EconoMonitor

Economics Blog Aggregator

    Finance & Markets

  • AllAboutAlpha: Hedge Fund Trends & Alternative Investment Analysis

    GOOG to Test Buy-on-Antitrust-Charge Theory

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  • The Big Picture

    Full Speech: Obama at the Correspondent’s Dinner

    Be sure to stick around through the 13:40 mark, when Luther, Obama’s anger translator, comes on . . . Source: Washington Post

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  • The Big Picture

    10 Quick Content Marketing Tips

    10 Quick Content Marketing Tips (By DNN Software. Redesigned by Ethos3.) from Ethos3 | Presentation Design and Training

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  • Real Time Economics

    Kasich Weighs Odds, Money in Possible Presidential Run

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich elaborated on his possible presidential run Sunday, saying that he’ll decide based on his fundraising outlook and odds of success. “I’ve taken another big step, for me, which is to create a political organization to begin to accumulate more resources so I can travel more robustly and begin to think about infrastructure,” Mr. Kasich said on CNN’s “State of the Union” show. “If I should be successful in raising sort of that seed money, then I think the next step is to see if people like what I have to say,” he said. He added that the factors that would stop him from running would be “lack of resources or a consideration that I wouldn’t win.” Mr. Kasich’s comments Sunday followed news Saturday that his neighbor to the north, ...more

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  • Richard's Real Estate and Urban Economics Blog

    Is Free Trade Good for Everyone?

    Greg Mankiw implies that it is, and that all economists agree that it is.  But it actually isn't.  Who says so?  Economists.In particular, the workhorse theory of International Trade, the Hecksher-Ohlin Theorem, leads to the Stolper-Samuleson Theorem, which shows that when countries start trading with each other, the relatively abundant factor of production in each country becomes better off, while the relatively scarce factor becomes worse off.   In the US context, this implies that opening up trade will leave capital better off relative to labor, and skilled labor better off relative to unskilled labor.Does trade increase the total size of economies?  Yes--this is something that economists do agree on. But in the absence of redistribution--som...more

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  • The Housing Bubble Blog

    Up, Up, And Away

    The used house salespeople ponder the housing bubble. “This spring buying season is off to a strong start—in fact, prices are going up faster than they were just a few months ago, according to nearly every recent metric. So does that mean we’re in a bubble? Nope, that’s just what happens when demand increases faster than supply. After all, existing-home sales were up 9% year over year in March, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Inventory is also increasing, but not as fast as sales, resulting in a tight supply getting even tighter.” From Morningstar. “The other big news this week was that U.S. housing data, though not fantastic, appears to indicate that the U.S. housing industry has established a bottom. Early spring shoots are...more

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  • My voice and noise on subprime bank regulations

    The Basel Committee for Banking Supervision’s tragic mistake of doubling down on perceived credit risks

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  • The Big Picture

    The Remarkable Life & Lessons of Ronald Read

        My Sunday Washington Post Business Section column is out. This morning, we look at the remarkable life and lessons of Ronald Read. It is a fascinating tale. HereR17;s an excerpt from the column: “You may have read about the remarkable life and times of Ronald Read. He was the gas station attendant and lifelong resident of Windham County, Vt., who had quietly accumulated a portfolio worth a fortune. As theBrattleboro ­Reformer reported earlier this year, Read died last June at age 92. Despite his relatively modest wages, he left an estate with “stock holdings and property” valued at nearly $8 million. His bequest was to leave most of it to the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and Brooks Memorial Library. His close friends and family were shoc...more

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  • Calculated Risk

    ATA Trucking Index increased in March

    Here is an indicator that I follow on trucking, from the ATA: ATA Truck Tonnage Index Gained 1.1% in MarchAmerican Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.1% in March, following a revised drop of 2.8% during the previous month. In March, the index equaled 133.5 (2000=100). The all-time high is 135.8, reached in January 2015.Compared with March 2014, the SA index increased 5%, which was above the 3.3% gain in February but below January’s 6.7% year-over-year increase. During the first quarter, tonnage was unchanged from the previous quarter while increasing 5% from the same period in 2014. ...“While tonnage did not fully recoup the loss from February, it increased nicely in March,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob ...more

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  • Abnormal Returns

    Sunday links: one in five

    MarketsValuations are a poor short-term market guide. (ft.com)On the relationship between the Yen and gold. (marketanthropology.com)Three lessons from the Internet bubble. (pragcap.com)StrategyLet economists obsess over interest rate moves. (theirrelevantinvestor.tumblr.com)Why it is so hard to show manager outperformance. (pionline.com)Why long-lived investors have different strategies. (alephblog.com)The herd mentality has always been with us. (awealthofcommonsense.com)CompaniesIBM ($IBM) once ruled world. Lessons for Apple ($AAPL) today. (nytimes.com)Symbols: $IBM $AAPL Why the Comcast ($CMCSK)-Time Warner ($TWX) deal fell apart. (slate.com)Symbols: $CMCSK $TWX Netflix ($NFLX) has no shortage of competitors. (investingcaffeine.com)Symbols: $NFLX FinanceHow is Schwab'...more

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  • Abnormal Returns

    Top clicks this week on Abnormal Returns

    Top clicks this week on the siteOne of the worst investment strategies ever. (theirrelevantinvestor.tumblr.com)If US stocks are overvalued what can you do to protect yourself? (mebfaber.com)There is a good chance you are using P/E ratios incorrectly. (blog.stonestreetadvisors.com)Cash is pouring into four big losers from last year. (etf.com)What history says about how big oil price drops play out over time. (marketanthropology.com)The marriage calculus in America is in flux. (aeon.co)Fact, fiction and value investing. (papers.ssrn.com)Nine mistakes quants make with their backtests. (blog.quantopian.com) The bull case for US stocks. (howardlindzon.com)You should ignore investment advice from these six types. (maliceforall.com)...more

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  • naked capitalism

    Links 4/26/15

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  • naked capitalism

    Bill Black: Obama & TPP – Every One That Doeth Evil Hateth the Light

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  • The Housing Bubble Blog

    Bits Bucket for April 26, 2015

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

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  • naked capitalism

    Quantitative Easing and The Great Recession: Who Wins? Who Loses?

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  • Dr. Housing Bubble Blog

    Millennials shun the new home sales market: in the face of tight inventory, why are builders not building new homes?

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  • Calculated Risk

    Schedule for Week of April 26, 2015

    The key report this is week is Q1 GDP on Wednesday.  Also the FOMC will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, and release a statement on Wednesday.Other key reports include the March Personal Income and Outlays report on Thursday, April ISM manufacturing index on Friday, April vehicle sales on Friday, and the Case-Shiller house prices on Tuesday.----- Monday, April 27th -----10:30 AM: Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey for April.----- Tuesday, April 28th -----9:00 AM: S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index for February. Although this is the February report, it is really a 3 month average of December, January and February prices.This graph shows the nominal seasonally adjusted National Index, Composite 10 and Composite 20 indexes through the January 2015 report (the Composite...more

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  • Calculated Risk

    April 2015: Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 342 Institutions

    This is an unofficial list of Problem Banks compiled only from public sources.Here is the unofficial problem bank list for April 2015. Changes and comments from surferdude808: Update on the Unofficial Problem Bank List for April 2015. During the month, the list fell from 349 institutions to 342 after nine removals and two additions. Assets dropped by $1.2 billion to an aggregate $105.1 billion. A year ago, the list held 513 institutions with assets of $167.3 billion.Actions were terminated against Orrstown Bank, Shippensburg, PA ($1.2 billion Ticker: ORRF); Atlantic Coast Bank, Jacksonville, FL ($709 million Ticker: ACFC); The Leaders Bank, Oak Brook, IL ($353 million); PrimeSouth Bank, Blackshear, GA ($326 million); The Exchange Bank, Skiatook, OK ($87 million); a...more

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  • Abnormal Returns

    Saturday links: sunny days

    PowerHow Stanford is going to power its campus. (slate.com)Solar power will soon be as cheap as coal. (qz.com)Solar power is changing the electricity equation in Hawaii. (nytimes.com)ClimateCalifornia is going to have to embrace desalination. (qz.com)Florida is on the frontlines of climate change. (qz.com)ScienceThe drone revolution is headed to the high seas. (fortune.com)Air travel is hugely damaging to the environment. (ft.com)A look at the plumbing underneath Yellowstone. (washingtonpost.com)HealthADHD medications are increasingly getting abused by adults to get an edge. (nytimes.com)More on the myopia epidemic. (wsj.com)The downside of antioxidants. (bigthink.com)How a tonsillectomy may help prevent throat cancer. (m.theatlantic.com)Leisure activities can help our...more

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  • The Capital Spectator

    Book Bits | 25 April 2015

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  • The Aleph Blog

    Why Life Insurers, Defined Benefit Plans, and Endowments Invest Differently

    Photo Credit: joiseyshowaaDespite the large and seemingly meaty title, this will be a short piece.  I class these types of investors together because most of them have long investment horizons.  From an asset-liability management standpoint, that would mean they should invest similarly.  That may be have been true for Defined Benefit [DB] pension plans and Endowments, but that has shifted over time, and is increasingly not true.  In some ways, the DB plans are becoming more like life insurers in the way they invest, though not totally so.  So, why do they invest differently?  Two reasons: internal risk management goals, and the desires of insurance regulators to preserve industry solvency.Let’s start with life insurers.  Regulators don’t want insolve...more

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  • The Housing Bubble Blog

    Bits Bucket for April 25, 2015

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

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  • Dealbreaker

    Write-Offs: 4.25.15

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  • Dealbreaker

    Sale of Lehman’s Stake in D.E. Shaw Proves That Valley People Will Buy Anything

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  • Dealbreaker

    Shirtless Employees, Sexualized Gift Cards No Longer Part Of Abercrombie & Fitch’s Business Model

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  • Real Time Economics

    5 Things to Watch on the Economic Calendar

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  • Real Time Economics

    Harvard’s Roland Fryer Wins John Bates Clark Medal

    Harvard professor Roland Fryer, an economist who has done pioneering work on the sources and magnitude of racial inequality, won the John Bates Clark medal, which is given to the most promising American economist under 40 years old. Roland Fryer, a Harvard professor who won this year’s John Bates Clark medal. Harvard University The American Economic Association, which announced the prize on Friday, said Mr. Fryer’s work made him “a major figure in the evaluation of education policies to narrow the racial achievement gap.” Mr. Fryer, 37, founded Harvard’s Education Innovation Laboratory, known as EdLabs, in 2008 and serves as its director. From 2007 to 2008, he served as the chief equality officer for New York City’s Department of Education. In a 2013 pa...more

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  • FT Alphaville

    Charting European profits: hope vs evidence

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  • FT Alphaville

    Just another case of the heebie-GGBies?

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  • The Capital Spectator

    Mixed Economic Signals So Far For The US In Q2

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  • FT Alphaville

    The trouble with market-based financing… in China

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  • The Capital Spectator

    Initial Guidance | 24 April 2015

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  • The Aleph Blog

    2000 More Points To Go; Look Elsewhere!

    15 years is a long time to wait for a 1%/yr returnThe big news of the day is that the NASDAQ Composite hit a new high for the first time in 15 years.  Nice, except as you note from the above graph, that if you adjusted for inflation, you still haven’t made a new high.  By the time the NASDAQ Composite hits a new high, it will have to rack up at least another 2000 points, which is 40% or so away.  Now if you add dividends back in since March 10th, 2000, you get to roughly a 1% return.That’s a lot of pain for not much gain.  That said, few if any rode out this storm in a fund like the NASDAQ composite. The pain would have been so great that most would have given up in 2002, and those that survived would have given up in 2008-9.  We aren’t designed t...more

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  • AllAboutAlpha: Hedge Fund Trends & Alternative Investment Analysis

    Some Assets are Hard to Ignore

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  • DRS » Blog

    Footnote 195- last chance saloon now open for drinks

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  • DRS » Blog

    Footnote 195- last chance saloon now open for drinks

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  • The Skeptical Speculator

    Bonds overvalued but remain in demand

    CNBC reported that bonds are not well-liked by fund managers. A survey by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch found that a net 54 percent of fund managers remain underweight in bonds in April. A net 84 percent said bonds are overvalued, the highest in the survey's history. And yet, demand for bonds is expected to remain firm. JPMorgan has estimated that demand is likely to outstrip supply globally by around $450 billion this year on a notional basis, widening from $384 billion last year, with retail investors expected to be major contributors. Richard Jerram, chief economist at Bank of Singapore, said that "there is still globally a search for yield taking place". In addition, JPMorgan noted that equities have rallied even more than bonds in recent years, leaving retail inves...more

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  • The Aleph Blog

    One Dozen Reasons Why the Average Person Underperforms In Investing, Part 2

    Photo Credit: -Mandie-You can catch part 1 here, where the first six reasons were:Arrive at the wrong timeLeave at the wrong timeChase the hot sector/industryIgnore ValuationsNot think like a businessman, or treat it like a businessNot diversify enoughOn to the last six reasons:7) Play around with pseudo-stocksETFs are simple.  Perhaps they are too simple, allowing people to implement their investment views very rapidly, when have not done sufficient due diligence on the target of their investing.As a quick example, consider the CurrencyShares series of ETFs.  You know that if you use these, you are making an unsecured loan to JP Morgan, right?  Well, you might be bright, but most people think these funds are collateralized.ETFs are complex, particularly if you use ...more

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  • Macro Man

    Building a better moustrap

    Readers who frequent the comments section have been treated to a spirited discussion over the past couple days surrounding the arrest of Nav Sarao, a futures trader accused of manipulating S&P 500 E-mini futures and acting as a "significant factor" in the Flash Crash of May 2010.Mr. Sarao is a bloke who trades from his bedroom at his parents' house near Heathrow Airport.The suggestion is that Mr. Sarao layered a number of 600-lot offers in E-minis, which apparently scared the bejeezus out of the financial world and forced a huge number of market participants to simultaneously panic, selling stocks with literally reckless abandon.  For masterminding this financial maelstrom, he cleared less than a million bucks.By Macro Man's reckoning, that makes him either the...more

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  • AllAboutAlpha: Hedge Fund Trends & Alternative Investment Analysis

    Authorities Offer Revisionism About Flash Crash

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  • Ticker Sense

    Buyback Authorizations Reach A Record in 1Q 2015

    Total authorizations for buybacks in 1Q 2015 reached an all time record of $257 billion. At current pace we can expect total authorizations to exceed $1 trillion. GE also announced a $50 billion buyback authorization, tied with Apple for the... ...more

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  • Ticker Sense

    April 20th Blogger Sentiment Poll

    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 (-) GEI – Investing Blog (-)... ...more

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  • The Skeptical Speculator

    Should governments borrow more?

    Brad DeLong of the University of California at Berkeley suggested at the International Monetary Fund’s “Rethinking Macro” conference last week that rich countries should borrow more. From the WSJ blog: The interest rate that rich countries with super-safe debt ... pay is astonishingly low... In the U.S., the Treasury yield has gone from roughly equal to growth in nominal GDP in 2005 to 3 percentage points lower today. By Mr. DeLong’s reckoning, this means those countries are borrowing too little... Mr. DeLong asks, “Isn’t the point of the market economy to make things that are valuable?” Since the debt of rich countries is “very cheap to make… shouldn’t we be making more of it?” However, DeLong's suggestion could be problematic if future GDP gro...more

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  • My voice and noise on subprime bank regulations

    The amazing Achilles heels of the Basel Committee’s bank regulations

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  • My voice and noise on subprime bank regulations

    Requesting from the Members of the Royal Statistical Society a much needed Statistical Literacy Initiative

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  • The Skeptical Speculator

    Yen resilience unlikely to last

    Sober Look noted that despite the large quantitative easing being implemented by the Bank of Japan, the yen has remained steady against the US dollar so far in 2015 and has even risen against a trade-weighted yen index. Part of the reason for this is that recent US economic data have been weaker than expected. Indeed, Bloomberg noted that its economic surprise index for the US has fallen to the lowest level since the financial crisis. Nevertheless, Sober Look thinks that the yen is unlikely to maintain its resilience for long. In the long run however, further yen weakness seems inevitable. The reason has to do with the sheer relative size of Japan's quantitative easing... Furthermore, given the scope and size of this program, it is unclear if the Bank of Japan can ever...more

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  • Dr. Housing Bubble Blog

    The return of the broke homeowner: Between 2006 and 2014 9.3 million homeowners were foreclosed on, received a DIL or short sold.

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  • Paper Economy - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

    The Chicago Fed National Activity Index: March 2015

    The latest release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) indicated that the national economic activity weakened in March with the index falling to a level of -0.42 from a level of -0.18 in February while the three month moving average also declined to a level of -0.27. The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity collected into four overall categories of “production and income”, “employment, unemployment and income”, “personal consumption and housing” and “sales, orders and inventories”. The Chicago Fed regards a value of zero for the total index as indicating that the national economy is expanding at its historical trend rate while a negative value indicates below average growth. A value at or b...more

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  • Steve Keen's Debtwatch

    Keep It Simple And Complex, Stupid

    My last post supporting the use of nonlinear models (“You Do Need A Weatherman”) generated some thoughtful responses, mainly along the lines of this post by Ari Andricopoulos entitled “A View on the Economic Model Debate from a Non-economist (but someone who builds models for a living)”. The basic argument is that a full nonlinear model of any significant economic process would be too complicated, and that it was better therefore to stick with tractable linear models, while keeping in mind that the real world is nonlinear: I build models with data for a living, and I am acutely aware of the problems with using non-linear models to make any sort of accurate predictions – even with huge volumes of data to calibrate it with. It is not that the systems are linear....more

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  • DRS » Blog

    But for the grace of God? BoNY Receives Record Fine for CASS Breaches

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  • DRS » Blog

    But for the grace of God? BoNY Receives Record Fine for CASS Breaches

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  • Macro Man

    3 quick bullets

    * The PBOC dropped the hammer with a 100 bp RRR cut, predictably sending the AUD into raptures (well, relatively speaking) as of the time of writing.   Chinese reserve requirements have historically been a lousy explanatory variable for AUD and other FX on any but the most micro of time frames, and this case should be no different.   It's important to recognize the sea change that's occurred in China's FX reserve holdings- they're not going up any more.   To be sure, some of the decline has represented a fall in the value of non-USD currencies in the basket (cough, euro, cough), but the sheer scale of the recent falls is highly suggestive of actual sales due to speculative capital flight.  That, in turn, sucks RMB out of the system, an...more

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  • The Baseline Scenario

    Say It Ain’t So, Ben

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  • Dr. Housing Bubble Blog

    Compton and Paramount real estate deals: 4 properties in the heart of Los Angeles County. Location is more than a matter of mileage and sunshine.

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  • footnoted*

    Golden parachutes for government service?

    We’re deep into proxy season, with the deadline for companies that are on a calendar year only 13 days away (9 if you only count business days). And we’ve noticed an interesting shareholder proposal this year that’s on the ballot at four different financial services powerhouses: Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley. The proposal by the AFL-CIO Reserve Fund uses a phrase we haven’t seen before in SEC filings: government service golden parachutes, which the union describes as rewards for employees who leave their jobs to become government employees. Here’s a key phrase from the proposal filed in the Goldman Sachs proxy that was filed a week ago: While government service is commendable, we question the practice of our C...more

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  • A Fistful Of Euros

    ECB Taper News

    What Business Insider’s Mike Bird somewhat ironically calls #euroboom2015 seems to be well and truly with us. The WSJ’s Simon Nixon spelled  it out for us in his “QE is Working Better than the ECB Dared Hope” article:  “one month into the ECB’s €1 trillion ($1.06 trillion) quantitative-easing program, and ECB President Mario Draghi was only too happy to take credit for a remarkable turnaround in the economy’s fortunes at Wednesday’s news conference.” And he goes on to give examples: “Growth forecasts have been continually revised up since January when the program was announced: the International Monetary Fund said this week it now expects the eurozone to grow by 1.5% in 2015. Business and consumer confidenc...more

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  • Steve Keen's Debtwatch

    You Do Need A Weatherman

    I’ve just come back from the annual Institute for New Economic Thinking conference in Paris, where the President of INET Rob Johnson is infamous for opening every session he chairs with an apt set of lyrics from the 1960s. I’ve aped Rob here by misquoting one of Bob Dylan’s great lines “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”. In fact, you do. Click here to read the rest of this post. ...more

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  • The Baseline Scenario

    No More Cheating: Restoring the Rule of Law in Financial Markets

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  • Macro Man

    The ECB protest in 3 pictures

    1) German citizen realizes that she paid 100.20 for a bond and that she'll only get 100 back in 5 years2) Constancio tells her its 100.40 bid now3) A multi-strat fund offers her a $500 million book because of her bond trading acumen...more

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  • A Fistful Of Euros

    The snakes-and-ladders model, again

    They say the first rule of editing is “kill your darlings”. The first rule of science, however, is “sacrifice your darlings humanely in accordance with the research ethics committee guidelines, but keep their brains for further investigation”. So it is with this post. Per Mason, apparently the GFC looks a lot different to past recessions and it’s important to include the full span of the ECEC data back to 1986. So here goes. The ECEC civilian workers series doesn’t go back to 1986, and neither does all workers, so I picked on the series for “private industry” – after all you’d expect public sector employment to be less responsive to the business cycle by definition – which does. The orange dots on the cha...more

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  • FinanceProfessor.com

    Datawatch: price of an iPhone 6 around the world | FT Data

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  • Steve Keen's Debtwatch

    Secular stagnation interview on Boom Bust

    My interview starts at 3 minutes 48 seconds into the program.

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  • A Fistful Of Euros

    Is The Crisis Now History In Spain?

    Mariano Rajoy is a man who is not shy when it comes to being controversial, as the storm surrounding his stance over the recent Greek bailout negotiations clearly illustrates (and here). So it is perhaps not surprising that he did not notably blush when he informed a Madrid audience recently that “In many ways, the crisis is history.” Such was the storm that followed that he was forced to at least partially retract the offending phrase after a meeting with union officials some four days later. “In many ways the crisis is history, but its consequences are not,” he clarified. Of course all of this is mainly political rhetoric at the start of what is set to be an election year, but still, it does raise interesting questions. Where exactly is Spain? ...more

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  • The Baseline Scenario

    It Can Wait. Really.: The Real Solution to Notification Overload

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  • Ticker Sense

    April 13th Blogger Sentiment Poll

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

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  • DRS » Blog

    ISDA General Disclosure D-F Update

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  • DRS » Blog

    ISDA General Disclosure D-F Update

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  • Paper Economy - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

    Reading Rates: MBA Application Survey – April 08 2015

    The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages as well as the volume of both purchase and refinance applications. The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases. The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage (from FHA and conforming GSE data) declined 5 basis points to 3.79% since last week while the purchase application volume increased 7% and the refinance application volume d...more

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  • Emerging markets

    Digital banking: Electronic shock for China's old guard

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  • Emerging markets

    Jho says it ain’t so: Malaysian tycoon denies role in 1MDB ‘heist of the century’

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  • Paper Economy - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

    S&P/Case-Shiller: January 2015

    Today's release of the S&P/Case-Shiller (CSI) home price indices for January reported that the non-seasonally adjusted National index declined from December with prices falling 0.05% while the Composite-10 city index declined 0.01% and the Composite-20 city index declined 0.03% over the same period.On an annual basis, the National index increased 4.47% above the level seen in January 2014 while the Composite-10 city index increased 4.37% and the Composite-20 city index increased 4.56% over the same period.On a peak basis, all three indices still show significant peak declines slumping 9.73% for the National index, -17.01% for the Composite-10 city index and -16.26% for the Composite-20 city index on a peak comparison basis. ...more

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  • Emerging markets

    Debt restructuring with Chinese characteristics

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  • footnoted*

    An inverse relationship at J.C. Penney

    Earlier this week, beleaguered retailer JC Penney Co, filed its proxy statement. Given some of the high-profile comings and goings at the company over the past few years, we’ve paid pretty close attention to their proxy and this year’s version didn’t disappoint. For the past few years, the company has at least one — and sometimes two — executives who have received hefty severance packages for relatively short stints when whatever magic potion they were pedaling failed to turn the company around. This year’s proxy didn’t disappoint: the company disclosed for the first time that former CFO Kenneth Hannah, who occupied the CFO spot for less than two years, collected $2.3m in severance. But far more interesting to us was the high-fl...more

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  • Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up

    Messi Announces Retirement, Reporter Asks About Half-Time Score

     Tom Prescott announced his retirement last night.   You may not have heard of him, but as CEO of Align Technologies (the inventors of Invisalign “invisible braces”) Prescott helped turn a $70 million revenue company with 35% gross margins, negative operating margins and a $127 million market value into a near-$800 million revenue company with near-80% gross margins and 25% operating margins. Oh, yeah, and a $4.5 billion market value, last we checked. More than that, Tom Prescott helped Invisalign develop from a niche product not much liked by the orthodontists who were supposed to use it (it’s far more expensive to them than the old-fashioned wires and brackets, plus, in the early days, before Prescott, the Invisalign treatment was far mo...more

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  • Piggington's Econo-Almanac

    February 2015 Housing Data Rodeo

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  • footnoted*

    Hunting for Perks in Proxy Season

    Proxy season is heating up, and every year we come across perks that don’t quite fit the mold. Once upon a time, we used to write about these sorts of perks more regularly. But lately, to borrow a line from the hit movie, Frozen, we tend to “Let it Go.” Still, one of those unusual perks remains close to our heart: the company-owned sports lodge. That’s because back in 2008, we discovered  A. Schulman’s fish camp, which won Footnoted’s “Worst Footnote of 2008.” There was also the  executive dude ranch that we wrote about in 2012. We suppose that reasonable people might disagree on the need for this type of thing. After all, when it comes to perks and the “business reasons” for doling them out, there’s probably n...more

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  • Mises Institute

    The Next Generation of Austrian Economics: Essays in Honor of Joseph T. Salerno

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  • Richard's Real Estate and Urban Economics Blog

    LA has zoned itself out of the ability to house its residents (h/t Matthew Glesne)

    Once upon a time, the zoning in Los Angeles would have allowed for 10 million residents to live within its municipal boundaries.  Greg Morrow, in his UCLA dissertation, "Homeowner Revolution: Democracy, Land Use and the Los Angeles Slow Growth Movement 1965-1992," documents how this was eroded over time:So LA really did create a moat around itself and pulled up the drawbridge.  For those of us who think the blessings of cities should be shared widely, this is a shame....more

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  • Mises Institute

    A Short History of Man: Progress and Decline

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  • Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up

    Charlie Named Name

    Ned Isakoff: “You got me blacklisted from Hop Sing’s?”Delivery Man:  “She named name!”—Seinfeld, “The Race”  Like Elaine Benes in that Seinfeld episode, Charlie Munger named name. Two names, in fact: Greg Abel and Ajit Jain. Unlike Elaine Benes’s name-naming, however, the two named by Munger have nothing to do with Communist agitation and the destruction of capitalism as we know it—far from it.   Rather, they have everything to do with Capitalist orthodoxy in its purest, most meritocratic form: who might succeed Warren Buffett as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway under the scenario, as Munger puts it, “Buffett left tomorrow.” Here’s the direct quote from Munger’s comments written for the 2014 Chairman’s Lette...more

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  • Richard's Real Estate and Urban Economics Blog

    It is hard to feel urban form sometimes.

    I have spent a fair amount of time in Sao Paulo over the past 3-4 years, and always thought it sprawled more than LA, because it takes forever to get from one side of the place to the other.  So was I surprised when I went to Google Earth and looked at both of them from the same elevation. Here is LA:Now here is SP:It is far more compact.  Metro LA has about 18 million people; SP has about 20 million. But it takes about 2 hours to get from Santa Clarita in the west to San Bernardino in the east--the distance between the two is 85 miles; it can take four hours to go just 30 kilometers in SP.  Sao Paulo feels much larger to me....more

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  • Piggington's Econo-Almanac

    January 2015 Housing Data Rodeo

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Mises Institute

    Secession, State, and Liberty

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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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  • 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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  • FinanceProfessor.com

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

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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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Aaron Menenberg Policies of Scale

Aaron Menenberg is Foreign Policy and Energy analyst, and a Future Leader with Foreign Policy Initiative. He also co-hosts Podlitical Risk (@podliticalrisk). He is a graduate student in international relations at The Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Previously he has worked at Praescient Analytics, The Hudson Institute, for the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and at the IBM Corporation. The views expressed are his own, and you can follow him on Twitter @AaronMenenberg. He welcomes questions and comments at menenbergaaron@gmail.com.