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  • Paper Economy - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

    Employment Situation: Nonfarm Payrolls and Civilian Unemployment August 2014

    Today's Employment Situation Report indicated that in August, net non-farm payrolls increased by 142,000 jobs overall with the private non-farm payrolls sub-component adding 134,000 jobs while the civilian unemployment rate declined to 6.1% over the same period.Net private sector jobs increased 0.11% since last month climbing 2.12% above the level seen a year ago and climbing 1.34% above the peak level of employment seen in December 2007 prior to the Great Recession. ...more

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  • Paper Economy - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

    Employment Situation: Total Unemployment August 2014

    Today's Employment Situation report showed that in August “total unemployment” including all marginally attached workers declined to 12.0% while the traditionally reported unemployment rate also fell to 6.1%.The traditional unemployment rate is calculated from the monthly household survey results using a fairly explicit definition of “unemployed” (essentially unemployed and currently looking for full time employment) leaving many workers to be considered effectively “on the margin” either employed in part time work when full time is preferred or simply unemployed and no longer looking for work.The Bureau of Labor Statistics considers “marginally attached” workers (including discouraged workers) and persons who have settled for part time employm...more

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Piggington's Econo-Almanac

    July 2014 Housing Data Rodeo

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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